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?