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Member since: Fri May 8, 2009, 12:59 AM
Number of posts: 12,283

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Politico - Beto-mania Sweeps Texas

It is a longshot given how deeply many Republicans cling to racism along with the fear of many men about the rising political voices of women, particularly with fear and resentment be fanned 24/7 by Sinclair Broadcasting and Fox News. But, it is nice to see real people make a difference against the RW infrastructure.


FORT WORTH, Texas — Beto O’Rourke is running to replace Ted Cruz. Literally. Sweat pours off his lean, 6-foot-4-inch frame as the El Paso Democrat jogs along the southern bank of the Trinity River surrounded by 300-odd supporters and curious voters jogging along with him. Incredibly, they have shown up at 8 a.m. on a Sunday to join him for a double shot of politics and cardio. In between panting breaths, O’Rourke explains to me the origins of this novel campaign event, which has him running several miles under the Texas sun, stopping in the middle to take questions and lingering at the end to pose for selfies. “Some sadistic member of our team,” he recalls, “was like, ‘So we’re doing like six town halls a day in six different counties. We’re driving hundreds of miles every day, we’re visiting all 254 counties. What more could we do? Ah, get up earlier and have running town halls.’”

This, in short, is how O’Rourke plans to pull off his long-shot bid to take away Cruz’s Senate seat: by outhustling his opponent. O’Rourke, a third-term congressman, often boasts that he has hired no consultants or pollsters. He is his own strategist, and his strategy is simple: campaign relentlessly, project vitality and hope his raw charisma combines in just the right proportion with anti-Cruz animus, Texas’ changing demographics and national Democratic momentum to put him over the top.

It’s a lot to hope for. Cruz is among the country’s shrewdest politicians. He may be reviled in Washington and on the left, but his approval rating remains above water in most polls of Texas, which has not elected a Democrat to the Senate since 1988. Liberals have been fantasizing about turning the state blue for a decade, to no avail. And Cruz retains a double-digit lead in recent polls.

But something is catching here. Fueled by millions in small-dollar donations, O’Rourke is outraising Cruz. In recent weeks, President Donald Trump’s policy of separating migrant families detained at the border has given his campaign a jolt of moral clarity. And voters are responding in a way that Texas Democrats say they have not seen before in modern times.

Poll: Trump approval rating ticks up to 47 percent

Source: The Hill

President Trump's approval rating has reached an all-time high of 47 percent in the new Harvard CAPS/Harris poll released exclusively to The Hill, a two-point hike from last month.

Trump's approval rating was lifted in part by a 10-point climb among Hispanic voters. His approval rating rose by 6 points among Republicans and by 4 points among Democrats compared to last month's poll.

Trump's approval rating fell by 4 points among independents, and 53 percent of those polled hold an unfavorable view of him.

The rising numbers appear to reflect the strong economy and the president's summit meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Read more: https://www.democraticunderground.com/10142096742#post6

It sure helps to have billions in RW propaganda through Sinclair Broadcasting and Fox News to celebrate a North Korean nuke deal that isn't and a rising economy that is actually falling. At times, it just gets exhausting dealing with the gas lighting that is going on through Fox, Sinclair, Limbaugh, Alex Jones, etc. This does not even address the corporate media that happily gives Trump 24/7 news coverage.


Pompeo: North Korea remains a nuclear threat

Washington (CNN)Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told US lawmakers on Wednesday that North Korea remains a nuclear threat, but defended President Donald Trump for tweeting earlier this month, "There is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea."

"I'm confident what (Trump) intended there was, 'we did reduce the threat,'" Pompeo told a Senate panel. "I don't think there's any doubt about that."

"We took the tension level down," he added.

Pompeo also confirmed North Korea has yet to return the remains of any of the fallen US service members who died in the country during the Korean War, despite the President saying last week that transfers were under way.


For the biggest group of American workers, wages aren’t just flat. They’re falling.

The average hourly wage paid to a key group of American workers has fallen from last year when accounting for inflation, as an economy that appears strong by several measures continues to fail to create bigger paychecks, the federal government said Tuesday.

For workers in “production and nonsupervisory” positions, the value of the average paycheck has declined in the past year. For those workers, average “real wages” — a measure of pay that takes inflation into account — fell from $22.62 in May 2017 to $22.59 in May 2018, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said.

This pool of workers includes those in manufacturing and construction jobs, as well as all “nonsupervisory” workers in service industries such health care or fast food. The group accounts for about four-fifths of the privately employed workers in America, according to BLS.

Without adjusting for inflation, these “nonsupervisory” workers saw their average hourly earnings jump 2.8 percent from last year. But that was not enough to keep pace with the 2.9 percent increase in inflation, which economists attributed to rising gas prices.

