Monday Reads: Out with the Old or a Change is Gonna Come

Minnesota’s new Congresswoman Ilhan Omar

Good Morning Sky Dancers!

I want to start off with the one change that is coming that will hopefully bring some fresh air to desperate circumstances.  There’s a whole lot of diversity coming to the House of Representatives and there’s a whole lot of trash being sent back to the states from which it came.  Let’s start with the Granny Starver who enabled a huge, historic deficit while preaching austerity.  Austerity is for grannies and not real estate and finance high rollers.  Bye Bye Paulie Boy!  Just remember: Proportion of Democrats who are white men will drop from 41% to 38% while Republican figure will climb from 86% to 90%”  These dudes will finally be the minority they are.

Change is gonna come.  I can see it in the bright pages of places hidden from corporate media.

Ryan’s defenders portray him as a principled legislator trapped by the coalition he managed.

“Donald Trump was president of the United States, and that circumscribed Paul Ryan’s choices,” says Brooks. “You can dispute what he did, but he got as much of the loaf as he thought he could get given the factions of his caucus and Trump’s peculiarities. Did he like being speaker of the House? The results speak for themselves: He’s leaving.”

In this telling, Ryan’s principled vision was foiled by Trump’s ascendancy. Faced with a Republican president he had never expected, and managing a restive majority that mostly agreed on being disagreeable, Ryan defaulted to the lowest common denominator of Republican Party policy: unpaid-for tax cuts for the rich, increases in defense spending, and failed attempts to repeal Obamacare.

This is more or less the defense Ryan has offered of his tenure. “I think some people would like me to start a civil war in our party and achieve nothing,” he told the New York Times. Trump had no appetite for cutting entitlements, so Ryan got what he could, and he got out.

But would it have started a civil war in the Republican Party if the most publicly anti-deficit politician of his generation had simply refused to pass laws that increased the deficit? And even if it had, isn’t that the war Ryan had promised?

The question here is not why Ryan didn’t live up to a liberal philosophy of government; it’s why he didn’t live up to his own philosophy of government.

What’s more, Trump was clearly flexible when it came to policy. On the campaign, Trump repeatedly promised he wouldn’t cut Medicaid; as president, he endorsed legislation Ryan wrote that did exactly that. After winning the election, Trump promised he’d replace Obamacare with a plan that offered “insurance for everybody” with “much lower deductibles,” but he ultimately backed Ryan’s bill to take Obamacare away from millions and push the system toward higher-deductible plans. For Ryan to claim he was not driving the policy agenda in the Trump years is ridiculous.

Ryan proved himself and his party to be exactly what the critics said: monomaniacally focused on taking health insurance from the poor, cutting taxes for the rich, and spending more on the Pentagon. And he proved that Republicans were willing to betray their promises and, in their embrace of Trump, violate basic decency to achieve those goals.

Rep.-elect Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.)

Just as we’re about to see the start of a promise of a legislative body that has the look and feel of America we see the media trying to push us right back into that old corner. Andrew O’Hehir asks a brilliant question today in Slate: “First wave of 2020 panic: Is Biden vs. Bernie really the best Democrats can do? After the sweeping, female-fueled victories of the midterms, a battle of old white dudes could spell disaster.”  Why won’t they just go away?

In case you thought the Democrats’ big win in the midterms — a pickup of 40 House seats, and counting — meant that the weirdness and bitterness of the 2016 primary was behind us, and that the party is ready to come together and banish the Twitter-troll-in-chief to the doghouse (or to prison) two years hence, you have a number of other thinks coming. Consider this: The leading contenders for the 2020 Democratic nomination, by far, are Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders.

Speaking as a friend, kind of: That should be avoided at all costs. It’s a tragicomic farce waiting to happen, one that threatens to undermine much of what the Democrats have apparently accomplished over the last two years. Both of them are profoundly decent men who have done a lot for this country. But, just, please no.

But right now we’ve got Joe and Bernie, who both look extremely likely to run and could easily end up as the principal antagonists. What in hell did we do to deserve this? I take no position on which of them is most likely to win, or even which of them should win — as Bill Moyers told me years ago, those are always the least interesting questions in politics. I do know that this could be disastrous for the Democratic Party, and not just because it opens the door for the re-election of What’s His Name. (Although that too.)

A Sanders-Biden throwdown would rip the scabs off old wounds, inflame entrenched divisions and cast the party in the worst possible light, making clear on a bunch of levels that it doesn’t know who it represents or what principles it stands for. At a moment when Democrats finally seem to be moving toward the future, this would make them appear stuck in the past.

I suspect that many political pros in and around the party feel similarly, which is why they keep trying to construct alternate scenarios that will make this one go away. So we have had the Oprah Winfrey boomlet (do you remember it fondly?), the Kirsten Gillibrand ponder, the Michael Avenatti moment, the Michael Bloomberg trial balloon, the Elizabeth Warren mini-wave and most recently Betomania, in which a guy who lost a Senate race in Texas has abruptly been inflated into the latest liberal dreamboat messiah.

Maybe lover-man Beto or one of those other people I mentioned will be elected president two years from now, and we’ll all look back and say, Of course! We should have seen it coming. But also maybe not. At the moment, Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders are starting out amid a crowded field of unknowns and semi-knowns, with huge advantages in terms of name recognition, fundraising ability and being generally liked more than the incumbent. (Which is admittedly not difficult.)

I think those two face a version of the Prisoner’s Dilemma: It would be better for the country, arguably, if both of them concluded they’d had their shots and run their races and done their part, and it was time to let a scrum of younger Democrats fight it out, with unpredictable results. But if only one of them runs, he becomes the prohibitive favorite and a central focus of media attention — and each has concluded that he’ll be damned if he lets the other guy be the hero who un-Trumps America. So we lurch toward a battle of the dinosaurs that’s a bad idea to start with, and likely to get worse.

Rep.-elect Colin Allred, D-Texas., arrives for orientation for new members of Congress, Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

I love the snark in this piece but really, do we have to do the least sensible thing to excite the country to the polls?  Haven’t we learned anything?

Politico covered some of the new Congress Critters right after Thanksgiving and I have a hankering to see something different heading off to Iowa and New Hampshire.  And, I want some action now before we face another presidential campaign season filled with MAGA Hatefests.  Can we just let these folks do something first?  And there’s a hell of a lot of them which begs the question why the focus on the new woman from NYC?  There’s plenty more that are headed east from other parts of the country.

Colin Allred: A former NFL linebacker and civil rights attorney, Allred knocked off GOP Rep. Pete Sessions, an entrenched North Texas incumbent. But Allred says there’s a lot more behind his congressional victory than just a flashy professional football résumé. “The impression that people have gotten, I think, around the country is that I was elected because I was a football player. And that’s not it,” he said. “Football is an icebreaker… but the other things that I’ve done and the story that I have growing up in North Texas is really what resonated.”

Allred told POLITICO his goal in Congress is to continue to be a moderate voice in the Democratic Caucus, even as he senses some liberal colleagues are trying to pull the group further to the left. “All of us who come from the red-to-blue districts, we are the closest to where the American people are,” he said. “We’re trying to make sure that our new members coming from safer districts and the members that are already there understand why we have the majority.”

Rep.-elect Sharice Davids, D-Mo., walks past members of the media after checking-in for orientation for new members of Congress, Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

See, there’s some life in Democrats from all over the country. Why focus on the old white dudes from Maryland and Vermont and the outspoken lady from Queens Rep-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez  who reminds my republican friends of a Democratic Sarah Palin which is not a really good thing?  I mean my cousins from Kansas City sent a nice Lesbian Native American Rep-elect Sharice Davids. Can’t we all do better?

Davids will be part of a record number of women and a historic number of female candidates of color elected to Congress. “The time for people to not be heard and not be seen and not be listened to or represented well changes now,” she saidon election night.

So far we see some movement from other Dems, but today’s headlines focused on Senator Elizabeth Warren.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren has the core of her 2020 team in place if she runs for president. She has the seed money — there’s $12.5 million ready to go, left over from her recent Senate run — and a massive email list she’s amassed over years, boosted by a $3.3 million investment in digital infrastructure and advertising in the last election alone. Her aides have been quietly shopping for presidential campaign headquarters space in the Boston area in recent weeks, according to a source with knowledge of the move.

All that’s left is for her to give the green light.

I’m not sure she’s got what it takes either but again, why not focus what these folks that are coming in can do now?  Politico has named “19 to watch” in 2019.

