Alex Seaman Recipient of the John F. Kennedy Leadership Award

Alex Seaman and Jean Seager

Alex Seaman and Jean Seager

At its May 5, 2015 general meeting, the Coronado Democratic Club presented the John F. Kennedy Leadership Award to Alex Seaman, a freshman at Southwestern College. The $500 award recognizes a student who embodies and promotes the values of the Democratic Party.

Seaman is studying biology and aims to become a medical doctor. His experience with politics includes canvassing for Democratic candidates and talking to his friends and neighbors about the importance of voting. He identified foreign policy and the inequality gap as two issues that are particularly important to him. He plans to use the award to help with school expenses.

Chairperson of the award committee, Jean Seager presented the check.

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Sep 11 – DIRECT eZine for Democrats #853

Sep 11 – DIRECT eZine for Democrats #853

ON THE RECORD ….

“As thousands of commuters were stuck in traffic on the George Washington Bridge during lane closures apparently ordered by  Gov. Chris Christie’s (R) aides as political payback, Lt. Thomas Michaels, a Port Authority of New York and New Jersey police lieutenant with ties to Christie was eating breakfast with David Wildstein, the executive who ordered the closures.” — AP. 9/04/14

“Scott Walker has given women the back of his hand. I know that is stark. I know that is direct. But that is reality. What Republican Tea Party extremists like Scott Walker are doing is they are grabbing us by the hair and pulling us back. It is not going to happen on our watch.” — DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz comparing Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) policies to acts of domestic violence against women. 9/03/14

“The Kentucky senator is trying to tell us he’s not an isolationist. That dog won’t hunt.” — Rick Santorum mocking Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) as a flip-flopper on U.S. military action against ISIS. 9/05/14

“That’s too idiotic for a response.” — James Carville about Fox News host and pundit Andrea Tantaros who said she thinks President Obama may be going easy on the terror group ISIS because he has “anti-American” views. 9/05/14

“It is extremely likely [defined as 95-100% certainty] that more than half of the observed increase in global average surface temperature from 1951 to 2010 was caused by the anthropogenic [human-caused] increase in greenhouse gas concentrations and other anthropogenic forcings together.” —Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fifth Assessment Report 9/04/14

“Taking advice from Dick Cheney on foreign policy? That’s a terrifying prospect. We should be learning from our past mistakes, not repeating them.” — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, reflecting the view of most Americans who now see the invasion of Iraq as a virtually unprecedented blunder, rivaled only by the extraordinary mistake of trying to seize control of Canada in 1812. 9/10/14

FROM THE RIGHT …..

“If we can’t build a fence high enough… we ought to go to China and see how they built a wall.” —Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) on illegal immigration. 9/07/14

“You need to respect the autonomy of somebody running their business. It’s like smoking bans. Do you ban smoking or do people have the right to private property? I think people have the right to private property. In public spaces, absolutely, we can have smoking bans. But we don’t want to micromanage people’s lives and businesses. If you have a business, do you want the government to come in and tell you you need to hire somebody? Why should government be there to impose on the freedoms we enjoy?” — NC House Republican Robert Pittenger comparing the right to fire LGBT workers to the right to smoke cigarettes on private property. 9/08/14

” Don’t believe this stuff. Distortions are how some people make a living. Stewart’s going for the laugh. He doesn’t really care if it’s true or not.” — Bill O’Reilly unintentionally describing Fox News and The O’Reilly Factor. 9/04/14

“The statements and actions of Obama and his cohorts suggest the likelihood that, in the strategy he is pursuing, the enemy is not ISIS, but the life and liberty of the people of the United States.”–Alan Keyes. 9/05/14

“As uncomfortable for them as it may be, they must come to grips with the fact that Obama is a well-placed saboteur representing malignant interests, enemies both foreign and domestic, that have been strategizing the downfall of the United States for decades.” — Eric Rush in World News Daily. 9/04/14

“ISIS could cut off the heads of journalists once a month for the next five years and that’s not going to destroy America, but Obama’s pumping of illegal immigrants into the country will,” — William Gheen of Americans for Legal Immigration (ALIPAC) 9/09/14

 

IN THIS ISSUE

FYI

1. Andy Borowitz: Growing Pressure on Obama to Do Something Stupid
2. The DAILY GRILL
3. 50 Richest Members of Congress
4. From MEDIA MATTERS (They watch Fox News so you don’t have to)
5. Late Night Jokes for Dems
6. The Daily Show: No Country For Little Kids
7. Obama Outperforms Reagan On Jobs, Growth And Investing
8. Mark Fiore Cartoon: The Presidential Painsuit
9. What Could Go Wrong? This.
10. Stephen Colbert: Gays In The St Patrick’s Day Parade
11. Congress Approval At 14% Two Months Before Elections

OPINION

1. Jonathan Chait: Ted Cruz’s Obamacare Nightmare Comes to Life
2. Nico Hines: Did Vladimir Putin Just Save NATO?
3. Jeffrey Goldberg: Obama’s Stronger on Terror Than He Sounds
4. E.J. Dionne: Obama Beyond the Sound Bite
5. David Remnick: World-Weary
6. Sen. Tom Udall and Sen. Bernie Sanders: The Threat to American Democracy
7. Sahil Kapur: GOP’s Obamacare Nightmare Is Coming True: It’s Working
8. The Nation Editors: Mitch McConnell’s 47% Moment
9. James Carville: GOP’s Benghazi meter does not read victory

 

1. Andy Borowitz: Growing Pressure on Obama to Do Something Stupid

Arguing that his motto “Don’t do stupid stuff” is not a coherent foreign policy, critics of President Obama are pressuring him to do something stupid without further delay.

“Instead of reacting to events with the haste and recklessness they deserve, the President has chosen to waste valuable time thinking,” McCain said. “This goes against the most fundamental principles of American foreign policy.”

In his most withering criticism, McCain called Obama’s “stubborn refusal to do stupid stuff” a failure of leadership. “If I were President, you can bet your bottom dollar I would have done plenty of stupid stuff by now,” he said.

ELSEWHERE: Cheney Says Iraq Would Be Stable If He Were Still President

Harshly criticizing the current occupant of the White House, Dick Cheney told reporters on Wednesday, “Iraq would be stable today if I were still President.”

“ISIS is a problem that President Obama has made possible,” Cheney said during a press conference on Capitol Hill. “I never would have let that happen when I was Commander-in-Chief.”

Read more at http://www.newyorker.com/humor/borowitz-report/

2. The DAILY GRILL

“I said, as a matter of fact, ‘Did you know that Civil Rights legislation was passed by Republicans? It was passed by a Republican Senate under the threat of a filibuster by the Democrats. Oh, I didn’t know that.’ And then I said, ‘Did you know that every member of the Ku Klux Klan were Democrats from the South?’ ‘Oh I didn’t know that.’ You know, they need to be educated.” — Raphael Cruz, father of Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz. 9/03/14

VERSUS

“What is almost laughable is that this ignorant old man stood up in front of an audience who, no doubt, knew full well that he was the one who is ignorant of what really happened in the south… the exodus of the racist Democrats out of the Democratic Party and into the Republican Party over a decade, after they realized that their Democratic Party was showing strong signs of NOT being racist anymore like they were.” — Lucinda in the Topeka Capital-Journal 9/03/14

 

In “13 Hours,” the commandos, who were guarding the CIA annex in Benghazi, claim that the base chief told them to “stand down” and refrain from rescuing Ambassador Stevens despite a call for help from a diplomatic mission security officer. — TPM 9/09/14

VERSUS

The Intelligence Committee found that nobody gave a “stand down” order – Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI), the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee reiterated on Fox News that the commander merely paused to gain better knowledge of the situation. The congressman suggested that the lawyers for the five commandos who wrote the new account of the Benghazi attack were just trying to make money off of the scandal. — TPM 9/09/14

3. 50 Richest Members of Congress

Although Republicans took the top two spots this year, Democrats filled out the rest of the top 10. Fifteen were senators, 35 are representatives. And the list is dominated by veteran members such as seven-term Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., the wealthiest lawmaker, whose car-alarm fortune and high-yield bonds drove his net worth to more than $357 million and earned him the No. 1 spot for the second year in a row.

