“Pro-life” is a euphemism for “pro-patriarchal authoritarian.”

Friday, July 29, 2022

The latest left.mn post by Dan Burns looks at AIPAC, where Crabgrass adds a look at Hakeem Jeffries.

 Dan's Post, in part:

AIPAC is looking to screw progressives in Democratic primaries. And it’s sometimes working.

AIPAC is the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. It does all that it can on behalf of the hard-right wing in Israel, here in the U.S. And this is really, really annoying, to say the very least.

“Until leaders in the Democratic Party stand up and say this is unacceptable to take this money or any money like this, or until election laws are changed, the opportunity is there for a group like AIPAC to do this,” said Logan Bayroff, vice president of communications at J Street, the pro-Israel nonprofit group that advocates for diplomacy-based solutions. “We don’t know where it ends. I wouldn’t be surprised to find other Republican-aligned groups deciding to play in Democratic primaries going forward.”

AIPAC’s role in Democratic elections has changed drastically in just a handful of months. For many years, the group claimed to be a bipartisan entity, and didn’t officially endorse candidates. Until this election cycle, the group didn’t even have a super PAC; now, it’s on pace to spend nearly $20 million in the 2022 Democratic primary cycle alone, making it by far the most influential individual political group in Democratic electoral politics.
(The American Prospect)

Annoying, infuriating, and so forth, but not at all surprising. Assuming that the combination of an extremist Supreme Court, extremist gerrymandered legislatures, greedheads, and ineffectual ”opposition” from the Democratic Party establishment doesn’t lead to the end of legitimate democracy in this country [...] it’s pretty much inevitable that we’ll see more and more conservative-to-”moderate” moneybags going after progressive candidates in primaries, and in any other way that they can.


[italics added] Dan is hesitant to name names of any inner party Dems as outright hostile to progress, saying "ineffectual 'opposition' " instead.

Crabgrass has no hesitation. 


DuckDuckGo websearch (past year) = hakeem jeffries progressives hostility

Googling the same websearch, first hit, Jacobin, "No, Progressive Challengers Are Not “Far Left” by Arthur Tarley - 10.04.2021 --- subheadlined

The Democratic establishment just launched a new PAC to go to war against progressive candidates who challenge incumbents — and the media is doing everything they can to help.


First, Jacobin, (from Oct. 2021),then looking at a few of the first listed Duck-returned items -

It’s not even 2022 yet and the mainstream media has already come to the rescue of the Democratic establishment, helping them try to crush next year’s progressive challengers. Prominent outlets like the Washington Post and NBC News are now using the term “far left” to describe progressive primary challengers to incumbent Democrats.

“Far left” is a clear signifier of an extreme group opposite the “far right.” Yet progressive primary candidates are in no way extreme. They are not the converse of the actually extreme, fringe “far right” of Trumpism, neo-Nazism, and QAnon. The media’s use of “far-left” foretells mainstream outlets ramping up negative framing of progressives in 2022 primaries.

The label appeared in both Washington Post and NBC News articles announcing Team Blue PAC, a new political action committee with the singular goal of protecting incumbent Democrats against primary challenges. House Democratic Caucus chair Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus member Rep. Josh Gottheimer, and Rep. Terri Sewell formed the PAC in June, naming two races with Justice Democrats–backed candidates as top targets for their pro-incumbent spending.

What establishment Democrats and Washington Post and NBC News editors are telling readers and voters is that advocacy for Medicare for All, a Green New Deal, and housing for all is some fringe “far-left” agenda. Jeffries’s spokesperson called progressive challengers the “extreme left,” then corporate media parroted the establishment smear in its reporting. This is another example of how the posture of the mainstream media and Democratic Party toward progressive policies is extremely hostile, demonizing, and not unlike the GOP’s attitudes toward progressives in Congress. They all want to conjure images in voters’ minds of rioters breaking windows in the name of “anarchy.”

Representatives Carolyn Maloney and Danny Davis, the two incumbents currently backed by Team Blue PAC, are being challenged by Justice Democrats Rana Abdelhamid and Kina Collins. Some have claimed that, because Maloney and Davis are paper cosponsors of Medicare for All and the Green New Deal, they represent the bastion of progressivism. But their decades of inaction in Congress and millions of campaign dollars from Wall Street, Big Pharma, health insurance PACs, and oil companies very clearly demonstrate the opposite.

