Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Guess Who 2017's Liar Of The Year Is


Trumpanzee so, so, so wanted to be Time's Man of the Year. But he wasn't. Instead he was, in effect, PolitiFact's Liar of the Year. Or, to be more precise, he told-- over and over and over-- the lie of the year.
A mountain of evidence points to a single fact: Russia meddled in the U.S. presidential election of 2016.

In both classified and public reports, U.S. intelligence agencies have said Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered actions to interfere with the election. Those actions included the cyber-theft of private data, the placement of propaganda against particular candidates, and an overall effort to undermine public faith in the U.S. democratic process.

Members of Congress, both Democrats and Republicans, have held open and closed door hearings to probe Russia’s actions. The congressional investigations are ongoing.

Facebook, Google and Twitter have investigated their own networks, and their executives have concluded-- in some cases after initial foot-dragging-- that Russia used the online platforms in attempts to influence the election.

After all this, one man keeps saying it didn’t even happen.

"This Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story. It's an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should've won," said President Donald Trump in an interview with NBC’s Lester Holt in May.

...Trump continually asserts that Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election is fake news, a hoax or a made-up story, even though there is widespread, bipartisan evidence to the contrary.

When the nation’s commander-in-chief refuses to acknowledge a threat to U.S. democracy, it makes it all the more difficult to address the problem. For this reason, we name Trump’s claim that the Russia interference is a hoax as our Lie of the Year for 2017.

Readers of PolitiFact also chose the claim as the year's most significant falsehood by an overwhelming margin.

...Trump’s labeling of the Russia story as a hoax fits in with his pattern of dismissing critical coverage as "fake news." He’s used the term when he believes his administration doesn’t get complimentary coverage, such as hurricane cleanup in Puerto Rico, or even when his comments have been reported accurately, such as his remarks about white supremacists in Charlottesville, Va.

Since the beginning of 2017, President Trump has publicly invoked the phrase "fake news" more than 170 times. Virtually every instance has been in response to critical news coverage.

Trump has insisted there was no collusion between his campaign and Russia.

And that will turn out to be the year's most consequential lie of all. Of course there was collusion-- massive collusion by Trump and his disgusting family and all the monstrosities around him... every single one of them.

This Ted Lieu tweet would indicate, quite credibly, that Putin is still intering in U.S. domestic politics with complete impunity-- and at all times on behalf of the Trumpist Regime... and their goals. Writing yesterday for Business Insider Natasha Bertrand reported that a jailed Russian hacker testified he had hacked the Democrats under the command of Putin's FSB.
A Russian hacker believed to be a member of a hacking collective called Lurk said in court over the summer that he was ordered by Russia's security services, known as the FSB, to hack the Democratic National Committee.

The hacker, Konstantin Kozlovsky, told a Moscow court in August of this year that his nine-member hacking group-- which has been accused of stealing over $17 million from Russia's largest financial institutions since 2013-- has been cooperating with the FSB for several years, according to the independent Russian news outlet The Bell. Part of that cooperation included hacking the DNC, he said.

Kozlovsky said during a hearing on August 15 that he "performed various tasks under the supervision of FSB officers," including a DNC hack and cyberattacks on "very serious military enterprises of the United States and other organizations."

Minutes from the hearing, as well as an audio recording, were posted on Kozlovsky's Facebook page. The Bell said it confirmed their authenticity with two sources, including a person who was present at the hearing. Kozlovsky also posted a letter that he wrote on November 1, 2016. The letter outlined what he said was his work for the FSB, which he said had spanned nearly a decade and, most recently, involved attacking the DNC servers.

Kozlovsky identified his FSB handler as Dmitry Dokuchaev, a cybersecurity expert who worked as a hacker under the alias "Forb" before joining the FSB. Dokuchaev has been linked to a group of hackers known as Shaltai Boltai, or Humpty Dumpty, that has published emails from Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and other Kremlin officials.

The cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike publicly concluded in June 2016 that hackers associated with the FSB breached the DNC in late 2015. WikiLeaks published internal committee emails during the Democratic National Committee in July 2016.

Kozlovsky also named Ruslan Stoyanov, a key cybercrime investigator at the Russian cybersecurity firm Kaspersky who was arrested last December along with Dokuchaev and Sergei Mikhailov, the deputy head of the information security department of the FSB.

Mikhailov has been accused of giving US intelligence officials information about a server-rental company, King Servers, through which Russian hackers have been known to attack the US, Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta reported last December. The Bell reported earlier this month that he could soon be charged with treason.

...If confirmed, Kozlovsky's work with the FSB could undermine the Kremlin's repeated claims that it had nothing to do with DNC hacks during the 2016 campaign. And it would fit a consistent pattern in which Russian intelligence officials recruit skilled hackers to engage in cybercrime.

Hiring elite criminal hackers, or cultivating them from a young age, has allowed Russian intelligence agencies like the FSB and the GRU (Russia's military intelligence arm) both to improve their foreign espionage capabilities and keep potentially rogue hackers under government control.

The New York Times' Andrew Kramer reported on this phenomenon last December, writing that "for  more than three years, rather than rely on military officers working out of isolated bunkers, Russian government recruiters have scouted a wide range of programmers, placing prominent ads on social media sites, offering jobs to college students and professional coders, and even speaking openly about looking in Russia’s criminal underworld for potential talent."

"If you graduated from college, if you are a technical specialist, if you are ready to use your knowledge, we give you an opportunity," one of these ads read, according to the Times.

Kozlovsky, for his part, wrote in his November 1 letter that he began cooperating with the FSB in 2008, when he was just 16 years old. He said he was recruited by Dokuchaev and "did everything they said."

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Zephyr Teachout Has A Practical Solution Rather Than A Gillibrand-Trump Type Lynch Mob


Trump is such a detestable excuse for a human being that his ugly criticism of Kirsten Gillibrand makes it impossible for even her harshest critics not to rally to her defense. On the other hand, nothing could have buoyed Gillibrand's opportunistic quest for the presidential nomination more than Trump's deranged and vicious tweet rage Tuesday morning. That said, a far better-- in every conceivable way-- New York political leader than Gillibrand or Trump will ever be, Zephyr Teachout, published an OpEd in Monday's NY Times, I'm Not Convinced Franken Should Quit, imparts both Trump and Gillibrand, each of whom is quite convinced Franken should, albeit for vastly different reasons. Like all progressives, Teachout is a backer of the #MeToo movement and wrote that "women are routinely demeaned, dismissed, discouraged and assaulted. Too many women’s careers are stymied or ended because of harassment and abuse. In politics, where I have worked much of my adult life, this behavior is rampant. I also believe in zero tolerance. And yet, a lot of women I know-- myself included-- were left with a sense that something went wrong last week with the effective ouster of Al Franken from the United States Senate. He resigned after a groundswell of his own Democratic colleagues called for him to step down." Keep in mind what Eugene Puryear said last week-- in part, "This moment is bigger than the Democrats or the Republicans, it is bigger than partisan politics. We are seeing truly mass steps towards an extremely necessary, critical, indispensable cultural change in this country. We need to fan the flames. The time to fight to take on (and hopefully crush) the patriarchy is now, women are fighting and leading, we need to join them not lament that some pissed off dudes are gonna vote next year." And now read Zephyr:
Zero tolerance should go hand in hand with two other things: due process and proportionality. As citizens, we need a way to make sense of accusations that does not depend only on what we read or see in the news or on social media.

