National Democrats are supporting Assemblywoman Christy Smith over progressive commentator Cenk Uygur in the March 3 top-two primary in California’s vacant 25th Congressional District, and they’re also now making it clear exactly which Republican they want Smith to end up facing.
The DCCC has begun what Politico reports is a $318,000 buy attacking Navy veteran Mike Garcia, who is competing with former Rep. Steve Knight next month for a spot in both the May 12 special election for the final months of former Democratic Rep. Katie Hill’s term and in the November general election for a full two-year term. The DCCC spot declares that Garcia backed a tax increase for middle class families while his business repeatedly failed to pay its own taxes.
It's an election year and a census year, so of course the Republican Party is sending out a deceptive "census" form nationwide, one that's really a fundraiser. A Tallahassee, Florida resident got one and shared it with the Tampa Bay Times. It's labeled as a "2020 Congressional District Census."
"You've been selected to represent voters in Florida's 2nd Congressional District," it says, along with the admonition that "Your participation is urgently needed. The Los Angeles Times reported that the mailers started showing up in California last week, in an envelope that warns "Do not destroy," and claims the mail is an "official document." It is actually an attempt to raise money for the Republican Party and a "loyalty pledge" to Trump.
I almost did a post about brokered conventions, but then I remembered something my old gran used to say about “borrowing trouble” and thought better of it. Instead, here is quite possibly the coolest song ever recorded, Só Tinha de Ser Com Você, from Brazilian singer Elis Regina and singer-songwriter-pianist Antônio Carlos Jobim:
Ah, that’s better.
Did your old gran have a saying about borrowing trouble? I had two old grans and was lucky enough to keep both decades after most of my peers lost their old grans; both of mine died within the last 5 years. They were very different women.
One was a ferociously judgmental yet adventurous school teacher, Baptist preacher’s wife and health food nut who lived in town and only listened to Christian programming on the radio. The other was the occasionally foul-mouthed, cigarette-smoking wife of a long-haul trucker who lived out in the country and listened to Johnny Cash and Patsy Cline.
They had one thing in common: both were known for making cutting remarks. (Maybe it’s an old Southern lady thing.)
Schoolteacher Gran once took a look at me and asked if I used a lawn mower to cut my hair (it was the late 80s, and my ‘do was quite stylish for the time, thankyewveramuch!). Country Gran once informed a plumpish cousin that while the top the cousin was wearing might be sold in that size, that didn’t mean she should wear it. Ouch!
PS: If you do want to read something about brokered conventions, Charles P. Pierce covers it here.
Here’s the first of the post-debate polls I’ve been waiting for:
The good news for Mike Bloomberg is that debates seldom affect poll numbers much. So even though he bombed horribly, he only went down three points in the post-debate poll. He still has plenty of time to dust himself off and do better in next week’s debate.
BTW, it’s obvious that I was way out of step in my assessment of Bloomberg’s performance. Even my friends are laughing at me. I think a couple of things explain it. First, I tend to discount loud attacks because I’ve seen them so many times before and they bore me. So the fact that Warren went hard after Bloomberg didn’t really affect me much. Second, I assumed going in that Bloomberg would be attacked mercilessly, so I had already priced that in. His listless response merely meant that he had done a little more poorly than I expected, not that he had bombed.
The rest of the world obviously disagrees, giving Bloomberg approximately a -5 on a scale on 1 to 10. But I have to admit that even two days later I’ve only moved a little bit. I’ll concede that Bloomberg did worse than I thought, but I still don’t think it was a catastrophic performance. But he’d better improved next week.
Hark! Who art yonder cat?
Why, I believe it’s Lord Hilbert, hanging around on our neighbor’s fence. Nobody lives there at the moment, though, so nobody can object. Not that anyone would, I’m sure.
Nearly two weeks ago, plaintiffs filed a pair of motions in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia seeking summary judgments against Donald Trump’s shrinking of two national monuments in Utah—Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante. "The proposed summary judgment motions will be 'partial' in the sense that they seek to resolve plaintiffs' entitlement to relief on their core claims that the President lacks constitutional or statutory authority to revoke or reduce a national monument," according to the motions.
