Sign Up Now for Democratic Party August Campaign Training Series

Sign Up Now for Democratic Party August Campaign Training Series

Candidate TrainingAre you considering running for office or working on a Democratic campaign? If so, you’re invited to join a candidate training series of workshops organized by the San Diego County Democratic Party, held the first three Mondays in August.

Go to to sign up for one, two, or all three of the sessions, each of which will focus on a specific aspect of campaigning. Please note that these are only open to registered Democrats.

All off the trainings will run from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. (location provided upon registration). A $25 fee per session is requested, which will include food and beverages.

The series will cover:

The tools provided in these workshops will help participants run well-organized campaigns and avoid some of the common pitfalls encountered by new candidates. Sign up now or call or email us at the office if you have any questions about the trainings, or if you would like to pay with a campaign or business credit card.

In the meantime, for some insight into the experience of running for office, read this week’s Chair’s Corner blog post here.

When You Meet a Candidate, Say “Thank You!”

When You Meet a Candidate, Say “Thank You!”


My experience as a former candidate is one of the reasons I’ve worked so hard, for so many years, in support of the San Diego County Democratic Party. I learned then that candidates need the help of a team to win. And I never wanted another candidate in San Diego County to feel that they were running alone and making it up as they went along.

That’s why I made training a priority when I became County Party Chair in 2013. Sharing my own experiences – and the resources that the Party has developed – has allowed us to organize an excellent campaign training program. We want every candidate to be prepared with the confidence, knowledge, and tools to run smart, strong campaigns.

Running for office can be both exhilarating and exhausting. If you ask anyone who has run, you’ll hear that, win or lose, it’s a life-transforming experience. There are few other endeavors that allow someone to become a public persona overnight, meet hundreds or thousands of people, and speak out about critical issues that impact real lives.

Becoming a candidate can also be a jarring experience. One day you’re a private person; the next day your name and face are published and posted and you become fodder for political pundits and gadflies. But you also become a leader, attracting countless people whom you’ve never known but who are eager to volunteer and support you because they believe in you.

Over the past three years, hundreds of potential candidates and staffers have attended our trainings and learned about the nuts and bolts of running for office, fundraising, campaign organizing, messaging, voter data management, getting out the vote, and more. A large percentage of our trained candidates have gone on to run and win, and today we have a historically high number of Democrats in office. From school and hospital boards to city councils and Congress, from Fallbrook to San Ysidro, more Democrats than ever are serving in San Diego County.

When you meet a candidate, I encourage you to say “Thank you for running.” They are courageous, well-meaning people who are willing to make personal sacrifices to serve the greater public good. We are privileged in our country to participate in a democracy where anyone has the right to run for office and participate in our electoral system. It’s an exciting process that we should treasure as Americans.

We’re launching another series of campaign trainings in August. If you or anyone you know would like to learn about running for office and running effective campaigns, we welcome you to sign up for one, two, or all three sessions at Please call our office at (858) 277-3367 for more information.

Cost: $25 per session includes light dinner.

Location: Confirmed upon RSVP

Dates:   Monday, August 3, 5:30-7:30 p.m.: Campaign Organization and Management

Monday, August 10, 5:30-7:30 p.m.: Fundraising and Budgeting

Monday, August 17, 5:30-7:30 p.m.: Communications and Messaging  

Francine Busby
Chair, San Diego County Democratic Party


July 30th and August 6th, 2015 – DIRECT eZine for Democrats #889

July 30th and August 6th, 2015 – DIRECT eZine for Democrats #889


“And that’s why I think it is essential that we all stand up and say loudly and clearly, ‘Yes, black lives matter.’ And we all have a responsibility to face these hard truths of race and justice honestly and directly,” —Hillary Clinton calling Sandra Bland’s “heartbreaking” death in a Texas jail cell “another African-American life cut short.” 7/23/15

The New York Times truly has become an embarrassment to American Journalism. Second anti HRC story in three months THEY GOT WRONG! — Howard Dean 7/24/15

“As I noted this afternoon, a lot of this has a disturbing similarity to the Times Whitewater coverage, which dominated much of the Clinton presidency and turned out to be more either vastly over-hyped or in numerous cases simply false. And this is the Times! What’s supposedly to be the best paper in the country.” — Josh Marshall7/24/15

““This past term, the court crossed a line, continued its long descent into lawlessness to a level I believe demands action. … When we have five unelected judges who are declaring for themselves they can decide every contested policy issue in our society, it is incumbent on elected representatives to take that authority.” — Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) 7/23/15

“We now know that when the majority leader looks us in the eyes and makes an explicit commitment that he is willing to say thing that he knows are false. That has consequences for how this body operates. If you or I cannot trust what the majority leader tells us, that will have consequences on other legislation, as well as on how this institution operates.” — Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) accusing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) of lying to him over a deal to vote on reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank. 7/24/15

“I’m just chugging along. You know, maybe people will get tired of me. Who knows? This press is crazy.” —Donald Trump, 7//23/15

“Wisconsin is doing terribly. It’s in turmoil. The roads are a disaster because they don’t have money to rebuild them. Schools are a disaster. Hospitals and education are a disaster. And he was totally in favor of Common Core, which I hate.” —Donald Trump, attacking Gov. Scott Walker in Iowa. 7/25/15

“First, let me say that I am confident that I never sent nor received any information that was classified at the time it was sent and received.” — Hillary Clinton, brushing off a new investigation into whether she sent or received classified information on her personal email address while at the State Department. 7/25/15

“He offers a barking carnival act that can be best described as Trumpism: a toxic mix of demagoguery, mean-spiritedness and nonsense that will lead the Republican Party to perdition if pursued. … Donald Trump’s candidacy is a cancer on conservatism, and it must be clearly diagnosed, excised and discarded. … We must move past the empty calories of Trumpism, and return to conservatism.” — Rick Perry’ at the Opportunity and Freedom PAC forum. 7/22/15

“If you’re getting high in Colorado today, enjoy it. As of January 2017, I will enforce the federal laws.” —Gov. Chris Christie (R) suggesting that residents of states where marijuana is legal smoke up before the next presidential inauguration, 7/29/15



“Two inspectors general have asked the Justice Department to open a criminal investigation into whether sensitive government information was mishandled in connection with the personal email account Hillary Rodham Clinton used as secretary of state, senior government officials said Thursday. The request follows an assessment in a June 29 memo by the inspectors general for the State Department and the intelligence agencies that Mrs. Clinton’s private account contained “hundreds of potentially classified emails.” — The New York Times 7/24/15


“This is the latest example in a series of inaccurate leaks to generate false front-page headlines − only to be corrected later − and they have absolutely nothing to do with the attacks in Benghazi or protecting our diplomatic corps overseas.” — Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) rebutting reports that the State Department has formally requested a federal criminal investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was secretary of State. 7/24/15


“This president’s foreign policy is the most feckless in American history. It is so naive that he would trust the Iranians. By doing so, he will take the Israelis and march them to the door of the oven. “ — Governor Huckabee who, according to Breitbart News, has demonstrated his keen ability to articulate conservative principles and values. 7/25/15


“The particular comments of Mr. Huckabee are I think part of just a general pattern we’ve seen… that would be considered ridiculous if it weren’t so sad. Maybe this is just an effort to push Mr. Trump out of the headlines but it’s not the kind of leadership that’s needed for America right now.” — President Obama responding to Mike Huckabee’s inflammatory comments on the Iran deal. 7/27/15

2. GOP Favorability Nosedives

The Republican Party’s image has grown more negative over the first half of this year. Currently, 32% have a favorable impression of the Republican Party, while 60% have an unfavorable view. Favorable views of the GOP have fallen nine percentage points since January. The Democratic Party continues to have mixed ratings (48% favorable, 47% unfavorable). 7/23/15 Read more at

3. Medicare still on stable footing because of Obamacare

The Medicare Hospital Insurance (HI) Trust Fund will have sufficient funds to cover its obligations until 2030, the same year that was projected last year, and 13 years later than was projected in the last report issued prior to passage of the Affordable Care Act. 7/22/15 Read more at

4. DNC’s GOP Debate Watch Party Pack

Be ready for the August 6th GOP debate is — order your GOP Debate Watch Party Pack and you’ll receive:

– Four (4) “I survived the GOP Debates” 16 oz plastic cups
– Four (4) “I survived the GOP Debates” lapel stickers (please only wear these if you do survive!)
– One 50-sheet bingo pad to play our official GOP Debate Bingo game with your friends.

5. ‘The New York Times’ Bungled the Hillary Clinton Emails Story

In our hyper-partisan world, many people will not care about the truth here. That the Times story is false in almost every particular—down to the level of who wrote what memo—will only lead to accusations that people trying to set the record straight are pro-Hillary. I am not pro-Hillary. I am, however, pro-journalism. And this display of incompetence or malice cannot stand without correction.

And to other reporters: Democracy is not a game. It is not a means of getting our names on the front page or setting the world abuzz about our latest scoop. It is about providing information so that an electorate can make decisions based on reality. It is about being fair and being accurate. This despicable Times story was neither.– Kurt Eichenwald in Newsweek 7/24/15 Read more at

6. Late Night with Seth Meyers: Rachel Maddow Discusses Donald Trump’s Campaign

7. Mark Fiore Cartoon: Raising your candidate

8. From MEDIA MATTERS (They watch Fox News so you don’t have to)

Legislation To Defund Planned Parenthood Based On Deceptively Edited Videos

Fox Hosts Have No Idea What Planned Parenthood Does Nor How Obamacare Works

Erick Erickson Compares Pregnant Women To “Female Animals,” Calls On Companies To Stop Donating To Planned Parenthood

Chris Christie Spending Big Money To Get Into Fox News Debate

Fox Demands More Media Coverage Of Flimsy NYT Report On Probe Into Clinton’s Email

From Scandal To Farce: What The Clinton Email Coverage Tells Us About The Press

Fox’s Steve Doocy Praises Trump For Treating The Press Like The “Left Wing Political Operatives That They Are”

NRA’s Ted Nugent: People Upset About The Killing Of Cecil The Lion Are “Stupid” Planned Parenthood Is “Our Auschwitz”

Vox’s Jonathan Allen Implicates Trey Gowdy In The NY Times Botched Clinton Emails Story

This Critic Of Hillary Clinton’s Climate Change Plan Should Actually Read It

9. Late Night Jokes for Dems

“A major Iowa newspaper published an op-ed against Trump calling him a ‘self-absorbed, wholly unqualified feckless blowhard.’ Or as Trump put it, ‘You forgot very rich . . . I’m a very rich, self-absorbed, wholly unqualified feckless blowhard. Very, very rich.'” –Jimmy Fallon

“Ohio Governor John Kasich became the 16th Republican to announce that he is running for president. During his speech he referred to Jesus Christ, which is ironic because so did Americans when they heard another Republican was running for president.” –Jimmy Fallon

“”Donald Trump’s children released a statement this week calling their father a ‘true visionary and a great mentor.’ And Trump released a statement calling his kids ‘suck-ups’ and ‘not the best.'” –Seth Meyers

“In a speech in South Carolina, Donald Trump responded to criticisms from Senator Lindsey Graham by giving out Graham’s personal cellphone number. Graham knew something was up when he saw he had more than one missed call.” –Jimmy Fallon

“In a new campaign ad, Jeb Bush referenced ‘The Godfather’ and said his nickname used to be ‘Veto Corleone’ because he vetoed so many bills in Florida. When you’re the third person in your family to run for president, maybe you shouldn’t bring up a movie trilogy where the third one was clearly the worst.” –Jimmy Fallon

“At a campaign event in South Carolina, Trump gave out Senator Lindsey Graham’s personal cellphone number. He’s bringing the same level of class to this presidential election that one does to a stall in a public restroom.” –Jimmy Kimmel

“At a campaign event today, Donald Trump read Senator Lindsey Graham’s cellphone number aloud on live TV. It’s the craziest thing Trump has done since whatever he did right before that.” –Seth Meyers

“Donald Trump got in some trouble for saying that John McCain is not a war hero, and said, ‘I like people that weren’t captured.’ Not good. In fact, Trump’s people are telling him to lay low for a while until this all combs over.” –Jimmy Fallon

“Rick Perry said Donald Trump is unfit to be president and called for him to immediately withdraw from the race. Then he said, ‘And that’s coming from ME!'” –Jimmy Fallon

“Perry actually said Trump is a toxic mix of demagoguery and nonsense who is unfit to be president. Then Perry took off his glasses and said, ‘Whoa! I think these things are magic!'” –Jimmy Fallon

“Donald Trump’s campaign has raised about $100,000 in donations during the second quarter. Which raises an important question: Who is giving Donald Trump money? That’s like giving your money to a pile of money.” –Jimmy Fallon

“In a recent interview, John McCain addressed Trump’s campaign rally in Arizona and said that he just quote, ‘fired up the crazies.’ Not to be confused with Trump’s show ‘Celebrity Apprentice,’ where he just FIRED the crazies.” –Jimmy Fallon

“MSNBC host Lawrence O’Donnell is saying Donald Trump lied when he said he made $20 million a year off his ‘Apprentice’ series on NBC. NBC also denied Trump’s claim, saying, ‘We don’t have $20 million. We’re NBC.'” –Jimmy Fallon

“Researchers here in New York created a robot that actually passed a self-awareness test. So if you’re keeping score, that’s robots: 1, Donald Trump, 0.” –Jimmy Fallon

“President Obama became the first sitting president to visit a federal prison yesterday. Obama said it was a good chance to talk about prison reform, and to catch up with so many former congressmen.” –Jimmy Fallon

“Over on the Democratic side, Martin O’Malley recently spoke about the need for Wall Street reform and said that he isn’t running for president to be quote, ‘wined and dined’ by executives. Then Chris Christie said, ‘And I am also not running to be wined.'” –Jimmy Fallon

“In a new poll of Democratic voters, presidential candidate Lincoln Chafee came in with zero percent support. Or in other words: We’re all tied with presidential candidate Lincoln Chafee.” –Jimmy Fallon

“In an interview, Hillary Clinton said she likes nearly every flavor of ice cream. When he heard this, Chris Christie said ‘Hey, she stole my speech.'” –Conan O’Brien

10. Texas Denies Birth Certificates to Immigrant Children

Texas health officials are asking a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit by immigrant parents who were denied birth certificates for their U.S.-born children because local authorities refused to recognize as valid certain forms of identification.

Lawyers representing 19 immigrant parents and their 23 children filed suit against the Texas Department of State Health Services after officials refused to issue birth certificates for their U.S.-born children, citing invalid forms of identification. The parents came from Mexico and Central America and living in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley, along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Although the parents are not U.S. citizens, their children are, because the U.S. Constitution’s 14th Amendment guarantees the right of citizenship to anyone born on American soil. Without a birth certificate, it can be difficult for parents to access medical care, travel, school enrollment and other benefits available to U.S. citizens.

