Franklin County Democrats

The official site of the Democratic Party of Franklin County, Missouri

Browsing Posts published in March, 2016

CNN’s Sally Kohn takes a step back from the Trump circus tent for a more panoramic view of this year’s presidential campaigns.  When the poles snap underneath the Trump circus tent, and they will, the biggest story of the year is the idea and policy based quest of Bernie Sanders.  Do you agree that This year’s biggest story is Bernie Sanders?

But Sanders supporters mark a new, enthusiastic bloc of citizens who because they have faith in a candidate like Sanders now have renewed faith in the system in which he is thriving.BernieSanders
As a result, these supporters may increasingly see government as a potential tool for change — one that can work well if we work to change it. Whether he wins or not, I expect the biggest part of Sanders’ legacy will be a generation of engaged, honest and bold leaders who work within government and not just outside and against it.
And in that sense, Bernie Sanders isn’t going away. Neither is his message. Or his voters.
Not in this primary. Not in the general election. And not in the foreseeable future of American politics.
And just as the Republican Party will now have to grapple with the angry, alienated voters fracturing off from the GOP establishment, the Democratic Party will have to address the seemingly far larger number of hopeful, idealistic and energetic voters who have bolstered Sanders campaign. Polls show Sanders beating Trump in a potential general election match-up by an average of 17 points.
While the Republican Party figures out how it can possibly be even more anti-immigrant and anti-woman, the Democratic establishment has to reconcile its hawkish, centrist, big business and Wall Street cozy policies of the past several decades with the strong populist pull of the Democratic base.
And Democrats are going to have to contend with these voters not just because they’re shaking their fists every couple of years but because they’re running for office and taking over local party infrastructure and energetically filling and reviving positions in government bureaucracy.
To the extent that Donald Trump may be killing the Republican Party, Bernie Sanders is doing the opposite — reviving the Democratic Party and imbuing it with a new generation of engaged, optimistic leadership. Bernie Sanders has already changed the current election with his dogged focus on income inequality and economic justice. Sanders’ supporters will change elections and politics for decades to come.

Trump’s Top Strategist Just Quit and  Wrote This Brutal Open Letter To Trump Supporters is a rare but powerful piece of political history…

One of Donald Trump’s top campaign strategists, former communications director Stephanie Cegielski, has resigned from his campaign in protest of Trump’s ridiculous statement that “only he can solve” the bombing in Pakistan (whatever that might mean). She has penned a devastating open letter to his supporters, explaining to us why she originally supported Trump, and how his excess and dishonesty turned her against him. She issues a stark warning to Trump supporters that the supposed “authenticity” of Trump is nothing but smoke and mirrors, a soap opera character  – and that at the end of the day, Donald Trump only cares about himself. A brutal denunciation of Trump as both a candidate and a person, it might be the most complete evisceration of the orange-haired rabble-rouser yet written.knifeinback

 

I also started seeing a trend of incompetence and deniability.

When there was a tweet that contained an error, he would blame it on an intern; when there was a photo containing a World War II Nazi Germany background, he would blame it on an intern; when he answered questions in an overtly controversial fashion, he would claim that he did not properly hear the question. He refused to take responsibility for his actions while frequently demanding apologies from others.

Imagine Trump wronged you, even in the smallest possible way. He would go to the grave denying he had ever done anything wrong to you — ever.

Trump acts as if he’s a fictional character. But like Hercules, Donald Trump isa work of fiction.

No matter how many times he repeats it, Trump would not be the “best” at being a president, being in shape, fighting terrorism, selling steaks, and whatever other “best” claim he has made in the last 15 minutes.

He would be the best at something, though. He is the best at looking out for Donald Trump — at all costs.

Don’t let our country pay that price.

Andy Borowitz looks at the media and all things Trump crowding out everything else in Media Unimpressed as Sanders Barely Gets Seventy Percent of the Vote….