In briefs filed on Wednesday, the Department of Justice is seeking a summary judgment of its own against lawsuits filed by five American Indian tribes and environmental advocates seeking a reversal of Trump’s decision to greatly reduce the size of both monuments, one designated by President Bill Clinton, one by President Barack Obama. Thus begins a months-long court duel over the future of the monuments and constitutional separation of powers.
After we spent weeks looking forward to the day when the number of new cases of COVID-19 would fall below the rate of recovery, that day actually came on Thursday … but without much reason to celebrate. Even as hard-hit Hubei province in China was showing signs of finally arresting the growth of the disease in the epicenter of the outbreak, and the strain on the Chinese healthcare system eased just slightly, there were increasing signs that attempts to prevent COVID-19 from establishing fresh centers of infection in other nations were failing.
There were 29 cases in South Korea when this series first broke out the cases in a nation-by-nation chart on Tuesday. Since then, that number has doubled. Then doubled again. And again. On Friday morning, 204 cases of COVID-19 had been diagnosed in South Korea, 187 of them active, after another 93 were added overnight. Meanwhile, Iran wasn’t even on the chart at the beginning of the week, and now it’s not only climbing the charts, but it has become, in just three days, the nation with the most COVID-19 deaths other than China.
Friday morning, impeached president Donald Trump tweeted out an ALL CAPS edict: "If our formally targeted farmers need additional aid until such time as the trade deals with China, Mexico, Canada and others fully kick in, that aid will be provided by the federal government, paid for out of the massive tariff money coming into the USA!" Except that it was, again, in all caps.
Problem number 1: he still doesn't understand how tariffs work. The massive tariff money isn't coming into the U.S., it is being paid by U.S. taxpayers in the form of higher prices for the things we are buying. Problem number 2: his Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue has said, as recently as Thursday no new farmer subsidies. "I would not anticipate" another round of aid Perdue said at USDA's annual Agricultural Outlook Forum in Arlington, Virginia. He said that farmers have "got to farm for the market and what it's telling them and what their capabilities are from a production perspective."
People often wonder where the radical right—the neo-Nazis and white nationalists and alt-righters—get their funding, besides the occasional online fundraiser. The truth is somewhat bland but disturbing: Most of their money comes through discreet donations from relatively anonymous individuals with significant wealth accrued through nondescript means including finance, real estate, construction, and the like.
New York Magazine’s Sarah Jones performed a public service this week by diving into the tax records of one such financier, a “libertarian” donor named Robert P. Rotella. (Full disclosure: I am quoted in this article.) What she revealed was a portrait of a quiet support network: namely, a range of significant financial support for a broad menu of far-right organizations, mostly disguised by being intermingled with a larger number of mainstream conservative and libertarian groups.
There's a bit more clarity now to the story of the briefing to the House Intelligence Committee that may or may not have contributed to acting director of national intelligence Joseph Maguire's departure from the Trump administration. According to The New York Times, the mysterious briefing that Republicans and impeached president Donald Trump so objected to was about Russia interfering in this election, the 2020 one.
Five people familiar with the matter told the Times that the Feb. 13 briefing included a warning to lawmakers that Russia was interfering to get Trump reelected, a "disclosure that angered Mr. Trump, who complained that Democrats would use it against him," as opposed to using it to try to secure the election and prevent Russia from mucking about in it again. The Times reports that the next day, Trump "berated Joseph Maguire, the outgoing acting director of national intelligence, for allowing it to take place" and the fact that Rep. Adam Schiff, the committee chairman, was present to hear it was "a particular irritant."
This story was on the TPM morning reading list:
But in some places, the four-day concept is taking off like a viral meme. Many employers aren’t just moving to 10-hour shifts, four days a week, as companies like Shake Shack are doing; they’re going to a 32-hour week — without cutting pay. In exchange, employers are asking their workers to get their jobs done in a compressed amount of time.
Last month, a Washington state senator introduced a bill to reduce the standard workweek to 32 hours. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev is backing a parliamentary proposal to shift to a four-day week. Politicians in Britain and Finland are considering something similar.