Due process means a fair, full investigation, with a chance for the accused to respond. And proportionality means that while all forms of inappropriate sexual behavior should be addressed, the response should be based on the nature of the transgressions.

Both were missing in the hasty call for Senator Franken’s resignation. Some might point out, rightly, that Congress doesn’t have good procedures for dealing with harassment accusations. In fact, the congressional process to date has gone something like this: Lift up the rug and sweep the accusations underneath. It’s delay, deny, pay hush money and avoid the consequences.

Instead, here’s what a fair system might look like: Congress should empower an independent arbiter to investigate complaints-- like a Government Accountability Office, with trained experts in the field. Clearly understood mechanisms for reporting should be established. A timetable should be set that ensures complaints receive a prompt response. Both the accuser and the accused could submit questions and would have access to trained advocates and free legal consultation.

The independent arbiter would then make a nonbinding proposal addressing what happened and what should be done. It could include a call to resign or for censure, or a range of other responses tailored to the findings.

This isn’t just about Senator Franken. Other lawmakers have also been accused of harassment. We need a system to deal with that messy reality, and the current one of investigating those complaints is opaque, takes too long and has not worked to protect vulnerable women and men from harassment. And the current alternative-- off with the head of the accused, regardless of the accusation-- is too quick, too easily subject to political manipulation and too vulnerable to the passions of the moment.

We don’t have the system I’m suggesting. But that doesn’t mean we should give up on process. On Nov. 30, a Senate ethics panel announced the beginning of an investigation into the allegations against Senator Franken. It should run its course, and we should see the results. Then we’ll know whether his planned resignation was warranted.

With time, and the existing ethics procedures, things are likely to emerge that will surprise us all. New facts may put Senator Franken in a better light, or a far worse one, and we should be open to both.

Elections are different. Voters have a responsibility to make a judgment with whatever facts are available on Election Day. In the case of Roy Moore, voters in Alabama ought take the very serious accusations into account. But if Mr. Moore is elected to the Senate, he should immediately be subject to the same kind of ethics inquiry that I am recommending for Senator Franken.

Finally, the nature of the behaviors matter, too. Proportionality means that after investigating, Congress should fully consider the best response to the revealed conduct.

My first job out of law school was representing people on death row in North Carolina, where I often saw the impact of hasty prosecutions. I represented a man on death row whose lawyers had spent all of eight hours looking into his claim of innocence. I met men whose lawyers had never looked into their backgrounds. I also lived in the legal environment that produced the Duke University lacrosse case, in which three students were falsely accused of rape by the prosecutor in the case, who was later disbarred for his conduct. The quick rush to public condemnation of the players, fueled by the media, ended up hurting the accuser and the accused.

As citizens, we should all be willing to stay ambivalent while the facts are gathered and we collect our thoughts. While the choice to fire the television hosts Charlie Rose and Matt Lauer were the choices of private companies, condemning a sitting lawmaker is a public choice and one our representatives should make judiciously.
Not everyone accused by every women is Harvey Weinstein, Donald Trump, Blake Farenthold or Roy Moore.

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Everyone Agrees That Trump "Is Not Fit To Clean Toilets In The Obama Library"-- What Does The Alabama Election Tell Us About The Midterms?


Alabama's 4th congressional district-- it's whitest and most Appalachian district-- seat of dull right-wing backbencher Robert Aderholt, is likely to disappear after the next census. It's easily the reddest and most politically and socially backward part of Alabama-- cutting clear across the state from Mississippi (west of Tupelo) to Georgia northwest of Rome. There are no real cities, the biggest population center being Gadsden with 100,000 residents. Last November AL-04 gave Señor Trumpanzee his biggest margin in Alabama, 80.4% to 17.5% and Tuesday, it gave Roy Moore his biggest margin too-- 30.8% to 67.7%. What a hellhole! But even that was a 13.3% increased performance for Doug Jones over Hillary Clinton. As you can see from the map above, each of the Alabama congressional districts had significant performance increases from Clinton to Jones. The biggest increase was in Gary Palmer's 6th district-- suburban Birmingham and, by far, the wealthiest district in the state-- where the 2015 PVI of R+28 sent down to R+26, still the second reddest after the 4th but trending, ever so slightly, in the other direction. Trump won it with 70.8% last year. Moore with only 51.0%.The increased Democratic performance was 20.6%.

Do you know what would happen to the GOP in next year's midterms if every Republican-held seat saw a 20 point performance increase from 2016's congressional race? First let's look at the 16 House candidates in GOP-held districts who have been endorsed so far by Blue America.
CA-49- Doug Applegate would beat Darrell Issa with 69%
WI-01- Randy Bryce would beat Paul Ryan with just over 50%
IN-09- Dan Cannon would beat Trey Hollingsworth with 60%
MI-06- Paul Clements would beat Fred Upton with 56%
TX-21- Derrick Crowe would beat whichever Republican they pick with 56%
IA-03- Austin Frerick would beat David Young with 60%
IL-13- David Gill would beat Rodney Davis with 60%
ME-02- Jared Golden would beat Bruce Poliquin with 65%
OK-05- Tom Guild would beat Steve Russell with 57% (Yes that OK stands for Oklahoma)
CA-25- Katie Hill would beat Steve Knight with 66%
CA-39- Sam Jammal would beat Ed Royce with 62%
PA-16- Jess King would beat Lloyd Smucker with 63%
NC-05- Jenny Marshall would beat Virginia Foxx with 61%
TX-32- Lillian Salerno would beat Pete Sessions but it isn't clear by what percentage since the DCCC didn't run a candidate against Sessions. Hillary did win the district though
KS-04- James Thompson would beat Ron Estes with 66% (using this year's special election as the baseline)
TX-07- Jason Westin would beat John Culberson with 64%
And these numbers don't take into account how much better the 2018 candidates are and how much better financed they are. For example, in WI-01 Ryan didn't have a serious opponent last year at all, just a vanity candidate who spent $16,890. Polling already shows Randy Bryce beating Ryan and as of the September 30 FEC reporting deadline he had already raised $1,460,210.

