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More evidence that Beto may not be the progressive go to guy for a national Dem campaign.


Beto O’Rourke’s spirited run for the US Senate in Texas last month has prompted powerful voices in the Democratic party establishment to tout the outgoing Texas congressman as a 2020 presidential candidate who, as the party’s standard-bearer, would offer a vision of America contrasting against that of Republicans.

However, a new analysis of congressional votes from the non-profit news organisation Capital & Main shows that even as O’Rourke represented one of the most solidly Democratic congressional districts in the United States, he has frequently voted against the majority of House Democrats in support of Republican bills and Trump administration priorities.

Capital & Main reviewed the 167 votes O’Rourke has cast in the House in opposition to the majority of his own party during his six-year tenure in Congress. Many of those votes were not progressive dissents alongside other left-leaning lawmakers, but instead votes to help pass Republican-sponsored legislation.

O’Rourke has voted for GOP bills that his fellow Democratic lawmakers said reinforced Republicans’ anti-tax ideology, chipped away at the Affordable Care Act (ACA), weakened Wall Street regulations, boosted the fossil fuel industry and bolstered Donald Trump’s immigration policy.

Consumer, environmental, public health and civil rights organizations have cast legislation backed by O’Rourke as aiding big banks, undermining the fight against climate change and supporting Trump’s anti-immigrant agenda. During the previous administration, Barack Obama’s White House issued statements slamming two GOP bills backed by the 46-year-old Democratic legislator.

O’Rourke’s votes for Republican legislation – which at times put him at odds with a majority of Texas Democratic lawmakers in Congress – underscore his membership in the New Democrat Coalition, the faction of House Democrats most closely aligned with business interests.


It’s good to get the record out in the open although the aiding of banks is slightly a stretch.


Also dump Paygo


Though Ryan, as speaker, deserves ultimate accountability for these choices, this isn’t really about him. He would have happily fulfilled his Obama-era promises to cut Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security had the will of the House, the Senate, and the president been there with him. But they weren’t because that’s not what Republicans do when they have full control of the government. What they do, instead, is avoid politically difficult spending cuts, boost spending for programs that help their constituencies, and comfort the comfortable with tax cuts.

The lesson here is not that deficits are evil and that the next House Republican majority needs to get serious about them. (That will not happen because, as I’ve noted, they do not care about deficits.) The lesson is for Democrats to not let Republicans’ deficit hand-waving guide their choices ever again.

Republicans have been savvy in getting Democratic leaders and the Sunday-morning-show circuit to take their deficit routine seriously. Debt fears limited how big Democrats were willing to go with a stimulus package in early 2009. The same anxiety compelled Democrats to fully offset the Affordable Care Act’s cost, as if they might get either Republican votes or plaudits for doing so. They got neither, and Republicans—including Ryan himself—spent years attacking Democrats for the offsets they chose. Debt panic convinced Obama, in 2011, that he needed to negotiate with Tea Party Republicans ahead of a debt ceiling increase, and to consider Social Security cuts. Democrats should not take these Republican protestations seriously anymore. The Republicans certainly don’t.

Roughly five seconds after Nancy Pelosi takes the gavel on Jan. 3, House Republicans, as if struck by epiphany, will turn to each other and say, Good GOD, have you noticed the debt?! If a Democrat takes the White House in 2020, every elected Republican in Washington will break down sobbing over the projected fiscal 2021 deficit, right there on the inaugural platform as soon as the oath of office is complete. Democrats can either let them get away with it or not.



The Trump administration is setting out to do what this year’s farm bill did not: tighten work requirements for millions of Americans who receive federal food assistance.

The agriculture department on Thursday proposed a rule that would restrict the ability of states to exempt work-eligible adults from having to obtain steady employment to receive food stamps.

The move comes just weeks after lawmakers passed a $400bn farm bill that reauthorized agriculture and conservation programs while leaving the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as Snap or food stamps, which serves roughly 40 million Americans, virtually untouched.

Passage of the farm bill followed months of tense negotiations over House of Representatives’ efforts in Congress to tighten significantly the work requirements, and the Senate’s refusal to accept the provisions.

