Tag: smear

Republicans attempt to swiftboat Tammy Duckworth

While the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) has since deleted the tweet in question, here is a screengrab (courtesy of Nate Cohn) of an NRSC attack against Tammy Duckworth, a candidate for the Democratic U.S. Senate nomination here in Illinois:

Tammy Duckworth has two main strengths, from a political standpoint. The first is her service in the U.S. Army during the Iraq War, and the second is her strong track record on veterans’ affairs. As someone who served our country in uniform and hails from a military family, Duckworth understands what veterans in this country need. Duckworth has called for mandatory federal funding for veterans’ health care, and Duckworth understands that it’s a national disgrace for large numbers of veterans in this country to be homeless.

The Republican Party of 2016 has launched some of the most ridiculous attacks against Democrats of virtually every faction of the Democratic Party.

The REAL reason why The Washington Post is smearing Bernie: it’s about those Viagra ads

The Bernie Sanders presidential campaign has begun to push back aggressively against an editorial by The Washington Post that viciously attacked him for running for president and advocating for common-sense ideas to make America great again. For example, Sanders retweeted this tweet from David Sirota of the International Business Times pointing out WaPo’s hypocrisy:

However, that isn’t the real reason why WaPo is attacking Bernie. In this paragraph, one line really stood out as being something about Bernie’s proposed Medicare for All plan that would have a specific negative impact on the corporate media:

Mr. Sanders’s story continues with fantastical claims about how he would make the European social model work in the United States. He admits that he would have to raise taxes on the middle class in order to pay for his universal, Medicare-for-all health-care plan, and he promises massive savings on health-care costs that would translate into generous benefits for ordinary people, putting them well ahead, on net. But he does not adequately explain where those massive savings would come from. Getting rid of corporate advertising and overhead would only yield so much. Savings would also have to come from slashing payments to doctors and hospitals and denying benefits that people want.

(emphasis mine)

The fact that WaPo is complaining about Bernie’s plan (possibly) eliminating direct-to-consumer advertising (keep in mind that I’ve never heard a major-party presidential candidate in this year’s election actually advocate for eliminating direct-to-consumer advertising) of prescription drugs is a dead giveaway as to why WaPo is smearing Bernie.

Direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription drugs and medical devices is allowed in only two countries (the United States and New Zealand), and it’s a major contributor to why health care costs in America are ridiculously high. Late last year, the American Medical Association (AMA), a group representing American physicians, called for a ban on direct-to-consumer advertising. Obviously, such a ban would likely result in less advertising revenue for corporate media outlets, since big pharmaceutical companies pay big bucks to corporate media outlets for advertising.

While I’m not sure how much money WaPo makes off of pharmaceutical advertising, WaPo is going to bat for the corporate media in a desperate attempt to preserve the corporate media’s stream of money from the makers of erectile dysfunction pills like Viagra and Cialis.

DNC launches desperate attempt to derail Bernie Sanders campaign over voter lists

Less than 48 hours after Bernie Sanders scored two major endorsements, from the Communication Workers of America (CWA) labor union and the progressive group Democracy for America (DFA), and less than 48 hours before the third of six scheduled Democratic presidential debates, multiple media outlets are reporting that a major breach occurred with the master voter list of the Democratic National Committee (DNC):

After NGP-VAN – the company that administers the DNC’s voter file – updated its system on Wednesday, a glitch reportedly made some confidential data from Hillary Clinton’s campaign briefly accessible to the Sanders campaign and one campaign staffer was able to access that information. The staffer has since been fired. The glitch was first reported by the Washington Post.

The DNC, in a desperate attempt to frame the Sanders campaign in order to deflect from its vendor’s own fuck-up, has shut off the Sanders campaign from access to the DNC voter list:

As a result of this temporary breach, the DNC has indefinitely cut off the Sanders campaign’s access to the voter file, which functionally halts its field operation. The move by the DNC raises eyebrows as many Democrats, including Sanders and fellow presidential candidate Martin O’Malley have long accused the DNC’s chair, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, of attempting to rig the presidential process to benefit Clinton. In particular, they have raised questions about the relative paucity of debates, which have been scheduled for weekend evenings and to coincide with other events such as a major University of Iowa football game.

In other words, the Sanders campaign is being punished by the DNC for a fuck-up by a DNC vendor that the Sanders campaign reported and is taking all appropriate action in response to. Keep in mind that it’s possible that the security breach may have allowed the Hillary Clinton and/or Martin O’Malley campaigns to access confidential information of their Democratic opponents, although this isn’t confirmed. However, the DNC has not cut off voter list access to either Hillary or O’Malley. Interestingly, the Hillary campaign is not officially commenting on this matter at this time for reasons unknown.

