Monday, August 27, 2018

Slow Saturday Special: Lynching Wu

She is a cultural figure who was thrown into the spotlight (not as the new face of feminism, though) and is taking a stand even if there is a problem with her phone:

"Candidate Brianna Wu is learning the rules of a whole new game" by Stephanie Ebbert Globe Staff  August 24, 2018

DEDHAM — Brianna Wu, video game developer and candidate for Congress, was facing a reality check.

Her voter app was seizing up, refusing to give her the names and addresses of voters to visit. Her weather app was telling her there was no rain in the forecast, even as raindrops began pelting her convertible Porsche.

I'll ticket that Porsche (convertible yet) later, but were I Wu, my first reaction here would be what? 

Think about it. The Globe calls and says they are going to do a story about your campaign. She has to be thinking, great, I'll get some good exposure from a paper that is on my side. When they tell her the article will run on a Saturday, she probably thinks oh, well, at least it is is in there. Then she picks this up and sees that this is the spin the Globe reporter decided to give it.

So before she unfolded her 6-foot-2-inch frame from the low-slung Boxster for an afternoon of campaigning, she reflected on a frustrating lesson she has already learned: Politics can’t just be disrupted like the tech industry.

Wu, 41, best known for speaking out against misogyny in the gaming industry, is trying to channel her online renown into a campaign in the Eighth Congressional District against the most conservative member of the state’s congressional delegation, US Representative Stephen Lynch.

Trying to make a name for herself, huh? Hmmmm.

The cofounder of a Boston-based game studio called Giant Spacekat tells voters on the campaign trail that Lynch doesn’t understand the modern economy like she does. In an upcoming digital ad, she reduces him to a cardboard cutout, while she presents herself on her motorcycle in full leather.

The eye-popping asymmetry of it all has brought her national media attention, but drawing eyeballs is one thing. Getting elected to Congress is another, and this unconventional newcomer has quickly learned there’s a reason for some traditional campaign strategies, such as hiring seasoned political operatives.

“When I started this campaign, I rejected hiring people with campaign experience,” Wu tweeted in July. “I wanted a fresh perspective.”

Then, she lost a campaign manager within a few weeks and came to appreciate the value of experience after most veterans were committed to other campaigns.

Likewise, she knew how to raise money in Silicon Valley but had to develop a comfort level seeking donations in Southeastern Massachusetts. In a year and a half, she has raised just $115,834. Lynch has $1.3 million on hand. 

The mo$t important thing in politics, according to the Globe. Not votes, which can be manipulated and stolen anyway. 

Oh, for a world were democracy will mean one dollar, one vote. Then we will truly have achieved paradi$e.

She has even learned that she needs a digital communications director. Though she’s a clever social media persona who champions the First Amendment to her 82,000 Twitter followers, she needs someone who can anticipate the online harassment she says her supporters receive. 

She backs Alex Jones then?

Wu is wearily accustomed to such harassment.

The creator of story-driven video games with female characters, Wu was among the women targeted with rape and death threats during the 2014 episode known as Gamergate. The online animus initially focused on one female game developer whose ex-boyfriend alleged that her game found success because she cheated on him with men in the industry. When Wu spoke up against the conspiracy theory, she, too, was forced out of her home due to threats.

Well, her campaign just got a big boost after what happened in Jacksonville, and she was around long before #MeToo.

She still has stalkers, she said, but after her dismay with the 2016 presidential election, she decided to put herself out there publicly by running for office. Now, she’s one of several Democrats taking on well-established incumbents from their own party in the primary election Sept. 4. While her unusual profile has attracted attention, she has not gained as much traction as other insurgents, such as City Councilor Ayanna Pressley, who is challenging US Representative Michael Capuano; or City Councilor Josh Zakim, who is taking on Massachusetts Secretary of State William F. Galvin. Like them, Wu is being asked to demonstrate that the change she’ll deliver is not merely symbolic.

I didn't know Pressley and Zakim were laying roadside IEDs, did you?

“What is your plan?” Dedham voter Tulin Johansson gently asked Wu after inviting her to step into her home. “Everybody comes and says, ‘Oh, I’m against the Trump administration,’ ” Johansson added. “But that’s not enough.”

Wu pledged that she would “think more about you than the corporations.”

Until the lobbying loot is needed.