NEW … THE PLAYBOOK POWER LIST — “19 TO WATCH IN 2019” is up. This list features politicians, activists and operatives across the country who are positioned to play a critical role in the political landscape leading up to 2020. From the new generation reshaping the Democratic Party to the behind-the-scenes players who keep Congress moving and those with their eyes on the presidential election, these are the people to watch over the next 12 months. The full list

THE LIST (in alphabetical order): Jarrod Agen … Aimee Allison … Anne Caprara … Saikat Chakrabarti  Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) … Justin Clark … Gary Coby … Michael Dreeben  Lauren Fine  Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.)  Lisa Goeas  Drew Hammill  Patti Harris … Tish James  Brendon Plack  Angela Ramirez  Juan Rodriguez … Rep.-elect Mikie Sherrill (D-N.J.)  Rep.-elect Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.)

But what’s the agenda? Julie Wittes Schlack from NBUR believes the focus should be on legislation.

In contrast to the early and deep partisan divide in the country over health care, there is already a good deal of public agreement over some of the most crucial challenges facing us. A majority of Americans across political parties think that big money has too big an influence in government, and wants to see both greater transparency and constraints on campaign spending. A majority of Americans favor increasing the minimum wage and implementing some common-sense gun control. And though only 50 percent of Republicans believe that global warming is real (versus 90 percent of Democrats), the fact is that Americans who recognize the dangerous reality of climate change outnumber those who don’t by a ratio of 5:1.

Those four issues — voting rights and ethical leadership, a higher minimum wage, gun control and serious, radical measures to fight climate change — should comprise the muse and the mandate for the House for the next two years.

With HR1, their first planned bill of the year, the Democrats are off to a good start. This legislation calls for greater public funding of campaigns (making them more feasible for candidates who lack or don’t wish to take money from wealthy or corporate donors), requires super PACs and “dark money” organizations to reveal their contributors, requires the president to disclose his or her tax returns, strengthens the Office of Government Ethics, and most importantly, restores the Voting Rights Act and creates a new, automatic voter registration system. Will it pass in its entirety? Of course not; probably not even in pieces. But if the loud, clear, undistracted battle leads voters to question why Republicans oppose it, that may be enough to force some candidates to have an ACA-like change of heart or be voted out of office.

The Green New Deal — an audacious proposal to rapidly cut carbon emissions and move the U.S. to 100 percent reliance on clean energy in 10 years and guarantee every American a job building a sustainable food and energy infrastructure — is equally unlikely to win passage in anything resembling its current (still embryonic) form. But if educating the public and agitating for its passage succeeds only in putting the climate change deniers and fossil fuel profiteers on the defensive, that will at least create the conditions in 2020 for the kind of radical, urgent action we need to save jobs, homes, lives and, ultimately, the planet.

More suggestions at the link.

I have two notable international events to end with today. First is the Nobel Peace Prize. Both Winners came to prominence seeking justice for war rape victims Please read their compelling stories.

Denis Mukwege, a doctor who helps victims of sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Nadia Murad, a Yazidi rights activist and survivor of sexual slavery by Islamic State, are joint winners

Then, there is this news.

 

We also lost a woman who was a human Rights activist in Russia which is also not an easy place to extol Human Rights. “The extraordinary life of Lyudmila Alexeyeva. Meduza remembers a Russian human rights icon.”

The “Strategy 31” movement in 2009 belonged to Limonov’s National Bolsheviks. That year, on the 31st day of any month with so many days, a crowd of journalists would burst from the Mayakovsky subway station and descend on Triumfalnaya Square to watch the same spectacle unfold: protesters gathered to honor the Russian Constitution’s 31st article (which guarantees freedom of assembly), with some dragged into police vans, while officers shouted into megaphones: “Disperse! This is an unlawful assembly.” It was especially amusing to watch passersby, running late for a play at the next-door Moscow Satire Theater, completely perplexed by what was happening. Some of the least patient of these theatergoers also ended up in police vans.

Lyudmila Alexeyeva, “For Human Rights” head Lev Ponomarev, and several other activists then formed a temporary and enormously fragile union with Eduard Limonov, the leader of “Other Russia.” At first, they simply provided assistance to detained demonstrators, but on December 31, 2009, Alexeyeva attended the meeting in person, dressed self-deprecatingly as Snegurochka (the mythological character commonly depicted as the granddaughter and helper of Old Man Frost, whose cultural role in Russia is similar to Santa Claus in the West). She was detained and shockingly manhandled by police. “They’ll probably charge me with swearing at them,” she told me in a call that night (this time from a mobile phone), citing the grounds most often used back then to detain demonstrators. Despite the holiday celebrations, the police released Alexeyeva with blinding speed, just as the outcry from state officials around the world started pouring in.

The falling out with Limonov didn’t take long. As always, Alexeyeva and the other human rights activists sought compromises and common ground with the authorities, and eventually they found some. The “31” rallies starting winning permits, but this approach didn’t appeal to the National Bolsheviks, and so they parted ways.

 

So, I guess there are some inspirational stories out there that have nothing to do with Bernie or Biden.  Let’s aspire to make all these voices count in 2019.  Out with the old white dudes.  In with the rest of us.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?

 

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Veteran’s Day Reads

My mom and dad before dad headed over to England to join the bombing of NAZI assets

Today is usually a solemn day where we remember the sacrifice of many to our country.  Many of the men and women in this country give up their private lives and some times their lives altogether to defend the things that let our country aspire to become “a more perfect union” and to share our values of “liberty and justice for all”. Their personal sacrifices were made to make all of us better off.

We find many days in our national calendar to recognize their commitment to our country. Today is a big one. My Dad was a world war II bombardier in the US Army Air Corps.  His uncle and namesake took mustard gas in his lungs in trenches in France during World War I.  While Uncle Jack made it back home, he died quite young as the mustard gas eventually took his life.  My family has served in every war since Revolution and we were always reminded to honor our legacy.

There are so many instances of all kinds of Americans stepping up to this duty that it’s not difficult to wonder why we don’t fully step up for all of them.  Most Native Americans were not even considered citizens until 1924 but many fought in World War I. The Library of Congress has maps that show where their bodies were buried in the fields of such historic battles as Verdun.  Many lie in the places where the current Placeholder in the Oval office skipped out on a service honoring them, because, well, rain.

While searching through our collections for maps to use for display in the exhibition Echoes of the Great War: American Experiences of World War I, I found one among our uncatalogued holdings that caught my attention. As the title states, it is a map presenting the role of North American Indians in the World War. The map was published by the Office of the Adjutant General of the Army in 1925. The North American Indian in the World War map documents the places where Native Americans fought with distinction during the First World War. Furthermore, it represents part of the broader social and political fight for Native American citizenship.

The  map shows Native American participation, graves, notable battles, and military decorations awarded in France and Belgium.

The information for the map was taken from the work of Dr. Joseph Kossuth Dixon, a former Baptist preacher who became a photographer, author, and Native American rights advocate. Prior to the war, Dixon led three expeditions throughout the United States. Some of Dixon’s photographs can be found at the Library.

After World War I, Dixon traveled through Europe with the hope that documenting Native American service in the military would aid the struggle to obtain general U.S. citizenship. Forty percent of Native Americans were not citizens until 1924, though more than 12,000 served in the U.S. Army during World War I. As part of their service, many Native Americans of the 142nd Infantry, 36th Division became the nation’s first “Code Talkers.” Code Talkers sent messages encrypted in their native languages over radio, telephone, and telegraph lines which were never broken by Germany. On June 2, 1924, almost six years after the end of the war, Congress passed the Indian Citizenship Act granting citizenship to all Native Americans born in the United States.

African Americans also made a huge commitment of lives to the battlefields of World War I too which they too considered “the war to end all wars”.  We focus a lot on the stories of World War II with its Navajo Codetalkers’ vital role in helping end the war in the Pacific theatre. We also talk a lot about the Tuskegee Airmen and their role in the fight in the European theatre of WWII.  Black Americans were also present on the battle fields of WW1. This war not only shaped black lives in the countrry then, it shaped the lives of black Americans today.  Do you know about the migration of southern blacks to the factories of the north?

World War I was a transformative moment in African-American history. What began as a seemingly distant European conflict soon became an event with revolutionary implications for the social, economic, and political future of black people. The war directly impacted all African Americans, male and female, northerner and southerner, soldier and civilian. Migration, military service, racial violence, and political protest combined to make the war years one of the most dynamic periods of the African-American experience. Black people contested the boundaries of American democracy, demanded their rights as American citizens, and asserted their very humanity in ways both subtle and dramatic. Recognizing the significance of World War I is essential to developing a full understanding of modern African-American history and the struggle for black freedom.

