Tag Archives: party

Tom Perez Wins Race for DNC Chair

Mother Jones

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The election for DNC chair is over, and Tom Perez won:

Sigh. This is so ridiculous. I know that Keith Ellison was the “Bernie guy” and Perez was the “Obama/Hillary guy,” but it’s nuts that this got turned into some kind of ideological showdown. Not only are Ellison and Perez about equally progressive, but DNC chair isn’t a policy position anyway. It’s a fundraising and managerial position. I didn’t really care one way or the other between the two because I have no idea which of them is a better manager and fundraiser.

In any case, thank goodness that Ellison and Perez themselves are grownups. Perez, in what was obviously a prearranged move, immediately offered Ellison the deputy chair job, and Ellison accepted:

This strikes me as the best of all outcomes. Democrats get to keep Ellison in Congress, and hopefully Perez will give him some real authority at the DNC. Better two high-profile guys there than one.

Besides, national-level purity contests are stupid. Democrats are fine at the national level. It’s every other level that they suck at. Anybody who spends any time or energy continuing to fight over some national standard of progressiveness at the DNC is just wasting everyone’s time. From a party standpoint, state and local races are all that matter for the next couple of years.

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Tom Perez Wins Race for DNC Chair

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Standing Rock is burning.

Democratic Party insiders will vote for a new chair this weekend. The winner will get the tough job of trying to rebuild a damaged party.

Ten people are in the running, but the victor is likely to be one of the top two contenders: Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison or former Labor Secretary Tom Perez. Ellison backed Bernie Sanders in the Democratic presidential primary last year, and Sanders is backing Ellison in this race. In 2012 and 2015, Ellison and Sanders teamed up to push a bill to end subsidies for fossil fuel companies.

Climate activist (and Grist board member) Bill McKibben argues that Ellison, a progressive who is “from the movement wing,” would help the party regain credibility with young people.

A coalition of millennial leaders endorsed Ellison this week, including a number of activists from climate groups. “We want a chair who will fight to win a democracy for all and overcome the profound crises of our time — from catastrophic climate change to systemic racism, historic economic inequality to perpetual war,” they wrote.

350 Action, the political arm of climate group 350.org, endorsed Ellison earlier this month:

And Jane Kleeb, a prominent anti-Keystone activist and a voting DNC member, is backing Ellison too:

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Standing Rock is burning.

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Steven Mnuchin Just Doesn’t Understand

Mother Jones

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This is adorable:

When Steven Mnuchin, Donald Trump’s pick for secretary of the Treasury, was asked about tax reform in his confirmation hearing on Wednesday, he took things in a surprising direction: He suggested that the IRS needed a larger staff.

“I was particularly surprised, looking at the IRS numbers, that the IRS headcount has gone down quite dramatically, almost 30 percent over the last number of years,” Mnuchin said in response to a question from Sen. Orrin Hatch, a Utah Republican….“Now perhaps the IRS just started with way too many people,” Mnuchin added. But he suggested that “staffing of the IRS is an important part of fixing the tax gap.”

That’s, um, surprising, all right. Yessir, Mr. Mnuchin. Very surprising indeed.

For those of you who don’t get the joke, this is sort of like Mnuchin testifying in front of a bunch of mafia dons and expressing surprise that they charge such high interest rates in their lending operation. Maybe with lower rates you gentlemen could expand into the suburban market and gain a share of the home equity business? Lotta kitchen remodels out there.

Basically, Mnuchin looked at the IRS numbers like a normal person and was surprised to see that they weren’t trying to maximize tax collections. He apparently didn’t realize that the Republicans he was testifying in front of have been very deliberately slashing the IRS budget for years precisely so they can’t maximize tax collections. The last thing Republicans want is an IRS that audits rich people more closely.

Mnuchin will learn. After all, Donald Trump did. Remember when Trump suggested that women who get abortions should be punished? He had no idea what he was talking about, and just assumed that since Republicans consider abortion bad, the maximal anti-abortion position must be good. He didn’t realize that jailing middle-class teenagers is a position unpopular enough to jeopardize GOP reelection prospects, and as a result Republicans have long insisted that even if they manage to make abortion illegal, they will always consider women who get abortions to be “victims” of unscrupulous butchers, not lawbreakers. That’s the party line, anyway, and everyone is expected to know it.

Before long, I’m sure Mnuchin will learn to listen respectfully to harangues about the gold standard and fiat money and ending the Fed. It’s a small price to pay for the opportunity to occupy the position once held by Alexander Hamilton.

