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Fox News Commentator Pleads Guilty to Fraud


Wayne Shelby Simmons, 62, of Annapolis, Maryland, a former Fox News commentator who has falsely claimed he spent 27 years working for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), pleaded guilty today to major fraud against the government, wire fraud, and a firearms offense.
“Wayne Simmons is a convicted felon with no military or intelligence experience,” said Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “Simmons admitted he attempted to con his way into a position where he would have been called on to give real intelligence advice in a war zone.  His fraud cost the government money, could have put American lives at risk, and was an insult to the real men and women of the intelligence community who provide tireless service to this country.  This case is a prime example of this office’s ongoing commitment to vigorously prosecute government fraud and threats to national security.”
“Mr. Simmons lied about his criminal history and CIA employment in order to fraudulently obtain government contracts, and separately, defrauded a victim through a phony real estate investment deal,” said Paul M. Abbate, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office.  “With these criminal actions, Mr. Simmons abused the trust of others, both in and outside of government, for his own personal financial gain.  I commend the work of the talented FBI personnel and prosecutors who vigorously pursued this case and brought about today’s guilty plea.”
In a statement of facts filed with his plea agreement, Simmons admitted he defrauded the government in 2008 when he obtained work as a team leader in the U.S. Army’s Human Terrain Systems program, and again in 2010 when he was deployed to Afghanistan as a senior intelligence advisor on the International Security Assistance Force’s Counterinsurgency Advisory and Assistance Team.  Simmons admitted making false statements about his financial and criminal history, and admitted that there are no records or any other evidence that he was ever employed by or worked with the CIA, or ever applied for or was granted a security clearance by that agency.  Simmons also admitted that in order to obtain the senior intelligence advisor position, he lied about work he had done a year earlier as a team leader on the Human Terrain Systems program.  Simmons admitted to making similar false statements in 2009 as well, in an unsuccessful attempt to obtain work with the State Department’s Worldwide Protective Service.
As to the wire fraud charge, Simmons admitted to defrauding an individual victim, identified as E.L., out of $125,000 in connection with a bogus real estate investment.  Simmons admitted to sending E.L. promised monthly disbursements to make it appear as if her funds had been invested as promised, and to repeatedly lying to her about the whereabouts of her money in order to perpetuate the fraud.  As Simmons admitted, he simply spent the funds on personal purposes and there was never any actual real estate investment project. 
As to the firearms charge, Simmons admitted that at the time he was arrested in this case, he was unlawfully in possession of two firearms, which he was prohibited from possessing on account of his prior felony convictions, including a prior Maryland felony conviction and two prior federal felony firearms convictions.
Simmons was indicted by a federal grand jury on Oct. 14, 2015, and faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison on the major fraud against the government count, a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison on the wire fraud count, and a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison on the felon-in-possession of a firearm count when sentenced on July 15.  The maximum statutory sentences are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; and Paul M. Abbate, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, made the announcement after the plea was accepted by Senior U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis, III.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Paul J. Nathanson and James L. Trump, along with the assistance of Senior Trial Attorney Robert E. Wallace of the Counterintelligence and Export Control Section of the Department of Justice’s National Security Division are prosecuting the case.

Sanders campaign dismissed the breach of contract action pending against the DNC.

On December 18, 2015, the Democratic National Committee and Bernie 2016 appeared in United States District Court on Bernie 2016’s indication that it would be seeking an injunction in the breach of contract action it filed against the DNC earlier that day. The Sanders campaign alleged that the DNC wrongfully terminated its access to the party-administered voter file system, VoteBuilder, following DNC’s discovery that Sanders campaign personnel had discovered a flaw in system security and had accessed Clinton campaign proprietary score data.  

The parties proceeded in the course of the hearing to settle the immediate issue before the Court. The DNC agreed to restore access to VoteBuilder by the next day, and the campaign agreed to cooperate in an independent investigation of the data breach.  The Sanders campaign also agreed as part of this investigation to assume a share of the costs of the investigation.