11. The Nightly Show: Donald Trump’s Hip Hop Ways—mike-yard

12. Hillary Clinton Outlines ‘Bold’ Climate Change Proposals

Hillary Clinton on Sunday set two “bold national goals” to combat climate change, promising that if she’s elected president, she would set the United States on a path toward producing enough clean renewable energy to power every home in America within a decade. 7/26/15 Read more at

13. The Borowitz Report: In Bid to Take Attention from Trump, Other 15 Hopefuls Release Joint Sex Tape

In what critics are calling a desperate attempt to draw the media’s attention away from Donald Trump, the other fifteen candidates for the Republican nomination have released a joint sex tape.

The tape, including such luminaries as former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, Texas senator Ted Cruz, former Florida governor Jeb Bush, and New Jersey governor Chris Christie, appeared briefly on major news Web sites before an avalanche of viewer revulsion demanded it be taken down.

According to Carol Foyler, a viewer who happened to catch the tape during its brief appearance on the CNN Web site, the video contained images “I may never be able to get out of my mind.”

“I couldn’t believe that these people would participate in such a thing,” she said. “Except maybe Santorum.”
A spokesman for Rick Perry defended the former Texas governor’s appearance on the tape. “It changed the conversation, at least for a minute or two,” the spokesman said.

Possibly as a result of his exclusion from the sex tape, in the aftermath of its release Trump has surged another eleven points in the latest poll.

EARLIER: Presidential candidate Donald Trump revealed a little-known episode of personal heroism from his youth on Saturday, telling an Iowa audience that he narrowly avoided capture in Vietnam by remaining in the United States for the duration of the war.

Trump’s tale of valor appeared to move many members of his audience, some of whom waited in line after his speech to thank him for his lack of service. Read more at

14. Billionaire brothers give Cruz super PAC $15 million

Two low-profile Texas brothers, billionaires Farris and Dan Wilks, have donated $15 million to support Sen. Ted Cruz, a record-setting contribution that amounts to the largest known donation so far in the 2016 presidential campaign. 7/25/15 Read more at

15. New poll finds strong support for Iran nuclear deal

A new Public Policy Polling survey finds that there’s strong support nationally for the Iran deal, that voters want their members of Congress to let it move forward, and that there’s no potential political backlash for members who do support the deal. 7/27/15 Read more at

Note: ALA Jewish Journall survey finds that 48% of Jewish Americans support the Iran nuclear deal negotiated by the Obama administration while 28% oppose it and 25% hadn’t heard enough to form an opinion.

16. The Kochs freeze out Donald Trump

The Koch brothers are freezing out Donald Trump from their influential political operation — denying him access to their state-of-the-art data and refusing to let him speak to their gatherings of grass-roots activists or major donors. 7/29/15 Read more at

17. GOP Media Advisory

Today’s campaign events by Republican candidates for president:

Sen. Rand Paul will cut up a Donald Trump mannequin with a chainsaw, throw the pieces into a woodchipper, and set the pile of Trump dust on fire with a flamethrower.

Sen. Lindsey Graham will follow Rand Paul’s lead by destroying his own Trump mannequin, except he’ll do it with a golf club, meat cleaver and lighter fluid.

Gov. Rick Perry, currently under felony indictment, will continue his six-day soliloquy lamenting that Donald Trump is creating an unfavorable impression of the Republican party.

Sen. Marco Rubio will drink several bottles of water to prove, if nothing else, that he’s more hydrated than Donald Trump.

Gov. Scott Walker will claim that Ronald Reagan’s ghost visited him in a dream and told him that “Donald Trump is not the solution…Donald Trump is the problem.”

Gov. Chris Christie will criticize Donald Trump for being a bully and Carly Fiorina will criticize him for being a poor CEO.

Dr. Ben Carson will release a statement calling Donald Trump worse than slavery.

Gov. Mike Huckabee will compare Donald Trump to the holocaust while serving grits and gravy with Ted Nugent.

Gov. John Kasich will give his stump speeches while swinging from a tire swing because—hint hint—guess what kind of state Donald Trump’s not from. Go ahead…guess!

Gov. George Pataki will mow YOU SUCK into Donald Trump’s lawn.

Gov. Bobby Jindal and Sen. Rick Santorum will toilet-paper Trump Tower after dark.

Sen. Ted Cruz will continue auditioning to be Donald Trump’s running mate.

Gov. Jeb Bush will spend another day waiting for Donald Trump to implode, and spend another night going to bed disappointed.

Donald Trump will spend the day being Donald Trump.

For further information, contact RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, who currently is curled up in the fetal position under his bed. From the Daily Kos at


1. Molly Ball: There’s No Stopping the Trump Show

The media, you may have noticed, is full of Trump—explanations of Trump, denunciations of Trump, justifications of Trump, analyses of Trump, handwringing about the coverage of Trump, and accounts of the latest outrageous thing Trump has done. He is on the front page of every newspaper, the top of every newscast. They can’t believe it; they can’t get their heads around it, that this is happening, and not only is it happening, it is the biggest thing in American politics right now. It has consumed American politics. It—Trump—is bigger than the entire rest of the Republican field, which, by the way, has 15 other people in it—governors, senators, very big, very serious people. Trump is bigger than them all.

Trump is so big they are attacking him just to get themselves noticed. Lindsey Graham, the senator from South Carolina, called Trump a “jackass,” so Trump gave out his cell-phone number on national television, and suddenly Lindsey Graham, languishing at less than 1 percent in the polls, was all anybody was talking about. You’re welcome, Lindsey Graham.

Trump has the Republican Party by the throat. It cannot figure out how to get rid of him. The party elites, those snobs in D.C. who do not respect or understand the people out there in America, are tearing their hair out over the damage Trump is supposedly doing to the party. “He is, I believe, causing some problems,” Randy Blair, the county Republican chairman, a polite, mustached accountant in a gray-tweed suit, tells me as we ride on Trump’s bus.

Yet the party has no power over Trump. He has the money, he has the press, he has the voters. If he does not feel the GOP is treating him fairly, he is considering running as an independent instead. In that case, polls indicate he would take a chunk of votes from the Republican candidate, and Hillary Clinton would win by a large margin.

So the party has to be nice to him; it has to let him on the stage. The 20 percent of the party that loves Trump may be dumb or racist or angry or wrong, but the Republican Party cannot live without them. The GOP is damned if Trump stays and damned if he goes, and no one knows how the show will end.

You can’t stop it. Nobody can.

Trump is just too big.


2. Frank Rich/Alex Carp: The GOP Only Has Itself to Blame for Weaponizing Donald Trump

For all the other much-discussed factors contributing to the Trump boom — the power of celebrity, his “anti-politician” vibe, his freak-show outrageousness, his Don Rickles–style putdowns — it is the substantive issue of immigration that remains the core of his appeal to his fans. That’s why Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter are defending him; it’s why Bill Kristol did until last weekend. And those Republicans who are now demanding that he desist are mostly hypocrites. John McCain himself, after all, enabled and legitimized those Trump partisans he now dismisses as “crazies” by putting Sarah Palin on the ticket in 2008. Other GOP leaders waited too long to disown the conspiracy theories about the president’s birth certificate that Trump would eventually exploit to reboot his political aspirations. Romney ostentatiously courted and received Trump’s endorsement in 2012. Many of the Republican politicians now condemning Trump for attacking McCain’s heroism in Vietnam were silent (or worse) when John Kerry’s Vietnam heroism was Swift Boated in 2004.

The GOP can blame the media all it wants, but the party has no one to blame but itself for weaponizing Trump. It subsidized and encouraged the market for what Trump is now selling. Now the Republicans’ only really hope is that Trump will blow himself up, Herman Cain style. Maybe he will, and he certainly has no chance of getting the nomination no matter what he does. But in the meantime he can keep wreaking havoc. Nine other GOP candidates were onstage at the Ames, Iowa, forum last weekend where he trashed McCain, and no one remembers anything anyone else there said unless it was in response to Trump. The same may well happen at the first national debate on Fox News on August 6, which is likely (because of Trump, and much to his delight) to be the highest rated primary debate in history.

Even over the short term, the Republicans are clueless about how to deal with him; they keep playing into his hands. A classic example was yesterday, when John Kasich, regarded by some Republicans I know as perhaps the most substantive and qualified prospect the party has, announced his presidential candidacy. His announcement was drowned out not just by Trump, with his stunt of revealing Lindsey Graham’s private cell-phone number at a campaign event, but by Graham himself, who took the bait by taking to Twitter and television to joke about it — thereby making certain even a minor Trump stunt would keep depriving the rest of the GOP field of oxygen. Read more at

3. Brenday Gilfillan: The Disturbing Subtext Of The GOP Opposition To The Iran Deal

Diplomacy—specifically, diplomacy with Iran—has always had its adversaries. Ever since the country was declared part of the Axis of Evil, the bottom line for a vocal minority of folks has been that Iran is simply too evil to deal with. And to be sure, these opponents have a solid point; Iran’s behavior at home and abroad is the primary obstacle to its inclusion in the international community. At the end of the day, pretending adversaries don’t exist isn’t how a responsible superpower engages with the world—just as we stared down the Soviet Union at the height of the Cold War, so we chose to do with a belligerent Iranian regime.

Opponents of negotiation—those who have been trying to derail the talks since they began—aren’t acknowledging these incredible victories, but that’s hardly surprising given their peculiar behavior throughout the process. On March 9, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) led 47 other U.S. Senators in sending a letter addressed to the leadership in Iran condescendingly “explaining” America’s constitutional system and promising to undermine any deal struck with the current American administration.

While that might have been the most outrageous stunt, the rhetoric has been equally absurd. Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL) compared chief negotiator Wendy Sherman to Neville Chamberlain in an ill-advised historical analogy. And Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) rushed to CNN yesterday morning to denounce the agreement “as a bad deal, the worst possible outcome”…before admitting he hadn’t read it. Would they have stood in the Senate and decried President Reagan’s arms control agreements and written a letter to Gorbachev?

The volume and the noise isn’t just reflexive partisanship designed to grab the spotlight: it also serves to mask the fact that these Senators have no alternative to this deal. At least, no alternative grounded in reality. 7/15/15 Read more at

4. Ed Kilgore: Trump Card

When I opened my favorite news aggregator this morning, nine of the top ten items were about Donald Trump. That’s right: 90% of the top stories involved the bloviating real estate tycoon and reality TV star.

No, I’m not going to write 90% of my 12 posts today on The Donald, but as someone whose job is at least partially to inform readers of what others are talking about, I can’t ignore him, either.

Still, whereas the big question at the beginning of the week was whether Trump’s suddenly high standing in early horse-race polls of the Republican nomination contest could survive his criticism of John McCain’s war record, now we have to wonder how long he can succeed in blotting out the sky with “controversial remarks” that feed his publicity machine.

Unless fresh polls show his support collapsing, or he suddenly attacks Jesus Christ or U.S. troops in the field, it’s probably inevitable that Trump-o-mania will last at least until the August 6 GOP presidential debate, where the debate within the debate will be about Trump’s interaction with other candidates and his relative ability to overshadow the proceedings. Beyond that, his perpetual trump card—yeah, pun intended—is going to be his ability at any moment to strike terror into the heart of Republicans by hinting at an independent candidacy that could threaten the soft white working class underbelly of the GOP base.

The prospect of a very close, high-stakes major-party race for the presidency means that a Trump indie run could become a serious factor even if he loses much of his current support. We could go through two or three or eight boom and bust cycles of “Trump mania” and “Trump fatigue” without getting rid of him. So get used to it. 7/23/15 Read more at

5. Steve Benen: Jeb Bush pushes to ‘phase out’ Medicare

Republican presidential hopeful Jeb Bush appeared at a New Hampshire event last night sponsored by the Koch brothers’ Americans for Prosperity, and the former governor raised a few eyebrows with his comments on the future of Medicare.

Remember, Jeb Bush is the ostensible moderate candidate in the massive GOP presidential field. It says something important about Republican politics in 2015 when the most mainstream candidate is also the candidate who wants to scrap Medicare altogether.

\The Florida Republican is convinced that “people understand” the need to get rid of Medicare. He’s mistaken. Given the polling from the last several years, what people understand is that Medicare is a popular and successful program, and a pillar of modern American life.

Previous attempts to “phase out” the program have met with widespread public scorn and if Jeb Bush believes he can “persuade people” to get rid of Medicare, he’s likely to be disappointed.

Before “Obamacare” was passed, Medicare was projected to face a serious fiscal shortfall in 2017. As of yesterday, Medicare trustees now believe the system is fiscally secure through 2030.

Medicare’s future is looking brighter, it’s as popular as ever, and its fiscal challenges can be addressed without tearing down the entire system. It’s a matter of political will – either elected policymakers will fight to protect Medicare or they’ll push to eliminate it. 07/23/15 Read more at

6. Michael Arceneaux: Why Donald Trump Isn’t As Fringe As You Think

As silly as Donald Trump’s presidential bid has proven thus far, and as indefensible as some of his recent remarks have been, there is a sanctimonious tone to the criticism leveled at both that would be far less grating if it weren’t so hypocritical.

Trump may rightly be accused of bigotry, but he’s no worse than, say, homophobia’s grand slam champ Rick Santorum, who has compared gay sex to bestiality. And genuine or not, the GOP has never had a problem playing on its core base’s prejudices to win political office. So while RNC Chairman Reince Priebus may have reportedly asked Trump to “tone down” his controversial remarks about immigration—you know, referring to Mexicans as “rapists”—this is the same party that demonizes immigrants regularly. Look at Arizona’s fervent (and eventually unsuccessful) attempts at racial profiling. Look at Iowa GOP congressman Steve King, who has compared immigrants to dogs.

Or look at the wave of “birtherism” that the likes of Trump and many, many Republicans across the country aimed at President Obama for years. There was no widespread condemnation by GOP leaders. Asking Trump to “tone down” his language won’t alter the reality that the GOP is not a friend to immigrants. Or blacks. Or women. Or gays. Or trans men and women. Or the poor.

Tellingly, the only hard line the GOP has taken is in response to Trump’s comments about Senator John McCain. RNC chief strategist and communications director, Sean Spicer, said, “Senator McCain is an American hero because he served his country and sacrificed more than most can imagine. Period. There is no place in our party or our country for comments that disparage those who have served honorably.”

McCain may have taken issue with the swift-boating of then Democratic presidential contender, John Kerry, in 2004, but the national party sure didn’t.

