Thursday Morning Open Thread: Ratify the ERA

Back at the end of May, Illinois became the thirty-seventh state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. (Thirty-eight states are required for ratification.) Even though I didn’t post about it at the time, events of the past few weeks have confirmed my conviction that embedding the ERA in the Constitution is one of our best weapons against the creeping authoritarianism of the revanchist GOP and its dishonest brokers in all three branches of government. And I’m not alone!

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in 2014 remarks at the National Press Club said if she could choose any amendment to add to the US Constitution, it would be the Equal Rights Amendment. “I think we have achieved that through legislation, but legislation can be repealed, it can be altered,” Ginsburg continued. “So I would like my granddaughters, when they pick up the Constitution, to see that notion — that women and men are persons of equal stature — I’d like them to see that is a basic principle of our society.”

It will probably not come as a surprise that the states which have so far failed to ratify are those of the Confederacy, plus Utah and Arizona. That doesn’t mean any of these states are unflippable, not even Arkansas (hello, Senator Doug Jones) or Georgia. The original 1970s impetus to revive the ERA — which, it should be remembered, was first proposed in 1923 — was vitiated by a series of state-level legal and social changes. But Anthony Kennedy’s retirement, and the Reichtwing jubilation greeting the Oval Office Occupant’s chance to steal another seat on the Supreme Court, make it clear that the ERA is every bit as essential to our continued existence as a free nation as the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments. Without protection at the highest level, our rights to equal protection will never be more than provisional.



Thursday Morning Open Thread: The Joyful Battle

Bobby Kennedy was neither a plaster saint nor the potential savior-president that some have fantasized about since his assassination. But he surely did leave a legacy worth preserving!

(Although, given the political climate fifty years ago, I suspect he’d be astonished that a Cuban-American activist might be a “leftist”, like him. Things do change, sometimes for the better.)

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Alain has scheduled today’s “On the Road” post for 9am EDT, so I’ll share some more snippets from Tuesday’s primaries…


Read more



Tuesday Morning Open Thread: Keep Fighting (It’s Worth It)

The first planks of the “A Better Deal” platform, released last year, focused on the party’s economic agenda. Now, with questions about pay-to-play politics swirling around President Trump and his current and former aides, Democrats introduced new anti-corruption proposals Monday billed as “A Better Deal for Our Democracy.”

“Instead of delivering on his promise to drain the swamp, President Trump has become the swamp,” said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) during a rollout event on the Capitol steps.

While the new agenda was only sketched out in broad terms Monday, it includes proposals that would eliminate loopholes that allow lobbyists and lawmakers to buy and sell influence without the public’s knowledge, allow big donors to influence the political process through unreported donations and to improve elections by eliminating partisan gerrymandering and implementing automatic voter registration.

The message, the Democrats said: Elect us in November to “clean up the chaos and corruption in Washington.”…

Several of the Democrats who spoke Monday attempted to connect the corruption allegations to a Republican governing agenda that has delivered outsize tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans and dismantled financial and environmental regulations that aimed to protect average taxpayers.

Democrats are also preparing to highlight an apparent atmosphere of rule-bending, if not rule-breaking, in the Trump administration. Several Trump Cabinet members — including Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, as well as former Health and Human Services secretary Tom Price and former Veterans Affairs secretary David Shulkin — have been subject to official investigations of questionable spending on travel and other expenses….



White Suburban College Educated Women Quietly Changing Politics

Lara Putnam and Theda Skocpol have a piece in Democracy about the anti-Trump forces being led in suburbs by white college-educated women:

[…] Nancy Reynolds, the retired librarian, worked throughout the fall of 2017 with a tight network of women (their partnership forged on a chartered bus to the January 2017 Women’s March) to coordinate phone canvassing and door-knocking across Hampton Township. They elected three Democrats to a five-person township council that had been all-Republican as long as anyone could remember. As Reynolds tried to explain to a party strategist aggrieved that the party’s online calling tools went unused, “My friends won’t make calls for you. They’ll make calls for me.” In this exchange, as in many others we have witnessed, we’ve seen to what extent the ones needing education in political organizing are actually the nominal political professionals. The “amateurs” already get it.

The whole thing is worth reading, but I want to add in my experience in the suburb where I live. Last fall, we elected the first two Democrats to serve on the town board in quite a while, one of whom was the first person of color to serve in the history of the town. The other night, I went to a meeting of the group principally responsible for getting those two elected. The leadership was almost all college-educated women ranging in age from around 30 to probably 60 or 70. They were goddam impressive. It was a specifically non-partisan event by an avowed non-partisan group, but it just so happens that Democrats are more in line with the goals of the group than Republicans. I met a candidate for another local office, and he gestured to a group of women and said “they are my campaign staff”. He said they had it all figured out – who to call, what to do. He was just taking orders.

