About TRP

The Rational Progressive is a publication focused on progressive news and issues. Focused forward and focused on the facts, we avoid demons and demagogues.



by James Andre

  • The fight against the Right is over. The Left lost.

    The Guardian just out with a story connecting Trump's Chief Strategist Steve Bannon, Billionaire Robert Mercer, and the Brexit campaign that is severing England from the EU. This is a frightening, but not surprising, story that adds to a growing list of facts that demonstrate the existence and operation of a shrinking number of geopolitical players whose power is growing… Read more… 

  • Trump raised more money from small donors than Clinton and Sanders combined. America has a problem.

      The Campaign Finance Institute just released an analysis of FEC filings for the 2016 election. You may remember Bernie Sanders bragging about the money he was raking in from small donors at an average of $27 each. Well, Hillary Clinton beat him in small donations. And Trump beat them both - combined. Not only did Trump raise more small… Read more… 

  • Think About This – Monday 8/8/16

    Here are a few things to think about this week when you are talking politics and policy: • The world grows more peaceful and prosperous everyday. Violence and warfare have been declining since World War II. • Respect for civil and human rights in the U.S. is growing greater every day. More police are wearing cameras, and more are being… Read more… 

  • Haters, Whine All You Want. Hillary’s Nomination Is Unprecedented.

    I just wanted to write a quick note to Hillary supporters with some info for when you hear haters complaining that Hillary is not the first woman to run for president. That is true, however:   • The Clinton campaign is not making that claim. Maybe some in the media have. • Hillary is the first woman to win the… Read more… 


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Progressivism

Progressivism is not an ideology at all, but an attitude towards the world of politics that is far less black-and-white than conservatism or liberalism, breaking free from the false and divisive dichotomy of liberal vs. conservative that has dominated American politics for too long.

Progressives aren't simply liberals; progressives see the world for what it is, accept it as ever-changing and dynamic, and choose the best course of action in line with decidedly American values.

-From an article on Alternet.org by Andrew Garib

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Chaffetz asks for investigation over Flynn

House Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz on Tuesday said there was no need to investigate former National Security Advisor Flynn’s conversations with Russian officials because the situation was “working itself out.” On Wednesday, Chaffetz sent a letter to the Inspector General of the Department of Justice requesting “an immediate investigation” not into Flynn’s conversations, but into suspected mishandling of classified information as evidenced by public leaks about Flynn’s conversations and administration discussions about the matter.

The U.S. representative for Utah, Chaffetz may be best known for the interminable investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server, and for admitting without apology that he “absolutely” voted to cut funding for the U.S. embassy in Benghazi – the statement about cutting funding coming while investigating Clinton’s role in the Benghazi attack which occurred under her tenure as Secretary of State.

After becoming House Oversight Chairman, Chaffetz called potential investigations into Hillary Clinton a “target rich environment” promising that “we’ve got two years’ worth of material already lined up.” He later tweeted his support for then candidate Trump, also stating “HRC is bad for the USA”.

Chaffetz’s investigations turned up no evidence of illegalities, and were subsequently dropped after Clinton’s loss in the 2016 election.

Hours before resigning from the Trump administration, Flynn criticized the leaks, saying “You call them leaks. It’s a criminal act. This is a crime.”

Each new administration in the White House brings their own staff and appointees. Incoming presidents can replace many of the heads and top positions in most organizations, but the majority of employees of any agency, including intelligence services, are career employees, working through multiple administrations. It is impossible to replace everyone without crippling the organizations and swamping a new administration, preventing them from focusing effort on their agenda.

The new administration seems to be coming face-to-face with the harsh reality of Washington: you can’t change the culture overnight, and loyalties stretch far beyond any one presidential term. We are getting a demonstration of what you get when you elect an anti-establishment candidate: Washington will not be ‘torn down’, and the result will ultimately be a chaotic administration.

