Floriduh Man to Ohio Man: Hold My Beer!

In a clear attempt to maintain Florida’s well earned status as the home of turning the crazy up to 11, a Florida Democratic Party Official has turned to his Ohio Man counterpart and said hold me beer!

From The Tampa Bay Times:

Stephen Bittel’s rocky tenure as Florida Democratic Party chairman ended in disgrace Friday after he resigned following accusations from women that he leered at them, made suggestive comments and created an unprofessional work environment.

Bittel said he is working with party leaders to set a date to elect his successor.
Elected in January after a contentious internal campaign, Bittel lasted less than a year on the job.  His departure marks the latest case of sexual impropriety shaking the state Capitol.

Bittel’s position became untenable after all four major Democratic candidates for Florida governor urged his ouster following a Politico Florida report late Thursday in which six women anonymously complained about Bittel’s behavior. They said he was “creepy” and “demeaning.” Bittel apologized, but it was not enough.

Bittel appears to have gone all out in his attempt to earn his Floriduh Man! card and keep Florida much, much stranger than Ohio.

Floriduh Man: offensive and educational!

Open thread!



Menendez Verdict

Mistrial:

The federal corruption trial of New Jersey Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez ended in a mistrial Thursday after the jury reported it was hopelessly deadlocked.

The mistrial is a blow to the Justice Department, which has been investigating Menendez for nearly five years, and will be a sigh of relief to Democrats worried about possibly losing his Senate seat to Republicans.
Menendez said he felt vindicated.

“I want to thank the jury, 12 New Jerseyans who saw through the government’s false claims and used their Jersey common sense to reject it,” he told reporters outside the courthouse before blasting the Justice Department.

“The way this case started was wrong, the way it was investigated was wrong, the way it was prosecuted was wrong, and the way it was tried was wrong as well,” he said. “Certain elements of the FBI and of our state cannot understand or, even worse, accept that the Latino kid from Union City and Hudson County can grow up and be a US senator and be honest.”

Menendez also had harsh words for those who predicted his political doom.

“To those who were digging my political grave so that they could jump into my seat, I know who you are, and I won’t forget you,” he said.

This was expected, given that one of the jurors quit to go on vacation (did not know you could do that, btw- “Sure, I’ll serve on the jury, but if it goes past this date, piss off I’m hitting the beach?”) and told everyone that there was no way he was going to be convicted. So now I guess it is up to Sessions as to whether he will proceed with another trial, right?








Donna Brazile Has Lost The Plot

I’m willing to believe that DWS was a Clinton stooge and fucked up the DNC. (I’ve never bought that the primaries were “rigged”-that’s a crock of shit that misreads the reason Sanders lost primaries.) So, I was willing to give Brazile the benefit of the doubt on her first set of revelations. But this, my friends, is bullshit:

Former Democratic National Committee head Donna Brazile writes in a new book that she seriously contemplated replacing Hillary Clinton as the party’s 2016 presidential nominee with then-Vice President Biden in the aftermath of Clinton’s fainting spell, in part because Clinton’s campaign was “anemic” and had taken on “the odor of failure.”

First, how the fuck was she going to do that? She was DNC chair, not occupant of the Iron Throne. Second, I’m not buying that she – alone – saw that Clinton was going to lose. Lots of smart people got that one way wrong. Third, how fucking dumb does she think we are?
This is just post-hoc reputation polishing and shit stirring to sell a book.
I know that Betty wrote about this topic (not this particular story) already today, and there certainly are better things to talk about, but this is nonsense on stilts. It is 2017, Bernie Sanders is too old to be a viable candidate in 2020, and we have some elections to win before then.








Rigged Schmigged

My husband is a pretty good barometer for how political stories play among rank-and-file voters. He doesn’t follow politics as closely as we do, but he pays some attention.

He believed the “Bernie was robbed” narrative the media vultures* pushed after Politico published an excerpt of Donna Brazile’s book earlier this week. It played to his preconceived notions.

A new document that emerged yesterday provided context that played to my preconceived notions; it strongly suggests that Brazile’s dramatic narrative was a steaming load of horse shit. Via NBC:

Memo Reveals Details of Hillary Clinton-DNC Deal

WASHINGTON — The Democratic National Committee struck a deal with Hillary Clinton in 2015 that gave her campaign input on some party hiring and spending decisions, but required they be related only to preparations for the general election, according to a memo obtained by NBC News. It also left the door open for other candidates to make similar arrangements.

