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    Coward:

    Rep. Jim Renacci (R-OH) told a local radio station on Tuesday that he doesn’t intend to hold any town halls because “just having a town hall setting where people are screaming doesn’t make a lot of sense.”

    Renacci said that if his constituents have concerns, he’s happy to meet with them one on one.

    “What I’ve tried to do is offer individual meetings — I’ve got time in the office, what I call office time, that people can come and meet, and talk with me on an individual basis,” Renacci told host Jasen Sokol. “Sad thing is, Jason, a lot of people say to me, ‘I’m not coming unless you do a town hall with 150 people.’ Well if you have a concern, you can come to my office and we can talk about it.”

    Renacci also said that a lot of the requests for town halls have been coming from out of state.

    “A lot of times I see the people and they hit my Facebook account saying you won’t do a town hall, and we have staff that look at those, some of those are from California, some of them are from out of the country, out of state,” he said, adding that some requests from his constituents are people that he has met with before. “It just seems to be a tendency to say, ‘he’s not willing to confront,’ and the interesting thing is, I actually like confrontation, I like the idea, as long as it’s not 100 people screaming.”

    When Renacci was running for congress, however, he sang a very different tune.

    During his first campaign in 2010, Renacci attacked incumbent Rep. John Boccieri (D), for failing to show up to several town hall-style meetings set up by Renacci’s campaign.

    “It is deeply troubling to see that our current Congressman is so ashamed of his record that he refuses to face his own constituents in an open forum and listen to their mounting questions and concerns about his policies,” Renacci said in a press release.

    In case you were wondering, in the crowded GOP field, this clown is the Trump backed candidate:

    Vying for the Trump vote in the contest for Ohio governor next year, Republican candidate Jim Renacci today claimed the endorsement of two groups said to represent the swing constituency that supported Donald Trump for President.

    Mr. Renacci, a wealthy businessman and now a U.S. representative from the Akron area, announced he was endorsed by Citizens for Trump and Bikers for Trump.

    The motorcycle-based political action group rallied with Mr. Renacci on Saturday in Sandusky.

    “I could not be more honored to receive this endorsement from Bikers for Trump and Citizens for Trump — not simply because we share a common patriotism and passion for motorcycles, but because they represent the power of what’s possible when fearless, hardworking Americans mobilize to take their government back,” Mr. Renacci said.

    Mr. Renacci is one of four people competing for the Republican nomination to succeed Gov. John Kasich when his second term ends in January, 2019.

    Also in the running - and also hoping to win a share of the Trump vote in the 2018 primary - are Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor, Secretary of State Jon Husted, and Attorney General Mike DeWine.

    And being the Trump loyalist could help or hurt him in the primary:

    Renacci has the lowest statewide name-recognition of the four likely GOP gubernatorial hopefuls. Secretary of State Jon Husted and Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor already have declared their candidacies, and Attorney General Mike DeWine is expected to announce his bid soon.

    But Renacci is the only one who enthusiastically campaigned for Trump last fall. When he jumped into the race in March, with a video featuring him riding a motorcycle, Renacci brought an “Ohio First” slogan and website that echoed Trump’s “America First” message.

    Like Trump, Renacci — an accountant by trade and one of the wealthiest members of Congress — emphasizes his background in business and presents himself as a political outsider, though he’s in his fourth term in the House and was mayor of Wadsworth, near Akron.

    Trump has not indicated a preference, but Renacci has attracted support from other allies of the president. One of his senior campaign advisers, Rob Scott, helped run Trump’s Ohio operation. And in a not-so-subtle move Friday, Renacci tweeted a photo of himself standing between Jane Timken and Ronna Romney McDaniel, Trump’s handpicked chairwomen of the Ohio GOP and Republican National Committee, respectively. (Timken has pledged to remain neutral in the primary.)

    Renacci’s strategy has merit: Trump won Ohio by 8 points. But the Republican Party in the state is fractured, split between those loyal to the president and those loyal to term-limited Gov. John Kasich, who lost to Trump in the 2016 primaries and refused to endorse him. Kasich has said he intends to support Taylor, and some of his allies are expected to back DeWine.

    While the GOP primary is crowded, we have a pretty big bench of candidates on our end. Click below to get involved and donate to any of the Democrats running for Governor of Ohio:

    Connie Pillich

     

    Betty Sutton

    Nan Whaley


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    Received this e-mail today from U.S. Senator Al Franken (D. MN) in support of U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin’s (D. WI) re-election campaign:

    Democratic candidate Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin takes a moment before she takes on Republican Wisconsin U.S. Senate candidate Tommy Thompson during their final debate of the campaign at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, October 26, 2012.    REUTERS/Darren Hauck  (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS) ELECTIONS) - RTR39MVY
    Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D. WI)

    Wisconsinites seem obsessed with cheese.

    Their football fans wear Cheddarheads. They have a thing called the Great Wisconsin Cheese Festival. They made cheese their state's "official dairy product." They're just really proud of cheese.

    So when I heard that my friend Senator Tammy Baldwin (from Wisconsin) was hosting a Day of Online Action called a Cheddarbomb, I can't say I was surprised. I may have shaken my head a little. Only a little.

    But regardless of the name, it's the concept that's important. Tammy is up for reelection in 2018 and she's already got shady millionaires investing millions of dollars against her.

    She needs our help. So here goes.

    Tammy's Cheddarbomb goal is to raise $30,000 by midnight. Will you help her out by making a contribution?

    Tammy is an ally in the Senate we really can't live without.

    She's one of the most dedicated progressives I've worked with. When it comes to leveling the playing field for Wisconsin families and small businesses, and prioritizing people over the powerful, Tammy doesn't mess around. She works incredibly hard and doesn’t give up.

    She's working to end Citizens United. She wants to raise the federal minimum wage and lower the cost of college education. She is dedicated to building a Made in America economy and strengthening manufacturing.
     

