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Leo W Gerard: Donald Destructo

Donald Trump has perfected the swagger and boast of a professional wrestler.

While a guy like World Wrestling Entertainment CEO Vince McMahon is full of fake bluster and brashness for the sake of TV ratings, Donald Trump is the real McCoy: A reckless bully.

That violent, provocative behavior makes Trump far too dangerous to get anywhere near nuclear codes. For Americans who want peace and security, not war, this man is too risky to inhabit the White House.

That’s what 50 former national security officials whose careers span more than four decades said in a letter last week. They are Republicans. They include a former director of the CIA, the first director of national intelligence, and two former secretaries of homeland security. They warned that Trump would be treacherous as president.

Trump wreckingball

Image by: DonkeyHotey/Flickr

And that was before Trump suggested in a speech last week that “Second Amendment” supporters assassinate Hillary Clinton if she’s elected so she can’t nominate judges to the Supreme Court.

Trump contended later that he didn’t mean to suggest that gun nuts kill Clinton. But what he said could clearly be interpreted that way. It was irresponsible. And typical of Trump.

First, Trump glibly repeated the false accusation that Hillary Clinton wants to abolish the Second Amendment, something presidents can’t do, even if they wanted to. Then Trump said this: “If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is, I don’t know.”

In the context, which is a President Clinton naming judges, Clinton supporters interpreted this as Trump calling on anti-government militia groups, like the one that took over the wildlife refuge in Oregon earlier this year, to assassinate a President Clinton to prevent her from selecting judges.

Trump says anyone who thinks a threat was intended is just being a silly goose. So silly. No threat intended. He asserts that he was just urging Second Amendment supporters to vote against Clinton, even though, obviously, they couldn’t vote against a President Clinton who was already in a position to appoint judges.

The thing about crazy talk in perilous times is that it can provoke war. A president can say something intemperate or unintelligible to a foreign leader the likes of Kim Jong-un, with nuclear weapons at his irrational fingertips, with devastating consequences for the entire world. A president can refuse to apologize for something rashly uttered and terrorist groups may impose horrible retribution on innocents.

The letter last week from the 50 former national security advisors warning Americans that Donald Trump would “be a dangerous president and put at risk our country’s national security and well-being” was not the first. It followed one in March signed by 121 Republican national security leaders saying:

“His embrace of the expansive use of torture is inexcusable.”

And

“His admiration for foreign dictators such as Vladimir Putin is unacceptable for the leader of the world’s greatest democracy.”

And

“He is fundamentally dishonest.”

The language in the new letter about Trump is even more damning. It includes:

“We are convinced that in the Oval Office, he would be the most reckless president in American history.”

“Mr. Trump lacks the temperament to be president. In our experience, a president must be willing to listen to his advisers and department heads; must encourage consideration of conflicting views; and must acknowledge errors and learn from them. A president must be disciplined, control emotions, and must act only after reflection and careful deliberation. A president must maintain cordial relationships with leaders of countries of different backgrounds and must have their respect and trust.”

“He continues to display an alarming ignorance of basic facts of contemporary international politics.”

Trump pushed some of these national security experts over the edge when he invited Russia to hack into Hillary Clinton’s email server. For others, it was Trump’s abandonment of America’s commitment to NATO. And for still others it was Trump’s assertion that Russian President Vladimir Putin would not “go into Ukraine” although, obviously, he did that two years ago when he seized Crimea.

Republican U.S. Sen. Susan Collins of Maine expressed her fears about Trump last week as well, writing in an op-ed in the Washington Post:

“I am also deeply concerned that Mr. Trump’s lack of self-restraint and his barrage of ill-informed comments would make an already perilous world even more so. It is reckless for a presidential candidate to publicly raise doubts about honoring treaty commitments with our allies. Mr. Trump’s tendency to lash out when challenged further escalates the possibility of disputes spinning dangerously out of control.”

Trump’s barrages of ill-informed comments include threats of violence when people make statements that he finds upsetting. For example, here’s what he told a crowd of cheering supporters during the Democratic National Convention:

“The things that were said about me. . .You know what, I wanted to hit a couple of those speakers so hard, I would have hit them – no, no – I was gonna hit them. I was all set. . . I was gonna hit this guy so hard, his head would spin. He wouldn’t know what the hell happened.”