June 30th - Families Belong Together March - Nationwide Protest and Day of Action

March. Vote. Resist.


NY Mag - Most Americans' Wages Have Actually Declined Over the Past Year

Can you have a great economy when workers' real wages are not merely stagnant, but somehow are falling even though unemployment is allegedly low. Put another way, if you have low unemployment, this should cause wages to rise, since it is should be difficult to hire. Perhaps Trump's unemployment numbers are as accurate as his estimates of crowd size or Puerto Rican hurricane deaths?


On the other hand, Americans are deeply indebted, many are stuck with part-time jobs, and wage gains have been so disappointing, their weakness has challenged fundamental premises of mainstream economics: Simply put, you aren’t supposed to be able to pay workers this little when the unemployment rate is this low.

And on Tuesday, the big picture on Americans’ paychecks grew even darker: In May, U.S. inflation accelerated to its fastest pace in more than six years — and wiped out what little wage growth the typical American worker had seen over the past 12 months in the process.

The consumer price index was 2.8 percent higher this past pay May than it was the same month one year ago; that increase leaves real average hourly earnings for production and nonsupervisory workers (a.k.a. the vast majority of workers) 0.1 percent lower than they were 12 months ago.

Notably, while wage growth was infamously tepid during the Obama years, the low-inflation environment of 2015 and 2016 did allow ordinary workers to secure real raises. Part of the uptick in inflation this year is a product of rising oil prices, a phenomenon over which the American president has little control. But some of it is likely attributable to the deficit expansion that Trump used to finance his regressive tax cuts. (To the extent that is the case, ordinary workers are effectively paying for the price for the Koch brothers’ big payday).

WaPo - For the biggest group of American workers, wages aren't just flat. They're falling.

For all the Fox News happy talk about the Trump economy, the ugly truth is that just as real wages started to go back up under President Obama, they have not only stagnated, but for some groups, real wages have gone down under Trump.


The average hourly wage paid to a key group of American workers has fallen from last year when accounting for inflation, as an economy that appears strong by several measures continues to fail to create bigger paychecks, the federal government said Tuesday.

For workers in “production and nonsupervisory” positions, the value of the average paycheck has declined in the past year. For those workers, average “real wages” — a measure of pay that takes inflation into account — fell from $22.62 in May 2017 to $22.59 in May 2018, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said.

This pool of workers includes those in manufacturing and construction jobs, as well as all “nonsupervisory” workers in service industries such health care or fast food. The group accounts for about four-fifths of the privately employed workers in America, according to BLS.

Without adjusting for inflation, these “nonsupervisory” workers saw their average hourly earnings jump 2.8 percent from last year. But that was not enough to keep pace with the 2.9 percent increase in inflation, which economists attributed to rising gas prices.

Lincoln's 1860 quote summarizes Trump's position:

You know how Trump blames Democrats the way Southerners blamed people who voted for Lincoln for their decision to secede:

A highwayman holds a pistol to my ear, and mutters through his teeth, 'Stand and deliver, or I shall kill you, and then you will be a murderer!'"

Lincoln 1860

Don't Be Fooled: How to Spot a Russian Bot on Social Media

Interesting and timely article as we head into the 2018 elections. Ever notice how threads that attack Democrats virtually get pinned to the top of social media with numerous kicks and one line posts expressing agreement with headings like:

Why don't the Democrats have a plan?
(Insert name of Democrats) is a corporate loving, neo-liberal.
Sad, but true!
I really wish Democrats would fight trump harder.
I hear ya and thank you.

The thread itself would also have a crazy amount of recs in a very short period of time. Well, perhaps those anti-Dem social media posts, with hundreds of one line kicks and numerous records is not by being promoted by real Democrats.


How sure are you that the person you’re passionately “debating” with online is a real, breathing person? How do you know whether they’re just another impassioned supporter of whatever topic and not someone with government (or other) backing?

* * *
Let’s start by differentiating bots and shills.

Bot: A bot is a fake social media account under the control of an organization or government seeking to influence the online community. For instance, a Twitter bot set to retweet certain hashtags and phrases in such volumes that it amplifies the specific topic. Another example is Reddit bots downvoting views disagreeing with the bot controller opinion (while upvoting those that do agree). Bots require volume for success on certain platforms, while at other times only a few can begin to shape the direction of a conversation.

Shill: A shill is different. Shills are real people actively engaging in the shaping of online (in this instance) discussion and opinion—while receiving payment in exchange for their presence. Shills promote companies, governments, public figures, and much more, for personal profit, essentially engaging in propaganda.