On a related note, although I’ve never worked for a political campaign, right before the Wisconsin state Democratic convention earlier this year, an error-filled list of delegates to the state convention from the most populous Wisconsin county, information that is not supposed to be publicly available, was leaked to me earlier this year. I’ve long since deleted the data in question.

It’s pretty clear to me that the DNC is absolutely incompetent at maintaining voter lists and the security of confidential data, and this is something that will only cause more public distrust of the DNC and the Democratic establishment. My advice to future Democratic candidates for public office is to not trust the DNC or any other Democratic Party organization in regards to anything and build your own voter list independently of any political party organization.

OH MY! Former Hillary supporter ADMITS to anti-Bernie online smear campaign

AUTHOR’S NOTE: I am NOT, in any way, affiliated with the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign.


If you’ve suspected that the Hillary Clinton campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination has been waging a stealth campaign against Bernie Sanders by smearing him in online posts, we now have proof of that. An individual, who described himself/herself as a former digital media specialist for Hillary (through a public relations firm) who is now a Bernie supporter, gave a lengthy explanation of an online smear campaign that Hillary operatives have been waging against Bernie. The original post was taken down, although it’s since been re-uploaded to Reddit by (apparently) a different individual.

The smear campaign has operated in the form of Hillary campaign operatives posting various anti-Bernie smears on various social media and left-wing political websites at the behest of higher-ups in a public relations firm affiliated with the Hillary campaign, with the people attacking Bernie not revealing themselves to be working for Hillary. Hillary operatives use five different attack lines against Bernie:

1) Sexism. This was the biggest one we were supposed to push. We had to smear Bernie as misogynistic and out-of-touch with modern sensibilities. He was to be characterized as “an old white male relic that believed women enjoyed being gang raped”. Anyone who tried to object to this characterization would be repeatedly slammed as sexist until they went away or people lost interest.

2) Racism. We were instructed to hammer home how Bernie supporters were all privileged white students that had no idea how the world worked. We had to tout Hillary’s great record with “the blacks” (yes, that’s the actual way it was phrased), and generally use racial identity politics to attack Sanders and bolster Hillary as the only unifying figure.

3) Electability. All of those posts about how Sanders can never win and Hillary is inevitable? Some of those were us, done deliberately in an attempt to demoralize Bernie supporters and convince them to stop campaigning for him. The problem is that this was an outright fabrication and not an accurate assessment of the current political situation. But the truth didn’t matter – we were trying to create a new truth, not to spread the existing truth.

4) Dirty tactics. This is where things got really bad. We were instructed to create narratives of Clinton supporters as being victimized by Sanders supporters, even if they were entirely fabricated…These kind of posts are manufactured to divide and demoralize Sanders supporters, and are entirely artificial in nature. (The same thing happened in 2008, but it wasn’t as noticeable before social media and public attention focused on popular forums like Reddit).

5) Opponent outreach. There are several forums and imageboards where Sanders is not very popular (I think you can imagine which ones those are.) We were instructed to make pro-Sanders troll posts to rile up the user base and then try to goad them into raiding or attacking places like this subreddit. This was probably the only area where we only had mixed success, since that particular subset of the population were more difficult to manipulate than we originally thought.

Hillary Clinton is running a dirty, underhanded campaign as part of the failed Obama-Clinton Democratic establishment’s War on Progressives, and we have proof of that. This is yet another reason why I’m backing Bernie Sanders.

Hillary Clinton and her allies are running a gender-baiting campaign

Hillary Clinton has made it clear that she is not going to run a campaign on the issues and, instead, is going to run a gender-baiting campaign by emphasizing the fact that she’s a woman (she did this at least twice that I know of at the first Democratic presidential debate) and falsely accusing Bernie Sanders of sexism. Now, some of Hillary’s allies, most notably Stephanie Schriock, a career political operative who leads the big-money Democratic establishment organization EMILY’s List, are attacking Bernie over one of his campaign operatives (idiotically, in my opinion) floating the idea of Hillary possibly being Bernie’s running mate should Bernie win the Democratic nomination.

