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    Tulsi Gabbard Tag

    After the first Democratic presidential debate in June, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) became a top contender. She successfully broadsided frontrunner Joe Biden over his remarks about busing and working with segregationist Senators in a moment that was clearly staged, and landed a body blow that helped her campaign funding and poll numbers rise. But while we political junkies were anxious to find out if we'd see more fireworks between Harris and Biden in Round Two Wednesday night, something unexpected happened.

    Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) wrote a scathing op-ed, which was published in The Hill Tuesday, in which she lambasted lawmakers who questioned US district judicial nominee Brian Buescher about his affiliation with the Catholic organization, Knights of Columbus. While Rep. Gabbard never mentioned Sen. Hirono by name, the only two Senators to have made an issue of Buescher's participation in the Knights of Columbus were Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI).

    There are a few Democrats who think that since President Donald Trump won in November 2016 then maybe they can, too. After all, how did a man with no political experience beat the all mighty Hillary Clinton?! So a handful of politicians that not a lot of people have heard of believe they have a chance to take on Trump in 2020, including mayors and congressmen "low on the seniority totem pole."

    Debbie Wasserman Schultz is not having a good time this cycle. She's facing protests at every turn over her decision to limit the number of officially sanctioned Democratic primary debates, and now her own colleagues are once again lining up to throw her under the bus. Everyone from presidential candidate Martin O'Malley to Nancy Pelosi has accused DWS of terrible leadership and bad decisionmaking. O'Malley even accused her of "rigging" the debate cycle to promote a Hillary Clinton ticket---as did an entire MSNBC panel. Remember? If reports from some Democratic members are to be believed, DWS is getting serious about squashing dissent in the ranks.

    On the eve of their first presidential primary debate, the Democratic primary drama rages on. According to Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D., Hawaii) vice chair of the DNC, she was disinvited from Tuesday's Democratic primary debate after publicly calling for more primary debates. The number of primary debates has been a contentious issue for Democrats this election cycle. DNC Chair, Debbie Wasserman Shultz struggled to gain control of an auditorium of delegates chanting "we want debates!" in New Hampshire last month. Morgan Chalfant of the Washington Free Beacon reported Monday that Democratic Socialist Bernie Sanders' campaign has invited the supposedly dejected Gabbard to Tuesday's debate.

    The inner-party tension over the Democratic primary debate schedule boiled over at a New Hampshire Democratic Party convention Saturday. According to the Washington Post, more than 4,000 delegates and guests were at the event. When Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz stepped up to speak, convention goers began chanting, "we want debates!"

    Earlier this week, protesters rallied outside of the Democratic National Headquarters in Washington, DC to oppose the rules that DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz has imposed on Democratic primary candidates. What's the controversy? Most of the opposition boils down to the limited number of debates candidates will have the opportunity to participate in. In addition to scheduling just 6 officially-sanctioned debates, the DNC (via DWS) has limited the potential for rogue forums by creating a new rule: if a Democrat chooses to participate in a non-sanctioned debate, they’ll be banned from future sanctioned ones. The candidates aren't happy; even some of DWS's DNC colleagues aren't happy (DNC Vice Chairs Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D., Hawaii) and R.T. Rybak released a joint statement asking DWS to revoke the sanctioned debates only-rule); and now, Democratic heavy-hitter Nancy Pelosi has weighed in against DWS's mandate. From the LA Times:

    Today, advocacy group #AllowDebate will occupy the steps of the Democratic National Committee headquarters and perpetuate a little Democrat-on-Democrat violence over what many believe are unfair and unreasonable restrictions on the Democratic primary debate schedule. From the Weekly Standard:
    "Hundreds of protesters will rally at DNC headquarters on Wednesday afternoon to demand that DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz allow Democratic presidential candidates to debate more than 6 times. There were 26 Democratic primary debates in the 2008 campaign, including 11 before September 14th, 2007," says an email from the organizing group #AllowDebate. Says the group's founder, “DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz is unilaterally defying the will of Democratic voters, Presidential candidates, and the DNC’s own Vice-Chairs. ... Her dictatorial suppression of free and open debate is an attack on the democratic process.”
    Wasserman Schultz has repeatedly come under fire from both candidates and activists over this cycle's debate rules. In addition to scheduling just 6 officially-sanctioned debates, the DNC (via DWS) has limited the potential for rogue forums by creating a new rule: if a Democrat chooses to participate in a non-sanctioned debate, they’ll be banned from future sanctioned ones.

    Democrats are unhappy with the way their party officials are handling this election cycle---and the party doesn't mind one bit. Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz has come under fire repeatedly for the way she's managing her flock of potential presidential candidates. In addition to sanctioning just six official debates, DWS has limited the potential for rogue forums by creating a new rule: if a Democrat chooses to participate in a non-sanctioned debate, they'll be banned from future sanctioned ones. During a media breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor, she doubled down on the new rules:
    “We’re not changing the process. We’re having six debates,” said Wasserman Schultz, who has been under fire from several Democratic presidential candidates over the debates. “The candidates will be uninvited from subsequent debates if they accept an invitation to anything outside of the six sanctioned debates.”