FLORIDA: Voting Begins This Monday. Here’s What You Need To Know

medallion

Florida ballot recommendations: U.S. Congress, Florida State Legislature, Florida State Supreme Court, 11th Judicial Circuit Court, Miami-Dade Questions

Early voting for this November’s election begins in Florida this Monday October 24th.  Besides the election of the President, there are 40 offices up for vote. The number of offices on your ballot will vary depending on where you live. By now you may have received a sample ballot in the mail. If not, you can look yours up here, or go to your county’s elections department website.

Below are recommendations for voting this year. This article is written by a progressive, or what some would describe more generally as a lefty, so most of the ballot is easy: vote Democrat, not Republican.

The reason is simple: for all the talk of blue states and red states, almost every state is red. Yes, many states go reliably for Democratic presidential nominees, but when you look at the state governments, you find that the majority of politicians across the country are Republican.

ballot-recs

Florida, in particular, is a Republican trifecta, holding the governorship, the state senate, and the state house. That means fracking, increased cancer-causing chemicals in our water, no expansion of medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, no high speed rail, and very little action on climate change.

So vote Democrat all the way down the ballot.

That leaves Judges, Amendments, local seats and local charter amendments.

In Florida, Judges either win elections, or are nominated by a commission and appointed by the governor. So even if Judges are removed, the new appointees will likely be favored by Republicans. However, in the Supreme Court and Courts of Appeal, a new appointee only serves a year before facing a retention election. Five of those judges are on the ballot this year. If they are retained, they then serve a 6 year term. So voting against retaining partisan judges now limits the length of time the court is under Republican influence.

• Charles T. Canady: NO
Republican appointee, only justice to dissent on requiring death sentences to be unanimous, on Donald Trump’s list of potential Supreme Court nominees, allowed deceptive Amendment 1 on the ballot.

• Jorge Labarga: NO
Havana, Cuba born Republican appointee, refused a new vote in the 2000 Gore v Bush election, allowed the deceptive Amendment 1 on the ballot.

• Ricky L. Polston: NO
Republican appointee, rated more conservative than average, often sides with business and Justice Canady.

Edwin A. Scales: NO
Republican appointee.

Linda Ann Wells: NO
Republican appointee, sided with condo developers over Vizcaya Gardens.

Miami-Dade

11th Judicial Circuit

• Mark Blumstein
The edge: length of experience, history of community service, interest in veterans issues.

• Carol “Jodie” Breece
The edge: Length of experience, experience in government ethics, diverse gender and ethnicity,

Local seats, for example on Community Development Districts, are highly local. I will not recommend individuals here. This is something that if it directly concerns you, in my opinion you should know the issues, or leave them blank and let those who do decide. I don’t think it ethical to guess.

Local charter amendments are generally a matter of principle, even if you do not fully understand the amendment.

• Special Purpose District Control Measure: Miami-Dade County On the ballot: NO
• Public Records Measure: YES

 

 

 

Democrats’ War on Due Process and Terrorist Fearmongering Long Predate Orlando

Even worse was the messaging that came from an operative with CAP, who has become a little Twitter star among the Democratic faithful for his endless Cheneyite exploitation of terrorism fears to attack Republicans and justify gun watchlists. This is how he described Feinstein’s bill:

It’s hard to put into words how appalling that is. This CAP official is not only outright lying about Feinstein’s bill: pretending that it bars “terrorists” — rather than people placed on a suspicion watchlist — from buying guns. Worse than rank dishonesty, he is literally, explicitly equating people who will be deemed suspicious by the U.S. government — overwhelmingly Muslim, needless to say — with “terrorists.” As Sam Adler-Bell put it about this tweet, “Referring to all people on the DOJ’s watchlist as ‘terrorists’ is legally incorrect and ethically ugly.” In Volsky’s mind, or at least in his propaganda, anyone deemed by the government to be suspicious is now a “terrorist” — no evidence needed, no trial held, no due process accorded.

For eight years, this mentality was the driving force behind the worst Bush/Cheney war-on-terror abuses. No matter what the extremist policy was — indefinite detention, warrantless eavesdropping, torture, no-fly lists, Guantánamo, rendition, CIA black sites — Republicans would justify it by saying it was merely being done to “terrorists” and would accuse their due process-advocating critics of wanting to “protect terrorists.” What they actually meant was that all of this was being done to people accused by the U.S. government of involvement in terrorism. But in their mind, “government accusations of terrorism” were synonymous with “proof of guilt.”