I was initially annoyed with the attention lavished on Trump’s run for the presidency, but now I realize it’s a valuable opportunity to illustrate how Trump is a monster Republicans helped create. He is nothing more than a louder, shameless example of what the GOP has become. Let’s not pretend he’s a Republican outlier; he’s their id. 7/23/15 Read more at

7. Chattanooga Times Free Press: When will the shooting stop?

We have the same conversation about guns and public safety after every mass shooting in this country.

Each time, the conversation also gets hijacked — muddled with incorrect perceptions that anyone talking about gun standards must be talking about taking our guns away. We must get past the red herrings in this and begin to talk long enough to make this distinction: Guns in the woods and fields of our hunting lands are very different from guns in our neighborhoods, in our parks, in our strip centers, theaters, restaurants, bars, offices — even churches. Secondly, we must recognize that standards for legal gun ownership should correlate with the risk an owner or would-be owner presents.

Louisiana’s Gov. Jindal is rated an A+ by the National Rifle Association, and he has opposed every sensible piece of gun control legislation in Louisiana. Last year, he signed two bills to expand gun rights in his state — one allowing people with concealed handgun permits to carry their weapons into restaurants that serve alcohol and another expanding Louisiana’s “stand your ground” law.

Like many of our Republican politicians, Jindal called President Barack Obama’s calls for stricter gun control “completely shameful” after a Dylann Roof killed nine people in Charleston, S.C., in June. But when a naturalized U.S. citizen from Kuwait opened fire here earlier this month, Jindal released a statement saying the incident “certainly looks like an act of terrorism” that “underscores the grave reality of the threat posed to us by radical Islamic terrorism every single day.” Now in his state, with another white right-winger behind the trigger, yet another mass shooting is simply a tragedy that needs prayers again.

When are we going to say enough is enough with guns?

Our country has no common-sense gun laws — and what few we had have been stripped away by lawmakers goaded by the NRA.

It is time to stop this madness. 7/25/15 Read more at

8. Amy Davidson: Broken

On consecutive days last week, two Republican senators, both of whom are hoping to be the next President, released videos in which they destroyed stuff. First, Rand Paul went at a pile of paper, which he said was the United States tax code, with fire, a wood chipper, and a chain saw. (He wore safety goggles—he may be against regulations, but he’s also an ophthalmologist.) The next day saw Lindsey Graham attacking his Samsung flip phone with a cleaver, a blender, and a golf club. He also dropped a concrete block on it, threw it off a roof, and doused it with lighter fluid and ignited it. These videos suggest that Fox News, which is co-hosting the first G.O.P. Presidential debate, in Cleveland, on August 6th, should have in place firm rules regarding props, and that, perhaps, extra fire marshals should be deployed. With sixteen declared candidates, there is already a crowd-control problem; now the campaign threatens to be defined by demolition.

It’s hard enough to be heard in a crowded room without having to compete with a man who ended the week in Laredo, Texas, so that he could inspect the border, professing, “They say it’s a great danger, but I have to do it.” (He added that, once he is elected, “the Hispanics” are “going to love Trump.”) It’s harder still when you’re trying not to offend his supporters. After Trump insulted Mexicans last month, Bush said that he was personally offended, but others were more cautious. Christie commented that although some of Trump’s remarks may be “inappropriate,” he is “a good guy.” Cruz said, “I think he speaks the truth.” But if Trump weren’t around would the other Republicans behave that much more responsibly?

To mount a Presidential campaign these days, you need just two people: a candidate and a wealthy donor. Or, in Trump’s case, just one: he is his own billionaire. And he is the unadorned face of American politics. 8/03/15 Read more at

9. Timothy Egan: Trump Is the Poison His Party Concocted

Trump is a byproduct of all the toxic elements Republicans have thrown into their brew over the last decade or so – from birtherism to race-based hatred of immigrants, from nihilists who shut down government to elected officials who shout “You lie!” at their commander in chief.

It was fine when all this crossing-of-the-line was directed at President Barack Obama or other Democrats. But now that the ugliness is intramural, Trump has forced party leaders to decry something they have not only tolerated, but encouraged.

Using the X-ray vision of his new glasses, Perry has correctly diagnosed the problem, and forecast the outcome. But that toxic mix has been just the tonic for his party for years, including Perry’s suggestion that Texas might have to secede. Obama was barely into his first months in office when Rep. Joe Wilson of South Carolina shouted “You lie!” at him in a joint session of Congress. For hurling that insult, Wilson was widely praised in conservative media circles.

Trump also stoked the humiliating lie about Obama’s citizenship. He began that crusade, he claimed, because so many Republicans still believe it and have encouraged him to keep it alive.

Now, the only way to trump Trump is to act like a fool in public. So Sen. Rand Paul, formerly seen raising good questions about national issues, fired up a chain saw and took it to the tax code a few days ago – a pathetic stunt. And there was Sen. Lindsey Graham, flummoxed by Trump’s exposing him as sycophant to a plutocrat, destroying his cellphone in a blender. It only made us long for the real thing: Dan Aykroyd’s Bass-O-Matic.

All of this overshadowed the entry into the race of Gov. John Kasich of Ohio, a sensible conservative who could beat Hillary Clinton. But he won’t get any traction until Republicans destroy Donald Trump and the vulgar, nativist element in their party that they nurtured – until it became a monster.

8. Jamelle Bouie: Bad Polls

This early in an election cycle, polls don’t tell us anything. They aren’t predictive or especially useful. For example, at roughly this point in 2011, Barack Obama was a goner. With a net negative job approval rating, he was behind in key swing states and losing to a generic Republican in a nationwide matchup. But the election came, and the picture changed: Discontented Democrats returned to his corner, and the race tightened to a virtual tossup. With economic growth on his side, Barack Obama won, with a victory that matched those fundamentals.

With that said, if you’re going to pay attention to polls at this stage of the election, then national ones are more helpful than state-by-state rankings. Simply put, what’s true nationally tends to be true in the states as well. If a candidate holds an overall lead, then odds are good she holds it in swing states as well. By contrast, it’s hard to extrapolate from the other direction—a poll of swing states doesn’t tell us much about the national picture. In other words, whether Clinton is unpopular in three particular swing states is less important than whether she’s unpopular nationwide. As it stands, the most recent national poll—from the Washington Post and ABC News—shows her well-placed versus the other side. 7/27/15 Read more at

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July 16 – DIRECT eZine for Democrats #887

July 16 – DIRECT eZine for Democrats #887


“I have a great relationship with the Mexican people. I have many people working for me – look at the job in Washington – I have many legal immigrants working with me. And many of them come from Mexico. They love me, I love them. And I’ll tell you something, if I get the nomination, I’ll win the Latino vote.” — Donald Trump. 7/08/15

“There’s nothing we can do about it, and that’s what’s so scary.” —A GOP state party chairman about Donald Trump’s candidacy. 7/08/15

“It’s July for God’s sakes! So a national poll is a lousy way, in my view, to determine who should be on the stage. And I quite frankly resent it.” —Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-NC). 7/10/15

“These are the same House Republicans who voted for a party leader who once described himself as ‘David Duke without the baggage.’ These are the same congressional Republicans who have declined to criticize the race-baiting rhetoric of a leading Republican presidential candidate.” — White House press secretary Josh Earnest criticizing House Republicans on Thursday for fumbling passage of an annual spending bill by linking it to a debate over protecting the Confederate flag. 7/09/15

“I’m going to speak out against the uncontrollable use of guns in our country because I believe we can do better.” Hillary Clinton, who is vowing to fight the NRA 7/09/15

“I don’t know. I really don’t know.” — Donald Trump, who is still not convinced President Obama was born in America. 7/09/15

“It’s July for God’s sakes. So a national poll is a lousy way, in my view, to determine who should be on the stage. And I quite frankly resent it.” — Sen. Lindsey Graham. 7/10/15

“I believe that Mr. Trump is kind of telling it like it really, truly is. ” — AZ Gov. Jan Brewer (R) defending Donald Trump’s remarks calling Mexican immigrants “rapists” and killers.” 7/10/15

“Most other candidates would have folded. Some might have doubled down. On Saturday (in Phoenix), Donald Trump tripled down.” — Ben Schreckinger in Politico 7/11/15

“Jeb Bush, let’s say he’s president — Oy, yoy, yoy. How can I be tied with this guy? He’s terrible. Terrible.” —Donald Trump 7/11/15

Iraq was a needed buffer against a hostile Iran and that it was wrong for the United States to have invaded Saddam Hussein’s fiefdom. Instead we should have invaded Mexico.” — Donald Trump 7/11/15

“He has an altar boy’s appearance. But Darth Vader writes his policies.” — Wisconsin state Sen. Bob Jauch (D) on Gov. Scott Walker (R).7/12/15

“Today Hillary Clinton began to offer the kind of comprehensive approach we need to tackle the enormous economic challenges we face.” — Nobel laureate and chief economist at the Roosevelt Institute, Joseph Stiglitz. 7/13/15

1. THE SIMPSONS: Trumptastic Voyage


“The committee has issued several subpoenas, but I have not sought to make them public. I would not make this one public now, but after Secretary Clinton falsely claimed the committee did not subpoena her, I have no choice in order to correct the inaccuracy.” — Benghazi Committee Chair Trey Gowdy who couldn’t wait to get out the news that Clinton said she hadn’t been subpoenaed for the email on her personal server when they’ve got evidence — a subpoena signed by the House clerk — that says otherwise. 7/09/15


The problem for Gowdy is that Clinton clearly wasn’t responding to the question of whether she’d ever been subpoenaed by the Benghazi Committee but whether she’d been subpoenaed before she deleted the emails from her server. A review of the videotape makes it clear that Clinton was speaking specifically to whether she’d erased email to evade a subpoena. — Jonathan Allen in Vox. 7/09/15

The call lasted about 45 minutes, the donors said, and Priebus was cordial, updating Trump on the party and the primary calendar while also urging him to “tone it down” — a phrase used repeatedly by those with knowledge of the exchange. Priebus told Trump that making inroads with Hispanics is one of his central missions as chairman. He told Trump that tone matters greatly and that Trump’s comments are more offensive than he might imagine with that bloc. — Karen Tumulty, Philip Rucker and Robert Costa in the Washington Post 7/08


Totally false reporting on my call with @Reince Priebus. He called me, ten minutes, said I hit a “nerve”, doing well, end! — Donald J. Trump✔@realDonaldTrump 7/09/15

“Workforce participation has to rise from its all-time modern lows. It means that people need to work longer hours and through their productivity gain more income for their families. That’s the only way we are going to get out of this rut that we’re in.” — Jeb Bush to the The New Hampshire Union-Leader editorial board. 7/09/15


“Unfortunately Gov. Bush does not seem to understand what is happening in our economy today. The sad truth is that because the middle class has declined over the last 40 years, while almost all new income and wealth have gone to the people on top, Americans already work the longest hours of any people in the western industrialized world. In fact, 80 percent of working men work longer than 40 hours a week. What we need now is an economy that provides decent wages and income for the middle class, not demands that people work even longer hours than they currently do.” —  Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) responding to Bush’s comments. 7/09/15

“Senator, we had Speaker John Boehner on. He said he came to Congress with you and that he characterized you by saying that there’s not a tax increase that you haven’t liked. What is your response to that? He says you’re out of the mainstream of America.” — John Dickerson, host of CBS’s Face The Nation 7/12/15


“All right. Well, let me respond to that issue by issue. And you determine who is out of the mainstream.

I want to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. A recent “Wall Street Journal” poll said a majority of the American people want to do that. John Boehner is not going to bring up any legislation in the House to raise the minimum wage at all. And many of his members want to do away with the concept of the minimum wage.

I want to see this country expand Social Security benefits, not cut them. John Boehner, his party want to either privatize Social Security or cut Social Security benefits to the elderly and disabled vets. The American people say overwhelmingly we have got to expand Social Security benefits by lifting the cap on taxable incomes.

I want to create millions of jobs by rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure. And I have introduced legislation to do that. Republican Party is very reluctant to spend a nickel to rebuild our infrastructure. — Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders (video) 7/12/15
– Treason. Obama Will Forever Live In Infamy Among America’s Enemies.” — Right-wing author Matthew Vadum

– Deal Is A “Horrendous Capitulation To The Terrorist Regime.” —Right-wing radio host Mark Levin

– Nuclear Deal Marks Obama Administration With “Innocent Blood On Its Hands.” — editor-at-large Ben Shapiro

– Iran Deal Proves We Shouldn’t Have Elected “A Cowardly Anti-American To Be President.” — Media Research Center’s Dan Gainor

– Obama “Wants To Give The Iranians Nuclear Weapons” — Fox News’ Hannity

– “This agreement … is the greatest appeasement since Chamberlain gave Czechoslovakia to Hitler.” —  Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL)


– “I congratulate President Obama, Secretary [John] Kerry and the leaders of other major nations for producing a comprehensive agreement to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.” — Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) 

– “We should applaud President Obama, Secretary Kerry, and Secretary Moniz for getting this done, and proceed with wisdom and strength in enforcing this deal to the fullest and in meeting the broader Iranian challenge.” — Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

3. From MEDIA MATTERS (They watch Fox News so you don’t have to)

Fox & Friends’ Doocy: “Sadly, People Are Murdered All The Time By Illegals”

Fox Guest Blames Obama For Ariana Grande Saying She Hates America

O’Reilly Demands Congress Make A Law To Arrest State And Local Government Officials Who Provide “Sanctuary Cities”

Watch Donald Trump Praise Fox News’ Laudatory Coverage Of His Incendiary Immigration Remarks

Limbaugh: Pope Francis Is A Clown For Criticizing “Unfettered Capitalism”

Daily Caller Wants You To Know Polar Bears Threatened By Climate Change Are Doing Just Fine

Right-Wing Media Seems To Have Convinced Donald Trump That The Undocumented Immigrant Population Tripled

Rush Limbaugh: Rep. John Lewis Is “Living In The Past” For Opposing Confederate Flag

Fox News Reporter Wonders If U.S. Capitol Will Be Banned (Because It Was Built By Slaves) After Confederate Flag Removal In South Carolina

Fox’s Kimberly Guilfoyle: The U.S. Now In The Business of “Importing Criminals Instead Of Exporting Them”

4. Letterman’s Top Ten List targeting Trump

10. That thing on his head was the gopher in “Caddyshack.”

9. During sex, Donald Trump calls out his own name.

8. Donald Trump looks like the guy in the lifeboat with the women and children.

7. He wants to build a wall? How about building a wall around that thing on his head!

6. Trump walked away from a moderately successful television show for a delusional, bull… Oh, no, wait, that’s me.

5. Donald Trump weighs 240 pounds — 250 with cologne.

4. Trump would like all Americans to know that that thing on his head is free-range.

3. (tie) If President, instead of pardoning a turkey on Thanksgiving, he plans to evict a family on Thanksgiving. AND: That’s not a hairdo — it’s a wind advisory.

