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The Big News Not Getting Covered

Hey everyone,

The news is full of headlines but some truly important developments have flown under the radar. While we could talk forever about Stormy Daniels, Rudy Giuliani and Kanye West, the internal machinations of politics ground a little quicker this week leading to some important changes.


Congress Replaces All FTC Commissioners After Delay

The Senate has confirmed a full slate of five new Federal Trade Commision (FTC) commissioners. As it currently stands, the FTC has been governed by a holdover of just two Obama era commissioners, both of whom will be exiting. The FTC is exponentially increasing its influence these days with the FCC’s recent decision to make the FTC the chief net neutrality enforcement agency.  

  • Joseph Simons (chairman) (R)

  • Noah Joshua Phillips (R)

  • Christine Wilson (R)

  • Rohit Chopra  (D)

  • Rebecca Slaughter (D)

The FTC is a five member Commission of which up to three may be of the same Political Party.

Why You Should REALLY Care About the FTC

When it comes to the Internet, the Federal Trade Commision is now responsible for Net Neutrality, data privacy and antitrust enforcement. You may recall a major decision by the FCC to eliminate Net Neutrality just a few months ago. When they did this, moving the Internet from being controlled by Title I of the Telecommunications Act to Title II, they kicked oversight of the Internet, ISPs and Tech Giants to the FTC.

As mentioned, the Republican Congress just approved and entirely new slate of five commissioners this week. The new Chairman, Joseph Simons, is a former antitrust lawyer who has a lengthy resume with the FTC. In fact, he served as head of their antitrust bureau in the first Bush administration. He replaces Obama appointee, Terrell McSweeny, at a crucial time in determining the regulatory and antitrust approach to tech giants like Facebook.

Simons addressed this question head on in his confirmation hearing, informing the Senate Commerce Committee that while “big companies that provide high-quality services are fine, antitrust laws should be vigorously enforced if firms use anticompetitive means to get big or stay big.”

Simons would find support for acting on this measure with new commissioner Rebecca Slaughter. Slaughter, one of the two Democrats, played an integral role in developing the Democrats’ Better Deal policy agenda.

The new Commissioners start with a major backlog of work, including not just the recent Facebook fiasco, but the enormous Equifax data breach last year.

Trade War With China Heats Up

Recent trade talks with China have resulted in a tougher stance from Beijing on Trump’s two highest trade priorities. Chinese representatives say they will refuse to discuss Trump’s biggest requests.

Trump has requested a mandatory $100 billion cut in America’s $375 billion annual trade deficit - mainly through removing government subsidies to Chinese State-Owned-Enterprises and demanding Beijing scale back its $300 billion plan to subsidize favored industries like high-tech hardware and AI.

It’s unclear what will result in talks between American and Chinese trade representatives scheduled for later this week. However, Beijing has grown frustrated with Trump’s promises to impose the $150 billion tariff on goods. Whatever happens, China has demands of its own and and refuses to strike a deal with any tariff imposition. It’s trade posture is backed by a feeling its economy can stand up to the United States. So much for Trade Wars being “easy”.

Trump Admits to Paying Stormy Daniels With His Own Money

It’s all over the news but, long story short: Trump’s new lawyer Rudy Giuliani (since Michael Cohen is under investigation) said on live TV that Michael Cohen paid Stormy Daniels to keep quiet during the Trump campaign. He further stated that this was essentially a loan, and Trump reimbursed him from his personal funds.

Trump then confirmed Giuliani's statement, saying using his personal funds means that the payment did not violate campaign finance laws. Kellyanne Conway’s husband provided this helpful quote from the FEC website on how it does:

If any person, including a relative or friend of the candidate, gives or loans the candidate money 'for the purpose of influencing any election for federal office,' the funds are not considered personal funds of the candidate even if they are given to the candidate directly. Instead, the gift or loan is considered a contribution from the donor to the campaign, subject to the per-election limit and reportable by the campaign. This is true even if the candidate uses the funds for personal living expenses while campaigning.”


Manhattan County Party Releases Judge Finalists

Last Tuesday the Manhattan Democratic Party released the list of judge-hopefuls that were approved by its Independent Screening Panel.

For those who has seen the long version of (Real) Politics 101 (check events below for upcoming dates!) you may recall that the Manhattan Democratic Party and the Democratic Clubs endorse candidates for Civil Court Judge. However, they only endorse candidates who have applied to the Independent Screening panel and been approved by panelists from non-profits and the legal profession.

The panelists are selected in a blind system whereby the Party invites organizations to participate, but they select their panelists. The panel then reports up to three "most qualified" candidates per vacant judgeship for a judicial endorsement each cycle.

With 30 Applicants for Civil Court (expect Supreme Court later this year), here are the ones you can expect to see running in November:

  • Eric Gray

  • Elsa Marie Hampton

  • Nicholas Moyne

  • Larry Bosley

  • Grace Park

  • Hilary Gingold

  • Valentina Morales

  • Ariel Chesler

  • Shahabudden Ally

  • Ilana Marcus

  • Robert Rosenthal

  • Elyssa Kates

Given the Democratic electorate of NYC and the extremely low turnout in Judicial elections, the Party endorsed candidates are virtually guaranteed to win.

Democratic State Committee To Endorse For Governor and Vote on Strategy This Month

The Democratic State Committee will be meeting for its bi-annual convention at the end of this month on May 23-24 in Long Island.

Aside from conducting the regular business of the Committee, the Convention will also nominate the Party’s favorite(s) in the Democratic Primary. Somewhat counter-intuitively, it is possible for multiple candidates to win the Party’s endorsement with anyone drawing 25% or more of the State Committee vote “winning”.