The DNC and the Sanders campaign agreed on the retention of CrowdStrike to conduct the investigation. Over a five-week period and the commitment to the work of 128 hours, CrowdStrike examined user activity within VoteBuilder by three Democratic Presidential campaigns: Hillary for America, Bernie 2016, and O’Malley for President.  Additionally, CrowdStrike conducted a forensic examination of two systems belonging to the Bernie 2016 campaign. The investigation sought to first identify whether any campaigns’ users accessed data via the VoteBuilder system in an unauthorized fashion and then determine the nature of any unauthorized access that did occur.

The cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike has concluded the independent investigation agreed to by the DNC and Bernie 2016.  It identified evidence of unauthorized access via four user accounts from the Bernie 2016 campaign.  All unauthorized access occurred during a one-hour period from 10:41 to 11:42 EST on December 16, 2015.

During that time, the four users conducted 25 searches using proprietary Hillary for America score data across 11 states.  All of the results of these searches were saved within the VoteBuilder system, with the exception of one instance where a user exported a statistical summary of a search using HFA scoring in New Hampshire.

CrowdStrike found no evidence of unauthorized access by the Hillary for America or O’Malley for President campaigns. 

Today, the Sanders campaign also voluntarily dismissed the breach of contract action pending against the DNC.

Release of Classified Pages on Foreign 9/11 Support Imminent


FILE - Bob Graham speaks in Gainesville, Fla., Oct. 12, 2012. The Obama administration will likely soon release at least part of a 28-page secret chapter from a congressional inquiry into 9/11 that may shed light on possible Saudi connections to the attac
 Bob Graham speaks in Gainesville, Fla., Oct. 12, 2012. The Obama administration will likely soon release at least part of a 28-page secret chapter from a congressional inquiry into 9/11 that may shed light on possible Saudi connections to the attack

Nearly 15 years after terrorists hijacked four passenger jets and crashed them into the World Trade Center in New York, the Pentagon outside Washington, D.C., and a farm field in Pennsylvania, 28 pages detailing foreign support for the attackers could soon be made public. Only a select group of U.S. officials have read the highly classified document, which has been 


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Why Tuesday's Election Is Make Or Break For Bernie Sanders


At stake Tuesday are 384 delegates in primaries in Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island. This group of contests offers Sanders one of the last chances left on the election calendar to gain ground in pledged delegates and make a broader case to superdelegates to support him.
Yet it appears Clinton could do well enough Tuesday to end the night with 90 percent of the delegates needed to win the nomination, leaving her just 200 or so shy.

Bill Maher To Bernie supporters "Don’t be assholes,”




"Don’t be assholes,” Maher said during his HBO show Real Time last night to those Sanders fans out there who are threatening to stay home on Election Day in November and pout. Doing so could hand the country to a president such as Donald Trump or Ted Cruz, who are each fully antithetical to the liberal leaning values that Sanders has been promoting. Instead he wants them to pivot to Hillary. 

 Bill Maher said that Sanders “might be toast.”  He made clear that he intends to support Hillary Clinton once she’s the nominee.

GOP elites aren’t quite convinced by Trump charm offensive





Republican front-runner Donald Trump's chief strategist Paul Manafort spoke to members of the Republican National Committee in Hollywood, Fla., at a closed-door briefing on April 21. The Washington Post obtained an audio recording of the meeting. (TWP)

Chag kasher v'sameach

פֶּסַח Pesach



אוניברסיטת תל אביב מאחלת לכולם פסח שמח!



OBAMA COMMENTS ON ANTI-LGBT LAWS



President Obama addressed anti-LGBT laws in North Carolina and Mississippi for the first time on Friday, calling the pieces of legislation "mean-spirited.""I also think that the laws that have been passed there are wrong and should be overturned and they're in response to politics in part and some strong emotions that are generated by people," Obama said during a Friday press conference with U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron in London. Obama added that the laws, which ban transgender people from using their preferred bathrooms in North Carolina, and allow people to deny service to LGBT people in Mississippi, are not representative of overall American sentiment."I think it’s fair to say we’re not unique among countries, where particularly under a federal system in which power is disbursed, that there are going to be some localities, or local officials that put forward laws that aren’t necessarily reflective of a national consensus,” he said.