Still, Johansson wanted something more tangible. “What’s the No. 1 change you would make?” she pressed Wu.

Her answer: income inequality.

Oh, yeah? 

On her own?

How much did the convertible Porsche cost anyway?

That day, Wu spent an hour knocking on Dedham doors, trailed by her campaign videographer and two Globe journalists documenting her steps. With no volunteers to help her, she went at it alone with her campaign literature and her cellphone.

Her weather app kept telling her it wasn’t raining.

Her voter app kept telling her to go to houses she’d already visited.

I don't know if this was the vibe out on the trail, but now it seems like the Globe reporters are mocking her. Not that she doesn't deserve to be mocked.

Dashing across a busy road in her cat-eye glasses, she repeatedly zigzagged to the homes of voters who were gracious and curious, but very familiar with Lynch, a nine-term congressman who has been in public office since he was elected to the state Legislature 24 years ago.

“I know Stevie,” Johnny Ivester, 72, told Wu when she stopped by his house. “I play golf with him. You play golf?”

Uh-oh, I don't like where this is going if I'm in Wu's shoes.

“I do not play golf,” Wu responded.

“You gonna learn?” Ivester asked.

“If I have to,” she said.

“If you have to?” guffawed Ivester, a retired truck driver. “What is this?! You have to!”

“I’m an engineer,” she explained. “I’m running for office.”

Were those the only two people who answered the door? 

If not, and I were Wu, I would wonder why the Globe reporters chose them.

Wu would be the first to acknowledge that her life skills — engineering, fixing cars, hyper-focusing on tiny problems — are not typical prized political attributes.

“If there’s a zombie apocalypse, Brianna Wu is the one you want on your team,” she joked.

Well, she is and said it, not me.

Her offbeat campaign features a digital ad, “Brianna Wu vs. Trumpzilla,” in which her husband, science fiction artist and filmmaker Frank Wu, wears a Godzilla costume and protects a tiny cardboard city from a sneering, stomping, inflatable Donald Trump by whacking the president on the head with a shield emblazoned with the words “First Amendment.”

You will miss him when he is gone. 

Should be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.

Still, Wu is running not against Trump, but against Lynch — a Democrat, who was sent to Congress 17 years ago. Also vying for the Democratic nomination is Christopher Voehl, 49, a pilot who served 20 years and six deployments in the Air Force and who wants to stop overseas wars.

Did I get that right? 

First I've seen of him in the Globe.

No deep state Democrat he! 

That's why the Globe ignores him almost as much as Lynch while wooing Wu.

Lynch has largely ignored his challengers, declining to debate them.

Scott Ferson, a Lynch spokesman, said the congressman has always felt the best way to run is to concentrate on the job at hand. Ferson also pushed back at Wu’s assertion that Lynch is not good for women and people of color.

“He’s got a 90 percent rating from the NAACP and is one of the go-to people to fight for full funding for Planned Parenthood on the floor,” Ferson said.

That doesn't help him.

Regardless, Wu makes no bones about her intentions: “I’m looking to push the party left,” she told voters last week.

And whatever the outcome on Sept. 4, she intends to put this campaign experience to use.

“As soon as this election cycle is over,” she said, “I’m going to hire veterans — people with specific Massachusetts experience in this election system,” she said.

“Win or lose,” she said, “I’m running again in 2020.”

Maybe you will be treated a little more seriously by the Globe next time.



"In Seventh District, Capuano and Pressley squabble over NRA pledge" by Michael Levenson Globe Staff  August 24, 2018

US Representative Michael E. Capuano isn’t exactly known as a big supporter of the National Rifle Association. Over 20 years in Congress, the liberal Somerville Democrat has never received a single donation from the NRA, which consistently gives him “F” grades. At the same time, he has earned top ratings from groups that support tougher gun laws, but as she trails in polls with just over a week until the Sept. 4 primary, City Councilor Ayanna Pressley, Capuano’s challenger, is knocking the congressman for refusing to take a “no-NRA-money pledge” when he met with student activists who are marching from Worcester to Springfield to demand stricter gun laws.

SeeActivists who support stricter gun laws embark on Worcester-to-Springfield march

A leader of the march said Capuano told the group he simply “doesn’t do pledges.”