Jeffries is a paper cosponsor of Medicare for All, too, yet consistently supports the candidate in Democratic primaries who doesn’t support single-payer health care. He never publicly advocates for it. Political observers understand that many lawmakers sign onto these bills solely as a cynical ploy to protect themselves from progressive primaries, and, helpfully for them, the mainstream media decides to ignore this reality in its reporting. A result is that most incumbent Democrats are deemed “progressive,” and the only room to the left, apparently, is the “far left.”

The Team Blue PAC farce continues, with Jeffries’s spokesperson also saying, “It should come as no surprise that the chair of the House Democratic Caucus plans to support the reelection of Members of the House Democratic Caucus who are working hard to enact President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda.” But Gottheimer, one of the three behind Team Blue, is one of the nine House Democrats threatening to sink Joe Biden’s big reconciliation spending bill if the House doesn’t first vote on the so-called bipartisan infrastructure bill. Yet Gottheimer, clearly the very definition of a roadblock to Biden’s agenda, gets to be part of Team Blue PAC because none of this is about policies or legislation. It’s about protecting Democrats already in power. And protecting the status quo for the donor class. And the Washington Post and NBC News are giving the establishment their backing by labeling their opponents as a fringe group.

It does not take a political theorist to find the ideological differences between incumbents like Jeffries, Maloney, and Davis, and primary challengers like Abdelhamid and Collins. Political reporters and editors should be up to the modest challenge. Because there simply is no “far left” or “extreme left” in Congress, whatever those terms are supposed to mean.

Single-payer health care and investments in public housing are not the other side of “far-right” neo-Nazi militias. The choice by Jeffries, mainstream media, and others to designate progressive challengers as “extreme” is one way these entities try to quell threats to existing power structures in the Democratic Party and the United States as a whole. Jeffries is concerned about his future as potential speaker of the House and about campaign contributions to the Party. The real estate developers, Wall Street executives, and insurance PACs funding his wing of the party don’t want to see Medicare for All, a Green New Deal, or a homes guarantee, because it would disrupt their profiteering. Corporate media outlets pushing the same narrative don’t want to see the status quo rocked either. The reality doesn’t matter to them — only the capitalist interests that their myth serves.

The narrative spins together much like it did against Bernie Sanders in both of his presidential runs. In 2020, Bernie was considered the extreme candidate, but the establishment and media also convinced voters that all Democratic candidates in the primary wanted universal health care, just in different ways. In reality, the only plan in America for universal health care is Medicare for All, and no matter how much Joe Biden said he wanted universal health care, it was a plain lie.

It’s not shocking to see the mainstream media serving the interests of the powerful in Congress. It’s disconcerting, though, to see outlets trot out a loaded, negative term in their reporting as if it were fact — fully accepting the framing of politicians such as Jeffries and Gottheimer who have a stake in painting progressives as extreme. The establishment has been building to this moment since Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez won her upset victory over now–corporate lobbyist Joe Crowley in 2018. They were caught off-guard then and have taken primary losses since — most notably Cori Bush’s and Jamaal Bowman’s upset victories against Democratic incumbents.

But the establishment is only putting more money and energy into stopping progressive primary challengers. The Democratic Party has big money, better-prepared primary campaigns, and now, corporate media ready to push the establishment’s exact framing of the challengers trying to take power away from them.

Now, Duck-search returned items - 

downwithtyranny.com -

 I want you to look at this little box directly below from ProgressivePunch. It shows the two members of Congress who have the most outstanding progressive voting records. They are just fractionally different from each other but the two close-to-perfect records belong to Marie Newman from Illinois and Andy Levin from Michigan. Both members were redistricted into battles with corporate incumbents with more centrist, GOP-lite records, New Dem full-time money-raisers Sean Casten and Haley Stevens.

It should come as no surprise that Hakeem Jeffries' anti-progressive hit-squad has chosen Newman and Levin-- along with Rashida Tlaib-- as his first incumbent targets for elimination. He is the truest political descendent of Rahm Emanuel in over a decade. He has AIPAC's sleazy, Republican-funded SuperPAC, United Democracy Project, and Mark Mellman's even sleazier Democratic Majority for Israel (DMFI) putting hundreds of thousand of dollars into deceitful media smears against the 3 candidates. Congressional observers expect that to grow into millions of dollars in the next couple of weeks.

 [...] I've been doing a lot of writing about this anti-progressive jihad orchestrated by Jeffries in the last month. If Jeffries and his allies succeed in defeating these 3 members it will send a chill through already shaky members, a chill that makes the point that being too loud and too unequivocal about core progressive values in a career-ender. That's exactly what Jeffries, Mellman, AIPAC and their conservative sewers money donors what to do. I wonder if the Congressional Progressive Caucus PAC plans to spend any money defending their 3 members-- or if they're just too preoccupied helping conservative Republican Robert Garcia who is currently masquerading as a Democrat. I know Mark Pocan is one of Jeffries' close allies but if the CPC doesn't fight back now, they might as well close up shop or just join the New Dems.