2. Donald Trump has pissed off so many Mexicans, he’s starring in a new movie entitled, “NO Amigos.”

1. Thanks to Donald Trump, the Republican mascot is also an ass. 7/12/15

5. DemRapidResponse: Retrumplican Party

6. Mark Fiore Cartoon: The selective hearing of gun violence

7. Americans With Guns

Far more Americans have been killed by gun violence in 2013 alone (33,636) than all the Americans killed on U.S. soil by terrorists in the last 14 years (3,025), and that includes 9/11.

Between 2000 and 2010, 335,609 people died from guns in our country; that’s more than the entire population of St. Louis, Missouri. 7/13/15 More at

8. Global Warming: Latest numbers show at least 16 foot sea-level rise locked in

Calculations by The New Scientist say it’s too late to stop a 16-foot rise in sea levels, and without drastic cuts in global greenhouse gas emissions – more drastic than any being discussed ahead of the critical climate meeting in Paris later this year – a rise of over 65 feet will soon be unavoidable. Scientists consulted by the magazine say two melting glaciers in Antarctica are expected to raise sea levels 1.2 meters—4 feet—all on their own. Additional melting from the polar ice caps can bring those numbers even higher. 6/10/15 More at

9. Trump In Phoenix: Mexicans Are Coming To Take Your Jobs And Kill You

The GOP sowed the wind, and Donald Trump is reaping the whirlwind. Much to the horror of the Republican Establishment, Trump has a message that connects with the party’s base, and makes no bones about it. With his in-your-face style, Trump is simply saying what the Republican rank-and-file think. Period, full stop. 7.11.15

10. ‘Key & Peele’: Hillary Clinton’s anger translator Savannah too angry even for Obama and Luther

11. Why the GOP Won’t Renounce Trump

The mathematical delicacy of a Republican victory in 2016 — and its dependence on aging, anxious white voters — make it exceedingly perilous for the Republican Party to treat Mr. Trump as the pariah many of its leaders now wish he would become. 7/09/15 More at

12. The Best Way to Vilify Hillary Clinton? G.O.P. Spends Heavily to Test It

In rooms around the country, an expensive and sophisticated effort is underway to test and refine the most potent lines of attack against Mrs. Clinton, and, ultimately, to persuade Americans that she does not deserve their votes. While the general election is 16 months away, Republican groups are eager to begin building a powerful case against the woman they believe will be the Democratic nominee, and to infuse the public consciousness with those messages.”

The effort to vilify Mrs. Clinton could ultimately cost several hundred million dollars, given the variety and volume of political organizations involved. 7/11/15 More at

13. What the world looks like to Donald Trump, mapped

By Aaron Nemo 7/08/15 More at

14. Live Action Puts Out Another Titillating but Misleading Video About Planned Parenthood

The conservative media is aflutter thinking it has a “gotcha” against Planned Parenthood: a video supposedly exposing the organization for “selling” fetal body parts, which is against the law. The video, created by a group called the Center for Medical Progress but distributed and promoted by Live Action, shows Planned Parenthood’s senior director of medical services Deborah Nucatola at a lunch meeting with people who apparently pretended to be medical research organizers seeking donated fetal tissue.

But of course, Nucatola’s actually dining with conservative operatives running one of the many “stings” that Live Action is built on promoting. (The organization has also attempted to scare people about Planned Parenthood’s acceptance of patients who practice BDSM and to portray sex-selective abortion as common when it is not.) But this isn’t evidence of wrongdoing. It’s another masterful piece of propaganda. 7/14/15 More at

15. Republicans Are Acting Like Democrats. Democrats Are Acting Like Republicans.

“You know the difference in Democrats and Republicans?” Bill Clinton said in a 2003 speech. “In every presidential election, Democrats want to fall in love. Republicans just fall in line.”

But this year, the historical trend has reversed itself. On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton is the only candidate with any endorsements from current governors or U.S. senators and representatives. And she has a boatload of them: 88 representatives, 27 senators and two governors have endorsed Clinton, giving her 243 endorsement points, the highest figure ever at this stage of the race for a Democrat.

Republicans, however, haven’t fallen in line behind anyone. Jeb Bush is the nominal endorsement front-runner, but his 18 endorsement points are the lowest total for any leader at this point in the campaign since Tsongas in 1992. Only two Republican governors and three Republican senators have endorsed any candidate at all. Nate Silver 7/14/15 More at


1. Brent Budowsky: A Bernie Sanders summer

The surge in support for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in 2016 is the latest evidence of a progressive populist wave growing across America that has the potential to create a new political majority in the tradition of Presidents Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt and John Kennedy.

The rise of Sanders and the challenges and opportunities it creates for Hillary Clinton are the great story in presidential politics, while a gaggle of GOP candidates competes to move America backward.

The prospect of this new era of new thinking from a new populism of a new left, following the Gilded Age corruptions of the last financial crash and the revolving door corruptions of Washington, is driving the surprise surge for Sanders and posing the dramatic test for Clinton.

If Clinton can conquer her penchant for calculation and caution, she can ultimately ride the wave, lead the movement and become a transforming president. If she proves to be a polyester populist, the Sanders summer will continue into fall and Clinton, whether she ultimately loses or backs into the presidency, will miss her moment to achieve a mandate for greatness.

The right offers an anger-ridden vision of which Americans should be pushed down or locked out, while the left offers an uplifting vision that every citizen should have an equal share of the American Dream.

This is what fuels the Bernie Sanders summer and creates the opportunity for Hillary Clinton if she chooses to seize it.  07/08/15 More at

2. Dana Milbank: Donald Trump is the monster the GOP created

It has been amusing to watch the brands — the PGA, NBC, Macy’s, NASCAR, Univision, Serta — flee Donald Trump after his xenophobic remarks. Who even knew The Donald had a line of mattresses featuring Cool Action Dual Effects Gel Memory Foam?

But there is one entity that can’t dump Trump, no matter how hard it tries: the GOP. The Republican Party can’t dump Trump because Trump is the Republican Party.

One big Republican donor this week floated to the Associated Press the idea of having candidates boycott debates if the tycoon is onstage. Jeb Bush, Lindsey Graham and other candidates have lined up to say, as Rick Perry put it, that “Donald Trump does not represent the Republican Party.”

But Trump has merely held up a mirror to the GOP. The man, long experience has shown, believes in nothing other than himself. He has, conveniently, selected the precise basket of issues that Republicans want to hear about — or at least a significant proportion of Republican primary voters. He may be saying things more colorfully than others when he talks about Mexico sending rapists across the border, but his views show that, far from being an outlier, he is hitting all the erogenous zones of the GOP electorate.

Anti-immigrant? Against Common Core education standards? For repealing Obamacare? Against same-sex marriage? Antiabortion? Anti-tax? Anti-China? Virulent in questioning President Obama’s legitimacy? Check, check, check, check, check, check, check and check.

Trump may be a monster, but he’s the monster Republicans created. 7/08/15 More at

3. Dan Pfeiffer: Stop the bed-wetting: Hillary Clinton’s doing fine

It’s officially bed-wetting season in the political world when it comes to Hillary Clinton’s campaign. With stories this week in Politico and The New York Times about the newly competitive Democratic primary, the whispers have begun about whether this is 2008 all over again. Back then, Clinton was defeated by Obama, an insurgent, progressive outsider.

But, Hillary Clinton circa 2015 is not Hillary Clinton circa 2008.

Her first campaign was beset by timidity, dissension and constant changes in strategy in reaction to the D.C conventional wisdom du jour. In Obama headquarters, we would shake our heads in bemusement at some of her campaign’s decisions as we realized it was either using an outdated playbook or no playbook at all.

Her campaign this time has been disciplined, cohesive and bold. Sure there are tactical things they could have done differently, but they have a smart strategy and are executing it with a precision that reminds me of the Obama campaign in 2008.

For all the contretemps about emails, speeches and roped-off reporters, elections are about fundamentals and the fundamentals point to a decisive if hard fought victory for Clinton.

A lot can change in the coming months, but at this point in the race, everyone should stop all the bed-wetting. 7/0715

4. Sean Illing: Fox News built a f**ked-up Frankenstein, dumb, angry and divorced from facts. Now Donald Trump will devour them

Fox News –and the conservative media-industrial complex – have created a Frankenstein. His name is Donald Trump, and his political success is now a huge problem for the Republican Party. In so many ways, Trump’s political existence was inevitable. For years, Fox News and the conservative talk radio machine have played to the populist Tea Party id: fomenting fear, demonizing immigrants, and enabling every nativist anxiety imaginable. Now they’re paying the price.

Donald Trump is practically a mirror image of the Fox News psyche. Most of his speeches consist of repackaged stupidities plucked right out of the conservative mediascape. It’s kind of brilliant, really. Trump knows his audience, and he beams back at them every idiotic thing they want to hear. Which, of course, is exactly what Fox News does.

The wonderful irony of all this is that the conservative media have ruined conservative politics, far more than liberals ever did. And the results speak for themselves. It’s true that Fox News has promoted the conservative brand and very likely energized grass-roots conservatism in some sense, but at what cost? The GOP, increasingly, is no longer a national party – it’s confined more and more to the South and to pockets of rural America.

It will be fascinating to watch how Fox News handles Trump, particularly as we move along in the process. It will be a delicate balancing act. The longer Trump hangs around, the more ridiculous the Republicans look. At the same time, Trump is a boon for ratings; the delightful dolts on Fox and Friends can’t get enough of him. Which makes perfect sense. The right-wing media machine – led by Fox News – has created a demand for his insane ramblings. As the chief supplier, Fox News has an interest in covering Trump, in extending his ruse for as long as possible.

Promoting Trump is a disaster for the GOP, though. His bombast, left unchecked, will undermine the Republican primaries and jeopardize their shot at the White House. How Fox News manages Trump’s ascendance will therefore tell you all you need to know (if you didn’t already) about where their loyalties lie.

I suspect we’ll discover what most observers have long known: Fox News cares about conservatism about as much as it cares about the news. 7/08/15 Read more at

5. Paul Krugman: Greece’s Economy Is a Lesson for Republicans in the U.S.

Greece has played an outsized role in U.S. political debate, as a symbol of the terrible things that will supposedly happen — any day now — unless we stop helping the less fortunate and printing money to fight unemployment. And Greece does indeed offer important lessons to the rest of us. But they’re not the lessons you think, and the people most likely to deliver a Greek-style economic disaster here in America are the very people who love to use Greece as a boogeyman.

On one side, just about everyone in the G.O.P. demands that we reduce government spending, especially aid to lower-income families. (They also, of course, want to reduce taxes on the rich — but that wouldn’t do much to boost demand for U.S. products.)

On the other side, leading Republicans like Representative Paul Ryan incessantly attack the Federal Reserve for its efforts to boost the economy, delivering solemn lectures on the evils of “debasing” the dollar — when the main difference between the effects of austerity in Canada and in Greece was precisely that Canada could “debase” its currency, while Greece couldn’t. Oh, and many Republicans hanker for a return to the gold standard, which would effectively put us into a euro-like straitjacket.

The point is that if you really worry that the U.S. might turn into Greece, you should focus your concern on America’s right. Because if the right gets its way on economic policy — slashing spending while blocking any offsetting monetary easing — it will, in effect, bring the policies behind the Greek disaster to America. 7/10/15 More at

6. Mark Leibovich Re-Re-Re-Reintroducing Hillary Clinton

A few minutes before my meeting with Hillary Clinton on the Fourth of July, during my drive to the Mount Washington hotel in Bretton Woods, N.H., where she was staying, I passed a moose near the side of the road. At first I thought it was fake, one of those life-size cutouts that you sometimes see of big land mammals or, on occasion, famous politicians. But the specimen proved to be real and spectacular, antlers and all. I had never seen a moose before. It was thrilling, and I felt compelled to tell Clinton about it within seconds of my arrival. ‘‘Oh, really? Wow,’’ Clinton exclaimed with a big smile as she poured herself a cup of coffee. She might have been humoring me, but still seemed genuinely excited by my sighting and seized on it as a point of connection.

We were meeting in an old conference room of the grand hotel, which is perhaps best known to history as the site of the Bretton Woods Conference, a gathering of delegates from 44 countries to regulate the international financial system after World War II. Clinton and I sat at the same table where the agreement that established the International Monetary Fund was signed in 1944. As a former first lady, senator and secretary of state, Clinton was of course no stranger to such heady sites of statecraft. But what we started talking about was the moose. She had seen a few in her day, she told me. ‘‘I’ve eaten moose, too,’’ she said. ‘‘I’ve had moose stew.’’

Clinton explained that during college she worked one summer in Alaska, washing dishes at a resort. She was 21, and her energy and freedom felt limitless; she took long hikes in the midnight sun. ‘‘The guides told us the most dangerous animals in the park — more than the grizzlies, because the grizzlies will basically ignore you — were the moose,’’ she said. Natives knew to keep their distance. But the moose were all over, impossible to miss. ‘‘Oh, I mean like, between you and me,’’ Clinton said, and I thought for a second she was about to tell me something conspiratorial (‘‘between you and me’’), but in fact she was simply describing how close she had been to a moose, roughly the same distance as we were sitting from each other there at the birthplace of the I.M.F.

Hillary Clinton is private and guarded by nature, and three decades of being inspected like an exotic species has made her even more so. But right now, in the early days of what will be a 19-month campaign for the White House, she is trying to share and expound on her experiences, to project some greater measure of herself, big and small. Moose tales aside, this does not come easily. She has resided at the center of so many scandals, psychodramas and culture wars that it’s hard to even keep track of them all, let alone know what the person within that bubble of attention is actually like.
7/17/15 More at

7. Philip Rucker: Hillary Clinton’s push on gun control marks a shift in presidential politics

In her standard stump speech, Hillary Rodham Clinton talks about fighting income inequality, celebrating court rulings on gay marriage and health care, and, since the Emanuel AME Church massacre, toughening the nation’s gun laws.

That last component marks an important evolution in presidential politics. For at least the past several decades, Democrats seeking national office have often been timid on the issue of guns for fear of alienating firearms owners. In 2008, after Barack Obama took heat for his gaffe about people who “cling to guns or religion,” he rarely mentioned guns again — neither that year nor in his 2012 reelection campaign.

But in a sign that the political environment on guns has shifted in the wake of recent mass shootings — and of Clinton’s determination to stake out liberal ground in her primary race against insurgent Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) — Clinton is not only initiating a debate about gun control but also vowing to fight the National Rifle Association.

“I’m going to speak out against the uncontrollable use of guns in our country because I believe we can do better,” Clinton said Tuesday in Iowa City.