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“Champions of Change” for Advancing Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery



On Friday, April 29, the White House will recognize ten individuals from across the country as “White House Champions of Change for Advancing Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery.”

These individuals were selected by the White House for their leadership and tireless work to prevent prescription drug abuse and heroin use, improve access to treatment and support recovery.

Prescription drug abuse and heroin use have taken a heartbreaking toll on too many Americans and their families, while straining resources of law enforcement and treatment programs. More Americans now die every year from drug overdoses than they do in motor vehicle crashes. The President has made clear that addressing the opioid overdose epidemic is a priority for his Administration and has highlighted tools that are effective in reducing drug use and overdose, like evidence-based prevention programs, prescription drug monitoring, prescription drug take-back events, medication-assisted treatment and the overdose reversal drug naloxone.

The event will feature remarks by White House Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett, Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, and Director of National Drug Control Policy Michael Botticelli. The event will also feature members of the cast and production team of the Warner Bros. Television-produced CBS comedy series Mom‎.

The Champions of Change program was created as an opportunity for the White House to feature individuals doing extraordinary things to empower and inspire members of their communities. The event will be open press and streamed live on www.whitehouse.gov/liveTolearn more about the White House Champions of Change program, visitwww.whitehouse.gov/champions. Follow the conversation at #WHchamps.

WHEN:          Friday, April 29, 2016 at 1:00 PM ET

WHERE:        Eisenhower Executive Office Building, South Court Auditorium

Hillary Clinton on Good Morning America



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On Thursday morning, Hillary Clinton appeared on ABC’s Good Morning America for a town hall style segment. Clinton was interviewed by Robin Roberts and George Stephanopoulos before taking questions from those in attendance. She was asked questions on a number of topics including some of her platform points, her Democratic rival Bernie Sanders, her thoughts on the Republican presidential candidates, and she was asked some light hearted questions as well. She was asked what her husband’s (former president Bill Clinton) most annoying habit was. She answered, “No matter how tired he is, he always feels like he has to read before he goes to sleep. That means I have to get up and go around and turn the light off before I go to bed!” A video from this morning’s episode is below.



The Media This Week

Beyond the notable Media Matters work below, here are some other things this week: Haroon Moghul on anti-Muslim discrimination in America, Christina Cauterucci on the horrifying effects of anti-LGBT bills, Candice Norwood on how women are used as a shield for discrimination, and John D. Wilsey on why as a conservative he supports Black Lives Matter.
John Whitehouse
@existentialfish
 
Donald Trump 

Media Fall For Trump's BS

As Donald Trump won the New York primary, the political press tripped over themselves to laud his "presidential" tone and downplay his bigotry and sexism. One nightly newscast even called Trump "the consummate deal-maker changing his sales pitch to close the deal." Charles Pierce explained to Chris Hayes that Trump's supposed changing tone is part of a "great scam" that he's using "all the way to the convention."
 
 
Harriet Tubman 

Tubman honored, conservatives aghast

After Treasury Secretary Jack Lew announced that Harriet Tubman would replace Andrew Jackson on the face of the $20 bill, many conservative media figures were aghast, evensuggesting before the decision was finalized that it would be better to just "leave men alone." Fox & Friends even sent Steve Doocy out onto the streets to search for someone who blames "PC Police" for the change -- but that's not what he found.
 
 
marrick garland 

Koch front group and the SCOTUS nominee

Pressure is growing on Senate Republicans to act on President Obama's Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland, and conservatives are throwing everything but the kitchen sink in a desperate attempt to blunt the momentum. A Koch-backed front group is pushing lies to try to smear Garland. Media Matters' Joe Strupp talked to law professors across the country, whocalled the group's attacks "silly" and "nonsense."
 
 
obamacare 

Obamacare a runaway success

Conservatives have lied about Obamacare for years, making increasingly dire predictions. Well, now that the Affordable Care Act is actually in place for over a year, the data is in: Minorities, part-time workers, and low-wage workers all had substantial gains in coverage. In fact, there is now a historic low in the amount of uninsured Americans. If the past is prologue, expect serial misinformers to run and hide when confronted with the facts.



