Monday’s Monroes

The big news over the weekend, of course, was the DNC leaks.  If you weren’t paying attention, I’ll explain:

A little over a month ago, it was reported that Russian hackers penetrated the DNC e-mail database and stole a bunch of e-mails, as well as the opposition research on Donald Trump. The e-mails eventually made their way to Wikileaks.  The e-mails were then leaked and people who already didn’t like Hillary Clinton chose to use this as an opportunity to express their outrage at Hillary Clinton.

Despite that reporting by The Washington Post, we’ve now gone to other news outlets saying that Russians are just suspected of hacking.  Others are more definitive and are saying it was definitely the Russians.  Of course, this won’t matter to some.  As people have noted, it doesn’t matter how the e-mails were leaked but rather what they say.

The e-mails themselves are mostly innocuous and as Chris Hayes has noted in the past, “with Hillary Clinton, you can’t convince anybody of anything.”  The worst ones include an e-mail about potentially swiftboating Bernie Sanders’s religion as showing him as an atheist (he is jewish) to potentially help Hillary Clinton in more Christian states.  A strategy, it should be noted, that didn’t even happen.  Other than that, the real problems were that Wikileaks would not redact social security numbers and credit card information from their posts.  This is something that they claim was intentional.  It’s also problematic that the people at the DNC were sharing this information.

To people who think that the primary was rigged, this was a goldmine that ended up full of pyrite. The head of the DNC Debbie Wasserman Schultz has resigned amid the news of the e-mail hack. Of course, this was going to happen after the convention regardless of the news of the hack. Wasserman Schultz did such a good job at rigging the primaries that Hillary Clinton and her team wanted her gone:

John Podesta, Clinton’s campaign chairman – and a former top adviser to Barack Obama – broached the idea of replacing Wasserman Schultz as early as last fall, only to be rebuffed by the president’s team, according to two people with direct knowledge of the conversation.

“It came down to the fact that the president didn’t want the hassle of getting rid of Debbie,” said a former top Obama adviser. “It’s been a huge problem for the Clintons, but the president just didn’t want the headache of Debbie bad-mouthing him… It was a huge pain in the ass.”

But to Sanders’s more ardent supporters, it doesn’t mean much.  They already wanted Wasserman Schultz gone, as did Bernie.  Sanders spent some of his newfound political capital to endorse her primary opponent and raised money for him, Tim Canova.  All in all, Clinton was going to name a person from her campaign team or someone she was very close to as the new head of the DNC.

But if you think the primary was rigged, you do have to address a few questions.  The first of which is that Wikileaks has had most of these documents for a while.  Are they only highlighting the e-mails that they find most damaging for Hillary and the DNC?  We have only the word of Wikileaks that they are being transparent.  They’ve highlighted quite a few e-mails that when context actually comes in, they are not nearly as bad as reported.  One of the e-mails highlighted is someone quoting a Fox News commentator in a recap of the Sunday shows.  This e-mail was supposed to show that Hillary was lying about being a progressive.

While a number of people are saying that the debates were scheduled to help Hillary, it’s important to know that the first Democratic debate attracted over 15 million viewers.  There was a lag in viewers for one of the debates on MSNBC.  This debate took place on Thursday, February 4. In 2016, there  were 9 debates with 72.03 million viewers in total.  In 2008, there were 16 debates with 75.22 million total viewers.  There were another 10 debates that were not rated.  Despite the claim that the debates were scheduled to limit the number of people who viewed them, there’s not very much evidence to back up.  I will note that there were only 6 originally scheduled debates that garnered 48 million viewers.

Finally, you would need to find actual evidence of the DNC trying to rig the primary elections for Hillary.  I haven’t seen any evidence.  Most of the e-mails are dated at the end of April or early May when we all knew the primary was over outside of the most hard-core Bernie Sanders supporters.

Better know a candidate: C.J. Baricevic

Name: C.J. Baricevic

Current position: None

Future position: Candidate, U.S. House of Representatives Illinois’s 12th Congressional District

Key positions:

Opposes the Trans-Pacific Partnership

Supports new trade policies that protect and support the growth of American jobs

Invest in infrastructure

Invest in job training and apprenticeship programs

Supports raising the minimum wage

Supports the Paycheck Fairness Act

Supports raising the child care tax credit

Opposes NAFTA

Supports universal pre-k

Supports investment in trade schools

Opposes any effort to make Medicare a voucher program

Strong supporter of the 2nd Amendment

Better know a candidate: Doug Owens

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Name: Doug Owens

Current position: None

Future position: Running for U.S. House of Representatives, Utah 4th Congressional District

Political party: Democratic

Key issues:

Prevent nuclear waste from being disposed of in Utah

Supports a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution

Supports members of Congress posting their schedules online

Supports banning reimbursements for first class travel and trips paid for by corporate lobbyists

Supports cooling off period between being a legislator and being a lobbyist

Supports the no budget, no pay law preventing members of Congress from being paid if they can’t balance a budget

Expanding vocational education opportunities

Supports lowering tuition at community colleges and public universities.  Supports expanding access to low interest student loans.