    Tammy Baldwin is just a great Senator. And I'm not just being biased because Minnesota and Wisconsin are right next door to each other. She's always got our backs -- except when it comes to football. That, of course, she can’t be trusted on.
     

    So let's make sure we've got hers. Help me help Tammy's team reach their $30,000 Cheddarbomb goal in the next 11 hours. Give whatever amount you can today >>

    Thanks.
     

    Al

    P.S.: I made it through that whole email without a single cheese pun. Not one. I'm kinda proud of that. But I'll be even prouder if Team Franken gets Tammy to her Cheddarbomb goal early. So please give if you can.

    Click here to donate to Baldwin’s campaign.


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    Received this e-mail today from U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I. VT) and MoveOn.org:

    CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 28:  Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) speaks to guests at an event sponsored by Institute of Politics at the University of Chicago on September 28, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. Sanders is currently polling second behind Hillary Clinton in the Democratic race for the nomination  (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
    Sen. Bernie Sanders (I. VT)

    Dear MoveOn member,

    This weekend, I am partnering with MoveOn and going back on the road to visit states where there are Republican senators who can and should vote against the effort by Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell to throw 23 million people off of health insurance and, in the same bill, give huge tax breaks to multinational corporations and the rich.

    They call it a health care bill, but how can it be a health care bill when it throws 23 million people off of insurance, cuts $834 billion from Medicaid, and defunds Planned Parenthood? God knows what the implication of this legislation will be on our children, the elderly, and those of us with chronic illnesses.

    It is literally insane. I have a hard time understanding what kind of world these guys are living in sometimes.

    This is a bill that impacts a sixth of the American economy and touches every single American family. Yet until this morning, they kept the bill secret, kept it hidden. And now, in the last possible second, they are going to rush it before the U.S. Senate to get a vote.

    We're going to be visiting Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia on Saturday and Sunday. If you can, please show up. But we cannot pull off this tour alone. We need your help.

    Chip in $3 to MoveOn today to help them fund our tour to stop Republicans from kicking 23 million Americans off of health insurance in order to give a tax cut to the richest among us.

    Time is running out. No one can sit on the sidelines. Not now. It is up to all of us to act in an unprecedented way. We have to think big and do everything humanly possible to make sure that this horrendous piece of legislation does not become law.

    On this tour I will ask why it is that the United States is the only major country on earth that does not guarantee health care to all of its people as a right. I will ask why we pay far more per capita than any other nation for health care—with worse outcomes—and the highest prices for prescription drugs. And I will discuss the Medicare for all, single payer legislation that I will soon be introducing in the United States Senate.

    But first, we must stop Republican efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

    Thank you for joining me and MoveOn in that effort.

    In solidarity,

    Bernie Sanders

    Want to support MoveOn's work? The MoveOn community will work every moment, day by day and year by year, to resist Trump's agenda, contain the damage, defeat hate with love, and begin the process of swinging the nation's pendulum back towards sanity, decency, and the kind of future that we must never give up on. And to do it we need your support, now more than ever. Will you stand with MoveOn?

    Click here to chip in $3, or whatever you can afford.

    Click here to donate to MoveOn.org and Bernie’s campaign.


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    Besides being from two different parties, you want to know what the real difference between Pennsylvania’s two U.S. Senators? One of them is a horrible liar:

    Steve Kelly, a spokesman for Sen. Pat Toomey, said the Pennsylvania Republican has vowed “that no one will lose their federal Medicaid eligibility, and no one currently covered by Obamacare will have the rug pulled out from under them” under the plan being discussed in the Senate. Toomey is one of a handful of senators working behind closed doors on the Senate version, which other senators say they have not seen, Kelly said.

    Senate Republicans are working on their own version of a bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act after House Republicans in May approved a measure that would phase out the expansion of Medicaid to people making slightly too much to qualify for the traditional program. The House bill would also cap federal spending on traditional Medicaid, which Democrats and health care advocates warn will push very low-income people off the program.

    Kelly also said Toomey has supported a number other federal programs that fund addiction treatment.

    The other one tells the truth:

    U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., said the Republican plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act must be stopped because the cuts it will make to Medicaid will amplify the heroin epidemic — since so many rely on the program for addiction treatment.

    “This is a critical time for the opioid epidemic and a critically important time for Medicaid because of the connection between the two,” he said. “In the midst of this terrible crisis, Republicans want to roll back Medicaid expansion.”

    Casey held a press conference with U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and several police chiefs Tuesday to talk about the severity of the opioid epidemic and its tie to Medicaid and its expansion.

    Senate Republicans have been drafting their health care plan behind closed doors; it is expected to be released on Thursday and voted on next week.

    In a report he issued entitled, “The Republican Health Care Plan: Retreating from the Fight Against the Opioid Epidemic,” Casey noted that 33,000 of the 52,000 people who died in 2015 from a drug overdose were linked to opioids. In Pennsylvania, that number was 1,300 out of 3,200 overdose deaths in the same year.

    “So now, across the country, more people die from drug overdoses than car crashes,” Casey said.

    And, many receive care through public sources, including the 175,000 Pennsylvanians receiving substance abuse disorder services through the expansion, according to the Casey report.

    It also stated that 14 million people stand to lose medical coverage next year through the Republicans’ American Health Care Act and that up to $5.5 billion could be potentially cut for mental health and substance use disorder coverage provisions in changes made to the ACA.

    It’s hard to trust or take Toomey seriously because he’s the one who pushed through the steep Medicaid cuts in the first place:

    As the chairman of the Subcommittee on Health Care, Toomey spearheaded the bill’s drafting process and the push for deep Medicaid cuts, which Democrats and some Republicans fear will force states to either eliminate coverage for many needy patients or assume a much more sizable chunk of the cost.