Jeffries and his allies have already spent millions taking on Nina Turner (OH), Summer Lee (PA), Erica Smith (NC), Nida Allam (NC), Jessica Cisneros (TX), Daniel Lee (CA), Cristina Garcia (CA), David Canepa (CA), Amy Vilela (NV), Michelle Vallejo (TX), Omari Hardy (FL) and Attica Scott (KY) with mixed results but going after incumbents is a much more drastic thing to try-- especially for a divisive Wall Street owned-and-operated political hack like Hakeem Jeffries, who is slated to take over as Democratic Party congressional leader when Pelosi steps down. This was how his ally, Mellman's DMFI started last week. It's just the beginning:


 Rolling Stone

A pack of progressive candidates have crashed this year’s Democratic primaries, hoping to unseat incumbents and push the party to the left. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), the fifth-ranking Democrat in the House, has other plans.

Jeffries and two of his House Democrat allies on Wednesday rolled out the first slate of endorsements from Team Blue PAC, a political action committee intended to protect incumbents from intraparty attacks. [...]

“It’s important to support effective legislators for delivering for the American people in partnership with the Biden administration,” Jeffries says. “We want to support common-sense members who are delivering for their districts and helping advance the Democratic agenda to create jobs and cut costs for their constituents,” adds Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.), another Team Blue PAC co-founder.

The primary challengers and their allies see things differently — and think Jeffries and his allies should take a different tack in protecting their majority. “It is extremely alarming that critical resources from Democratic Party leadership are going to protect incumbents from having to face any competition in deep-blue districts instead of protecting the swing seats we’re in danger of losing in November,” says Waleed Shahid, the communications director of Justice Democrats, the left-wing group that supported Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and other successful progressives in their House primary runs.

These primary endorsements are the latest front in the fight over the future of the Democratic Party.

In short, Rolling Stone reports: Jeffries, on behalf of the inner party big wigs, are specifically sniping at progressives. In turn the progressives outlook is - solidly strong Dem districts with conservative incumbents need reform with new representation in line with what the people who in polling strongly say what they want. They say the inner party money should go to conservative Dems in more conservative "swing districts" if holding a Dem majority is a true leadership goal rather than strangling out progress. 

[italics added] progressivescorecard.com -

Congressmen Jeffries is sitting pretty. After narrowly defeating Barbra Lee for Caucus Chair, he is now the #4 Democrat in Congress. With the top 3 Dems all in their 80s, Jeffries (age 50) is poised to be the next Speaker of the House in the near future.

Jeffries is a tough nut to crack ideologically. On the plus side, he is a member of the Progressive Caucus, signed onto Medicare for All, and gets a progressive vote score is in the high 80s. He has even stuck his neck out a few times, voting to cut defense spending by 10% and refusing to back Pelosi's Patriot Act reauthorization. On the other hand, Jeffries has taken a lot of money from corporate interests and has a troubling history of supporting charter schools.

If this was the whole story, then we call this another example of a machine-style Democrat who made a necessary transition to the left in order to placate an emboldened progressive base. But, despite Jeffries' voting record, he has this troubling tendency of bashing any outside challenge to the party establishment. Jeffries is relentless on twitter when it comes to gloating over incumbent primary victories, and dismissive when challengers win. After Jamaal Bowman beat a high-ranking incumbent, Jeffries chalked it up to demographic change rather than an ideological inditement [sic] on Democratic leadership.

The New York electorate has been showing a rebellious streak of late when it comes to its treatment of incumbents, and clearly, Congressman Jeffries is worried about getting the Crowley treatment. [...]

One sentence stands out, "Jeffries is a tough nut to crack ideologically." The Jacoban author noted what he termed "paper" stances or memberships, or policy claims. "Ghost," or "falsified" might be synonyms. Actions speak louder than words.

 Continuing  the Duck-search returns - CNN kisses Jeffries ass. Common Dreams contrasts him to Barbara Lee, (who certainly would make a more palatable black female candidate than Harris, if that is the 2024 choice aside from Biden again).