When war erupted in Europe in August 1914, most Americans, African Americans included, saw no reason for the United States to become involved. This sentiment strengthened as war between the German-led Central Powers and the Allied nations of France, Great Britain, and Russia ground to a stalemate and the death toll increased dramatically. The black press sided with France, because of its purported commitment to racial equality, and chronicled the exploits of colonial African soldiers serving in the French army. Nevertheless, African Americans viewed the bloodshed and destruction occurring overseas as far removed from the immediacies of their everyday lives.

The war did, however, have a significant impact on African Americans, particularly the majority who lived in the South. The war years coincided with the Great Migration, one of the largest internal movements of people in American history.

Between 1914 and 1920, roughly 500,000 black southerners packed their bags and headed to the North, fundamentally transforming the social, cultural, and political landscape of cities such as Chicago, New York, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and Detroit. The Great Migration would reshape black America and the nation as a whole.

Black southerners faced a host of social, economic, and political challenges that prompted their migration to the North. The majority of black farmers labored as sharecroppers, remained in perpetual debt, and lived in dire poverty. Their condition worsened in 1915–16 as a result of a boll weevil infestation that ruined cotton crops throughout the South. These economic obstacles were made worse by social and political oppression. By the time of the war, most black people had been disfranchised, effectively stripped of their right to vote through both legal and extralegal means.

Jim Crow segregation, legitimized by the Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) Supreme Court ruling, forced black people to use separate and usually inferior facilities. The southern justice system systematically denied them equal protection under the law and condoned the practice of vigilante mob violence. As an aspiring migrant from Alabama wrote in a letter to the Chicago Defender, “[I] am in the darkness of the south and [I] am trying my best to get out.”

Wartime opportunities in the urban North gave hope to such individuals. The American industrial economy grew significantly during the war. However, the conflict also cut off European immigration and reduced the pool of available cheap labor. Unable to meet demand with existing European immigrants and white women alone, northern businesses increasingly looked to black southerners to fill the void. In turn, the prospect of higher wages and improved working conditions prompted thousands of black southerners to abandon their agricultural lives and start anew in major industrial centers. Black women remained by and large confined to domestic work, while men for the first time in significant numbers made entryways into the northern manufacturing, packinghouse, and automobile industries.

h/t to NW LUNA:

Women also played a vital role in World War1.  We all have heard of the nurses from all over struggling to save lives and provide comfort to the injured, wounded, and dying.

Aside from their mass involvement in these voluntary organizations and efforts, a key difference between women’s service during World War I and that of previous wars was the class of women involved.  Typically women who followed armies were from the working classes of society, but during the Great War, women from all classes served in many different capacities.  Upper class women were the primary founders and members of voluntary wartime organizations, particularly because they could afford to devote so much of their time and money to these efforts.  Middle- and lower-class women also participated in these organizations and drives, although they were more likely to be serving as nurses with the military or replacing men in their jobs on the home front as the men went off to war.  For the first time in American history, women from every part of the class spectrum were serving in the war in some capacity.

Another significant change to women’s service during the Great War is that American civilian women donned uniforms. The uniforms allowed women to look the part and claim credibility for their services, as well as to be taken seriously by others; many women saw their wartime service as a way to claim full citizenship, and the uniforms symbolized “their credentials as citizens engaged in wartime service.” 2

Other women donned uniforms because of their association with the military—World War I was the first time in American history in which women were officially attached to arms of the American military and government agencies.  Yeomen (F) served with the Navy and the Marine Corps, while the Army Nurse Corps was attached to the Army.  In France, 223 American women popularly known as “Hello Girls” served as long-distance switchboard operators for the U.S. Army Signal Corps.

And of course, those of us knowing the sacrfice of our military, well, we’re ashamed by these dreadful headlines this weekend: “Donald Trump jokes about ‘getting drenched’ during Armistice speech.”

‘You look so comfortable up there, under shelter,’ Donald Trump said while addressing second world war veterans at his armistice ceremony speech in Paris. ‘We are getting drenched, you’re very smart people,’ he said. The US president’s comments come a day after he cancelled a trip to a cemetery due to bad weather. Trump then went on to compliment the veterans: ‘You look like you’re in really good shape all of you. I hope I look like that someday, you look great’

And then, there’s this : “Macron reportedly asked Putin not to privately meet Trump during World War I commemorations — but they talked anyway.” Evidently, Putin ass kisisng was the Trump priority and not recoginzing the sacrfice of the millions of veterans of World War I lying dead in graveyards.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said France specifically asked him not to hold one-on-one meetings with US President Donald Trump during World War I commemorations in Paris this past weekend — but he ended up chatting with him anyway.

Putin on Sunday afternoon said he agreed to France’s request so as to “not violate” France’s planned events. “We will agree that we will not violate the schedule of the host party here: At their request, we will not organize any meetings here,” he told the Russian state-owned RT news channel, according to the state-run Interfax news agency.

Less than an hour later, however, Putin told reporters that he did end up having a brief conversation with Trump.

When asked by journalists whether he had a chance to talk to Trump, Putin said “yes,” Interfax and RT reported. According to RT, Putin added that the chat was “good.” Where and when that talk took place is unclear.

There are so many ways that KKKremlin Caligula is unfit for the job but the absolute lack of gravitas he brings to the world stage and to the rituals we set up to honor each other is perhaps the most mind boggling.  The first lady was not much better. She showed up to the somber events dressed like an 8 year old ready for an Easter Egg Hunt and other rites of spring. Her tone deaf ensembles just about take the cake.  From the “I don’t care do you?” jacket, to the colonial occupier costumes she wore to visit African nations, right to the fuck me pumps she always wears while tromping around national disaster sites, she’s got one hell of a display of really bad form.

While we wait for Mueller to dosey doe around the absolutely astounding appointment of a radical, radically unqualified Attorney General, I can only hope he’s as good as they say.  The massively good news of the weekend was the apparent call to real hearings discussed by incoming Democratic Committee Chairs.  Here’s a good list of who they are from WAPO.

I’ve picked the five that will upset the Trump family crime syndicate the most to highlight.

ADAM SCHIFF

Intelligence Committee

Schiff, 58, represents parts of Los Angeles, including Hollywood and Burbank. As the top Democrat on the intelligence panel, he has been one of Trump’s favorite foils in Congress. Schiff has repeatedly criticized the House’s Russia investigation, which his GOP colleagues conducted, saying it was inadequate.

Now Schiff will get his chance to conduct his own targeted investigation into Trump’s 2016 campaign and its ties to Russia. He has said that he wants to look at whether Russians used laundered money for transactions with the Trump Organization. He also wants more information about communications the president’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., had with his father and others about a June 2016 meeting between Trump campaign officials and a Russian lawyer.

___

ELIJAH CUMMINGS

Oversight and Government Reform Committee

Cummings, 67, will likely head the committee that could make life the toughest for the Trump White House because of its broad investigative powers.

Cummings would likely seek Trump’s business tax returns and other company-related financial records. He said he will work to make the president accountable, but will also challenge Republicans to uphold their oversight responsibilities, saying, “I think we as a body can do better.”

The Maryland Democrat, who represents parts of Baltimore city and most of Howard County, has said he would also like the committee to examine prescription drug prices and whether some states have engaged in voter suppression.

“We cannot have a country where it becomes normal to do everything in Trump’s power to stop people from voting,” Cummings said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.”

He would also seek to bring Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross before the committee to testify about the decision to include a citizenship question in the 2020 census.

___

JERROLD NADLER

Judiciary Committee

Nadler, 71, has been in Congress since 1992 and has served on the Judiciary Committee for much of that time. He represents a large swath of Trump’s hometown of New York.

He is expected to make one of his first priorities as chairman protecting special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation and requesting that Mueller’s materials are preserved in case he is fired. Nadler said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week” that Matthew Whitaker, whom Trump named acting attorney general last week, “should recuse himself” from Mueller probe because he “expressed total hostilities to the investigation” and “if necessary” the Judiciary Committee will “subpoena” him to appear before the committee

The Judiciary panel would also oversee impeachment proceedings, if Democrats decided to move in that direction. But Nadler has expressed caution about the idea, saying there would have to be “overwhelming evidence” from Mueller and some bipartisan support.