“I am disappointed to see that my opponent will not take the ‘NO NRA money pledge’ because gun violence is an issue of tremendous consequence in this district,” Pressley said in a statement Friday, adding that she has taken the pledge.

Capuano said his record on gun control is clear.

“The National Rifle Association gave me an ‘F’ grade because of my strong record against them and my support of tougher gun control and gun safety laws,” he said in a statement. “There’s no way they would give me a penny and if they did I would not accept it. I’m clear where I stand and how I have voted on these issues: I am one of the NRA’s toughest opponents.”

But you must pledge fealty to the politically and culturally correct dogma of the Democrat Party.

Vikiana Petit-Homme, executive director of March for Our Lives Boston, said Capuano balked at the pledge after traveling Friday morning to Brookfield, more than hour outside Boston, to encourage the marchers and bring them coffee and donuts.

That's what he armed himself with.

“He said they most likely wouldn’t give him money, and he wouldn’t accept money, but he doesn’t sign pledges,” Petit-Homme, a 17-year-old student at Boston Latin Academy, said in an interview. “He doesn’t do pledges.”

She described the students’ reaction as “a little mixed.”

“We do agree it would be a little weird for the NRA to give Capuano money because of the policies he’s enacted,” she said. “But it would still have meant a lot for us for him to take that extra step and take the pledge.”

I hope you kids threw that coffee and doughnuts in his face!

Petit-Homme said Capuano agreed to two of the group’s other demands: to publicly denounce Springfield gunmaker Smith & Wesson for shipping guns out of state that are illegal for sale in Massachusetts, and to form a youth-of-color advisory council within six months of his new term.

Photos on Capuano’s Twitter feed show him listening to the students while sporting a red “F” pin on his jacket in honor of his failing grade from the NRA.

Pressley said in her statement that she has agreed to all three of the marchers’ demands, calling them “reasonable and necessary.”


The only difference (other than seniority when it comes to committee chairs and assignments) between them is one is a white man and the other a black woman. The Globe says go with Pressley so you probably want to go with the white man on this one.

"In last lap of Third District primary, Gifford loans campaign a whopping $700,000" by Matt Stout Globe Correspondent  August 24, 2018

Rufus Gifford, a former top Obama fund-raiser running in the Third Congressional District’s crowded Democratic primary, poured $700,000 more of his own money into the campaign in recent weeks, punctuating the crush of cash fueling the 10 candidates’ final sprint.

Gifford took out a bank loan to make the six-figure infusion into his campaign, which is vying to keep pace in a field that has already produced the most fund-raising for a Massachusetts congressional seat this century, and he wasn’t alone. Newly released campaign finance records show Lori Trahan, a consulting firm executive, loaned her campaign another $200,000 less than two weeks before Sept. 4 primary.

Many of the candidates running to replace retiring US Representative Niki Tsongas have long showed a willingness to self-finance their campaigns, but the timing and escalation of the new loans underscore the intensity of the costly 10-Democrat primary, where nearly 30 percent of voters say they’re still undecided.

See: Ten candidates. Thirty-one hours. One Democratic primary

And how much loot?

Gifford took out his loan from Bank of America, where his father, Charles “Chad” Gifford, served as chairman. Trahan, who had earlier put $100,000 of her own money in the race, plucked the most recent $200,000 from her consulting business and a checking account, according to her campaign, and they did so as most campaigns reported some of their heaviest spending.

Do I really need to type anything?

Dan Koh, the former chief of staff to Mayor Martin J. Walsh, has paced the field in fund-raising by collecting more than $3 million. In the last six weeks, the Andover native spent nearly $920,000, with more than half of that — $466,240 — going toward advertising. It was by far the most of any candidate, but it appeared to have an effect. In a recent Boston Globe/UMass Lowell poll, Koh drew 19 percent of support from likely Democratic primary voters. Gifford and state Senator Barbara L’Italien polled in second, at 13 percent apiece.

SeeKoh has small lead in Third District, but many voters still undecided, poll says

The Globe has been promoting him from the start.

Gifford dropped nearly $400,000 on television, digital, and radio advertising in the same six-week span, and spent $685,000 overall. Trahan funneled $260,000 of the $400,000 she’s spent since July 1 toward advertising, and L’Italien, too, spent $34,000 on “media production” costs, though her spending reports don’t reflect how much she’s committed to getting a new television ad on the airwaves.