    A total of 134 Members of the House of Representatives have signed a letter, organized by the offices of Reps. Peter Roksam (R) and Ted Deutch (D) condeming the academic boycott of Israel passed by the American Studies Assoction. The effort was truly bipartisan, with 65 Republicans and 69 Democrarts signing.  The full list of signatories is at the bottom of this post. As previously reported, the congressional organizers were hoping for 50 signatures, so the response was better than expected. Gathering signatures on short notice was difficult, one of the staffers explained to me, because of the press of House business before members left today on break. In a Press Release by the Office of Rep. Peter Roksam, the background of the letter was explained:
    Today, a bipartisan coalition of House lawmakers condemned the American Studies Association’s (ASA) academic boycott of Israel. 134 Members of Congress, led by Reps. Peter Roskam (R-IL), Ted Deutch (D-FL), Doug Collins (R-GA), and Brad Schneider (D-IL), sent a letter to ASA President Curtis Marez opposing ASA’s boycott as bigoted and an affront to academic freedom. “We come together—Democrats and Republicans alike—to strongly condemn the ASA boycott, which undermines academic freedom and exhibits flagrant prejudice against the Jewish State of Israel,” said the House lawmakers. “This boycott doesn’t advance peace between Israelis and Palestinians, but only reinforces dangerous stereotypes that limit mutual understanding and cooperation—two things that should be at the very heart of our academic endeavors. We therefore cannot tolerate these ignorant smear campaigns to isolate Israel and deteriorate the historic U.S.-Israel relationship.”
    The letter reads, in full:

    For background, see my prior posts: The letter will be finalized tomorrow morning as the House goes into recess Friday and many members leave tomorrow afternoon.  The letter is being coordinated through the offices of Representatives Peter Roksam (R) and Ted Deutch (D). With the crush of business before the recess, it's hard to get the attention of Representatives. Is your House Representative on the list of signatories? If not, now is the time to reach out to their offices and find out why not TODAY. You can find your Representative and office contact information here: Find Your Representative. Here is the current list: UPDATE, list closes 9 a.m. Eastern, Thursday, so if your Rep has not signed by then, too late.

    I reported last Friday on the draft Bipartisan Congressional letter to denounce academic boycott of Israel. The letter reads, in part:
    We write in strong opposition to the American Studies Association’s (ASA) recent decision to boycott Israeli universities and academic institutions. While ASA has every right to express its views on policies pursued by any nation or government, we believe that the decision to blacklist Israeli academic institutions for Israeli government policies with which ASA disagrees demonstrates a blatant disregard for academic freedom.... Even more concerning is the singular targeting of Israel for boycott. Like all democracies, Israel is not perfect. But to single out Israel, while leaving relationships with universities in autocratic and repressive countries intact, suggests thinly-veiled bigotry and bias against the Jewish State.
    As of Friday, there were 36 signatories. As of yesterday, the number had risen to 57.  [Update - see list at bottom of post for most current numbers and signatories] The final signature list should be released later this week. American civil society has been heard loud and clear, with major academic organizations and 190 University Presidents (as of this writing) rejecting the academic boycott. Now it is the time for American political society to be heard against the anti-Israel academic boycotters, as well. Is your House Representative on the list of signatories? If not, now is the time to reach out to their offices and find out why not. You can find your Representative and office contact information here: Find Your Representative. Tell them the letter is being coordinated through the offices of Representatives Peter Roksam and Ted Deutch.  Give them the link to this post if you send an email. Pick up the phone or send an email right now.  (I emailed my Rep. last night.)

    Hawaii did not submit its Obamacare enrollment numbers in time for the release on Wednesday. Hawaii just released its numbers, Pacific Business News reports, Hawaii Health Connector says only 257 have enrolled so far:
    Only 257 individuals in Hawaii have enrolled in health-insurance plans through the Hawaii Health Connector as of Friday, a spokesman confirmed to Pacific Business News. That figure comes two days after the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services released an updated enrollment report that found only 106,185 Americans have selected health insurance plans through the online health insurance exchanges out of 846,184 completed applications. Hawaii was one of three states that did not submit enrollment numbers in time for that report. But the state did share in that report that there have been more than 1,750 completed applications, more than 2,370 individuals applying for coverage and 1,156 eligible to enroll.... The Hawaii Health Connector held a meeting with its board of directors Friday afternoon that was aired live on the Hawaii Health Connector’s YouTube channel. Some concerns and suggestions mentioned at the beginning of the meeting included a complex, long application process averaging 40 minutes, as well as needed improvements to the website to improve navigation and make it more user-friendly.
    The Honolulu Star further reports (emphasis added):
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