Open Thread: Local Hero

A man for our season, per CNN:

[State Sen. Daylin] Leach’s outburst was inspired by a Politico article about a meeting Trump recently had with sheriffs from around the nation and a conversation during that meeting about asset forfeiture. That’s a legal practice in which a law enforcement agency seizes money and property that may have been obtained through criminal activities.

According to the article, Rockwall County, Texas, Sheriff Harold Eavenson mentioned that a state senator in Texas wanted to change the asset forfeiture law. The change would require that a person be convicted of a crime before his or her assets could be seized.

“Who is the state senator? Do you want to give his name? We’ll destroy his career,” Trump replied, according to Politico.

Leach is a Democrat whose Facebook feed is full of anti-Trump postings, though none were addressed directly to the President.

He has previously co-sponsored bills that attempted to reform asset forfeiture laws in Pennsylvania, his spokesman, Steve Hoenstine, said Thursday in an email.

After the Politico article ran, Leach posted on Facebook: “Hey! I oppose civil asset forfeiture too. Why don’t you come after me you fascist, loofa-faced s***-gibbon!!”…

Still later, Leach wrote on Facebook: “S***-Gibbon” goes viral! Maybe someday it will be written on my tombstone….or his.”…

Local outlet seems to admire Sen. Leach’s stance:

He championed legalization of medical marijuana in Pennsylvania.

He spoke in defense of abortion rights during an emotional debate in Harrisburg.

But it wasn’t until State Sen. Daylin Leach posted the Tweet Heard Round the World that the Montgomery County Democrat went viral…
Read more

Friday Morning Open Thread: After the Snowstorm

(Nick Anderson via

As it happened, we only got about a foot of light, fluffy snow here north of Boston, and the snowblower (which is, thank goddess, in the Spousal Unit’s domain) dealt with the accumulation handily. Hope those of you suffering from other weather events — whether Nola’s tornado, California’s mudslides, or just the random insults of freaky February in the Anthropogenic Era — can recover with equal ease!

Good advice from someone who knows — Barney Frank, at Policy.mic, “Here’s how to not waste your time pressuring lawmakers“:

After 32 years in the House of Representatives, here is my advice on how people opposed to President Donald Trump’s assault on our basic values — a majority of those who voted last November — can best influence members of Congress. Done the right way, communications from citizens can have a significant impact on legislators, even when they claim to be immune to “pressure.” (“Pressure,” in legislative jargon, is the expression of views with which legislators disagree, as opposed to “public opinion” — the term used for sentiments that reinforce their own.)

The key to doing it right is being clear about the goal, which is to persuade the Senator or Representative receiving the communication that how he or she votes on the issue in question will affect how the sender will vote the next time the legislator is on the ballot…

Make sure you’re registered to vote — lawmakers check.
Many office holders will check this, especially for people who write to them frequently. Elected officials pay as much attention to those who are not registered to vote as butchers do to the food preferences of vegetarians.

Lawmakers don’t care about people outside of their district…

Your signature — physical or electronic — on a mass petition will mean little.
You are trying to persuade the recipient of your communication that you care enough about an issue for it to motivate your voting behavior. Simply agreeing to put your name on a list does not convey this…

The communication must be individual. It can be an email, physical letter, a phone call or an office visit. It need not be elaborate or eloquent — it is an opinion to be counted, not an essay. But it will not have an impact unless it shows some individual initiative.

Know where your representative stands…

Communicate — even if you and your representative disagree.
…[E]ven where you are represented by people whom you know oppose you on an issue, communicate anyway. Legislators do not simply vote yes or no on every issue. If enough people in a legislator’s voting constituency express strong opposition to a measure to which that legislator is ideologically or politically committed, it might lead him or her to ask the relevant leadership not to bring the bill up. Conflict avoidance is a cherished goal of many elected officials.

Say “thank you.” …

Enlist the help of friends in other districts.
Your direct communication with legislators outside your voting area will have no impact. But you do have friends, relatives, associates etc. Find out who the potentially influenceable legislators are on issues of prime importance to you, think about people you may know in their constituencies, and ask those who share your views to communicate with those who represent them…

Yeah, you say: Obvious! But you can read the whole thing (it’s not long), forward it to your acquaintance who think that petition is the height of civic involvement, share it on social media for the use of those who aren’t as politically woke as us BJ regulars…

Apart from that, what’s on the agenda as we wrap up another busy busy week?


