I’m the founder of She the People, a national network that elevates the political power and voices of women of color. I founded She the People to uphold four fundamental values: to love our own and others, to seek justice for all, to ensure that everyone belongs, and, finally, to make sure that our American democracy lives up to its greatest promise.
In September 2018, She the People made history by catalyzing a national focus on women of color with our inaugural summit in San Francisco. We featured the nation’s most exciting progressive women of color leaders on ballots across the nation, all championing social and economic justice movements, and who continue to drive winning political strategy.
In April 2019, we made history again when we convened the first-ever women of color centered Presidential Forum in Houston. Here, eight of the leading Democratic presidential candidates made their cases to the nation for why they deserve the support of women of color. The forum was a smashing success, with nearly two thousand women of color attendees, over a million online viewers, wide press coverage, and #SheThePeople2020 trending number one nationally on Twitter.
Since the forum, She the People has successfully deployed our organizing strategy convening in Virginia and Florida where we hosted a sold-out debate watch party with our partners at New Florida Majority to great acclaim. Through our continued work, we introduced key issues like black maternal health, missing and murdered indigenous women, and white supremacist violence into the national conversation. We created space for other leaders, relentlessly driving home the narrative that ours is the most powerful, strategic voting bloc. Women of color are now to be addressed, counted, reckoned with, and courted for votes. We are visible nationally in a way we have never been before.
Forty two years ago, the term “women of color” was born at the National Women’s Convention. But really our lineage runs back to Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Ida B. Wells, and Ella Baker. “She the People” resounded in the words of Grace Lee Boggs, and Yuri Kochiyama, and Zitkála-Šá, and Queen Liliuokalani. She the People found voice with Cherokee Chief Wilma Mankiller, and organizer Luisa Moreno. It was exemplified with the great Congresswoman Barbara Jordan, and with my hero Shirley Chisholm who began her historic run for Congress 51 years ago. These are our godmothers. We walk in their footsteps.
David Wallace-Wells talks with Bill Gates about climate change today.
If we are imagining a world in which we take some dramatic action and engineer some kind of meaningful solution to this challenge, what does that look like to you? How big a part of it is nuclear power? How big a part of it is carbon capture? How big a part of it is new cement? How do you see that big picture?
There’s a long answer to that. I would like to help educate people on what a plan really means. A plan involves looking at all the sources, electricity, transport, industry, buildings, and land use/agriculture and really saying, “Okay, what are the possible paths that get you to these dramatic reductions, and therefore what are the missing inventions?”
Fortunately, there’s not any one path. If you don’t have nuclear and if you don’t have a storage miracle, it’s very, very hard, because basically what you have to do is have electricity be used for many, many, many things like all building heating and cooling that today, you use natural gas or coal for it directly….I have not seen anything that’s worthy of the word plan because a plan has to involve not just the U.S. doing something.
Of course, yeah.
You have to convince middle-income countries. I think of India as paradigmatic, because it’s big enough to count and it’s poor enough. They deserve to have air conditioning. I mean, they’re getting very high wet-bulb temperatures. Jesus Christ, by 2070, there could be just a massive number of people dropping dead in the streets.
So a plan that really addresses the global issue has to bring what I call the green premium for all of these various goods and services down dramatically, like over 90 percent.
What’s the green premium?
What would green cement cost today? What would green steel cost today? What would green beef cost today? It’s great that people care about the issue, but it’s a very complex issue. And, unfortunately once they hear about how hard it is to solve and how expensive it is to solve, I hope their resolve isn’t … When diesel prices got increased 15 percent in France, more near-term considerations came into play.
The international picture there is so important because each individual nation, with the possible exception of the U.S. and China, is contributing only so little….How do you define success in the climate story?
It’d be great if we could stop at two degrees. Unless there are huge surprises on scientific advances, I just don’t see it happening, but who would have said that [about] radio waves or wireless or chips with a billion transistors? We know Václav [Smil] is not optimistic. Yet to really get people engaged, you have to say, “Hey, we can really achieve this thing.” The fact that the R&D budgets weren’t even being discussed …
R&D does seem very important.