The Atlalntic does a fair job of reporting:


Jeffries “wasn’t an insurgent from the left,” New York Communities for Change and the Sunrise Movement’s New York City chapter, two groups that have charged themselves with policing the boundaries of progressivism, insisted this spring in a document I obtained. Slightly rewriting history, the memo explained that “he defeated a dysfunctional and corrupt incumbent. Jeffries is charismatic, whip smart, hard-working, and extremely canny.” But the man who may go on to be the first Black speaker “is part of an establishment that works to marginalize transformational action when it threatens corporate power and a wealthy, virtually all-white elite.”

[...] One day in June, I stumbled onto a small political event on the Upper West Side. Speaking to the small crowd was Zephyr Teachout, a law professor who ran a 2014 primary race from the left for governor, a 2016 race for Congress in a swing district, and a 2018 primary for attorney general—and lost all three. When I asked her if Jeffries is a progressive, she frowned. I asked her to elaborate, but she wouldn’t speak on the record. Ask about Jeffries, and those who have declared themselves progressive leaders say he’s not one of them. Ask why he’s not a progressive, and they say they’re not sure, or that he seems to not be on their side. This is only exacerbated by the media coverage portraying Democratic politics as a story of exciting, committed insurgents versus the boring, compromised “establishment.” Jeffries has backed Medicare for All, though what he really supports is a public option for universal access to health care rather than the end of private insurance. He’s a reliable vote for nearly every progressive bill, and is already hoping that once Congress gets through the triage of pandemic recovery, it’ll be able to work on a Second Step Act, to build on the criminal-justice-reform First Step Act, which Trump signed in 2018.

[...] I told him about Teachout’s frown, and how it seemed to encapsulate the way he’s viewed now—a general sense of distaste from the left that he’s not one of them, though they can’t quite say why. “There’s a difference between progressive Democrats and hard-left democratic socialists,” he told me. “It’s not a distinction that I’m drawing. They draw that distinction. And so clearly, I’m a Black progressive Democrat concerned with addressing racial and social and economic injustice with the fierce urgency of now. That’s been my career, that’s been my journey, and it will continue to be as I move forward for however long I have an opportunity to serve. There will never be a moment where I bend the knee to hard-left democratic socialism.”

Jeffries likes that phrase, bend the knee. He took it from Game of Thrones. “Black progressives do tend to tackle issues first and foremost with an understanding that systemic racism has been in the soil of America for over 400 years,” he said. “Hard-left progressives tend to view the defining problem in America as one that is anchored in class. That is not my experience as a Black man in this country. And perhaps that’s where we have a difference of perspective.” Or perhaps, a number of Jeffries-wary activists told me, politicians on the left think he enjoys picking fights with them. Or perhaps, one Democratic representative who’s not close with Jeffries told me, they’re just expressing the natural suspicion that people who aren’t in leadership have of those who are.

A few days after meeting Jeffries in Brooklyn, I texted Waleed Shahid, the communications director for the Justice Democrats, the group that backed Ocasio-Cortez and is most identified with primarying longtime Democratic incumbents to jolt the party left. What’s the problem with Jeffries? I asked. Shahid sent a link to Jeffries’s political donations, which lists his top donors’ professions as securities and investment and real estate. I asked Jeffries about that. “It’s time for the virtue signalers to stop shadowboxing on social media,” he told me. “Recruit a candidate, put on the boxing gloves, get in the ring, and we can work this out on the ground in the Eighth Congressional District.”

So, he feels secure in his seat. So what? Is he part of the problem, or part of an answer? Money talking:

Here, here, here, here and here. In general there is a constant voice. Establishment investing, in Jeffries, over time, seemingly happy over time with return on investment.

BOTTOM LINE: Establishment money seldom, maybe never, buys progressive results.

__________BONUS UPDATE___________

Getting back to the start of the post, Dan Burns' posting at left.mn about The American Prospect's published unhappiness with AIPAC's recent political money investments, DWT is blunter on that theme:

AIPAC Is Now Essentially A Money Laundering Operation For GOP Cash To Disrupt Democratic Primaries

Regular readers of DWT already know this but early this morning Robert Reich confirmed what we already know, namely that AIPAC is no longer promoting Israel or battling antisemitism. It's using Republican dollars to battle progressives. If anything, AIPAC is now stirring up anti-Semitism in America. Reich began by recapping AIPAC’s big win against Donna Edwards, buying— by saturating television and radio with scurrilous ads “questioning her willingness to perform basic services for her constituents and to make the kinds of compromises necessary for legislative success”— the Democratic Party nomination for a run-of-the-mill corrupt lobbyist and AIPAC sock-puppet.