The panel is also expected to look into family separation at the border and the Trump administration’s management of the Affordable Care Act.

___

MAXINE WATERS

Financial Services Committee

Waters, 80, is expected to chair a committee with oversight of banks, insurers and investment firms. She has opposed Republican-led efforts to roll back the Dodd-Frank financial reform law and is promising colleagues that she will prioritize protecting consumers from abusive financial practices. The California lawmaker, whose district centers on south Los Angeles County, can also conduct aggressive oversight of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and steps it has taken to reduce enforcement actions against student lenders, pay-day lenders and others.

The president railed against Waters on the campaign trail this year, frequently mentioning her during his rallies. Waters accuses Republicans of serving as Trump’s “accomplices.

In other words, the cavalry is coming.  This time it includes native americans, black americans, hispanic americans, women, the glbt community.

Have a peaceful day of remembrance!

What’s in your reading and blogging list today?

 


Friday Reads: Crazy continues but January is coming

Good Morning Sky Dancers!

The nation’s overwhelmed electoral system is still delivering women to Congress and possible recounts.

 

 

45707316_1080749098770173_4246451701906669568_nRemember hanging chads?  Well, Florida is about to do it to us again for both the Senate and Gubernatorial races there.  Uncounted votes are still out there in Florida and Arizona.   This is about as good of a headline as any to start the day.  It’s from The Daily Beast and the keyboard of Will Sommer. “Republicans Freak Out as New Ballots Threaten Florida Senate Win”.

As the Republican margin in Florida’s U.S. Senate race narrowed and the contest headed toward a manual recount, everyone from elected Republicans to online conspiracy-mongers began screaming foul on Thursday night.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott, who is clinging to a roughly 34,000-vote lead over Sen. Bill Nelson (D), held a press conference at the Florida governor’s mansion in which he called on law enforcement to launch an investigation and announced that he and the National Republican Senate Committee were bringing a lawsuit against officials in Broward County, where many votes are still being counted.

In other words, the state governor used his state-funded official residence to launch legal action against his own state’s election officials about an election he was a candidate in.

That was merely the formal legal tip of the brewing Republican pushback.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) had a social media meltdown, claiming in a long series of tweets that Democratic lawyers had come to Broward to “change the results of the election.”

It’s no wonder Florida gets to be the butt of every national joke.  I mean really. Can’t they ever get elections right?  From local TV station “local 10”:  Broward County elections supervisor explains why it’s taking so long to count ballots.”

As Broward County appears to be at the epicenter of another recount, Supervisor of Elections Dr. Brenda Snipes is on the defensive about how her office has handled Tuesday’s election results.

Snipes, who has been at the helm of Broward County elections since 2003, had a testy exchange with Local 10 News investigative reporter Jeff Weinsier during an interview Thursday.

The embattled elections supervisor was surprised by reporters as she stepped out of a bathroom and asked about the status of the recount.

“Could I please get a moment to go into the room and find out?” Snipes asked the group huddled around her. “OK, when I come back I’ll let you know.”

“But, Dr. Snipes, it is now Thursday,” Weinsier said. “We are still counting ballots in Broward County.”

“We’re counting five pages or six pages for each of the people who voted,” Snipes said.

“But other counties have been able to do it,” Weinsier said.

“But other counties didn’t have 600,000 votes out there,” Snipes shot back.

“Well, Miami-Dade did,” Weinsier said.

“Well, have you been inside my — never mind, let me go check. I’ll check,” Snipes said.

“But it’s a serious issue. It always seems like…” Weinsier said before Snipes interrupted him.

“It’s a serious issue with me,” she told him. “I’ve been doing this now since Oct. 22.”

“But if it’s a serious issue with you…” Weinsier said, only to be interrupted again.

“We ran 22 sites, we ran 14 days, we ran 12 hours, we had a big vote by mail (during early voting), so don’t try to turn it around to make it seem like I’m making comedy out of this,” Snipes replied.

Then Snipes walked away.

She later confirmed that 205 provisional ballots in the county are being looked at Thursday by a canvassing board.

This isn’t the first time Snipes has come under scrutiny for her office’s seemingly mismanagement of ballots.

First Lady Michelle Obama speaks to members of the class of 2016 in her final commencement speech as first lady, Friday June 3, 2016, during commencement at CCNY in New York. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

The Tampa Bay TImes is live blogging the recount/count events.  We finally got rid of Scott Walker. Can we get rid of Rick Scott  now?

9:05 — Rick Scott is also suing Palm Beach County. Here’s the lawsuit.

9:00 — Rick Scott filed suit against Broward County Elections Supervisor Brenda Snipes over the county’s delay in completing its count of the votes from the midterm election. Scott sued as a candidate for the U.S. Senate, not in his capacity as governor of Florida.

Scott followed up by lashing out at Snipes in an extraordinary press conference at the Governor’s Mansion on Thursday night.

Broward County lags the rest of the state in completing the first, crucial phases of counting ballots from Tuesday’s midterm election. As of 8 p.m. Thursday, the same time the governor summoned reporters to the mansion, Broward County was the only one of the state’s 67 counties that had not reported to the state that it had completed its tabulation of early votes. Early voting ended Sunday in Broward.

Read the full recap of Scott’s press conference here.

8:55 — Republican House Speaker-designate Jose R. Oliva today released the following statement:

” I fully support and commend the Governor for directing FDLE to investigate. The power of the vote is only as strong as the trust in the count. With each new ballot ‘found’ that trust erodes.”

8: 46 — Andrew Gillum tweets his response to Rick Scott’s lawsuit.

Mr. @FLGovScott — counting votes isn’t partisan — it’s democracy.

Count every vote.

8:34 — Sen. Bill Nelson responded to Gov. Rick Scott’s late-night announcement through a statement from his spokesman Dan McLaughlin.

“The goal here is to see that all the votes in Florida are counted and counted accurately. Rick Scott’s action appears to be politically motivated and borne out of desperation.”

8:31 — “I am proud to be the next Senator for the great state of Florida,” Rick Scott said.

Scott ends the press conference without taking any questions.

8:30 — “Some believe this is simply rank incompetence. That is certainly true,” Rick Scott said. But it would be naive to think they are overruling the will of the voters, he adds.

Scott is asking for law enforcement to investigate immediately and he will use every legal options necessary, he said.

This race is tight and will hopefully cut into the Republican’s senate majority when finally called.

Suspense and uncertainty now hang over the supertight U.S. Senate race, which has Democrat Kyrsten Sinema and Republican candidate Martha McSally separated by just 9,610 votes, according to updated election results.

The results were updated after 5 p.m. Thursday, the first time since election night that the tallies had been substantially updated.

Sinema was leading as of 6:20 p.m. She had 932,870 votes,representing 49.10 percent of the total reported votes while McSally had 923,260 votes, or 48.59 percent. Green Party candidate Angela Green had earned 43,838.

It’s too soon to know who will ultimately prevail.

With tens of thousands of outstanding ballots, the campaign managers for both teams conveyed confidence, with each saying the remaining ballots would favor their candidate.

After Sinema’s lead widened Thursday, McSally’s campaign manager, Jim Bognet, predicted Sinema’s lead would “disappear.” In a written statement, he said outstanding ballots in Maricopa County arrived on days when early GOP turnout was higher than the votes reflected in Thursday’s results.

“With half a million ballots left to count we remain confidence that as votes continue to come in from counties across the state, Martha McSally will be elected Arizona’s next Senator,” Bognet said in the statement.

I’m peppering today’s posts with pictures of former First Lady Michelle Obama because her book is out and it’s going on my reading list.  Among the things she discusses are her trouble getting pregnant and how awful the placeholder in the oval office behaves.  She slams Trump.  This is from WAPO and the keyboard of Krissah Thompson.

The first-lady memoir is a rite of passage, but Obama’s is different by virtue of her very identity. “Becoming” takes her historic status as the first black woman to serve as first lady and melds it deftly into the American narrative. She writes of the common aspects of her story and — as the only White House resident to count an enslaved great-great-grandfather as an ancestor — of its singular sweep.

In the 426-page book, Obama lays out her complicated relationship with the political world that made her famous. But her memoir is not a Washington read full of gossip and political score-settling — though she does lay bare her deep, quaking disdain for Trump, who she believes put her family’s safety at risk with his vehement promotion of the false birther conspiracy theory.

