For right wingnuts “The Handmaid’s Tale” is not dystopian fiction, it’s aspirational


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This morning outside the Governor’s Ham Breakfast at the Missouri State Fair in Sedalia:

Concerned Women for America Brett Kavanaugh (r) U.S. Supreme Court tour bus.

We understand red is the color.

They built this


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“Make America Great Again” – in Russian.

Yesterday, via Twitter:

Tom Watson @tomwatson
Tough to watch @mitchellreports sputtering angrily about Brennan’s security clearance and public safety when she relentlessly dragged Hillary Clinton over an entirely contrived security issue. Media remains culpable.
8:42 PM – 15 Aug 2018 from Mount Vernon, NY

At the Harkin Steak Fry, Indianola Iowa [2014 file photo].

Grifters working a long con turn on each other


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Donald Trump (r), referring to Omarosa Manigault-Newman this morning:

Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump
When you give a crazed, crying lowlife a break, and give her a job at the White House, I guess it just didn’t work out. Good work by General Kelly for quickly firing that dog!
6:31 AM – 14 Aug 2018

Omarosa Manigault-Newman was hired by Donald Trump (r), after a reality television and presidential campaign association, as a senior advisor in the White House, with her pay reportedly at $179,700.00 a year. She worked at the White House for one year.

And we shall know them by their whiny, poorly written, rhetorically deficient, bullshit press releases


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The Missouri Democratic Party State Committee upset a fringe anti-choice group this past weekend.

To recap, an anti-choice amendment was inserted into the party platform at the committee’s meeting early in July. From a member of the platform committee:

“…I served on the MO Dem platform cmte for several months. We drafted a pretty good platform…”

“…still disgusted with the MO Dem Party’s platform fail. Missouri needs more prolife Dems like we *need* another earthquake. We don’t. Dems who do not support access to abortion and the conservative voters they will allegedly attract are the shiny object that distracts from building a platform that appeals to the thousands of voters who stay home because Republicans are regressive bigoted fiends and Democrats are obsessed with appealing to moderately regressive bigoted anti-women fiends…”

There was also an uproar from the base (majority) of party members who contacted their state committee representatives. This past weekend the Missouri Democratic Party State Committee met to reconsider the motion (uh, that’s a parliamentary procedure – used to fix mistakes), with more members of the committee attending the meeting. They reconsidered the motion to approve the anti-choice amendment, removed it, apparently without dissent, and proceeded to approve the original party platform presented by the platform committee.

The representatives on the Missouri Democratic Party State Committee realized they got played and they fixed it. Democrats do that, they fix things.

Missouri Democratic Party Chair Stephen Webber – at campaign headquarters in Columbia, Missouri – August 7, 2018

And, of course, this upset a hack at “Democrats for Life”?:

Missouri Party Chairman Closes Door on Pro-Life Democrats – Eliminates Inclusive “Big Tent” Language Approved By Platform Committee
on 12 August 2018 Posted in Press Releases.

There is an important election coming up that will determine the balance of the U.S. Senate and the future of the U.S. Supreme Court. The election could also determine whether or not there will be impeachment efforts to rid the White House of Donald Trump. Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) is in a very close battle, and all Democrats would like to see her continue her tenure in the U.S. Senate.

Missouri Party Chairman Stephen Webber thinks that the best way to support Senator McCaskill and other Democrats in Missouri is to create an unnecessary battle over abortion.

A few weeks ago, there was a meeting to amend the Missouri Democratic Party platform. A vote took place, and the amendment was accepted. The Missouri Democratic Party then said that they welcome Whole Life Democrats in the party. The “conscience language” to include pro-life Democrats did not dilute the abortion-rights plank in the Democratic Party platform.

Unfortunately, it does not appear that the acceptance, along with the compromise language, lasted. Party Chairman Webber held a meeting this morning to strip the inclusive language from the platform because nothing says “We we want your vote” more than overturning a fair process of debate and approval. It is very unusual to remove language unilaterally after a platform has been ratified. It makes you wonder about the kind of pressure supposedly “progressive” groups exerted and why. They know that this removal will cause chaos.

They doth protest too much.

Now, just read that headline for accuracy.