Goal ThermometerNow let's just look at the state of Texas. Using the results in Alabama as a comparison, Beto O'Rourke would beat Ted Cruz and can you guess how many of Texas' 25 Republican congressmembers would be reelected? Maybe 9! Louie Gohmert, John Ratcliffe (although he had no Democratic opponent in 2016), Jeb Hensarling (another one with no Democratic opponent in 2016), Kevin Brady (no Democratic opponent in 2016), Mike Conaway (no Democratic opponent in 2016), Kay Granger, Mac Thornberry (no Democratic opponent in 2016), Jodey Arrington (no Democratic opponent in 2016), Brian Babin (no Democratic opponent in 2016). California has 14 Republicans in the House. I bet you can guess how many would be defeated. It wouldn't just be the ones in the districts on the verge of flipping; say goodbye to Devin Nunes, GOP Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Duncan Hunter (event he doesn't get indicted. In fact, every single Republican-- all 14-- would go down to defeat.

Nationally, the midterms would leave the congressional Republican Party as some kind of laughable rump for Trump-- something like 50-60 members of Congress, almost all of them insane crackpots like Paul Gosar (AZ), a couple of nuts in Idaho, Roger Marshall in Kansas, Cheney's loony daughter in Wyoming, Doug Collins and Tom Graves from Georgia, James Comer, Brett Guthrie, and Hal Rogers in Kentucky, John Shimkus (IL), Bill Johnson (OH), one or two in Indiana, Clay Higgins and Steve Scalise (meet the next Minority Leader) from Louisiana, Jeff Duncan (SC), Adrian Smith (NE), Bill Shuster (PA), Steven Palazzo in Mississippi, Blaine Luetkemeyer, Vicki Hartzler, Billy Long and Jason Smith in Missouri, Frank Lucas, Tom Cole and Markwayne Mullin in Oklahoma, probably a congressman in North Dakota, Phil Roe, Scott DesJarlais and if she doesn't run for governor, Diane Black in Tennessee, a couple in Utah, the West Virginians and one in Virginia... with a couple more, that would be about it.

The counter-argument is that we have a long way to go 'til the midterns and things could start looking better for Trump and the Republicans and that's true. However it's more likely that things will change for them for the worse. Trump is obviously insane and all the worst in him always comes out when he feels cornered. He's already the most unpopular president in history and his favorability ratings are very likely to keep dropping and keep dragging the GOP down the toilet with him. In fact, the new Quinnipiac poll that came out Tuesday asked respondents to come up for a single word description of Trump. The most often used words were "idiot," "liar" and "incompetent." You think that's going to change? Other popular words included "asshole," "arrogant" and "moron."

Art by Richard Serra, courtesy of People for the American Way

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Another Democrat Running To Prevent Monopolies From Destroying The American Way Of Life-- Meet Jess King (PA-16)


Goal ThermometerA few days ago, we compared the endorsement questionnaires that Lancaster Stands Up sent out to the PA-16 candidates. The differences between the garden variety corporate candidate, Christtina Hartman, who the DCCC is pushing, and who was unable to respond to even simple policy questions, and the progressive grassroots candidate, Jess King, were startling. Right after that we started thinking that we needed to endorse Jess' campaign. Monday we ran a post about the dangers inherent in monopolies, Why Aren't More Democrats Using Anti-Monopoly Arguments In Their Congressional Campaigns? Well, Jess is one who is. She wrote this guest post for DWT readers. If you like the list of what she has to say, please consider contributing to her campaign by tapping on the Act Blue thermometer on the right.

Guest Post
-by Jess King

I grew up in a small business family. My parents-- neither of whom had college degrees-- launched a paint store and painting business in 1980 and raised me and my three siblings on it. I learned an incredible number of lessons there-- about hard work, cash flow, conflict resolution, customer service. That business sustained my parents for over 30 years and sent all four of us kids to college.

I clearly remember the moment-- probably in the late-1990s-- when my mom realized she could get gallon cans of Kilz primer at Home Depot for less than the wholesale price at the locally owned paint distributor. I remember realizing for the first time that there was no way my parents could compete with the new, big retailers. They hung on for another 10 years or so but eventually closed their doors in the face of the growing dominance of big box stores: Home Depot and Lowes.

As an adult, I’ve worked to support Pennsylvanians to start and grow more locally owned small businesses-- with a focus on women and people of color, so that our economy can look more like our community. But in the almost 40 years since my parents launched their small business and struggled to grow it, the rules of the economy have been rewritten to favor the biggest players. Since 1980, our economy has grown, but the entire bottom half of Americans have seen none of that growth-- it all went to the top. I continue to see first hand how much harder it is to compete as a small business in this country, to get a loan, to hire workers, to make ends meet, to climb the ladder into the American middle-class.

The business development nonprofit I directed for the past seven years and others like us have tried numerous strategies to support locally owned small business-- from community-based business network and buy-local campaigns that encourage consumers to voluntarily shift their purchasing to locally owned small business, maximizing the impact each dollar can have as it circulates within our local economy.

But in a world where Amazon provides everything delivered to your door for free, local business can’t compete with the aggressive cost-cutting strategies of the aspiring monopolies. With the closing of more and more locally owned businesses like my parents’, even if consumers WANT to purchase from a local small business, sometimes they can’t find an alternative to the corporate giants like Amazon and Walmart.

These giants also collect vast data about every decision we make, to inform exactly how to market to us even more efficiently and effectively, stacking the deck even more against the little guy. When the big players like Amazon are the only ones left, consumers may be left with fewer choices and higher prices while corporate profits go through the roof. One only has to look at the US telecom industry to see the risk. We have less choice, higher prices, and lower quality of service than other industrialized countries. The celebrated economy of market competition and innovation that grew in the mid-20th century is over. In the new economy, the rules are increasingly written by the biggest corporations to favor the biggest players.

But here’s the good news. What’s old is new again. Indeed we were in a similar situation just over 100 years ago. Like today, political and economic power were concentrated in a few hands. The great industrial robber barons like Standard Oil ruled the day, impoverishing workers and corrupting democracy while making a few men very, very rich. A generation of reformers saw the threat posed by the new monopolies and pushed our young country to enact laws that safeguarded our economy and democracy.