“The whole [birther] thing was crazy and mean-spirited, of course, its underlying bigotry and xenophobia hardly concealed. But it was also dangerous, deliberately meant to stir up the wingnuts and kooks,” she writes. “What if someone with an unstable mind loaded a gun and drove to Washington? What if that person went looking for our girls? Donald Trump, with his loud and reckless innuendos, was putting my family’s safety at risk. And for this I’d never forgive him.”

It is the most direct and personal language she’s used about him. Trump reacted angrily Friday, jabbing his finger as he told reporters that “she got paid a lot of money to write a book and they always insist that you come up with controversy. Well, I’ll give you a little controversy back. I’ll never forgive him for what he did to the United States military by not funding it properly. It was depleted. . . . She talked about safety. What he did to our military made this country very unsafe for you and you and you.”

The notoriously private first lady speaks openly about a miscarriage which is a difficult conversation for any woman.  It’s perhaps another first step for a first lady who made history with a lot of firsts.

Former first lady Michelle Obama said she felt “lost and alone” after suffering a miscarriage about 20 years ago, during an exclusive interview with “Good Morning America” anchor Robin Roberts.

“I felt like I failed because I didn’t know how common miscarriages were because we don’t talk about them,” Obama said. “We sit in our own pain, thinking that somehow we’re broken.”

She added, “That’s one of the reasons why I think it’s important to talk to young mothers about the fact that miscarriages happen.”

The free press is finding reasons for the Congress to refuse to recognize Mark Whitaker’s take over of the DOJ.  I would like to say that I am a Whittaker with two ‘ts’ and it takes two ‘ts’ to get to truth and integrity.  Here’s Jonathan Swan writing for Axios.

Matt Whitaker has been acting attorney general for just one full day but he’s already under extreme pressure.

Why it matters: President Trump, who shocked even some of his senior most staff with the hasty timing of his firing of Jeff Sessions, threw Whitaker into an immediate political and legal storm. The White House expected opposition from Democrats but the blowback is widening and now includes a growing body of conservative legal opinion.

  • Within hours of his appointment on Wednesday, Congressional Democrats began calling on Whitaker, a Trump loyalist, to recuse himself from overseeing the Mueller investigation because of comments about the Mueller probe that Whitaker made last year before he became Sessions’ chief of staff.
  • Whitaker wrote last year that the Mueller investigation was dangerously close to becoming a “witch hunt,” and during a TV appearance reportedly imagined a scenario in which the “attorney general doesn’t fire Bob Mueller, but he just reduces his budget to so low that his investigation grinds to almost a halt.”
  • The N.Y. Times fronts a story by Charlie Savage, “At Justice Dept., A Boss Who Held Courts in Disdain”: Whitaker “once espoused the view that the courts ‘are supposed to be the inferior branch’ and criticized the Supreme Court’s power to review legislative and executive acts and declare them unconstitutional.”

A new problem emerged yesterday. Prominent attorneys Neal Katyal and George Conway wrote a New York Times op-ed in which they argue Trump’s appointment of Whitaker is illegal because the Constitution dictates that anyone serving in a “principal role” must be confirmed by the Senate.

  • “Conway and Katyal raise valid constitutional concerns,” said John B. Bellinger III, a partner at Arnold & Porter, who previously served as a senior White House lawyer and as the State Department Legal Adviser in the George W. Bush Administration.”
  • “The problem is not only that Mr. Whitaker does not already hold a Senate-confirmed position, it’s not even clear that he qualifies as an Executive branch ‘officer’ who may be asked by the President to assume the duties of Acting Attorney General because he was not an ‘officer’ exercising significant authority in his position as Chief of Staff.”
  • “In addition to politicizing the Department of Justice, the President is running a serious risk that any formal actions taken by Mr. Whitaker could be subject to legal challenge and declared invalid.”
  • “It would have been less controversial,” Bellinger told Axios, “and less legally risky if the President had named the Deputy Attorney General, or Solicitor General, or an Assistant Attorney General as Acting Attorney General.”

Trump’s case: There are respected lawyers arguing that Trump is well within his legal rights to appoint Whitaker as acting attorney general, as Axios’ Stef Kight and Alayna Treene report. (See their arguments.)

  • Justice Department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores emailed: “The VRA [Vacancies Reform Act] was passed in 1998 and Acting Attorney General Whitaker’s appointment was made pursuant to the procedures approved by Congress.”

Be smart: Trump likes and trusts Whitaker, and a source close to the president told Axios he could easily imagine Trump appointing Whitaker as Sessions’ permanent replacement.

  • But Whitaker’s path to Senate confirmation is filled with obstacles.

He needs to go.  Massive protests were held all over the world and the country last night.

Good news for the environment comes from the pen of a Judge. From the Hill “Judge blocks Keystone XL pipeline”  The reason is just terrific.

A federal judge blocked the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline Thursday, saying the Trump administration’s justification for approving it last year was incomplete.

In a major victory for environmentalists and indigenous rights groups, Judge Brian Morris of the District Court for the District of Montana overturned President Trump’s permit for the Canada-to-Texas pipeline, which the president signed shortly after taking office last year.

Morris’s ruling repeatedly faulted the Trump administration for reversing then-President Obama’s 2015 denial of the pipeline permit without proper explanation. He said the State Department “simply discarded” climate change concerns related to the project.

The decision once again throws into doubt the future of the 1,179-mile Keystone XL, which for much of the decade since its proposal by TransCanada Corp. has been a lightning rod in national energy policy.

The Trump administration had tried to argue that federal courts didn’t even have the right to review Trump’s approval, saying that it extended from his constitutional authority over border crossings. The court rejected that argument.

(Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

So there’s a lot out there today in this time of hourly breaking news.  We can discuss it down thread.  I’m just waiting for January and Auntie Maxine, and Nancy and Elijah and all those banging gavels right now.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


Wednesday Reads: Tank Girl Says It…Dems Got The House

We can turn this shit around!

 

Hey, I know…that is a little too positive, coming from someone like me…but even I have to grasp at some rays of hope. Yesterday, on my way to practice I took a picture of the sunset. It made me think of the future, in this way:

I said a little prayer, may this setting sun be the last of “tRumpian unaccountability”…and will tomorrow’s morning sun bring hope for our democracy.

That image of Tank Girl, it is morning…she is having tea and putting on her boots…preparing herself for the day’s ass kicking. We can turn this shit around! Let’s see what comes from winning the House?

 

Meanwhile, in Georgia:

As of 8:45 this morning, only 75,386 votes separate Kemp and Abrams…

Brian Kemp’s Lead in Georgia Needs an Asterisk – The Atlantic

The Democrat Stacey Abrams, a black woman, made a valiant effort to win the governor’s race in Georgia, one of the original 13 states, whose commitment to human bondage ensured that the U.S. Constitution would treat slavery with kid gloves. A state that was part of the Confederacy. A state scorched by Union General William Tecumseh Sherman in the Civil War. A state that refused to accept the outcome of that war, treating its black residents as second-class citizens—if that—until the federal government forced its hand, a century later, with the Voting Rights Act. She tried to write a new narrative for this state.

Although Abrams has not yet conceded, citing uncounted ballots, it looks as though the other side has won, and the narrative is the same as ever. Abrams didn’t have to fight just an electoral campaign; she had to fight a civil-rights campaign against the forces of voter suppression.

Indeed, I can’t quite bring myself to say that Abrams “lost,” because there’s an asterisk next to her Republican opponent’s victory.

Brian Kemp, who billed himself as a “Trump conservative,” refused to step aside as Georgia’s secretary of state; he ran for governor of a state while overseeing the elections in that state. Former President Jimmy Carter, a Georgian with much experience monitoring elections abroad, stressed that this conflict of interest ran “counter to the most fundamental principle of democratic elections—that the electoral process be managed by an independent and impartial election authority.”
Kemp had no intention of relinquishing a post he has held since 2010, and often wields as a weapon to cull Georgia’s electorate. He understood that he would need every trick in the book because he was up against a woman who, in addition to serving as the minority leader of the state’s House of Representatives from 2011 to 2017, founded a formidable voter-registration organization, the New Georgia Project.[…]Under Kemp, Georgia purged more than 1.5 million voters from the rolls, eliminating 10.6 percent of voters from the state’s registered electorate from 2016 to 2018 alone. The state shut down 214 polling places, the bulk of them in minority and poor neighborhoods. From 2013 to 2016 it blocked the registration of nearly 35,000 Georgians, including newly naturalized citizens. Georgia accomplished this feat of disfranchisement based on a screening process called “exact match,” meaning the state accepted new registrations only if they matched the information in state databases precisely, including hyphens in names, accents, and even typos.[…]Days before the deadline to register for the November election, the Associated Press reported that Kemp had put 53,000 applicants on hold due to exact-match problems. An analysis of Kemp’s records found that 70 percent of those applicants were black. (Georgia is roughly 32 percent black.) Separately, the Georgia chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union found that some 700 absentee-ballot applications and almost 200 absentee ballots were rejected by county officials due to a law mandating that the signatures on absentee applications and ballots visually match the signatures on file. Thus, poor penmanship was added to the list of crimes that can lead to disenfranchisement in Georgia.[…]

In the end, it looks like Kemp won. It’s impossible to know if his attempts to restrict the franchise are what pushed him over the line. But if the Georgia race had taken place in another country—say, the Republic of Georgia—U.S. media and the U.S. State Department would not have hesitated to question its legitimacy, if for no other reason than Kemp’s dual roles as candidate and election overseer. Of course, there were other reasons. As of this morning, he led by about 75,000 votes; more than 85,000 registrations were canceled through August 1 of this year alone.