I mean, not to be egocentric, but that was put on to the Paris climate agenda because I went to France and said, “Hey, here’s something you get to do that’s going to be different.” Then it turned out that was the way of getting Modi to actually come to the thing, which was fantastic.
Assuming that Gates is telling this story straight, R&D wasn’t even mentioned in the Paris agreement until he pointed it out. That was only three years ago. How is it possible that thousands of climate experts from hundreds of countries could meet in 2016 and not even spend a few minutes talking about R&D? It’s as if the Manhattan Project engineers spent all their time constructing a bomb but forgot that they needed to enrich some uranium too.
This has changed over the past few years, and R&D routinely gets at least lip service these days. That’s a start—but only a start considering that massive R&D commitments are the key to any non-laughable plan to keep global temps below 2°C. More on this later.¹
¹Way, way more. And way later.
I can’t decide if this is hilarious or painful.
Once upon a time I worked with a down-and-out college football team with a historically bad record. The university hired an assistant coach from a more successful program, and this newly minted head coach set about to turn the ship around. Each day he talked about how important it was to “do the work,” telling fans and his players to keep their heads down, put aside the distractions, do the work, and “keep sawing wood.” In a few short seasons, that coach and those players sawed so much wood that they won the Orange Bowl.
Over the past year Elizabeth Warren has overcome a somewhat sluggish start to her campaign, and man, has she been sawing wood. She’s kept her head down, putting in the work, doing her homework, building a large, qualified staff, releasing one progressive plan after another, making the connections, building the alliances, and meeting voters where they are, one by one. Literally personally meeting damn near every voter along the way in her now-famous selfie lines. And that work is paying off in a big way. Last night in New York City, she drew an estimated 20,000 to her largest campaign rally to date.
Warren used the event to highlight her anti-corruption plan, calling Donald Trump “corruption in the flesh,” before pivoting to labor rights. Warren cited the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, in which 145 workers died in what was the largest industrial disaster in New York City’s history. The workers were mostly immigrant women working in sweatshop conditions. Warren cited the work of social activist Frances Perkins, who witnessed the fire and organized labor movements in the wake of the tragedy, eventually becoming President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s secretary of labor and one of the architects of the New Deal legislation. Warren focused on the similarity between the corruption of today and the factory owners in 1911 buying off their elected officials, who then turned a blind eye to the squalid, unsafe conditions for workers while the owners turned massive profits.
Speaking of Frances Perkins, Warren said, "What did one woman—one very persistent woman—backed up by millions of people across this country get done? Big structural change. Social Security. Unemployment insurance. Abolition of child labor. Minimum wage. The right to join a union. And even the very existence of the weekend! That’s big, structural change! One woman, and millions of people to back her up."
STREAMING NOW: Corey Lewandowski testifies before the House Judiciary Committee.
Former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski will appear before the House Judiciary Committee to answer questions about his role in then-special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible obstruction of justice by President Donald Trump. According to Mueller’s report, Trump asked Lewandowski to direct then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions to curtail the investigation. Tuesday’s congressional hearing is the first to be held under new impeachment rules lawmakers approved earlier in September.
TESTIMONY PRE-SHOW AND DISCUSSION: Scroll back to before the hearing begins to join PBS NewsHour's Mike Melia and Lisa Desjardins discuss the Mueller report and what to look for in today’s testimony.
Watch “All of the Mueller report’s major findings in less than 30 minutes”
Given the focus of former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski’s testimony before the House Judiciary Committee today, this primer on the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, as well as potential obstruction of justice by President Donald Trump, explains the details of what former special counsel Robert Mueller found.
Links to more info:
WATCH: Robert Mueller makes 1st public statement on Russia probe YouTube
WATCH: Mueller’s full testimony before the House Intelligence Committee YouTube
READ: The full, redacted Mueller report https://www.pbs.org/newshour/politics/read-the-redacted-mueller-report
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Find more from PBS NewsHour at https://www.pbs.org/newshour
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Political conventional wisdom is that people tune into campaigns after Labor Day, marking that as the unofficial actual start of election season. Everything before that? Prep work.