I went to the grocery store this morning, since I work from home and have a flexible schedule, and it’s a big hassle to go when everyone else is out of work. It’s school break week here in Rochester, so a lot of kids were shopping with both of their parents, which of course isn’t the case on school days. The younger kids were just loving life: no school, and time with Mom and Dad, a very precious commodity when both parents work 40 hour weeks. It’s even worse for children of parents who have to work multiple jobs because of the shitty low wages and crap benefits.
In our robot manufacturing and service economy future, less time worked for more pay, and semi-skilled jobs that pay enough so only one parent has to work, would mean that we would have enough jobs to go around, and that parents could spend more time with their kids. But it’s kind of like a Presidential candidate saying he or she is an atheist, or perhaps even worse, for one of them to say we all need to work less. How would the Waltons and Jeff Bezos survive if they paid their employees more for less work? I’t simply unimaginable.
What happens in Vegas … probably doesn’t have a huge impact outside of Vegas, except maybe from the perspective of expectations-setting going into Super Tuesday, when the prizes in the more-populous states are much bigger. And if a contested National Democratic Convention happens (which is looking significantly more likely, given the cluttered primary field and mixed bag of state-level polls that we’re seeing), it’s likely that every single delegate is potentially important!
We’re talking, of course, about the Nevada Democratic caucuses, which will happen on Saturday afternoon. Everyone has their fingers crossed that Nevada will not be marred by the same sort of technology failures that plagued this year’s Iowa caucuses. Party officials have already tried to streamline the process, switching from a planned app to a simpler reporting method using Google Forms. However, volunteers are already expressing worries about confusing instructions and poor training on how to use the vote-recording system, as well as about the system’s security and just simple mechanics, such as whether every caucus site has Wi-Fi adequate to transmit the results.
When Elizabeth Warren sent out a plea to supporters last week for critically needed funds as her campaign geared up for Super Tuesday, she set a goal of raising $7 million before the Nevada caucuses. At that moment, the media had already edited Warren out of the 2020 narrative, talking almost exclusively about Bernie Sanders, Pete Buttigieg, and Joe Biden coming out of Iowa, and then adding Amy Klobuchar into the mix as the token female worth mentioning following her surprise third-place finish in New Hampshire.
Reporters and pundits had effectively left Warren's campaign for dead. Nonetheless, she was hanging on to fourth place nationally (behind Sanders, Biden, and Bloomberg), and although she had dropped several points in the past month, she hadn't cratered as precipitously as Biden.
After that shellacking Michael Bloomberg took Wednesday night at the Democratic presidential debate, Sen. Elizabeth Warren predicted, "You know what I'll bet he's doing right now? I'll bet he's reaching in his pocket and spending $100 million more on advertising to try to erase everyone's memory of what happened last night." As a reminder, he was put on the defensive time and again over his record on sexual harassment, opposition to Obamacare, stop and frisk, his tax return, and how he's trying to buy the election. In short, he was exposed as the flip side of the Donald Trump coin. He doesn't seem to get that, which makes him even Trumpier.
I’ve always thought of myself as a good person. And for the most part, I suppose, I am. I’ve done some bad things, of course. I’ve been ferociously drunk, loudly munched Corn Nuts during somber moments of silence, sung the unabridged 17-minute version of “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” off-key while baked out of my mind on Super Skunk, cut off my brother’s mullet while he was sleeping, done a classic Danny Thomas spit-take with a chalice of communion wine—and all during my nephew’s wedding ceremony, it turns out.
But while I’m not particularly shy about confessing my sins to anyone other than a priest, this one cuts to the quick: Once upon a midnight dreary, I was a Republican.
I don't listen to Rush Limbaugh, but I read the occasional transcript on his website. The headline of this transcribed segment from this Thursday's radio show caught my eye.
The Rare Heart and Character of the Donald Trump I Know
"Rare heart and character"? Do tell, Rush.
Limbaugh teased his listeners for a while:
... what is ironic about it is that people who only have formed an opinion of Trump based on criticism he gets in the media, when you tell them he has depth of character and heart, you lose ’em. They think the last thing Trump has is character. They think he’s totally devoid. They think he’s brusque and he’s an ogre.