In recent months, Clinton’s speechwriters and policy staff have sought counsel from Bloomberg’s group, Everytown for Gun Safety. Erika Soto Lamb, ­ Everytown’s spokeswoman, said Clinton’s focus on the issue is “striking.”

“Knowing how hard we tried in 2012 to get [Republican nominee Mitt] Romney or Obama to say something about guns,” she said, “it is a changed world now when Hillary and other candidates are making it a part of their stump. This is the first presidential election when we’ve seen proactive statements.” 7/09/15 More at

8. Mark Binelli: Weekend With Bernie

In many ways, the most boring question about Sanders’ candidacy is the horse-race question. What are his odds of defeating an extraordinarily smart and driven opponent with 100 percent name recognition, more White House experience than arguably anyone who has ever run for the office and access to obscene amounts of money (Clinton’s campaign has vowed to raise $2 billion) — plus, of course, the thrilling possibility of offering voters the chance to make history once again and elect the first female president? I’d say pretty slim!

Sanders, though, believes these odds only hold true if the existing electoral reality remains unchanged — which is to say, extremely low voter turnout, a focus on personality rather than issues, and the rank corruption of outside campaign spending. So the far more interesting question becomes: Does Sanders have a shot at changing what have come to be accepted as the fundamentals of modern presidential campaigning? If you are willing to risk sounding naive or unsophisticated and entertain the notion, as Sanders does, that it’s possible to upend the system entirely if you mobilize enough grassroots support, well, then, who knows? Seven years ago, Barack Obama broke all previous records when it came to small-donor fundraising and African-American voter turnout. Sanders looks to the way activism by fast-food workers agitating for a $15 minimum wage, a demand taken seriously by very few members of the elite early on, has entirely changed the national debate on what a living wage should be (and has actually become law in major cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle).

To that end, Sanders, as much as possible, wants to disassociate his own ego from this most egocentric of public exercises and exploit the platform given presidential candidates in order to tantalize voters with a heretofore unoffered possibility of true radical change. “The evolution of American politics has resulted in a major, multibillion-dollar effort to tell the American people the government can’t do anything for you, and you should pin all of your hope and faith on corporate America and Wall Street,” Sanders tells me. “I often say, ‘You should think about why the Koch brothers are going to spend a billion dollars in this campaign. If they think politics is pretty important, maybe you should as well.’ ” 7/09/15 More at

9. Paul Waldman: The next GOP president won’t walk away from the Iran deal. Here’s why.

For now, there are two questions that every Republican who opposes this deal must be asked: First, what’s your alternative? And second, can you explain exactly how your alternative would prevent Iran from pursuing a nuclear weapon? Policy choices don’t exist in a vacuum. Whenever we say that one course of action is problematic, we’re saying that another course would be better. As far as I can tell (though it isn’t easy to figure out since they’re so vague on this question), the Republican position is that we should have walked away from these negotiations and just…wait. Then after some undetermined period, Iran would come crawling back and give us everything we could ever want, without the need for any negotiations at all.

No one in his or her right mind actually believes that would happen, of course. And if conservatives are right that Iran is hell-bent on getting a nuclear weapon, if the entire deal actually fell apart, there would be no reason for them not to ramp up their nuclear program with all deliberate speed. At which point, Republicans would say we have no choice but to launch military action. So the people who brought you the Iraq War would be sending us into another war in the Middle East, which would no doubt turn out just as splendidly.

All of this isn’t to say that every provision of this deal is exactly what we would have wanted. But that’s the nature of negotiation — you seldom get everything you want, but if it goes well, what you do get is better than the alternative. At the moment Republicans can’t articulate their own alternative, because it sure seems like that alternative is another war. But if they’re fortunate enough to win the White House next year, they’re likely to find that walking away from this deal is a lot less attractive than it seemed when they were trying to win over Republican primary voters. 7/14/15 More at

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This site contain copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of political, human rights, economic, democracy, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. “Go to Original” links are provided as a convenience to allow for verification of authenticity. However, as originating pages are often updated by their originating host sites, the versions posted may not match the versions our readers view when clicking the “Go to Original” links. 

Forty Years of Pride and Activism by the San Diego Democrats for Equality

Forty Years of Pride and Activism by the San Diego Democrats for Equality


It’s hard now to imagine the origins of San Diego Pride in 1974, when a handful of activists held a potluck and garage sale, then walked to Balboa Park from the social center that had opened in a house at 2250 B Street. They marched on the sidewalks because they had no permit.

Today Pride is the largest public event in San Diego, with hundreds of thousands of participants from across the country enjoying a block party, rally, parade, festival, and the spirit of a community that has won incredible and hard-fought advances over the past four decades.

About 400 people marched in the first real Pride Parade in 1975, the year the San Diego Democratic Club (now known as San Diego Democrats for Equality) was founded. Much like Pride itself, San Diego Democrats for Equality has grown from a few members on a mission to a political force for justice and equality. They have been in the forefront of every battle, every step of the way.

Beginning with the election of Christine Kehoe, the first LGBT member of the San Diego City Council, they have seen their members rise to the highest echelons of power in California with the election of Toni Atkins as Speaker of the Assembly. San Diego City Councilmember Todd Gloria has been a transformational leader. Dave Roberts was the first openly LGBT person elected to the County Board of Supervisors. Former club president Jess Durfee was my predecessor as Chair of the San Diego County Democratic Party and is now an elected member of the Democratic National Committee. These and other LGBT officials have raised awareness and shaped policy at all levels of government; now club members Chris Ward and Georgette Gomez are running for San Diego City Council in 2016.

On a rainy winter night in 2004, I sat in my car with a young gay man after the meeting of a local Democratic club. At that point, with anti-gay-marriage initiatives looming all over the country, he asked me what I thought of the chances of same-sex marriage becoming legal. I predicted that it would take a long time. We talked about the need to keep fighting even in the face of formidable opposition.

Thanks to thousands of personal conversations, and the tireless advocacy of organizations like the San Diego Democrats for Equality and their allies, full equality for members of the LGBT community has since become a cause embraced by a majority of Americans. Those conversations — some personal, some public — have taken place in homes, schools, workplaces, churches, city halls, statehouses, the Pentagon, the White House, and the U.S. Supreme Court.

It has been a long, tough march. There are still important battles to fight, like workplace discrimination and other forms of injustice the guise of “religious freedom.” But the shift in the consciousness of Americans has been remarkably swift. From the first defiant stand at the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village in 1969 to the Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage just last month, members of the LGBT community have stepped out of the closet and into the sunlight at every level. Our whole society is immensely better as a result.

This year the San Diego Democrats for Equality are marking their 40th anniversary and 40th appearance in the Pride Parade with a large contingent that includes elected officials, candidates, Democratic clubs, friends, and supporters. They are also celebrating the Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality and the recent announcement that the Pentagon is taking steps toward enabling transgender members to serve openly. You are invited to join the club in the parade this Saturday, July 18. They’ll be staging on Normal Street near University Ave. at 9:00 a.m. Please park and take a shuttle from the Old Naval Hospital Parking lot at Park Blvd. and Presidents Way (entrance to Balboa Park). The parade begins at 11:00 a.m. and is just over a mile long. Make sure to wear some sunscreen, and a smile.

We salute the courage and determination of our LGBT brothers and sisters and wish you all a very happy Pride!








Francine Busby
Chair, San Diego County Democratic Party


July 9 – DIRECT eZine for Democrats #886

July 9 – DIRECT eZine for Democrats #886


“For Democrats, Donald Trump amounts to a kind of divine intervention. With the Republican Party on an urgent mission to woo Latino voters, one of its leading presidential candidates has been enmeshed for two weeks in a nasty feud over his inflammatory comments about Mexican immigrants.” — Philip Rucker in the Washington Post. 7/01/15

“Thank you so much for your support for the GLT community. This is the first time in my 24.5 year career that I have seen this type of support. I appreciate all the hard work you have done in the short time as Secretary of State. You have given so much hope to so many. I am so proud of you and your work. May God continue to bless you.”–A letter from a State Department employee to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who was dedicated to expanding gay rights both domestically and abroad from the beginning of her term.

“You still love him. He’s still a member of your family. Right? But you’ve got to correct him. You don’t want to put him in charge of stuff.” — Barack Obama likening Governor Scott Walker and the “bus full” of Republican candidates to an “Uncle Harry” at Thanksgiving dinner who says something that makes no sense. 7/02/15

“Just like the simple question asked of Jeb on Iraq — where it took him five days and multiple answers to get right — he doesn’t understand anything about the border or border security. In fact, Jeb believes illegal immigrants who break our laws when they cross our border come ‘out of love.’” — Donald Trump on Jeb Bush’s immigration stance. 7/06/15

“I salute Donald Trump for focusing on the need to address illegal immigration. The Washington cartel doesn’t want to address that. The Washington cartel doesn’t believe we need to secure the borders. The Washington cartel supports amnesty and I think amnesty’s wrong, and I salute Donald Trump for focusing on it.” —Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) aligning himself with Donald Trump. 7/05/15

“And that’s why what Rand Paul has done to make this country weaker and more vulnerable is a terrible thing, and for him to raise money off of it is disgraceful. It’s disgraceful.” — Gov. Chris Christie criticizing Sen Paul’s role in forcing the expiration of the Patriot Act. 7/06/15

“I’ve been in law enforcement 55 years. I think I know a fraudulent, fake document. I’m not a computer expert. I rely on my people. But I’m pretty well convinced it’s a fake document.” — Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio agreeing with Donald Trump that President Obama’s birth certificate is forged. 7/05/15

“If you look at politics as a baseball game or a football game, then I’m supposed to be telling the people that my opponents are the worst people in the world and I’m great. That’s crap; I don’t believe that for a second…. I don’t need to spend my life attacking Hillary Clinton or anybody else. I want to talk about my ideas on the issues.” — Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) 7/06/15

“Look closely at this Hillary photo; isn’t that a Confederate flag behind her on the bookshelf?” — Conservative author and convicted felon Dinesh D’Souza circulating an image of Hillary Clinton with a photoshopped Confederate flag in the background. 7/07/15

1. Democrats Regain Edge in Party Affiliation

In the second quarter of 2015, Democrats regained an advantage over Republicans in terms of Americans’ party affiliation. A total of 46% of Americans identified as Democrats (30%) or said they are independents who lean toward the Democratic Party (16%), while 41% identified as Republicans (25%) or leaned Republican (16%). The two parties were generally even during the previous three quarters, including the fourth quarter of 2014, when the midterm elections took place. 702/15 Read more at


“Back in April, Gov. Paul LePage stood up at a monthly breakfast forum and told the crowd that seniors had demanded he stop the minimum wage from going up.” — Bangor Daily News 702/15


“Two months later, on June 26, his office sent reporter Amy Browne the results of her Freedom of Access Act request: two emails. Neither email cited the specific and personal sort of concerns that LePage raised in his talk.” — Bangor Daily News 702/15

3. From MEDIA MATTERS (They watch Fox News so you don’t have to)

Fox’s Eric Bolling: People Calling For Boycotts Of Trump Products Are “Economic Terrorists”

Ann Coulter Claims Credit For Donald Trump’s Anti-Immigrant Bomb Throwing

Limbaugh Defends Trump: Liberals Believe In “Cockamamie Crap” Like Sexual Assault Epidemic, Then Get Upset When You Ask “Who’s Doing The Raping”

Fox News Contributor Instructs GOP Presidential Candidates To Follow Trump’s Lead On Immigration

Fox’s Eric Bolling: People Calling For Boycotts Of Trump Products Are “Economic Terrorists”

Megyn Kelly Uses Ann Coulter’s Book To Defend Donald Trump’s Comments About Immigrants

The Fox News Primary For June: Donald Trump Takes Over

Megyn Kelly Uses Ann Coulter’s Book To Defend Donald Trump’s Comments About Immigrants

Allen West On Controversy Over Donald Trump: What About Benghazi?

Megyn Kelly: Jeb Bush Can’t Be “Hostile” Towards Immigrants Because He Is “Married To A Woman … From Mexico”

4. Hoping For A Republican President In 2017 Republicans Block Dozens Of Obama Judge Picks

The GOP-controlled Senate is on track this year to confirm the fewest judges since 1969, a dramatic escalation of the long-running partisan feud over the ideological makeup of federal courts.

Republicans appear willing to absorb criticism that they’re interfering with the prerogative of a president to pick his nominees in the hopes that the GOP can get its own judges installed in 2017, with one of their own in the White House. In the meantime, federal courts could be left with dozens of unfilled vacancies. More than two dozen federal courts have declared “judicial emergencies” because of excessive caseloads caused by vacancies. 7/06/15 Read more at

5. Who makes the debate stage — and who doesn’t?

With the first GOP presidential debate now less than a month from now and with the first debate is restricted to the top 10, one of author crunched the numbers from the last five national polls (two from Fox, one CNN, one NBC/WSJ, and one from Monmouth) with the following results:

1. Jeb Bush – 15.4 %
2. Scott Walker – 10.8%
3. Ben Carson – 10%
4. Marco Rubio – 8.8%
5. Rand Paul – 7.6%
6. Mike Huckabee – 7.4%
7. Donald Trump – 6%
8. Ted Cruz – 4.8%
9. Rick Perry – 3.8%
10. Chris Christie – 3.6%

11. Rick Santorum – 2.2%
12. Carly Fiorina – 2%
13. John Kasich – 1.6%
14. Lindsey Graham – 1.4%
15. Bobby Jindal – 1.2%

More at

6. The Nightly Show: The Unblackening Trump Dump–the-unblackening—trump-dump

7. A reality check on the Hillary-vs.-Sanders horserace

Hillary is still ahead in Iowa by at least 19 points, a much wider margin than exists in the GOP race.

Sanders’ surge is being fueled by progressive whites — the same folks who supported Bill Bradley in 2000 and Howard Dean in 2004. In fact, what Sanders has done is consolidate the 30% who were there for Elizabeth Warren. (What should concern Clinton Land is if he starts creeping up into the 40s).

And as the political scientists put it, the party (though its elected officials) ultimately decide the nomination. And so far, two-thirds of sitting Democratic senators have endorsed Hillary. That, to political scientists, matters more than the polls or crowd sizes.

Sanders has consolidated the progressive wing of the party, and that is impressive. The question is: Can he grow it? And remember, a recent Gallup poll showed that a presidential candidate being labeled a socialist was the worst attribute — lower than being a Muslim or an atheist. And for Sanders to TRULY take off, he needs to prove to Democratic elites that a socialist like him could win a general election.