Oh, it’s all just so rich:

“There is an important election coming up that will determine the balance of the U.S. Senate and the future of the U.S. Supreme Court…”

The writer of the press release at “Democrats for Life” actually wrote that. They also wrote this:

Democratic Senators Use Religion to Discredit Pro-Life Judicial Nominee
September 8, 2017
Democrats For Life of America (DFLA) expresses its disappointment with Democratic senators and interest groups who are attacking federal court of appeals nominee Amy Barrett for her personal religious views on the dignity of human life at all stages….

Amy Barrett was also one of the right wingnuts who was reportedly on Donald Trump’s (r) short list for the current U.S. Supreme Court vacancy. The press release writer for “Democrats for Life” is definitely not worried about the U.S. Supreme Court the way the vast majority of Democrats are worried about the U.S. Supreme Court.

“…Missouri Party Chairman Stephen Webber thinks that the best way to support Senator McCaskill and other Democrats in Missouri is to create an unnecessary battle over abortion…” It’s called projection. Look it up.

The platform committee did not approve the language. A single anti-choice member of the Missouri Democratic Party State committee pushed an amendment to the party platform prepared by a platform committee using language appropriated from a lunatic fringe anti-choice group. We don’t know if the individual who pushed the amendment disclosed where that language came from when it was presented to the Missouri Democratic Party State Committee. We’re asking now. Was that disclosed at the time of the early July vote?

The Missouri Democratic Party State Committee did vote for the amendment in July (it wasn’t unanimous, that’s for sure) and it was very controversial. Everyone heard from everyone else the instant the word got out about the circumstances.

“…It makes you wonder about the kind of pressure supposedly ‘progressive’ groups exerted and why…”

Oh, that’s rich. It’s called holding those who are supposed to represent you accountable. The why is easy. Because their authored amendment, like their press release, is just so much bullshit.

Nothing says “we want your vote” more to the vast majority of Democrats in Missouri than when the Missouri Democratic Party State Committee realized they were played and had the awareness and gumption to quickly fix it. The Missouri Democratic Party State Committee voted on August 11th to restore the original language of the platform committee (overturning the anti-choice amendment) in approving the platform – with 61 of 68 members voting yes, two abstentions. That’s who “closed the door” on anti-choice fanatics.

And, just in case it slips anyone’s mind:

“…And, by the way, there already is an inclusive stance on abortion. It’s called ‘pro choice.'”


The elephant in the room (July 3, 2018)

Against abortion? Don’t have one. (July 6, 2018)

Getting played (July 8, 2018)

And they fixed it (August 11, 2018)

Whose the phoney, Farm Bureau? Hawley or McCaskill – or is it just plain old racism?


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I was surprised by the decision of the Missouri Farm Bureau to endorse our lackadaisical Attorney General Josh Hawley in his run for the U.S. Senate. You might be surprised by my attitude since the Farm Bureau has for some time been reliably Republican, a position practically dictated by the perceived competition between out-state (GOP) and urban (Democratic) interests. But it’s true.

Remember when our Attorney General and GOP senatorial contender Hawley first tried out a little lame trash talk trash about Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill? He called the down-to-earth Missouri Democrat, one of the few Missouri pols to hold town halls – even during the height of the raucous Tea Party anti-Obamacare frenzy – a phony who was out of touch with Missouri voters. Rich B.S. indeed, as we have shown in an earlier post, coming from an elite Washington lawyer who, according to emails to colleagues, only returned to Missouri in 2011 to enter politics.

But more important to the question at hand, are farmers likely to get anything out of Hawley that’s good for them? Consider the question of Trump’s mindlessly escalating trade war which has triggered massive agricultural tariffs: Not good for Missouri Farmers, especially in the long run since Trump doesn’t seem to know how to find a way out now that he’s escalated the hostilities.

McCaskill has the backbone to call Trump out on an an impulsive and sloppy approach to the issue. Hawley, on the other hand, resolutely sticks to vague GOP talking-around-the-issue-points. Despite the looming potential for disaster for many Missouri farmers – if not this year, next – Hawley will just “trust” that the attention-addled reality TV-star and failed construction mogul Trump knows what he’s doing when it comes to economic theory and all will work out before there are too many bankruptcies in that out-state Missouri that loves to hear GOPers tell it like (they think) it is.