In 1890 Congress passed the Sherman Antitrust Act, followed by the Clayton Antitrust Act 24 years later to ensure competition in the private sector. We knew then as we know now, that economic inequality leads to political inequality.

Since 1980, the rich and the powerful have lobbied for these antitrust policies to be enforced less and less, allowing for an unprecedented consolidation of market power as corporations merge. During this time, globalization created new opportunities for corporations to leverage the power of lower-cost international labor and supply chains while minimizing costs and maximizing profit at home.

With a hastily passed tax bill that mostly benefits the wealthy and well-connected as just one example, it is increasingly apparent that America’s elected officials are bought and paid for by those that benefit and our policies are being written by lobbyists to benefit the corporations they work for. After all, economic inequality leads to political inequality.

This is bad for all of us – even those corporate interests. Since 1980, the economy has grown at a slower and slower rate as it has become more unequal. Those at the top, including corporate executives, shareholders and the top one percent of Americans are trading the promise of a larger and more broadly shared prosperity for a much larger share of a smaller pie.

For nearly half a century, the American economy has failed to increase the earnings of the majority of its citizens. At some point, America’s political and economic inequality will backfire. As the 2018 midterm elections approach, more and more voters are motivated to clean house and elect candidates committed to the common good. Our greatest moments as a country have been when we realized that we are all in this together. When our fellow Americans suffer, our great nation can never reach its full potential. When we succeed together, our democracy and our economy are stronger.

America was founded on an ideal - that we are all free to pursue a better life. The rise of monopolies threatens the very heart of our nation. We are due for a reckoning. We must reclaim our democracy and repair the common good. We must rewrite the rules of the economy so that our country truly will be of the people, by the people, and for the people. It’s far past time that our policies forge a pathway toward an America that works for all of us.

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Midnight Meme Of The Day!


-by Noah

There you have it. Democrat Doug Jones has ever so narrowly beaten Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump's Great Perv Hope, Judge Roy Moore, in the Alabama Senate race. But, the Alabama race has distilled, for all to see, what it means to be a member of the Republican Party in 2017. Some Republicans would try to sucker you into believing that the votes and predilections of Alabama republicans don't reflect the votes and predilections of Republicans as a whole, but let's get real. The national offices of the Republican Party not only sent Roy Moore their money, they sent the hopes of their highest profile politicians, and they even sent their president; a president with his own issues when it comes to sexual assault and pedophilia to put their names on the line in support of their guy. Meanwhile at FOX "News," they've done a 180 and are blaming Moore, not for his stalking young girls but for just (vaguely) being "a bad candidate". One loon on Laura Ingraham's nightly circus show stressed that Jone's win in no way means that people might start to look toward democrats in the 2018 elections. She called Alabama "an outlier," as if a Democrat winning in Alabama for the first time in decades meant nothing. She assured FOX viewers that republicans everywhere still loved the wonderful Donald Trump. Then it was, immediately back to attacking Robert Mueller. Election? What election?

It's not just that the message of the Republican Party is now "Assault my wife. Prey on my kids. Do whatever it takes to take away my healthcare, my Social Security, ruin the lives of 'gays,' and raise my taxes." Republicans aren't running away from this message. They are campaigning on it.

Should any of this be surprising? No. It's just that they are now more arrogant and confident in their message than ever before. This is the Age Of Trump. Please keep in mind that Alabama had already elected an openly racist and homophobic senator named Jeff Sessions who was once deemed too racist for a federal court appointment but was, just this year, unanimously approved, by all republican senators, to be the Attorney General of the United States. They voted for him four times. That's four six year terms. To my knowledge, no one has accused Sessions of being a pedophile, but, it's safe to say that, in voting for Sessions four times, the people of Alabama pushed the boundaries of what is acceptable (to them at least) to the point where supporting someone who stalks teenagers right into their classrooms was inevitable.

With Roy Moore, Alabama republicans spoke loud and clear and voted to have their state remain 47th in education, 47th in healthcare, and 45th in the economy. They voted against Doug Jones, a conservative Democrat, but a man who dared to prosecute their beloved KKK when they bombed a black church and killed four young girls. They voted for a man who said things were better when we had slavery. They voted for a man, who like Trump, supports Putin. They voted for a man who said that 9/11 was a punishment from God for sodomy. Some of them did it in the name of "protecting babies;" in the name of Republican Jesus, from being educated, being healthy, and having economic opportunities, I suppose; not to mention to turn them over to pedophiles at the malls. "Suffer the little children, and forbid them not, to come to me." That's your Republican Jesus. That's your Republican Party.

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Tuesday, December 12, 2017

The Catholic Church Begs Mimi Walters And Ed Royce For Compassion


Earlier today, we looked at how Trump and Ryan are leading a war against Jesus' message to mankind. It looks like every Catholic pastor in CA-39 and CA-45 (mostly Orange County) is concerned about the same thing-- except they're focusing on Republican members of Congress Ed Royce and Mimi Walters, both lockstep rubber-stamps for Trump and Ryan. The Orange County Register piece over the weekend was devastating. All the pastors signed a letter to Walters and a letter to Royce about DREAMers-- and the letters were followed by Sunday sermons along the same lines. The sermons will be ongoing throughout Advent.
The bishops of the Diocese of Orange are calling on their clergy and parishioners to pray for the young undocumented immigrants, and to advocate for them with their elected leaders.

Catholic leaders see an urgency in finding a permanent solution to the plight of young people brought to the country illegally as children. Their temporary legal status through President Obama’s DACA program is being phased out under the Trump administration.

Led by bishops in Orange County, San Bernardino and the San Gabriel region, 26 pastors urged Walters (R-Laguna Beach) and Royce (R-Fullerton)-- both Catholics-- “to actively support” passage of legislation that would allow the children to have a path to citizenship.

“It is essential to move beyond general statements of support,” read the Dec. 1 open letter, signed by the pastors and Rev. Kevin Vann, bishop of Orange, Gerald Barnes, bishop of San Bernardino, and David O’Connell, auxiliary bishop in the San Gabriel region of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

The letter requests a meeting with the Republican leaders. It is the first time in recent memory that bishops and all pastors of an Orange County congressional district have called on legislators for action.

“It’s a somewhat unique letter,” said Greg Walgenbach, director of the Office of Life, Justice and Peace for the Diocese of Orange.

Walters, who has expressed sympathy toward DACA recipients, has seen an uptick in rallies calling for her to support one of the bills floating in Congress on the issue. Her vote is considered by some a key Republican swing vote.