Depending on the organization or government, shills can work in conjunction with large bot networks to create intense vocal online movements. And while the combined efforts of shills and bots shape online opinion, these efforts are increasingly affecting more than just social media users.

Democrats Should Ignore Trump/Bernie on Trade. Look to FDR, Not Hoover

I always wonder how did the idea of protectionist trade policies become associated with left? We often hear that Democrats need to look to FDR to regain power. However, what about trade? One the key things FDR did was to reverse the protectionist trade policies of Herbert Hoover. Can you imagine if you had Bernie/Trump type supports back in the day attacking such free trade agreements?


A far more significant indication of the strength of protectionist sentiment can be seen in the broad bipartisan support for Tuesday’s legislation aimed at punishing China for currency manipulation. Both Republican Senator Jeff Sessions and Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer, for example, have emerged as key champions of the bill. But other Republicans and Democrats have expressed strong reservations about the measure, noting that one possible outcome of the bill might be a trade war with China. In a recent editorial in the Wall Street Journal, Senator Robert Corker even went so far as to liken the bill with the passage of the 1930 Smoot-Hawley Tariff, which he argued resulted in a “deeper depression and a decade of increased joblessness.”

Corker’s reference to damage wrought by Smoot-Hawley is accurate. The passage of Smoot-Hawley did indeed touch off strong counter-measures among our trading partners, leading to the establishment — among other things — of the 1932 British system of Imperial Preference, which allowed goods within the British Empire to be traded with little or no tariff restriction, locking out American goods and commodities and in the process weakening the U.S. economy. What is missing from Senator Corker’s warning is any reference to the tremendous effort that emerged during the Roosevelt administration to do away with protectionism; an effort that would ultimately not only break down the Smoot-Hawley Tariff, but which would also pave the way for the creation of the multilateral global economy we live in today.

The driving force behind this effort was FDR’s Secretary of State, Cordell Hull, who considered the passage of Smoot-Hawley an unmitigated disaster. Hull had been arguing in favor of freer trade for decades, both as a Democratic congressman and later senator from Tennessee. Given the long-standing protectionist tendencies of Congress — which reached their zenith with the passage of Smoot-Hawley, the highest tariff in U.S. history — Hull faced an uphill struggle to accomplish this task. He also had to overcome FDR’s initial reluctance to embrace his ideas, as the president preferred the policies of the “economic nationalists” within his administration during his first year in office. By 1934, however, FDR’s attitude began to change, and in March of that year the president threw his support behind Hull’s proposed Reciprocal Trade Agreements Act — a landmark piece of legislation that fundamentally altered the way in which the United States carried out foreign economic policy.

Convinced that the country was not ready for a truly multilateral approach to freer trade, Hull’s legislation sought to establish a system of bilateral agreements through which the United States would seek reciprocal reductions in the duties imposed on specific commodities with other interested governments. These reductions would then be generalized by the application of the most-favored-nation principle, with the result that the reduction accorded to a commodity from one country would then be accorded to the same commodity when imported from other countries. Well aware of the lingering resistance to tariff reduction that remained in Congress, Hull insisted that the power to make these agreements must rest with the president alone, without the necessity of submitting them to the Senate for approval. Under the act, the president would be granted the power to decrease or increase existing rates by as much as 50 percent in return for reciprocal trade concessions granted by the other country.

The 1934 Act granted the president this authority for three years, but it was renewed in 1937 and 1940, and over the course of this period the United States negotiated 22 reciprocal trade agreements. Of these, the two most consequential were the agreements with Canada, signed in 1935, and Great Britain, signed in 1938, in part because they signaled a move away from Imperial Preference and hence protectionism, and in part because they were regarded as indicative of growing solidarity among the Atlantic powers on the eve of the Second World War. It is also important to note that Hull, like many of his contemporaries, including FDR, regarded protectionism as antithetical to the average worker — first, because in Hull’s view high tariffs shifted the burden of financing the government from the rich to the poor, and secondly, because Hull believed that high tariffs concentrated wealth in the hands of the industrial elite, who, as a consequence, wielded an undue or even corrupting influence in Washington. As such, both FDR and Hull saw the opening up of the world’s economy as a positive measure that would help alleviate global poverty, improve the lives of workers, reduce tensions among nations, and help usher in a new age of peace and prosperity. Indeed, by the time the U.S. entered the war, this conviction had intensified to the point where the two men concluded that the root cause of the war was economic depravity.

Why shouldn't the gun industry be liable for damage done by its products? Calling All Progressives!