Source MediaMatters.org 

25 Things You Did Not Know About Hillary Clinton


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In Us Weekly, an article appeared titled "Hillary Clinton: 25 Things You Don't Know About Me." The article consists of a list of 25 things that Clinton wrote about herself. Included in the list are her love of hot sauce, meeting Martin Luther King Jr., a job she once had in Alaska, her yoga, and her greatest weakness. You can read the full article HERE
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How to Follow New York's Primaries




CLICK HERE FOR RESULTS 

On Tuesday, New York voters headed to the polls to cast their ballots in the Democratic and Republican presidential primaries. On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton, the former secretary of state and U.S. senator from New York, hopes to shut down the momentum of her rival, Bernie Sanders, who has won in six of the last…

Jane Sanders Is Under Investigation


coming under fire for her moneymaking deals: Bernie Sanders‘ wife is facing new claims of bank fraud, RadarOnline.com has learned.
Heat Street investigation reported today that when Jane O’Meara Sanders served as president of Burlington College between 2004 and 2011, she exaggerated the amount of money the college received in fundraising.
Sanders had applied to the Vermont Educational and Health Buildings Finance Agency to help secure loans for a $10 million purchase of land from the Roman Catholic diocese. Sanders sought to extend the campus and claimed that Burlington College received “more than $2 million in fundraising commitments and pledges” at the time, the report states.

With the help of VEHBFA, Burlington College was given a $6.7 million tax-exempt loan from People’s United Bank. The diocese allegedly underwrote a $3.65 million loan to Burlington College as well.
But it was reported that the college only raised $279,000 in 2011, even though O’Meara Sanders had confirmed pledges of $1.2 million. The report claims that the diocese “reportedly did not receive the full repayment of the loan, losing between $1.6 and $2 million, according to the investigation request.
Catholic parishioners now want Sanders investigated for federal bank fraud after the diocese lost more than $1.5 million, Heat Street said

Clintons Canvass New York on Eve on Primary


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On the eve of the New York primary, Bill, Chelsea, and Hillary Clinton were canvassing the state for support before tomorrow's primary. A list of Hillary's favorite New York restaurants was published by Thrillist, and  she attended a number of events in and around New York City. Hillary began by appearing on a morning radio show called "The Breakfast Club". During the interview, Clinton spoke about a number of her key platform points and the importance of tomorrow's primary in New York. She also was asked to name something that she always carry with her. Her answer was "hot sauce." Watch a video of the full interview HERE to find out why.
Hillary then hosted a Get Out the Vote rally at the Hilton in Manhattan. During her speech, she spoke about her Democratic rival Bernie Sanders and his record on gun control. He voted for a 2005 bill that made gun manufacturers immune from lawsuits if their product was used illegally. She continued, "There are many powerful lobbyists in Washington, as I said in the debate the other night in Brooklyn. I said, look, Senator Sanders talks a lot about the greed and recklessness of Wall Street. But what about the greed and recklessness of the gun manufacturers?" Hillary went on to explain the importance of the 2016 election and asked for voters' support tomorrowTonight, Hillary will appear on CBS's The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.
Bill, meanwhile, was campaigning on Hillary's behalf in Buffalo and Rochester. In Buffalo, Bill began by kicking off a phone bank at Hilary's headquarters. He then made several stops in town visiting St. John Towers senior facility, Spot Coffee, and he had lunch at Alton's restaurant in Cheektowaga. In Rochester, Bill was joined by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and spoke to a crowd of supporters. He spoke briefly about a number of Hillary's platform points and asked for their vote in tomorrow's primary. A video from his speech in Rochester is below.
Chelsea has spent the last two days campaigning on behalf of her mother at smaller events across the state. Yesterday, Chelsea spoke at Get Out the Vote events in Poughkeepsie and Binghamton. At both events, she spoke about her mother's experience and plans as president. She stressed the importance of the election saying that it is the "most important" election of her lifetime. Chelsea even took time to answer questions from those in attendance.
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Today, Chelsea spoke with supporters at the Women's Hall of Fame in Seneca Falls. She spoke about her mom's experience saying, "I think when you look at who has a real record of being able to deliver progress and be able to make change, my mom really stands out." She spoke about similar topics at her other stops in upstate New York. Chelsea also spoke with supporters at Coltivare in Ithaca. In Rome, Chelsea visited a local daycare center. Speaking at the Little Learners On Campus Child Care Center, she spoke about the importance of early childhood education and Hillary's plan to expand it nationwide.
The Clintons weren't the only ones campaigning on behalf of Hillary today. In New York, Carole King, former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, and Cecile Richards all joined Hillary and held events on their own. In Chicago, Illinois, David Plouffe, Campaign Manager for President Barack Obama in 2008, attended a fundraiser that was hosted by Kevin Conlon, Katelynd Duncan, Abby Erwin, Adam Hitchcock, Reyhad Kazmi, Samir Mayekar, Kevin Morris, Marilynn Rubio, Jon Samuels, Abigail Schmitz, and Joshua Schwartz.