Presidential primaries aren't as imminent as a November general election; Iowa doesn’t happen until February. But the first-in-the-nation national primary is certainly well underway, doing a much better job of shaping the field than Iowa or New Hampshire ever could—may their first-in-the-nation power be mercifully eliminated.
Anyhoo, let’s see how things are shaping up in our little corner of the internet. Vote!
(Polls are open until 8 PM ET/5 PM PT. Only candidates who have made the cut for the October debate are included.)
We're witnessing a political revolution in this country, and the press is missing this monumental shift. It’s not that journalists can’t spot the game-changing story; it’s that they’re too afraid to document it. They’re too bullied to address it forcefully.
In the Donald Trump era, lying has become an unequivocal hallmark of the Republican Party and its political strategy. It now defines the GOP, whose top officials, including the United States attorney general, lie early and often about hugely important issues. The press continues to let them get away with it because the media continues to grapple—in slow motion—with how to deal with a major political party that lies about everything. None of this is normal. But the Beltway press is doing its best to make it so.
The torrent of once-unthinkable fabrications the GOP now traffics in was highlighted this week with new revelations about Brett Kavanaugh's soiled confirmation to the United States Supreme Court last year. In order to secure his lifetime position, and facing specific and multiple and credible allegations of sexual assault, Kavanaugh lied about witnesses; he lied about corroboration; he lied about friendships; he lied about parties. He also lied about the state drinking age, vomiting, his yearbook, his accusers, and drinking. Kavanaugh lied about his grandfather, federal judges, warrantless wiretaps, and stolen emails.
"Republicans shamelessly covered for him by limiting the testimony against him to Christine Blasey Ford, who accused Kavanaugh of attempting to rape her in high school," Armanda Marcotte writes at Salon. "They refused to hear testimony from any other witnesses who might have been able to corroborate her account, or discuss Kavanaugh's behavior at the time."
Credit where due: HuffPost and GQ were among those outlets that published lengthy, detailed pieces last year chronicling Kavanaugh's long list of confirmation lies. But in terms of the day-to-day Beltway media coverage of the confirmation fiasco, good luck finding dispatches clearly stating that a United States Supreme Court nominee was constantly lying his way onto the bench. That kind of stark, accurate language simply wasn't allowed.
Once again, it seemed to be a case of the press being unwilling to break a longstanding etiquette tradition. In this case, it was a tradition of not identifying a Supreme Court nominee as a liar. “That's simply not done!” the traditionalists would cry. But what happens when a Supreme Court nominee, such as Kavanaugh, turns out be a compulsive liar? Is the press supposed to just look away and pretend it's not happening, thereby giving Republicans a pass, as well as allowing them to change the rules of the confirmation game? (In other words: Truth-telling is now optional?)
This is why I shake my head when observers, including some journalists, suggest that it's not important to call Trump a liar, that everybody knows that already, so what's the point, because it's not going to change his behavior, etc. That sounds like desperate rationalizing and an attempt to cover for a collective newsroom failure. The reason all this matters is that it's not just about Trump; it's about the entire Republican Party, which has effectively divorced itself from reality.
I was in New York City’s Bryant Park in 2003, in awe as around 10,000 cheered Howard Dean. In that electrifying moment, everything seemed possible. The Dean campaign was an unassailable juggernaut!
We know how that story ended. The moral? Crowd sizes aren’t everything. Bernie Sanders supporters learned that lesson in 2016.
That’s all to say, Elizabeth Warren’s crowds aren’t an indication of inevitability. She’s not even the front-runner! But damn, not only does she draw numbers, but she takes selfies with all attendees. That is, hours and hours of selfies with thousands of supporters (over 50,000 at last count), and through it all, boundless energy (and a preternatural resistance to getting sick!).x
Nearly four hours after she finished her speech, Elizabeth Warren makes it to the end of the selfie line pic.twitter.com/bSqrkum8iM— Thomas Kaplan (@thomaskaplan) September 17, 2019
Just watch that clip, and wonder how you would fare, standing four hours taking thousands of selfies, and then end it with that kind of energy! How about instead of a debate, Warren and Donald Trump face off on a selfie line?