Meanwhile, the median household net worth in the United States stood at $68,828 in 2011, with 69 percent of households holding some form of debt, according to the most recent U.S. Census statistics. 9/07/14 Read more at http://blogs.rollcall.com/hill-blotter/richest-members-of-congress-2014/

For a list of the wealthiest lawmakers with breakdowns of their assets and liabilities see http://media.cq.com/50Richest/

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

NRA’s Ted Nugent: Fire “Two To The Head” Against “Allahpuke Zombies” Who Will Attack On 9/11 Anniversaryhttp://mediamatters.org/blog/2014/09/04/nras-ted-nugent-fire-two-to-the-head-against-al/200649

Limbaugh Guest Host Erick Erickson: Minimum Wage Workers Are “Mostly People Who Failed At Life”http://mediamatters.org/video/2014/09/04/limbaugh-guest-host-erick-erickson-minimum-wage/200647

Fox Host Says Obama Is “Tipping His Hat” To ISIS By Calling Them ISILhttp://mediamatters.org/blog/2014/09/04/fox-host-says-obama-is-tipping-his-hat-to-isis/200644

Bill O’Reilly Continues To Insist White Privilege Doesn’t Exist Because Asian-Americans Are Successfulhttp://mediamatters.org/video/2014/09/03/bill-oreilly-continues-to-insist-white-privileg/200639

Laura Ingraham Tells Radio Listeners That Obama Considers Them, Not Islamic State, The “True Enemy”http://mediamatters.org/video/2014/08/29/laura-ingraham-tells-radio-listeners-that-obama/200596

Fox News Provides Rand Paul A Platform To Fabricate Quotes From Hillary Clintonhttp://mediamatters.org/blog/2014/09/05/fox-news-provides-rand-paul-a-platform-to-fabri/200664

Conservative Media Echo Spurious Report On Threat Of Islamic State Terrorists Crossing U.S.-Mexico Borderhttp://mediamatters.org/research/2014/09/05/conservative-media-echo-spurious-report-on-thre/200660

Fox’s Erick Erickson: Obama Wants To Put “Pregnant Female Soldiers On The Front Lines”http://mediamatters.org/video/2014/09/05/foxs-erick-erickson-obama-wants-to-put-pregnant/200658

Bill O’Reilly Revives Myth That “You Can Make More Money … Going On The Dole Than You Can By Working”http://mediamatters.org/video/2014/09/05/bill-oreilly-revives-myth-that-you-can-make-mor/200668

Newt Gingrich Blasts Obama As “Cowardly” For Not Taking Immigration Action He Deemed “Unconstitutional”http://mediamatters.org/blog/2014/09/07/newt-gingrich-blasts-obama-as-cowardly-for-not/200675

Fox Host: Obama’s Reaction To Terrorist Threat Shows That “He’s Got Mental Problems”http://mediamatters.org/video/2014/09/09/fox-host-obamas-reaction-to-terrorist-threat-sh/200698

5. Late Night Jokes for Dems

“Apple plans to launch a mobile wallet to replace credit cards. That’s good because if there’s one company you want to trust with your money, it’s the company that leaked your nude photos.” –Conan O’Brien

“President Obama is back on the job, and he’s visiting Estonia. He said he wanted to be there before Russian tanks rolled in.” –David Letterman

“Vladimir Putin said today he hopes to have a Ukrainian peace deal by Friday. He’s reached out the olive branch. And if there’s no peace deal by Friday, Putin said, ‘I will crush Ukraine like bug under boot.'” –Craig Ferguson

“President Obama shows up at a press conference and he’s wearing a beige suit. Well, this drives the Republicans crazy. It’s nothing but, ‘How could he?’ and ‘What’s he trying to pull?’ Republicans would just rather have a beige President.” –David Letterman]

“Folks, I do not have to tell you that the world out there is spinning out of control. The Middle East is in flames. Russian troops have crossed into Ukraine. But the biggest news this weekend was the shocking invasion of Boob-istan.” –Stephen Colbert on the celebrity nude photo scandal

“Republicans have a video game for the kids. You have an elephant on your video game and it tries to accumulate seats in the Senate. It’s not the first. Remember George w. bush had a video game back in 2000 — Grand Theft Election.” –David Letterman

“Race is there; it exists. You’re tired of hearing about it?… Imagine how f*cking exhausting it is living it.” -Jon Stewart on Fox News’s coverage of Ferguson

6. The Daily Show: No Country For Little Kids

http://thedailyshow.cc.com/videos/r7zfin/no-country-for-little-kids

7. Obama Outperforms Reagan On Jobs, Growth And Investing

Economically, President Obama’s administration has outperformed President Reagan’s in all commonly watched categories.  Simultaneously the current administration has reduced the deficit, which skyrocketed under Reagan.  Additionally, Obama has reduced federal employment, which grew under Reagan (especially when including military personnel,) and truly delivered a “smaller government.”  Additionally, the current administration has kept inflation low, even during extreme international upheaval, failure of foreign economies (Greece) and a dramatic slowdown in the European economy. 9/05/14 Read more athttp://www.forbes.com/sites/adamhartung/2014/09/05/obama-outperforms-reagan-on-jobs-growth-and-investing/

8. Mark Fiore Cartoon: The Presidential Painsuit

http://vimeo.com/105209510

9. What Could Go Wrong? This.

There’s a game most of us play. It’s called “What Could Go Wrong?!” You know, like I’m going to hand my nine year old an automatic weapon – “What Could Go Wrong?!” Or, why not go bare-headed and drive a motorcycle really fast? “What Could Go Wrong?!” Then there is the always present, Why don’t we build a giant mine at the headwaters of the largest sockeye salmon fishing run in the entire world? “What Could Go Wrong?”

Many Alaskans have asked this question over the last decade regarding the proposed Pebble Mine in Bristol Bay. When the state government seemed to answer, “Nothing could go wrong,” tribes, fishermen and environmental groups pleaded with the Environmental Protection Agency to study and report.

I attended the EPA hearing held in Anchorage a few weeks ago. “What could go wrong?” had indeed gone terribly wrong at the Mount Polley Mine in British Columbia just last month. A breach in the dam had dumped millions of cubic feet of toxic waste into a tributary of the Fraser River – a salmon bearing river. In a stroke of irony, the town closest to the impact zone is named Likely. The experts have said the damage done is irreversible. That means it’s a waiting game to see if any fish at all return to, or survive the toxic soup.

Oh, and here’s a real shocker – engineers Knight Piesold are saying it’s not their fault because they aren’t working for that mine anymore. Oops. Sorry about your bad luck. — Shannyn Moore 8/31/14 Read more at http://www.themudflats.net/archives/44233

10. Stephen Colbert: Gays In The St Patrick’s Day Parade

http://thecolbertreport.cc.com/videos/lo5wee/gays-in-the-st–patrick-s-day-parade

11. Congress Approval At 14% Two Months Before Elections

With less than two months to go before the midterm congressional elections, 14% of Americans approve of how Congress is handling its job. This rating is one of the lowest Gallup has measured in the fall before a midterm election since 1974. 9/08/14 Read more at http://www.gallup.com/poll/175676/congress-approval-sits-two-months-elections.aspx

 

1. Jonathan Chait: Ted Cruz’s Obamacare Nightmare Comes to Life

In the summer of 2013, with the Affordable Care Act about to begin enrolling its first customers in the new health-care exchanges, Ted Cruz warned Republicans that they were facing one final chance to kill the law. Once Americans had grown accustomed to the sweet comfort of affordable health insurance, Cruz foresaw, they would never give it up: “[Obama’s] strategy is to get as many Americans as possible hooked on the subsidies, addicted to the sugar. If we get to Jan. 1, this thing is here forever.”

Cruz may have been completely misguided in his belief that this logic dictated that Republicans instigate a government shutdown, but on the political economy of Obamacare, he was completely right. Indications of Cruz’s prescience are popping up everywhere.