Hillary Clinton held a rally in Staten Island, New York

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton addresses a rally in The Great Hall at Snug Harbor in Staten Island, New York on April 17,2016. / AFP / KENA BETANCUR        (Photo credit should read KENA BETANCUR/AFP/Getty Images)
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton addresses a rally in The Great Hall at Snug Harbor in Staten Island, New York on April 17,2016. / (Photo credit s KENA BETANCUR/AFP/Getty Images)
On Sunday, Hillary Clinton held a rally in Staten Island, New York where she spoke to a crowd of about 1,000 supporters. During her speech at Snug Harbor Cultural Center, Clinton touted her record and her years of service as a New York senator. She then outlined a number of points of her platform. Clinton spoke at length about her record of bipartisanship and criticized politicians who are "partisan for the sake of being partisan." She said that bipartisanship is what the American people expect and deserve to ensure things get done. A full video of Clinton's speech is below.
Three fundraisers were also held today in support of Hillary for America. The first was held in Providence, Rhode Island was focused on LGBT issues. Attending the fundraiser was Former Congressman Barney Frank and Congressman David Cicilline. Meanwhile, Senior Policy Advisor Jake Sullivan attended two fundraisers for American citizens living in London.

Hillary Clinton Appears on ABC’s This Week

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On Sunday morning, Hillary Clinton appeared on ABC's This Week. During the interview with host George Stephanopoulos, Clinton was asked about her thoughts on Republican Donand Trump and his new nickname for her, her continued battle against Bernie Sanders for the Democratic nomination, and the continued call for her to release the transcripts from her Wall Street speeches. On that point she said, "You know, we have certain expectations when you run for president, one of which is release all of your tax returns ever since you've been in public life. Now all of a sudden, there's a new standard. And I've said when it applies to everybody, you bet. I will meet that standard as well." A video of the interview can be viewed at the news source below, and a transcript from the show is available HERE.
This morning, an interview with Clinton was also aired on a local New York show called "Up Close." The interview, which aired on WABC, focused on Tuesday's primary and Clinton called out Sanders for his negative turn in the campaign, something he said he would not do. She also spoke about his interview in the New York Daily News, an interview that has been regarded as one of his weakest. Sanders was unable to answer questions about what he would do to reform Wall Street and other policy points. Clinton took the opportunity to pounce saying, "He couldn't answer basic questions. He just keeps diagnosing the problem." Clinton told reporter Dave Evans that as president she will fight for America just as she fought for New York as Senator. A video of the full interview is available HERE.

Bernie Sanders Releases 1 year Tax Returns



 After months of delay Bernie's Sanders released his  2014 tax returns Friday, the big question is where are the other years and how will they explain the 1,200,000.00 earned from the campaign since January 2016 