Bernie Sanders failed to impress major media outlets over the weekend as he barely managed to win seventy per cent of the vote in three western primaries.spotlight

The major cable networks briefly mentioned Sanders’s vote tallies in Washington, Alaska, and Hawaii but noted that he ran out of steam well shy of eighty per cent.

 “There’s no point in sugarcoating it,” one analyst put it. “Rough night for Sanders.”

According to one cable executive, Sanders needs to “put up some big numbers fast” if he expects the networks to continue giving his campaign airtime.

“It’s going to be harder and harder to justify covering him while he’s stuck down in the seventy-per-cent range,” the executive said.

A spokesperson for CNN could not be reached for comment, as the network was busy preparing a ninety-minute special on the birth of Donald Trump’s new grandchild

Last week we posted a couple of times regarding Congressman “Bankin” Blaine Luetkemeyer and his comments that Wall Street should “neuter” Senator Elizabeth Warren.  If anybody knows Wall Street and the finance community it is Missouri’s 3rd district congressman.  He’s earned his nickname of “Bankin” Blaine by protecting the banking industry no matter what crisis they brought upon the rest of the country.  In the rest of the world this is called brownnosing.  Let’s put it this way, if “Bankin” Blaine was following a finance guy too closely and that guy stopped abruptly, there is a strong likelihood of a cranial-rectal interaction.Bankin bl

One of my favorite economics writers, Rana Foroohar of Time, looks at the culture of the banking and finance world as portrayed in the new Showtime series Billions…

But Billions, which was co-created by New York Times finance reporter Andrew Ross Sorkin, is more than the sum of its delicious plotlines and outsize characters. It correctly diagnoses the essential dysfunction of America’s current money culture. The men and women in Billions show that rather than serve the needs of the many, markets are increasingly captured by and exploited for the benefit of the few.

This plays out in the show’s depiction of the relationship between Wall Street and Washington. Both regulators and bankers in Billions play fast and loose with the law, cutting backroom deals and acting more for their personal gain than for justice. As the popularity of “outsiders” Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump has proved, Americans are more dubious than ever of the intimacy between bankers and politicians. That the two classes are in bed together is accepted fact; who is on top is a matter of debate. There is hardly a better metaphor for the commingled relationship between money and power in America than the sadomasochistic marriage between two of the show’s main characters–one a highly paid therapist for financiers, the other a prosecutor.

Unfortunately, the real-life drama of Main Street’s subordination to Wall Street is getting worse. Experts including Adair Turner, the former head of financial regulation in the U.K., estimate that only about 15% of all capital flows within America’s financial system end up making their way into the real economy. The rest of that money just rotates around the high-finance microcosm, enriching the 1% as they buy and sell existing assets to one another, bidding up their value, while failing to invest in research, products, jobs or innovation. C-suite executives, likewise, contribute to the sort of “quarterly capitalism” by seeking out Ding Doodle–style deals rather than making long-term investments. That has begun to worry even some of finance’s most accomplished players. (Warren Buffett, Larry Fink and Jamie Dimon recently met in secret to discuss how to fix corporate governance.) The worry is that our market system has become like the snake that devours its own tail. That’s certainly the story that Billions tells. It’s anyone’s guess how it will end.

The question is if “Bankin” Blaine is representing these guys, what is he doing for you?

Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich reexamines his position on trade in The New Truth About Free Trade….

The Apple iPhone is assembled in China from components made in Japan, Singapore, and a half-dozen other locales. The only things coming from the U.S. are designs and instructions from a handful of engineers and managers in California.