He’s a candidate for the president of the United States, and he talks like a professional wrestler.

Just like wrestling fans mimic calls for violence from the stars, at Trump rallies, the Trumpeters have taken up his tone. Chants of “hang the bitch” and “kill the bitch”are routine. “Kill her, kill her” is an increasingly common refrain.

Such stuff is shouted flippantly by audiences in professional wrestling arenas. The audiences there know everything is fake. They understood when Trump knocked McMahon to the ground in WrestleMania 23, it was staged. They realize when they call for blood they’re getting ketchup.

There, it’s a game. But the Oval Office is not a wrestling ring. On the world stage, words matter.  America needs a diplomat in the White House, not a professional wrestler. Too many lives are at stake.

Clinton Is The “Slam Dunk” Choice For President And AFL-CIO To Kick Off “Battleground Blitz”

Transportation Trades Department praises Clinton as the clear choice this election.

AFL-CIO kicks off Labor 2016 campaign in battleground states.

After a stirring oration from President Barack Obama on Wednesday night at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Edward Wytkind, president of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD) released the following statement in support of Hillary Clinton for President of the United States:

“Last night, President Obama reminded us that Secretary Clinton is as ready as any candidate in history to be our commander in chief. Her experience, temperament and lifelong commitment to fighting for a country that is fair and treats everyone equally, combine to make the choice in this election a no-brainer.

“Secretary Clinton has a plan to put millions of people to work modernizing the economy, including our transportation system and infrastructure. Donald Trump’s GOP platform calls for the elimination of mass transit, reckless cuts to Amtrak and an austerity agenda that dooms any chance of reversing decades of neglect that have left our aging transportation system in a severe state of decay and disrepair.

“Secretary Clinton has put forward strong ideas for expanding our middle class by empowering millions to form and join unions, and bargain for fair wages and retirement security. Donald Trump has endorsed proposals that would gut collective bargaining and leave millions of working people to fend for themselves in an economy that features a widening wage gap and millions living in poverty.

“And Secretary Clinton has rejected the politics of fear and division designed to vilify and undermine the men and women who work in public service – from our cities and states to our federal government institutions. Donald Trump has endorsed a platform that attacks those people and the critical services they provide.

“The working people on the frontlines of our transportation system have grown weary of politicians who talk a good game but fail to offer real solutions. They are looking for a champion who will reach across the aisle and finally end this era of inaction and disinvestment that has left our transportation system reeling. Secretary Clinton is that champion, without question – and that’s a slam dunk.”

This morning, after Hillary Clinton accepted the Democratic nomination from President of the United States, Richard Trumka, President of the AFL-CIO, released the following statement:

“The AFL-CIO and 12.5 million working people across the nation congratulate Hillary Clinton on her historic nomination for president by the Democratic Party. We applaud the hard fought campaign that led to this moment. This is a momentous occasion for working women everywhere who are still fighting to level the playing field in their workplace and achieve equal pay for equal work. Hillary Clinton’s nomination signals our nation’s commitment to gender equality and we in the labor movement will lift up that commitment on a daily basis.

This is a moment for women, and all Americans, to celebrate. When my grandmother immigrated to America, she didn’t speak English. As a young woman, my mother couldn’t afford a college education. So, when I witnessed Hillary Clinton accept the nomination, I knew things were incredibly changed for the better. And when we elect Secretary Clinton in November, they will be changed forever.”

Concurrently with their message of support for Clinton’s nomination the AFL-CIO announced they would be kicking off a “battleground blitz” in support of Clinton and to defeat Donald Trump.

“Working people are unified behind Hillary Clinton and are ready to defeat Donald Trump in November. The Democratic Convention ended with an enthusiastic commitment to stand together to rewrite the economic rules so that all Americans can get ahead and stay ahead,” wrote the AFL-CIO.

The morning after the Convention ends, working people in every state are ready to take off and work to elect Hillary Clinton and other pro-worker candidates. The labor movement is launching an immediate series of events and actions, with 35 separate activities in 13 different cities planned between today and Sunday in the states of Florida, Missouri, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

“Working families are an unstoppable force when we stick together,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. “We spoke loud and strong and have helped put the country on a path to shared prosperity. We have driven the debate that put the brakes on the TPP and have established the standard for rewriting the economic rules that will shape this election.”

AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Tefere Gebre will be in South Florida this weekend for campaign kickoff events. Across the country, union members will be phone banking, canvassing and rallying to elect Hillary Clinton.

Former Gov. Sununu Continues to Fret About Trump/Sununu Ticket

Trump Sununu Campaign SignGov. Sununu tells MSNBC Trump could hurt downballot;
Chris Sununu still backs Trump
 

Concord, N.H. – For all the talk of Republican Party unity in the Granite State, there is one senior Republican who is clear eyed and candid about the disastrous effects of a Trump candidacy on New Hampshire’s downballot Republicans—including his own son’s.

This morning, former Governor John H. Sununu, father of gubernatorial candidate and Executive Councilor Chris Sununu, speaking about Trump’s effect on other Republicans, told MSNBC’s Steve Kornacki, “I have a son running for governor. I am concerned about the downballot.”

But Chris Sununu and the GOP field for governor don’t share Gov. John Sununu’s concern. Not only has Chris Sununu touted his support for Trump on multiple occasions, but he shares Trump’s beliefs that Planned Parenthood should be defunded, that the Granite State shouldn’t have a minimum wage and that climate change is a hoax. The rest of the Republican field for governor, consisting of Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas, State Senator Jeanie Forrester and State Representative Frank Edelblut, also supports Trump.

Meanwhile, John H. Sununu has been warning about Trump dragging down Republicans for months.

He told Bloomberg News back in January, “up here in New Hampshire, if Donald Trump is the nominee we will not get a Republican governor. We will lose the New Hampshire state Senate, and we could lose the New Hampshire state House… and we could lose Sen. [Kelly] Ayotte.”

In March, he joined the anti-Trump Our Principles Super PAC, saying “Frankly, at this point we want anyone but Trump.” And he’s made no secret of his disdain for the Republican presidential nominee, calling Trump a loser and a phony.

“I rarely agree with John Sununu, but in this case father might know best: Donald Trump’s candidacy will be disastrous for the Republican gubernatorial candidates and for Granite Staters,” said NHDP Chair Ray Buckley. “From supporting Trump to vowing to defund Planned Parenthood to opposing the minimum wage, the race to the right in the Republican primary is fully underway.”

 

Rep. Tom Sherman Announces Candidacy for State Senate

Accomplished seacoast doctor and leading public health advocate
makes bid for District 24 seat

sherman headshotRye, New Hampshire — Dr. Tom Sherman, a two term state representative for Rye and Newcastle and a distinguished gastroenterologist, has announced that he will seek the state senate seat for District 24.

“I would like to thank my friend, Senator Nancy Stiles, for her many years of dedicated service to the state of New Hampshire,” said Dr. Sherman. “Having worked with Nancy in the legislature for the past 4 years, I have seen first hand the high bar she has set for constituent service and I fully intend to carry on that tradition.” 

“I believe that the fundamental role of government is to ensure the safety of the public, and as a doctor and as an elected official here in the Granite State, I have proven that I am uniquely prepared to address the most daunting challenges facing our state,” said Dr. Sherman adding that one of the top issues of his campaign would center around the heroin and opioid crisis that has impacted thousands of families and countless communities.

Since moving to Rye nearly a decade ago with his family, Dr. Sherman has made a name for himself as a foremost authority on public health policy. During his four years in the house, Dr. Sherman has served on the Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs Committee. He was instrumental in negotiating the cost-effective bipartisan Medicaid Expansion compromise that expanded access to healthcare for 49,000 Granite Staters. Additionally, Dr. Sherman sat on the joint task force on the opioid epidemic and consequently sponsored legislation to help end the crises. He still serves as Chairman of the board of trustees of Next Generation Choices Foundation, a non-profit whose goal is to raise awareness for cancer prevention, and the American Cancer Society Action Network recently awarded him with the Distinguished Advocacy Award for his work.  Most recently, he has served in a leadership role in the investigation of the Seacoast Cancer Cluster, coordinating efforts between residents and state and federal departments and agencies.