    Toomey defended the bill in an interview with Bloomberg today, calling the Medicaid cuts “necessary to make [Medicaid] a sustainable program.” He said the bill had “gotten lots of outside input” during the draft process—but it was drafted without a single public hearing.

    Here’s how the bill would work: Under current law, Medicaid is an open-ended entitlement program, meaning the government is required to match state expenditures for the costs of covered services to those deemed eligible (primarily low-income and disabled people). The Senate legislation would replace that program with a system of capped federal payments that would drastically reduce federal spending over time.

    That means states would be forced to decide whether to scale back on coverage or raise a significant amount of funding, likely through taxes or budget cuts, to make up the difference.

    And Governor Tom Wolf (D. PA) rightfully called out Toomey:

    Wolf sent Toomey a letter expressing concern for the senator’s recent call for a Medicaid “overhaul,” which Wolf believes would be “extremely devastating” to the state’s residents.

    “For hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians, Medicaid is not a handout – it is a lifeline,” the letter reads. “It helps families care for an aging parent or a child with a disability. It is helping our state battle the opioid epidemic by diverting people from punitive criminal justice settings and into the treatment they desperately need. It allows kids with intellectual and physical disabilities to go to school and learn.”

    Toomey sits on the committee of Senate Republicans drafting their version of legislation that would repeal the Affordable Care Act, which could reportedly include more cuts to Medicaid than the health-care overhaul passed by the House last month.

    The cuts – and the emerging bill – are opposed by Democrats and some moderate Republicans concerned that the belt-tightening would hurt state budgets and eliminate crucial coverage for many residents – particularly those who rely on treatment for opioid addiction.

    “Unfortunately, press reports indicate you have advocated for Medicaid cuts to go even further than the House,” Wolf’s letter to Toomey reads. “Even worse, statements from your office have seemingly sought to confuse your constituents about this issue. Saying that these changes won’t make anyone ineligible for Medicaid is disingenuous and does not reflect the budgetary reality of covering these populations should you choose to cut federal funding for your state, which you know faces legacy financial challenges.”

    Of course Toomey doesn’t believe voters would actually read the bill but Casey took to Twitter and rightfully highlighted what Toomey wrote:

    With red-circled passages from the proposed replacement for the Affordable Care Act released this morning, Mr. Casey launched a barrage of tweets. He pointed to phrases and sections of the provisions of the legislation, and said what he considers each means in reality.

    He wrote about a provision discussing a “Medicaid Flexibility Program.”

    x

    “This means insurance companies are no longer required to cover things like maternity care and emergency services. This will effect everyone,” he said.

    Of another passage, he explained:

    x

    Click here to read more of Casey’s Tweets.

    People in Pennsylvania aren’t falling for Toomey’s bull shit and they are making sure their presence won’t be ignored:

    With Toomey at the center of these negotiations, people across Pennsylvania are planning to hold 24-hour vigils outside the senator’s offices this week. Those who plan to participate say they’re concerned about how repealing the ACA and cutting federal Medicaid spending will affect vulnerable populations like seniors and kids.

    The Pittsburgh vigil is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. today with a rally outside Toomey’s Downtown office. Other vigils, supported and coordinated by the Pennsylvania Health Access Network, are scheduled to take place in Allentown, Erie, Harrisburg, Philadelphia and Wilkes-Barre.

    Antoinette Kraus, director of the Philly-based healthcare coalition, told The Incline the vigils are an “organic movement” to support people who are worried about losing their coverage. Kraus said her group has been hearing from a lot of those people.

    “They said, ‘How do we get our stories told? We feel like it’s getting lost in the noise.'”

    Jonathan Mayo plans to participate in the Pittsburgh vigil with the local Bend the Arc chapter, which is part of the Jewish Action network. “For us, it was a no-brainer to participate,” Mayo, a steering committee member, said of the group.

    And the vigil brought out a big name to call out Toomey:

    The vigil, one of many events scheduled to an throughout the city during a 24-hour period as the U.S. Senate prepares to vote on legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act, included speaker Rev. Dr. William Barber II, president of the North Carolina NAACP and leader of the Moral Mondays civil rights protest movement.

    Barber was joined by other clergy members, local organizations, residents, POWER, and the Pennsylvania Health Access Network, who were all looking to speak out against Senator Toomey on the harm the Senate’s proposal will cause seniors, children, people with disabilities, and individuals with pre-existing conditions.

    “This should not be a discussion about keeping the Affordable Care Act,” Barber said. “For many of us the Affordable Care Act was a step, not the end of a journey. We should be talking about Universal Healthcare. We should be building on what we already have in place, not starting over. Once you take a step back, it’s going to be harder for reaching universal healthcare.

    “The problem is we have too much compromise on both sides of the law,” he added. “But the difference now is that we have a president who is in an all-out battle to undermine healthcare. Greed is written all over this. But when it comes down to it, this decision is really about life and death. We need to have our voices heard. We need to speak out and up. We need to tell our stories and hold our legislative and government officials accountable.”