Stacy Abrams is vowing not to concede until all votes are counted. I think she should demand a recount…as well.

 

 

 

This is a good thread to round up the tRump effect:

From down along this thread:

Other observations:

This piece of shit is gone:

And…

On that note, here are a few cartoons:

Blue Shadow: 11/07/2018 Cartoon by Steve Artley

Cartoon by Steve Artley - Blue Shadow

I think Boston Boomer had this in one of her post, but it is so good I have to repeat it:

Election Sticker: 11/07/2018 Cartoon by Rob Rogers

Cartoon by Rob Rogers - Election Sticker

11/06/2018 Cartoon by Signe Wilkinson

Cartoon by Signe Wilkinson -

 

 

 

I wonder what the rest of today will bring?

See you in the comments…this is an open thread.

 


Very First Votes Coming In! And it’s Kentucky first out of the gate! Election Night Live Blog!!!

Well, I voted this morning. I look about as worried as I am …

The votes in Kentucky and Indiana are beginning to be reported. The stories are all about LONG lines and wait times every where!!!

New York Times:
Long Lines and Jammed Machines Frustrate Voters in New York City

Houston Chronicle:
Long lines and machines down at multiple polling places across Houston

Associated Press:
Reports of long lines, broken machines as voters go to polls  —  ATLANTA (AP

Let’s sit back and let it roll!!!!
 

 


Monday Reads: Reclaiming my Country

Tomorrow is Voting Day and, as usual, Sky Dancers will find comfort, solace, and celebration here as we live blog what we hope is real change in America.  As you know, I’m going to trot down the old Fire Station tomorrow morning where votes were cast for every president from FDR on down to the present and hope the two ballot initiatives  I care about pass. My congressman Cedric Richmond is safe and will continue to lead the Congressional Black Caucus in through more challenging times for folks without money and power.

We have our vote. Let’s use it!

Here are some things to read about the election tomorrow.

My New Orleans Saints are at the top of the NFL having sent L.A.’s undefeated record to the trash heap.  I didn’t get to see the game since I worked, but I did hear about this ad and I’m horrified.  It aired on NBC during the Pats-Packers game,

NBC and Fox News said in separate statements on Monday that their networks will no longer air the Trump campaign’s racist anti-immigrant advertisement.

NBC was first to announce its decision, doing so after a backlash over its decision to show the 30-second spot during “Sunday Night Football.”

“After further review we recognize the insensitive nature of the ad and have decided to cease airing it across our properties as soon as possible,” a spokesperson for NBC said in a statement.

“Upon further review, Fox News pulled the ad yesterday and it will not appear on either Fox News Channel or Fox Business Network,” Marianne Gambelli, Fox News’ president of advertisement sales, told CNN in a statement.

So, how bad is it that CNN has pulled the ad followed by Facebook?

Facebook soon followed suit. “This ad violates Facebook’s advertising policy against sensational content so we are rejecting it. While the video is allowed to be posted on Facebook, it cannot receive paid distribution,” wrote a spokesperson for the company in an emailed statement.

The spokesperson said the ad violated the company’s policy against “sensational content” in advertisements. That policy prohibits “shocking, sensational, disrespectful or excessively violent content” in paid ads. “This includes dehumanizing or denigrating entire groups of people and using frightening and exaggerated rumors of danger.”

The ad, which features a convicted cop-killer who was deported multiple times before he shot and killed two California sheriff’s deputies, was released as a video by the Trump campaign last week. The spot seeks to pin the blame for those murders on immigrants generally along with Democratic policymakers who favor more lax immigration laws. Luis Brocamontes, the criminal at issue, was in fact arrested and released in 1998 by the office of then-Maricopa County sheriff Joe Arpaio, whom Trump pardoned of a misdemeanor criminal offense this year. Brocamontes last entered the country illegally during the George W. Bush administration.

“America cannot allow this invasion. The migrant caravan must be stopped,” the Trump campaign’s 30-second ad declares. “President Trump and his allies will protect our border and keep our families safe.”

Meanwhile, I’m more like the SNL skit ad.

I’m scared to death after bailing on my first Krewe of Boo parade because of visitation by the Proud boys.  The racism is just out in the open these days.

From  the New Yorker and Roger Angell: “Get Up and Go Vote!”.

Editing this piece now, before your eyes, I’d say that I like and stand behind my paean to the voting machine, whose absence I mourn each November—the pure and pearl-like oddity that so well matched the strangeness and beauty of voting. On the other hand, I could do without my hurried complaints about the massive shift of national politics from newspapers and radio onto television (the “tube,” as we called it then).

What I need to add here, in 2018, by contrast, is my reconversion from the distanced and gentlemanly 1992 Roger to something akin to the argumentative and impassioned younger me, which began with the arrival of Donald Trump in our politics and our daily lives. In a New Yorker piece posted the week before the 2016 election, I wrote that my first Presidential vote was for Franklin Delano Roosevelt, in 1944, when I was a young Air Force sergeant stationed in the Central Pacific. I went on to say that, seventy-two years later, defeating Trump made that immediate election the most important of my life. Alarmed as I was, I had no idea, of course, of the depths of the disaster that would befall us, taking away our leadership and moral standing in the world.

I am ninety-eight now, legally blind, and a pain in the ass to all my friends and much of my family with my constant rantings about the Trump debacle—his floods of lies, his racism, his abandonment of vital connections to ancient allies and critically urgent world concerns, his relentless attacks on the media, and, just lately, his arrant fearmongering about the agonizingly slow approach of a fading column of frightened Central American refugees. The not-to-mention list takes us to his scorn for the poor everywhere, his dismantling contempt for the F.B.I. and the Justice Department, and his broad ignorance and overriding failure of human response. A Democratic victory in this midterm election, in the House, at the least, will put a halt to a lot of this and prevent something much worse.

Countless friends of mine have been engaged this year in political action, but, at my age, I’m not quite up to making phone calls or ringing doorbells. But I can still vote, and I ended that 1992 piece by saying how the morning after Election Day I’d search out, in the Times, the totals in the Presidential balloting, and, “over to the right in my candidate’s column, count the millions of votes there, down to the very last number. ‘That’s me!’ ” I would whisper, “and, at the moment, perhaps feel once again the absurd conviction that that final number, the starboard digit, is something—go figure—I would still die for, if anyone cared.”

What I said I would die for I now want to live for. The quarter-century-plus since George H. W. Bush lost that election to Bill Clinton has brought a near-total change to our everyday world. Unendable wars, desperate refugee populations, a crashing climate, and a sickening flow of gun murders and massacres in schools, concert halls, churches, and temples are the abiding commonplace amid the buzz of social media, Obamacare, and #MeToo. What remains, still in place and now again before us, is voting.

Indeed, it’s our weapon of mass destruction against Trumpism if we use it.

One of the biggest question this mid term election is who is turning out?  The early voting is outstripping the totals of the entire vote totals in many states. Are young people actually voting?  What about the many women and minorities attacked by the party of Trump?  Will those white women that voted this orange abomination of a man into office repent and be saved?

THE YOUTH WAVE?: Youth turnout rates in the midterm early vote are up by 125 percent compared to 2014, according to Catalist, a voter database servicing progressive organizations — an eye-popping and historically high figure, say strategists on both the left and the right.

Young Americans ages 18 to 29 who say they are definitely voting tilt leftward, according to polls. But the data also shows young Republicans are bubbling with enthusiasm headed into tomorrow.