Hey, remember Cole’s Missouri pick, Jason Kander?

Kander had some time on his hands after the election, so he’s started a new gig…

… “Voting in our country has never been easy, and unfortunately it’s never been guaranteed for everyone,” Kander said. “But through the work of brave civil rights leaders, some of whom died for the cause, in the early 2000s we got to a point where most, but still not all, people who wanted to vote could do so. Today, that progress is in danger as laws targeting low-income and minority voters continue popping up across the country. Let America Vote will make the case for voting rights by exposing the real motivations of those who favor voter suppression laws. For the first time, politicians intent on denying certain Americans the right to vote will first have to consider the political consequences.”

Jason Kander saw the mounting threat of voter suppression first hand when he fought against extreme voter photo identification proposals each of his four years as Missouri’s Secretary of State. Kander argued that over 200,000 legally eligible Missouri voters might not be able to vote if the laws passed, and that there has never been a case of voter impersonation fraud in Missouri, but proponents of the law would not be dissuaded. In 2016, in perhaps the most egregious and transparent act of voter intimidation the state has seen in decades, a local election authority stationed police officers outside polling places in minority neighborhoods. What is happening in Missouri is happening around the country…

Let America Vote, a 527 organization, will also team up with groups that share the mission of preventing voter suppression. iVote President Ellen Kurz will join Let America Vote as a member of the Board, and Kander will join iVote’s Board. Kander will also be joining the Board of Priorities USA in support of Every Citizen Counts, their initiative focused on voting rights litigation and statehouse lobbying. Priorities Chairman Guy Cecil will serve on Let America Vote’s Board.

Wednesday Morning Open Thread: “Nevertheless, She Persisted”

It’s not as though Mitch McConnell would be going down in the record books for any positive actions, after all. Given the history of Southern racists’ fragile ‘honor’, I suppose we should be grateful these ‘gentlemen’ are no longer allowed to carry weapons in the chamber. Per the Washington Post:

Senate Republicans passed a party-line rebuke Tuesday night of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) for a speech opposing attorney general nominee Jeff Sessions, striking down her words for impugning the Alabama senator’s character.

In an extraordinarily rare move, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) interrupted Warren’s speech, in a near-empty chamber as debate on Sessions’s nomination heads toward a Wednesday evening vote, and said that she had breached Senate rules by reading past statements against Sessions from figures such as the late senator Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) and the late Coretta Scott King….

“Sen. Warren was giving a lengthy speech. She had appeared to violate the rule. She was warned. She was given an explanation,” he said. “Nevertheless, she persisted.”

Other Democrats later came to her defense and tried to have King’s letter placed into the Senate record. But Republican senators quickly objected. They did so again when Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), the chamber’s only African American woman, asked that Warren be allowed to resume participation in the debate…

Public reaction quickly intensified online., an online clothing website for independent designers, began selling a “She Persisted” T-shirt or sweatshirt — seizing on McConnell’s admonition of Warren. Democrats began using #LetLizSpeak on Twitter and posted copies of King’s letter on Facebook to draw more attention to Warren’s speech…

(Olivia Pope would’ve told McConnell he was making a serious mistake, one suspects.)

Monday Morning Open Thread: Remember the Ladies!

What’s on the agenda as we start another week in the Resistance?

… “I want to know what the Russians have on Donald Trump,” the California Democrat told Chuck Todd on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “I think we have to have an investigation by the FBI into his financial, personal and political connections to Russia, and we want to see his tax returns, so we can have truth in the relationship between Putin, whom he admires, and Donald Trump.”…

Trump on Saturday diminished Russian President Vladimir Putin’s human rights violations in an interview with Bill O’Reilly on Fox News, saying, “You think our country’s so innocent?”

Earlier Sunday on “Meet the Press,” Todd asked Vice President Mike Pence, “Why can’t [Trump] say a negative thing about Vladimir Putin?”