The document provides more context to the explosive claims made by former DNC Interim Chair Donna Brazile in a forthcoming book, an excerpt of which was published this week.

More context, yes, that’s one way to describe it. The only hinky thing in the agreement that I can see is a provision that let the Clinton campaign influence the DNC communications director hire prior to the primaries.

If you think Clinton is an evil harpy bent on torpedoing people-powered, sparrow-anointed revolutions, you could construe that provision as exerting undue influence before the nomination was settled. If not, you might interpret it as reasonable considering that Clinton’s campaign was bailing out a poorly run organization that was as broke as the 10 Commandments.

Anyhoo, here’s the relevant section of the memo — judge for yourself:

“Nothing in this agreement shall be construed to violate the DNC’s obligation of impartiality and neutrality through the Nominating process. All activities performed under this agreement will be focused exclusively on preparations for the General Election and not the Democratic Primary,” the memo states.

The piece linked above was published yesterday evening. Did it make a difference in how folks who don’t follow this bullshit closely grok the story? Did it tamp down anger among those who have an ax to grind?

Nope and nope. News about the memo doesn’t appear anywhere above the fold that I can find, so non-political junkies are unlikely to see it. And here’s a piece also published at NBC News a few hours ago by the same reporter, Alex Seitz-Wald:

Bernie Sanders Camp: The Fix Was in Against Us

WASHINGTON — Bernie Sanders campaign says they now have proof.

With last year’s primary still roiling the Democratic party more than a year later, two former Bernie Sanders campaign officials are charging the Democratic National Committee offered their campaign a less favorable fundraising deal than Hillary Clinton’s team received…

Jeff Weaver, the campaign’s former campaign manager, dismissed the clause in Clinton’s agreement limiting engagement exclusively to general election activity as a fig leaf.

“Throwing this catchall at the end saying that this document doesn’t say what it says is a little disingenuous,” he said. “Anybody who suggests we were being treated the same way is playing semantic games.”

According to the DNC, Sanders’ campaign could have had the same type of arrangement, but they were strapped when the Clinton campaign swooped in to bail out the DNC. Sanders operatives deny that they were ever offered a similar deal.

For me, all of this bullshit is further proof that facts don’t matter in partisan squabbles. Therefore, it seems appropriate to paraphrase Mr. Orwell: If you want a vision of the (Democratic Party’s) future, imagine a sensible pump stamping on Bernie’s face — forever.

That’s how one side will always see it. Others see Russians, all the way down. I see a window of opportunity to bury the goddamned hatchet and move the fuck on so we can oppose the honest-to-Christ authoritarian demagogue in the White House and his minions in Congress. But it’s closing.

*No disrespect intended toward vultures, which seem to be fairly noble creatures who perform an essential ecological function.



Cancer

Donna Brazile has her campaign post-mortem out, and it is brutal for Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, Robby Mook and, ultimately, Hillary Clinton:

Right around the time of the convention the leaked emails revealed Hillary’s campaign was grabbing money from the state parties for its own purposes, leaving the states with very little to support down-ballot races. A Politico story published on May 2, 2016, described the big fund-raising vehicle she had launched through the states the summer before, quoting a vow she had made to rebuild “the party from the ground up … when our state parties are strong, we win. That’s what will happen.”

Yet the states kept less than half of 1 percent of the $82 million they had amassed from the extravagant fund-raisers Hillary’s campaign was holding, just as Gary had described to me when he and I talked in August. When the Politico story described this arrangement as “essentially … money laundering” for the Clinton campaign, Hillary’s people were outraged at being accused of doing something shady. Bernie’s people were angry for their own reasons, saying this was part of a calculated strategy to throw the nomination to Hillary.
[…]
When the party chooses the nominee, the custom is that the candidate’s team starts to exercise more control over the party. If the party has an incumbent candidate, as was the case with Clinton in 1996 or Obama in 2012, this kind of arrangement is seamless because the party already is under the control of the president. When you have an open contest without an incumbent and competitive primaries, the party comes under the candidate’s control only after the nominee is certain. When I was manager of Gore’s campaign in 2000, we started inserting our people into the DNC in June. This victory fund agreement, however, had been signed in August 2015, just four months after Hillary announced her candidacy and nearly a year before she officially had the nomination.