The Republican crusade against Obamacare is not ending; rather, it is shrinking and mutating. The party base will demand a presidential nominee who promises to repeal the hated law, just as it did in 2012. But the next Republican candidate will be running in an environment where repealing the law would create millions and millions of now-identifiable victims. Since the start of the year, Obamacare has gone from a weakness Republicans were salivating at the chance to exploit to an issue they no longer want to talk about. Two years from now, matters could be worse still. 9/09/14 Read more at http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2014/09/ted-cruzs-obamacare-nightmare-comes-to-life.html

2. Nico Hines: Did Vladimir Putin Just Save NATO?

Vladimir Putin is gripped by a deep hatred of NATO, an alliance he believes is hell-bent on belittling Russia. As he sits in the Kremlin plotting its destruction, however, his clumsy foreign policy maneuvers have achieved precisely the opposite effect.

After two decades of dwindling influence, NATO is refreshed and energized by the growing threat on its eastern flank. European member states, who neglected their commitments and watched from the sidelines as the United States kept the alliance on life support, have suddenly rediscovered the value of NATO’s collective strength.

Jeffrey Donaldson, a member of Britain’s Parliamentary Defense Select Committee, said Britain and the United States were urging their European allies to match their newfound enthusiasm for NATO with increases in their military contributions.

“There’s no doubt that people took their eye off the ball in the post-Cold War era and felt that the need for defense spending had diminished,” he said. “The renewed Russian threat in Eastern Europe has given NATO a new focus on ensuring that we have the capacity to deal with military aggression. We need to develop a policy where our security approach matches our political approach.”

The Baltic states have agreed to increase their military spending in line with their NATO commitments, but major economies like Germany have no intention of upping their defense expenditure. Putin may have just guaranteed a new era of NATO relevance, but there is no imminent prospect of Europe picking up its half of the tab. 9/04/14 Read more athttp://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/09/04/did-vladimir-putin-just-save-nato.html

3. Jeffrey Goldberg: Obama’s Stronger on Terror Than He Sounds

Yes, it is disconcerting to hear a president say that he possesses no strategy against a not entirely new threat, but it would have been more disconcerting to have heard him lie about the existence of a strategy.

The reason I am sympathetic to his predicament has to do with an 11-year-old memo I keep taped to the wall of my office. It is from Donald Rumsfeld, the former secretary of defense, to Douglas Feith, then undersecretary of defense for policy. It is dated April 7, 2003 — shortly before Rumsfeld’s mission in Iraq was so awesomely accomplished. The brief memo’s subject line reads, “Issues w/Various Countries.” It opens, “We need more coercive diplomacy with respect to Syria and Libya, and we need it fast. If they mess up Iraq, it will delay bringing our troops home.” Rumsfeld continues, “We also need to solve the Pakistan problem. And Korea doesn’t seem to be going well. Are you coming up with proposals for me to send around?”

I think it is sufficient to say that policy should not be made by memos written in a Holly Golightly, “Hey, what’s up with Korea, anyway?” style while a war is already underway. I’d rather see a sober, serious and, yes, deliberative, approach to the Islamic State challenge, than to one day read memos like this from inside the Obama administration. Islamic State poses a threat of currently indeterminate seriousness to the U.S. It poses a more urgent threat to moderate Arab states, and also to Europe. The U.S. must build a coalition to combat and neutralize the Islamic State threat — and I believe that Obama knows that this is what must be done — but there is still time to plan, and to think through the consequences of our actions. 9/03/14 Read more athttp://www.bloombergview.com/articles/2014-09-03/obama-s-stronger-on-terror-than-he-sounds

4. E.J. Dionne: Obama Beyond the Sound Bite

The president’s critics at home should also step back. They should stop pretending that careful, deliberate planning is a grievous sin and acknowledge the high costs of impulsive action. Obama is right to put in the effort to rally Sunni Muslim states to join the fight against the Islamic State. The struggle against brutal extremism will fail if it’s perceived as part of an inter-religious war that pits Sunnis against Shiites.

Obama’s comments in Estonia on Wednesday suggested he’s been listening to his critics. He made very clear at a news conference that it “is going to take time for us to be able to form the regional coalition that’s going to be required so that we can reach out to Sunni tribes in some of the areas that ISIS [the Islamic State] has occupied, and make sure that we have allies on the ground in combination with the airstrikes that we’ve already conducted.” He was also clear about the United States taking leadership. “We are organizing the Arab world, the Middle East, the Muslim world along with the international community,” he said, “to isolate this cancer.”

Americans face a test of whether we can have a rational debate about our role in the world that involves more than throwing sound bites in the president’s face. Obama’s own test is to acknowledge the reality that, like it or not, many nations are looking to him — and to us — to offer a coherent path away from this “epidemic of world lawlessness.”

Doing so will be no easier for this president than it was for FDR. 9/04/14 Read more at  http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2014/09/04/obama_beyond_the_sound_bite_123855.html

5. David Remnick: World-Weary

Unchastened by their many past misjudgments, John McCain and Lindsey Graham go on proposing escalations, aggressions, and regime changes. Rand Paul, who will likely run for President as a stay-at-home Republican, went to Guatemala recently and performed eye surgeries as a means of displaying his foreign-policy bona fides. Was Bashar al-Assad, Syria’s ophthalmologist-in-chief, impressed?

Chris Christie insists on the efficacy of big men and tough talk—the Great Jersey Guy theory of history. Recently, he suggested that Vladimir Putin would not dare sponsor the bloody destabilization of Ukraine were Christie in charge. “I don’t believe, given who I am, that he would make the same judgment,” Christie said at a meeting of Republican activists. “Let’s leave it at that.” Christie is trying to bone up on world affairs by reading Kenneth Adelman’s book on Ronald Reagan. Adelman was the cheerful adviser to Donald Rumsfeld who insisted that the U.S. invasion of Iraq, in 2003, would be a “cakewalk.” Rick Perry, another 2016 hopeful, took a more parochial view of the geostrategic crisis when he suggested that Obama had blithely overlooked the “very real possibility” that the black-hooded executioners from the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham had already infiltrated the United States by way of the Mexican border. (According to Michael Barbaro, of the Times, this piece of intelligence elicited “eye rolls” from Pentagon officials.)

Obama’s foreign policy lacks the snarl and the swagger that Obama’s domestic rivals yearn for. But, halfway through this President’s second term, negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program have, at last, a realistic chance for success. Russia’s recent aggressions in eastern Ukraine may end in an uneasy truce. The gains have been unshowy and incremental. But when your aim is to conduct a responsive and responsible foreign policy, the avoidance of stupid things is often the avoidance of bloodshed and unforeseen strife. History suggests that it is not a mantra to be derided or dismissed. 9/15/14 Read more athttp://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2014/09/15/world-weary

6. Sen. Tom Udall and Sen. Bernie Sanders: The Threat to American Democracy

In 2010, the Supreme Court issued a disastrous 5-4 opinion striking down major parts of a 2002 campaign-finance reform law in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. This case and subsequent rulings, including McCutcheon v. FEC, have led to the explosion of outside money in elections through so-called super PACs. In the 2012 election, we quickly saw the results — 32 major super PAC donors combined to give more money than the millions of ordinary Americans who donated less than $200 each to Barack Obama or Mitt Romney. More than 60 percent of all super PAC funds came from just 159 donors, each of whom gave more than $1 million.

Even more worrisome is the explosion of “dark money” — dollars spent by groups that do not have to disclose their funding sources. The 2012 election saw almost $300 million in dark money spending, and the 2014 election could potentially see as much as $1 billion.

No single issue is more important to the needs of average Americans. If we cannot control billionaires’ power to buy elections, the people elected to office will be responsive to the needs of the rich and powerful, rather than the needs of everyone else.

When the Supreme Court says, for purposes of the First Amendment, that corporations are people, that writing checks from the company’s bank account is constitutionally protected speech and that attempts to impose reasonable restrictions on campaign ads are unconstitutional, our democracy is in grave danger. 9/07/14 Read more at http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/09/the-threat-to-american-democracy-110683.html

7. Sahil Kapur: GOP’s Obamacare Nightmare Is Coming True: It’s Working

For Republicans, the Obamacare reckoning has arrived sooner than expected.