“As a doctor, my priority is always to place the patient first, which means delivering the highest quality of care by the most efficient and effective means possible. Similarly, as a senator, I will place my constituents and the interests of the Granite State first, bringing that same brand of results-driven leadership that focuses on strategic problem solving, not advancing an ideology or partisan agenda.  By working together, we can address issues of infrastructure and high quality education for all New Hampshire residents. Most importantly, we can move our state forward to end the opioid crisis and keep New Hampshire families healthy and safe,” Sherman concluded.  


About District 24

Senate District 24 is a swing district located on New Hampshire’s beautiful seacoast. It consists of eleven towns all in Rockingham County, stretching from Newton to Newcastle. Governor Hassan won 50 percent.


Guest Editorial: Why Shawn O’Connor is a Liability to Democrats

 

Written by Charlie “Chaz” Proulx

Since moving to Bedford from New York a few years ago, Shawn O’Connor has gone from doing next to nothing to help NH Democrats to becoming a major liability.

A short history:

On November 24, 2014 James Pindell wrote this about Shawn O’Connor’s preparations to run for the US senate against Kelly Ayotte. “Shawn O’Connor moved from New York City to Bedford last year and has not been particularly active in local Democratic politics. He has not given money to any federal candidates…according to the Federal Election website. Though a day before the Nov. 4 election, he did give $1,000. each to the Manchester Democratic Committee and to Executive Councilor Chris Pappas.”

Two thousand dollars isn’t very much for the founder and former president of Stratus Prep. According to O’Connor, “I sold the business for a ten figure valuation to a private equity firm.” Ten figures is a billion dollars.

It’s to his credit that he made so much money so young. But really–two thousand dollars? And beyond money, there are plenty of other things New Hampshire Democrats do to help keep the party strong. Shawn did none of them.

Most NH Democrats get active in one way or another and start making like-minded friends. New Hampshire is a small state where networking is very personal. But when I heard that Shawn O’Connor was running for Congress in the first district neither I nor anyone I knew in politics knew anything about him. Soon enough he claimed to have hired the Berenson Strategy Group and other ultra heavy hitters from outside NH to shape his image.

Creating an image for Mr. O’Connor had to be a challenge because a few years ago he was touting the “Third Way” movement in Forbes magazine. He singled out Democrats for wanting to raise taxes.

Somehow O’Connor then pivoted to become a Bernie Sanders supporter. Strange, because last summer his publicized political issues list never mentioned income equality. I saw him speak three times and there was no mention of Bernie Sanders either.

Now he’s all in with all the Bernie trappings. A recent O’Connor television ad co-opted Sanders “Join the Revolution” slogan. That’s a long way from Steve Forbes rag and anti tax rhetoric.

We all have epiphanies, but I suspect that Mr. O’Connor and his handlers watched Sanders pre-primary numbers and saw an opportunity to differentiate himself from Jeanne Shaheen, Carol Shea’Porter and Maggie Hassan — all of whom endorsed Hillary Clinton.

An early hint of mild negativity was to lump Maggie, Carol and Jeanne together as “establishment.” Shortly thereafter O’Connor press releases began reeking of a holier-than-thou attitude towards Shea-Porter. He attacked Carol’s character over accepting Union Pac money. He failed to mention that when Carol won her first primary the campaign had $19,000, then refused DCCC money and still managed to beat Jeb Bradley.

That win had everything to do with the networks of friend and activists I mentioned above. It was a true grass roots effort — one of the biggest upsets in NH political history. CSP had spent less than any other winning candidate for Congress in the entire US.

Then of course came the threats to sue Carol Shea-Porter. Before the threats hit the papers, O’Connor was lawyered up and pressuring leaders of the NHDP to “mediate” between him and Carol Shea-Porter. What a crazy – assed stunt when true Democrats are focused on a Presidential election year.