Currently, able-bodied adults aged 18-49 without children are required to work 20 hours a week to maintain their Snap benefits. The House bill would have raised the age of recipients subject to work requirements from 49 to 59 and required parents with children older than six to work or participate in job training. The House measure also sought to limit circumstances under which families that qualify for other poverty programs can automatically be eligible for Snap.

None of those measures made it into the final farm bill despite being endorsed by Donald Trump. Now the administration is using regulatory rule-making to try to scale back the Snap program.



The Trump Administration proposed draconian changes today in a key SNAP (food stamp) rule which, if implemented, would cut off basic food assistance for hundreds of thousands of the nation’s poorest and most destitute people. The Administration and House Republican leaders sought, but failed, to secure these changes as part of the farm bill that Congress just passed. The Administration is now proposing to implement, through executive action, what it failed to secure through legislation.

Those affected are SNAP participants ages 18 through 49 who aren’t raising minor children in their homes. The people whom the rule change would affect are among the poorest of the poor, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) data show. Their average income is just 33 percent, or one-third, of the poverty line.


Trump’s Expected SNAP Change Would Target Jobless Workers

Restricting states’ ability to waive the time limit would especially harm workers who face disadvantages in the labor market, such as those who have less education, live in rural areas, or have undiagnosed or temporary disabilities. These groups are more susceptible to labor market shocks than other workers, often losing their jobs early during recessions and finding other jobs more slowly during recoveries.

Restricting state waivers would also hurt many people of color, who often face discrimination and other deep-rooted factors that contribute to higher unemployment. To cite just one example, field studies find that white job applicants are much likelier to receive callbacks after initial applications or interviews than equally qualified African American applicants.



War on the poor never ceases.



It’s a fuzzy plan, of course, and one that Varoufakis’s critics deem implausible. Aren’t ideas like “democratizing” the European Union and making global finance more “progressive” oxymorons? How will a ragtag group of leftists dream up a new monetary system and an ecological New Deal for the whole world when Goldman Sachs and ExxonMobil call the shots?

Then again, pockets of the left—and even popular officials like potential 2020 presidential candidate Bernie Sanders—are starting to rally behind an internationalism that seeks to displace the right’s authoritarian nationalism with a more egalitarian vision of global politics. “In order to effectively combat the rise of the international authoritarian axis, we need an international progressive movement…that addresses the massive global inequality that exists, not only in wealth but in political power,” Sanders wrote in The Guardian in September.

Varoufakis hopes the Progressive International will be able to help supporters move beyond kaffeeklatsch and “kick-start the process of giving [the global left] substance.” To that end, he’s been on the road nonstop since Berlin trying to bring his vision into the world: making appearances with Sanders and other prominent left leaders, like Fernando Haddad, who lost the race for Brazil’s presidency to Jair Bolsonaro in October; speaking at universities and community centers; recording podcasts and writing op-eds.

Along the way, Varoufakis has found that not everyone is taken with his commitment to freedom of movement and his conviction that the European Union should remain. For practical reasons and sometimes philosophical ones, parties like Labour in the United Kingdom, Podemos in Spain, and Die Linke in Germany operate as if social democracy in their own country is more important than a socialism that crosses borders. Varoufakis’s outlook is more expansive; that’s what makes his radical leftist internationalism so challenging, and yet so necessary.



Progressives were on the march in 2018. They weren’t just resisting Trump; they were outlining the alternative to Trumpism. They weren’t just winning the battle of ideas by moving Medicare for All and Fight for $15 proposals into the mainstream; they were winning battles at the ballot box as well. The fight for the future is far from over, but 2018 offered signs that it can and will be won. The Nation’s 2018 Progressive Honor Roll recognizes the dissidents and the strategists, the veteran campaigners and the next-gen leaders who are charting the course.

Among those honored were:

Most Valuable Progressives

Most Valuable Senator

Most Valuable House Member
(Pramila Jayapal would have been an equally good choice here)


Agree that Jayapal would have been a good choice too.


Republicans saw the light on drug sentencing because of the opioid problem’s effect on white communities.


Michael Collins, director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance, said that both parties supported harsh sentences in the 1980s and 1990s, but that Democrats have been quicker and more willing to embrace changes to the criminal justice system. Collins said Republicans have made both progress and been inconsistent on their revamped approach to drug sentencing. Collins said he is heartened that the party recognizes that mandatory minimums and harsh sentencing laws went too far and is moving to change them.