The politics of the health care law have undergone a sea change since its disastrous rollout last fall, when many conservative operatives were salivating at the prospect of a GOP wave in the midterm elections due to an Obamacare “train wreck.”

But the train never wrecked. The law rebounded, surpassing its signups goal and withstanding a flurry of attacks. The issue seems to have mostly lost its power as a weapon against Democrats, and a growing number of Republican governors — even in conservative states — are warming to a core component of Obamacare, the Medicaid expansion.

Two decades later Obamacare has provided a lifeline by providing coverage to 8 million people on the exchanges, 7 million under Medicaid expansion and 5 million who bought insurance outside the exchanges but benefit from new regulations like the coverage guarantee for individuals with preexisting conditions. Even Republicans in deeply conservative states are suggesting that the popular new benefits cannot be taken away, even if the Obamacare brand still struggles. 9/08/14 Read more athttp://talkingpointsmemo.com/dc/obamacare-is-working

8. The Nation Editors: Mitch McConnell’s 47% Moment

Many political bookies have tipped the Republican Party to win the Senate in November. This scenario raises a vexing question: Just what will Mitch McConnell do if, instead of opposing and undermining, he must actually govern? In late August, The Nation and the YouTube channel The Undercurrent released an audiotape of McConnell addressing a private strategy session of millionaire and billionaire Republican donors convened in June by the notorious Koch brothers. His comments there, which some have compared to Mitt Romney’s “47 percent” gaffe, are revealing.

McConnell begins by paying tribute to his patrons, thanking the Kochs “for the important work you’re doing” and for “rallying…to the cause.” What is this cause? Putting Americans to work? Rebuilding the middle class? Unleashing free-market answers to catastrophic climate change?

No, even when faced with the prospect of Senate control, McConnell can’t seem to articulate a positive agenda—he envisions only more obstruction. As majority leader, he promises, “we’re not going to be debating all these gosh-darn proposals….All we do in the Senate [now],” he complains, “is vote on things like raising the minimum wage…extending unemployment…. The student loan package the other day,” he continues, ”that’s just going to make things worse.”

McConnell also tells the mega-donors that with Republicans in the majority, he intends to push back “against this bureaucracy by doing what’s called placing riders in the bill. No money can be spent to do this or that.” So what parts of government would McConnell starve? Big Oil? The Pentagon? No, McConnell pledges “to go after them on healthcare, on financial services, on the Environmental Protection Agency, across the board.” Remember the difference, McConnell tells the fat cats arrayed before him: “Democrats are the party of government,” and Republicans are “the party of the private sector.” 9/03/14 Read more athttp://www.thenation.com/article/181475/mitch-mcconnells-47-moment

9. James Carville: GOP’s Benghazi meter does not read victory

Team GOP has been gearing up for its biggest game of the season next week, when the House Select Committee on Benghazi will hold its first hearing. But with seconds left on the clock, Team GOP has a full 99 yards to go.

The truth has been revealed over and over again, and all of the questions have been answered. No matter how hard they try, they can’t beat the facts.

Reports from the three investigations that have taken place — the Accountability Review Board, the Senate Homeland Security and Government Oversight Committee and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence — have all blocked Team GOP’s goal. Just last month, we heard the results from the fourth bipartisan investigation, from the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, which reportedly confirmed there was no deliberate wrongdoing there.

All of these reports have debunked the GOP’s favorite play: that Clinton, as secretary of State, issued a “stand-down order” to U.S. military personnel on the night of the attack. Even the Republican-led House Armed Services Committee Report confirmed that Clinton did not issue any such order.

But Team GOP keeps trying this same play. Just this week, with the release of the new book, 13 Hours: The Inside Account of What Really Happened in Benghazi, I have seen countless conservative news sites, politicians, and newsmakers claim victory at last.

This latest book, constructed from firsthand accounts, has all but put a fork in Team GOP’s hopes to defeat Clinton. The book alleges that a “stand-down order” was given … and once again, Hillary Clinton isn’t anywhere near it, deflating the one remaining conspiracy theory Hail Mary they had.

First of all, the secretary of State did not have control over our country’s military assets on that tragic night, or any other for that matter. Second, while Issa said “Secretary Clinton told Leon [Panetta, then secretary of Defense] to stand down,” this paints a different picture. The work of the Accountability Review Board, the Homeland Security and Government Oversight Committee, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, the House Armed Services Committee and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence all lead to the simple fact that Clinton did not issue a “stand down order.”

As the final seconds of the Benghazi Bowl tick off the clock, Team GOP has fumbled the ball in its own end zone. 09/09/14 Read more at  http://thehill.com/opinion/james-carville/217201-carville-gops-benghazi-meter-does-not-read-victory

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Sep 4 – DIRECT eZine for Democrats #852

Sep 4 – DIRECT eZine for Democrats #852

ON THE RECORD ….

“The best part of my life is I’ve been hired to work for the people of the state of Maine and I’m very humble and very proud. The worst part of my life is newspapers are still alive.” —Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R). 8/28/14

“I’ve been indicted by that same body now for I think two counts, one of bribery, which I’m not a lawyer, so I don’t really understand the details here.” — Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) talking about the indictments against him – of which bribery was not one.

“7 Ways Children Can Have Fun at the Shooting Range” via @TeamWON— @NRAWomen — NRA women twitter while the rest of American media was showing videotape of a presumably now-traumatized 9-year-old girl losing control of a fully automatic Uzi before spraying her tourist-friendly “instructor” with bullets.

“There’s no way any of us can excuse what the president did yesterday. When you have the world watching … a week, two weeks of anticipation of what the United States is gonna do. For him to walk out —I’m not trying to be trivial here— in a light suit, light tan suit, saying that first he wants to talk about what most Americans care about the revision of second quarter numbers on the economy. This is a week after Jim Foley was beheaded and he’s trying to act like real Americans care about the economy, not about ISIS and not about terrorism.” — Rep. Peter King (R-NY) on an extended rant about the color of Obama’s suit. 8/29/14

“Whatever these murders think they’ll achieve by killing innocent Americans like Steven, they have already failed. They failed because, like people around the world, Americans are repulsed by their barbarism. We will not be intimidated. Their horrific acts only unite us as a country and stiffen our resolve to fight against these terrorists and those who make the mistake of harming Americans will learn that we will not forget and that our reach is long and that justice will be served.” — President Obama on the beheading of journalist Steven Sotloff. 9/03/14

“Blown away by the wind.” — Staff at an Arizona gun range on why the release forms signed by the family of a 9-year-old girl who accidentally killed her instructor with an Uzi last week were unavailable. 9/03/14

IN THIS ISSUE

FYI

1. GOP poll of women: Party ‘stuck in past’
2. Andy Borowitz: Nation Debates Extremely Complex Issue of Children Firing Military Weapons
3. The DAILY GRILL
4. From MEDIA MATTERS (They watch Fox News so you don’t have to)
5. Late Night Jokes for Dems (Revisited)
6. The Colbert Report
7. Mark Fiore Cartoon: Pentagon Hymn, the shores of Tripoli
8. Journalist Roughed Up And Removed From Georgia GOP Event
9. Senate forecast now gives Republicans only slight edge

OPINION

1. Brian Beutler: Yes, Republicans Are Threatening a Government Shutdown Fight
2. Dylan Scott: The GOP’s All-Out War On Obamacare Is In A Death Spiral
3. Robert Maguire: Election 2014 Is Drowning in Dark Money
4. Michael Cohen: The punditry vs. the presidency
5. Tim Dickinson: The Biggest Tax Scam Ever
6. Joan Walsh: The Magical President doesn’t exist: What the left must really do to defeat the wingnuts
7. John Avlon: A Brief History of Wingnuts in America; From George Washington to Woodstock
8. Michael A. Cohen: Congressional elections: expect more of the same
9. Simon Maloy: The right’s “tyranny” paranoia: Why climate deniers are so afraid of Obama now
10. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette editorial: Obama cools it: He has the right approach to foreign hot spots
11. Elizabeth Stoker Bruenig: Here’s Why You Helpless Tramps Don’t Vote Republican

1. GOP poll of women: Party ‘stuck in past’

A detailed report commissioned by two major Republican groups — including one backed by Karl Rove — paints a dismal picture for Republicans, concluding female voters view the party as “intolerant,” “lacking in compassion” and “stuck in the past.”

