Tuesday Morning Open Thread: Rare Sincerity

Not an elegant solution, stripping the individual tweets like this, but I hope y’all will overcome your aesthetic instincts to read the whole thing anyways:

2/ I watched the segment @chrislhayes did tonight RE whether Trump called or sent letters to the families of the 4 soldiers KIA in Niger
3/ it kinda unexpectedly wrecked me. I heard about it earlier, & like w much that he does, my response was sarcastic humor. But watching…
4/…it overwhelmed me, & I ended up in tears. It was one of those moments where it was devastating to think about the defective human…
5/…now with power to make some of the most consequential decisions w the most catastrophic effects in human history. Specifically…
6/…it reminded me of my role in bringing a dog from Iraq to the United States. In 2006 I managed a Congressional campaign vs a Repub…
7….incumbent who–like nearly every one of them-voted for the Iraq War. As late as early 2006 there were still a lot of Dems afraid of…
9/…opposing the Iraq War & making the campaign centered on it. Like many Dems unafraid of opposing the war, he won. He asked me to be…
10/…his chief of staff. And in 2007 I took on the job of setting up his operation & positioning him for reelection.
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14/…BUT, he was not elected to represent only people opposed to or not involved in the war. He was elected to represent all +700,000 people in his district…
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19/ Fast forward a few months. We get word the family had tried to get help from one of the state’s 2 Repub…
20/…senators but we’re getting ignored. They reached out to us. The last photo of their son was him holding a puppy. The next day…
21/…he was killed. They wanted to know if we could he them bring them the puppy. From Iraq. To the US. From the start, I made it clear..
22/…I would likely fire anyone on our staff who should do any of the following: A. Guarantee we could get the dog B. Request anything…
23/…that could get anyone else wounded or killed C. Mention anything about what we were doing to anyone in the press. This was…
24/…something the family wanted. We were doing it for them, & because their son had made the ultimate sacrifice for his nation. Remember
25/…the man we worked for was elected for opposing the war in which their son was killed. I assumed they voted for the Repub incumbent…
26/…but _it didn’t matter. We had a duty to act in the interests of everyone in the district. And we took that duty seriously. So, for…

27/…the next several months, in addition to all out normal work, & helping a guardswoman who’d gone AWOL to attend a custody hearing…
28/… for her son, & a soldier who wanted to donate a kidney to his mom, we worked to find a street dog in Iraq, get it quarantined…
29/…in Iraq, transported through three countries, & delivered to a family in the US, & keep it secret from the press. The help we got…
30/…still makes me choke up; the soldier’ squad, the commander of the 82nd Airborne, DHL, customs officials in three countries…
31…and especially the 20-somethings on our staff who took on this task as professional, as public servsnts, as patriots, and as…
32…this connects to today–as serious people doing serious work. When I saw the tape of Trump today, I wanted to punch the screen…


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Apart from resolving to NEVER STOP RESISTING, what’s on the agenda for the day?



Saturday Morning Open Thread: We Persist

… Because we must. From Politico:

Former presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, in California as part of her 16-city book tour, said Monday that Sens. Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren will need “a high pain threshold” if they run for president in 2020 because of the way female candidates are treated.

When asked what she would say if she were advising Harris (D-Calif.) or Warren (D-Mass.) on a run for president, Clinton said she would counsel that “you have to have a high pain threshold, because the double standard is alive and well … this is endemic to our political system, to business, to the media, to every part of society. So don’t be afraid to talk about it and take it on.”

“[J]ust be prepared … to have the most horrible things said about you,’’ Clinton advised. Based on descriptions on some websites, she explained, “I’m … the most amazing serial killer you ever met.”

“There’s a particular level of vitriol, from both the right and the left, directed at women,’’ she said. “Make no mistake about that.” …

“Everyone, regardless of political parties, should be disturbed that Russian agents used Facebook and Twitter and Google to place targeted attack ads … not only to hurt my chances, but to fan the flame of divisions within our society,’’ Clinton said. But Vladimir “Putin is not just interfering in our discourse because he’s bored … he’s got a strategy,’’ she told the audience, which greeted her with wild cheers and applause. “His goal is to undermine and perhaps even destroy Western democracy itself. Their weapons of choice may not be tanks or missiles. But let’s not mince words. This is a new kind of Cold War, and they are just getting started.”

She noted that new findings show that “Russians posed as gun rights advocates,’’ civil rights advocates and LGBT activists to stir up dissent on social media sites like Facebook — and that Facebook has acknowledged it sold $100,000 worth of ads that were “seen by at least 10 million people in crucial states” like Michigan and Wisconsin — two of the states that “decided the election by razor-thin margins.”

Clinton said Russia’s hacking activities during the 2016 election, which also involved “getting into voter rolls and looking for weaknesses,’’ may be a worse transgression than Watergate. “Watergate was a good old-fashioned physical burglary’’ between political adversaries, she said. But Russia is “a foreign adversary.”