Apple even stows most of its profits outside the U.S. so it doesn’t have to pay American taxes on them.
Recent “trade” deals have been wins for big corporations and Wall Street, along with their executives and major shareholders, because they get better direct access to foreign markets and billions of consumers.
They also get better protection for their intellectual property – patents, trademarks, and copyrights – and for their overseas factories, equipment, and financial assets.
That’s why big corporations and Wall Street are so enthusiastic about the Trans Pacific Partnership – the giant deal among countries responsible for 40 percent of the global economy.
That deal would give giant corporations even more patent protection overseas. And it would allow them to challenge any nation’s health, safety, and environmental laws that stand in the way of their profits – including our own.
But recent trade deals haven’t been wins for most Americans.
By making it easier for American corporations to make things abroad, the deals have reduced the bargaining power of American workers to get better wages here.
The Trans Pacific Trade Partnership’s investor protections will make it safer for firms to relocate abroad – the Cato Institute describes such protections as “lowering the risk premium” on offshoring – thereby further reducing corporate incentives to make and do things in the United States, using and upgrading the skills of Americans.
Proponents say giant deals like the TPP are good for the growth of the United States economy. But that argument begs the question of whose growth they’re talking about.
Almost all the growth goes to the richest 1 percent. The rest of us can buy some products cheaper than before, but most of those gains would are offset by wage losses.
In theory, the winners could fully compensate the losers and still come out ahead. But the winners don’t compensate the losers.
For example, it’s ironic that the Administration is teaming up with congressional Republicans to enact the TPP, when congressional Republicans have done just about everything they can to keep down the wages of most Americans.
They’ve refused to raise the minimum wage (whose inflation-adjusted value is now almost 25 percent lower than it was in 1968), expand unemployment benefits, invest in job training, enlarge the Earned Income Tax Credit, improve the nation’s infrastructure, or expand access to public higher education.
They’ve embraced budget austerity that has slowed job and wage growth. And they’ve continued to push “trickle-down” economics – keeping tax rates low for America’s richest, protecting their tax loopholes, and fighting off any attempt to raise taxes on wealthy inheritances to their level before 2000.

 

 

Yesterday’s post regarding a Letter to the Editor by residents of Washington, MO and their disgust with “Bankin” Blaine Luetkemeyer and his attacks on Elizabeth Warren has raised a few eyebrows.  Let’s move past the brows and open a few eyes…

This weekend is the video release of the film the American Bankers Association doesn’t want you to see.  The award winning film The Big Short is at your local video store or pay-per-view now.  You can check out the trailer here.Image result for Image, The Big SHort

In 2008, Wall Street guru Michael Burry realizes that a number of subprime home loans are in danger of defaulting. Burry bets against the housing market by throwing more than $1 billion of his investors’ money into credit default swaps. His actions attract the attention of banker Jared Vennett (Ryan Gosling), hedge-fund specialist Mark Baum (Steve Carell) and other greedy opportunists. Together, these men make a fortune by taking full advantage of the impending economic collapse in America.

If the trailer doesn’t make you hate bankers be sure to watch the whole movie.   Then ask yourself if the interests of bankers are interests your congressman, “Bankin” Blaine Luetkemeyer should be fighting for and if those interests are what will make America a better place.  Or should he be representing the interests of the residents of the 3rd district of Missouri?

The other day Congressman “Bankin” Blaine Luetkemeyer, the Franklin County representative in Congress took a shot at Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren.  Our congressman said bankers should “neuter” the female Senator from the great state of Massachusetts.

Neutering is a general term used to describe the castration of a male animal. However, neutering is often used in reference to both genders. The surgical procedure, performed by a veterinarian, renders the animal incapable of reproducing.Bankin Blaine

The disrespect is obvious.  Using a sex specific  term such as “neuter” toward a female official is a not-so-subtle effort at being demeaning.  Of course, being demeaning is all in a day’s work when your bosses are the American Bankers Association.

U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, a Republican from Missouri and senior member of the House Financial Services Committee, on Wednesday described Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) as the “Darth Vader of the financial services world” and said bankers should find a way to “neuter” her.

Luetkemeyer, who made the remarks at a meeting of the American Bankers Association, is part of a group of lawmakers identified by the Center for Public Integrity as “especially solicitous to the banking industry,” Slatenoted in 2014. He has raised significant campaign funds from the the finance, insurance, and real estate sector, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Warren, as Common Dreams has reported extensively, is considered a top advocate for stricter regulation of Wall Street and big banks.