Women are “barely receptive” to Republicans’ policies, and the party does “especially poorly” with women in the Northeast and Midwest, according to an internal Crossroads GPS and American Action Network report obtained by POLITICO. It was presented to a small number of senior aides this month on Capitol Hill, according to multiple sources.

When female voters are asked who “wants to make health care more affordable,” Democrats have a 39 percent advantage, and a 40 percent advantage on who “looks out for the interests of women.” Democrats have a 39 percent advantage when it comes to who “is tolerant of other people’s lifestyles.”

Female voters who care about the top four issues — the economy, health care, education and jobs — vote overwhelmingly for Democrats. Most striking, Democrats hold a 35-point advantage with female voters who care about jobs and a 26 percent advantage when asked which party is willing to compromise. House Republicans say jobs and the economy are their top priorities.

Katie Packer Gage, a political strategist who focuses on improving GOP standing with female voters, said women think of “old, white, right, out of touch” men when they think of the Republican Party. 8/28/14 Read more athttp://www.politico.com/story/2014/08/gop-poll-of-women-party-stuck-in-past-110398.html

2. Andy Borowitz: Nation Debates Extremely Complex Issue of Children Firing Military Weapons

Across the United States on Wednesday, a heated national debate began on the extremely complex issue of children firing military weapons.

“Every now and then, the nation debates an issue that is so complicated and tricky it defies easy answers,” says pollster Davis Logsdon. “Letting small children fire automatic weapons is such an issue.”

Much like the long-running national debates about jumping off a roof, licking electrical sockets, and gargling with thumbtacks, the vexing question of whether children should fire military weapons does not appear headed for a swift resolution.

“Like the issue of whether you should sneak up behind a bear and jab it with a hot poker, this won’t be settled any time soon,” he says. Read more at http://www.newyorker.com/humor/borowitz-report/

3. The DAILY GRILL

“We know where ISIS is. What’s the harm of bombing them at least for a few weeks and seeing what happens?” —Bill Kristol, the editor of the Weekly Standard 8/27/14

VERSUS

“The Pentagon is still developing military options for the president, for the commander in chief, to use against ISIL in Syria. There are some who probably would make the case that it is okay to not have a formulated comprehensive strategy, but just as one pundit I know recently suggested that we could just go drop some bombs and see what happens. That is not what the president believes is a smart approach. The president believes it is important for us to pursue a comprehensive strategy where military action is one component of that strategy.” — White HouseSpokesman Josh Earnest 8/29/14

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

Daily Caller Column Blames Gay Service Members For Rise In Military Rapehttp://mediamatters.org/blog/2014/08/28/daily-caller-column-blames-gay-service-members/200579

O’Reilly Didn’t Want To Hear His Pro-Immigration Guests — So He Cut Their Micshttp://mediamatters.org/blog/2014/08/27/oreilly-didnt-want-to-hear-his-pro-immigration/200576

Laura Ingraham Tells Radio Listeners That Obama Considers Them, Not Islamic State, The “True Enemy”http://mediamatters.org/video/2014/08/29/laura-ingraham-tells-radio-listeners-that-obama/200596

Fox Revives Right-Wing Myth That Government Assistance Pays “Better Than Working”http://mediamatters.org/video/2014/08/28/fox-revives-right-wing-myth-that-government-ass/200592

Fox’s Erick Erickson Understands Why “So Many” Believe Obama “Is A Closet Muslim Jihadist Sympathizer”http://mediamatters.org/blog/2014/08/28/foxs-erick-erickson-understands-why-so-many-bel/200590

News Outlet: Karl Rove Twisted Our Reporting For His Anti-Dem Attack Adhttp://mediamatters.org/blog/2014/08/29/news-outlet-karl-rove-twisted-our-reporting-for/200597

A Fox News Analyst Blames Obama For Islamic State’s Beheading Of Steven Sotloffhttp://mediamatters.org/video/2014/09/02/a-fox-news-analyst-blames-obama-for-islamic-sta/200605

Sean Hannity Asks If Obama’s “Radical Indoctrination” Affects His Decision-Making On Strikes Against Islamic State http://mediamatters.org/video/2014/09/02/sean-hannity-asks-if-obamas-radical-indoctrinat/200612

Fox’s Ingraham: Registering Ferguson Residents To Vote Is Part Of “The Politics Of Division”http://mediamatters.org/video/2014/09/02/foxs-ingraham-registering-ferguson-residents-to/200611

5. Late Night Jokes for Dems (Revisited)

“New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is in Iowa campaigning at a big cookout because this is what you do if you want to be president. He’s out there all day telling people the hotdog line is closed for a traffic study.” –David Letterman

“A major wildfire in northern California is now being blamed on marijuana farmers. Everyone in the region’s really angry about it – unless they’re downwind, then they’re totally cool.” –Conan O’Brien

“There’s currently a petition to split California into several states. Among the new states would be Botoxia, Pornsylvania, and of course, the Commonwealth of Kardashiania.” –Conan O’Brien

“This week Dick Cheney called President Obama ‘the worst president of my lifetime.’ Oh come on, Obama may not be perfect, but there’s no way he’s worse than John Quincy Adams.” –Seth Meyers

“To avoid being spied on by the NSA, Germany is considering using typewriters now to communicate so we can’t spy on them. Germany says they may even go further back and start using AOL accounts.” –Conan O’Brien

“The border crisis continues. And a new poll shows the majority of Americans disapprove of how President Obama is dealing with immigration. Of course, those numbers could change if he lets more people into America.” –Seth Meyers

“According to a new study, the largest producer of oil is now the United States. So you know what that means – any day now we’ll be invading ourselves.” –David Letterman

“Rob Ford attended his first city council meeting. But it got weird when he said, ‘Hello, Toronto City Council!’ And they said, ‘This is Buffalo, sir . . . And you have to put a shirt on.'” –Jimmy Fallon

“Congrats to Joey Chestnut. On Friday he won the Fourth of July Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest by eating 61 hot dogs in 10 minutes. Another guy said, ‘But I ate a hundred!’ Then the judges said, ‘You have to wait until we say ‘Go!’, Governor Christie.'” –Jimmy Fallon

“That’s 61 hot dogs in 12 minutes, or as New Jersey Governor Chris Christie calls it – a snack.” –David Letterman

“I guess now Dick Cheney knows what it feels like when someone you though was a friend shoots you in the face.” –Jon Stewart on Fox News’ Megyn Kelly calling out Cheney for being wrong on Iraq

“Iraq is so bad that President Obama phoned Hillary Clinton and asked her if she could start early.” –David Letterman

“A Canadian woman was arrested for having an open container of liquor while driving Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s SUV. Although when Rob Ford’s in the car, anyone not smoking crack is legally considered a designated driver.” –Seth Meyers

6. The Colbert Report

Outrage in Ferguson:http://thecolbertreport.cc.com/videos/4komvc/outrage-in-ferguson

ISIS panic: http://thecolbertreport.cc.com/videos/2x4lop/isis-panic

7. Mark Fiore Cartoon: Pentagon Hymn, the shores of Tripoli

http://vimeo.com/104581483

8. Journalist Roughed Up And Removed From Georgia GOP Event

Nydia Tisdale, a citizen journalist, went to Burt’s Farm in Dawsonville, Georgia, to record video of speeches by David Perdue, the state’s GOP nominee for U.S. Senate, as well as Gov. Nathan Deal (R) and others.

The video of her being forcefully removed from the event begins at 14.05: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z4aNrT-0ITA#t=1010

9. Senate forecast now gives Republicans only slight edge

The Washington Post’s forecasting model now suggests Republicans have only a 52% chance of winning control of the U.S. Senate — down from an 86% chance in July. 9/03/14 Read more at http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2014/09/03/our-senate-model-is-moving-in-democrats-direction-all-of-a-sudden-why/

OPINION

1. Brian Beutler: Yes, Republicans Are Threatening a Government Shutdown Fight

A rump of Congressional Republicans, alarmed over reports that Obama intends to expand a program deferring deportation for low-priority immigrants, are thinking about using the appropriations process to make Obama relinquish his existing authority.