Clinton said that while some critics, even in her own party, have suggested she get off the stage and retire into private life, she has no intention of muffling her voice on such issues. “I’m going to do everything I can, going forward, as an active citizen to speak out.” …

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Apart from staying strong, what’s on the agenda for the day?

Speaking of persistence:

To celebrate 100 years of women’s suffrage in the state, the Museum of the City of New York’s new exhibit focuses on New York’s contributions to the women’s rights movement. The exhibition will chronicle the struggle leading up to women’s suffrage in 1917 and through the 2016 presidential campaign. Divided into four periods, it will feature Eleanor Roosevelt’s handwritten speech from 1932, a signed Shirley Chisholm campaign poster, and one of Clinton’s pantsuits among other photos, costumes, and ephemera. The exhibit also looks to the future with an interactive installation that will prompt visitors to voice their opinions on issues women face today. Beyond Suffrage: A Century of New York Women in Politics opens this week and is on display until July 22, 2018…

Maybe a little too on-the-nose, sometimes…



Tuesday Evening Open Thread: Somebody’s Gotta Keep the Lights On…

While the NYTimes dutifully attempts to weave a dark romance around “powerful survivor” and nativist bigot Steven Miller, Nancy Pelosi is out there fighting to defend the DREAMers (not to mention the rest of us). From the original Washington Post article quoted in the top tweet:

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) dismissed President Trump’s new hard-line immigration proposals as “a complete non-starter” Monday, adding that her caucus may withhold support for must-pass spending bills later this year if Congress can’t reach agreement on how to protect “dreamers” from deportation.

“I fully intend to use every possibility” to strike a deal on the status of young immigrants protected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, Pelosi said. But, she added: “We’re not at that place yet. Right now, we’re trying to get Republicans to vote on what we believe.”…

On Monday, Pelosi dismissed the fresh immigration policy ideas unveiled by the White House. Based on documents released Sunday night, the Trump administration is demanding full construction of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, restrictions on legal immigration and a plan to curb young migrants from leaving Central American nations to cross illegally into the United States. The new proposals came after Trump last month decided to end DACA and gave Congress six months to pass a solution he could sign into law…

Pelosi said that the administration’s new plan is “un-American” and that “there’s nothing in it to negotiate because it does not have shared values of who we are as Americans. As long as we understand that, let’s go on with what we can agree on.”…

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Apart from cheering NANCY SMASH!, what’s on the agenda for the evening?



Saturday Morning Open Thread: There Will Be Another Woman to Break the Next Glass Ceiling

I kept it together until Miley started sniffling. Young women like her are why Hillary Rodham Clinton isn’t going away — even though she’ll probably never run for office again.

Fallon asked if Clinton would have felt differently about losing the election if her opponent had been someone other than Trump.

“I would have. Yeah, I’ve thought about that a lot,” she said. “If I had lost to another Republican — somebody who I disagreed with, but who I thought was temperamentally capable of being president, who would take the job, and the awesome responsibility seriously — of course I’d be disappointed, but I wouldn’t be so worried about my country and the world as I am now.”…

*****
“You may not lose a presidential election, but you may lose somebody close to you. You may lose a job you want,” she continued. “There’s all kinds of challenges in life, and so I want not only individuals — and so many of them as they’re coming to my events are telling me that it has helped them — but I want our country to understand how resilient we are. We are such an extraordinary collection of people, and energy and all sorts of great potential. And I don’t want people to get depressed, and worn out, and tired because they see things they disagree with that are contrary to who we are. There is something for everybody to do.”…

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Apart from keeping faith in the #Resistance, what’s on the agenda for the day?



Local and State: How’s It Going?

Toward the tail-end of one of our open threads yesterday, there was some discussion about how the Democratic Party is performing at the local and state level. I suspect many of us care deeply about this and are involved in our districts. But we don’t discuss it a lot here because this is a sprawling, global, almost-top-10K blog, and these issues are hyper-local.

But it’s worth discussing because the party has lost a shit-ton of ground at the local and state level over the years. There are many reasons for that, including a concerted effort by Republicans to destroy unions, which used to form a pillar of institutional support for Democrats, and a hyper-national focus among party members. We have to address it, and I know many of us are involved in that struggle.

So let’s talk about it: How’s it going in your local meth laboratory of democracy? Is your county-level party effective? How about the state level? Is the DNC helpful, or are they AWOL? What’s your understanding of their role? How do you see governor and state legislature campaigns shaking out? How are you directing contributions, if any? What non-party political organizations do you support?

I’ll start us off by answering these questions for my area. Our county party has done a terrific job; we’ve steadily made progress electing Democrats and ousting Republicans. After the election, the party had to find larger meeting spaces because so many more people became involved. There have been challenges harnessing all that new energy, but I am hopeful.

At the state level, I’m worried, but that’s nothing new. We’ve fielded such crappy candidates for governor that an obvious crook like Rick Scott was able to win not once but twice, albeit with less than 50% of the vote both times. And it looks like we might be getting ready to screw the pooch again, unless the state’s most famous ambulance chaser decides to throw his hat in the ring as a celebrity candidate for the Democrats. We could do worse, to be honest, but it frustrates me that we can’t do so much better.