That is exactly the warped, Orwellian formulation Democrats embrace: As is extremely obvious, the Democrats’ definition of “terrorist” is “anyone whom the U.S. government suspects of being a terrorist.” Just as was true of all those GOP abuses, what makes these Democratic proposals so dangerous is that they constitute a war on the most basic right of due process. As Vox’s Dara Lind explained, “If you give the government more power to ban terrorists from having guns, you’re reinforcing the power it has to define who counts as a terrorist.” That’s why the ACLU yesterday wrote to the Senate and denounced Feinstein’s bill:

Source: Democrats’ War on Due Process and Terrorist Fearmongering Long Predate Orlando


 

House Democrats Stage a Sit-in on the House Floor on Gun Control

But members of Congress are among the most powerful political actors in the country, and they are acting on an issue that is endlessly discussed and debated, not one that requires unusual tactics, like subverting order in the national legislature, to air all sides of the matter. When Republicans respond to not getting their way by undermining legislative norms, the press objects.

It should object here.

Legislators who lack the votes to do what they want have the platform to persuade the public and to campaign to oust their colleagues. Precisely because of their political power, their extra-political machinations have less legitimacy. And they are likely to fail, because they do nothing to change the underlying obstacles to more gun control: the Constitution, a determined minority interest group that cares about the issue more than its opponents, and voters who, while well to the left of the NRA, are well to the right of congressional Democrats on guns.

Source: House Democrats Stage a Sit-in on the House Floor on Gun Control – The Atlantic


 

A House of Representatives Sit-In? Whatever.

democrat-protest.jpg.size.custom.crop.867x650
Today Dems are staging a sit in in the House. Regular readers can probably guess my position on the matter. I don’t want to denigrate other people’s actions for change, but since the story is being so widely reported and commented on, I feel like I would be remiss in not sharing an opinion.
 
A sit-in is not legislating.
This is not 1960.
Any concessions will be for a vote that is guaranteed to fail.
 
Since I was admonished recently for not being explicit about my preferred method to achieve legislative progress, here are the bullet points:
 
• Have a hearing to determine the most effective and comprehensive changes that should be made Constitutionally and in the public interest.
• Create a bill called something like “Terrorist Weapon Prevention Act”
• Create a bill called something like “The Disarm Terrorists Act”
• The “Terrorist Weapon Prevention Act” will have one intent, e.g. block those on the watchlist from buying guns or other weapons.
• “The Disarm Terrorists Act” will have all the legislative recommendations of the congressional hearing, starting with
the one in the “Terrorist Weapon Prevention Act”
• Present the “Terrorist Weapon Prevention Act” to Congress, again and again, publicize it, comment on it, until it is passed, at least in some form.
• Once the “Terrorist Weapon Prevention Act” is passed in some form with a single intent, begin submitting amendments based on the original congressional recommendations, one at a time, until the bill is amended.
• Meanwhile, take “The Disarm Terrorists Act” to every state legislature, in its entirety, making every effort to force votes IN THE STATES.
• Use the bill and the votes on “The Disarm Terrorists Act” in the states to force progress on gun control, or to damage Republican state representatives in local races, turning state legislatures as Democratic as possible.

This Is Why Democrats Don’t Win

murphy
So Dems are conducting a filibuster in the Senate. I have to tell you this is another major fail, and exactly why Dems prove so ineffective so often.
 
We all know that with a Democratic president the Republicans main objective in the Senate is to do nothing. So far from making an impact on Republicans, a Dem filibuster actually HELPS Republicans.
 
Secondly, once again Dems demonstrate an inability to connect liberal concepts to concrete action. Where is the specific legislation? Let’s start with an FBI flag on background checks to prevent terrorists and others under suspicion from buying weapons.
 
Do you really think a bill to keep terrorists from buying guns is a difficult sell to any American, liberal or conservative?
 