    Below are Toomey’s offices and contact information. Keep raising Hell about this:

    Washington, D.C.
    248 Russell Senate Office Building
    Washington, D.C. 20510
    Phone: (202) 224-4254
    Fax: (202) 228-0284

    Pittsburgh
    310 Grant Street
    Suite 1440
    Pittsburgh, PA 15219
    Phone: (412) 803-3501
    Fax: (412) 803-3504

    Johnstown 
    Richland Square III, Suite 302 
    1397 Eisenhower Blvd 
    Johnstown, PA 15904 
    Phone: (814) 266-5970 
    Fax: (814) 266-5973

    Erie
    United States Federal Building
    17 South Park Row
    Suite B-120
    Erie, PA 16501

    Phone: (814) 453-3010
    Fax: (814) 455-9925

    Wilkes-Barre
    7 North Wilkes-Barre Boulevard
    Suite 406
    Wilkes-Barre, PA 18702
    Phone: (570) 820-4088
    Fax: (570) 820-6442

    Harrisburg
    United States Federal Building
    228 Walnut St.
    Suite 1104
    Harrisburg, PA 17101
    Phone: (717) 782-3951
    Fax: (717) 782-4920

    Allentown/Lehigh Valley 
    1150 S. Cedar Crest Blvd Suite 101 
    Allentown, PA 18103 
    Phone: (610) 434-1444 
    Toll-free phone (for callers in PA): 1-855-552-1831
    Fax: (610) 434-1844

    Philadelphia
    US Custom House
    200 Chestnut Street
    Suite 600
    Philadelphia, PA 19106
    Phone: (215) 241-1090
    Fax: (215) 241-1095

    And let’s be sure to let Senator Casey and Governor Wolf know we have their backs next year. Click below to donate and get involved with Casey and Wolf’s re-election bids:

    Bob Casey

    Tom Wolf


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    This is awesome:

    Alyssa Milano and Ted Cruz provide two helpful illustrations on how to use social media as a celebrity. Alyssa Milano, for example, uses her massive reach to rally Democrats and left-leaning voters to the polls, and on Tuesday night was broadcasting updates for the contentious Congressional election in Georga that, ultimately, was won by the Republican candidate. While a lot of people were despairing in the immediate aftermath of that election, Milano fired off a note of solidarity:

    x

    That’s nice!

    Now take Ted Cruz, who illustrates a different tactic on using Twitter—that is, creepily patrolling her page several days later and popping into frame with this absolutely bone-chilling missive:

    x

    And Milano responded perfectly:

    Not missing a beat, Milano responded almost instantly with the perfect amount of sass.

    x

     

    Milano also added in a follow-up tweet that “anytime you want to get together to talk about your duty to your constituents, I’d love to chat. People before party.”

    And by the way, Cruz’s Democratic opponent is our man when it comes to health care:

    El Paso Congressman Beto O'Rourke, the Democratic who will challenge U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz in the 2018 election, also is proposing his own Medicare-for-all bill.

    You can click here to add your name to O’Rourke’s petition in support for Medicare For All.


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    And so it begins:

    Hillary Clinton won Virginia in the 2016 election and former President Barack Obama won Virginia in both the 2008 and 2012 election Needless to say, Trump isn’t tremendously popular in the state, so an apt comparison between the president and Gillespie could prove to be detrimental to Gillespie’s campaign. 
     

    Gillespie was actually less aligned with Trump than his opponent in the Republican primary, Corey Stewart– but Northam released a new ad that highlights the similarities between the two Republican politicians. 
     

    The ad opens up by saying “Now we must stop the Trump Gillespie agenda.” It continues by calling Gillespie a “Washington Insider” who “will be Trump’s top lobbyist in Virginia.” In the early 2000’s under Former President G.W. Bush, Gillespie’s lobbyist firm was hired by Enron to “press the company’s case on tax and energy issues.” Northam’s ad says that Enron was the “largest corporate fraud.” 
     

    Gillespie is also quoted in the video saying at a press conference that he “would like to see abortion be banned.” Gillespie’s views contrast the current Virginia Governor’s stance. Governor Terry McAuliffe vetoed a bill to defund Planned Parenthood and helped overturn Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers – otherwise known as TRAP– which are policies that overregulate abortion providers to the point where they are forced to close. 

    Let’s keep the ad on the air. Click here to donate and get involved with Northam’s campaign.


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    Loving this response:

    As Republican leaders in the U.S. Senate today revealed a draft of health care legislation they say will stabilize individual insurance markets, Democrats from Michigan and elsewhere attacked it as mean-spirited and stingy, saying it will hurt lower-income families and seniors.

    “Frankly, we’d like to have a ceremony and light this on fire,” U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., said on the Senate floor, waving a copy of the 142-page draft legislation as she argued against the bill, which is intended to repeal and replace the 7-year-old Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell unveiled the draft bill, which follows a U.S. House vote on a similar measure in May that could have far-ranging impact in Michigan, where 1 million people get coverage on ACA exchanges or through Healthy Michigan, the state’s Medicaid expansion plan.

    The legislation eliminates the requirement that people have insurance, reins in Medicaid spending and eligibility, and cuts back insurance premium subsidies for some low- and middle-income Americans. A vote on it  could come next week before the Senate takes its July 4th recess.

    Other portions of the bill:

    • Eliminate requirements that insurers on the exchanges provide essential health benefits such as prescription drug and maternity care as of 2020.
    • Allow states to put in place work requirements for Medicaid coverage for poor people and experiment with ways to contain costs while providing care.
    • Keeps in place requirements to cover preexisting conditions and let children stay on parents' policies until age 26, though if subsidies decrease, those policies could cost people more.

    Well said. While Democrats may not be able to literally set the bill on fire we can help them get four Republican Senators to reject this disastrous bill. Click here to contact your Senator and tell them to reject Trumpcare.

    And while you’re at it, click here to donate and get involved with Stabenow’s re-election campaign.


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    Received this e-mail today from U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown’s (D. OH) re-election campaign:

    “Senate Health Care Bill Includes Deep Cuts to Medicaid”
    - New York Times, 6/22

    For over seven years, Republicans have been talking about repealing the Affordable Care Act. It has been a huge talking point for them.

    And after all those years, all those elections, this is the best plan they can come up with?!

    When I first saw the Senate Republican plan, I was speechless. It's that bad.

    Then I remembered that what I actually need to do is speak out. Now. And I need your voice too.

    Republicans could force a vote on this plan as early as next week. Speak out now before it's too late. Let them know you're against rushing this plan through.