Turmoil followed. In the media Mr. O’Connor’s dragged State Sen. David Pierce into the mix. Sen. Pierce had endorsed Mr. O’Connor, but he found himself defending Mr. O’Connors over-the-top allegations of a “defamatory whisper campaign” against him. O’Connor has since called the “whisper campaign” part of a “broad conspiracy” perpetrated by Carol Shea-Porter. (My take is that at the very worst, somebody “misspoke” to Senator Pierce then “walked the statement back” a few days later.) I met David Pierce when he first moved to NH and respect him a lot. I can’t imagine that any of this was comfortable for him.

Next O’Connor told the press that members of Bernie Sanders campaign would corroborate his “whisper campaign” story. Two major staffers names were splashed across the press and local television. Both denied O’Connor’s allegations.

The Sanders Campaign didn’t need these distractions, but needy Shawn did.

And then there’s Twitter. Mr. O’Connor ties anyone who doesn’t agree with him to CSP campaign. People who have never had anything to do with CSP are called CSP hacks.

And if he doesn’t like what you write he’ll just make up something about you. Actually he’ll lie about you. Openly Gay, he has Tweeted that I’m Anti LBTG anti Domestic Survivor.” People who know me know that’s a lie, but his supporters probably believe I’m a bigot.

America Rising (Republican opposition research pac) is now attacking Shea Porter based on Shawn’s meme. Does Shawn understand that he’s tossing red-meat to the GOP?

I have no idea what motivates Mr. O’Connor but his all-about-Shawn act is wearing thinner every day.

 


Related Reading: The NHDP Fires Back At The O’Connor Campaign, O’Connor Responds With More Accusations

WMUR/UNH Poll Shows Ayotte’s Supreme Court Obstruction Hurting Her Standing in New Hampshire

UNH Survey Center: “Ayotte’s Popularity Takes Hit, Remains in a Dead Heat with Hassan for US Senate Seat” 

CONCORD — WMUR/UNH released a new Granite State Poll today that shows the U.S. Senate race in New Hampshire is a virtual dead heat, with Governor Hassan within one point of Senator Ayotte. Senator Ayotte’s net favorability has dropped 13 points since the last Granite State Poll, and WMUR reports that “Ayotte’s support for the Senate Republican leadership’s refusal to hold a hearing on Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland appears to have hurt her in the eyes of voters.”

“It’s clear that Granite Staters strongly support Maggie Hassan’s efforts to take her bipartisan problem-solving approach that’s working in New Hampshire to the United State Senate,” said Maggie for NH Communications Director Aaron Jacobs. “This poll reinforces what the people of New Hampshire have been telling Kelly Ayotte for weeks in letters to the editors, protests outside her office and public appearances across the state: it’s long past time for Ayotte to do her job and stop obstructing the Supreme Court confirmation process.”

60% of New Hampshire likely voters believe the Senate should vote on Judge Garland’s nomination to the Supreme Court, including 55% of Independents. 40% of New Hampshire likely voters also said Ayotte’s position on the Supreme Court appointment makes them less likely to vote for her.

“Granite Staters deserve better than a Senator who sides with her far-right party leadership and special interest backers over justice for millions of Americans,” added Jacobs.

You can read the full poll here.

Planned Parenthood Votes Releases Scathing New Ad Targeting Kelly Ayotte

Kelly Ayotte PPNNE AD“Enough is enough. Kelly Ayotte’s bad politics could have repercussions for a lifetime.” 

Washington, DC — Planned Parenthood Votes has gone on-air with its first ad buy of the 2016 Senatorial election cycle — a nearly $400,000 TV ad buy hitting New Hampshire Republican Senator Kelly Ayotte on her abysmal record on women’s health, and her obstruction of the Supreme Court nomination process.

 

The ad, “Lifetime,” focuses on Kelly Ayotte’s long-time opposition to reproductive health, in particular her previous assertion that the right to safe, legal abortion should be overturned, and that it should be done via the Supreme Court. The ad is paid for by Planned Parenthood Votes, a national independent expenditure political committee. Though Planned Parenthood Votes has previously gone on-air in the 2016 presidential election, this is the committee’s first time going on air for a senate race in the 2016 cycle. It will be running on broadcast and cable in New Hampshire. 