Here are the Catalist numbers for early voting:

Ballots Cast National — All Ages National — Under 30
2014 19,052,732 1,027,499
2016 41,014,969 4,143,982
2018 29,227,381 2,314,126
  • An “attitudinal” shift: A recent Harvard Institute of Politics poll indicated the most dramatic shift in their polling history is young people’s attitudes about whether politics makes a tangible difference in their lives. John Della Volpe, IOP’s polling director, said pollsters saw a 15-point increase post-2016.
  • Per the poll: Forty percent of 18 to 29-year-olds reported they will “definitely vote” in the midterms (54 percent of Democrats, 43 percent of Republicans and 24 percent of independents).
  • 2020 implications: Among young people polled, 59 percent said they would “never” vote for President Trump vs. 11 percent who said they’d be “sure to” vote for him.
  • Narratives vs. numbers: “Almost all of the data I’ve seen from the last two Harvard polls indicate a significant increase in enthusiasm, interest and likelihood of voting for people under 30 — so the data has been consistent but the narrative inconsistent,” Della Volpe told us. “The high-water mark going back 32 years is only 21 percent of young people turning out and participating in a midterm election.”
  • ‘A big boost’: “The media expectation before AVEV (Absentee Voting/Early Voting) started, based on survey responses about enthusiasm, was that young people would not be a factor again,” a Democratic strategist told Power Up. “Clearly, they’re going to be, especially if those voting are as Democratic as they survey. It’s a big boost for Democrats’ hopes.”
  • GOP pollster: Chris Wilson, the CEO of WPA Intelligence, told us he thought it was a “bit too much” to call the turnout “historic.” But he said the electorate is looking younger “than both the 2016 and 2014 general elections. “Voters under 25 are outpacing their vote share from both the 2016 and 2014 general. Proportionately it’s not enough to make a huge difference, but it’s more,” Wilson said.

In Georgia, Kemp is acting desperate and is liking calling on the FBI as a campaign stunt.

This is really unbelievable. Kemp is charging the Georgia Democratic Party with hacking the Georgia voter data base. I have a feeling it’s all about him not believing the majority of Georgia does not appear to want him as Governor and all his suppression activities are still not pulling his cupcakes out of the oven.

Kemp’s office said Sunday that it had alerted the Department of Homeland Security and Federal Bureau of Investigation, but did not provide details about the alleged hacking attempt in its press release.

“While we cannot comment on the specifics of an ongoing investigation, I can confirm that the Democratic Party of Georgia is under investigation for possible cyber crimes,” Candice Broce, Kemp’s press secretary, said in a statement. “We can also confirm that no personal data was breached and our system remains secure.”

Representatives for both Kemp’s office and the Department of Homeland Security did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The Democratic Party of Georgia vehemently denied the accusation in a statement on Sunday, calling the probe “yet another example of abuse of power by an unethical Secretary of State.”

“To be very clear, Brian Kemp’s scurrilous claims are 100 percent false, and this so-called investigation was unknown to the Democratic Party of Georgia until a campaign operative in Kemp’s official office released a statement this morning,” Rebecca DeHart, executive director of the Democratic Party of Georgia, said in a statement.

Hackers have been active in the election but it’s certainly the usual suspects despite the Kemp ploy for panic.

Hackers have ramped up their efforts to meddle with the country’s election infrastructure in the weeks leading up to Tuesday’s midterms, sparking a raft of investigations into election interference, internal intelligence documents show.

The hackers have targeted voter registration databases, election officials, and networks across the country, from counties in the Southwest to a city government in the Midwest, according to Department of Homeland Security election threat reports reviewed by the Globe. The agency says publicly all the recent attempts have been prevented or mitigated, but internal documents show hackers have had “limited success.”

The U.S. Justice Department said Monday it will monitor compliance with federal voting right laws by deploying personnel to 19 states, including Iowa, for Tuesday’s general election.

Federal personnel will be sent to northwest Iowa’s Buena Vista County, which has a large population of immigrants employed in agriculture and the meat packing industry in the Storm Lake area.

Buena Vista County is among 35 jurisdictions in those 19 states which will be monitored for compliance with federal voting laws, and it is the only jurisdiction targeted in Iowa, according to the Justice Department.

Buena Vista County is within Iowa’s 4th Congressional District, where U.S. Rep. Steve King, R-Kiron, who has repeatedly made inflammatory statements about immigration, is being challenged by Democrat J.D. Scholten of Sioux City.

There are about 20,000 people in Buena Vista County. About 26 percent are identified as Hispanic or Latino, 9 percent Asian, 3 percent black or African-American, more than 1 percent native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander, and more than 1 percent two or more races, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Many of the immigrants are not native English speakers.

Oh, look,the world’s oldest living confederate widow is going to protect minority voters’ rights!  Feeling better?  Yeah,  I trust him about as much as I trust Kobach to protect minority voters’ rights in Kansas.  How’s this headline from The Guardian?  “Trump ally Kris Kobach accepted donations from white nationalists”.

The Republican candidate for governor of Kansas, Kris Kobach, who has close ties to the Trump administration, has accepted financial donations from white nationalist sympathizers and has for more than a decade been affiliated with groups espousing white supremacist views.

Recent financial disclosures show that Kobach, a driving force behind dozens of proposals across the US designed to suppress minority voting and immigrant rights, has accepted thousands of dollars from white nationalists. Donors include a former official in the Trump administration who was forced to resign from the Department of Homeland Security this year after emails showed he had close ties to white supremacists and once engaged in an email exchange about a dinner party invitation that was described as “Judenfrei”, or free of Jews.

Currently the Kansas secretary of state, Kobach is running in a tight raceagainst the Democrat Laura Kelly. The election has drawn the concern of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), after the single polling place located in Dodge City was moved outside the town, in what some claimed to be an attempt to suppress the Hispanic vote.

How can any normal person trust a party that has some deep roots to Hate Groups? The White Flight parish next door to me will undoubtedly return Steve “I’m David Duke without the baggage” to his leadership position in the Republican House.  Let’s just make sure he’s kept as far away from the speaker’s job as possible.

So, I’ll be here tomorrow night!!! Join us!!

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


Sunday Reads: Guess Who?

Actor Max Schreck, of Nosferatu fame….

Yeah…this guy:


Today’s post is complemented with images of famous people when they were young…some may surprise you…others will not. I hope you enjoy the show.

Earlier this week, Pence came to Georgia. One of my fellow Roller Girls showed up to protest:

View this post on Instagram

Brittany Martin from News Channel 9 talked to me at the Pence/Kemp rally in Dalton yesterday. There's a short clip of me saying a few words. Ill put the link in my bio. Pardon my look, I was standing in the rain. #fucktrump #fuckpence #fuckkemp #makeracistsashamedagain #protest #makechange #VoteStaceyAbrams #staceyabramsforgovernor #wewillnotbesilenced #metoomovement #impeachtrump

A post shared by Abby (@lovelyfatbabe) on

I am so proud of Pixie! It takes guts to stand there, by yourself…and she did get harassed by tRump supporters. Video clip of her interview with the local news station at this link.

Channel 9 Lone Protestor Outside Rally

One thing about the WFTDA (Women’s Flat Track Derby Association), they are proactive when it comes to issues and politics that strike out at causes and the culture Roller Derby stands up for…for instance:

The Women’s Flat Track Derby Association Condemns Discriminatory Policy in the US – WFTDA

In recent days, the United States executive branch has suggested federal policy changes may be coming that would significantly harm transgender, nonbinary, genderqueer, intersex, and other gender nonconforming members of our communities. As the governing body for the sport of roller derby, the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) denounces these proposed changes, which would be in direct opposition to the inclusive spirit of our roller derby community. We ask other sports governing bodies, amateur and professional, as well as organizations and individuals who recognize the value of inclusivity in sport to join us in pushing back on these discriminatory policies.

As a nonprofit proudly based in Austin, Texas, the WFTDA is saddened to hear of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ interest in defining gender as a biological condition. In the eyes of the WFTDA, this is an attack on our core values as an organization.

In 1972, Title IX was introduced as part of the U.S. Education Amendments, to end “discrimination on the basis of sex.” Title IX specifically offered protections and space for women in amateur sports, addressing the collegiate system directly. In recent years, the NCAA has taken steps to begin extending these protections to transgender athletes wishing to compete at the highest level in their chosen sports, pushing Title IX to end discrimination not just on the basis of assigned sex, but also on the basis of gender expression and transgender status.