8. Hillary Shreds The Republicans’ Benghazi Hoax With Devastating Ad

In this video, Hillary Clinton’s campaign strikes back against the Republican muckraking campaign that has been fruitlessly attempting to frame her for the 2012 terrorist attacks at the American Embassy in Benghazi, Libya, by militants affiliated with Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). The FOX News echo chamber and congressional Republicans have seized on the Benghazi issue as a way to smear Clinton’s credentials and undermine her foreign policy experience.

It’s an atrocious politicization of a national tragedy, and the Clinton campaign has had enough. This video slams back at the House Benghazi Committee for spending $8,000 taxpayer dollars a day to orchestrate a political witch-hunt, even after 7 prior congressional investigations, 32 hearings, and 2,780 questions. Clips of FOX News are arranged to paint a disturbing picture of the way that the “controversy” has been carefully constructed for political gain. 7/02/15 Read more at Watch the ad at

9. Daily Show: Jon Stewart Thanks Donald Trump

10. Two Reasons Not to Dismiss Donald Trump

Mr. Trump is important for two reasons: first for the damage he can do to the Republican Party, and second for the useful lesson he can teach that same party. The potential damage comes largely in the harm he can do—indeed, already may have done—to Republicans’ crucial mission of building better bridges to Hispanics. The lesson comes by way of illustrating the depths of populist anger running through sectors of the GOP right now. 7/06/15 Read more at

1. Jonathan Chait: Why Are Conservatives Defending Donald Trump?

It is not politically significant that Donald Trump would claim to be running for president, that he would say something flamboyantly ignorant, or that he would “surge” to “second place” in polls by using his name recognition to get into double digits in a splintered field. What is significant and genuinely disturbing, not to mention poisonous to the Republican Party’s electoral interests, is the fact that conservative thought leaders feel compelled to defend Trump’s nativist ramblings. And not just bottom-feeding outlets like the Daily Caller and Breitbart, either. National Review editor Rich Lowry writes in Politico that Trump “has a point.”

In his announcement speech, Trump began by denouncing Mexico as an economic competitor, then shifted from protectionism to nativism by portraying Mexican immigrants as criminals:

This demagoguery would be merely comic if it were not being defended by respectable figures like Lowry. The National Review editor hardly offers a full-scale defense, but instead cleverly insists we must acknowledge the nuggets of wisdom in Trump’s ravings.

If conservatives feel frustrated that they can’t question immigration levels without being tarred as racist, that is understandable. But when they’re defending the likes of actual racists like Trump, they have only themselves to blame. 7/01/15 Read more at

2. Dana Milbank: In his presidential homestretch, Obama regains the momentum

“This,” President Obama said in the Rose Garden on Wednesday as he announced the restoration of diplomatic relations with Cuba, “is what change looks like.”

This echo of his 2008 campaign theme was self-congratulatory but deserved, coming at a time of unexpected hope late in his presidency. In the space of just over a week, Obama’s tired tenure came back to life. He bested congressional Democrats and got trade legislation on his desk. The Supreme Court upheld the signature achievement of his presidency — Obamacare — and thereby cemented his legacy.

The high court also made same-sex marriage legal across the land following a tidal change in public opinion that Obama’s own conversion accelerated. Had the court’s decisions not dominated the nation’s attention, Obama’s eulogy Friday for those slain in a South Carolina church, and his extraordinary rendition of “Amazing Grace,” would have itself been one of the most powerful moments of his presidency.

It is little surprise, then, that this lame duck’s job approval rating hit a respectable 50 percent this week for the first time in two years in a CNN poll, and his disapproval rating dropped to 47.

“The progress that we mark today is yet another demonstration that we don’t have to Momentum is everything in politics — and for the moment, Obama has it again. 7/01/15 Read more at

3. Matt Bai: Christie can’t win New Jersey. Does that matter?

Here’s the bad news for Chris Christie: He embarks on a presidential campaign with hardly any support among primary voters. He might not even make it onstage for the first debate, because unlike four years ago, when conservative donors were begging Christie to offer himself up as not Mitt Romney, there are at least 15 other Republicans vying for position.

But here’s the good news for Christie, if you want to be glass-half-full about it: At least he’s not running for reelection as governor. Because with a 30 percent approval rating in New Jersey, Christie is now less popular in his home state than his predecessor, Jon Corzine, whom he beat pretty much by just showing up and having a pulse. If Christie takes a liking to bucolic New Hampshire, he might consider moving there.

When you’ve made yourself a divisive figure at home in hopes of uniting Republicans hundreds or thousands of miles away, it’s hard to be taken seriously as the kind of governor who can win a general election, like Clinton or Bush.

Christie likes to say that his mother taught him a valuable lesson — that it’s better to be respected than loved, because love without respect never lasts anyway. Right about now, I’m guessing he’d take either one. 7/02/15 Read more at

4. Philip Rucker: As Donald Trump surges in polls, Democrats cheer

For Democrats, Donald Trump amounts to a kind of divine intervention.

With the Republican Party on an urgent mission to woo Latino voters, one of its leading presidential candidates has been enmeshed for two weeks in a nasty feud over his inflammatory comments about Mexican immigrants.

“They’re bringing drugs,” Trump said in his campaign announcement speech. “They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.”

The comments — and many more since — have prompted an uproar among Latino groups and acrimonious breakups between Trump and various corporate partners. His outlandish rhetoric and skill at occupying the national spotlight are also proving to be dangerously toxic for the GOP brand, which remains in the rehabilitation stage after losing the 2012 presidential race.

Hillary Rodham Clinton and other Democrats, meanwhile, are eager to make Trump the face of the Republican Party, which is momentarily leaderless with a disparate presidential field and no clear front-runner.

“I am a person of faith — and the Donald’s entry into this race can only be attributed to the fact that the good Lord is a Democrat with a sense of humor,” exulted Paul Begala, veteran Democratic strategist and adviser to Priorities USA Action, a super PAC boosting Clinton’s candidacy. 7/01/15 Read more at

5. America Ferrera: Thank You, Donald Trump!

Dear Donald,

I heard what you said about the kind of people you think Latino immigrants are — people with problems, who bring drugs, crime and rape to America. While your comments are incredibly ignorant and racist, I don’t want to spend my time chastising you. I’ll leave that to your business partners like Univision and NBC, who have the power to scold you where it hurts. Instead, I’m writing to say thank you!

You have made your thoughts on the Latino community clear and you continue to stand by them. And in return, we will do more than tweet about our indignation and beat piñatas of your likeness. We will silence you at the polls. We will vote and use our growing position in U.S. politics. Our fellow Americans who understand and value our contributions will join us. We know there is nothing that scares you more.

The truth is, Mr. Trump, that your comments mean that you fail to see that immigrants are what have made this nation. They are at the core of our ideals, and they are the foundation that keeps us afloat. No, Mr. Trump, you may not reduce us to drug dealers and rapists. We are moms and dads, sons and daughters. We are valedictorians and honor students. We are college graduates, bankers, police officers, entertainers, teachers, journalists, politicians and we are the future of America.

Thank you for helping us in our work to energize the Latino vote and to usher in our shared future! Keep it up!



7/02/2015

6. Ben Schreckinger and Jonathan Topaz: The socialist surge

Democratic primaries have always featured liberal insurgent candidates, but perhaps none quite so liberal or insurgent as the socialist senator from Vermont. Sanders’ comments are a reminder of just how far the second-place Democratic presidential candidate stands from the American mainstream on some issues, and the looming reckoning Democrats face with their party’s leftward drift.

Never mind whether Sanders can crack 40 percent in any primary against Hillary Clinton — he has already established himself as her de facto challenger and a standard-bearer of a party that was, until this year, too far to the right for his liking.

“When I hear Bernie talk I’m almost inclined to accuse him of plagiarizing me,” said Ralph Nader, the left-wing gadfly whose third-party bid many Democrats still blame for swinging the 2000 election to George W. Bush.

Nader’s kinship with Sanders is yet another sign that the Democratic Party’s goal posts have moved left. The percentage of Democrats who identify as socially and economically liberal has increased 17 points since 2001, according to a recent Gallup poll. And the party’s restive liberal base — led in recent years by progressive icon Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren — has pushed the party establishment on social issues like same-sex marriage and populist economic ones like equal pay and paid sick leave. 7/06/15 Read more at:

7. Jamelle Bouie: The GOP Base Loves Trump

Just because Trump is an unqualified vanity candidate doesn’t mean he’s unimportant in the story of the 2016 GOP presidential primary. Unlike Chris Christie or Mike Huckabee—two vastly more legitimate candidates—Trump is popular with Republican voters. A new CNN national poll puts him in second place in the GOP field at 12 percent support—seven points behind the leader, Jeb Bush—while recent polls from Iowa and New Hampshire also show him with a second place spot in those crucial early contests. If Trump holds his position, he’ll be on stage with Bush, Scott Walker, and Marco Rubio when official debates start in August (he could even lose some support and still make the cut).

The obvious question is “Why?”—why does Trump have a hold on this thick slice of the members of the Republican base? The answer is, unlike the professional politicians in the race, Trump is—from his views on immigration to the “issue” of Obama’s citizenship—one of them.

Trump doesn’t just represent the Republican base on immigration. He is the Republican base on immigration. His anxieties are their anxieties. And his rhetoric—a revanchist stew of foreign policy belligerence, small government ideology, anti-elite agitation, and raw bigotry—reflects and appeals to a meaningful part of the Republican electorate.

The good news is that this meaningful part is still a small minority of the Republican Party. The right-wing of American populism might be ugly and angry, but it’s not powerful. The bad news, on the other hand, is that you don’t have to be a majority to be influential. You just have to grab the right influence at the right time. Trump is a distraction, but don’t be surprised if a more credible candidate—like Walker, who can cloak his hard-right politics in suburban blandness—tries to bring Trump’s voters to his side. Alone, these voters won’t bring victory. But in a close fight, they could offer the winning points. 7/01/15 Read more at

8. Juan Williams: A rising tide for Dems on green issues

If you think the most politically powerful decision out of the Supreme Court in recent weeks was on gay marriage or ObamaCare, think again.

It was the 5-4 win for conservatives when the court rejected Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rules limiting pollution from power plants.

An intense fight over the environment is now certain to be a dominant feature of the 2016 presidential race. The fight will be fueled by President Obama’s willingness in his last months in office – during the campaign – to defy the court and risk new EPA restrictions on emission of greenhouse gases to stop global warming.

That’s a winning position in a GOP primary. But with the Pope against you and nearly half the voters saying global warming is a “serious issue,” it is a suicidal stand for a general election candidate.

Good luck with that, GOP. 07/06/15


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California Should be a “No ALEC Zone”

California Should be a “No ALEC Zone”


Sometimes we just need a little sunshine. That shouldn’t be too much to ask here in Southern California. Unfortunately, a dark cloud is headed our way in the form of a shadowy lobbying organization that buys loyalty from state legislatures with untraceable corporate dollars and threatens the very fabric of our democracy.

Exaggeration? Not even a little. Concerned yet? You should be.

The American Legislative Exchange Council, the people who brought us Citizens United, is a “bill mill” funded by corporations and billionaires. It creates “model legislation” by and for industries, which right-wing legislators then take back to their statehouses and enact into law. (Sometimes they even forget to remove the ALEC watermark from the proposed bill or change the name of the state.)

Here’s how it works: ALEC positions itself a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization without the usual financial or ethical accountability required by lobbying groups. There is no reporting of gifts. There is no Freedom of Information Act. Corporate members with big-time lobbyists subsidize lavish conferences where they wine and dine lawmakers. The all-expenses-paid trips for legislators and their families include “educational” material in the form of pre-written, fill-in-the-blank templates given to the legislators, who return to their home states and sponsor the corporate legislation.

The public is not allowed in these events. Reporters have been threatened by law enforcement for trying to get in. No disclosures are made. It’s a clear form of corruption that happens to be perfectly legal.

This insidious scheme allows legislation, created by and for industries, to be presented in multiple states simultanously by politicians who peddle think-tank-tested messaging with little scrutiny from unwitting voters. It turns our system against the interests of the very voters that representative democracy was meant to serve.

And it has worked — for them — for 42 years.

Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law, authored by ALEC, has been passed in 30 states. Arizona’s “Papers Please” anti-immigration law spawned similar policies in four other states and bills in 17. Voter ID bills became law in six states, making voting more difficult for students, minorities, the elderly, and the poor. “Right to Work” (read: “Right to Not Have Rights at Work”) was originally an ALEC proposal.

ALEC members are working to privatize education and prisons, block Medicaid expansion, disenfranchise voters, squash renewable energy, reduce workplace flexibility for women and families, and create more corporate loopholes. All policies are aimed at hurting the middle class and strengthening corporations while weakening government.

ALEC effectively undermines our Democratic process. Outside money is used to surreptitiously overwhelm local candidates and laws in favor of candidates who have to no accountability to local voters. What’s worse — they aren’t stopping at the state level.

It’s said that “all politics is local.” ALEC has birthed a new program called the American City County Exchange, or ACCE. Based on the same model that has pushed conservative and corporate policies on the state level since 1973, ACCE focuses on municipal and county representatives. The aim is to prevent cities and counties from creating policy that goes above and beyond the mandatory minimum set by the state, chipping away at state regulations one jurisdiction at a time.

Let’s think about this. There are about 7,000 state legislators in the United States, which in itself makes ALEC dangerous. But there are nearly 30,000 city and county representatives across the country. That makes ACCE particularly threatening on the most basic level of democracy. For example, Kentucky is not a “Right to Work” state, but there are 12 counties in the state that have adopted “Right to Work” policies.

Bill Moyers, in his exposé “The United States of ALEC,” methodically shows “how corporations and state legislators are colluding to write laws and remake America, one statehouse at a time.”  In Moyers’ “Eye on ALEC,” you can “learn more about the most influential corporate-funded political force you’ve likely never heard of.”

ALEC is active right here in California and San Diego County. AT&T, an ALEC member, is also the single largest source of lobbying money in Sacramento. San Diego’s State Senator Joel Anderson was named the “2011 ALEC State Legislator of the Year.” Mirroring the ALEC strategies, special interests were able to defeat the Barrio Logan Community Plan and send the Minimum Wage and Earned Sick Leave ordinance to the ballot in a low-turnout primary election.

This year’s national ALEC and ACCE conference will take place here, on July 22, when legislators, local representatives, and big corporate lobbyists from all over the country will be converging on the Manchester Grand Hyatt in Downtown San Diego.

ALEC’s strength comes from operating in the shadows. Secret meetings and dark money keep voters from holding members accountable. Their weakness is exposure. Well, they’re about to come to the wrong place.