The Globe did like her, but that was before she strzok out.

The new campaign finance reports, which candidates were required to file by Thursday, show a growing divide among those able to broadcast their message more broadly.

You need a front-page walk-along with the Globe to get word of your campaign out.

State Representative Juana B. Matias, while spending close to $150,000 in six weeks, committed about half that to direct mailers and didn’t report any advertising costs. No other candidate reported spending more than $41,000 since July 1. That amounts to less than 5 percent of what Koh was able to invest in the same time frame.

Alexandra Chandler, a former US military intelligence analyst from Haverhill; hotel executive Abhijit “Beej” Das; former labor activist Jeffrey Ballinger; Stow attorney Leonard Golder; and bank vice president Bopha Malone are also running in the Democratic primary.

ABC, Anybody But Chandler.

Rick Green, a Pepperell businessman, is the lone Republican in the race. With no primary opponent, he reported having roughly $435,000 in his account as of last week.....

That's who you vote for.


Here is who certifies them:

"Galvin, Zakim blame each other for campaign’s tone" by Milton J. Valencia Globe Staff  August 24, 2018

Secretary of State William Galvin and his primary challenger, City Councilor Josh Zakim, do seem to agree on this: Their primary is a nasty one.

But how did it get this way? At a Friday afternoon debate, Galvin said Zakim shot first with a negative campaign ad pointing to his votes in the Legislature from more than three decades ago. Zakim said the campaign turned negative the moment he announced in November, starting when the incumbent called him names in the media (Galvin called him “sneaky” in a Boston Herald column).

“He’s continued to keep up those criticisms, and those sort of attacks, from the very beginning of this campaign,” Zakim said at the University of Massachusetts Club downtown.

It was probably their final faceoff before the Sept. 4 Democratic primary. And although Friday’s hour-long debate — presented by the Globe, WBUR, and UMass Boston’s McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies — was more congenial than other meetings between the two Democrats, both candidates sought to land lasting blows.

Returning to that first television ad that Galvin said was nasty, Zakim pointed out his opponent’s votes more than 30 years ago to restrict abortion, for the death penalty, and to prevent same-sex couples from adopting. He said voters should know the values of their elected officials, at a time that civil rights are being challenged at the national level.

Galvin said Zakim had distorted his record, cherrypicking certain votes that he attributed to parliamentary procedure, while ignoring his stance on those issues over his career. He said he respects a woman’s right to choose.

He also said he voted in favor of a landmark gay rights bill in the 1980s, which passed by only four votes. Zakim was barely 6, Galvin noted. He accused Zakim of fear-mongering.

“I think it’s an effort to hide the total lack of qualifications for the office you seek,” Galvin said.

Galvin argued that voters are seeking honesty. “On that, I think I have a superior position,” he said.

Zakim, who took heat earlier in the campaign for not casting ballots in more than a dozen elections during his 20s, pointed out that Galvin missed hundreds of votes in his final years as a state legislator, what he called an “abdication of duty.”

He accused Galvin of politicizing the office, and handing out nearly $1 million in no-bid state projects to Beacon Hill insiders. He said he would be more transparent with his administration.

Galvin argued that the contracts went to qualified experts, including an election specialist who monitored local polling places. He said he could not discount their expertise based on their past work or connections.

Galvin again called on Zakim to take his proposed “People’s Pledge” to reject third-party spending in the race, saying Zakim is poised to benefit from “dark money” from the financial industry, which he would be responsible for regulating as secretary of state. He said corporations and financial institutions have donated heavily to Zakim’s campaign – he has raised some $600,000 in donations over the last year – including a $1,000 donation in June from the former CEO of a financial institution that Galvin disciplined eight times for cheating investors.

“How is he going to regulate this, when he is going to take money from people who rip off the citizens of Massachusetts, who I have disciplined?” Galvin asked. “I’m sure they’re very happy to hope that I’m gone, so they can come in and do business and rip people off again.”

Zakim shot back that he signed a version of the pledge already — holding out a piece of paper — that rejects third-party spending, with a condition that they hold two more debates.

“I don’t understand what your hesitance to agree to debates in the interest of transparency is. The voters deserve it, and I think they should get it,” he said.

Zakim reiterated what he has called his progressive agenda to improve voter access, pointing out that the state still does not allow same-day registration, and only recently approved automatic voter registration. He accused Galvin of using old-school political tactics to schedule the primary election for the Tuesday after Labor Day.