Nor do these highly flexible folks, such as our prim little Josh Hawley seem to want to stand up for the principles that they espoused so fervently during the Obama years: you know, that stuff about bailouts – bailouts that, incidentally saved our auto industry and which were repaid. But hey, a $12 billion in one-year farm bailouts to be  handed out right after a budget-busting, deficit-building tax cut for the wealthy – no big deal to folks like Hawley – who doesn’t seem to care about much more than fighting the far-right religious wars and pushing conservative evangelical orthodoxy down the throats of the rest of us. How’s that for phony?

So why has the Farm Bureau decided to go with Republican comfort food? even though it could end up killing them? Don’t despair. I think I may understand just what the real appeal of GOP – and Josh Hawley – right or wrong, weak or strong, might be.

In an article in the St. Louis Post Dispatch today on why so many Trump supporters voted against the anti-union Proposition A,  a union man – after praising the ways his union gave  him a good life – and apparently unaware of Trump’s bad history with unions –  justified his support for Trump and, presumably, anti-union Trump supporters like Hawley, by appealing to the demographic fears that the “good old days” of white privilege will disappear if too many of those brown folks make it over the southern border:

“I like what Trump is doing for the country, though I don’t agree on all of his policies,” [ Scott] Long said. “If you want to be a citizen, you shouldn’t just walk across the Southern California border. … I like how Trump wants to close the border down.”

And, even more explicitly:

Dennis Brinkler, a union electrician who voted against the legislation, also cited immigration as a reason he’s supporting Trump and state Attorney General Josh Hawley, an anti-union Republican who is challenging Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Democrat, in November.

If you doubt that there’s an underlying racist theme there, the same article cited some union leaders who attributed union support for Republicans like Trump and Hawley explicitly to “protests of police shootings of unarmed black men” and fear of black protest against a repressive status quo:

“Some of the guys I represent in their 50s, it’s hard for them to grasp shutting down a highway because of an incident that may have happened with the police, and often that’s people on our side of the party,” White said, referring to protests in Ferguson after Michael Brown was killed by a police officer four years ago. “That’s hard for a lot of the old white guys to grasp.”

There you  have it. Trump’s calling card: playing on white resentment and the old folks’ racial fears.

And you can bet that the oh-so-educated and refined  Hawley is going along with it, helping to demagogue the thinly disguised racism of Trump’s immigration policies. As the St. Louis American put it after Hawley defended Trump’s cruel and ill-considered immigration policies, particularly the forcible separation of children from parents seeking asylum in the U.S., an undeniable human rights violation carried out so incompetently that many of the children cannot be reunited with the parents:

[…] Hawley backed and defended Trump’s political play of using the forcible separation of children from their families to force Democrats to support the construction of his absurd border wall and pursuit of more punitive immigration policies. Hawley should return to whatever rock he crawled out from under and leave it to actual human beings with blood in their veins to enact public policy. Hawley is a representation of a new generation of Republicans willing to accede the party and its values to the disaster of the Trump administration.

I expect Hawley’s – probably more timid – dog whistles will increase over the next couple of months as Big Daddy Trump gets even more explicit about  his overt racism. Sadly, it looks like lots of Missourians are inclined to be responsive.

And they fixed it


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“…If they are willing to accept the fact that they got played they can fix it…”

“…by the way, there already is an inclusive stance on abortion. It’s called ‘pro choice.'”

Over a month ago an anti-choice member of the Missouri Democratic Party State Committee introduced an amendment to the party platform utilizing the anti-choice language of a fringe anti-choice group (unbeknownst to everyone else, probably). The amendment passed. The base of the Missouri Democratic Party was not happy. At all. They let everyone know.

At the Missouri Democratic Party State Committee meeting today:

Alison Dreith @alidreith
As @billy_moffett said, “Now that we saved Labor Rights it’s time to protect a Woman’s Right to Choose in the MDP platform.” @MoDemParty #MDPReproRights
12:01 PM – 11 Aug 2018

Today the state committee met, reconsidered the amendment, removed it, and approved the platform with its original pro-choice language from the platform committee:

Sarah Felts @sarahfelts
61/68 folks voted yes! 2 abstentions.
12:59 PM – 11 Aug 2018

There you have it.


The elephant in the room (July 3, 2018)

Against abortion? Don’t have one. (July 6, 2018)

Getting played (July 8, 2018)

Republican Billy Long, charter member of the Party of Corruption


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When GOP Rep. Billy Long (R-7) first ran for Congress there were whispers that, in today’s parlance, he was more than familiar with the swamp that his idol, Donald Trump – evidently facetiously – promised to drain. With the arrest of New York GOP Rep. Chris Collins for insider trading, the swamp gas miasma around Long has thickened. Collins has been stripped of his position on the House Energy and Commerce Committee and he is under investigation by the House Ethics Committee. The question is why isn’t Rep. Long under similar investigation – or maybe he is and we just don’t know about it?

