Wednesday Morning Open Thread: Excellent Choice, Ms. Abrams!

Per the Washington Post:

Abrams, speaking at the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades in Las Vegas, announced a 20-state voter protection initiative, using her experience challenging voting laws during her gubernatorial campaign last year in Georgia, which included widespread irregularities.

“We’re going to have a fair fight in 2020 because my mission is to make certain that no one has to go through in 2020 what we went through in 2018,” Abrams said…

The effort, expected to cost between $4 million and $5 million, will target 20 states, most of them battlegrounds in the Midwest and Southeast, and three states with gubernatorial elections this year: Kentucky, Louisiana and Mississippi…

In past election cycles, campaigns and state parties tended to wait until the start of general election campaigning to put together voter protection programs, which were often dismantled after elections. But with ongoing efforts by Republican state lawmakers to pass more restrictive voting laws, Groh-Wargo said, it was important that Democrats start working now to be ready to help voters navigate potential hurdles. Similarly, some states, such as Michigan and Nevada, have recently passed laws to expand access to voting, and party leaders and activists in those states need to make sure voters can take advantage of the changes…

The majority of the program will be run by Fair Fight PAC. Depending on the campaign finance laws of individual states, Fair Fight will make direct cash donations or will help groups raise money to hire staff, set up voter hotlines and develop public information campaigns…

Read the whole thing — it’s really uplifting!


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Naming & Shaming Open Thread: Even Trump’s Supporters Find the Association Embarrassing

[Fanfare: Flugelhorns & Euphoniums]

Rep. Joaquin Castro — he’s the twin brother of Julian Castro — tweeted out a campaign add that featured a list including the names and occupations of people in his San Antonio congressional district who had given the legal maximum to the Trump re-election campaign in 2019 (This is of course public information, which anybody can look up, and I encourage you to do so).

Naturally this elicited shrieks of outrage from the Republican party establishment that simply publicizing the fact that people are in 2019 donating money to a white supremacist who inspires his followers to murder Hispanics like Castro himself was also a form of “inciting violence against private citizens” because [step in argument missing]….

If you are giving Trump money at this point you are a garbage person, who should be named, shamed, and shunned. I think it’s an excellent idea to publicize the names of people who are donating to Trump, in order to boycott their businesses, while exercising the core First Amendment right to let everyone know that Trump supporters are, individually and collectively, garbage people who should be ostracized by any and every decent human being…

But SERIOUSLY:


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Sunday Evening Open Thread: I’m Not Feeling Much Pity

“Tripped”:

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) was briefly hospitalized after suffering a fractured shoulder from a fall outside his home in Louisville on Sunday, his office said in a statement.

“This morning, Leader McConnell tripped at home on his outside patio and suffered a fractured shoulder. He has been treated, released, and is working from home in Louisville,” McConnell spokesman David Popp said in a statement.

McConnell was in touch with Sens. John Cornyn (R-Tex.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) on Sunday “to express his deepest sympathies for the people of El Paso and Dayton and discuss the senseless tragedies of this weekend,” the statement said…

McConnell, 77, is running for a seventh term in the Senate next year.

Not sure a doctor’s note is gonna be enough to let him escape this time:

A growing number of Democrats are calling on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to cancel the chamber’s August recess so that they can take up gun control legislation in the wake of two mass shootings this weekend.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., called on the Republican leader to end the chamber’s break to vote on a universal background check bill after the two shootings — one in Dayton, Ohio, and another in El Paso, Texas — left at least 29 dead and 53 injured in a matter of just 13 hours. The Senate is currently in recess until September.

The bill Schumer is referencing, H.R.8 or the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019, would create new background check requirements for gun transfers between unlicensed individuals. It passed the Democrat-controlled House in February 240-190, with two members not voting…

Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, made the same plea in a tweet on Sunday.

“Thoughts and prayers are not enough. We must act. Mitch McConnell please call the Senate back to work tomorrow and let us vote on gun-safety laws,” he tweeted. He also told CBS’ “Face The Nation” that “the president needs to sign this bill.”…

[Last remaining black GOP congressman]Tim Scott, R-S.C., told “Face The Nation” on Sunday that he willing to come back to the Senate to work on gun safety measures.

“I’d do it tonight, I’d leave tonight, I’ll go tomorrow. It doesn’t matter to me, this is such an important issue and an issue that we sometimes only get part of the picture because of the mass shootings,” he said…

“If we have anything to pass along, we will,” McConnell spokesman David Popp told NBC News when asked if there were any plans to come back into session during the five-week August recess.