But he is concerned that there is a push by some in the party to create new mandatory minimum sentences for people arrested for crimes involving fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid that has driven the overdose death rate to record levels. Doing that, Collins said, would be akin to restarting the war on drugs.

One difference between now and the 1980s is that the opioid epidemic has primarily affected white, rural communities, though the rates of overdose death are now skyrocketing among African Americans due to fentanyl. Chinazo Cunningham, a professor of medicine at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore Medical Center, said she has treated inner-city addicts for two decades, and has only recently seen attitudes on addiction change.

“I think this much more empathetic, really less punitive approach is really directly related to class and race,” she said. “For us to be discussing opioid addiction as a medical problem and not a criminal justice problem is really consistent with the populations which are affected.”



A new report by the Union of Concerned Scientists lays out in shocking detail the scale and depth of the Trump administration’s assault on science and scientists.

It describes how the Interior Department has single-mindedly pursued an agenda of handing over the public lands it manages to oil and gas and other polluting and extractive industries, brushing aside concerns raised by its own scientists about climate change and other ecosystem impacts.

Leadership at Interior has disbanded scientific advisory committees, attempted to alter the content of reports that mention climate change, and placed a political appointee with no scientific degree as gatekeeper for all science grants of over $50,000. They’ve ended research projects on the health effects of mountaintop removal coal mining and on safety inspections of offshore drilling, without convincing explanations.

They’ve pushed regulatory changes to weaken endangered species protections with utter disregard for scientific evidence. They’ve retaliated against agency scientists who’ve blown the whistle on these attacks. And in one particularly egregious instance, Secretary Ryan Zinke personally berated the superintendent of Joshua Tree National Park for tweeting about climate change.



I suspect there may have been some celebrating over at the Joshua Tree National Park when they heard the news about Zinke leaving.

This article is from almost exactly one year ago:

Interior Secretary Zinke reportedly dressed down Joshua Tree superintendent over climate change tweets

calling a park superintendent in for a spanking by the principal for what were, objectively, non-problematic communications with the public — you know, the people who own the parks and for whom the government is supposed to be working — is a bizarre waste of resources and of top management’s time.

But then, the nation would be better off if Zinke wasted more of his time on such inanities instead of dismantling national monuments, opening stunning landscapes to drilling rigs and truck roads, and undercutting decades of work by both Republicans and Democrats to preserve public lands for the public.

In fact, if freezing Zinke’s awful agenda were the result, I suspect most Interior department workers would happily line up for their turns in the woodshed.


I follow a lot of NPS twitter accounts, they’re all great-here’s a cute tweet from the Joshua Tree NPS account:





What? Firewall but just the tweet is….


I had a ‘free’ article to spare. This is nuts and quite upsetting.

The project’s operators created a Facebook page on which they posed as conservative Alabamians, using it to try to divide Republicans and even to endorse a write-in candidate to draw votes from Mr. Moore. It involved a scheme to link the Moore campaign to thousands of Russian accounts that suddenly began following the Republican candidate on Twitter, a development that drew national media attention.

“We orchestrated an elaborate ‘false flag’ operation that planted the idea that the Moore campaign was amplified on social media by a Russian botnet,” the report says.

Are you kidding me????

Mr. Trippi said he was nonetheless disturbed by the stealth operation. “I think the big danger is somebody in this cycle uses the dark arts of bots and social networks and it works,” he said. “Then we’re in real trouble.”

Despite its small size, the Alabama project brought together some prominent names in the world of political technology. The funding came from Reid Hoffman, the billionaire co-founder of LinkedIn, who has sought to help Democrats catch up with Republicans in their use of online technology.

The money passed through American Engagement Technologies, run by Mikey Dickerson, the founding director of the United States Digital Service, which was created during the Obama administration to try to upgrade the federal government’s use of technology. Sara K. Hudson, a former Justice Department fellow now with Investing in Us, a tech finance company partly funded by Mr. Hoffman, worked on the project, along with Mr. Morgan.

The sheer volume of shenanigans involved in this deception boggles the mind.

