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Democrats: Politics Is War. And We’re Getting Killed.




Politics is war without bloodshed while war is politics with bloodshed.
Mao Zedong, 1938

The Democratic Party leadership’s performance over the past 365 days is clearly bullshit. This is not an Obama-bashing. This is an entire Democratic party-bashing.

I’ve never been a soldier. But I damn well know a few things about war.

First of all, you protect your most important positions. At all costs. ALL COSTS. So, for instance, when a Democratic Senate seat – a seat that’s been held by a Democrat since John F. Kennedy – fifty-six years ago, is up for grabs, during a special election – you damn well put everything you have into protecting it. And yet, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chair, Robert Menendez learned just a week and a half ago that the race was tightening? And where the hell has Tim Kaine been? You remember Kaine, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee? What the heck has he done for the DNC lately? (Howard Dean, any chance you’d consider coming back?)

This is just like Maine, when we lost marriage equality in November. We had won gay marriage in the legislature just months before. And yet, we lost. Why? Complacency. The same reason Coakley lost. Complacency. Not treating a prized possession like a prized possession. Not ensuring we protected our assets. (Note to all Democratic pols: NO vacation six months before an election. Did no one learn anything from Prop 8?)

And when the hell are Democrats going to learn to communicate? When are they going to learn to explain things, like healthcare, like the stimulus, and learn to get in front of the message? You can’t be a politician and be a back-seat driver. Not at the same time.

You know, there is one good thing about being a Republican. They’re fear-based. Republicans are afraid of everything, so they act like they are at war – all the time.

Sadly, life sucks when you live in fear. But at least, from a national, political standpoint, things get taken care of. Or taken-out.

Michael Steele may be a raving lunatic, but he is out there attacking anything that’s coming toward him, and anything that might be. Even things that are just in his head.

And that’s the problem with Dems. Lack of vision.

Maybe we should just have someone sitting in a chair, with the proverbial “gun pointed at their head,” forced to come up with every possible scenario of what could happen. Think of it like the Cheney Doctrine. (After all, for Cheney, 1% was all it took to go to war.)

Make no mistake. We are at war. The stakes are that high. (Don’t believe me? How many people die a year because they have no health insurance? How many people died because there was no hate crimes bill?)

Democrats, you need to learn to fight. That’s one thing the Republicans have over us. Not that we want to be like Republicans – just use some of their strengths.

The last thing this country needs is a return to Republican leadership. If you can call it “leadership.” Because they are the ones who got us to where we were exactly one year ago today, January 19, 2009: Bush’s last full day in office, and America on the verge of collapse. Hell, Obama & Co. had to drag George W. Bush over the finish line. Have we EVER seen anything like that before? Bush practically abdicated two months before he was done. At least Sarah Palin had the good sense to resign, knowing she wasn’t going to do anything for Alaska as governor.

Anyway, I’m sick to death of the Democrats pussyfooting around. They’re like high school kids scared someone isn’t going to ask them to the prom. Well, politics is Sadie Hawkins – YOU ask someone to the dance. YOU take control. YOU throw the first punch. YOU set the agenda. YOU make the rules. (Harry Reid, are YOU listening? President Obama, are YOU listening?)

And yet, all we’re doing is countering the Rush-Beck-O’Reilly-DeMint nutjob whack-a-mole machine. How much time and money has every politician, strategist, and blogger on the left spent licking a finger and putting it up in the air to see which way the Republican wind machine is blowing?

I say it’s time to blow back.

Full force.

Take the offensive.

I am sick to death of Dems doing things half-assed. Ask yourself, what is the last thing Democrats did 100%? What is the last thing we did that we put everything we had into it? And don’t say Obama’s campaign: remember the Hillary contingent.

I’d say, in the 1960s, when Kennedy staked a claim in a national goal of “landing a man on the Moon” by the end of the decade. And before that? When Truman dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Those were no-going-back, full-in, do-or-die moments.

Yes. Politics is war. And the Republicans are kicking our asses.

America cannot afford to move any further right. Too much is at stake. Healthcare, for one. Civil rights. Our relationship with the rest of the world. Infrastructure. Job creation. Financial regulation. The Supreme Court.