Kelly Ayotte is one of the key Senators preemptively calling to block the president’s Supreme Court nominee before ever holding a hearing. While she has met with Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland, Kelly Ayotte is still refusing to do her job and give the president’s nominee a fair hearing with an up-or-down vote. The American people deserve a full court and a justice appointed by the president they elected for four years — not three—and Kelly Ayotte’s extreme position abdicating her constitutional duty in order to obstruct the creation of a fully functional branch of our government is unconscionable.

Kelly Ayotte has voted repeatedly to “defund” Planned Parenthood, and has even voted against equal pay legislation. This Senator has spent years calling for an end to safe, legal abortion and for Roe v. Wade to be overturned, and even went so far as to circulate a letter urging support for a bill to ban abortion after 20 weeks that included extreme provisions for rape survivors. Furthermore, Kelly Ayotte won’t protect access to birth control coverage, and proposed a plan that would make more women pay for birth control by undermining the health law that gave nearly 300,000 New Hampshire women access to no-copay birth control.

Statement from Deirdre Schifeling, Executive Director of the Planned Parenthood Votes:

“Kelly Ayotte may try to paint herself as pro-woman, but her record tells a very different story. Every chance she’s gotten she’s voted to ‘defund’ Planned Parenthood and cut women off from essential health care like birth control and breast and cervical cancer screenings. She has been advocating for years to ban women’s access to safe, legal abortion, and it’s clear she now sees her chance in the Supreme Court process. Kelly Ayotte is refusing to do her job, and abdicating her constitutional duty, in order to push an extreme agenda that no one in New Hampshire wants. Enough is enough. Kelly Ayotte’s bad politics could have repercussions for a lifetime.”

Statement from Jennifer Frizzell, Vice President, Planned Parenthood New Hampshire Action Fund:

“Kelly Ayotte continues to advance an extreme agenda which would deprive New Hampshire women of critical reproductive health services in direct contrast to the wishes of the citizens of New Hampshire who demonstrate strong bipartisan support for access to safe, legal abortion and for access to Planned Parenthood health services. Ayotte’s latest obstruction in refusing to even consider the President’s Supreme Court nominee will have real life consequences for New Hampshire women and could jeopardize access to safe and legal abortion for women across this country for generations to come.”

Kelly Ayotte is facing a contentious race to keep her Senate seat this fall, which is understandable considering her record in New Hampshire includes voting to make college more expensive and voting to repeal health coverage for nearly 50,000 Granite Staters.

According to the polls, Ayotte’s dismal record of voting consistently to “defund” Planned Parenthood will have an even more negative impact on her already at-risk Senate race. 

A survey conducted in 2015 by Hart Research shows that voters in the battleground state of New Hampshire strongly support Planned Parenthood, and oppose Ayotte’s position to “defund” the organization — blocking patients who rely on federal funding from accessing preventive health services, including the cancer screenings and family planning services like birth control that Planned Parenthood provides to millions of women in communities across the country.

Key findings from the survey includes:

  • 66 percent of New Hampshire voters oppose blocking patients from accessing Planned Parenthood’s preventive health services, including 72 percent of Independents.
  • 75 percent of voter polled in New Hampshire, including majorities of Republican voters, have an unfavorable reaction to the idea of shutting down the federal government to block any funding for Planned Parenthood.
  • By a two to one margin, voters in battleground states including New Hampshire are less likely to vote to re-elect their senators if they vote to block patients from accessing care at Planned Parenthood.

Fourteen separate national polls conducted since last June show strong support for Planned Parenthood and extraordinarily strong opposition to blocking patients from care.

More Nader Narcissism: The Debate Over How Unions Endorse Candidates

Bernie Sanders Hillary Clinton: By BERRY CRAIG

Ralph Nader’s recent Huffington Post column reminded me of the old saying, “With friends like you, who needs enemies.”

Nader’s narcissistic presidential bid in 2000 helped put George W. Bush in the White House.

Now Nader is providing grist for the union-haters’ propaganda mill by writing that “long-entrenched, affluent big union leaders” who support Hillary Clinton for president are trying to lord it over small unions who Feel the Bern.

Sixteen years ago, Nader, now a Bernie Sanders fan, ran for president because he said there was little or no difference between Vice President Al Gore, the AFL-CIO-endorsed Democratic hopeful, and Republican candidate George W. Bush, the union-busting governor of “right to work” Texas.