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Steven Mnuchin Just Doesn’t Understand

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Riveting Moments From Donald Trump Inauguration Protests—Updated

Mother Jones

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In the coming days, crowds of Donald Trump supporters will take to the streets to welcome the new president, including at Thursday’s Make America Great Again rally at the Lincoln Memorial and Friday’s inaugural parade outside the White House.

But a whole lot of people are organizing to protest Trump, including more than 1 million people who are expected to participate in women’s marches around the world.

Here are highlights from some of the protests. Come back here for more news as we update this story.

January 20

Mother Jones reporters are on the scene covering the protests ahead of today’s swearing-in ceremony:

January 19

Tensions are high as protesters confront Trump supporters attending the “Deploraball,” an inauguration celebration at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.

Protesters rally outside the Trump International Hotel in New York, joined by New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, filmmaker Michael Moore, actor Alec Baldwin, and other high-profile speakers.

January 18

Hundreds gather for a “Queer Dance Party” outside of Vice President-elect Mike Pence’s Chevy Chase house. Firas Nasr, founder of WERK for Peace, tells DCist that the event is meant to show that “homophobia and transphobia is wrong and should be resisted.” As Indiana’s governor, Pence had a poor record on LGBT rights, signing a bill to protect businesses that discriminated against gay people.

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Riveting Moments From Donald Trump Inauguration Protests—Updated

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Surprise! WikiLeaks’ Assange Backs Trump on Russia Hacking Report

Mother Jones

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During a live press conference broadcast from the Ecuadorian embassy in London via Twitter’s livestream app Persicope, WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange on Monday blasted the recent US intelligence report on Russian hacking during the 2016 election.

“It is, frankly, quite embarrassing to the reputation of the US intelligence services to be putting out something that claims to be a report like that,” Assange said. “This is a press release. It is clearly designed for political effect and US intelligence have been politicized by the Obama administration in the production of this report and a number of other statements.”

Assange called the report a “political attack cannon against Donald Trump” and a way “to defend the reason why the Democratic Party lost.” And he claimed that its true purpose was to bolster certain officials within the Democratic Party and “delegitimize the election of Donald Trump.”

Assange’s press conference comes three days after the US Office of the Director of National Intelligence released a declassified report outlining its assessment of alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential campaign via hacks of US political targets, including the Democratic National Committee and the personal email account of John Podesta, Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman. The materials were stolen from those organizations by Russian intelligence, according to the report, and then passed to WikiLeaks, but it does not specify whether this occurred through an intermediary. An online persona known as “Guccifer 2.0” claimed credit for the DNC hack and for passing the information along to WikiLeaks and also for providing the material to media outlets and reporters.

“Moscow most likely chose WikiLeaks because of its self-proclaimed reputation for authenticity,” the declassified report stated, adding that the material published by WikiLeaks did “not contain any evident forgeries.” The report stated that Russian intelligence fed the materials to WikiLeaks but didn’t say how, or whether it was through a third-party. The Washington Post reported Thursday night that US intelligence had identified the “actors” involved in getting the materials to WikiLeaks.

Assange has consistently denied that the materials came from the Russian government and addressed the issue again on Monday.

“We haven’t said we know or don’t know our sources,” he said. “We have made one statement, which is that our sources in the US election-related matter are not a state party.” Assange noted the “incredible care” with which WikiLeaks speaks about its sources, but this case “does not sufficiently threaten our sources to make this very bland disclosure.” With a “state” source, however, “we would have a lot less concern in attempting to protect them.”

Assange’s explanation seems to leave the door open that an intermediary passed the material from Russian intelligence to WikiLeaks.

Assange also discussed the penchant for outgoing administrations to destroy information on the way out the door and said WikiLeaks’ recent offer of $30,000 for information that leads to “the arrest or exposure of Obama admin sic officials destroying info sic,” is an effort to preserve information that belongs to the public. He implored government employees with access to data to grab it (not mentioning that doing so is a serious crime).

“Our request to system administrators in the Obama administration, and this goes for other administrations around the world, is take the data,” he said. “Just take it now, keep it under your bed, or with your mother, and then you can give that to WikiLeaks or other journalists at your leisure. Get a hold of that history and protect it because that is something that belongs to humanity and does not belong to a political party.”

Assange blasted President Obama for his administration’s treatment of whistleblowers but said that things weren’t likely to improve under a President Trump.

“While there are some anti-DC elements in the Trump cabinet and a lot in his base, very quickly, based on the history of all previous administrations, the Donald Trump administration will form its own establishment and enter into a power-sharing relationship with the existing powers in DC,” Assange said. “No system of authority likes those who undermine its authority.”

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Surprise! WikiLeaks’ Assange Backs Trump on Russia Hacking Report

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