This is disgusting gutter politics from the Hillary Clinton campaign and Hillary’s allies, and it would seriously damage the Democratic Party if Hillary wins the Democratic nomination. Hillary is, for all intents and purposes, running her presidential campaign on the fact that she’s a woman. That would be the ruination of democracy in America if Hillary were to win the nomination that way. The qualifications to be President of the United States are that one must be at least 35 years of age, a natural-born U.S. citizen, and a U.S. resident for at least 14 years at the time of inauguration. The Constitution does not include a gender qualification for the presidency, and there are, to my knowledge, four Democrats (Hillary, Bernie, Martin O’Malley, and Lawrence Lessig) running for our party’s presidential nomination who are legally qualified to run for president.

For those of you who are invariably going to accuse me of sexism, I don’t think it’s feminist for one to run a political campaign primarily on the candidate’s gender. It is feminist to run a campaign for public office in support of ideas like paid family leave, reproductive rights, equal pay for equal work, and other pro-woman ideas.

Bernie Sanders, on the other hand, is running an ideas-based campaign. Bernie is more than willing to talk about actual political issues like women’s rights, gun safety, and legalization of marijuana. That’s the kind of campaign I support.

Joe Biden’s “Susan Happ” problem

With Vice President Joe Biden likely to run for the Democratic presidential nomination, I do want to bring up an historical parallel between Biden’s likely presidential bid and Jefferson County, Wisconsin District Attorney Susan Happ’s failed bid for Attorney General of Wisconsin last year.

The parallel between Biden and Happ is this: Both Biden and Happ are/were, prior to running for higher office (or, in Happ’s case, after winning a statewide Democratic primary in Wisconsin), viewed favorably by voters not because of their actual track records or positions on the issues, but because they liked the candidates personally. In Biden’s case, he’s seen by many voters across the country as an approachable guy with an interesting personality. In Happ’s case, she was seen by many voters in Wisconsin as someone who rode a Harley-Davidson motorcycle in a television ad.

Happ’s campaign to become Wisconsin’s top prosecutor fell apart not long after Happ won a contested Democratic primary with a narrow majority of the vote. Republicans and the far-right corporate media in Wisconsin viciously attacked Happ’s record as a county-level prosecutor, making her look like a corrupt prosecutor who gave out light sentences to Democrats and political cronies, when, in reality, it was a major distortion of Happ’s record. The sustained attack on Happ damaged her campaign and allowed Republican racist Brad Schimel to be elected Attorney General of Wisconsin.

Biden has a legitimately awful record, especially as a U.S. Senator from Delaware, including, among other things:

  • Helping put right-wing extremist Clarence Thomas on the U.S. Supreme Court despite serious sexual harassment allegations against Thomas
  • Voting to repeal the Glass-Steagall regulations on banks and other financial institutions, which led to the Great Recession
  • Voting for the Defense of Marriage Act (DoMA), which prohibited federal recognition of same-sex marriages prior to being ruled unconstitutional by a conservative U.S. Supreme Court
  • Publicly claiming that “abortion is always wrong”
  • Helping enact legislation, signed into law by George W. Bush, that made it harder for Americans to file for bankruptcy
  • Helping enact legislation that expanded the prison-industrial complex in the United States
  • Voting for George W. Bush’s unjustified Iraq War

It wouldn’t take much for one of the Democratic presidential candidates already in the race to brand Biden as an awful politician, if Biden were to run.

I believe that there is an important lesson that is to be learned from the failure of Susan Happ’s campaign for Wisconsin Attorney General last year. When one runs for public office, his or her track record can, either fairly or unfairly, be used against him or her by any political opponent. While Joe Biden’s decision on whether or not to run for president is entirely Joe Biden’s decision to make, I would caution him that his record as a U.S. Senator would likely come back to haunt him politically.

Republicans and corporate media launch racist attack against Wisconsin Democratic Chair Martha Laning for having occassionally interesting personality

Daniel Bice, a “watchdog” columnist for the far-right Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, wrote this racist hit piece attacking Democratic Party of Wisconsin (DPW) Chairwoman Martha Laning, who is a white woman from near Sheboygan, for trying to emulate the accent of DPW First Vice-Chairman David Bowen, who is a black man from Milwaukee. Laning’s remarks were recorded by a right-wing tracker at a local Democratic Party meeting in Door County, Wisconsin earlier this year.

Laning was trying to do a half-ass impression of Bowen’s accent at a Door County (WI) Democratic Party meeting while talking about her attendance at a President Obama event in La Crosse earlier this year, and Bowen was not offended by it at all, saying that “there is nothing wrong about our Democratic Party embracing diversity.” If Bowen isn’t offended by Laning trying to do a half-ass emulation of his accent, then I’m not offended by it.