Earlier this week, Walters signed a letter calling on Congress to pass legislation before the end of the year to protect those under DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

“I appreciate the passion that some members of the church have shown on this issue, and I share their urgency,” Walters said in an e-mail Friday to the Southern California News Group. “Caring for all of God’s children is at the core of our Catholic faith.

“DACA recipients enrich our community and are building their American dream,” she said. “That is why I signed a letter this week calling on Congress to pass bipartisan legislation that would allow DACA recipients to remain the United States, and continue their great contributions to Orange County.”

Royce could not be reached for comment Friday. He has previously said he supports legal residency but opposes including a path to citizenship.

Royce has been a target for years of immigrant-rights advocates, who regularly rally outside his Brea office. In 2013, some 1,500 Catholics prayed outside his closed office for the congressman to “have a change of heart” and support undocumented immigrants seeking citizenship.

As Catholics gather this month to celebrate the Christmas season, Orange County’s top bishops are calling on their pastors and congregants to pray for DACA youth and other immigrants.

A second letter, sent to parishes Friday, includes an Advent prayer which in part says: “Grant, O Lord, unto the leaders of the United States the wisdom and teachable spirit to recognize the good gifts that we receive from DACA youth and other immigrant Dreamers, the conviction to respect their life and dignity, and the courage to pass legislation to protect their stay here and offer a path to eventual citizenship.”

The same letter asks Catholics to contact their representatives, and includes a sample message. That letter was shared on the website of a national Catholic nonprofit that advocates for low-income immigrants and is headed by Bishop Vann.

Katie Porter is one of the two progressives taking on Mimi Walters. Katie told us "It's been three months since Donald Trump announced he would end protections for Dreamers and my Republican opponent Mimi Walters has continued to do nothing but offer empty platitudes. It's unacceptable. I have spent my career fighting for people who don’t have a voice in our system, and I intend to do the same in Congress by standing up for immigrant families. We must pass a clean Dream Act Now."

Goal Thermometer The other excellent progressive Democratic candidate running for the seat Mimi Walters is occupying is Kia Hamadanchy. Just a few hours ago he told us that "Right here in California’s 45th district, we have DREAMers who are doing nothing but chasing the American Dream-- whether it is as a student at UC Irvine or as an employee of a small business or tech startup. Mimi Walter’s inaction on behalf of her constituents has been so terrible that it took urging from every Catholic leader in the district to get her moving. That’s not leadership. It’s time for a Representative in CA-45 who actually cares about the people here and will really fight to protect our DREAMers."

Sam Jammal is the one non-multimillionaire running for the Orange County seat occupied by Ed Joyce. Recently Frank Schaeffer went to meet him and made this clip [below] about the race and about Sam-- a very different kind of person than Ed Royce. This morning Sam addressed the GOP's DREAMers problem. "DACA really comes down to what's right and what is wrong. It's a moral question. The right thing to do is give young people-- who only know this country and are doing everything right-- the chance at the American Dream. The wrong thing to do is fall in line with Trump and hardline anti-immigrant voices. Once again Ed is on the wrong side of the issue. Instead of focusing on what we can do to integrate immigrants and build up communities, he prefers to divide families and work against young people who are doing everything right, but have a President and politics seeking to do them wrong. Ed just doesn't share our values here in the 39th. We believe in the American Dream and are a welcoming community."

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Battle For The Democratic Party: After the Unity Reform Commission-- A Guest Post By Norman Solomon


Sunday night we took a look at the work of the DNC's Unity Reform Commission. Norman Solomon, a co-author of the 2016 Autopsy, wrote a postscript for us and asked me to share it with DWT readers this evening. This is especially important for those of us working to defeat Trump and his brand of fascism with a Bernie/Elizabeth Warren presidential ticket in 2020.

With the Democratic Party’s “Unity Reform Commission” now history, major political forces are entering a new stage of contention over the future of the party. Seven months after the commission’s first meeting-- and nine months after Hillary Clinton backer Tom Perez won a close election over Bernie Sanders supporter Keith Ellison to become chair of the Democratic National Committee-- the battle lines are coming into focus for next year.

The commission’s final meeting adjourned on Saturday after a few steps toward democratizing the party had won approval-- due to the grassroots strength of progressives. But the recommendations from the commission will go to the Rules and Bylaws Committee, which was one of the DNC decision-making bodies that Perez subjected to a purge two months ago. Now, in the words of Jim Zogby (who was removed from the Executive Committee by Perez), “There are virtually no Bernie supporters on the Rules and Bylaws Committee.”

When the latest Unity Reform Commission meeting got underway, Perez talked a lot about unity. But kicking Sanders supporters off of key DNC committees is the ugly underside of an ongoing dual discourse. (Are we supposed to believe Perez’s soothing words or our own eyes?) And party unity behind a failed approach-- internally undemocratic and politically hitched to corporate wagons-- would hardly be auspicious.

“Emerging sectors of the electorate are compelling the Democratic Party to come to terms with adamant grassroots rejection of economic injustice, institutionalized racism, gender inequality, environmental destruction and corporate domination,” says the recent report “Autopsy: The Democratic Party in Crisis” (which I co-authored). The report adds: “Siding with the people who constitute the base isn’t truly possible when party leaders seem to be afraid of them.”

DNC Chairman Perez and allied power brokers keep showing that they’re afraid of the party’s progressive base. No amount of appealing rhetoric changes that reality.

“We pride ourselves on being inclusive and welcoming to all,” the Democratic National Committee proclaimed anew at the start of this month, touting the commission meeting as “open to the public.” Yet the DNC delayed and obscured information about the meeting, never replying to those who filled out an online RSVP form-- thus leaving them in the dark about the times of the meeting. In short, the DNC went out of its way to suppress public turnout rather than facilitate it.

One member of the task force that wrote the Autopsy, Karen Bernal, is the chair of the Progressive Caucus of the California Democratic Party. After traveling across the country and sitting in the sparse audience during the first day of the Unity Reform Commission meeting, she took the liberty of speaking up as the second day got underway. Bernal provided a firm rebuke of the DNC’s efforts to suppress public attendance.

“For all of the talk about wanting to improve and reform and make this party more transparent, the exact opposite has happened,” Bernal told the commission. (Her intervention, which lasted a little more than two minutes, aired in full on C-SPAN.)

On Sunday, a mass email from Zogby via Our Revolution summed up: “We are fighting for racial, social, economic, and environmental justice. The Democratic Party needs everyone, regardless of their race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age, ability, country of origin, language, or socioeconomic status, to be deeply involved in order to change the course of this country.”