Supports cutting taxes for the middle class

Supports eliminating the influence of anonymous dark money

Opposes the privatization of Social Security and Medicare

Supports an all-of-the above approach to energy with a goal of moving the country to a clean-energy economy

Supports committing troops to war only when there is an imminent threat to America’s national security

Strong supporter of the 2nd Amendment

Supports common-sense, data-based solutions for gun control

Supports the ACA

Would repeal the tax on employers in the ACA

Repeal the medical device tax found in the ACA

Supports Common Core unless it is found to be a federal program

Focus more on peace with Israel and Palestine

Supports humanitarian construction in Gaza

Would not have supported the government shutdown

Supports simplification of Dodd-Franks

Supports reauthorizing CHIP

Supports a program that would take the last year of high school and turn it into a free year of college

Supports the Gang of Eight immigration reform bill passed by the Senate




Better know a candidate: Jane Dittmar

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Name: Jane Dittmar

Current position: Albemarle County Supervisor

Future position: Running for U.S. House of Representatives Virginia’s 5th Congressional District

Political party: Democratic

Key issues:

Expand certification programs for high-school graduates

Invest in startup spaces throughout the 5th Congressional District

Expand broadband internet access

Expand apprenticeship programs for trade schools and technical skills

Expand local workforce training programs

Better know a candidate: Frank Lasee

Name: Frank Lasee

Current position: Wisconsin State Senate District 1 (2011 – present)

Previous position: Wisconsin State Assemblyman District 2 (2005-2009)

Future position:  Running for the U.S. House of Representatives Wisconsin’s 8th Congressional District

Political party: Republican

Key issues:

Introduced a proposal to allow public school teachers to carry guns

Proposed cutting funding for University of Wisconsin Law School by $1 million initially and a complete removal of funding by 2010

Proposed consolidating the counties in Wisconsin

Co-sponsored the Taxpayers Bill of Rights in Wisconsin including the proposal that any increase in income, sales, franchise, or property tax rates would require the approval of voters.

Will stand up to radical Islam by calling it what it is

Supports securing the border and enforcing immigration laws

Supports balancing the budget

Supports cutting spending and providing tax relief

Supports reining in the IRS and EPA

Wants to ” promote market driven health care solutions to lower insurance premiums, increase patient choice, and enhance medical research.”


Strong 2nd Amendment supporter


Better know a candidate: Tom O’Halleran


Name: Tom O’Halleran

Current position: None

Previous position:  Arizona State Senator from Arizona District 1 (2007-2009) and member of the Arizona House of Representatives from 2001-2006

Future position: Running for Congress Arizona’s 1st Congressional District

Political party: Democratic

Interesting tidbit: Changed his party registration from Republican to Independent in 2014.

Key issues:

Fully fund the Office of Congressional Ethics, provide the subpoena powers to the Office of Congressional Ethics, and more authority to investigate members of Congress.

If the government shuts down, legislators should not draw a salary while the government is shut down and salary should not be reinstated.

Calls for Congress to work 5 days/week not including fundraising

Freezing Congressional pay and Congressional office budgets

Pass campaign finance reform; increasing disclosure.  Limit the impact of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling.

Prevent lobbyists from being a part of campaign organizations and finance committees.

Extend the ban on legislators from returning as lobbyists to five years.

Prevent luxury trips and from being reimbursed for first class travel.

Members of Congress would be required to disclose their official work schedule in an electronic format.

Opposes privatizing Social Security and a Medicare voucher program

Supports giving veterans medical treatment outside of the VA on the VA’s dime

Supported all-day kindergarten in Arizona legislature

Invest in vocational training

Supports immigration reform that secures the border, keeps families together, and meets the needs of the economy.

Supports the DREAM Act



Better know a candidate: Jim Gray

Jim Gray.jpg

Name: Jim Gray

Current position: Mayor of Lexington, Kentucky

Future position: Running for U.S. Senate in Kentucky

Political Party: Democratic

Interesting tidbit: His voice sounds like Rand Paul’s.


Opposes privatization of Social Security

Supports raising the revenue cap for social security.  Currently social security taxes are levied up to a cap of around $110,000.  That is the maximum amount of earnings that can be taxed for social security.  The Congressional Research Service wrote in September 2010: “If all earning were subject to the payroll tax, but the base was retained for benefit calculations, the Social Security Trust Funds would remain solvent for the next 75 years.”

Opposes turning Medicare into a voucher program.

Opposes the Supreme Court decision in Citizens United

Supports increased disclosure for campaign finance

Supports raising the minimum wage

Supports pay equity for women

Supports increased spending in government infrastructure

Supports the policy of no-fly, no -buy which would prevent people on the government’s no-fly list to be able to to buy guns.

Opposes an assault rifle ban

Supports restrictions on those who can buy guns, criminals, terrorists, and the mentally ill should not be able to buy guns