Instead we have a bunch of useless talk about ‘action’ and some undetermined ‘bill’, and how the Senate should ‘come together’ on this issue.
 
Write a simple bill. Give it a simple and catchy name. Take it across the country state by state, district by district. Start with the people, not the gridlocked Senate.
 
How long do you think the biggest gun rights advocate will be able to stand citizens calling asking why they believe terrorists should be able to buy automatic rifles with high capacity magazines?
 
Democrats, this is exactly why Republicans are eating your lunch.

US Senate Debate Flint Michigan Aid | Video

Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) introduces an amendment to an energy policy bill calling for $800 million in assistance to Flint, Michigan to address the lead contamination of the city’s drinking water. The Senate later voted 54-43 to block the energy bill from advancing.

Source: US Senate Debate Flint Michigan Aid | Video | C-SPAN.org


 

ENERGY POLICY: Senate Voting On Major Update

United_States_Capitol_-_west_front

The Senate today will vote on a Republican measure limiting the president’s authority to set national monuments and a Democratic proposal to set national energy efficiency standards, as the chamber tries to finish work on a bipartisan energy package by week’s end.

Senators will vote this afternoon on an amendment by Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) to sunset national monument designations after three years unless Congress and the monument’s home state enact legislation to make them permanent.

A second amendment by Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) to the broad energy legislation (S. 2012) would create a national energy efficiency resource standard.

Both amendments will have to surpass a 60-vote threshold for approval — a bar that Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) said backers are unlikely to meet.

“We will see how the votes go out, but I think you’ve noted the obvious — that there is some controversy associated with both of them,” she told E&E Daily last night.

However, Murkowski noted that both amendments represent priorities of both parties and reflect her push with ranking member Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) to maintain the bipartisan spirit that carried S. 2012 through committee last summer on an 18-4 vote.

“What we’re trying to do is put together a process that is viewed as fair by both sides,” she said. “So if you’ve got a tough one on the D side, maybe you pair it with a tough one on the R side.”

Read Full Article => ENERGY POLICY: Senate to vote on monuments, efficiency standard — Tuesday, February 2, 2016 — www.eenews.net


 

The Dangerous Bernie Sanders

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) speaks at The Iowa Brown and Black Forum at Drake University in Des Moines, IA

The election for the nomination and the presidency is over. Clinton won.

So why do you see so many anti Bernie posts on this page if he can’t win?

Remember folks, I am not a Democrat. I believe in rational analysis, and intelligent, effective policy, and electing those people best equipped to move a progressive agenda forward, no matter what they look like or what they call themselves. That is my priority.

Unfortunately, since covering Sanders closely for the last ten months, I have come to believe that he is one of the biggest political deceivers and panderers there is. Worse than that, in the past few months I have come to believe he is both dangerous and destructive. I believe that his self-interested posturing is a distraction to the progressive cause, drawing attention to himself and trivial issues and away from policy and initiatives where progressives can make the most impact. Guns are a perfect example of this.

So I don’t care what you call yourself, or what you look like. I don’t care if you are Republican, Democrat, a Communist, a Socialist, or a revolutionary – if the kind of people and politics you inspire is that where people turn away from rational analysis and govern by how they ‘feel’ about issues, if what you inspire in people is an intolerance for disagreement, the use of rhetoric over reason, and a ‘tear it all down’ ethos – things that are all hallmarks of tea party politics – then I will do everything in my power to steer this country and its citizens as far away from you as possible.


 

Benghazi Biopsy: A Comprehensive Guide to One of America’s Worst Political Outrages

Despite the repeated claims by Gowdy that he is objective, the conclusions he will reach are already clear; he publicly stated them before the committee was formed in May 2014. In November 2012, Gowdy released a statement proclaiming as fact that the Obama administration “intentionally misled the American people” about the Benghazi attack. About a year later, in September 2013, he put out another press release in reference to Benghazi, stating, “If you can’t trust the information your government is giving you, how can you trust your government on any issue?” Eight months afterward, he was appointed to run the Benghazi committee, and in apparent disregard of his previous publicly issued conclusions, announced, “My goal is to conduct an inquiry that is rooted in fairness.”