For those reasons, he added, “we are calling for an end to superdelegates, open primaries and caucuses, same-day registration, and more transparent, fair, and accountable leadership at the helm of the DNC.”

Overall, the commission approved some recommendations that were partial victories for progressives. Among the most notable: It called for reducing the number of notoriously undemocratic superdelegates to the national convention from 712 to about 300, while the only democratic number would be zero. It somewhat improved transparency for often-dubious DNC contracts with high-paid consultants and vendors, while defeating sensible amendments by commission member Nomiki Konst-- who spoke with notable clarity about the need to clamp down on financial conflicts of interest among DNC decision-makers.

The eight Sanders appointees-- Konst, Zogby, Larry Cohen, Lucy Flores, Jane Kleeb, Gus Newport, Nina Turner and Jeff Weaver-- put up a good fight as members of the Unity Reform Commission. They were outnumbered, and on key issues were often outvoted, by the 13 who’d been selected by Clinton or Perez. Next year, the odds to overcome will be much worse.

With the purged Rules and Bylaws Committee now overwhelmingly stacked against progressives, only massive pressure from the grassroots will be able to sustain momentum toward a democratic Democratic Party. Meanwhile, corporate forces will do all they can to prevent the Democratic Party from living up to its first name.

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Did Franken Make A Mistake By Resigning? Some Want Him To Reconsider, Including Republicans


The Democratic Party-- or at least the DCCC-- loves to recruit so-called "ex"-Republicans to run for Congress. Normal Democrats know better than to listen to a Republican about Democratic Party strategy... at least most of the time. That excerpt from Arne Carlson is worth considering though, even if he was Minnesota's Republican governor from 1991 through the end of 1998. He endorsed Barack Obama in 2008 and two years later endorsed independent Tom Homer for governor and Democrat Tim Walz for Congress. He was purged by the GOP and prohibited from participating in party events for 2 years. Oh, yeah... and last year he endorsed Hillary against Señor Trumpanzee. So when he says we should all "sober up," maybe we do need to listen. I hope Franken does, but I can't imagine he would.

Bruce Bartlett used to be a Republican too. In fact he worked for Ron Paul and Jack Kemp and was a Reagan domestic policy adviser and a Treasury official under the first Bush. He attacked the second Bush and his policies frequently and quit the Republican party 10 years ago. Yesterday he did an OpEd for the New York Daily News, Toughen up, Democrats: Why the party will live to regret its hasty purge of Al Franken. "It will be recorded," he wrote, "that he was pushed out by his own party even as a man guilty of more serious sexual misconduct sits in the Oval Office and Senate Republicans prepare to welcome sexual predator Roy Moore with open arms."
This division between the two parties isn't just about morality or hypocrisy; it's about having a fundamentally different view of the world.

Democrats are idealists while Republicans are realists. Of course this isn't true in all cases; Republicans idealistically claim to love liberty, worship the Constitution as James Madison wrote it, and assert that sacred principles guide their policies rather than crass pandering to their contributors and primary voters, which is really the case.

But they know they are lying and it's all for show.

By contrast, Democrats seldom ever climb down from Mount Olympus to engage in political hand-to-hand combat. They whine and wring their hands about the dirty tricks Republicans constantly play on them, but on the rare occasions when they have some political leverage, they seldom use it effectively.

In the end, Democrats are constrained by responsibility while Republicans will do whatever it takes to win at all cost. It's not a fair fight.

This is not a new problem. All democratic governments that respect individual rights, permit free speech and assembly, and are responsive to the will of the people expressed in free elections are vulnerable to ruthless enemies from within, who use democratic freedoms to undermine and destroy those very freedoms.

It's worth remembering that Adolf Hitler was elected chancellor of Germany quite openly and legally, as were other dictators and strongmen around the world.

It is hard for small-D democrats to respond to internal threats without believing they are sacrificing their core principles in the process. Sometimes a foolish consistency makes those who support liberal values balk at actions clearly needed because they necessarily involve illiberal policies.

Not funny, kids
Going to war is the most obvious example, and great Democratic presidents like Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt and, yes, Lyndon Johnson struggled with the inherent contradiction between their ideals and their actions.

Republicans, of course, have no such qualms. They are like the ancient followers of Manichaeism who saw everything as black and white, dark and light, good and evil. There was never any gray, no nuances to confuse issues. There was one path and it had to be followed.

The Republican attitude succeeds in part because it is easy to understand. Most people have neither the time nor the expertise to study an issue well enough to have an informed opinion. They depend on political parties to sort through the issues for them and tell them what to think.

It's like following a movie reviewer. If over the years you have found that you enjoyed and hated the same movies, you are inclined to trust her judgment. So too with parties. When the acquisition of information is costly, it is reasonable to economize.

The problem is that unscrupulous people or those with poor judgment sometimes get control of your party and lead otherwise good and honest people down the wrong path.

That has happened to the Republican Party, my former party and also the former party of a growing number of my friends from the days when I worked for Jack Kemp, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.

...While obviously Republicans deserve primary blame for the disgusting state of their party and have principal responsibility for fixing it, Democrats are not without blame.

In many cases they have offered poor opposition to Republican policies, put up bad candidates in winnable elections, fallen back on time-worn slogans rather than finding creative new ways to advance their agenda, failed to create organizations and institutions to counter the Republican echo chamber, turned their attention too quickly to new issues and given Republicans a second shot instead of finishing the job, and permitted their ideals to overwhelm political common sense.

The Franken problem is a perfect example. Over the last two months, ever since the New York Times broke the story of movie mogul Harvey Weinstein's sick sexual behavior, a number of stories have detailed indefensible sexual behavior by many others in the entertainment industry and politics. Many more will follow.

Franken, a longtime professional comedian, straddled both worlds and was an obvious target for those in the media and Republican dirty tricksters like Roger Stone to dig up dirt on. Sadly, they found incidents that could perhaps have been defended or overcome in the pre-Weinstein era, but were indefensible in today's political environment.

I am not going to defend Franken's actions, and of course I agree that sexual misconduct must be punished. But it doesn't follow that forcing Franken to fall on his sword was the right way to handle his situation.

As many others including Cathy Young here in The News have pointed out, Franken was essentially tried, convicted and sentenced without any semblance of due process. There was no investigation. The charges against him, some of which were anonymous and some of which he denies strongly, were simply accepted at face value.

This is not only wrong but politically stupid. Democrats now have no defense against completely bogus charges ginned up by nefarious right-wing characters such as James O'Keefe, who has already tried once to manufacture a phony sex scandal.