Democrats Are Headed off Their Own Cliff

Democrats Are Headed off Their Own Cliff

By Stuart Rothenberg
Political observers – yes, including myself – have argued for years that the Republican Party has moved too far right, allowing its most ideological elements to limit its legislative options, prevent it from addressing national problems, and damage its appeal to key swing and emerging voter groups.
But instead of Democrats responding by positioning themselves in the political center where they could maximize their appeal, many Democrats are embracing their own version of ideological extremism.
Bernie Sanders’ uncompromising anti-business rhetoric and agenda, combined with the energy of “progressive” forces in the Democratic coalition, reflect a significant turn to the left by a party that once stood for pragmatic change, not “revolution.”
Though the Vermont senator’s supporters won’t like to hear it, Sanders has plenty in common with both Donald Trump and Ted Cruz.
Like Cruz, Sanders is an ideologue who resists compromise. And like Trump, Sanders has simple answers to complex problems and sounds as if he doesn’t appreciate the dramatic, and often deeply unsettling, consequences that his policies would produce.
“Break up the banks,” roars Sanders, as if that would solve part of the nation’s economic problems without creating any new ones.
“It’s Time to Make College Tuition Free and Debt Free” asserts Sanders (on his website), without discussing the ramifications of doing so or acknowledging the true cost or the inevitable disruptions.
Anyone interested in the ramifications of some of Sanders' proposals – and why it would be difficult to try to turn the United States into Denmark – should read Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Steven Pearlstein’s excellent piece, “What Bernie Sanders Would do to America,” in The Washington Post. Pearlstein, who once worked for Massachusetts Democratic Rep. Michael Harrington, dissects many of Sanders’ proposals.
Trump bases his wild assertions that he’ll destroy ISIS quickly, get Mexico to build (and pay for) a wall and produce economic growth on his self-proclaimed smarts and the force of his personality. Sanders bases his promises of prosperity and justice for all on an extreme ideology that has not worked successfully in a country as large and diverse as the United States.
Trump, Cruz and Sanders are all true believers – one in himself, one in conservative political thought, and one in leftist political and economic ideology. None of them ever acknowledges the risks involved in their agendas.
Sanders and Trump have something else in common. They paint with broad brushes, caricaturing individuals and groups.
Whereas Trump maligns Mexicans, Muslims and members of the media, Sanders is equally demagogic when he talks about corporate America, Wall Street and his most frequent scapegoats, “millionaires and billionaires.”
Yes, there are people on Wall Street who are selfish, vain, narcissistic, underhanded, deceptive and greedy. And yes, some of them break the law and ignore the public’s interest. But most people who work on Wall Street or run American companies are not like that. And plenty of people who do exhibit those negative qualities are not on Wall Street, in corporate America or millionaires and billionaires.
Many of them are not even Republicans.
Of course, Bernie Sanders won’t be the Democratic nominee for president this year. If anyone gave him a serious chance of swiping the nomination, the stock market would fall precipitously and dramatically, wiping out working people’s retirement accounts faster than you could say Katrina vanden Heuvel.
But the problem for Democratic strategists is that Sanders is doing surprisingly well. He is winning primaries and caucuses, and energizing many in his party, particularly the young. A large chunk of his party is in sync with his message. Hillary Clinton is leading in the Democratic race solely because of her support among minority voters and super delegates.
Clearly, the Democratic Party has moved left over the past few years. Whether this is out of frustration that President Barack Obama didn’t move far enough or fast enough in a progressive agenda, or because Democrats watched the tea party pull the GOP to the right, many Democrats want a much more “progressive” agenda.
The fact that Sanders, who continues to embrace the socialist label, is doing as well as he is ought to worry party strategists.
Shortly after the Democratic Party’s 2006 midterm election victory, New York Sen. Chuck Schumer and then-Illinois Rep. Rahm Emanuel warned their colleagues that Democrats needed to prove that they could govern, that they could be pragmatic and work to improve things for the middle class.
Emanuel, of course, is now under attack from the minority community and his party’s left, as is Bill Clinton for his White House years. On the other hand, Schumer is headed to become his party’s Senate leader.
The question is whether most Democrats still agree with Schumer’s 2006 comments, or whether they are now more comfortable with the views of left-wing intellectuals Michael Parenti, Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, Herbert Marcuse and Gabriel Kolko, as Sanders clearly once was and possibly still is.
One thing remains clear. Swing voters remain in the middle, so the further left the Democratic Party moves, the more ammunition it gives to the GOP, whether in 2016, 2018 or beyond.