Apparently, having an occasionally quirky personality is a political crime in the eyes of Wisconsin Republicans. I don’t have a problem at all with politicians having interesting or occasionally interesting personalities, in fact, I’m more likely to personally like a politician whose personality is quirky or occasionally quirky than a politician with a very boring personality. Given that Tommy Thompson, a longtime Wisconsin Republican politician who was elected four times to the governor’s mansion, was notorious for having an unusual personality, I find it hypocritical that Wisconsin Republicans would bash Laning for having a quirky personality.

Although I endorsed Laning in the DPW Chair’s race earlier this year, let me make it clear that I’ve not been impressed by Laning’s performance as chair. Since Laning was elected to be the head of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, she’s tried to sabotage Russ Feingold’s U.S. Senate campaign with controversial remarks about his last name, and she’s a staunch supporter of Scott Walker’s corporate welfare giveaway to the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks. However, Laning has been somewhat better as chair than, for example, how Jason Rae, who got the second-most votes in the DPW Chair’s race earlier this year, would have been as chair had he been elected. As noted by an unnamed person who posts under the Data, Facts, and Logic moniker at Cognitive Dissidence, Rae once tried to claim that he understood the challenges that black people in Wisconsin face because he’s a gay white guy while speaking to a predominantly-black audience during his campaign.

The bottom line is that this attack by Republicans and the corporate media against Martha Laning for having an occasionally quirky personality is racist and absolutely disgusting. I believe that Daniel Bice, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, and the Republican Party of Wisconsin owe Martha Laning, David Bowen, and the people of Wisconsin an apology.

Don’t let new polls fool you…Team Hillary is growing even more scared of Bernie Sanders

While the corporate media is touting new polling showing an apparent slight boost of support for Hillary Clinton in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, Hillary and her allies are acting like they’re behind, and that Bernie Sanders is their main opposition.

Recently, Robby Mook, Hillary’s campaign manager, sent out an email which didn’t mention Bernie by name, but tried to tie Bernie to Karl Rove, whose right-wing political operation has been running paid ads in New Hampshire attacking Hillary over her use of a private email server for government business when she was U.S. Secretary of State. Part of the email was quoted by education blogger Peter Greene; you can find the partial Hillary email here in a blog post that’s primarily about Hillary’s right-wing, teacher-bashing education agenda.

I find it downright laughable that Hillary’s allies are now trying to tie Bernie to someone as odious as Karl Rove, who represents the kind of right-wing big money people and political establishment that Bernie has made a name for himself railing against. Bernie’s political philosophy is virtually the opposite of that of Rove, and Bernie would never coordinate with any kind of outside groups, much less right-wing political groups that push a political agenda that Bernie is staunchly opposed to. In fact, Mook implied that Bernie was illegally coordinating with Rove and his political operation, which is an absolutely absurd suggestion. Hillary’s allies know that Hillary can’t win on the issues, so they’re resorting to asinine smears and false political attacks against Bernie.

I can’t wait to see Bernie Sanders crush Hillary Clinton in the Democratic presidential debates.

Unlike what Mike Bloomberg and the media want you to think, Bernie Sanders is not a gun nut

Pro-gun control groups backed by former Republican-turned-independent New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg and the corporate media are not going after any of the many Republican gun nuts who are running for president. Instead, they’re going after Bernie Sanders, a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, and trying to paint him as a frothing-at-the-mouth gun nut, which is not true at all.

In reality, Bernie Sanders supports increasing background checks on gun sales, closing the gun show loophole, banning assault weapons, and banning high capacity magazines. In fact, in recent years, Bernie has received very high ratings from gun control groups, such as the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, and very low ratings from gun rights groups, such as the NRA and the Gun Owners of America. Bernie believes in protecting the rights of responsible, law-abiding citizens exercising their Second Amendment rights to keep and bear arms, while, at the same time, doing everything possible to prevent guns from getting into the hands of people who want to carry out mass murders. Additionally, Bernie supports increasing access to mental health care in this country, which would prevent thousands of murders every year.

Also, many, but not all, groups supporting gun control measures are financially supported by Mike Bloomberg, whose views on many other issues are not in line with progressives at all. For example, Bloomberg openly made offensive remarks comparing teachers to gun nuts and supported efforts to privatize public education in New York City, most notably supporting the creation of 139 charter schools in New York City, when he was mayor. Additionally, Bloomberg has staunchly opposed efforts to decriminalize and legalize marijuana despite having smoked marijuana himself when he was younger. Bloomberg also supported George W. Bush in the 2004 presidential election, who, in his second term as president, badly botched (for lack of a better term) the federal government’s response to Hurricane Katrina and saw the collapse of the American economy on his watch.