But the truth is practically irrelevant to the question of whether this presages a government shutdown fight. Just as it doesn’t really matter whether Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell actually has a government shutdown in mind when he promises to strong-arm Obama next year, or whether he intends to cave.

In either case he’s threatening to use the appropriations process as leverage to extract concessions. That’s a government shutdown fight. And no matter how he plays it, he will unleash forces he and other GOP leaders have proven incapable of restraining. They can’t control the plot.

That’s why Politico’s headline blared “McConnell’s plan to shut down Obama,” and HuffPost warned “Marco Rubio Hints At A Government Shut Down Fight.” Nobody’s saying a government shutdown will definitely happen. But a confrontation is very likely, and Republicans in Congress are the reason. Even if they never say the words “government shutdown.” 8/28/14 Read more athttp://www.newrepublic.com/article/119247/republican-government-shutdown-over-immigration-real-threat

2. Dylan Scott: The GOP’s All-Out War On Obamacare Is In A Death Spiral

Even though Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), who fancies himself to be a thought leader in the party, still tweets #FullRepeal with regularity, he’s become an increasingly lonely voice. The use of Obamacare as an effective Republican attack looks almost at its end. It’s been a long time coming.

The politics of Obamacare were never as good for Republicans as they said or necessarily as bad as some Democrats seemed to fear. Dating back to March, polls found that how the law in the midterm elections would affect voters was up in the air

The GOP hasn’t discarded Obamacare completely, of course. It was always primarily a tool for turning out the base, and many Republican voters still see the law as a picture of everything wrong with the Obama presidency. Colorado GOP Senate candidate Cory Gardner hit Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO) earlier this month in an ad over canceled plans under the law, including Gardner’s own family’s, a real callback to last fall.

But that ad is the exception that proves the rule. As the Times noted on Wednesday, Republicans have turned to other issues to try to fire up their base. Obamacare is now an undercard at best. We’ve come such a long way. 8/28/14 Read more athttp://talkingpointsmemo.com/dc/gop-obamacare-2014-elections-no-mas

3. Robert Maguire: Election 2014 Is Drowning in Dark Money

At the current rate, the Center for Responsive Politics projects that dark money spending in the 2014 midterms will easily match or surpass the spending records set in the last presidential elections. If the rate of spending from previous cycles continues, the totals by this Election Day could reach upwards of $730 million or—if the rate seen in the last midterm holds—edge close to $1 billion.

There are no signs of slowing either. Patriot Majority, for one, has already reported as much spending in 2014—$7 million—as it spent in the whole 2012 presidential cycle, and liberal dark money groups as a whole have spent much more so far this cycle, $14.2 million, than they spent in the entire 2009-2010 midterm elections, $10.3 million.

And despite the boom in liberal spending, these groups still don’t compare to their conservative counterparts. Groups on the right have reported spending more than $33 million in dark money, and that doesn’t include the months of unreported spending by groups making issue ads in states with tight races.

Organizations in the Koch network have been spending far more than they did in previous cycles. The $35 million that Americans for Prosperity had already reportedly spent by April of this year dwarfs the estimated $18.2 million it had spent by early August of 2012. AFP says it plans to spend $125 million in 2014—a more than $10 million increase over its overall expenditures in 2012 and nearly $100 million over its 2010 outlays.

Other groups within the Koch network like Freedom Partners and Libre Initiative—both of which claim educating or informing the public as a part of their mission—have begun running ads for the first time, making similarly dubious claims.

Voters around the country should brace themselves for a flood of spending in the coming months, but don’t expect the donors behind it to lay claim to the often deceptive political speech they enabled. 8/28/14 Read more athttp://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/08/28/election-2014-is-drowning-in-dark-money.html

4. Michael Cohen: The punditry vs. the presidency

If there is any one lesson from the conduct of U.S. foreign policy in the nearly 13 years since Sept. 11, 2001 it is that – exceptionalist rhetoric notwithstanding – America is far from omnipotent. For all its global influence, the United States cannot dictate world events or force other nations, even close allies, to bend to its will.

Failure to recognize the very real limitations on American power, or the dangerous side effects of many seductively “tough-sounding” strategies, masks the vexing and often imperfect choices that are integral to foreign policy decision-making.

Worst of all, the constant calls for a quick and usually muscular response to perceived national security threats gives Americans a false sense of insecurity. The fact is, while people may be relentlessly, breathlessly trying to make us believe that we’re on the cusp of World War III, the world is actually pretty safe.

Of course, because pundits crave cartoonish notions of leadership and are allergic to uncertainty and deliberation, the President’s ill-considered but honest statement Thursday that the U.S. has “no strategy yet” for dealing with ISIS set off a firestorm of mockery.

But the recognition that any U.S. strategy will be dependent on the contributions of others, will develop and evolve over time and, above all, cannot be constructed on the fly, should be welcomed. While U.S. engagement may help defeat ISIS, it almost certainly will not be decisive. Inevitably it is Iraqis who will shape the destiny of Iraq.

Understanding this with some measure of humility is not a strength of American pundits, for whom everything is about the United States – and, even more simplistic than that, about its President.

Managing America’s role in the world isn’t a game. 8/31/14 Read more at http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/punditry-presidency-article-1.1921882

5. Tim Dickinson: The Biggest Tax Scam Ever

Last year the IRS finally collected more in tax receipts than it did before the crash in 2007. But dig a little deeper into the numbers and it is clear we haven’t returned to normal: Corporations paid nearly $100 billion less in federal income taxes last year than before the Great Recession – down nearly 40 percent as a share of GDP. In fact, corporate profits and corporate tax collections are now trending in opposite directions. Profits were up $93 billion last year – to a high of $2.1 trillion, according to the Commerce Department. Yet corporate tax payments actually fell last year by more than $15 billion.

How is this possible?

It goes way beyond inversion. The top names in American business – from Apple to Xerox – have joined in the greatest tax dodge in world history. Using clever accounting games, these corporations have siphoned majestic sums out of the country and into tax-haven shell companies – where the money is untouchable by the IRS.

The numbers are staggering. More than $2 trillion in U.S.-based multinational profits currently sit in offshore accounts, representing, by credible estimates, in excess of $500 billion in unpaid taxes. If that money were deposited in federal coffers tomorrow, it would wipe out the deficit for 2014. And every year that Congress dithers on a crackdown, America is forfeiting an approximate $90 billion in revenue. 8/27/14 Read more at http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/the-biggest-tax-scam-ever-20140827

6. Joan Walsh: The Magical President doesn’t exist: What the left must really do to defeat the wingnuts

The belief that somehow Obama can lead us out of our summer of misery reflects Magical President thinking. Which leads me back to the rapidly approaching and dispiriting midterms. When I reviewed Rick Perlstein’s “Invisible Bridge,” I noted that the major political difference between the right and left seems to be that when defeated and disillusioned, the right gets back to the nuts and bolts work of electoral politics. The left, or some of it, disintegrates, a flank here promoting direct action over electoral politics (a debate that’s understandably renewed by events in Ferguson); a flank there preaching about a third party; and one over there fantasizing about the perfect left-wing challenge to the mainstream Democratic candidate, like that dreamy African-American senator who opposed the war in Iraq who looked so magical eight years ago. Meanwhile, Republicans count on division on the left, and low turnout by the Democratic base of younger, poorer non-white voters, to help them take back the Senate.

And when they do, Mitch McConnell has promised only more obstruction and gridlock. I should point out, this isn’t just a byproduct of Republican victories, but one of the goals. It’s become obvious in the GOP’s approach to Obama that obstruction is at least partly intended to demoralize the reluctant, occasional voters in the Democratic base. For if there’s no action on those “gosh darn” issues, in McConnell’s words, like a minimum wage hike, student loan relief or extended unemployment insurance, let alone immigration reform or climate change, even after Obama became the first president since Dwight Eisenhower to win more than 50 percent of the vote twice, those of us who say that voting is the most reliable path to social change sound either foolish or dishonest. People say, why bother?