The WFTDA has also worked throughout its existence to re-evaluate its own gender policies and create its current gender statement, at the encouragement of the WFTDA community as well as our colleagues in the Junior Roller Derby Association, the Men’s Roller Derby Association, and other organizations that have contributed significantly to gender-expansive competition. Together, we recognize that a commitment to inclusivity makes our sport brighter and more competitive. Diversity adds complexity and nuance that would not otherwise exist on eight wheels. It’s our collective obligation to advocate for the human rights of our membership — especially those who have historically faced disproportionately larger barriers to inclusion.

Please, go to the link to read the rest of the statement. There is a lot more there to chew on.

As you can also see, they encourage their teams to participate in the political discussion:

Arizona Roller Derby Announces the New Names of its International Travel Teams – Arizona Roller Derby

In 2004, AZRD agreed to play the Texas Rollergirls (TXRG) in the first interstate-bout of the modern era. As part of creating its first All-Star team, AZRD members selected the name Tent City Terrors, a satirical political statement in reference to Arizona’s notorious outdoor jail. Many of the skaters on the original team selected a second identity separate from that of their home team, such as “Sheriff Shutyerpaio”. When it was formed, it was unclear when or how many more games the team would play; at the time, there was no flat track organization nor rule set. Still, the name and uniform stuck through the first national tournament held in 2006, and has been used by the team since.

Yeah, a team name…plus derby player’s names to make a political statement. Check out a few other examples below:

Here are a few more links on politics and WFTDA and Roller Derby this:

A few articles on gender issues and concentrating on Derby as an LGBTQ inclusive sport.

WFTDA Gender Statement – WFTDA

Making Inclusivity Happen in Roller Derby – The Apex

The WFTDA Challenges ESPN to Improve Their Relationship with Non – NBC2 News

Roller derby is mashing up gender norms in sport – here’s how

Roller Derby and promoting the Indigenous Community:

Celebrating Indigenous Culture and Community in Roller Derby – WFTDA

Team Indigenous Talks Politics – WiSP Sports | conversations from the world of women’s sports-‘MICK SWAGGER’ AND ‘JUMPY MCGEE’ DISCUSS HOT TOPICS AND THE POLITICS OF TEAM INDIGENOUS AND THE WFTDA

Here is a statement back when tRump issued the fucking Muslim travel ban:

WFTDA Issues Statement Against US Travel Ban – WFTDA

It really makes me proud to be a part of the North Georgia Roller Girls ….which is a WFTDA team associated with Peach State Roller Derby; with the WFTDA backing us, we should stand up for the causes that are a part of the movement that is Women’s Flat Track Roller Derby…it is wonderful to see women like Abby/Pixie embracing the Culture of WFTDA. I applaud her efforts. Brava!

As for the NGRG…we start playing our official first games in March of 2019, so I will definitely keep you all up to date with that nugget of derby news from time to time.

Oh, yeah…more young celebrity pictures:

Milton Berle

Kate Winslet

So back to the shit storm that is tRump.

This little Nazi Youth is none other than tRump himself.

Trump’s attack on birthright citizenship betrays his ignorance – and his weakness | Corey Brettschneider | Opinion | The Guardian

The 14th amendment to the constitution confirms that all Americans are born equal. One immigrant-hating lover of dictators cannot change that with a simple stroke of his pen

In an interview that will air in full on Sunday, Donald Trump reveals that he wants to end birthright citizenship through executive order. But he doesn’t have that power. An executive order cannot reverse the guarantee of citizenship to anyone born in the United States that is enshrined in the constitution.

After the civil war, Congress sought to grant full citizenship to African Americans, who had been denied it under the Dred Scottsupreme court decision. Yet when it passed the 14th amendment in 1868, Congress went further. It wrote a rule making it clear that any person, regardless of ethnicity or national origin, had a right to citizenship upon being born in the US.

The relevant portion of the 14th amendment reads: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.” The phrase about jurisdiction was meant to exclude the children of ambassadors and tribal Native Americans, who until 1924 were regarded as citizens of separate sovereign nations.

These words about birthright citizenship reflect the wider values of the 14th amendment, which also guarantees “equal protection of the laws” for all persons. Together with the constitution’s ban on royal titles in Article I, Section 9, the document stands for the idea that the US does not condone hereditary hierarchy – or any legal distinction based on birth or parentage, ideas associated with aristocratic societies. In the US, everyone starts on the same plane.

I also think this is yet another form of tRumpian white nationalist intimidation. Considering the past 2013 Scalia Supreme Court decision which removed the Voting Rights portion of Civil Rights Act of 1964. (Remember the Civil Rights Act will again be revisited soon enough.)

This way of sending these outright threats goes far to back the claims of fascism that Boston Boomer discuss in her post from yesterday.

But back to the the op/ed up top. It goes on to discuss the first case that came before the SCOTUS, in 1898… United States v Wong Kim Ark. Please read the rest to learn more…

I’m going to stick with the Guardian for the next few links, I think it will give us a good look from a different perspective.

Julia Roberts

‘This is Georgia’: hate, hope and history in election that shows the clash of two Americas | US news | The Guardian

Hey, what a fucking surprise. Georgia’s election shit is making news over in the UK!

“The consequences of any of us staying home really are profound because America’s at a crossroads,” he warned. “The healthcare of millions of people is on the ballot. Making sure working families get a fair shake is on the ballot. But maybe most of all, the character of our country is on the ballot.”

It was not meant to be like this. America’s first black president hoped to steer the nation on an upward trajectory. Then came Donald Trump, a man endorsed by white supremacists and the breathing embodiment of everything Obama is not. On Tuesday, these two radically opposing visions of “the character of our country” will collide at the ballot box. Georgia is ground zero.

I live in ground zero. I know the crap first hand. Ugh.

From Seinfeld to bagels, it was always easy to be a Jew in America. What changed? | Hadley Freeman | News | The Guardian by Hadley Freeman.

Recently a clutch of American relatives came to visit me in London. I don’t get to see my extended family so much these days, but thanks to the internet they see me all the time, reading my articles and sending messages so supportive they occasionally reject English as insufficiently adoring and opt for Yiddish (“I’m kvelling!”). They ask me about the different things I’ve been writing about: celebrities, feminism, and so on. But when they made the transatlantic trip this time there was a rare consensus: they all wanted to talk about the rise of antisemitism in Europe.

What is going on? It’s just crazy!” one uncle said to me after I wrote about protesting against antisemitism in British politics. We discussed the rise in verbal and physical attacks on Jews in the UK, the election of Viktor Orbán in Hungary, the Law and Justice party in Poland. He was especially horrified by the murder of 85-year-old Holocaust survivor Mireille Knoll in Paris. “It is just unimaginable,” my cousin said.

Marlene Dietrich

Dietrich was one of many German born actors/entertainers who spoke out and actively campaigned against Hitler during WWII.

‘Vaya con Dios:’ the impossible life of an immigration judge at the US border | US news | The Guardian

Robert Brack, who at one point had the heaviest caseload of any federal judge in the US, pleads for justice for the immigrants he sees every day

One more link for today’s post…

Jon Stewart is right: How long will the media continue to play Trump’s game?

A fleeting moment within the teaser for Axios’s interview with Donald Trump, the centerpiece of Sunday’s “Axios on HBO,” tells all you need to know about how the president truly feels about his relationship to the media.

Moments after Jim VandeHei admits to Trump that his “enemy of the people” rhetoric scares the hell out of him, the reporter (and co-founder of the media site) tells the president, “You are, like, the most powerful man in the world.”

Reflexively Trump looks off-camera and grins, briefly, his face flush with what appears to be self-satisfaction. There was concentrated smugness in that expression, tinged with a pugilist’s cruelty.

In that scene, VandeHei points out the extreme irresponsibility of any leader of the free world using his position and platform to vilify an entire class of people, and using that rhetoric to stoke the emotions of the people who constitute his base.

Ever the attention-hungry reality show star, Trump softly replies, “They like me more because of it,” calling his dangerous hyperbolic term the only way he can fight back. That satisfied grin says he knows he’s winning.

Axios on HBO,” premiering Sunday at 6:30 p.m., is one of many specials the news site will run on the premium cable channel as part of a partnership. HBO has been steadily expanding its news and information footprint. And that in itself indicates how malleable our concept of news has become under Trump’s administration.

This is the interview where tRump announces he is going to snap his fingers…click his heels and poof, no more “14th Amendment.”

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So what are you finding today as we count down to Tuesday’s election?

This is an open thread.