    The Affordable Care Act gave insurance to tens of millions of people who didn’t have it before. The law not only eliminated pre-existing conditions and lifetime limits, it also bent the cost curve -- the growth of medical costs in this country is actually slower under the Affordable Care Act than under the previous system.

    Most people haven't gotten a chance to even read the whole plan yet. But here's what the early reporting says it will do:

    •  Cuts Medicaid and eliminates Medicaid expansion
    •  Guts Planned Parenthood
    •  Slashes taxes for the wealthy while our most vulnerable pay more for less care

    The Republican bill will roll back the progress we’ve made and will cause Americans to pay higher costs for less care. Add your name to mine and speak out against this plan.

    Thank you,

    Sherrod

    Click here to add your name.


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    Read it here

    I am stunned to read the details. Need a minute to digest. 

    Personally, I think Obama should have gone public and postponed the election. This would have taken extreme courage and created a Constitutional crisis in and of itself. 

    Perhaps he could have gone public and asked Congress to vote on a postponement under the rubric that we were under cyberattack equivalent to war.

    The article states that some Obama administration officials are agonizing over whether they did enough.

    This is a new world. War is waged via the innertoobs. We need to adjust.

    The initial information was handled with utmost care in sealed envelopes which were returned to secure storage inside the CIA.

    The CIA package came with instructions that it be returned immediately after it was read.

    Obama’s approach often seemed reducible to a single imperative: Don’t make things worse. As brazen as the Russian attacks on the election seemed, Obama and his top advisers feared that things could get far worse.

    As we have read often before, 

    They also worried that any action they took would be perceived as political interference in an already volatile campaign. 

    One person thinks the Administration choked. 

    In political terms, Russia’s interference was the crime of the century, an unprecedented and largely successful destabilizing attack on American democracy. It was a case that took almost no time to solve, traced to the Kremlin through cyber-forensics and intelligence on Putin’s involvement.

    In a very real sense, we no longer have a democracy, yet we are pretending it will all turn around. The best we can hope for is drumf’s removal and a slow rebuilding process which reconstitutes our voting systems, our political process and our political parties. 

    Can Mueller stay in place and help all of us?

    Is this old news to all of you? It seems to fill out the picture we all assumed and more.


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    Yep:

    Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) slammed Senate Republicans’ bill to repeal Obamacare as a “barbaric” plan that means thousands will die so the wealthy can get billions of dollars in tax breaks.

    CNN’s Anderson Cooper asked Sanders about his statement Thursday that the Republican health care plan is the “most harmful piece of legislation” he’s seen in his lifetime.

    “It is an extraordinary statement because this is an extraordinary piece of legislation,” Sanders replied. “If you throw 23 million people off of health insurance, if you cut Medicaid by over $800 billion dollars, there is no question but that thousands of Americans will die.”

    Sanders added, “The purpose of this whole legislation — of raising premiums for older workers, of defunding Planned Parenthood ...  is to provide $500 billion in tax breaks for the top 2 percent, for the insurance companies, for the drug companies and other major corporations.”

    “This is barbaric,” he said. “Frankly, this is what oligarchy is all about. It’s the wealthy and powerful saying, ‘We need even more tax breaks’— despite the fact that they’re doing phenomenally well — and if it means people in America dying ... ‘Hey, that’s not our problem.’”

    Sanders is hitting the road this weekend to Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia to target Republican U.S. Senators Pat Toomey (R. PA), Rob Portman (R. OH) and Shelley Moore Capito (R. WV) where the Medicaid cuts would greatly harm many of their constituents. Here are the details to for those events:

    Pennsylvania:

    Sen. Bernie Sanders is coming to Pittsburgh Saturday as part of a MoveOn.org bus tour that is holding rallies in the region urging lawmakers to vote against the GOP healthcare plan introduced in the U.S. Senate Thursday.

    The U.S. senator and former presidential candidate will be speaking at rallies in Pittsburgh, Columbus, Ohio, and Charlestown, W.Va. The group is specifically targeting Republican Senators Pat Toomey of Pennsylvani, Rob Portman of Ohio, and Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia.

    The Pittsburgh rally will be at 7 p.m. at the David Lawrence Convention Center, Downtwon.

    Ohio:

    Bernie Sanders will hold a rally about health care in Columbus on June 25.

    According to the event's registration, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) will visit Columbus to try and convince Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) and Republicans to vote against the proposed health care legislation.

    The rally will be at Express Live at 405 Neil Avenue in Columbus. Doors will open at 10 a.m. and the rally will start at 11:30 a.m.

    The event Sunday is free, open to the public, and no tickets are required but organizers encourage people to RSVP here.

    West Virginia:

    Bernie Sanders, the independent Senator from Vermont and former Democratic presidential candidate, is returning to Charleston for the Protect Our Health Care Rally at the Charleston Municipal Auditorium at 3 p.m. Sunday.

    According to a release from Move On Civic Action, a progressive political organization that organized the rally, the event is designed to urge moderate Senators — including U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va. — to vote against the bill.

    The event will be hosted by 13 different groups including Planned Parenthood South Atlantic, West Virginia Healthy Kids and Families Coalition, West Virginians for Affordable Health Care, Our Children Our Future, Organizing for Action, the ACLU, WV Citizen Action Group, Wood County Indivisible, West Virginia Center for Budget and Policy, WV Free, Kanawha Valley Democratic Socialists of America, Rise Up WV and West Virginia Women’s March.

    If you live in any of these states, please do attend the events and also contact these GOP Senators and push them to reject Trumpcare:

    Pat Toomey (R. PA)

    Rob Portman (R. OH)

    Shelley Moore Capito (R. WV)


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    From Twitter:

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    Stay tuned for more developments.