Yes, the Supreme Court.

As we’ll soon find out, win or lose, the Prop 8 trial that is currently on in San Francisco will force the Supreme Court to take up marriage equality in the next few years. And a conservative Supreme Court – which is what we have right now – will not hand over marriage equality to us, regardless of the merit of our case. It’s just not going to happen.

So we need to move the court to the left. Which means, we need a Democratic president to be in place to appoint more progressive judges to the bench.

George W. Bush put three conservative judges on the Supreme Court bench. We need more progressives. True progressives.

But, back to business. Democrats: get your asses in gear. Politics is war; take no prisoners. The enemy, trust me, has been given the exact same command.

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On World AIDS Day, DOJ Says Tennessee Law Discriminates Against Those With HIV



World AIDS Day

The Department of Justice celebrated World AIDS Day by calling out a Tennessee law that discriminates against people with HIV.

The DOJ released a report Friday that the state’s aggravated prostitution law violated the Americans with Disabilities Act. A person arrested under the aggravated prostitution law is normally changed with a misdemeanor, and faces up to six months in prison and a $500 fine. However, if the person arrested has HIV, the crime becomes a felony, and if they’re convicted, they would face between three and 15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

“Tennessee’s aggravated prostitution law is outdated, has no basis in science, discourages testing and further marginalizes people living with HIV,” Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division said in a statement. “People living with HIV should not be treated as violent sex offenders for the rest of their lives solely because of their HIV status. The Justice Department is committed to ensuring that people with disabilities are protected from discrimination.”

READ MORE: Activists Arrested After AIDS Funding Protest in Kevin McCarthy’s Office

The law was originally passed in 1991. It classifies HIV-positive sex workers as violent sex offenders, according to WKRN-TV. This means that in addition to the sentence, those convicted are put on the Tennessee Sex Offender Registry, usually for the rest of their lives.

The DOJ advised the state—and particularly, the Shelby County District Attorney’s Office, which enforces the statute most frequently, the department says—to stop enforcing the law. It also calls on the state to repeal the law and remove anyone from the registry when aggravated prostitution is the only offense. If this doesn’t happen, Tennessee could face a lawsuit.

Tennessee isn’t the only state to have laws applying to only those living with HIV. In 1988, Michigan passed a law requiring those with HIV to disclose their status before sex, according to WLNS-TV. The law is still on the books, but was updated in 2019 to lift the requirement if the HIV-positive person has an undetectable viral load. The law now also requires proof that the person set out to transmit HIV.

Laws like these can work against public health efforts, according to the National Institutes of Health. The NIH says these types of laws can make people less likely to be tested for HIV, as people cannot be punished if they didn’t know their status. In addition, critics say, the laws can be used to further discriminate. A Canadian study found a disproportionate number of Black men had been charged under HIV exposure laws.

World AIDS Day was first launched in 1988 by the World Health Organization and the United Nations to highlight awareness of the then-relatively new disease. The theme of the 2023 World AIDS Day is “Let Communities Lead,” calling on community leaders to end the AIDS epidemic.

Featured image by UNIS Vienna/Flickr via Creative Commons License.

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John Fetterman Says Bob Menendez ‘Senator for Egypt,’ Should Be Expelled Next



Senator John Fetterman (D-PA) called Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) a “senator for Egypt,” and said he needed to be expelled from Congress, much like the now-former Representative George Santos.

Fetterman appeared on The View on Friday. The live broadcast aired as Santos had been kicked out of the House. When host Joy Behar asked what he thought of the vote, Fetterman immediately replied, “I’m not surprised.”

“If you are going to expel Santos, how can you allow somebody like Menendez to remain in the Senate? And, you know, Santos’ kind of lies were almost, you know, funny,” Fetterman said. “Menendez, I think is really a senator for Egypt, you know, not New Jersey. So I really think he needs to go.”

READ MORE: ‘See How Easy That Is to Say?’: GOP Mocked for ‘Weaponization’ of DOJ Claims as Democratic Senator Gets Indicted

Host Sunny Hostin then asked if Fetterman was uncomfortable with expelling Menendez, as, like with Santos, he had only been indicted, not convicted.