I had tried to search out any other evidence of internal corruption that would show that the DNC was rigging the system to throw the primary to Hillary, but I could not find any in party affairs or among the staff. I had gone department by department, investigating individual conduct for evidence of skewed decisions, and I was happy to see that I had found none. Then I found this agreement.

The funding arrangement with HFA and the victory fund agreement was not illegal, but it sure looked unethical. If the fight had been fair, one campaign would not have control of the party before the voters had decided which one they wanted to lead. This was not a criminal act, but as I saw it, it compromised the party’s integrity.
[…]
I told Bernie I had found Hillary’s Joint Fundraising Agreement. I explained that the cancer was that she had exerted this control of the party long before she became its nominee. Had I known this, I never would have accepted the interim chair position, but here we were with only weeks before the election.

Bernie took this stoically. He did not yell or express outrage […]

This passage begins with Brasile discovering that the DNC was broke when she took over from DWS.

I’m sure Donna has her own agenda (mainly, deflecting blame and showing that she knew better in her secret heart), but the fact that the Clinton campaign essentially controlled DNC funds from 2015 forward, and put almost nothing into down-ballot races, is pretty damning.








OH FFS

Verrit. A digital vomit bag of tone deafness and masturbatory quotes.

Do not want.








So Step Away With Your Fist Fight Ways

This ain’t back in the day:

Many Americans can’t remember anything other than an economy with skyrocketing inequality, in which living standards for most Americans are stagnating and the rich are pulling away. It feels inevitable.

But it’s not.

A well-known team of inequality researchers — Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman — has been getting some attention recently for a chart it produced. It shows the change in income between 1980 and 2014 for every point on the distribution, and it neatly summarizes the recent soaring of inequality.

It’s been 40 years since the right wing long game to destroy the middle class and the poor began, and they are winning. Unprecedented propaganda efforts have coal miners slapping “Friends of Coal” bumper stickers on their cars, broken workers are chanting “right to work” as they struggle to crush the unions that would and once did protect them, and the courts have been stocked with corporate friendly judges. In my state, literally. There are things we can do about it (if we band together and chip away at the GOP stranglehold in Washington):

The problem is that wealth and capital income are not distributed evenly. In 2014, the average wealth of the bottom half was $349. For the top one percent, it was over $16 million.

Rich people in our society don’t just have high capital income levels. They also have high capital income shares. That is, a large portion of the income collected at the top of our society comes from capital rather than from labor. In 2014, just 5.1 percent of the bottom half’s income came from capital. For the top one percent, around 58.9 percent of income came from capital.

It is worth emphasizing just how much income at the top of society comes from passive ownership of investments rather than from working. The top 0.01 percent of individuals in society have an average income of $28 million. Three-fourths of that income, or $21 million, came from capital in 2014.

If we want to get serious about creating a fair and egalitarian society, we must confront capital directly. Wage levels are important. Benefit levels are important. But getting those things right will not be enough so long as nearly one-third of the national income flows out passively to a handful of people at the top of society.

Current liberal efforts to tackle wealth inequality are woefully inadequate. Policies aimed at building the assets of low-income families, the typical approach to this issue, rarely succeed on their own terms and, even if they did succeed, would only be an insignificant drop in the bucket. For wealth and capital income to become more fairly distributed throughout society, the ownership of existing assets must be reordered towards that end.

But, as we know, the perfect was the enemy of the good in the last election, and we have this:

Different policies could produce a different outcome. My list would start with a tax code that does less to favor the affluent, a better-functioning education system, more bargaining power for workers and less tolerance for corporate consolidation.

Remarkably, President Trump and the Republican leaders in Congress are trying to go in the other direction. They spent months trying to take away health insurance from millions of middle-class and poor families. Their initial tax-reform plans would reduce taxes for the rich much more than for everyone else. And they want to cut spending on schools, even though education is the single best way to improve middle-class living standards over the long term.

Most Americans would look at these charts and conclude that inequality is out of control. The president, on the other hand, seems to think that inequality isn’t big enough.

I don’t know what it is going to take to unite “the left”- whatever that means anymore. Hell, I don’t even know what to call myself anymore because I support single payer, higher tax rates, higher capital gains, decriminalization, demilitarization, reinstatement of the draft, am pro-choice, etc., ad nauseum, but because I voted for Hillary I’m apparently a neoliberal. At any rate, I thought the election of Trump would unify “the left,” but it has apparently made us more fractious than ever. But we need to get our shit together, because things done changed.