More than 50 asylum-seekers who have been forced to wait out their cases in Mexico were supposed to be at the so-called “tent court” in Laredo, Texas, for their hearing on Monday, but only 26 were able to appear. The rest, Gus Bova of Texas Observer reported, had probably been unable to cross back into the U.S., or had been forced to give up after weeks or months of waiting.
Several of the asylum-seekers who were able to show up described the inhumanity of the Trump administration’s Migrant Protection Protocols, or “Remain in Mexico” policy, which has forced tens of thousands of vulnerable families to wait out in regions where violence and kidnappings are common. Seven asylum-seekers on Monday said they’d “been assaulted or kidnapped or otherwise feared returning to Mexico,” Bova wrote.
Multiple asylum-seekers have already described being kidnapped or almost being kidnapped. David described a group of men already waiting when he, his young son, and others were being returned to Mexico to wait for their court dates. “David said the kidnappers took his few belongings, including the paperwork U.S. Customs and Border Protection had given him. Without it, he and his child can’t enter the U.S. to attend their hearing in December.”
They asylum-seekers in the so-called “tent court” on Monday didn’t even get the dignity of pleading for their lives in person: The judge hearing their cases was appearing via video conference, 150 miles away. Bova was also watching via video conference, 150 miles away, because officials have banned reporters from entering this so-called “tent court,” even though immigration courts are supposed to be generally open to the public.
“Only four of the migrants arrived Monday with attorneys, confirming lawyers’ claims that migrants in MPP are being denied reasonable access to counsel, which is key for navigating complicated immigration proceedings,” Bova continued. “Even if a migrant can afford to pay,” the New York Times reported last month, “finding a lawyer willing to take the case of a client living in Mexico is a challenge.”
In case you haven’t been following closely, here’s what we’ve learned from the new book about Brett Kavanaugh and the sexual assault charges against him:
- Back during Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings, Chistine Blasey Ford accused Kavanaugh of pinning her on a bed and covering her mouth—before eventually letting her go—at a small house party when he was 17. In the book, we learn that Leland Keyser, a friend of Ford’s who was at the party, now says that she doesn’t remember the event and that “it just didn’t make sense.” And: “It would be impossible for me to be the only girl at a get-together with three guys, have her leave, and then not figure out how she’s getting home. I just really didn’t have confidence in the story.” Keyser says that her original equivocal testimony had been delivered under duress.
- Deborah Ramirez repeated her story of a freshman-year drunken dorm party at Yale during which both she and Kavanaugh were seriously blitzed. Ramiriez says that Kavanaugh pulled down his pants and she swatted his penis away, thinking it was a fake penis the boys had been passing around earlier. Then she learned it had been real, and it’s caused her nightmares ever since. The book lists seven sources who heard about the event, but none of them are actual eyewitnesses.
- In a new story, Max Stier says he saw Kavanaugh “with his pants down at a different drunken dorm party, where friends pushed his penis into the hand of a female student.” However, the female student declined to be interviewed and friends say she does not recall the episode.
- The FBI did a pretty cursory investigation of all this. This, of course, is something we’ve known and complained loudly about from the very start.
It’s not possible to look at all this and conclude that the Kavanaugh sexual assault story has gotten stronger. The main accusation took a hit. The secondary accusation turns out to be fairly slight and there are no actual eyewitnesses to it even after the kind of deep investigation everyone wanted originally. The third accusation may or may not have happened at all. The female student at the center of it has told friends she has no recollection of it.
Fair or not, it is difficult to think that this makes it more likely that Kavanaugh can be impeached. For the most part, this new book is a gift to Trump, not to progressives.
POSTSCRIPT: Just for the record, I maintain my original position that all of these stories are most likely true. Kavanaugh could have simply acknowledged them, apologized, and said he led a wild life for a few years as a teenager. That probably would have made it a two-day story. But he panicked the first time he was asked and instinctively denied everything. From then on, there was no choice but to keep on denying.