The congressman’s comments, first reported on Twitter by journalist Joseph Lawler, drew swift rebuke.

“Rep. Luetkemeyer’s remarks on Senator Elizabeth Warren at the American Bar Association meeting earlier today were offensive, sexist and out-of-line,” said Nita Chaudhary, co-founder of national women’s group UltraViolet.

Not only has “Bankin” Blaine Luetkemeyer aggravated women’s groups and fans of good government but today’s Letter to the Editor page of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch featured Washington, Mo residents and constituents of “Bankin” Blaine registering their disgust with the congressman…

We write to express our disgust at Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer’s comments directed at Sen. Elizabeth Warren. As the parents of an elementary-school-age daughter, we find his call to “neuter” Sen. Warren because of her support for stringent banking regulations abhorrently sexist.

Rep. Luetkemeyer’s choice of language bespeaks to a manifest vice that defaults to demeaning women who speak their minds rather than debate them about the issues. To couch his policy disagreement with Sen. Warren using terms that suborn physical harm to her in the most intimate of ways indicates a lack of personal honor and a profound misunderstanding of the public decorum expected of an elected official.

Rep. Luetkemeyer has soiled the dignity of the office that the people of Missouri’s 3rd District entrusted to him. We strongly urge him to apologize to Sen. Warren to show the little girls of Missouri who wish to become public servants that women should be treated with respect in all cases. If he does not apologize, then his claim to personal integrity is patently false and his obstinacy a sign of the moral bankruptcy endemic to Washington politicians that he so often decries.Russ and Sue Henderson  •  Washington, Mo.

How much longer will the good folks of Missouri’s 3rd district allow “Bankin” Blaine to soil his office while carrying water for the Bankers?

From Jason Kander’s Senate campaign…

A new poll released by 10 of our state’s newspapers found that Jason has the highest approval rating of all statewide elected officials they tested – he’s the most popular in Missouri.JASON KANDER

Senator Roy Blunt, on the other hand, didn’t fare so well. Missourians are dissatisfied with his work in Washington and Missouri, and the poll numbers show it.

While Jason’s favorability numbers soared at +26, Senator Roy Blunt’s struggled at an uninspiring -3.

Missourians are tired of Senator Blunt’s status quo approach to governing. Give $5 and help Jason get to the Senate so he can shake things up and push for progress for Missouri.

Senator Blunt has been in Washington for almost 20 years. He’s a career politician who’s been intertwined with special interest groups and entangled in conflicts of interest.

Jason served his country in Afghanistan and came home to make meaningful, positive changes in Missouri as Secretary of State. He’s made government more accessible to citizens, eliminated obstacles to small business growth and promoted early education initiatives.

Amanda Taub of VOX  jouneys through political time and examines the evolution and traits of dictators around the world.  While interesting from a political science perspective there is a more relevant reason.  You guessed it.

Donald Trump’s Tactics Are Disturbingly Similar To Those Of Actual Dictators provides the details…

Donald Trump has long been the career coach America didn’t ask for, instructing the country on the finer points of business leadership by bellowing advice and insults at the hapless MBAs who competed on his reality TV show.Image result for Image,, Dictator

But now that the Donald has made a career shift, abandoning the boardroom in favor of the campaign trail, he could use some role models of his own. In fact, one could be forgiven for thinking that he’s already found them: Whether Trump is aware of it or not, he appears to be increasingly following the unwritten playbook of tricks used by dictators and autocratic leaders the world over.

 In recent weeks, Trump has been acting — consciously or not — like a contestant on The Dictatorship Apprentice. Recognizing those tactics helps explain what he’s doing and why it often seems to work so well for him. And the reverse is also true: The fact that Trump is borrowing so liberally from the autocratic regimes tells us a lot about why these strategies are appealing for would-be strongmen the world over.
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