As The Daily Beast reported last year, Collins authored four bills that would likely have benefited the company. Two of them, separate versions of the same bill introduced in the 114th and 115th Congresses, had just one cosponsor: Rep. Billy Long (R-MO), a member of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health, which has oversight over the Food and Drug Administration. While no one has accused him of any legal wrongdoing, Long also held stock in Innate. Long signed on to both pieces of legislation the day they were introduced. The first was filed in December 2016, and didn’t make it out of subcommittee before the session ended.

Then in January, Long bought between $15,000 and $50,000 in Innate stock, apparently as part of a Fidelity retirement account. In July, Collins once again introduced his bill, which would have expedited FDA approvals for treatments such as Innate’s, and Long was once again an immediate co-sponsor.

Long’s staff is of course denying that Long had any insider info from his colleague Collins with whom he coordinated to pass legislation that would enhance both their financial bottom lines – instead, his spokesperson claims, he just happened to decide to buy the Innate stock ” ‘when it became a daily topic on the nightly news in January of 2017,’ a timeline that suggests that Long, not a financial brokerage, made the decision to purchase Innate stock.” However, the circumstantial evidence amassed by Talking Points Memo (TPM) that Long and other GOP colleagues may have received insider information from Collins is somewhat compelling. As TPM notes:

[…] they all say they were just following the market and doing their own research. It had nothing to do with Chris Collins. Well, lots of reporting says Collins was pitching colleagues on it hard. And it seems like quite a coincidence that 5 members of Congress, all Republicans bought in. This seems to bear a lot more scrutiny.

Certainly, we know that Rep. Long is inclined to go easy when it comes to forestalling corrupt behavior, as would befit a guy with a reputation for being on the make. Remember Long’s 2017 vote to gut the Cardin-Lugar anti-corruption rule, “a major bipartisan law that helps safeguard trillions of dollars of payments to the US and governments around the world.”

However, given that most GOPers in the House voted the same way, – the party of corrupton perhaps? – I’m not holding my breath and would recommend that you also refrain to do so if you expect to see Long perp-walked out of Congress. The law got Collins fair and square, looks like Long may weasel out – and his fellow GOPers will probably be just fine with that -particularly those who may be equally guilty of conspiring with Collins to line their personal pockets.

Campaign Tracker: Teach your children well…


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… it’s a dead end job.

Campaign tracker (left) and “actor” (right) at the Missouri State Fair – August 9, 2018

The “actor”, dressed in black (bless him), out in the sun, with a temperature in the 90s, attempted to harass Senator Claire McCaskill (D) at the Missouri State Fair. Almost everyone ignored him.

Do you suppose on the really hot days in Missouri they offer their campaign tracker the opportunity to fetch coffee at their headquarters as a change of pace and a respite from the heat?


Campaign Tracker: apparently a tie is now optional working attire (September 10, 2016)

Campaign Tracker: Where’s Waldo? (September 12, 2016)

If only Roy Blunt (r) could give him something to do at one of his open town halls in Missouri (April 13, 2017)

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D): opening day at the Missouri State Fair


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Apparently, at the same time, Josh Hawley (r) was standing on a trailer somewhere in Blue Springs, Missouri.

Senator Claire McCaskill (D) attended opening day at the Missouri State Fair in Sedalia today:

Senator Claire McCaskill – opening day at the Missouri State Fair – August 9, 2018

Talking to constituents:

The National Anthem at the opening ceremony:

Speaking with Missouri Democrats at the Missouri Democratic Party tent next to the grandstand:

Claire McCaskill (D) has had a really good week. Large primary turnout, the republican nominee steps on a rake (again)…


Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) and Josh Hawley (r) (August 8, 2018)

Be afraid, be very afraid (August 8, 2018)

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D): not wasting any time (August 8, 2018)

Claire McCaskill (D) clubs a baby harp seal… (August 8, 2018)

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) – with campaign volunteers in Columbia, Missouri – August 7, 2018 (August 8, 2018)

Who’s the elite insider? McCaskill or Hawley (August 9, 2018)