Moscow Mitch McConnell is here to remind us why we keep fighting.x
Some Democrats are also threatening to Ã¢ÂÂpackÃ¢ÂÂ the Supreme Court if they donÃ¢ÂÂt get the rulings they want. These attacks on judicial independence are not normal politics. My Republican colleagues and I will fight to preserve a fair and independent judiciary.— Leader McConnell (@senatemajldr) September 16, 2019
“Normal politics,” like denying a sitting president a Supreme Court nominee because he’s a Democrat. “Fair and independent” judiciary, like one of Trump’s latest picks McConnell has green-lighted, Steven Menashi who is so arrogantly awful even Republicans on the Senate Judiciary told him he had to tone it down during his confirmation hearing. Like alleged sexual assaulter and proven perjurer Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
McConnell is the ultimate troll, at this point wrecking the Senate and the nation just to own the libs. The only way to fix it is to end his power.
'It’s a weapon of war’: Democratic veteran dismantles bogus assault weapons argument in eight tweets
When former Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander announced he was stepping away from political life last October—in order to deal with untreated symptoms of PTSD from his military service—he promised that while he was going to focus on getting better himself, he “fully intend(ed) to be working shoulder to shoulder with all of you again.” In the 11 months since, Kander has been open about dealing with depression, and has begun serving as the face of the Kansas-based Veterans Community Project, which “provides transitional housing and support services for homeless veterans.”
He has also stayed active on social media, staying true to his liberal values of mental health advocacy, veteran affairs advocacy, and gun control. After the most recent series of mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton and Gilroy and Odessa, the level of discourse coming from Second Amendment dunderheads has been predictably worthless. It’s the general “thoughts and prayers,” followed by the fake calls for mental health support, followed finally by verbal acrobatics attempting to throw doubt over the term “assault weapon” itself.
The AR-15 and its like have been easy-to-use killing machines, made popular recently, by their appearance in the majority of mass shootings. There are some, usually male, self-appointed experts who will insist that, in order for a weapon to be an “assault weapon,” it must be an automatic firing device; in other words, that one can hold down the trigger and bullets just fly. AR-15s, they argue, are merely semi-automatic, since one must continuously pull the trigger to fire. Of course, these semi-automatic guns can be easily rigged to house large ammunition magazines, and modern technology has allowed the pulling of triggers to be a ton easier than it was, say, during the American Revolutionary War.
Kander knows these facts, and these guns, intimately. Thus, after watching idiots try and defend opposition to assault weapons bans by dismissively saying guns like the AR-15 are not assault rifles, Kander threw down an explanation on Twitter on Monday night.
At just five years old, Jaylon Wakes of Flint was suspended 50 times in a single school year in 2015, the year that the Flint water crisis hit the headlines. When he was in school, his mother, Nakiya, told Daily Kos, at one point three adults restrained him rather than follow appropriate behavioral interventions to help Jaylon de-escalate when having issues with his ADHD, a condition that worsened after he was exposed to lead in the family’s water.
After finding out about three adults piling on her 5-year-old and another incident where a teacher “put her hands on my son” and left marks on the child, Nakiya said that today she homeschools 10-year-old Jaylon. “I just don’t feel safe with him in the Flint schools,” she said.
The Wakes family is far from alone in fearing what will happen to their special needs children attending Flint schools in the wake of years of lead poisoning. The situation is so dire that in October 2018 the ACLU of Michigan and the Education Law Center filed suit to stop what they say are ongoing violations of federal law by the state of Michigan and local education authorities.
Relief can’t come too soon. An August report in Education Week says that the Flint school system is “overwhelmed” by the number of special needs students in the wake of the water crisis. According to the report, “The percentage of special education students has increased by 56 percent, rising from 13.1 percent in 2012-13, the school year before the water crisis began, to 20.5 percent last school year.”
In an August report by a local news station about Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s proposed school budget, Flint Community Schools superintendent Derrick Lopez said that his district had double the state average of students who have individual education plans to deal with learning and behavioral disabilities. The school system’s public relations firm did not respond to Daily Kos’ requests for an interview with Lopez.