While Hillary Clinton, Bernie’s main rival for the Democratic nomination, is emphasizing her support for gun control measures on the campaign trail, Hillary had no problem attacking supporters of gun control measures for speaking their mind the last time she ran for president. During the 2008 presidential campaign, then-U.S. Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) remarked that right-wing extremists “cling to guns or religion” when they “get bitter”, which is the truth about the vast majority of right-wing extremists in this country. Hillary responded to Obama’s remarks by calling Obama an “elitist”, which the right-wingers swiped from her and used as one of their favorite anti-Obama talking points, and talking about her dad teaching her how to shoot a firearm when she was a child. Guess who won the Democratic nomination and went on to get elected president that year…

As much as Mike Bloomberg and the corporate media want you to think otherwise, Bernie Sanders is no gun nut.

Penn State Professor Sophia McClennen delivers brilliant response to Rush Limbaugh smear attack

Sophia McClennen, a professor at The Pennsylvania State University (Penn State), wrote this piece for Salon magazine, in which Professor McClennen talked about how Steven Colbert’s style of comedy during his tenure as host of Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report brilliantly mocked conservatives who (figuratively) wrap themselves in the American flag by constantly talking about their patriotism.

Obviously, Rush Limbaugh, a right-wing misogynistic talk radio shock jock who is best-known for his infamous remarks in which he called attorney and women’s rights advocate Sandra Fluke a “slut” on his nationally-syndicated radio program The Rush Limbaugh Show, was not happy after reading Professor McClennen’s column, so he called her a “professorette” on his radio program and whined about how he couldn’t “escape these professors and these lies and all this crap that’s in the media about everything that’s so-called wrong with America”.

Professor McClennen wrote a pair of responses to Limbaugh’s sexist smear attack against her at Salon magazine and at the progressive website DailyKos. In her DailyKos diary, Professor McClennen called out Limbaugh for claiming to love America but hate a majority of American citizens:

This leads to another persistent flaw in Limbaugh logic: How can you claim to love your country, yet hate so many of its citizens? It turns out that people of color, women and folks who vote with the “Democrat Party” are all part of the very same nation that Limbaugh professes to love. And yet, he seems to have a never-ending ability to spit bile at his fellow citizens, constantly hurling invectives at those with whom he disagrees. Professorette? (His term for me.) Infobabe? Feminazi? And we can’t forget Limbaugh’s treatment of Sandra Fluke. […]

I want to make three points about this.

First, Professor McClennen’s piece about Colbert’s character on The Colbert Report is certainly not a pack of lies and crap about everything that’s wrong with America. It’s a factual and very informative piece about how Colbert parodied right-wing talking heads like Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, and others in the corporate media in order to gain a large following among the left in this country and how Colbert fought to redefine what patriotism means in this country.

Second, for Limbaugh to publicly call Professor McClennen a “professorette” is flagrantly sexist. “Professor” is a gender-neutral term, and for Limbaugh to use the term “professorette” to describe a female college professor implies that female college professors are somehow inferior to male college professors, which, at least in my experience, is certainly not the case. I attended a small junior college in the east central part of Illinois on a part-time basis for a few years before dropping out, and, even though my college experience was horrible (mostly because I wasn’t interested in attending college at all), every professor who taught one or more courses I took, regardless of whether it was taught by a man or a woman, taught their courses exceptionally well.

Third, as someone who is a left-wing nationalist and damn proud of both America and my progressive political views, I believe in a different kind of patriotism than right-wing talking heads like Limbaugh, Hannity, O’Reilly, and so on do. Right-wingers in this country believe in the “wrap-self-in-the-flag” kind of patriotism, in which they talk about how great America is while they support policies that are turning America into a third-world country, such as free trade agreements like NAFTA, deregulation of the banking industry, and cuts in government spending on things like education and social safety net programs. On the other hand, I believe in a kind of patriotism simply known as making America exceptional. I believe in raising taxes on the wealthy, protecting and expanding the social safety net, providing affordable health care to the American people, providing a better public education system for future generations, repealing free trade agreements, protecting the American economy, protecting and enacting regulations to protect workers, consumers, and the environment, raising the minimum wage, granting equal rights to all Americans, ensuring that all American citizens who are of age are able to vote in free and fair elections, and protecting the civil liberties of the American people, among other things. I don’t believe in all of that because I hate America, I believe in that because I love America and want to make this country an exceptional place to live!