Moreover, the political situation in Minnesota is such that Franken's departure has now put his seat in jeopardy. It may well go to a Republican next year, according to political analyst and Minnesota native Norm Ornstein.

Democrats are convinced that they have seized the high ground and this will hold them in good stead when they oppose seating Roy Moore, should he win his Alabama Senate seat.

Maybe so, but they may also lose the support of reasonable people who believe Franken was railroaded and made the victim of obsessive Democratic identity politics. Conservatives like Fox's Laura Ingraham and Newt Gingrich are already reaching out to such people by defending the liberal Franken.

Many Democrats insist that Franken's treatment is demanded by having to do the right thing regardless of the cost. But as MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell eloquently pointed out last Thursday, where were these principled Democrats when New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez went to trial for corruption?

Surely the evidence required to bring him to trial exceeded the threshold of the hearsay and anonymous charges that got Franken thrown under a bus. The only difference, it seems, is that a Democrat will name Franken's replacement while a Republican would have named Menendez's.

A competent political party would at least have tried to get something in return for Franken's sacrifice. For example, Democrats could have used the occasion to call attention to Donald Trump's admitted sexual indiscretions or those of other Republicans such as Representatives Joe Barton, Trent Franks, and Blake Farenthold.

Franken made glancing mention of Trump and Moore in the floor speech announcing his retirement.

But for the most part, Democrats decided instead to adopt a policy of unilateral disarmament, making Republicans pay no price for their hypocrisy in continuing to defend Trump and Moore.

During the Cold War, Democratic Presidents understood that even if you are willing to disarm unilaterally, you should still try to get something in return. But for Democrats today, virtue-signaling is its own reward.

I know Democrats think they will be rewarded-- perhaps not instantly, but over time, including in 2018-- by voters for their principled stand against sexual harassment.

I don't buy it. Trump's "Access Hollywood" tape, in which he bragged about groping women against their will, was known to virtually all voters before the election, and it didn't seem to have any impact except on people who had already decided to vote against him.

I think Democrats need to toughen up if they hope to win in the Trump era. Yet many Democrats seem to think that being tough requires being mean, underhanded and unethical.

I often joke that Democrats are the class nerds while Republicans are the school bullies. Maybe in the long run, the nerds will become the rich software developers while the bullies are doing manual labor, but in the short-run, the bully is winning.

The nerds must study the martial arts if they hope to win.

Republican success today is built on a foundation they have built since the 1970s, financed by right-wing billionaires such as Charles and David Koch, Robert Mercer and Rupert Murdoch.

They are systematic, and they are ruthless. They created institutes, organizations and media outlets that relentlessly promote their agenda and give well-paid employment to professional right-wingers.

Democrats and progressives depend on the universities, the mainstream media and ineffectual organizations like the AARP, which went AWOL during the recent tax fight.

The Republican strategy can be copied without sacrificing progressive principles to create a more powerful, effective and aggressive opposition to GOP efforts to restrict abortion rights, slash programs that aid mothers and children, despoil the environment, gut consumer protections and take other actions that hurt women just as sexual harassment does.

In my opinion, sacrificing the best and brightest of the Democratic Party in a vain hope that some uncommitted voters will care and reward them looks like another losing strategy.
I was hoping he'd suggest that opportunist Kirsten Gillibrand resign instead. That would stop this insanity fast enough-- but, let's face it, the insanity is still needed to move our sicke society along in the right direction towards killing off extreme patriarchy once and for all.

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Bernie Sanders Vs... Artur Davis: Guaranteed Jobs


Right-wing Democrat-turned-Republican Artur Davis was originally put into office with AIPAC money after his predecessor, Earl Hilliard, got a little too uppity for about the Palestinians. He represented a super blue Alabama district from 2003 'til 2011 when he ran for governor and was badly defeated in the primary, even in the bluest parts of his own district. He went from being a coddled DCCC creep who was the poster child for the Republican wing of the Democratic Party to switching to the Republican Party and moving to Virginia. He became a rabid GOP attack dog against Democrats and a Romney surrogate. More recently he ran-- and was defeated again-- for mayor of Montgomery, garnering just 27% of tiger vote. He tried to rejoin the Democratic Party and was rejected.

Over the weekend he predicted Doug Jones would lose to Roy Moore today. "It’s very difficult to appeal to white and blacks at the same time," he said. "I’ve been there, it’s a hard thing to do." Davis never had the faintest clue how to speak to working families effectively, regardless of skin color. Even before he officially joined the Republican Party, he was, heart-and-soul, a clueless Republican shill for corporate interests and a pitiful "Uncle Tom" for his entire pathetic tenure in politics.

Recently Bernie economic advisor Stephanie Kelton recommended I read a post by a colleague and former student of hers, Pavlina Tcherneva, Why Bernie Sanders Should Add a Job Guarantee to His Policy Agenda, written in the summer of 2015. Pavlina is now chair of the Economics Department at Bard College and it would have been very useful for Artur Davis to have studied economic under with her or Stephanie. "Discussions of the 'politically possible' always remind me of a favorite quote: 'Argue for your limitations, and sure enough they’re yours.' Bernie Sanders’ issues page reads like a list of everything we’ve been told is not politically possible. And yet he’s getting record breaking support, precisely because people are tired of being told that something cannot be done-- that it is impossible to get money out of politics, or that tackling inequality and racial injustice is unrealistic, or that securing a living wage is a political nonstarter. Bernie has unapologetically rejected sclerotic visions of what is 'politically possible'.  And now he should add the Job Guarantee (JG) to his list of issues [see video above]. Indeed, he already has the key ingredients-- a bold proposal to eliminate unemployment by creating 13 million decent-paying jobs, a living wage, and a federally-funded youth job guarantee, which Sandy Darity correctly called a stepping stone (a pilot program) to a blanket job guarantee for all.
The Job Guarantee’s time has come.
It secures a basic human right
It tackles at least three key sources of “economic violence and injustice”-- unemployment, precarious work, and poverty wages
It is good for families, the economy, the environment, and our communities
She then outlined some basic facts we all need to know about the Job Guarantee, the first being that it is not some unpredictable big government expansion. But it's an employment stabilization program that offers prevention as much as a cure. It "tackles all the vile consequences of mass unemployment (on private sector spending and expectations, and on people and communities).  The JG is also good for the private sector and ensures more stable and plentiful private sector employment, because it guarantees that domestic demand never collapses as much as it does today with mass unemployment. It's based on the idea that if unemployment is like a virus that spreads through the economy if nothing is done to check it and "the best 'cure' for someone who wants a job-- is a job, not a handout." It's always important to remember this:
Every unemployed person today puts another one out of work, but the Job Guarantee reverses the process: employing one person creates work for another.
"The JG," she wrote, "will always be there to provide voluntary employment for a pool of people (small relative to today’s unemployment numbers)-- who have difficulty finding private sector jobs or have been rendered ‘unnecessary’ by private firms.  It’s one thing to support a family on an unemployment insurance check, and a whole different thing to replace lost private sector income with a living wage income from the JG in a job that does something useful (more below). In this sense, the livelihood of those participants is not disrupted as much as with unemployment, and does not cause the large ripple effect of layoffs through the economy we see today due to collapsing demand. In other words, it is easier to prevent the development of mass unemployment, than to eliminate it once it has developed."