But while Flint parents are justifiably upset and the ACLU’s lawsuit names the Flint Community Schools district (along with the Genesee Intermediate School District and the Michigan Department of Education), ACLU of Michigan education attorney Kristin Totten told Daily Kos that the point of the lawsuit is to help educators in the Flint schools, not punish them.
Let’s just be clear from the start: Donald Trump is not going to win the Latino vote. He didn’t in 2016, and he won’t in 2020. Sure, he’ll get some—Latinos are not a monolith, and there are civilian versions of Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio scattered everywhere—but overall this mierda remains deeply unpopular, “with four out of five registered voters disapproving of the president's performance,” per recent Univision polling.
That being said, Trump made an embarrassing campaign stop in New Mexico to try to win their vote anyway, noting the start of Hispanic Heritage Month, claiming he’s “working night and day” for “extraordinary Mexican Americans,” and touting their low unemployment rate. There’s plenty of debate to be had about how much he has to do with that in the first place, but ever notice that really the only time Republicans talk about “the Hispanics” in a non-offensive way these days is when noting this talking point?
Otherwise, it’s “predator,” “alien,” “killer,” criminal,” animal,” and “invasion,” according to an analysis of Trump’s rallies since 2017. The latter has been used by the president of the United States 19 times, and is the same wording used by the white supremacist terrorist who targeted the Latino community in El Paso, Texas. But in New Mexico, Trump saved those choice words for another rally on another night, at one point singling out Steve Cortes, a loyalist from his Hispanic Advisory Council, saying, to audience laughter, “He happens to be Hispanic, but I’ve never quite figured it out because he looks more like a WASP than I do.”
Cringe. To think that people like Cortes actually put up with being humiliated in front of an arena like this, all for power or relevancy or safety or who the fuck knows. Happy Hispanic Heritage Month, Steve. But wait, Trump wasn’t done with you just yet. “I’ll tell you what, there is nobody that loves this country more or Hispanic more than Steve Cortes … who do you like more, the country or the Hispanics?” Trump interrogated from the stage, because of course Latinos are incapable of treasuring both their heritage and their home.
Cortes, visible to Trump but not the cameras, must’ve motioned something to appease him. “He says the country,” Trump told the audience. “I don’t know. I may have to go for the Hispanics, to be honest with you. We’ve got a lot of Hispanics. We love our Hispanics. Get out and vote.” Ah, ”Get out and vote.” Cut out those last two words, and there’s never been a more honest statement from Donald Trump about how he truly feels about “the Hispanics.”
Daughter of a Ford autoworker, Rep. Tlaib is true to her roots in standing with striking autoworkers
About 50,000 autoworkers are striking against General Motors across the country, including in Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib’s Michigan district. Striking workers have set up picket lines at warehouses and plants as they rally for livable wages and health care from the corporate giant that flourishes while they struggle to survive.
Unlike Donald Trump, who noted that he feels “sad” about the strike and does absolutely nothing to help workers, Rep. Tlaib is passionately—and consistently—behind workers. And as she told Daily Kos during an exclusive interview in July, her background continues to influence her political priorities. Namely: She’s in office to fight on behalf of the disenfranchised, not to boost her own ego, unlike some people.
“I can tell you,” she told Daily Kos behind the scenes at Netroots Nation, the nation’s largest conference for progressives, held this summer in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, “being not only a proud Palestinian American as well as a Muslim, but also just even as a mother, as somebody that is the eldest of 14, the fact that I am a daughter of a UAW worker at Ford Motor Company, the fact that my mom came here pregnant with me as an immigrant from Palestine … All of those things define who I am and define the fact of why I fight so hard for those in my district that live in poverty, that feel very much they haven't had a seat at the table. All of that is so interconnected.”
Today, she hasn’t forgotten her roots—or her constituents. Rep. Tlaib, whose district includes a GM facility in Romulus as well as an assembly plant in Detroit-Hamtramck, stands in strong solidarity with the workers. In a press release, she put it succinctly: "Autoworkers at GM have consistently stood up to help the company stay afloat and reach billions in profits. This is the time for GM to put people first and reject the disease of corporate greed — GM needs to take care of its workers now."
