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…


.

With that being noted, what’s on the agenda for the evening?
***********

As a further leading indicator, on the other side of the aisle, Sen. Chelonian hastily pulls extremities into shell…



Late Night Open Thread: There Will Be A Reckoning

The original poem was written by a pacifist at the height of the Civil War. Many decent people, at that point, despaired the survival of the American experiment — but they didn’t stop fighting.



Remember The Maine (Senator)!

Following up on Betty’s post below…

Pursuing the Maine chance, Susan Collins is all over a small part of the map on the Senate tax-theft/heath-care-wrecking/federal-overreach/America-gutting  bill.

She voted in favor of the motion to proceed, but she’s now signaling that she isn’t yet a solid “yes” on final passage:

Republican U.S. Senator Susan Collins said on Thursday she was not committed to voting for the Senate tax bill, citing concerns over healthcare and a deduction for state and local taxes.

Collins told reporters at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast it would be “very difficult for me to support the bill if I do not prevail on those two issues” but she was encouraged by her discussions with leadership.

Hedge, dodge, waver and waffle:  the net is that she’s still susceptible to pressure.  I think she’s beginning to feel the heat on at least two talking points:  that the bill raises taxes on many, probably most of her constituents, which is a bad place for a New England Republican to be; and that the health care measures she’s been pursuing are fig leaves that will gut her loudly proclaimed commitment to preserving access for all those who have it now.

I called her DC office and left a message and then spoke to a weary staffer in one of her state offices.  I encourage you all to do the same — especially when you can leave a recording that doesn’t necessarily mark you as a non-Mainer.

Contact info for all her offices here.

Image: Alexander Coosemans, Still life with fruit and lobster before 1689.