In his HP column, Nader trotted a claim often heard from union-busters: that union leaders don’t represent the rank-and file.

“These large unions came out for Clinton in late 2015 and early 2016 before they sensed the growing rank and file workers’ preference for the lifetime advocate for workers and union backer, Bernie Sanders,” Nader charged.

He based a big part of his column on an AFL-CIO executive council meeting at AFL-CIO headquarters in Washington in late February.

“According to insiders, tempers flared when smaller unions challenged the Hillary-endorsing big unions such as AFSCME (public employees), the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association, the Service Employees (SEIU) and the Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW),” he wrote.

Nader added, “Listening to the nurses union head speak out for Sanders’ strong pro-labor history, Lee Saunders, president of AFSCME, interrupted her, exclaiming: ‘I will not allow you to do a commercial for Sanders.’ She retorted, ‘You mean for the only candidate who has a 100% labor record?’

“A union leader of postal workers charged the unions backing Hillary as being ‘completely out of touch with their workers.’ AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka then cut off their microphones.”

Admittedly, the rules of straight news reporting—notably giving both sides of a story—don’t apply to an opinion column. But this old reporter wonders why the supposedly pro-union Nader, at least out of a basic sense of fairness, didn’t let the parties involved in the alleged dustup give their side of the story.

If he did contact any of them, he didn’t say so in his column. As it is, Nader’s presentation of hearsay as fact amounts to the kind of union-bashing common to Fox News and right-wing talk radio.

“Few union leaders allow [italics mine] a worker referendum to make the endorsement decisions,” Nader also scolded.

It’s the other way around. Members allow union officials to do what they do. Every official in a union from a shop steward to an international president is elected. So if members of a union want a referendum, they can vote one in through their elected representatives.

Since Nader cited my union, here’s how the AFT arrived at endorsing Clinton:

“The AFT sent all candidates (both Democratic and Republican) a candidate questionnaire and invited those who completed the questionnaire to speak before the AFT’s executive council. No Republican candidate completed a candidate questionnaire.

“The AFT executive council, comprised of elected [italics mine] vice presidents and the AFT officers, met with and interviewed Hillary Clinton, Martin O’Malley and Bernie Sanders and analyzed their position on the key issues.

“Most important, the AFT asked its members directly about the issues that matter to them and their opinions of the candidates through two polls, including a survey that reached out to more than 1 million AFT households; the ‘You Decide 2016’ online forum; emailing e-activists to get member responses on the issues of importance to them; conducting multiple telephone town hall meetings; and having rank-and-file members ask questions directly of the presidential candidates during the June [2015] executive council meeting.

“Additionally, the AFT commissioned a scientific survey of members by Hart Research Associates. The results of the survey provide a clear picture of where AFT members stand.

“First, by an approximately 3-to-1 margin, AFT members prefer that a Democratic candidate win the presidential election over a Republican.

“79 percent of Democratic voters support the AFT making a recommendation in the primary.

“Among those voters, Hillary Clinton is preferred by members by a margin of more than 3-to-1 over her nearest Democratic competitor.

“Furthermore, Hillary Clinton holds a better than 11-to-1 advantage as the ‘Democrat with the best chance to defeat the Republican candidate.’”

I prefer Sanders to Clinton, as do more than a few of my AFT brothers and sisters. But majority rules.

Sanders has made it clear he’ll back Clinton if wins the nomination. (So will I.)

“We cannot afford an America to have Donald Trump or Cruz or any of them be our next president,” Tad Devine, a senior Sanders campaign advisor, recently told MSBC’s Andrea Mitchell.

He explained of his candidate, “The reason he ran as a Democrat was he understood being outside this process could be like what Ralph Nader did in 2000, elect a Republican president, and he’s not going to be a part of that.”

Trump / Ayotte / Sununu Ticket Would Be A Disaster For Granite Staters

CONCORD, N.H. – Today, New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair Ray Buckley held a press call to highlight the far-right positions and unelectability of a Trump/Sununu/Ayotte Republican ticket. As Donald Trump continues to win primaries in early states and lead in the polls elsewhere, Chairman Buckley discussed what his ascendency will mean for Chris Sununu, Kelly Ayotte, and Granite Staters come November.  