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    Received this e-mail today from Phil Murphy’s (D. NJ) gubernatorial campaign:

    20170623Trumpcare.png

    Governor Chris Christie and Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno failed to stand up to President Donald Trump on healthcare, and now New Jerseyans across the state are at risk of losing their insurance.

    If they were afraid of crossing the President and leader of their party, they didn't even need to go so far as to talk to Donald Trump to fight for New Jersey families.

    New Jersey's own Congressman, Tom MacArthur, is the shameless author of Trumpcare. He removed protections for pre-existing conditions and decimated Medicaid funding. All Christie and Guadagno might have had to do was let MacArthur know how serving Trump and the special interests would harm regular New Jerseyans. Instead, they have stood by as MacArthur and other Washington Republicans continue to attack healthcare.
     

    With Senate Republicans moving forward on their own dangerous bill to rip away healthcare for millions, we're going to keep fighting to save affordable coverage. Add your name to the petition.

    A new study on MacArthur's bill shows that New Jersey's uninsured rate would skyrocket to 14 percent, 54,000 jobs would be lost across the state, and no congressional district would be hit harder than the 3rd. In MacArthur's own district, 40,923 people would join the ranks of the uninsured by 2026. Seniors and children suffer while corporations and those at the very top are rewarded with enormous tax breaks.

    Unlike Chris Christie and Kim Guadagno, Phil Murphy and this campaign -- your campaign -- are holding Tom MacArthur accountable, calling him out and organizing protests with activists inside and outside his town hall in Willingboro.
     

    Tell Governor Christie and Lt. Governor Guadagno to do what they should have done months ago -- stand up to President Trump and his allies to put the health and economic security of New Jerseyans first.

    Thank you,

    Brendan

    Brendan Gill
    Campaign Manager
    Murphy for Governor

    Click here to add your name.


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    Received this e-mail today from Lt. Governor Ralph Northam’s (D. VA) gubernatorial campaign:

    We have to take action, Friends.
    Republicans in Congress are hell-bent on stripping away our healthcare by whatever means necessary. The bill they released yesterday threatens to cut Medicaid, eliminate federal funding for Planned Parenthood, and could price seniors right out of their healthcare plans. We can’t let them get away with it.
    Republicans may have written this bill in secret, but now is your chance to make your voice heard and tell them you believe in quality, affordable healthcare.

    Republicans can dress it up with a new name, but whether they call it the American Health Care Act or the Better Care Reconciliation Act, Virginians know: This healthcare bill is bad across the board. And it would especially hurt Virginians. Unlike other states, Republicans stood in the way of Medicaid expansion here, and now we’ll be hit harder by these cuts.

    Republicans are making it clear that they’re willing to do whatever it takes to make a political statement—even if that means hurting millions of Americans.
    Thanks,
    Team Ralph

    Click here to add your name.


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    Received this e-mail today from U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein’s (D. CA) re-election campaign:

    Senate Republicans just released their healthcare bill that was drawn up behind closed doors, and like the House version, it seeks to eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood. We must stand against any attempt to close Planned Parenthood.

    The GOP's perpetual insistence on shutting down Planned Parenthood is alarming. They're willing to put the health and well-being of millions of women in jeopardy just to make an ideological point.

    Planned Parenthood provides lifesaving services to women who have nowhere else to turn. Access to cancer screenings, contraception, and family planning are critically important. Depriving families of this important resource is absolutely unconscionable.

    Join me in standing up for Planned Parenthood and protecting women's access to health care services by signing our petition today. We must stop the GOP's war on women now.

    In April, Donald Trump signed a law that allows states to refuse federal funds for Planned Parenthood. That controversial move was also done in secret, because Republicans know that Americans support the good work that this organization does for so many families in need.

    This law makes it possible for states all over the country to eliminate reproductive health care services by cutting off their support until they can no longer function.

    This situation is out of hand, which is why we need your help today. Please add your name to our petition and demand that Republicans stop their assault on Planned Parenthood.

    Thank you,
    Dianne

    Click here to add your name.


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    Received this e-mail today from U.S. Senator Jon Tester’s (D. MT) re-election campaign:

    160908-jon-tester-senate-1039a_107328ba346b4f6835858c87a39e23b1.nbcnews-ux-2880-1000.jpg
    Sen. Jon Tester (D. MT)

    This Administration's budget calls for a $9.2 billion cut to the Department of Education.

    It’s clear that Secretary Betsy DeVos wants to privatize our public schools, cut assistance for students with special needs, and slash training for teachers. I think any Montana student, teacher, or parent knows that this is not the way to invest in the next generation. This former Montana teacher knows that.
     

    We should be investing in the education of our kids. A good education is the single best thing we can provide our kids so they can have a bright, prosperous future.
     

    I'm joining with my colleagues and others to demand Betsy DeVos protect our public schools. Add your name to join us >>

    If you think taking actions like these doesn't matter, you're wrong.

    A while ago, we rose our collective voices and demanded DeVos reconsider the University of Montana's application for Upward Bound. It had been denied because it wasn't double-spaced. (If you don't remember this -- no, I'm not kidding).

    I took action. Thousands of you joined me. And DeVos eventually reversed her position.
    Speaking out works -- and it is critically important we speak out as loudly as we possibly can to protect our children.
     

    Join us. Add your name and demand Betsy DeVos rethink these cuts to education.

    Thanks.
     

    Jon

    Click here to add your name.


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    Received this e-mail today from U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar’s (D. MN) re-election campaign:

    A few years ago, together with Vice President Joe Biden and Congressman John Lewis, I stood on the Edmund Pettus Bridge, remembering all that it took to win the right to vote. Just a few months later -- four years ago this Sunday -- the Supreme Court handed down the Shelby County v. Holder decision, which undermined the Voting Rights Act of 1965. I was outraged.