“He has the right for his day in court and all of it, but he doesn’t have the right to to have those kinds of votes and things. That’s not a right,” he said. “I think we need to make that kind of decision to send him out.”

This September, Menendez was indicted on corruption charges. He is accused of accepting bribes of cash, gold and a car, as well as giving “highly sensitive” information about U.S. Embassy staffers in Cairo to the Egyptian government, according to USA Today. Menendez was forced to step down as chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He was replaced by Ben Cardin, Maryland’s Democratic senator.

Menendez denied wrongdoing, and has refused to resign, despite many calls to do so from both Democrats and Republicans.

“For years, forces behind the scenes have repeatedly attempted to silence my voice and dig my political grave,” Menendez said in a statement following his indictment. “Since this investigation was leaked nearly a year ago, there has been an active smear campaign of anonymous sources and innuendos to create an air of impropriety where none exists.”

This is not Menendez’s first brush with the law. Menendez was indicted in 2015 on federal corruption charges. He was accused of helping Salomon Melgen, one of Menendez’s campaign contributors, by intervening in a dispute with federal regulators and helping Melgen get a port security contract in the Dominican Republic.

In 2017, Menendez’s trial ended with a hung jury, and the Department of Justice declined to retry the case, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. Menendez denied all wrongdoing.

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House Votes to Boot George Santos 311-114



Representative George Santos (R-NY) has been expelled from Congress following a 311-114 vote; two House members voted “present.”

The expulsion of Santos follows a debate on his fate on Thursday. The vote required a two-thirds majority, or 290 of the 435-seat chamber. This is Santos’ third vote of expulsion; last month, a vote failed with 31 Democrats voting against, according to The Hill.

While the vote was decisive, some notable Republicans voted to save Santos, including House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) and House Majority Whip Tom Emmer (R-MN).

“We’ve not whipped the vote and we wouldn’t,” Johnson told CNN Wednesday. “I trust that people will make that decision thoughtfully and in good faith. I personally have real reservations about doing this, I’m concerned about a precedent that may be set for that.”

READ MORE: ‘If I Leave They Win’: Santos Claims ‘Bullying’ at Off the Rails Press Conference

Santos himself had harsh words for the House following the vote. Leaving the capitol building, he briefly spoke with reporters.

“The House spoke that’s their vote. They just set new dangerous precedent for themselves,” he told CNN. “Why would I want to stay here? To hell with this place.”

He then cut his time short, telling reporters, “You know what? As unofficially no longer a member of Congress, I no longer have to answer your questions.”

Santos also faces 23 federal charges, which include fraud, money laundering and misuse of campaign funds, according to CNN. He has pleaded not guilty. An Ethics Committee report found evidence that Santos used campaign funds for Botox and even an OnlyFans account.

On Thursday, Santos said he refused to resign because otherwise, “they win.”

“If I leave the bullies take place. This is bullying,” Santos said. “The reality of it is it’s all theater, theater for the cameras and theater for the microphones. Theater for the American people at the expense of the American people because no real work’s getting done.”

Santos also threatened to file a resolution to expel Representative Jamaal Bowman (D-NY). Bowman pulled a fire alarm in September. Bowman pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor charge, and said it was an accident. He said he thought the fire alarm would open a locked door as he rushed to a vote. Bowman paid a $1,000 fine.

There have only been six total expulsions from the House, including Santos. Santos is the only Republican to ever be expelled from the House.

The previous expulsion was in 2002, when Representative James Traficant (D-OH) was expelled after a 420-1 vote. Traficant had been convicted on 10 counts of corruption-related crimes.

Before Traficant, Representative Michael “Ozzie” Myers (D-PA) was the first representative of the modern era to be expelled. Myers got the boot following his conviction for accepting bribes. Myers couldn’t keep out of trouble; in 2022, he was convicted and sentenced to 30 months in prison on charges of election fraud.

Prior to Myers, the only expulsions from the House were in 1861, at the start of the Civil War. Henry Cornelius Burnett (D-KY), John William Reid (D-MO) and John Bullock Clark (Whig-MO) were all expelled for joining the Confederacy.

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