Join us! We will be there in force, along with our allies representing good government, labor, the environment, women, small business, and social justice. We will show them that they can no longer operate in darkness — and that they are not welcome in California. We will hold ALEC members accountable. We will bring the sunshine. Click here for details and to sign up

July 2 – DIRECT eZine for Democrats #885

July 2 – DIRECT eZine for Democrats #885


“I’m comfortable in my life. There is one thing I miss, looking in the eyes of the people who serve this country and saluting them.” — George W. Bush, adding he also misses the showers on Air Force One and the personal pastry chef. 6/24/15

“I do great with Latino voters. I employ so many Latinos. I have so many people working for me. I’m a job creator. I create jobs. I’m a master job creator. No politician knows how to create jobs. They’re all talk, they’re no action. They don’t know what they’re doing. And you know, the Latinos love Trump and I love them.” —Donald Trump, while giving reporters a tour of his golf course. 6/23/15

“I’m appalled by –– though, I really like to like Nikki Haley since she is a Republican. On the other hand, she is an immigrant and does not understand America’s history,” —Ann Coulter about South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) who called for the removal of the Confederate flag from the state capitol grounds. Haley was born in Bamberg, S.C. 6/24/15

Anyone who knows the first thing about military history, knows that there is no greater army that ever took the field than the Confederate Army.” —Ann Coulter 6/23/15

“I can’t believe Bush is in first place. This guy can’t negotiate his way out of a paper bag. So I’m in second place to Bush. I hate it.” — Donald Trump, who is in second place among Republican candidates in New Hampshire. 6/24/15

“For all the misinformation campaigns, all the doomsday predictions, all the talk of death panels and job destruction, for all the repeal attempts, this law is now helping tens of millions of Americans.” — President Obama, on the Supreme Court’s vindication of the Affordable Care Act.

Today the Supreme Court fulfilled the words engraved upon its building: ‘Equal justice under law.’ Far too long our justice system has marginalized the gay community and I am very glad the Court has finally caught up.” — Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) 

The march of progress is often slow, but it is always steady. On Friday, the United States took another step toward the ideal of equality envisioned by its founders. And we are all more free as a result.” — PennLive Editorial 6/26/15

“This morning, love triumphed in the highest court in our land. Equality triumphed. America triumphed.” — Hillary Clinton 6/26/15

Video of Bree Newsome taking down the Confederate Battle Flag at the South Carolina State Capitol.

“Dylann Roof is a product of the left wing. He’s a product of their education system. As much as they wanna blame it on the right, as far as I’m concerned — you can look at everything he’s done and it absolutely adds up to leftism.” — Fox News guest Kevin Jackson 6/28/15

“Yeah, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is running for president. No, I don’t know why either.” — Hunter in the Daily Kos 6/30/15

“When you add the ACA to the reforms in the stimulus package, Dodd-Frank, and his various climate initiatives. I don’t think there is any doubt: On domestic issues Obama is the most consequential and successful Democratic president since LBJ. It isn’t close.” — University of California Professor Paul Pierson 6/26/15


1. Andy Borowitz: Scalia Arrested Trying to Burn Down Supreme Court

In a shocking end to an illustrious legal career, police arrested Justice Antonin Scalia today as he attempted to set the Supreme Court building ablaze.

Justice Scalia, who had seemed calm and composed during the announcement of two major rulings this morning, was spotted by police minutes later outside the building, carrying a book of matches and a gallon of kerosene.

After police nabbed Justice Scalia and placed him in handcuffs, the Juror appeared “at peace and resigned to his fate,” a police spokesman said.

“He went quietly,” the spokesman said. “He just muttered something like, ‘I don’t want to live in a world like this.’ ”

Back at the Supreme Court, Justice Scalia’s colleagues said they hoped he would get the help he needed, except for Justice Clarence Thomas, who said nothing.

Elsewhere: Many in Nation Tired of Explaining Things to Idiots

Of the many obvious things that people are sick and tired of trying to get through the skulls of stupid people, the fact that climate change will cause catastrophic habitat destruction and devastating extinctions tops the list, with a majority saying that they will no longer bother trying to explain this to cretins.

Coming in a close second, statistical proof that gun control has reduced gun deaths in countries around the world is something that a significant number of those polled have given up attempting to break down for morons.

Finally, a majority said that trying to make idiots understand why a flag that symbolizes bigotry and hatred has no business flying over a state capitol only makes the person attempting to explain this want to put his or her fist through a wall.

In a result that suggests a dismal future for the practice of explaining things to idiots, an overwhelming number of those polled said that they were considering abandoning such attempts altogether, with a broad majority agreeing with the statement, “This country is exhausting.” Read more at


“One of the best constitutional minds in the country.” —Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) about Chief Justice John Roberts on 7/28/05


“Today, these robed Houdinis transmogrified a ‘federal exchange’ into an exchange ‘established by the State.’ … Unelected judges have once again become legislators, and bad ones at that. They are lawless, and they hide their prevarication in legalese.” — Cruz about the Obamacare decision written by Roberts on 6/25/15


“For the United States, that meant clinging to a policy that was not working. Instead of supporting democracy and opportunity for the Cuban people, our efforts to isolate Cuba despite good intentions increasingly had the opposite effect—cementing the status quo and isolating the United States from our neighbors in this hemisphere. The progress that we mark today is yet another demonstration that we don’t have to be imprisoned by the past. When something isn’t working, we can—and will—change.” — President Obama 7/01/15


– “I intend to oppose the confirmation of an ambassador to Cuba until these issues are addressed. It is time for our unilateral concessions to this odious regime to end.” — Sen. Marco Rubio 7/01/15

– “Opening the American Embassy in Cuba will do nothing to help the Cuban people and is just another trivial attempt for President Obama to go legacy shopping.” — Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) 7/01/15

“I oppose the decision to further embrace the Castro regime by opening an embassy in Havana.” — Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush 7/01/15


“I will not acquiesce to an imperial court any more than our Founders acquiesced to an imperial British monarch. We must resist and reject judicial tyranny, not retreat.” — Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) 6/26/15


“This decision affirms what millions of Americans already believe in their hearts. When all Americans are treated as equal, we are all more free.” — President Barack Obama, hailing the Supreme Court’s ruling on same-sex marriage as “a victory for America.” 6/26/15

3. From Justice Kennedy’s Majority Opinion on Gay Marriage

“No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than they once were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment in themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.” — Justice Anthony Kennedy writing for the Court’s Majority

4. Conservatives Can’t Hide Their Disgust With SCOTUS

On Obamacare

“An out-of-control act of judicial tyranny … Our Founding Fathers didn’t create a ‘do-over’ provision in our Constitution that allows unelected, Supreme Court justices the power to circumvent Congress and rewrite bad laws.” — Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee 6/25/15

“The judiciary, John Roberts included, is now just the water boy for the welfare state.” — Fox’s Andrea Tantaros on Twitter 6/25/15

“This decision turns common language on its head. Now leaders must turn our attention to making the case that ObamaCare must be replaced.” — Chris Christie on Twitter 6/25/15

“This decision turns both the rule of law and common sense on its head. ObamaCare raises taxes, harms patients and doctors and is the wrong fix for America’s health care system. As President, I would make it my mission to repeal it and propose real solutions for our healthcare system.” — Sen. Rand Paul (KY) 6/25/15

“Today’s Supreme Court ruling upholding the administration’s implementation of ObamaCare means Republicans in the House and Senate must redouble their efforts to repeal and replace this destructive and costly law.” — Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker 6/25/15

On Gay Marriage

“The Supreme Court is completely out of control, making laws on their own, and has become a public opinion poll instead of a judicial body. If we want to save some money lets just get rid of the court.”— Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) responding to the Supreme Court’s decision legalizing gay marriage.

“We’re not bound by what nine people say in perpetuity.” — Former Sen. Rick Santorum, who vowed to fight a Supreme Court decision in favor of same-sex marriage:

“A ruling by the Supreme Court is nothing but an opinion if the legislative branch and the executive branch do not enforce it.” — Former GOP House majority leader Tom Delay

“The Supreme Court has spoken with a very divided voice on something only the Supreme Being can do-redefine marriage. I will not acquiesce to an imperial court any more than our Founders acquiesced to an imperial British monarch. We must resist and reject judicial tyranny, not retreat.” — Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R)6/26/15

5. The Nightly Show: O’Blivious – Bill O Reilly’s All White Debate On Racism—bill-o-reilly-s-all-white-debate-on-racism

6. Hate Is Subsidized by U.S. Taxpayers

The Council of Conservative Citizens Inc., the group that allegedly inspired the racial hatred in Roof, the 21-year-old high school dropout who is is charged with nine counts of murder, is listed by the Internal Revenue Service as a nonprofit organization that promotes social welfare, also known as a 501(c)(4).” 6/23/15 Read more at

7. From MEDIA MATTERS (They watch Fox News so you don’t have to)

Fox Claims Fast Food Workers Forego Higher Salaries To Keep Receiving “Free Stuff From The Government”

Fox’s Ralph Peters: ISIS Is Trying To “Exactly What The American Left Is Trying To Do … Destroy The Past”

Fox’s Steve Doocy Parrots Rush Limbaugh To Stoke Fears About A Liberal Assault On American Flag

Fox Claims Fast Food Workers Forego Higher Salaries To Keep Receiving “Free Stuff From The Government “

Fox’s Andrew Napolitano: Supreme Court Used “Almost Tyrannical Power” To Uphold Affordable Care Act

Right-Wing Media Respond To Nationwide Marriage Equality: “We Should Weep For Our Country”

Fox’s Martha MacCallum On Marriage Equality Decision: “What’s To Prevent” 3 People From Getting Married Now?

Hannity Agrees With Cruz: “Today Is Some Of The Darkest 24 Hours In Our Nation’s History”

O’Reilly: “We Have An Activist [Supreme] Court,” Unable “To Put Ideology Aside” In Recent Rulings

Conservative Media Argue Same-Sex Marriage Ruling Creates Constitutional Right To Carry A Gun In Public

Fox News Rallies To Defend Donald Trump After NBC Announces Split

Fox’s Erick Erickson: “Abuse” And “Parental Issues” Make People Gay

8. “Blame the Flag,” a cartoon by MarkFiore

9. Late Night Jokes for Dems

“Donald Trump announced that he’s running for president. During his speech he told the crowd that if elected he would be ‘the greatest jobs president that God ever created.’ Then God said, ‘Hey, don’t drag me into this publicity stunt.'” –Jimmy Fallon

“Donald Trump told ABC news that if he had Oprah as a running mate, they could easily win. Although you know who’d definitely win? Oprah WITHOUT Donald Trump.” –Jimmy Fallon

“In his presidential announcement speech yesterday, Donald Trump pledged to become ‘the greatest jobs president that God ever created.’ This is from the man who coined the catch phrase ‘You’re fired.'” –Conan O’Brien

“Political analysts are saying that as a candidate, Donald Trump is ‘a totally unqualified nuisance.’ In other words, he is a legitimate contender for the Republican nomination.” –Conan O’Brien

“Donald Trump is running for president, and I couldn’t be happier about it. He promised he would be ‘the greatest jobs president that God ever created.’ I think President Trump would be a very good thing for jobs in this country — specifically for my job here at this show.” –Jimmy Kimmel

“Presidential hopeful Donald Trump said yesterday that he has better hair than Senator Marco Rubio – a claim that was recently disproven by wind.” –Seth Meyers

“Jeb Bush is here tonight, fresh off his announcement that he’s running for president. We were also going to have Donald Trump as well, but last time we checked he was still giving his speech.” –Jimmy Fallon

“Trump is running for president and he’s wasting no time getting down to business. In fact, just after his announcement he demanded to see Jeb Bush’s birth certificate.” –Jimmy Fallon

“Donald Trump announced today he is running for president of the United States. Traditionally that means six more weeks of comedy.” –Conan O’Brien

“Due to Donald Trump entering the presidential race, season 15 of ‘Celebrity Apprentice’ will not air. But don’t worry. With Trump running for president, you’ll still get to see an irrelevant B-list celebrity not get a job.” –Conan O’Brien

“Did you see Donald Trump’s big announcement today? Trump is very confident. He could be the only presidential candidate to ever pick himself as a running mate.” –Jimmy Kimmel

“A lot of people aren’t taking Trump seriously. But the fact of the matter is, when Donald Trump makes an announcement, people listen — because he’s shouting. You have no choice but to listen.” –Jimmy Kimmel

“Trump said, ‘The American dream is dead.’ All right, well, it’s not exactly ‘Hope and change,’ but it’s a slogan.” –Jimmy Kimmel

“Donald Trump announced today that he is running for president. And based on the amount of bronzer he uses, he’s also running for president of the Spokane NAACP.” –Seth Meyers

10. From Bill in Portland Maine: House Committee Demands White House Produce A Scandal

The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform will hold hearings early next month to grill Obama administration officials about a lack of quality scandals originating in the White House, sources say.

“We’ve exhausted all of our leads and didn’t turn up a thing,” said a Republican committee member who asked to remain anonymous. “Solyndra, Fast and Furious, the IRS, the tan suit—even our ace in the hole, Benghazi, is a big nothingburger and at this point we’re down to investigating rounding errors in office supply expenditures.”

Added the source: “We’re going through crossword puzzles over here faster than crap through a goose. Every day is the same—crickets.” More at

11. Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: And Now – 5 Years of People Prematurely Declaring The End of Obamacare

12. Daily Show: Jindal all the way

13. Christie Lies

Most Americans don’t know Chris Christie like I do, so it’s only natural to wonder what testimony I might offer after covering his every move for the last 14 years.

My testimony amounts to a warning: Don’t believe a word the man says. If you have the stomach for it, this column offers some greatest hits in Christie’s catalog of lies. Don’t misunderstand me. They all lie, and I get that. But Christie does it with such audacity, and such frequency, that he stands out.

When Christie picks up the microphone, he speaks so clearly and forcefully that you assume genuine conviction is behind it. Be careful, though. It’s a kind of spell. He is a remarkable talent with a silver tongue. But if you look closely, you can see that it is forked like a serpent’s. 6/30/15 Read more at

14. Poll: Majorities back Supreme Court rulings on marriage, Obamacare

According to a new CNN/ORC poll, 63% support the Court’s ruling upholding government assistance for lower-income Americans buying health insurance through both state-operated and federally-run health insurance exchanges. Slightly fewer, 59%, say they back the ruling which made same-sex marriages legal in all 50 states.

Support for each ruling is sharply divided by party, with most Democrats and independents behind both, and most Republicans opposed to both. — Tom Moran 6/30/15

15. Steven Colbert: June Is A Lovely Time For A Wedding

16. How to survive the next 500 days until Election Day

17. Court Says States Can’t Seek Voter Proof of Citizenship

The U.S. Supreme Court refused to consider letting states require evidence of citizenship when people register to vote for federal elections, rejecting an appeal from Arizona and Kansas.