    Since that decision, things have only gotten worse. Discriminatory voting laws have popped up in state after state. One court said they’re being crafted with “surgical precision” to keep certain people from voting. That’s cold and calculated -- and it’s got to stop.

    Less people having a saying at polls means less people have the right to influence decisions -- from the health care bill before us this week to climate change to student loan rates.

    At a time when foreign enemies are attacking our democracy and our elections, we cannot allow attacks on voting to persist from within. In Minnesota, we have one of the highest voting rates in the country -- because we make it easier, not harder, to vote. That needs to be the policy across the entire nation.

    I'm introducing multiple pieces of legislation to do just that. For starters, I want to allow same-day registration, like we have in Minnesota, in every state. That’s a bill my friend Keith Ellison is leading in the House. I want to make voter registration automatic too, adding millions of eligible voters to the rolls. And I want to restore the Voting Rights Act for once and for all.

    Do you agree that voter participation is essential to our democracy? If so, will you add your name to mine to call for a restoration of the Voting Rights Act?

    Thank you,
    Amy

    Click here to add your name.


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    In the midst of the disaster that is the Donald Trump presidency, one encouraging thing is that some conservatives have been speaking out against the insanity. Republicans such as Jonah Goldberg, Bill Kristol, Max Boot, Jennifer Rubin, Ana Navarro, and Steve Schmidt, to name a few, have made their voices heard in opposition to Trump. Now add former Reagan adviser and Bush official Bruce Bartlett to the list. 

    Bartlett goes beyond bashing Trump. Trump, he says, is a symptom of a Republican Party that has sacrificed principle for power and has gone intellectually and morally bankrupt. He traces this back to the 1990s and Newt Gingrich, who realized the effectiveness of dumbing down political campaigns to reach the lowest common denominator.  Gingrich led the effort of training Republicans in sound bite politics, which they found could help them grab and hold onto power more easily than actual policy analysis and debate. 

    Republicans took control of Congress in 1994 after nationalizing the election into broad themes and catchphrases. Newt Gingrich, the marshal of these efforts, even released a list of words Republican candidates should use to glorify themselves (common sense, prosperity, empower) and hammer their opponents (liberal, pathetic, traitors); soon, every Republican in Congress spoke the same language, using words carefully run through focus groups by Republican pollster Frank Luntz. Budgets for House committees were cut, bleeding away policy experts, and GOP committee chairs were selected based on loyalty to the party and how much money they could raise. Gone were the days when members were incentivized to speak with nuance, or hone a policy expertise (especially as committee chairs could now serve for only six years). In power, Republicans decided they didn’t need any more research or analysis; they had their agenda, and just needed to get it enacted.

    This has been the Republican model ever since. Policy expertise has no place in a party where all that matters is winning and where winning can be accomplished by sending out simple-minded slogans and sound bites through the propaganda machine of Fox News and talk radio. Of course, there’s a price to pay for punishing critical thinking and rewarding ignorance. Among other problems, we get a corrupt, authoritarian, bumbling buffoon in the White House leading America off a cliff.

    Bartlett points out parallels with the Republican train wreck of the Goldwater era that forced the party to re-evaluate its priorities and led to an era where conservatives had a moral and intellectual center. He sees some rays of hope that a similar transformation may be in the offing today:

    Conservatives are starting to accept that Trump is not the leader they had hoped for and is more of a liability for their agenda than an asset. They are also starting to recognize that their intellectual infrastructure is badly damaged, in need of repair, and that the GOP and intellectual conservatism are not interchangeable. The Heritage Foundation recently fired its president, former Senator Jim DeMint, in part because he had allowed its research capabilities to deteriorate. The journal National Affairs aspires to be the serious, conservative policy-oriented journal that The Public Interest was. And some leaders, like Bill Kristol, have courageously stood up against the GOP’s pervasive Trumpism (“I look forward to the day when American conservatism regains its moral health and political sanity, and the David Horowitz center is back on the fringe, where I’m afraid it belongs,” Kristol recently told the Washington Post).

    Bartlett believes that what’s needed to save the Republican Party is a crushing election defeat on the order of the 1964 rebuke of Goldwater.  He believes conditions are ripe for such a loss in 2018.

    I couldn’t agree with him more. Let’s hope and pray that we can make his wish come true in 2018.

    Read the whole article here.


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    The top secret document on Russian hacking, released by an NSA contractor and published by The Intercept, contains sketchy information on a GRU (Russian intelligence) operation involving an election website in American Samoa:

    In terms of the presidential election, what could have interested the GRU in American Samoa in late October? The url given, americansamoaelectionoffice.org, seems possibly made up but it is in fact legitimate. Samoans cannot vote but US citizens living there can, and in October the web site gave instructions on how to submit absentee requests.

    bottom of absentee request form

    OK, so there is a small number of American citizens there, but is that enough of a motive for GRU interference? Seems very marginal, at least with respect to the election.

    Also, how does sending test emails to a couple of non-existent email accounts (requestabsentee@americansamoaelectionoffice.org and r-questabsentee@americansamoaelectionoffice.org), facilitate creating those accounts? The only thing I can think of is to make sure they don’t already exist, but to create them it would seem that the server would have to be compromised in the first place.

    While the American Samoa aspect of the memo is unclear, other details of more direct GRU election hacking outlined are more understandable from the point of view of GRU efforts to swing the election. Basically there is evidence that the GRU compromised a vendor of voter ID (voter verification) systems, obtained technical information about the product along with email addresses of polling place staff of states who are customers and users of the product, and sent trojan-laden spear-phishing emails to those addresses.

    The voter ID verification system is called EViD, made by VR Systems. The NSA memo masks the names of the companies that were directly targeted (“a named U.S. company”), but has references to EViD and VR out in the clear, so perhaps the companies targeted are vendors of the EViD product rather than VR Systems itself. 