“The president has said many times if we got along with Russia better, that would be a good thing for the world,” Pence answered. “Maybe it’s not going to work out. But I think he’s absolutely determined. He had a productive conversation with President Putin.”

It’s not just Trump: All the Republicans are happy to enable Vladmir Putin!

Open Thread: Tom Perez for DNC Chair

Former Vice President Joe Biden is backing Tom Perez to head the Democratic National Committee, calling the former Obama administration labor secretary the “best bet to help bring the party back.”

Biden’s endorsement — a sign of Perez’s strong support among former Obama administration officials — drew a sharp response from Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, escalating the relatively sleepy party chairman battle into a fight between the liberal wing that supported Sanders’ insurgent primary bid and backers of Hillary Clinton….

Biden cast Perez, a Dominican-American civil rights lawyer who grew up in the Rust Belt, as a tireless champion of working Americans, immigrants and the disabled.

“He knows how to explain why our party’s core beliefs matter to the immigrant family in Arizona and the coal miner in West Virginia. That matters,” Biden said in a statement. “I’ve watched him work. I think I know his heart. That’s why I endorse him as the next chairman of the DNC.”

Perez, who was quietly urged by the White House to jump into the race, faces his stiffest competition from Ellison…

Along with Perez and Ellison, South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, South Carolina Democratic Chairman Jaime Harrison, New Hampshire Democratic Chairman Raymond Buckley, Democratic strategist Jehmu Greene and the executive director of the Idaho Democratic Party, Sally Boynton Brown, are in the race…

When the BernieBros first glommed on to Rep. Ellison as the sock puppet for their one true lord & savior, I was willing to let Ellison have it, even if it meant running another no-doubt-expensive campaign to hold his “safe” seat. Partly because Ellison’s been a staunch Democrat, and partly because there were all these rumors that President Obama would be transitioning his OfA platform into a voting-rights / voting-registration powerhouse that would pretty much replace most of what the DNC is supposed to do anyways.

But I’ve liked Tom Perez more and more, as the campaign went on. And now that Bernie Sanders has signed up for a CNN “debate on Obamacare” with Ted Cruz (predicted conclusion: It’s all that Obama guy’s fault, also every single Democrat and their entire party suxxs)… fuck that greedy little egotist and all his deluded diehard followers with the farm implement of your choice.

Sanders wants to represent the Democrats, let him join the Democratic Party, and stop hotdogging around as The Only Remaining Pure Spirit, Make Checks Out to Cash. And for the Democratic National Committee: TEAM PEREZ.

Open Thread: Democrats Standing Up Against Sessions

Good for them. From the Washington Post:

Senate Judiciary Committee members on Tuesday sparred over whether Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) can operate independently of the president if confirmed as attorney general — a debate that took on new importance after President Trump’s late-night firing of acting attorney general Sally Yates for refusing to defend his immigration order.

Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), the committee’s chairman, said that Sessions will “follow the law, regardless of whether he would have supported it as a matter of policy as a senator.” He said Sessions offered no help in drafting Trump’s order, although it is “not clear to me why it would be a problem even if he had been involved.”

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (Calif.), the ranking Democrat on the panel, attacked Trump’s order and noted that Sessions’s ideals seem to have at least shaped it. She read aloud from Yates’s memo declaring that she did not find Trump’s immigration order lawful, then referenced the “Saturday Night Massacre,” when two top Justice Department officials resigned over an order from President Richard Nixon…

The committee scheduled a vote on Sessions’s nomination for Wednesday morning. A vote by the full Senate is expected later in the week….

Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) said he will vote against the nominee because of concerns about Sessions’s civil rights record, his failure to address Russia’s interference in the November presidential election and ethical conflicts in the Trump administration, among other issues. He took aim Tuesday at Trump’s firing of Yates, saying the president had “placed the independence of the Justice Department at stake.”…

…[N]o Democrat on the committee has declared an intention to vote for Sessions, and Democrats are increasing efforts to delay the confirmation of several of Trump’s Cabinet nominees.

Jefferson Beauregard Sessions is every terrible political idea of the last hundred-plus years wrapped in the skin of a depraved leprechaun, and he no more deserves to be in a position of power than… Donald Trump.