The rebuff is a victory for the Obama administration and voting- and minority-rights groups that battled the two states in court. It leaves intact a decision by a U.S. agency that blocked the states from requiring proof of citizenship for voters in federal elections. 6/29/15 Read more at


1. Paul Krugman: Hooray for Obamacare

Was I on the edge of my seat, waiting for the Supreme Court decision on Obamacare subsidies? No — I was pacing the room, too nervous to sit, worried that the court would use one sloppily worded sentence to deprive millions of health insurance, condemn tens of thousands to financial ruin, and send thousands to premature death.

It didn’t. And that means that the big distractions — the teething problems of the website, the objectively ludicrous but nonetheless menacing attempts at legal sabotage — are behind us, and we can focus on the reality of health reform. The Affordable Care Act is now in its second year of full operation; how’s it doing?

The answer is, better than even many supporters realize.

Obamacare has survived, it’s here, and it’s working. The great conservative nightmare has come true. And it’s a beautiful thing. 6/26/15 Read more at

2. Richard Cohen: The GOP’s View From Under the Sand

Louisiana governor, Bobby Jindal is the personification of contemporary Republicanism. He’s opposed to same-sex marriage, abortion rights, the teaching of evolution in the schools and, of course, a reasonable fiscal program. His state is about $1.6 billion in the red, his popularity has plummeted, and in a recent Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, he scored a zero as a presidential candidate. Perhaps he can carry Louisiana, where polls suggest most voters would like to see him somewhere else.

Not all Republicans are so doctrinaire in the application of the anti-government, anti-tax dogma. But the notion that government should be as small as possible and do as little as possible is generally accepted as undebatable. It persists even though America is in desperate need of repairing and/or replacing its sagging infrastructure. The country has third-world airports, highways and bridges as well as a groaning electrical grid that strains if too many people toast their English muffins at the same time.

The cost of revamping, repairing, restoring and just plain creating a 21st- century infrastructure is staggering — an estimated $3.6 trillion by 2020. But huge construction projects would put huge numbers of people to work and would, in the long run, result in savings. It costs money for a truck to sit idle in traffic. We do an awful lot of idling in this country.

Size can be a problem. Large government is inevitably inefficient, but so, too, is large private enterprise. (See the GM bankruptcy.) Much worse than the unavoidable inefficiencies of large government is the failure to fund the government we need. Private enterprise cannot rebuild the nation’s infrastructure or keep our research institutions vibrant. Government must do what only it can do. Only a semi-mystical Republicanism, deluded by its own dogma, cannot see the future. That’s why it may not have one. 6/30/15 Read more at

3. Jeffrey Toobin: Doom for a Cynical Assault on Obamacare

Supporters of the Affordable Care Act, starting with President Barack Obama, have generally taken the high road in response to Thursday’s decision by the Supreme Court to uphold the heart of the law. Graciousness in victory is, perhaps, its own reward. But it may also be appropriate, on the occasion of the 6–3 decision in King v. Burwell, to observe that this lawsuit was from its inception a shameful and cynical exercise, which illustrated the debasement of the contemporary conservative legal movement.

What principle was at stake in this lawsuit? The correct answer is none. This is a contrast to National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, which was the first challenge to the A.C.A. In that case, the plaintiffs argued that Congress lacked the constitutional authority to pass the law in the first place. The case made a respectable (if ultimately unsuccessful) argument for a narrow conception of the government’s ability to regulate health care under the Constitution. King v. Burwell did not implicate the Constitution at all. It was, rather, based on a claim that the Obama Administration violated the A.C.A. itself by offering subsidies to purchasers on the federal exchange. The case was, in other words, a sophisticated game of gotcha, based on what was, again, essentially a typographical error. The case was only about trying to destroy the law by denying insurance to millions and setting in motion a death spiral of raised premiums, cancelled policies, and more rate hikes until the system collapsed. (The sheer callousness of the plaintiffs’ lawyers in King was something to behold. Millions tossed off health insurance? Hey, deal with it.)

Obamacare remains controversial, and its future will be an important issue in the 2016 elections. That’s as it should be. If Republicans can win the Presidency and extend their control of Congress, they may well have the chance to undo the law, and they will have every right to do so. But today the Court said that the future of the law should be decided in that political process and not in response to litigation stunts like King v. Burwell. 6/25/15 Read more at

4. Brent Budowsky: Why Hillary scares the right

A recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll found Hillary Clinton defeating former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) by 8 percent, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) by 10 percent and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) by 14 percent.

Even if this poll exaggerates Clinton’s advantage, when was the last poll showing any Republican defeating her by such huge margins? If there were such a poll, Republicans would be ecstatically celebrating the arrival of the new GOP messiah who would bring the next golden age of American conservatism.

Hillary hysteria is gripping the GOP. Every day, conservative media offers an angst-ridden deluge of attacks against the former secretary of State, with derision, anger and predictions of her coming demise.

As Shakespeare might put it, the GOP doth protest too much. Republicans and conservatives are terrified that there is only one candidate in either party who today demonstrates the potential to win the nomination and be elected by a landslide. That candidate is the Democrat who would be the first woman president.

There is a progressive wave growing in America. When she vows to lead a national fight to reverse widely opposed Supreme Court decisions that allow the wealthy to buy elections and undermine voting rights, Clinton is leading this wave. On other issues it is led by others such as Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).

Clinton and Democrats are riding the progressive wave on the right side of history. This terrifies Republicans and conservatives, as it should. 6/24/15 Read more at

5. Eugene Robinson: The Fall of the Confederacy

As a native South Carolinian, I was proud of Haley as she delivered her eloquent speech about the flag — an Indian-American female governor, flanked by all of the state’s leading officials including the first elected African-American U.S. senator from the South since Reconstruction, Tim Scott.

But standing behind Haley was Reince Priebus, the Republican Party’s national chairman, and I couldn’t help but think of all the GOP-led state legislatures around the country, including South Carolina’s, that have passed voter-ID and other laws meant to ensure that fewer African-Americans and other minorities are able to vote.

Even when the flag comes down, those laws will still be in place.

Black voters showed in 2012 that they can overcome restrictive new voting laws. They can do it again, including in state and local elections, where power over voting rights resides.

This historical city that marked the birth of the Confederacy can now mark the beginning of its end. But we have work to do. 6/26/15 Read more at

6. E.J. Dionne: The Right to be Free From Guns

Advocates of a saner approach to guns need a new strategy. We cannot go on like this, wringing our hands in frustration after every tragedy involving firearms. We said “Enough” after Sandy Hook. We thought the moment for action had come. Yet nothing happened. We are saying “Enough” after Charleston. But this time, we don’t even expect anything to happen.

What’s needed is a long-term national effort to change popular attitudes toward handgun ownership. And we need to insist on protecting the rights of Americans who do not want to be anywhere near guns.

“The best way to disarm the NRA rhetorically is to make the Second Amendment issue moot,” said Guy Molyneux, a progressive pollster. “This is not about the government saying you cannot own a handgun. This is about society saying you should not have a gun, especially in a home with children.”

“Those of us who want to live, shop, go to school and worship in gun-free spaces also have rights,” Molyneux says. “In what way is ‘freedom’ advanced by telling the owner of a bar or restaurant they cannot ban handguns in their own place of business, as many states now do? Today, it is the NRA that is the enemy of freedom, by seeking to impose its values on everyone else.”

The nation could ring out with the new slogans of liberty: “Not in my house.” “Not in our school.” “Not in my bar.” “Not in our church.” We’d be defending one of our most sacred rights: The right not to bear arms. 6/25/15 Read more at

7. Sally Kohn: The GOP Gay Marriage Freakout

Marriage equality has won at the Supreme Court, but the fight over gay marriage is far from over. Now we enter the Republican temper tantrum phase.

Even before the Supreme Court’s ruling, several prominent Republicans had pledged to disobey any high court ruling in favor of marriage equality—and had called on their fellow Republican leaders to do the same.

For instance, Republican presidential candidates Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee have both signed a pledge that reads, “We will not honor any decision by the Supreme Court which will force us to violate a clear biblical understanding of marriage as solely the union of one man and one woman.”

Huckabee also challenged the authority of our nation’s highest court when he said, “The Supreme Court can’t overrule God.”

Republican Senator Ted Cruz and Representative Steve King also called for Congress and any future Republican president to flagrantly ignore such a Supreme Court ruling.

Let’s be clear: These are current and former officeholders, who have taken an oath to uphold the laws of our nation, literally pledging to violate those laws as interpreted by the Supreme Court.

In any reasonable political environment, this should be a disqualifier for elected office.. 6.26.15 Read more at

8. Laurence Tribe: Supreme Court’s Obamacare decision is a victory for all of us

THE SUPREME COURT has rebuffed yet another attempt to destroy the Affordable Care Act.

The implications of this decision can be summed up in three words: The people won. The most obvious victory is in the decision’s implications for American health care. Had the dissenters prevailed, 8.2 million Americans would have been left uninsured, and many more would have been subject to large premium hikes. The ACA was a culmination of a decades-long effort to provide Americans with universal and affordable health care. And studies show that it is working in achieving those goals. By deciding for the challengers, the court would have gratuitously ripped a major hole in this social safety net.

Still, however total this victory may be, it is worth reflecting on how vigorously the ACA’s opponents have tried to destroy it, and how close they have repeatedly come. When the ACA was passed, no member of Congress in either party argued that it meant what the dissent now claims that it does; nevertheless, at least four justices voted to hear King quickly, and three would have sided with the challengers. Indeed, Justice Antonin Scalia in his dissent went so far as to accuse the majority of having “no semblance of shame” in making arguments that amount to “interpretive jiggery-pokery.” Before we celebrate, we would do well to remember how close the law has come to judicial destruction. 6/25/15 Read more at

9. Jay Michaelson: Supreme Court: If It’s Worth It for Corporations, Pollution May Be Okay

While LGBTs and health-care reformers are still nursing their celebratory hangovers, the final Supreme Court case of the 2014-15 term just junked 20 years of environmental regulations.

The case, Michigan v. EPA, specifically dealt with the EPA’s regulation of mercury emissions from power plants under the Clean Air Act—a long, 20-year process that has been opposed by industry at every turn, even as mercury air pollution from coal-fired power plants has irreparably poisoned the Great Lakes .

Today, the clock has been set back. In its third 5-4 decision of the day, with Justice Kennedy again providing the swing vote, industry has prevailed. Writing for the court, Justice Scalia held that the EPA had to factor in costs in deciding whether to regulate, not just how to regulate.

This is as incoherent philosophically as it is practically. Think about it this way: Who owns the right to your health?

In Justice Scalia’s reasoning, now the law of the land, the toxic chemical emitters do. If it is economically efficient to poison you with mercury—if the costs to them outweigh the benefits to you, calculating an economic value of your health—then they get to do it.

Michigan v. US now stands for the principle that corporate interests are equal in kind to human interests. Whether the EPA should regulate mercury depends on whether it’s cost-effective to do so, treating the costs to industry and the benefits to health equally.

Because corporations are people, right? 6//29/15

10. Robert Redford: Time to step up game on climate change

I believe climate change is the defining environmental issue of our time. It’s hurting our people — around the world — and it’s time to stand up and say we’ve had enough. Enough of rising seas and widening deserts that threaten our homes and our crops. Enough of withering drought and blistering heat that mean more malnutrition and disease. Enough of raging floods, wildfires and storms that threaten people everywhere with one disaster after another.

We’ve got a real chance in Paris to come together and do something about it. But getting it done, and doing it right, will require a powerful public outcry. It’s happening. It’s building.

We know what’s driving the problem, and we know what to do about it. When we burn coal, oil and natural gas, we choke our atmosphere with the dangerous carbon pollution that’s driven global temperatures up about 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit in a little more than a century.

That might not sound like much, but it’s already melted about third of the Arctic sea ice in recent decades. That’s a global change that has global impacts on temperatures, ocean currents and salinity levels. Meanwhile, this carbon pollution has raised the acidity levels of the world’s oceans, threatening shellfish and the coral reefs that support foundational life at sea.

Every day we don’t act, the crisis gets worse — and the cost of inaction goes up. 6/28/15 Read more at



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Seismic Cultural Shifts and Rifts

Seismic Cultural Shifts and Rifts


Lately, it’s felt pretty good to be a Democrat. From the momentous decision to legalize same-sex marriage to calls for the removal of the Confederate flag, we have seen signs of significant progressive cultural shifts across our nation. The last month alone has witnessed the defense of an expanded healthcare system, the Pope acknowledging the human cause of climate change, and the country welcoming the new identity of trans woman Caitlyn Jenner.

Along with those shifts has come the exposure of underlying rifts across the Southern states in the form of church burnings and courthouse standoffs. Recently affirmed civil rights will be tested and tempered by entrenched opponents on all fronts, so that even as the celebrations fade, the fight is again heating up. Just the other day, a business owner in Tennessee put a sign on his store window that read “No Gays Allowed.” Let’s not forget that businesses in most American states can still fire someone for being LGBT.

While the White House was recently bathed in rainbow lights, and the law finally reflects the majority of Americans who support marriage equality, there will continue to be aggressive pushback. States like Texas and Louisiana have refused to give out marriage licenses. Even in a progressive place like San Diego, where most Republicans claim to be moderate, we have a County Clerk who tried to use taxpayer money to stop marriage equality in 2013. And San Diego County GOP Chair Tony Krvaric’s response to the SCOTUS ruling was to retweet a Republican National Committee statement that emphasized “traditional marriage” and “religious liberty.” If the head of the Party believes these things, it’s likely that Tea Party Republicans share his views, while so-called “moderate” Republicans give lip-service support to equality issues in public and revert to pleasing their base behind close doors.

The calls for the removal of the Confederate flag by conservative Republicans like South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley and Senator Lindsey Graham have been another major pivot. This is a welcome sign of the loosening of the stranglehold that racist bullies have held for over a centuryAt the same time, discussions about the “stars and bars” have also provided a distraction from the real issues of racism and gun violence in America.

The surge in the awareness of police violence against African-Americans, combined with the massacre of innocents in a historic African-American church by a white racist, have seared the link between racism and gun violence into our nation’s consciousness. This conversation is long past due. Will it lead to real progress this time? The fact that the media were slow to acknowledge the rash of black church burnings across the South, instilling renewed fear in African American communities, seems like 1950s deja-vu, not 2015 progress.

We are seeing the throes of a country and a culture in transition, with people lashing out as they cling to a their experience of a very familiar America and a fear that it is slipping away.

But we are not going back. We will continue to fight for a more equitable and more perfect union. We must stand taller than ever, tireless advocates and vocal allies, united in the strength of our core beliefs. History will show that what we cherish as Democratic values are ultimately American values: equality, opportunity, prosperity, and sustainability for all.