I believe the outlook at the state legislative level is better. We recently won a special election in a district that Republicans thought was safe and where the Democrat was heavily outspent. County parties did phone banking across the state to help make that happen, and disgust with Trump is thought to have been a key factor too.

As for the DNC, I confess I don’t really know how much to expect of them at the state and local level. Maybe someone who understands how that’s supposed to work can enlighten me. I was an early supporter of Tom Perez for party chair, but the jury is out on his performance so far, IMO. Since I focus on ground-level stuff, I have no real sense what’s going on there except what I read in the media, which is geared toward peddling “Dems in Disarray!” narratives.

In addition to my local party, I’m involved in political organizations that support women’s rights, LGBTQ equality and immigrants’ rights, and I donate paltry sums to those causes. I also contribute to and volunteer for organizations that protect enfranchisement. (Reading this over, I realize it sounds like I do a lot, but that’s not really true — I probably spend more time watching cooking shows and sports than I do on all of these activities combined. I should be doing more.)

Anyhoo, before turning it over to you, a plea: Let’s not rehash the 2016 primary in this thread. I realize lingering hard feelings among factions within the party might be relevant to your response, and if so, please feel free to describe that. But gratuitous bashing will just derail the thread, so can we not? Thanks!



Open Thread: Kudos to California

We’re at least 25 years past the point where Iowa’s welfare farmers and New Hampshire’s social parasites had anything useful to say about choosing America’s next president:

Gov. Jerry Brown gave his stamp of approval Wednesday to a measure jumping California’s primary up to the beginning of March, three months earlier than its contest in 2016, when Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump had already captured the major parties’ nominations.

“The Golden State will no longer be relegated to last place in the presidential nominating process,” Democratic Secretary of State Alex Padilla said. “Candidates will not be able to ignore the largest, most diverse state in the nation as they seek our country’s highest office”…

California, home to 11 media markets, is an expensive state to campaign in, potentially giving well-funded candidates an edge.

Democratic leaders said the bill gives California the spotlight it deserves given its record of pushing the national conversation around immigration and other issues.

“With all due respect to our brothers and sisters in Iowa and New Hampshire, California is the beating heart of the national resistance to Trump,” Eric Bauman, chairman of the California Democratic Party, said in a statement. “When it comes to deciding the Democratic nominee, our voices need to be heard early in the process.”

Iowa and New Hampshire will still have their early say.

The measure puts the state’s primary on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in March, often known as “Super Tuesday,” when as many as a dozen states hold nominating contests. It will still fall after the earliest caucuses and primaries in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina…

And if I had any doubts, the snotty-faced wails of America’s Worst ‘Progressives’ would salve them:



Saturday Morning Open Thread: Never Bet Against Nancy Smash

Every woman knows that when a guy does something important, it proves how smart & powerful he is; when a woman does something important, it proves some man gave her a (probably unearned) break. Politico, in its best Media Village Idiot suck-up mode, explains how “Pelosi rises again — thanks to Trump”:

Just months ago, Nancy Pelosi’s grip on power was tested again by rebellious Democrats frustrated with her leadership. Now she’s strategizing with President Donald Trump in phone calls and over dinner at the White House.

The dramatic reversal of fortune for the longtime House Democratic leader is forcing even her loudest critics to reconsider.

“While she’s here in this leadership position, I think there’s no one better to do the job,” said Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-N.Y.), who vocally pushed for a leadership change earlier this summer. “I think this is a good start.”…

Both friends and critics of Pelosi within the caucus say her rising leverage is a good thing. Pelosi, who bills herself as a “master legislator,” may be able to broker some wins for her caucus that she likely wouldn’t be able to achieve with a more traditional Republican president, they say.

But some rank-and-file lawmakers say despite Pelosi’s power plays, the caucus could still use fresh leadership after next year’s elections if Democrats don’t take back the House. Other members say they’re watching the current bipartisan bonhomie warily, noting that there’s only so much Democrats can agree on with Trump…

Pelosi has tried to put Democrats at ease, arguing that she can be trusted not to compromise her party’s values.

“I’m a progressive from San Francisco. Proud liberal,” she told reporters Tuesday. “I have my own kind of credibility on these subjects.”

Those close to Pelosi also say she’s no amateur. She’s dealt with several presidents during her three decades in the House, particularly the past 15 years as Democratic leader — and won’t hesitate to call out Trump in areas where they disagree, large and small.

Pelosi was the one who challenged Trump during his first sit-down with congressional leaders after becoming president. At the time, Trump repeated a debunked claim that he lost the popular vote because of voter fraud, upon which Pelosi spoke up to tell him that was false.

For his part, Trump has limited his attacks on Pelosi since coming into office, not targeting her with some of the viciousness that he’s hurled toward others who criticize him…

“[We] are always hopeful that we can find common ground, which we have a responsibility to do,” Pelosi told reporters. “If we can’t find it, we stand our ground.”…

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Apart from giving thanks for strong (if underappreciated) women, what’s on the agenda for the day?