Late Night Open Thread: The GOP Children Are Our Futures!

At least, to paraphrase Dave Barry, we old people are guaranteed jobs for life, because the Young Repubs keep stapling their hands to their mouse pads…

Following a 12-minute video illustrating Trump’s rise to the presidency, music blared as the president’s name flashed across a giant screen in a bold shade of red. Trump took the stage and soaked in the raucous cheers from hundreds of young supporters packed inside the Marriott Marquis in Washington.

Charlie Kirk, Turning Point’s outspoken founder and executive director, was on his left. But the image on the screen to Trump’s right — captured in dozens of photos and videos from the event — is less familiar.

The image almost resembles the official seal of the president; but a closer examination reveals alterations that seem to poke fun at the president’s golfing penchant and accusations that he has ties to Russia. Neither the White House nor Turning Point know how it got there or who created it.

The eagle has two heads instead of one — a symbol historically tied to empire and dominance. It closely resembles the bird on the Russian coat of arms, and also appears on the flags of Serbia, Albania and Montenegro. Its left talons, rather than clasping 13 arrows, appear to clutch a set of golf clubs.

(Also, it looks like the eagle is clutching a wad of cash in the talons of its right foot.)

According to Turning Point, the audio/visual team helped create and coordinate the graphics, images and videos displayed at Tuesday’s event — including the official seal shown behind Trump’s flashing name on the screen.

The Turning Point spokesman said the team was made up of staff from his organization and from the hotel. On Wednesday evening, he was still working to determine who, exactly, was responsible…

Employees at the Marriott Marquis say the hotel generally does not furnish images or video for groups hosting events there. The venue only provides the space and the technology, such as televisions and projectors. The hotel’s event manager who helped coordinate the summit did not return multiple phone messages requesting comment Wednesday.

An online search for the same image yielded no matching results…








Open Thread: Barney Frank Should Live A Thousand Years

[For the record: I had this in draft *before* BettyC’s last post.]

In the New Yorker, Isaac Chotiner — who is usually smarter than this — get his lunch handed to him: “Barney Frank Defends Nancy Pelosi from Her Critics“:

To discuss the state of the Democratic Party, and Pelosi’s leadership, I spoke by phone on Monday with Barney Frank, the former congressman, who represented his district in Massachusetts for more than three decades in the House before retiring, in 2013. He is best known for his outspokenness and his role in crafting the eponymous Dodd-Frank Act, which sought to regulate the financial industry after the crash last decade. During our conversation, which has been edited for length and clarity, we discussed why he thinks the criticism of Pelosi is unfair, whether there is a divide in the Democratic Party, and his belief that this dispute is not really a generational one.

What have you made of the internal split between Pelosi and some of her members?

I’m disappointed by it. I think the first thing to say is that it is not nearly as big a split as people think. They are a fraction, a splinter. The overwhelming majority of the Democrats agree with [Pelosi]. Frankly, I think there is a conspiracy among Ocasio-Cortez, the media, and the Republican Party to make her look much more influential than she is. Every time I debate a Republican, they want to talk about them. And I think, in fact, that there is not such a big splinter. There have always been, on the Democratic side—Howard Dean, etc.—people who are very passionate and are frustrated because reality isn’t as pliable as they wish. They are people who I think make the fundamental mistake—I often agree with them on substance—but they make the fundamental mistake of thinking the general public is much more in agreement with them than it is, and forget about or just reject the notion of trying to figure out how to get things done.

I agree with you that Ocasio-Cortez represents a minority of the Party, even though I think she is probably fairly similar on politics to [Bernie] Sanders and [Elizabeth] Warren, who I think combined make up a somewhat—

No, here’s the fundamental difference. I said I agree with a lot of them on substance. The issue is not substance. I have worked very closely with Elizabeth Warren. The fundamental difference is that these people—certainly Ocasio-Cortez—they appear to think that the majority is ready to adopt what they want, and it’s a strategic and tactical difference.

Elizabeth Warren would never have had a sit-in protesting Nancy Pelosi. It’s a matter of how you go about things. It is their view that the only reason that their platform isn’t being adopted is the political timidity, maybe the malign influence of money. The notion that there is significant political opposition among many people, including maybe a majority on some issues, they disregard that and denounce other Democrats, saying they don’t have the courage. It’s not the courage. We don’t have the votes sometimes. Sanders did that a little bit more. Elizabeth never does that…

I understand not wanting to do impeachment, even if you think the President deserves to be impeached. I understand—

By the way, two-thirds of the House Democrats agree with [Pelosi].
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