Gosh, I can't imagine how anyone would come to that conclusion.
But when you get to know him personally, and I mean really get to know him, and you encounter the can-do, will-do, there’s no way we can be stopped personality, then you realize how rare it is. If there’s any self-doubt in Donald Trump, he will never portray it, unless he’s joking about something. And even when he’s joking, he’s serious. He is somebody that doesn’t take “no” for an answer, but never manipulates you and never commands and never demands.
You end up doing what he wants even when you think you can’t. But not because you have been intimidated or made afraid. It’s hard to describe....
On Thursday, Judge Amy Berman Jackson sentenced longtime Trump adviser and Nixon-era dirty trickster Roger Stone to 40 months in prison for his conviction on seven counts, including perjury and obstruction. However, Stone hasn’t gone directly to jail. Instead, he’s gone straight to appeal, where some other judge will have to review the overwhelming evidence—including Stone threatening to kill a witness’ dog.
The day ended with Stone strolling out with a sentence exactly half of what the Department of Justice had been recommending a month ago. That may have been inevitable, as Jackson made it clear that she regarded the sentencing guidelines for these white-collar crimes to be too high. But that didn’t stop several moments of the hearing from demonstrating just what it means when the Justice Department declares that it just doesn’t give a #$@! about justice.
Trump’s narcissistic (and imbecilic) power grabs are now destroying the US intelligence services that help defend the nation from foreign adversaries.
Donald picked an unqualified ex-Fox News contributor as his acting Director of National Intelligence. Richard Grinnel has no intelligence experience except making a fool of himself while representing America in Germany as its Ambassador.
And get this: he plans to REMAIN Ambassador to Germany while acting as DNI chief. Some trick.
Grenell will remain as ambassador to Germany while serving as intelligence chief. Seems like Grenell’s job as intelligence chief is to play dumb. https://t.co/dVd9xzOanD
— Sarah Heller ✍️ (@Sheller49) February 21, 2020
Former CIA director John Brennan told MSNBC's Morning Joe crew that Trump has decapitated the intelligent agencies by removing stalwarts for sycophants.
Brennan served under six different presidents and didn't always agree with their choices. But Brennan says he has never seen a President like Trump completely attempt to destroy the integrity of the services.
Donald Trump and his cheerleaders are happy to talk about the “booming” economy, falsely and relentlessly labeling it the “best ever.” While the economy is still growing, now in its 128th month of expansion, the idea that it’s better than ever is malarkey. In Barack Obama’s final three years as president, for instance, the economy created 1.5 million more new jobs than have been created in Trump’s three years in office. And inflation-adjusted growth in gross domestic product in the best four quarters under Obama exceeded it in the best four quarters under Trump. It cannot be pointed out too often that Obama inherited an economic downturn worse than any since the 1930s and policies he promoted gave impetus to a recovery that has continued under the current occupant at 1600 Pennsylvania.
By the time Obama turned over the White House keys to Trump in 2017, most of the acute economic problems visited upon us by the Great Recession had been overcome—though many Americans hadn’t fully recovered from its impacts, and some never will. The chronic problems long predating the crash, however, remain with us. In a lengthy analysis brimful of charts, Elise Gould at the liberal-leaning Economic Policy Institute has scrutinized one of the biggest of those chronic problems: wages.
Tucker Carlson lost it on his show Thursday in defense of Roger Stone. Via Media Matters:TUCKER CARLSON: Enough. This farce must end. Apparently there are people around the president telling him not to pardon Roger Stone or to wait until after the election. No. The president must pardon Stone immediately. Trump's voters know that at some point they could be where Roger Stone is right now. This is a horrifying precedent for everyone and it cannot be allowed to stand.
Where Roger Stone is right now? Found guilty of seven felonies and comfortable in his Miami home while the judge decides if the abuse of power on his behalf by the Attorney General of the United States warrants him receiving a new trial?
Trump supporters will NEVER be where Roger Stone is now, basking in the glow of being the most famous ratf*cker in all of history. Get over yourself, Tucker.