Mr. Morgan confirmed that the project created a generic page to draw conservative Alabamians — he said he couldn’t remember its name — and that Mac Watson, one of multiple write-in candidates, contacted the page. “But we didn’t do anything on his behalf,” he said.

Actually, it sounds like you did Mr. Morgan!

The report, however, says the Facebook page agreed to “boost” Mr. Watson’s campaign and stayed in regular touch with him, and was “treated as an advisor and the go-to media contact for the write-in candidate.’’ The report claims the page got him interviews with The Montgomery Advertiser and The Washington Post.

Mr. Watson never spoke with the page’s author or authors by phone, and they declined a request for meeting. But he did notice something unusual: his Twitter followers suddenly ballooned from about 100 to about 10,000.

Wait until the Repubs find out about this.

Mr. Watson noticed one other oddity. The day after the vote, the Facebook page that had taken such an interest in him had vanished.

“It was a group that, like, honest to God, next day was gone,” said Mr. Watson.

“It was weird,” he said. “The whole thing was weird.”



Thanks mags!


Pretty weak to theeaten to join. We’re at the mercy of mercenaries everywhere.

If you believe in the cause, join.


Im not sure they realize they are basically saying they would be happy to stay jackboots if they were just paid a little more to do it.

The right thing to do is just straight out join them, since they are fighting for the benefit of all the lower classes, which also includes police.



It’s also meant to protect the existing committees like Energy from losing any power


Select committees typically have the power to subpoena, according to the Congressional Research Service. On the Green New Deal select committee, members could presumably wield subpoenas to investigate oil and gas companies. But Democratic leadership has indicated Ocasio-Cortez’s new committee will not have that authority.

“The creation of the Select Committee was a decision made by Leader Pelosi, and it will be up to her as to whether or not the Committee will have subpoena powers,” said a senior Democratic aide.

Senior Democratic staffers have signaled that requests for subpoenas from Ocasio-Cortez’s select committee will be routed through an existing standing committee “should an issue arise.”

The chief of staff for Ocasio-Cortez described a committee without subpoena power as a potentially “radical” departure from standing order by senior Democrats.

“We are simply asking for what is the usual power granted to all committees,” Saikat Chakrabarti tweeted. “In fact, is there an example in recent history of ANY committee, select or standing, NOT having subpoena power?”


Fitting way to end Ryan’s Speaker days. Freedom Caucus still runs the show. Lunatics


House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said Thursday President Donald Trump would not sign a spending bill meant to avert a government shutdown, making the prospect increasingly likely as the fight over funding for the southern border wall continues into the Christmas holidays.

The White House suggested earlier in the day that the president was unhappy with the legislation and had begun blaming Republican leaders for “caving” on funding for his plans for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Trump had signaled on Wednesday that he would sign the deal.



Ramping up its campaign to fill powerful committee seats with lawmakers dedicated to fighting for Medicare for All, a Green New Deal, and other bold and popular policies, a coalition of grassroots advocacy groups will march to the office of Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) Thursday afternoon to make their voices heard.

“The grassroots progressive movement is flexing more power than ever before,” said Waleed Shahid, a spokesman for Justice Democrats, one of the 13 groups taking part in the delivery of over 150,000 petition signatures to Pelosi’s Washington, D.C. office. “Now we need to see that energy translated to the most powerful committees in Congress.”

Specifically, the coalition of advocacy groups—which collectively represent millions of Americans—are calling on Pelosi to appoint:

Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (D-N.Y.) to Ways and Means;
Rep.-elect Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) to Appropriations;
Rep.-elect Katie Porter (D-Calif.) to Financial Services;
Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) to Ways and Means and Judiciary; and
Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) to Ways and Means.


Here are three steps to starting your own climate conversation this holiday season:

First, keep it social. Focus on people and places that you and your family care about. With my students, I began by asking them to imagine a place that has special meaning for them and to envision the impact of extreme weather or climate change on that place.

Second, keep it short in terms of time frame, three or four generations at the most. Our class interview assignment focused on the next 40-50 years at the places they cared about. One student told me that this short-term view had a strong impact on her grandfather. He considered life for his child and grandchildren in the next 50 years and was upset about what it may look like.

Third, keep it positive.
Leaving parents and grandparents upset is not your goal. Instead, help them see that they don’t need to solve climate change in one day or one step. They just need to take a next step. The Alliance for Climate Education, for example, urges students and teachers to do one thing. As they put it: “Everyday actions add up.”



