Five Questions Regarding Governor Northam (D-VA)

I’m not here to pick a fight with BettyC, but I have some questions regarding this breaking news about Governor Northam. This isn’t a defense of him, of the picture in the yearbook, but I have some questions that are concerning me.

1) Is that him in that picture, if not who is it, and/or is it something that was put on his page by the yearbook staff?

2) Why didn’t his own in house oppo team turn this up when doing their own pre candidacy oppo review.

3) Why didn’t Perriello’s or Gardner’s oppo teams turn this up?

4) Is this in any other copies of the yearbook?

5) Who tipped off Big League Politics?

6) If this is him, when is he resigning?

I’m especially interested in questions 2, 3, 4, and 5. Every candidate or, really, potential candidate has their opposition research team (oppo) do as deep a dive as can be done on themselves to ensure there are no gotcha surprises either during the campaign or, should the candidate be successful, once in office. Governor Northam has held elected office for twelve years. So why didn’t his own internal oppo review, let alone the oppo researchers working for Tom Perriello or Corey Gardner, his Democratic primary opponent and Republican general election opponent respectively, find this? Given that Gardner ran on a fusion neo-Confederate/Trumpist platform, you’d think his team would have been looking for anything to help immunize him against the accurate charges being made about his own character. Moreover, why didn’t the oppo researchers of any of Northam’s other opponents ever find this starting with his first run for office in 2007?

I’d also like to know if there are any other copies of this yearbook that have survived until 2019. And, if so, is this picture on his page in these other copies. Or did either the person who tipped off Big League Politics or someone at Big League Politics doctor the copy that The Virginia Pilot and The Washington Post are reporting on? And that leads to the question of who the person was who tipped off Big League Politics?

I’m not in any way suggesting this isn’t bad. Nor that if it turns out that this is, indeed, Northam’s page and that is Northam in the picture, either in black face or in the Klan outfit, he should try to brazen this out. If he’s either of the two men in the picture, he’s got to go. But I find the timing curious, given the past 48 hours where Republican officials, elites and notables within the conservative movement that controls the Republican Party, and conservative news and other conservative media outlets have attempted to paint Northam as a baby killer, proponent and supporter of infanticide. Since that largely hasn’t worked, I find it interesting that this would drop right now. Especially as it isn’t going to bring a Republican into the Virginia governor’s mansion. Rather, Northam would be back filled by Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax. Who is more progressive, is African-American, and isn’t having any of the Virginia GOP’s neo-Confederate bullshit.

Updated at 6:30 PM EDT

Here’s Northam’s statement. So that answers question #1 and makes question #4 moot. It’ll be interesting to see if he can survive this or if he eventually resigns.

Update 2 at 11:00 PM EDT

I expect he’ll be resigning tomorrow morning.

Open thread!








But Seriously: Mitch McConnell Is A Monster

And it’s getting more widely noticed…

Charlie Pierce:

There simply is no more loathsome creature walking the political landscape than the Majority Leader of the United States Senate. You have to go back to McCarthy or McCarran to find a Senate leader who did so much damage to democratic norms and principles than this yokel from Kentucky. Trump is bad enough, but he’s just a jumped-up real-estate crook who’s in over his head. McConnell is a career politician who knows full well what he’s doing to democratic government and is doing it anyway because it gives him power, and it gives the rest of us a wingnut federal judiciary for the next 30 years. There is nothing that this president* can do that threatens McConnell’s power as much as it threatens the survival of the republic, and that’s where we are.
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Criminalizing Kindness

We are governed by monsters:

The Trump administration has arrested 170 undocumented immigrants who came forward to try to take migrant children out of government custody, federal officials said Monday. More than 100 of those arrested had no criminal record.

This is pure Trump/Sessions cruelty-as-policy:

The arrests follow a move by President Donald Trump’s administration earlier this year that allowed immigration authorities to examine the criminal background and legal status of anyone who steps forward to sponsor unaccompanied migrant children — usually parents or close relatives already in the U.S. — as well as any other adults living in their home.

That rule allowed ICE to collect biometric data, including fingerprints, of the sponsors as well as other adults in the home.

The obvious consequences of this move are two-fold.  For one:

Advocates for migrant children argue that increased background checks and arrests will scare away potential sponsors, resulting in more children being stuck in long-term federal custody while they seek legal permission to stay in the U.S. An adult’s immigration status is irrelevant to whether a home is safe for a child, and a child’s welfare should be the only focus of such background checks, advocates argue.

My only quibble with Tal Kopan’s writing above is that, while I get while the conventions of journalism dictate this kind of attribution, it’s not just advocates who argue that the threat of arrest scares people away from taking a given action…pretty much everyone gets the point here.

In any event, terrorizing would be loving care-takers of these unaccompanied kids has an immedate corollary: they will be — I won’t say cared-for, but warehoused by a government and an agency actively, intentionally, purposefully, unable to do a good job of it:

Children’s advocates fear that conditions for migrant youths could worsen as the number in federal custody grows. The Health and Human Services care system was intended to be a bridge for often traumatized children into a more stable home while they sought legal status in the U.S. Advocates fear the administration is treating it like a penal system.

The increase has been beyond what the network of shelters across the country can accommodate.

Again, the word “fear” might be more accurately replaced by “expect” or “are documenting”…but the point is clear enough.

To recap: the US government holds children they cannot care for — in some, perhaps many cases, kids that our border polizei stole from their parents.  They actively seek out members of the public who can care for these kids — who need not just food and shelter and affection, but schooling and all the daily life of growing up, almost all of which a US internment camp (never call it a Kinder Konzentrationslager) can provide.  Then they destroy dozens more families by arresting those willing to extend their household and family to include a child in need.

Donald Trump — but more, everyone in the Republican Party who does not recoil in horror from this depravity — are moral monsters.  And that is, for now, every nationally elected member of the GOP.  The Republicans run the House (for a couple of weeks more) and the Senate…they could say that no, this is a step too far.  They have not.  They are complicit; accessories and co-conspirators.

I am not a Christian, but I know that a great many are among those who have designed, implemented and provided the political cover for this evil.  I know that the Republican Party as a whole parades its Christian virtue as both its essential character and as the only legitimate source of moral value available to any American.

And to them — all of them, from Dear Hairpiece on down — I say y’all best hope that the afterlife you declare you believe in ain’t real. For I give you Jesus himself, telling you where your sorry asses will end up:

41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:

42 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:

43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.

44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?

45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.

46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment… 

Adriaen van der Werffe, The flight into Egypt, 1710.








Just another manic Wednesday

Open Thread

Update 1



And now for some depressing news

Two new reports came out. Both are depressing.

First, lifespans in the US continue to decrease. The big drivers are suicides and drug overdoses.

Secondly, fewer kids were insured in 2017 than in 2016.

I anticipate that 2018 and 2019 numbers will see fewer kids insured than 2017. Public charge rules and more complicated paperwork barriers to Medicaid and CHIP will lead to enrollment drop-offs from public programs.

These are outcomes of choices that we make.