This is an incredibly important vote as it will allow the Party to support its chosen nominee(s) in the Primary and free any endorsed candidate from the requirement of filing petitions to make the ballot. While many argue that petitioning is good for a campaign, it can also be very costly as NY State requires a minimum number of signatures to be gathered from every County and opens petition filers up to legal challenges for their ballot


Along with the endorsement, there are also several resolutions which will be proposed. 

What do YOU think the State Party should do? Do you support these amendments? Add you voice so they can bring them up during debate!


This week we give indulge in the local tidbits of how the IDC Deal is going down! Also, a 6-minute briefing on the status of the L-Train shutdown and the recent court case to freeze it.

Missed our other updates on the battle between the governor and the WFP, how Fusion Balloting works, the NYC vacancy tax and more? We now have a facebook page!



Flippable District Phone Bank #3

Thursday, May 3

6:00pm – 8:30pm

Description:It's time for our THIRD phone bank of the year! We'll be back to making calls to the great folks of NC House District 2 (Granville and Person counties) on Thursday, May 3rd, trying to engage Democratic support in some additional precincts in the district.

Spring Happy Hour with BYD and LID!

Thursday, May 3

6:30pm – 8:30pm

Description:Join the Brooklyn Young Democrats and the Lambda Independent Democrats of Brooklyn for Spring Happy Hour at The Douglass! More details with guest speakers to come!

#WFP4Cynthia Organizing Kick Off Call

Thursday, May 3

7:00pm – 8:00pm

Town Hall Meeting: Reclaim Pride

Friday, May 4

7:00pm – 9:00pm

Description:Join us Friday, May 4 at 7pm at the LGBT Center for a Town Hall moderated by Ann Northrop and Jamila Hammami!

Sister District Blue Summer Kickoff: Postcards to Pennsylvania for Liz Hanbidge

Saturday, May 5

9:00am – 6:00pm

Description:Postcards and Phonebank for Liz Hanbidge, Democrat for PA House of Representatives District 61

CRDC's 60th Anniversary Awards & Brunch

Saturday, May 5

11:30am – 2:30pm

Description:You are cordially invited to attend our Annual Awards Brunch and 60th Anniversary celebration.

West Harlem Spring Reception

Sunday, May 6

5:00pm – 8:00pm

Description:Please save the date for the West Harlem Progressive Democratic Club's 2018 Spring Reception! The West Harlem Dems are committed to electing and supporting judges and justices that reflect the values of the Village of Harlem.

Upper West Side Forum for Democratic Candidates for Governor

Sunday, May 6

6:00pm – 9:00pm

Description:Please join us at a special Upper West Side forum for the Democratic nomination for Governor.

Invited candidates for Governor: Cynthia Nixon (confirmed) and Andrew Cuomo Invited candidates for Lieutenant Governor: Jumaane Williams (confirmed) and Kathy Hochul (confirmed)

Lower Manhattan Candidates Forum - Gov, Lt. Gov, Comptroller, AG

Monday, May 7

6:30pm – 10:00pm

Description:List of Speakers Governor: Cynthia Nixon, Rep for Cuomo Lt. Gov: Jumaane Williams, Kathy Hochul Comptroller: Comptroller Dinapoli Attorney General: Representative for Schneiderman

BBQ Fundraiser for Jessica Ramos

Monday, May 7

7:00pm – 9:00pm

Description:If you haven't met Jessica Ramos, the dynamic Democratic challenger to Trump Democrat Jose Peralta, come on over to John Brown's Smokehouse, the unofficial home of the NoIDC movement in Queens.

Forward Union Fundraiser

Tuesday, May 8

6:00pm – 9:00pm

21 Essex St, New York, NY 10002, USA


Forward Union is hosting a fundraiser at Beverly's on Tuesday May 8th, 6pm - late!

Assemblyman Michael Blake Fundraiser

Wednesday, May 9

6:00pm – 9:00pm

Spiritual Activism: Decolonizing Sacred Spaces

Tuesday, May 8

7:30pm – 9:30pm

Description:From superstorm Maria in Puerto Rico and the onslaught of disaster capitalism, to “Puerto Crypto” and gentrification; from cultural appropriation and brujería, to removing public monuments of genocide: decolonizing sacred spaces are vital conversations and actions to be had as we build bold visions for the future.

Asian-Pacific Heritage Celebration

Thursday, May 10

6:00pm – 9:00pm

A You Matter Nation Workshop: (Real) Politics 101/County Committee Bx

Thursday, May 10

7:00pm – 9:00pm

928 Intervale Ave, Bronx, NY 10459, USA

Village Independent Democrats Monthly Meeting

Thursday, May 10

6:30pm – 9:00pm

Monthly on the second Thursday

83 Christopher St, New York, NY 10014, USA

Benefit Night at Le Botaniste

Wednesday, May 16

6:00pm – 9:00pm

Description:Eat food, help animals! Join us at Le Botaniste (Soho) for a fun evening filled with vegan friends and vegan food! They have graciously agreed to support The Humane League's important work by donating back 15 percent of all proceeds made on the night of May 16th.

Brooklyn GOP Gala Protest

Wednesday, May 16

6:00pm – 9:00pm

Description:State Senator Marty Golden's hand-picked Republican Committee is featuring neo-Nazi Sebastian Gorka at their fundraiser.

Liuba Fundraiser With Rosie O'Donnell

Wednesday, May 16

7:00pm – 9:00pm

626 10th Ave, New York, NY 10036, USA

Close the Workhouse Fundraiser

Thursday, May 17

6:00pm – 8:00pm

From 2016-2018, I was privileged to work on the historic #CLOSErikers campaign. Now I am in St. Louis to help local activists close a notorious jail known as "the Workhouse".

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