Maybe the biggest effect on newcomers of “everyday actions “ is keeping it constantly in mind. :0)


The House is debating extending the Tax Cuts from the scam bill of last year. They threw in a few benes for those who suffered from Hurricanes and fires to hold it hostage. CBO estimates another 1.4T of deficits. Not one hearing, no testimonies from experts, etc.

Rep Earl Blumenauer skewered Paul Ryan and GOP. Here’s the recording I did. Not great, but it was one of the better responses I’ve seen in offense of rejecting the bill.

Unfortunately, the bill will likely pass because of the provisions for disaster survivors. They need them, but why so late? Why not in a separate bill?

This bill is a very good reason why Pelosi should not allow PAYGO. It doesn’t help pass bills.


Manbaby’s tantrum worked.



Dems— willing to be bullied once again.


No House Dems voted for it and it’s dead on arrival in the Senate. 60 votes needed


Oh yay! Was hoping I was wrong. Thanks.


Cenk and Ana did a good initial breakdown about why Mattis’ resignation is beyond a yellow flag:






Illinois threatens Airbnb.

“At the request of Gov. Bruce Rauner, the outgoing Republican governor, the Illinois Investment Policy Board on Wednesday unanimously voted to notify Airbnb it is in violation of state law that bars state investment in businesses that boycott Israel or Israeli entities in territories Israeli controls.

Airbnb now has 90 days to respond, or it will go on the state’s list of companies the state must not engage in business.

It’s not clear what the impact on Airbnb would be.

Anti-BDS laws like the one in Illinois have passed in 26 states. The laws are controversial, and have been criticized by some civil liberties groups. The Forward reported Friday that ADL staffers drafted a memo in 2016 that slammed anti-BDS laws as harmful to Jews.”

Read more: https://forward.com/fast-forward/416050/illinois-threatens-to-blackball-airbnb-over-settlement-listings-dispute.



I was browsing the internet and came across someone named “Bernie or Guillotine2020”. Quite original and I like it.👌


The witch who runs Mother Jones is still at it.



Haven’t much discussion about Trump’s troop withdrawl except the MSM going bonkers.

But there are some saner people out there.


This is to counter the belief that Jim Mattis is one step away from Sainthood!



A slightly different take. LOL


Joe Biden, POTUS? What a piece of work~ 🙁


Hubby pointed out what is really happening. Putin has plenty of dirt on the orange infantile dimwit. He said -get out or ELSE. Dimwit said-yes, sir. Makes more sense.


This is how the #resistence operates. So sad.

BTW this is from the same person in the above comment.


This comment should go under your posts about the troop withdrawals.

Yes, it really gets into the weeds, but from photos of villages we’ve been through, it looks like it can’t hurt much more than it is now. We were never invited. I guess it depends on who you believe and how much you think we actually help.

I could certainly read more on it before giving a definitive opinion.

Mostly I’m glad to bring them home. Spend the money on other things.


Plus I read the troops’ families are upset???? I’d be singing Hallelujah.


Ya I noticed the tweet concerning Rachel that you posted yesterday.


You won’t get much useful information from the MSM or newspapers since every neocon and retired military analyst is in overdrive.




This is what it is all about.


Yeah, the more I think about it, we should be dancing in the streets.


This is the best I could do on short notice LOL.
comment image







Yeah, my heart is with this. I just wish I knew more. But yeah, we want to stay and fight for the Kurds why, exactly? Cuz they’re not angels, either.

More like $$$$$$$, as you say


If we wanted to help the Kurds we could do it politically, we are just using them as a reason for forever war at this point.

If 16-17 years didnt do the trick by now then its obvious what ever we are doing now is not worth doing. 😉


Have they made any sort of serious cuts to the gravy train aka MICC? No. That will indicate a very serious, long-wished-for good thing is happening.


There really is a bit of a Trump Derangement Syndrome where anything he does must be bad, but even a stopped watch is right twice a day and Trump will do some good things, we cant be against them just because its Trump.



:0). Even better, Green New Deal infrastructure.





These yahoos are not ‘liberals’! That’s an insult to those of us who actually are.

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