These women are a juggernaut. Republicans have done a decent job running this town over the years, and the Democratic committee in town was almost inactive, even though Democrats have an advantage in registration. No more – having an “R” after your name here is now toxic. If, as the two authors of this piece argue, the experience in my town is replicated in many other suburbs, we are looking at a real change.

(via Kevin Drum)








More Amazing Stuff From Parkland

Emma González, who you’ll remember from the “we call BS” speech, has a piece in Harper’s Bazaar. It is really good:

Teachers do not need to be armed with guns to protect their classes, they need to be armed with a solid education in order to teach their classes. That’s the only thing that needs to be in their job description. People say metal detectors would help. Tell that to the kids who already have metal detectors at school and are still victims of gun violence. If you want to help arm the schools, arm them with school supplies, books, therapists, things they actually need and can make use of.

Read the whole thing, especially for the Lemony Snicket reference.



Today in Bullshit

On Thursday, Tucker Carlson’s horseshit chronicle and carnival sideshow hosted a Stoneman-Douglas student, Colton Haab, who claimed that his question for the CNN town hall was re-written by CNN. His father produced emails supposedly documenting this fact. Shock horror – they were modified, apparently by the father. Good to see CNN fighting back. I’m not going to be too hard on the kid and his dad – if Tucker gave a shit about the truth, he would have done a tiny bit of due diligence before broadcasting a convenient lie.

The right wing and their media enablers are lying because they are losing. Calling Parkland kids “crisis actors”, hounding them with death threats on Facebook, and sneering at them about their language and tone are classic fear responses from a group that doesn’t have an argument. No matter, these Parkland kids are fighting back. Sarah Chadwick is funny as hell, btw:


The way to keep score here at the moment is to count the number of companies that have disowned the NRA. Since Cheryl posted last night, Delta and United (which weren’t even on the original list) are out. The only big brand left is FedEx, if they haven’t crumbled by the time I finish typing this post.

Here’s a bonus example of fighting back against bullshit:

Last week, some tabloids in Britain claimed that Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn sold secrets to communist spies. A Conservative MP tweeted that out. Today, he ate shit:

“On 19 February 2018 I made a seriously defamatory statement on my Twitter account, ‘Ben Bradley MP (@bbradleymp)’, about Jeremy Corbyn, alleging he sold British secrets to communist spies. I have since deleted the defamatory tweet. I have agreed to pay an undisclosed substantial sum of money to a charity of his choice, and I will also pay his legal costs.

“I fully accept that my statement was wholly untrue and false. I accept that I caused distress and upset to Jeremy Corbyn by my untrue and false allegations, suggesting he had betrayed his country by collaborating with foreign spies.

“I am very sorry for publishing this untrue and false statement and I have no hesitation in offering my unreserved and unconditional apology to Jeremy Corbyn for the distress I have caused him.”

Just fucking fight back. Call FedEx. March on March 24th. Register people to vote. Make a few calls.








Thursday Evening Open Thread: Dems Will Be Ready, When the Time Comes

Greg Sargent, in the Washington Post:

The Post’s Paul Kane reports this morning that despite their rhetoric downplaying this possibility, House Democrats are privately preparing for a possible effort to impeach President Trump, should they regain the majority.

That’s excellent news. This is exactly what Democrats should be doing — right now.

Not just because an impeachment battle might actually happen, but also for another reason: Democrats will need to find a more effective way to talk to the American people about the serial degradation of our democracy we are seeing in the Trump era, for the good of the party, yes, but also for the good of the country…

… To be clear, I’m not necessarily saying impeachment is merited right at this moment. My position aligns with the persuasive argument made by Benjamin Wittes and Jane Chong that there are ample grounds for beginning a formal congressional inquiry into possible impeachment, based on the sum total of Trump’s multiplying fields of misconduct.

Publicly, Democratic leaders are urging the rank and file to play down any talk of impeachment, out of fear that it might be perceived as overreach. But there is no reason for Democrats to be apologetic about preparing for possible impeachment in certain plausible scenarios, or to shy away from treating that as a legitimate topic of public debate…


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With that being noted, what’s on the agenda for the evening?
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As a further leading indicator, on the other side of the aisle, Sen. Chelonian hastily pulls extremities into shell…