On the day of the March for Life it is important to note a key moment when members of Congress did not merely fail to take action to pass gun control laws, but when they actively conspired with gun makers to immunize them from damages and suits that result from their products. The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA) is a United States law which protects firearms manufacturers and dealers from being held liable when crimes have been committed with their products. Gun makers are making a killing when it comes to profits and the promotion of gun culture. Shouldn't they be held responsible for the damages that flow from their efforts to market and distribute such dangerous products?

Right wingers always talk about responsibility. Well, lets start holding politicians accountable for holding gun makers responsible, rather than coddling them. Here is a great article by noted legal scholar Erwin Cherminsky, the Dean of UC Berkeley Law School:


It is time to stop giving the gun industry special protections that are not accorded to other businesses. In 2005, Congress passed the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act which prevents gun companies from being sued by the victims of gun violence.

The NRA got it right when it called this “the most significant piece of pro-gun legislation in twenty years.” No other industry enjoys this special treatment.

The massacre in Las Vegas occurred because gun companies make semi-automatic weapons that are easily converted into automatic weapons that can kill large numbers of people in a short amount of time. Gun manufacturers take automatic military weapons like the M-16 and modify them into legal, semi-automatic weapons, like the AR-15. They can be turned back into automatic weapons, through bump stocks or other techniques that are described on many websites. Ammunition magazines with large capacity are manufactured that serve no purpose for hunting or sport.

If gun companies could be held liable the way all other manufacturers can be sued, they would not make such products or they would do far more to ensure the weapons could not be used for mass killings. But the 2005 Act dismissed all pending claims against gun manufacturers in both federal and state courts and preempted all future claims.


Sandy Hook Families Are Still Fighting

As survivors of the tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High demand answers from pro-gun politicians across Florida and the country, the families forever connected to a similarly infamous school up North are still waiting for a chance at justice. A little over three years ago, several relatives of victims in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, filed a lawsuit against AR-15 manufacturer Bushmaster—the parent company of which is Remington—seeking both monetary and punitive damages, as well attorney's fees and injunctive relief. At at the time, the suit seemed extremely unlikely to go forward because of a federal law protecting dealers and manufacturers from liability over gun deaths. But in a remarkable move, a judge said more than a year later that discovery could proceed, and even set a tentative trial date of April 3, 2018.

The families hit another roadblock when the same judge dismissed the suit in the fall of 2016. But the plaintiffs kicked the case up to the Connecticut Supreme Court on appeal, where a panel of judges are still waiting to decide if a creative legal argument might get the claim around the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA.)

Basically, the lawyers for the families have tried to claim two exceptions to that law. One is that the sale of the AR-15 to shooter Adam Lanza's mom violated a state law; the second has to do with how the gun has been advertised. Although the judges could decide whether the exceptions are valid at any time, Remington recently announced it was planning to file for bankruptcy, adding another wrinkle to an already-strange legal saga.

One Week of Trump Scandals Puts 8 Years of Obama/Clinton "Scandals" to Shame

What were the four biggest "scandals" that Republicans complained about during the 8 years of President Obama's presidency?

1. Fast and Furious - A Justice Department sting operation that allowed illegal gun sales in order to track the sellers and purchasers, who were believed to be connected to Mexican drug cartels. Some guns were subsequently used in crimes.
2. Bengazi - Following protests due to an anti-Muslim video, an attack on a US diplomatic compound in Bengazi Libya lead to the death of U.S. personnel.
3. Clinton's E-mail Server - Hillary Clinton was discovered to have conducted official State Department business on a private e-mail server.
4. Clinton Foundation - Hillary Clinton's charitable foundation received donations from foreign donors, which Republicans alleged was tied to diplomatic favors.

Now, each week, the Trump administration officials engage in public business using private Trump assets and e-mail accounts. Trump's twitter account is treated as both an expression of federal policy, yet Trump frequently blocks critical comments. Members of the Trump family such as Kushner still use private e-mails accounts when conducting diplomatic business with impunity.


The Trump foundation has been used to launder political donations and bribes to Republican candidates. Likewise, Trump campaign contributions are often paid toward private Trump businesses.

Trump Foundation admits to violating ban on ‘self-dealing,’ new filing to IRS shows


As to Fast and Furious and Bengazi, Trump has already repeatedly thrown his military under the bus for botched operations. Likewise, Syria is an ongoing fiasco.



Finally, the above ignores the daily efforts to obstruct justice and subvert the DOJ and ICE into Trump's personal security force to pursue political vendettas, as well as the rampant use of taxpayer dollars for private and personal luxuries by his cabinet secretaries.

In short, in almost every week during the Trump presidency, he manages to exceed 8 years of so-called "scandals" under the Obama administration with Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State.
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