Job Guarantee, she wrote, breaks the vicious cycle at the bottom of the income distribution since "people from different social stations experience different employment situations-- the highly-skilled and highly-educated face virtually no unemployment, or relatively short stretches of joblessness. They are hired first and fired last. But even when they are unemployed, their safety net is much stronger because of more generous employment benefits, severance packages, savings and other sources of wealth. But for those at the bottom of the income distribution, life is very different-- precarious income and employment, longer periods of unemployment, shorter job tenure, and fewer prospects for accumulating wealth or building a nest egg. The vicious employment cycle is fired first-hired last. The JG by design captures those who are most vulnerable." So what it does is change the economic odds for poor and middle class families:
Imagine two candidates applying for a job: one has 9 months of experience in a JG soil renewal of reforestation project and the other-- 9 months of unemployment. Which applicant would the prospective employer hire? Chances are-- the one with the job. And indeed, research shows that, employers consider 9 months of unemployment to be the same as 4 years of lost work experience.

JG changes these odds. It gives people a chance for better life by providing a choice to work in a meaningful public service project-- something welfare checks are not able to do.
It also addresses income inequality and drives a stake through current power interests by guaranteeing access to a living-wage job and lifting incomes for the most vulnerable families in the economy-- a key step to reversing income inequality in the US. The threat of unemployment at the bottom of the income distribution is considerably weakened, she explained. "The JG redefines what kind of work is 'useful'-- public stewardship, environmental renewal and sustainability, community development and, importantly, investment in people, are recognized as important and valuable tasks, worthy of public support" while establishing "a standard for a decent pay package. It’s like the minimum wage, only better-- everyone gets it and more (what good is the minimum wage to an unemployed person?). Private firms must match that minimum standard and pay extra when they need to hire those workers. It's "the next step in completing the Roosevelt revolution" as well as "the missing piece from the social safety-net." In advanced economies, basic needs are generally solved by direct means:
When the problem is retirement income insecurity-- we provide retirement income (e.g., social security).
When the problem is food insecurity-- we provide food.
When the problem is homelessness – we provide housing.
But when the problem is joblessness, we do not provide employment. We provide a handout, a training program, a college loan-- everything but an actual job. The Job Guarantee institutes an important component of the overall safety-net: a job safety-net.
She makes the point that "The task before us is to provide a decent job at decent pay for everyone who wants one. Many progressives seem to think that conventional public works are better suited as countercyclical stabilizers or job creation policies... [but] we either need to replace the Tappan Zee bridge or not. A high-speed rail system is either a good idea or not. Rain or shine, recession or expansion, the work has to be done. These projects cannot fluctuate because they are essential, strategic, and capital-intensive. They are much needed programs, but they are not cycle-stabilizing policies. And they cannot guarantee an employment opportunity to the last person who hasn’t found a decent paying job, but wants one. Only the Job Guarantee can. But low capital intensity projects are in great shortage, can vary with the mood swings of the economy, and are not make-work.
The private sector is simply not in the business of satisfying unmet basic needs or providing employment for everyone. But once most basic needs are met, will there be enough work for the JG participants to do? I’m convinced, yes. As Warren Mosler says, “There is no limit to the ways we can serve one another.”

My worry is that even if we mobilized everyone who wanted to work in a private and public initiative, there would still not be enough manpower to do all the things that we sorely need-- especially concerning the environment.

Take the Hudson Valley for example where I live and work. The Hudson River and local parks and preserves are struggling with several invasive species (water chestnut and zebra mussel), fundamentally altering the ecology of the estuary and the natural habitat of the Valley. And while my community and friends, volunteers and non-profits, have been hard at work preserving and restoring the the Valley, one crucial thing is missing: large-scale funding and many, many more helping hands.

Learning to identify the invasive plants and removing them is mostly done by community members and school groups on volunteer basis. Other area projects include eel and herring monitoring, building hiking trails, cleaning parks, removing trash-- all low-cost, tow-tech, and high-labor-intensity tasks that bring many environmental and social benefits. And they literally only require gloves, fishing nets, and rakes. The work is flexible and year-round.

And this is just one example that that can provide jobs to thousands of unemployed people from the entire Hudson Valley on ongoing basis for decades to come.

The neighboring city of Newburgh–once the jewel of modern technological achievement was the first electrified city in the United States, showcasing the glory that electrification would bring the nation and the world. (Electrification–the offspring of private ingenuity brought to our doorsteps courtesy of large scale government investment). Today Newburgh’s housing stock-- a rare collection of historical architecture-- is crumbling and needs to be restored and preserved. After years of neglect and severe austerity, the city is slowly turning a corner mostly because of impressive community revitalization efforts. But unemployment remains a pressing problem. What is needed? Large-scale funding and many, many more helping hands.

Most communities throughout the US can benefit from countless ongoing public service, environmental, after-school and care projects. And the unemployed need the restoration of their human worth.

As Bernie Sanders’ himself put it in his 2011 8-hour Senate floor speech:
Human beings want to be productive… They want to be a part of something. They want to go to work, earn a paycheck, bring it home. You feel good about that.

Do you know what it does to somebody’s sense of human worth when suddenly you find yourself at home …[and] you can’t go out and earn a living. It destroys people… That’s what unemployment is about.
Good intensions rarely stand in the way of good economic policies-- but lack of conviction and political will do. When it comes to the Job Guarantee, we can also use a bit of imagination.

Sanders is already changing the conversation about what is politically possible. Adding the Job Guarantee to his issues will solidify his unapologetically bold and sorely needed progressive agenda.
Believe me, Artur Davis never tried addressing black and white voters in this way-- which is why he's a classic failed and pointless politician remember, if at all, as a distance disaster in the lives of his constituents.

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