Democrats have two months to make sure this election doesn’t turn out like 2010 did. It’s not about the president right now, and we shouldn’t wait until 2016 for a new magical president. The kind of thoroughgoing change we need won’t happen in eight years, or even 80. It’s an eternal battle, the constant effort to expand the realm of human freedom to everyone, against the constant crusade by the wealthy to ensure that the trappings of human dignity – education, leisure, family life, childhood itself – are reserved for those who can afford to pay for them. The Kochs and their allies are trying to repeal the 20th century. Progressives can’t just suit up for that battle every four years. 9/01/14 Read more at http://www.salon.com/2014/09/01/
the_magical_president_doesnt_exist_what_the_left_must_really_do_to_defeat_the_wingnuts/

7. John Avlon: A Brief History of Wingnuts in America; From George Washington to Woodstock

In the long journey from frontier expansion to landing on the moon, there are clear common undercurrents to the paranoid politics advanced by the Wingnuts during different eras in America.

There is always the divisive drumbeat of ‘us against them’—the demagogue’s favorite formula. There is always an emotional appeal to an idealized past, targeted to people who feel besieged by cultural change, paired with the promise of a well-deserved return to power after years of resentment. And there is always the sale of special knowledge, pulling the curtain back on a monstrous conspiracy that will prove once and for all that your political opponents are not just misguided, but evil. The result is not only vindication, but also the self-serving sense that only you can save the republic.

Against this backdrop it’s easy to see the patterns in our recent history, where the angry impulse to delegitimize duly elected presidents of the United States leads to irrational hatreds and cynical posturing. But for some folks, there is a temptation to look at this twisted American history and then use it to rationalize away the unhinged excesses of our own times. The more self-congratulatory among them might be tempted to compare their feuds favorably to the founding fathers’ ugliest partisan fights, providing both benediction and absolution for any hate they might hurl at opponents.

But that self-serving spin obscures the real lesson: Today’s unhinged hyper-partisans are not likely to look any better or wiser in the rearview mirror than the Wingnuts of our past. Instead, they will be at best a stale and bitter punchline of our times and then fade, unloved, into obscurity. 8.17.14 Read more at http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/08/17/a-brief-history-of-wingnuts-in-america-from-george-washington-to-woodstock.html

8. Michael A. Cohen: Congressional elections: expect more of the same

The GOP’s solid control of the House should, ideally, not matter as much as it does. There have been plenty of moments when different parties controlled Congress and the White House and, amazingly, legislation was actually passed.

But today American politics has become less of a bicameral democracy and more a parliamentary one, which means that voting along regional lines, or even parochially, has been replaced by straight party-line votes. Republicans, who are supported by uncompromising extremists, vote like uncompromising extremists — that is, when they can agree among themselves, which is increasingly difficult. Democrats follow in turn — and legislating becomes purely symbolic politicking, with no expectation on anyone’s part that bills will become law or that votes matter any more than how they can be spun by political opponents at the next election.

The one outlier this fall is gubernatorial races in places like Wisconsin, Florida, Maine, Kansas, and Pennsylvania, where voters will have the opportunity to weigh in on the Tea Party Republicans who won in the wave election of 2010. These ballots actually do matter because, increasingly, state houses — for better or for worse — are the only places in America where legislative democracy still seems to exist.

But on the national level, 2014 is merely a warm-up for 2016, when Democrats will be poised for bigger gains with the likely presence of Hillary Clinton on the presidential ticket. In the meantime, serious national challenges like growing income inequality, crumbling infrastructure, a tattered safety net, and the unresolved status of millions of undocumented immigrants (to name a few) will remain unaddressed. It’s hard to find much excitement in an election that will almost certainly guarantee two more years of nothing happening in Washington. 8/29/14 Read more at http://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2014/08/29/congressional-elections-expect-more-same/kZFnTs96Lbbi3W0irjxThK/story.html

9. Simon Maloy: The right’s “tyranny” paranoia: Why climate deniers are so afraid of Obama now

One of the hallmarks of conservative commentary over the past few years has been the impressive ability of right-wing pundits to adhere to several different and contradictory caricatures of President Obama without suffering the slightest hint of cognitive dissonance.

Obama’s vacation has come to an end, and he’s transitioned from a golf-crazy layabout who doesn’t even want to preside over the nation into a tyrannical pseudo-king who is ramming his socialist policies down the national gullet.

The socialist tyranny in question is “a sweeping international climate change agreement to compel nations to cut their planet-warming fossil fuel emissions,” as reported by the New York Times. Conservatives, who tend to believe that climate change is a scam and international cooperation undermines “American Exceptionalism,” lost their minds. “Obama’s Lawless, Heartless Climate Treaty” was the headline at Commentary. “Obama’s new power grab: A climate change treaty without Senate ratification,” screamed Hot Air.

The argument that Obama’s climate agreement is “lawless” isn’t quite accurate. Per the Times, the plan is to update an existing treaty from 1992 and secure “voluntary pledges” from other nations, thus (in the White House’s view) obviating the need for Senate action. And as Newsweek explains, there is actually a heretofore unutilized section of the Clean Air Act that allows the U.S. to enter into precisely such agreements, and without the approval of Congress.

The people who insist upon calling this a “power grab” are actually missing the point; this is the administration opting for weaker policy options because the problem is too important to leave unresolved, and something is better than nothing. “Such an accord would likely fall short of the deep emissions cuts needed to stave off the planet’s warming by more than 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit (2 degrees Celsius) over pre-industrial levels — the ceiling that world leaders agreed to in Copenhagen in 2009,” writes Rebecca Leber at the New Republic. To craft any sort of policy with teeth, the Republicans would have to reverse course on climate change and become constructive agents of governance. And that’s just not going to happen.

But, for the person who thinks that Obama does nothing “while the world burns,” here he is doing something to address the actual increase in temperature of the actual world. 8/29/14 Read more athttp://www.salon.com/2014/08/29/the_rights_tyranny_paranoia_why_climate_deniers_are_so_afraid_of_obama_now/

10. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette editorial: Obama cools it: He has the right approach to foreign hot spots

President Barack Obama’s approach to the U.S. role in burning conflicts of the Middle East and Ukraine, expressed in a press conference Thursday, promises that appropriate reflection and consultation will precede any further action.

In taking that position, Mr. Obama reflects the attitude of most members of Congress, which will return to Washington after Labor Day, as well as that of the American public, who remain unenthusiastic about U.S. involvement in another war. The Iraq War is ostensibly over, the Afghanistan War is drawing to a close and the U.S. economy is showing tender signs of recovery.

On Ukraine, Mr. Obama stated clearly that he sees recent developments between that country and Russia as part of a continuity over past months. He said, categorically, “We are not taking military action to solve the Ukrainian problem.” In stating America’s commitment to respect its obligations to NATO members, such as Estonia, which he will visit next week after a NATO summit in Wales, he noted that America does not have such treaty obligations to Ukraine.

On Syria, where some U.S. political figures are beating the drums for American military action, Mr. Obama also made it clear that, although the United States would continue to take action in Iraq to protect Americans in the embassy in Baghdad and the office in Irbil in the Kurdish area, he would not expand military efforts there without consulting Congress and without building an international coalition in the region to include Sunni states.

Whether it was the golf, or the break with the family at Martha’s Vineyard, Mr. Obama’s posture as the United States approaches the super-heated fall political season is, correctly, one of pouring cooling balm on the flames of war that others are fanning in Ukraine, Iraq and Syria. 8/30/14 Read more at http://www.post-gazette.com/opinion/editorials/2014/08/30/Obama-cools-it-He-has-the-right-approach-to-foreign-hot-spots/stories/201408300022

11. Elizabeth Stoker Bruenig: Here’s Why You Helpless Tramps Don’t Vote Republican

The “welfare queen” may be the coup-de-grace of Republican dependency animus, a coalescence of every ounce of fear and loathing for the ostensibly indolent that Reaganites could muster. The idea of the welfare queen has been enormously successful, clinging even now to the public imagination when assistance programs are debated. While the image of the welfare queen has been called out for its racialized components, it’s worth nothing that it’s also a heavily gendered, markedly sexualized vision of dependency.