    The implication is that the attack was successful in compromising the company’s server and obtained EViD technical documents that were trojanized and sent as Word document attachments to 122 different poll workers, posing as either VR Systems or perhaps a vendor company (“U.S. Company 1”):

    The trojan sets up a PowerShell instance on the target machine & communicates with a US IP address on port 8080 (often not blocked by firewalls) to retrieve an unknown (to NSA) payload. Basically the machine and any software on it would be owned by GRU.

    According to the VR Systems website, EViD can be run on dedicated hardware as well as tablets and Windows PCs connected to a wireless network. A local database is stored on each device on a SD card that has a voter registration list for the area. The devices are also connected over the internet to local authorities such as the county boards of election, so as to provide real time updates of who has voted, ostensibly as a guard against double-voting fraud. The servers at, e.g. a county board of elections, would have specialized interface software installed to communicate with the EViD devices and update the official voter registration database.

    In operation, a prospective voter provides her ID, or name and birth date  which are used as keys to look up the voter record. In the case of a driver’s license, the license is simply swiped to retrieve the record, evidently connected to a DMV database. After confirming that the retrieved record is correct, she signs a touchpad and the clerk verifies the signature visually.

    EViD software is currently used in the following states:

    • California
    • Florida
    • Illinois
    • Indiana
    • North Carolina
    • New York
    • Virginia
    • West Virginia

    The disruption that could be caused if such software and/or the machine that hosts it is compromised is clear. And if a means of compromising that system had not in fact been implemented, what would be the point of the GRU operation to target its users, interested in installation of the software on their Windows machines?

    Hypothetically:

    • random (or, say, likely Democratic) voters in the board of election database could be marked as having already voted
    • records for selected valid voters appearing at the polling place could be reported as non-existent
    • voter ID devices could be rendered non-operational, causing polling place backups

    The diversity of election systems used across the US, reportedly involving 6,000 jurisdictions, has been cited as a guard against attack. Crucially, these voter id automation systems allow for the feasibility of a single type of attack to be effective across a diversity of targets, and we now have evidence of attempts in that area. In their efforts to suppress Democratic votes under the cover of solving the non-existent problem of double-voting fraud, Republicans have opened up elections to very real cyberattacks by foreign state actors and it is happening.


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    First of all you wanted to win the election in the hard core conservative republican  district in GA. However you won the election on Tuesday because Tom price won the election in 2016 by 21%. This time Karen won the election only by 3%. [more]

    So I think democrats and Jon Ossoff musthave done a real good job for the last few months. I would say democrats should not worry too much about these Chicken fights. Not to worry democrats you will be winning the Wars in the future. Most of  the successful Organizations or  any individuals always lose the Chicken fights in the beginning  but at the end they win the wars.  

    This week Trump was bragging about GOP's GA election victory in Iowa. He was saying that he and the GOP  keep on winning.  Heee haaa  It's funny I am laughing at this Idiot. This  Idiot doesn't even know about his own fate and his future. The great loser Trump doesn't even know what kind of trouble he is in right now and he doesn't even know that his political life is over. All what Trump has right now is his big loud mouth so that he can lie as usual . That's it. Trump doesn't even know that he doesn't have any control over his destiny. Also the GOP doesn't even know about their fate. If you look at the history of this world Usually always the losers dance around in the beginning and brag about their chicken fights and then they all get destroyed completely. This is the Truth. I hear on TV that democrats need to  win something to feel good about themselves. That's their own opinion.  Democrats always have and will have confidence about themselves. You don't need these chicken fights to prove  your capacity. This is not a football game. This is life and reality. For Trump everything is reality show ,  including his presidency. 

    That doesn't mean you have to give up the fight or should not get involved , but you just have to keep on doing whatever you were doing and don't dwell on the results. Everything is going to be fine at the end. Trust me America. I would say there are a lot of positive things happening with the democrats. Democrats are fired up and united.

    Now Trump is blaming Obama for his evil activities. Russia hacked in to the DNC and others with the direction and help of Trump and Trump’s campaign. You CON Artists and Liar is lying and spinning  as usual. This Idiot thinks he can fool the American people that easily.

    Trump has doubled his daily rates in his hotels after he became president and  also his Mar-a-Lago membership fee doubles to $200,000 [more]

    Every week whenever he goes to FL or NY taxpayers are spending 3to 5 millions . The main reason he goes to his resorts and to his hotels  to promote his business. That's why he chooses different places every week. So basically he is using Tax payers money and his presidency to promote his businesses.  Democrats who voted for him in OH and PA thought he really cares about America and Americans.. Yeap. It's funny. These democrats are so naive to believe this CON Artists.

    In his prior life as a real estate magnate and reality TV star, President Donald Trump was famously litigious and often threatened lawsuits even if he didn't always follow through. Now, he's reportedly set to be sued by the attorneys general of Maryland and Washington, D.C., who will allege the president has violated the Constitution by taking foreign payments through his businesses during his time in the White House. Another suit from a[more]

    The attorneys general of Maryland and the District of Columbia have announced they've sued President Trump, alleging he violated the Constitution by retaining ties to a sprawling global business empire.

    District of Columbia Atty. Gen. Karl Racine and Maryland Atty. Gen. Brian Frosh made the announcement at a jointly held news conference in Washington, confirming the suit has been filed in a court in Maryland. Frosh and Racine cited Trump's leases, properties and other business "entanglements" around the world as the reason for the suit, saying those posed a conflict of interest under a clause of the Constitution.[more]

    After Trump took over white house companies are laying off people

    Boeing confirmed to CNN Money on Thursday that it's cutting about 200 jobs at its plant in South Carolina. The plant had previously experienced sizable cutbacks in 2013 when Boeing significantly scaled back contract workers, more

    Ford is laying off [more]

    After Pence agreed to pay 7 millions Carrier lays off workers[more]


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