“Where” asked Reich, “did the money for those ads come from?” Along with the even shadier Democratic Majority for Israel, AIPAC spent a staggering $7 million defaming Edwards and boosting the sock-puppet. Both AIPAC and DMFI get their money from conservatives, primarily Republican conservatives eager to screw with Democratic primaries. AIPAC has also been rumored to be illegally taking money from right-wing Israeli sources as well. Much of the anti-progressive jihad mounted this cycle— both by the Israel lobby and the crypto-billionaires— is being coordinated and directed, from behind the curtain, by AIPAC and Wall Street pawn Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), whose puppet-masters have decided to install him as leader of the congressional Democratic Party by using fear and intimidation against easily intimidated and always fearful Democratic congressional caucus. Not even progressives are standing up for their colleagues, who are being picked off one by one. The Pocan-controlled Progressive Caucus PAC didn’t lifted a finger to protect their members being smeared by AIPAC and Hakeem Jeffries’ malfeasance coalition— no help for Marie Newman, no help for Andy Levin, no help for Rashida Tlaib, no help for Cori Bush. Why would any new progressive join the CPC at this point? The Blue Dogs and New Dems stand up for their members and fight for them. The CPC? What a joke!

What did Edwards do to deserve this degree of AIPAC enmity? Could it have been because she was an early supporter of a nuclear deal between Iran and five industrial countries, including the United States? Probably not, because that hardly distinguished her from most other Democrats. Besides, the Obama administration supported the deal. Was it because Edwards took a number of votes that expressed support for Palestinian rights and the resumption of a meaningful peace process? These were hardly outside of the mainstream.
So what was it? Dig deeper.
Remember, AIPAC never used to endorse candidates. Until this election cycle, it didn’t even have a super PAC. But it’s on the way to spending nearly $20 million in the 2022 Democratic primaries alone. That makes it the single most influential political group in Democratic electoral politics. And what’s the criterion for whom AIPAC supports in Democratic primaries?
If AIPAC were simply aiming to promote Israel or deter antisemitism, presumably it would be as active in Republican primaries as it is in Democratic ones. But it has barely spent a dime in Republican primaries— not even against Republican candidates who have been widely criticized for antisemitic comments. And its United Democracy Project super-PAC hasn’t spent a penny.
AIPAC hasn’t supported a Republican primary challenger to Marjorie Taylor Greene (who claimed that Jewish space lasers were behind California’s 2018 wildfires), for example. But AIPAC has endorsed Republican Scott Perry, who compared Democrats to Nazis.
The real criterion for AIPAC’s support or enmity in Democratic primaries seems to have more to do with which candidate is friendlier toward America’s moneyed interests and the Republican agenda. When Edwards was last a member of Congress, she backed single-payer health care and was one of the early champions of sweeping campaign finance reforms. Both irked big money. In the pending race between Haley Stevens and Andy Levin in Michigan’s 11th Congressional District, AIPAC is supporting Stevens (who has a history of fighting worker protections) against Levin (who is a labor champion).
AIPAC is on the way to becoming a Republican front group. Much of AIPAC’s trove is coming from Republican donors. In May, Republican billionaires Paul Singer and Bernie Marcus donated $1 million each to AIPAC’s super PAC. Marcus famously gave $7 million to President Trump’s campaign in 2016.
So far in this election cycle, AIPAC has endorsed over 100 Republican candidates who refused to certify the 2020 election results.
What to do about this?
First, Democrats must stop allowing AIPAC to be a Democratic kingmaker. The Democratic leadership in Congress must openly criticize AIPAC’s role in Democratic primaries. Democratic candidates should cease taking money from AIPAC in primaries and condemn candidates who do.
Second, all of us need to get behind campaign finance reforms that prevent big money from whatever source from corrupting our elections. Such reforms are possible notwithstanding the Supreme Court’s horrific Citizens United decision. The House has already passed legislation that would encourage small-dollar donations by matching them dollar-for-dollar with public financing. Like most other reforms, it’s been stalled in the Senate. We must elect Democrats to the Senate who will pass this.

From there the DWT post gets into endorsing and tub thumping for four deserving progressive candidates. Readers can follow the link if interested. It is a major insight, however, that AIPAC's PAC money is going against progressive Dems, while taking Republican money, but not endorsing any Repuiblicans, nor opposing the likes of MTG. There seems some mendacity in how AIPAC is pushing an agenda, what that agenda is, and how it is being funded - unless you dig deeply as DWT did. Otherwise, reading MSM and having a perhaps outdated view of how AIPAC operates can lead to a misunderstanding about today's politics.