Because the “welfare queen” of stereotypical lore is imagined to rely on the state for support instead of a husband, people tend to see women who use welfare as having failed to aptly live out “family ethics.” The association between state and husband in conservative dependency mythology goes a long way to intimating a pernicious pseudo-sexual relationship between the woman welfare recipient and the “welfare regime,” such as it is. No such accusations tend to fall upon male welfare recipients who, though they may be construed as deadbeats or losers, at least aren’t depicted as ersatz prostitutes.

So the dependency story is strange and uneven, and especially nasty when it comes to women. It probably isn’t such a slam-dunk rhetorical strategy for luring women voters into the Republican fold. Why rely on it?

Republicans can rely on the same old destructive narratives all they want, but women voters are unlikely to be fooled by bad storytelling or awful family policy. If Republican strategists really want to snare the female vote, they’ll need more than better optics. 8/31/14 Read more at http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/08/31/here-s-why-you-helpless-tramps-don-t-vote-republican.html

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Public ‘Taxes’ for Private Gain – Who Runs San Diego?

Public ‘Taxes’ for Private Gain – Who Runs San Diego?

Womans-Democratic-Logo-300x200There’s an illuminating article on San Diego’s Transient Occupancy Tax at the San Diego Free Press website.

Written by Cory Briggs it’s part of a series of articles by the newly reformed Democratic Woman’s Club on Who Runs San Diego?

The TOT “stands for missed opportunities, fiscal irresponsibility, and a shameful abrogation of civic responsibility to the moneyed interest of hoteliers.”

Together with the Tourism Marketing District (TMD) “tax” the article describes how the people who run San Diego seek to use public money to line their private pockets.

Follow the series each Wednesday on the San Diego Free Press. You can also catch up on the previous articles at the Democratic Woman’s Club website, or at Medium.com.

On Medicare’s Anniversary, Scott Peters Keeps Working to Strengthen & Protect It

On Medicare’s Anniversary, Scott Peters Keeps Working to Strengthen & Protect It

interior-bannerProtecting and strengthening Medicare and Medicaid are among Rep. Scott Peters’ top priorities in Congress. Today, on the 49th anniversary of their creation, Peters reaffirms his commitment to them and reminds voters of his work to make sure seniors continue to have access to affordable and reliable health care.

Peters is a member of the Democratic Caucus Seniors Task Force and was recently recognized by a health-care advocacy group for his work to keep prescription drugs affordable for seniors.

“Medicare and Medicaid are a lifeline for many seniors,” Rep. Peters said. “Seniors who have spent decades paying into them deserve the peace of mind of knowing the benefits they’ve earned through a lifetime of hard work will be there for them.”

In sharp contrast, Carl DeMaio has praised Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget proposal that would turn Medicare into a voucher program.

Peters has taken numerous steps during his first term in Congress to make sure seniors have health-care security. He successfully fought against drastic cuts to the Medicare Advantage Program by meeting with a group of leaders including White House officials and the head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

His successful efforts to protect Medicare’s Part D affordable prescription drug coverage earned him praise from the Healthcare Leadership Council, which wrote: “Thanks to Medicare Part D, seniors and the disabled get coverage plans. And thanks to Representative Scott Peters, we can all still rely on that.

Rep. Peters also voted to ensure that doctors continue to receive reimbursements that allow them to provide Medicare recipients with high-quality health care. And he co-sponsored the Preventing and Reducing Improper Medicare and Medicaid Expenditures Act, which helps keep these benefits sustainable by cracking down on fraud and abuse.

Over and over again, Rep. Peters has been clear and vocal in his opposition to turning Medicare into a private voucher system, noting that such a system will produce a spike in out-of-pocket healthcare costs for seniors.


 

If you’re interested in working to re-elect Scott Peters contact us to join our Grassroots Organizing Team.

July 18 – Net Neutrality FCC Deadline For Comments Extended

July 18 – Net Neutrality FCC Deadline For Comments Extended

Imagine an electrical network that wasn’t neutral. You’d buy a new toaster, you’d come home, plug it in and discover that because the grid owner had made a deal with the other toaster manufacturers, your new toaster wouldn’t work.

POINT LOMA & OB DEMS

The deadline for the first round of comments to the FCC on the subject of Net Neutrality is Tuesday, July 15.

According to John Oliver, the only two words that promise more boredom in the English language are “featuring Sting.” He went on to explain that Net Neutrality is “actually hugely important.

This short video explains why. To paraphrase Colombia Law Professor Tim Wu:

Imagine an electrical network that wasn’t neutral. You’d buy a new toaster, you’d come home, plug it in and discover that because the grid owner had made a deal with the other toaster manufacturers, your new toaster wouldn’t work.

If you believe in a land of opportunity, then you believe in the open internet. Most Democrats believe that broadband networks should be treated as a utility, a common carrier, and the FCC should simply reclassify them as such.

Some argue that reclassification introduces an unnecessary burden of regulation on…

View original post 181 more words

Tell the San Diego City Council: Time to Raise the Minimum Wage

Tell the San Diego City Council: Time to Raise the Minimum Wage

raisewageOn Monday, the San Diego Council will cast a vote that could greatly improve the lives of thousands of families in our region and stimulate growth in our local economy.

They will formally hear Council President Todd Gloria’s proposal to raise the minimum wage and provide access to five earned sick days for working people in San Diego. This reasonable proposal resulted from meaningful input from diverse stakeholders, including organized labor and business.

Even working full-time at the current minimum wage, it’s impossible to live in San Diego without public or private assistance (mostly at taxpayer expense). Yet special interests and their lobbyists are pushing to block this important measure. That’s why the City Council needs to hear from you!

Please call the councilmembers (numbers below), click here to send a letter, and/or attend the City Council meeting on Monday, July 14, at 6:00 p.m. (RSVP here.)

The hearing will be on the 12th floor of City Hall at 202 C St., San Diego 92101. Three-hour free parking with validation is available at Horton Plaza, and street parking is free after 6:00 p.m.

When you call the council offices, please use the following “patch-through” phone numbers instead of their main numbers so we can track our progress:

Councilmember Sherri Lightner, District 1: 619-320-6458
Councilmember Ed Harris, District 2: 619-320-6422
Council President Todd Gloria, District 3: 619-320-6401
Councilmember Myrtle Cole, District 4: 619-320-6437
Councilmember Mark Kersey, District 5: 619-320-6003
Councilmember Lorie Zapf, District 6: 619-320-6531
Councilmember Scott Sherman, District 7: 619-320-6606
Councilmember David Alvarez, District 8: 619-320-4954
Councilmember Marti Emerald, District 9: 619-320-6615

Facts About San Diego’s Minimum Wage Increase Proposal:

  • Expands access to earned sick days to over 285,000 San Diegans
  • Increases the wages of some 170,000 San Diegans
  • Raises the annual earnings of impacted workers an average of approximately $2,800
  • Puts about $580 million into the pockets of San Diego’s lowest-income working families, who will turn around and spend most of that money at local stores and businesses.
4th July Parade 2014

4th July Parade 2014

Another July 4th parade and again a “good time was had by all”.

How bad could it be? Bagels and cream cheese (supplied by Judy Bambace), good friends, great weather, stimulating conversation and getting together to demonstrate that there are many active, enthusiastic Democrats in Coronado. We are proud to be participants in the city’s joyous celebration of our country’s birthday.

We had cars, bikes, walkers, riders and lots of enthusiasm. Such a wonderful feeling to be part of this citywide event. Our goals continue to be two fold, first we encourage everyone to work toward keeping our environment healthy and we urge all to support our troops and to hire our veterans as they return to their families, home and community.

Thank you Patti Flores Charter for pulling our group together. How you managed to get us all mobilized, fed and hydrated is remarkable. You only work full time, travel for business and care for your home and family. You are a modern day Super Woman! Great job Patti! Thank you.

July 4th – Come Join Us at the Parade

If you’re heading to the Parade on the 4th be sure to wear your Democratic togs. It is our chance to demonstrate to the community that there are lots of  Dems here in Coronado and that we have an active, vibrant club.  So come along and be part of this year’s  celebration.

Better still drag along your family and friends.

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