Below are excerpts from his remarks as prepared for delivery:

“Donald Trump as the Republican nominee for President would not only be a disaster for Granite Staters who want to keep their affordable health care or the right to make their own health care decisions, and for those of us who want their politicians to act on climate change or at least simply acknowledge it’s happening – but it would also be a complete disaster for New Hampshire Republicans like Kelly Ayotte and Chris Sununu who want to be elected in November.”   

“Establishment Republicans are lining up to denounce Trump—including Chris Sununu’s own father—but Ayotte and Sununu have remained silent. It’s clear they’re willing to hitch their wagons to a candidate running on fear, anger and hatred.”

“On women’s right to make their own decisions and have access to health care, Trump believes ‘Planned Parenthood should absolutely be de-funded,’ Ayotte has voted six times to defund Planned Parenthood, and Sununu cast the deciding vote to strip Planned Parenthood’s funding here in New Hampshire. Now just today an article came out on NH1 where Chris doubles down on defunding Planned Parenthood and at the same time, calls himself ‘pro-choice.’  Well, I have news for him: you don’t get to strip healthcare from thousands of Granite State women and call yourself pro-choice.”

“On affordable health care for Granite Staters, Trump – like every other Republican running for President, wants to repeal the Medicaid expansion – just as Kelly Ayotte voted to repeal New Hampshire’s successful Medicaid expansion and Chris Sununu bragged about his efforts to kill Medicaid expansion, saying ‘I fought to make sure it didn’t even come to the table.’”

“The Union Leader blasted Republicans’ silence on Trump this week saying, ‘Trump threatens to destroy all before him.’ But it’s not just Democrats and Ed boards saying this. Former NHGOP chair Fergus Cullen said, ‘If Donald Trump is the nominee, Kelly Ayotte might as well resign because it’s all over.’ And Sununu’s father knows he’s in trouble too: ‘Here in New Hampshire, if Donald Trump is the nominee, we will not get a Republican governor. We will lose the New Hampshire state Senate, and we could lose the New Hampshire state House… and we could lose Sen. [Kelly] Ayotte.’”

“Donald Trump would be a disaster for America and for the Granite State, but he’s also a disaster for Kelly Ayotte and Chris Sununu’s electoral chances.  They would rather keep their agreements with Trump’s extreme policies out of public view, but it’s looking more and more every day like they won’t have that chance.”

LiUNA President O’Sullivan: “Trudeau Victory Is the Dawning of a New Day in Canada”

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Washington, DC: Terry O’Sullivan, General President of LIUNA (the Laborers’ International Union of North America) made the following statement today about the victory of Justin Trudeau and the Liberal Party in Canada’s federal elections.

On behalf of myself, LIUNA General Secretary-Treasurer Armand E. Sabitoni, and the entire LIUNA General Executive Board, I congratulate Justin Trudeau and Canada’s Liberal Party on their decisive victory in Canada’s federal elections.  I also want to commend LIUNA Vice President and Central and Eastern Canada Regional Manager Joe Mancinelli, LIUNA Western Canada Sub-Regional Manager Mark Olsen, and all the LIUNA leaders and members throughout the great nation of Canada for an incredible job in helping to bring about this historic victory.

The Liberal Party and Justin Trudeau’s victory is the dawning of a new day in Canada, not only for the proud men and women of LIUNA, but for all the great people of Canada.  After nine years of an anti-worker, anti-union federal government, the Canadian people overwhelmingly chose Liberal candidates for Parliament, signaling that they have had enough of the repressive and regressive policies of Stephen Harper and the Conservatives.  The majority of Canadians clearly believe that the Liberals and Trudeau are not only ready, but willing and able to lead Canada into a brighter, more economically just future.

Time and again, Justin Trudeau has proven himself to be a true friend of LIUNA and all working men and women.  He is a leader of great vision, principle, and character who will light a beacon of hope and opportunity for the people of Canada.  LIUNA looks forward to working with him and the new Liberal government to take Canada into a future of shared prosperity for all Canadians.


The half-million members of LIUNA – the Laborers’ International Union of North America – are on the forefront of the construction industry, a powerhouse of workers who are proud to build America.

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