But to fully understand how political this latest Benghazi investigation has become, look at the records. Since March, the committee has issued almost 30 press releases related to Clinton; only five have been put out on every other topic combined. Then there is the committee’s interim report from this past May. The word Obama—who cannot run for commander-in-chief again—is not mentioned. Neither is the word president. Or Ansar al-Sharia, the group suspected of engineering the attack. White House makes only 13 appearances. Imagine an investigation on 9/11 that did not mention Al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden or President Bush; that is what has been done with the Benghazi committee’s first public report.

It gets worse. The name Ahmed Abu Khatalla, the man arrested as the mastermind of the attack, shows up once. The word terrorist appears only 10 times. As for references to Clinton, the leading candidate for the Democratic nomination? Those show up 36 times in just 13 pages, an astonishing number given that the word Benghazi appears only 38 times. But the winner for the most mentions is the 39 references to emails from Clinton and the State Department. Clinton and her emails are referenced 49 percent more than the location where the attack took place and 197 percent more than the word terrorist.

This rampant politicization of the Benghazi tragedy has delighted Republican voters in an offensive and inappropriate way, given that the issue is about the murder of Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and the three other brave Americans killed in Benghazi. At a recent GOP rally I attended, a speaker declared herself to be “Benghazi truth-seeking” in the same sentence in which she referenced gun rights, abortion, illegal immigration and other top conservative political issues. Political lapel buttons for candidates were sold right alongside others referencing Benghazi.

Online stores for political merchandise have entire sections committed to Benghazi.

Read Full Article =>  Benghazi Biopsy: A Comprehensive Guide to One of America’s Worst Political Outrages


 

TRP News – Progressive News & Information – September 14, 2015

TRP News with James Andre.

This week – Kim Davis is back to work, Congress is back to work, and both are refusing to do their jobs. Dem primary features more of the same, migrant news, and an update on the situation in Gaza.

0:30 Kim Davis
6:14 Dem Primary
22:55 Congress
35:20 Migrants
46:39 Gaza

For audio only, stream or download here : https://archive.org/details/TRPNews


 

TRP News – Progressive News & Information – August 31, 2015 – The Rational Progressive

TRP News with James Andre.

This week – The Democratic primary, The DNC summer meeting and that DNC Iran resolution, Planned Parenthood and another government shutdown, The killing of Deputy Goforth and the racist response, an update on ISIL, and migrant news

0:27 Dem Primary
7:50 DNC Iran resolution
14:03 Government Shutdown
17:08 Deputy Goforth
20:47 ISIL
23:48 Migrants

For audio only, stream or download here : https://archive.org/details/TRPNews


 

TRP News – Progressive News & Information – August 24, 2015 – The Rational Progressive

TRP News with James Andre.

This week – can Sanders win the Democratic primary? Do Clinton’s emails really matter? What do you know about the Senate elections? Two states fail to draw legal voting district maps, migrants storm the Macedonian border, and the Koreas exchange artillery fire in the middle of a joint U.S. – South Korea military exercise.

0:24 Can Sanders Win
9:30 Clinton’s Emails
13:10 Senate Elections
16:45 Redistricting
18:35 Migrants*
22:19 Korea

*Israel grants of asylum for African migrants is 0.15%

For audio only, stream or download here : https://archive.org/details/TRPNews


 

TRP News – Progressive News & Information – August 10, 2015 – The Rational Progressive

TRP News with James Andre.

This week – the Jade Helm military exercise brings out the crazies, Potential Reid successor Senator Schumer bucks White House on Iran deal, voting rights on the 50th anniversary of the voting rights amendment, an update on the HIV outbreak in Indiana, the EPA accident polluting a Colorado river with heavy metals, Guantanamo may finally be closing, and Bernie Sanders, #blacklivesmatter, and the blatant racism of the “Left”.