“No one expects the day after Labor Day to increase voter turnout. . . . We should have a secretary of state who does everything he or she can to boost turnout,” he said.

Galvin said that the Sept. 4 date was the best of several bad options caused by conflicts of schedules in September with Jewish holidays and the Sept. 11 anniversary.

Galvin couldn't win either way.

When asked about the state’s poor reputation for granting public access to records, one of the secretary’s duties, Galvin said he had historically been bound by a state law that exempted public agencies and officials from disclosing certain records. He said the law was changed in 2017 to improve public access, though he recognized more work to change the law is needed.

When Zakim argued that he would work to be more transparent and grant greater public access to records, Galvin shot back that many of the appeals his office sees are from Boston city departments that refuse to hand over records.

“If you’re so interested in transparency, you might begin at home,” Galvin said.


The Globe says Galvin deserves Democratic nomination as a gift for a capstone term as Secretary of State. 

Even though it has been Galvin's toughest challenge in 2 decades and Zakim barnstormed across Massachusetts to raise his profile, the math just isn't there.

Also see:

From gubernatorial candidate Jay Gonzalez, a promise to be bold

Bob Massie brings a progressive agenda, eclectic background

Might as well just keep the guy we have then.


"The prospect of Nancy Pelosi retaking the speaker’s gavel is one of the midterm elections closely watched story lines, even as many Democrats say their focus remains on taking the House majority. Representatives Michael E. Capuano and Stephen F. Lynch, both of whom face primary challenges, would not say whether Pelosi is their leadership pick, but Lynch’s primary opponents disagree. Christopher L. Voehl, a former Air Force pilot, said he would not vote for Pelosi, while Brianna Wu, a video game developer, said she’s “not inclined” to support her. “I doubt Pelosi could tell you what she stands for beyond sound bites anymore,” Wu said. 

Look who is talking! 

Capuano’s opponent, Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley took a similar posture in response to a Globe questionnaire. Representative Richard E. Neal, a 15-term incumbent, also did not say he would back Pelosi. His primary opponent, Tahirah Amatul-Wadud did not respond on Monday. To be sure, Pelosi has the support of some Massachusetts incumbents seemingly on a glide path to reelection. Representatives James P. McGovern and Katherine M. Clark say they’ll vote for her. Representative Joseph P. Kennedy III, who faces Gary J. Rucinski, a project manager at MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory, in the Sept. 4 primary, also said he will vote for Pelosi. 

Oh, the Deep State is running a candidate against the Kennedy. Hmmm.

Representative Seth Moulton, who doesn’t have a primary opponent, has been one of the most vocal in the party calling for Pelosi to go. An aide said Monday that Moulton’s stance hasn’t changed. He has company in the state’s most crowded primary. Three of the 10 Democrats running to replace retiring Representative Niki Tsongas said they won’t vote for her, while others — including state Senator Barbara L’Italien, Representative Juana B. Matias, and Lori Trahan — said they’re waiting to make a decision. Dan Koh — who topped a recent Boston Globe/UMass Lowell poll — and Alexandra Chandler, a former naval intelligence analyst, both said they would vote for Pelosi. Rufus Gifford, a former US ambassador to Denmark, said he, too, would back Pelosi — but with a caveat. He suggested she serve for six months to a year, to give Democrats enough time to create a succession plan “where she can hand power over” to a younger, more diverse generation. Representative Bill Keating said he remains “open to any candidate.” Bill Cimbrelo, who is running against him in the primary, indicated he wouldn’t support Pelosi. “Our nation is screaming for change,” he said....."


Lori Trahan is the best choice for Third District Democrats

So says the Globe Editorial Board.

Bill Galvin’s go-to for some state work?

It’s his campaign vendor.

"In an era of repeated mass shootings, back-to-school fashion could end up looking more like combat gear. That was the provocative message behind a runway show Monday morning on City Hall Plaza, part of an anti-gun-violence rally organized by Change the Ref, a nonprofit founded by the parents of Joaquin Oliver, a Parkland school shooting victim....."

They have the numbers by a ratio of four to one, and I shouldn't have to tell you twice.

29 charged, including city worker, in fentanyl bust

Was going on right under their noses!