Just one year ago, in the midst of the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court, Sen. Dick Durbin was livid over the multitude and severity of the lies from Kavanaugh and the cover-up by the Trump administration of documents from Kavanaugh's past. At particular issue was his previous testimony for another job on the federal bench, in which he lied about the things he participated in while in the Bush White House, including the decisions to conduct illegal warrantless wiretapping and torture—actions that would make him unfit to serve on the nation's high court.
Despite having been lied to by Kavanaugh, directly to his face, Durbin is now trying to squelch an effort to finally bring all this, as well as the credible allegations of Kavanaugh's sexual assaults, to light. "Get real," he scoffed. "We've got to get beyond this 'impeachment is the answer to every problem.' It's not realistic," Durbin said. "If that's how we are identified in Congress, as the impeachment Congress, we run the risk that people will feel we're ignoring the issues that mean a lot to them as families." There's that old defensive crouch Democrats are so practiced at. It's not just Durbin. Sen. Patrick Leahy, former chair of the committee, said out loud in those hearings, "We have discovered evidence that Judge Kavanaugh misled the Senate during his 2004 and 2006 hearings. Truthfulness under oath is not an optional qualification for a Supreme Court nominee." Apparently it is. Now he's rolling over. "Mitch McConnell would block any impeachment. So that's a moot point," he says. We just have to learn and "Don't ever let those mistakes happen again."
Mistakes. It was not a mistake. It was a travesty of justice perpetrated knowingly by Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell. Who have repeated the process again and again since, by pushing unqualified, extremist, horrifying nominees through the process and onto federal benches at all levels. Because they can get away with it. Because they know Democrats are unwilling to use the tools the Constitution gives them—the perfectly lawful tools—to stop this Republican power grab. What McConnell has learned from this is just to keep on going, breaking the Senate, taking more and more outrageous actions. Because he can get away with it.
It's not all Democrats, luckily. Another member of the committee, Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, wants impeachment hearings. "I'm pretty sure [House Judiciary Chairman] Jerry Nadler cares if somebody, particularly somebody is getting a lifetime appointment, whether that person lied to Congress," she said, "I hope he'll change his mind." We all do. He has his chance with an impeachment resolution for Kavanaugh being filed by Rep. Ayanna Presley of Massachusetts. Her two-page resolution calls for an investigation and grants the Judiciary Committee subpoena power in the inquiry. Nadler might care, but it doesn't mean he'll do anything. He says he's too busy with Trump, even though he's less than fully committed even to that.
Here's a thought for all these defensive Democrats: Trust the American public, the majority that voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016. The millions who've joined regular protests against Trump and Republicans. Trust that when you have impeachment hearings and lay out the entire scope of corruption and illegal actions—for both Trump and Kavanaugh—the people will understand. Realize that "the issues that mean a lot to them as families," as Durbin calls them, are going to be shaped for generations by the extremists that have lifetime appointments to the Supreme Court. Make the case to the people. Lead. That's what we elected you to do.
Fascists and their enablers never miss a trick. They have displayed a remarkable knack for worming their way into virtually every corner of modern life, from our video games to our scientific pursuits. They seek out fresh recruits in every potential corner—including among radicalized and disgruntled leftists, where they often form so-called “red-brown” alliances.
The environment and its associated issues, in fact, have proven to be a fertile entry point for white supremacists over many years. Remember when white nationalists attempted to take over the Sierra Club, only to be rejected by a national campaign that exposed their surreptitious plan? That was 15 years ago. It hasn’t stopped.
If anything, it has stepped up. These alliances are reaching a kind of zenith right now, largely thanks to the general surge in white-nationalist radicalization that’s been occurring online, inspiring multiple acts of domestic terrorism. Both the Christchurch, New Zealand, mosque shooter and the zealot who murdered 21 in an El Paso, Texas, Walmart described environmental issues as components of their hateful, eliminationist racism in their respective manifestos.