0:27 Jade Helm 15
4:12 Iran Nuclear Deal
6:15 Voting Rights
9:14 Indiana HIV
10:55 Animas River Spill
12:52 Guantanamo
14:16 Black Lives Matter

For audio only, stream or download here : https://archive.org/details/TRPNews


 

 

TRP News – Progressive News & Information – August 3, 2015 – The Rational Progressive

TRP News with James Andre.

This week – Sanders vs Clinton, smears and facing reality, the Iran deal is being reviewed by Congress and touted by Sec Kerry, Obama reveals new carbon emissions rules, the first of their kind in the nation, Fukushima takes steps forward in the clean up of the nuclear accident, and the establishment of an 8MW offshore wind plant, and in France migrants try to cross the channel tunnel into England, and Italy rescues more crossing the Mediterranean.

0:25 Clinton/Sanders
13:37 Iran Deal
15:44 Carbon Rules
17:26 Fukushima
21:00 Migrants
For audio only, stream or download here : https://archive.org/details/TRPNews


 

TRP News – Progressive News & Information – July 27, 2015

TRP News with James Andre.

This week – Barney Frank and the New York Times weigh in on Sanders and Clinton, Federal government runs out of money October 1st, Turkey agrees to help in the fight against ISIL and coalition airstrikes continue, GMO food labeling bills get votes in the House, and an update on Joan Cheever, the San Antonio woman cited for feeding the homeless.

0:25 Barney Frank / Clinton vs. Sanders
4:12 Budget Stalemate
7:54 ISIL
14:55 GMO labeling bills
18:49 Joan Cheever

For audio only, stream or download here : https://archive.org/details/TRPNews


 

TRP News – Progressive News & Information – July 20, 2015

 

 

TRP News with James Andre.

This week – the Iran deal finally happens and is sent to Congress and the U.N., ISIL ramps up efforts to expand ranks, The federal deficit and debt ceiling, Democrats and Clinton vs. Sanders, the Obamas go to New York City and the haters go crazy.

0:20 Iran Deal
6:00 ISIL
11:35 Federal Budget Deficit
15:00 Clinton vs. Sanders
19:10 Obama in NYC

 

For audio only, stream or download here : https://archive.org/details/TRPNews


 

Benghazi committee goes off the rails

The existence of the House Select Committee on Benghazi has always been hard to explain, even for those who support it enthusiastically. It’s only now that the panel’s purpose is coming into sharper focus.
 
The trouble, of course, is that the committee is wholly unnecessary. Over the course of two years, the deadly 2012 terrorist attack in Libya was investigated by the independent State Department Accountability Review Board, the Senate Intelligence Committee, the Senate Armed Services Committee, the House Intelligence Committee, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, the House Armed Services Committee, the House Committee on Oversight & Government Reform, and the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. None of these probes uncovered evidence to substantiate right-wing conspiracy theories.
 
And yet, House Republican leaders decided what Congress really needs isanother committee to re-do what the other committees have already done.
The explanation is ugly, but increasingly obvious.

Read Full Article: Benghazi committee goes off the rails

TRP News – Progressive News & Information – July 13, 2015

TRP News with James Andre.

This week South Carolina finally takes down the confederate flag from the capitol, BP reaches a settlement on the Gulf spill while Shell moves forward with Arctic drilling plans, Islamic State propaganda and activity around the world, and a deal with Iran on nuclear research is said to be imminent.

0:30 South Carolina Confederate flag
2:50 BP Settlement/Shell arctic drilling
9:35 Islamic State
16:09 Iran negotiations

 

For audio only, stream or download here : https://archive.org/details/TRPNews


 

TRP News – Progressive News & Information – June 29, 2015

TRP News with James Andre.

This week Fast Track has passed and been sent to the President, the Islamic State turns one year old and calls for a month of disaster, SCOTUS hands down several important decisions including same sex marriage, the Iran talks overrun but are said to be near completion, and the politics of smear by association.

0:19 TPA/Fast Track
5:38 Islamic State
8:35 SCOTUS
15:33 Iran Negotiations
18:30 Smear, Distract, Deceive

For audio only, stream or download here : https://archive.org/details/TRPNews