Josh Kovensky at Talking Points Memo just published a solid in-depth look at how eco-fascism is becoming the new entry point for white nationalist bigotry. As he explains, climate change is being accompanied by an apocalyptic discourse that reaches a fever pitch when white nationalists begin circulating claims of a “Great Replacement” of white people by hordes of brown-skinned invaders.
What’s noteworthy is how cleverly white nationalists have positioned the outcomes of climate change—depicting them as so catastrophic that mass death is inevitable, with hordes of fleeing immigrants arriving on shores of majority-white nations.
Two leading voices on the white nationalist right—41-year-old Richard Spencer and 68-year-old Jared Taylor—have staked out positions on the issue in ways that highlight the distinction between younger racists, who eagerly incorporate climate catastrophe into their worldview, and an older generation of white nationalists who remain skeptical.
When asked by TPM about his views, Spencer described a vision of the future in which global populations began to move en masse, doubting that “everyone” would be able “to come north, in the sense that everyone is going to live in Western and central Europe and North America.”
Hold me. I'm frightened. People on "Outnumbered" are talking sense.
One man and four women in 5-inch-heels (the format of the show) were discussing the tenuous situation between Iran and the U.S., made worse (as usual) by Trump and his war-mongering Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Even John Bolton bolted the administration because Trump's so unpredictable and unconcerned with things like terrorism, he'd be thrilled to meet with Al Qaeda the week of 9/11. So Harris Faulkner breezily asked if it may be a problem that there is no National Security Adviser on hand now that Pompeo is egging Trump on to go military with Iran over attacks on Saudi Arabia's oil fields..
Here's the part where I feel rattled. Kennedy criticized Trump. She actually admitted that he "freestyles" his way through the presidency, and that's not the best way to do ANY policy, and certainly not foreign policy. She criticized "conservative hawks, trying to push him to escalate the situation militarily with Iran." At first she says that plan might go south, and thus his prospects for re-election might be harmed. (Uh, actual PEOPLE might be harmed, Kennedy, but I don't want to quibble.)
House Democratic leadership is kicking the can down the road on a big funding fight over Donald Trump’s border wall that could lead to another government shutdown. Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democratic leaders plan to pass a short-term funding bill this week that doesn’t change anything or challenge Trump’s immigration policies, with the big fight to come as that bill expires in November.
“Pelosi has been firm in telling her caucus that Democrats needed to back a ‘clean’ funding measure,” Politico reports, “and so far, many progressives and Latino Democrats have agreed to hold their fire for later this fall, unwilling to block the bill and take blame for a shutdown.”
Progressive Democrats have been expressing concerns about not pushing back harder on Trump’s military construction money grab. Rep. Lloyd Doggett told Politico in a statement, “A short-term CR may be understandable, but longer-term appropriations that do not contain enforceable limitations on his power grab will only encourage his continued wrongdoing.”
The question is when and how and how hard Pelosi will pick the fight—having put it off until November, will she put it off again? Will Trump seize the day and force another shutdown? And while the fight waits, Trump keeps snatching military construction funds for his wall.
Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly's new book, The Education of Brett Kavanaugh, will be published on Tuesday. In The New York Times, Pogrebin and Kelly reveal some of what they learned about Kavanaugh, including this:
During the winter of her freshman year ... [Deborah Ramirez] and some classmates had been drinking heavily when, she says, a freshman named Brett Kavanaugh pulled down his pants and thrust his penis at her, prompting her to swat it away and inadvertently touch it....
We also uncovered a previously unreported story about Mr. Kavanaugh in his freshman year that echoes Ms. Ramirez’s allegation. A classmate, Max Stier, saw Mr. Kavanaugh with his pants down at a different drunken dorm party, where friends pushed his penis into the hand of a female student. Mr. Stier, who runs a nonprofit organization in Washington, notified senators and the F.B.I. about this account, but the F.B.I. did not investigate and Mr. Stier has declined to discuss it publicly. (We corroborated the story with two officials who have communicated with Mr. Stier.)
The president of the United States is not taking this well. He's proposing that the Justice Department should treat the work of these reporters as a crime: