Day 734 – All Politics Are Local

The national Indivisible team announced that TODAY will be a national CALL IN DAY for activists to call their US Senators and pressure them to end the Trump Shutdown without funding a wasteful, impotent border wall.  Additional info from Indivisible at this link:

https://indivisible.org/resource/trumps-latest-temper-tantrum-and-showdown-over-wall

Please call and let our New York State Senators know how you feel about Trump’s shutdown and his border wall.  Our Senators need to know you’re in their corner.

Sen Schumer: (202) 224-6542

Sen Gillibrand: (202) 224-4451

Yesterday was another banner day for local politics.  The legislature in Albany passed another bill that would never have passed under the tyranny of the IDC, this focused on women’s reproductive health.  It’s called the Reproductive Health Act and it tries to codify the protections that came about under the Roe v Wade decision.  Here’s coverage from the Daily Freeman:

https://www.dailyfreeman.com/news/national/ny-enacts-new-protections-for-abortion-rights/article_36140689-5076-57b8-a856-3c865a3b67a7.html

Local politics matter, and it’s wonderful that voters were able to rid Albany of the corrupt IDC.  But there is more work to do.  There were several NO votes from local legislators in #NY19 on the Reproductive Health Act, and these politicians need to be voted out as soon as possible.  They include Amedore, Ashkar, Jordan, Serino & Seward.

In the spirit of Faso Fridays, Hudson Valley Strong will soon be promoting a weekly action at the Hyde Park office of Republican Sue Serino on Tuesdays at noon, beginning on February 5th.  Dubbed “Send Sue Packing Tuesdays”, the protests will bring attention to Serino’s horrible voting history on policies like women’s reproductive health.

Please put Feb 5th on your calendar, and keep resisting…

Day 732 – Historic Democratic Primary

In local news yesterday, Congressman Antonio Delgado held his first town hall since taking office.  Hundreds attended the Rensselaer County event, and you can see the entire talk at this link:

https://www.facebook.com/RepAntonioDelgado/videos/1946818962101606/

In national news yesterday, California Senator Kamala Harris became the fourth Democratic woman to announce her candidacy for President, joining Rep Tulsi Gabbard, Senator Elizabeth Warren, and our own Senator Kirsten Gillibrand.  In contrast to the weak, pitiful group of 2016 Republican primary challengers, the 2020 Democratic group is diverse and full of talent.  And for the first time in our history, we will have at least four women competing for the nomination.  Michelle Goldberg wrote a fantastic editorial yesterday in the New York Times about sexism in the 2016 election and why the 2020 election may be a game-changer for women.  It’s a fantastic read:

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/21/opinion/kamala-harris-2020-democrats-sexism-trump.html

As activists we need to continue to do whatever we can to pressure Trump and McConnell to stop the government shutdown.  Please call Senators Schumer and Gillibrand and let them know the Democrats should stand firm and not accept any offer from Trump that isn’t legit and constructive–unlike his bogus DACA offer.  Senators log all of their calls, and on high-profile issues like resisting the border wall they want to receive your support, it’s like having a wind at their back.

Keep resisting…

Day 731 – Past The Halfway Mark

Indivisible honors and reveres the legacy of Martin Luther King, and hopes you’re enjoying this special day of remembrance.

We’re officially closer to the end of Trump’s first (and last) term than the start.  Hard to believe it’s only been two years, especially when all of the scandals, outrages, flubs, lies and crimes are tallied up and marveled at.  Seems more like ten.

Yesterday Rudy Giuliani went on cable TV and admitted that Trump spoke to lawyer Eric Cohen about his then-pending testimony to Congress, so the notion that Trump told Cohen to lie isn’t very far-fetched.  Giuliani has a consistent track record of getting out in front of impending bad news, so it stands to reason that we will get evidence soon that Trump and Cohen discussed testimony. If evidence exists that Trump told Cohen to lie, it’s a clearly and plainly impeachable crime.  Mueller’s team has not specifically refuted this claim, only that something in the Buzzfeed story wasn’t accurate.

At the halfway point of Trump’s grotesque and lamentable presidency it’s worth reiterating a point made before in this blog.  Americans who hate government hate their fellow citizens.  Because in a Democracy, your friends and neighbors are the government.  The desire for small government is disingenuous and ridiculous, just as the desire for large government is foolish.  Worth fighting for is a smart, efficient and effective government, sized to meet the needs of the nation.  An excellent op-ed by E. J. Dionne Jr. in the Washington Post yesterday delves further into this theme:

In truth, the whole antigovernment thing is fundamentally fraudulent. So is the conservative claim to believe passionately in states’ rights and local authority.

A link to the article:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/hating-the-government-wont-improve-it/2019/01/20/ff80944c-1b66-11e9-8813-cb9dec761e73_story.html

When government doesn’t work, it’s often due to some form of corruption.  And in our lifetimes, the greatest source of corruption has been the influence of corporate money and power on our elected officials.  Some of our friends and neighbors (in both parties, but more with Republicans than Democrats) have sold their souls for corporate money, either in the form of campaign contributions or the promise of lucrative jobs post-politics.  We must fight to reduce corporate money and dark money in our elections and put an end at last to corporatism.

Another critical dimension to effective government is an informed and engaged electorate.  The citizens of NY-19 have done an excellent job in the last two years of organizing and mobilizing to ensure we are properly represented in Congress, as well as in local offices throughout the district.

Keep up the great work, and keep resisting…

EVENT REMINDER: Congressman Antonio Delgado holds his first town hall today at 2pm at the Poestenkill Fire Department.

Day 730 – Trump’s Latest Con

Around the country yesterday hundreds of thousands joined the Annual Women’s March.  Several took place in our area including Woodstock, Hudson, Albany and New York City.  Indivisible Chatham posted this picture from Hudson:

hudsonmarch19

The crowds were smaller this year, but weather may have played a part.

Meanwhile, Trump spoke to the nation yesterday in a short bid to “negotiate” an end to his government shutdown.  He offered several vague (and possibly unenforceable) promises, including a three year extension of protection for Dreamers, in exchange for 5.7 billion for his border wall.  Of course, the extremists on his right like Ann Coulter howled that the Dreamer offering was a horrible capitulation (“We voted for Trump and got Jeb!”), while Democratic House leader Pelosi rejected Trump’s offering as an unacceptable rehash of past failed compromises.  In truth, the offering was less a legitimate negotiation than a way for Trump to push blame onto the Democrats and keep his base happy through public spectacle.  Coverage in the Times:

Trump’s speech was one of the most wooden and heartless yet, beginning with lofty words, feel-good phrases, and patriotic sentiments that Trump himself would never utter, much less believe.  The speech was apparently crafted by, among others, Mike Pence and Jared Kushner, and eventually careened into the obligatory fear-mongering drivel about hordes of drug smuggling rapists and murderers flooding through the Mexican border ready to invade our cities and kill everyone.  It’s becoming increasingly ludicrous, yet a small fraction of Trump’s cult of followers apparently lives in terror that our streets are full of Mexican maniacs–despite all evidence to the contrary.

Pelosi and the Democrats need to answer Trump with a loud and public counter-proposal in order to avoid blame for a shutdown that Trump has the power to end whenever he chooses.  So stay tuned for the response, and keep resisting…

Day 729 – Fallout

The fallout continued yesterday from the explosive Buzzfeed report alleging that Donald Trump directed his lawyer Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about the Trump Tower Moscow deal.

New chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Adam Schiff said this:

“These allegations may prove unfounded, but, if true, they would constitute both the subornation of perjury as well as obstruction of justice…”

Trump’s surrogates yesterday denied the Cohen story, calling Cohen a convicted liar, but the Buzzfeed story didn’t originate with Cohen.  In fact, the story alleged that the Mueller team had evidence of and witnesses to Trump’s obstruction that they confronted Cohen with, and he corroborated it.  So it wasn’t about Cohen’s truthfulness, it was about independently sourced evidence.  And the evidence apparently also indicated that Donald Jr. and Ivanka were briefed regularly about the Moscow project.

However, in a dramatic turn of events, the office of the Special Counsel last night issued a statement calling into question parts of the Buzzfeed report.  A spokesman for the Mueller probe said, “BuzzFeed’s description of specific statements to the special counsel’s office, and characterization of documents and testimony obtained by this office, regarding Michael Cohen’s congressional testimony are not accurate.”  Buzzfeed then stated that they stood by their report and wanted to know from Mueller’s team which facts were not accurate, but there has been no additional response from Mueller.

Michael Cohen is scheduled to testify before Congress on February 7th, an appearance already highly anticipated.  Congress will attempt to assess the veracity of Cohen’s claims and the depth of the subterfuge from Trump, though it is not certain that Cohen will disclose anything about his testimony to Mueller.  Eventually Congress will know what Mueller knows, if by no other means than to subpoena his final report.

So the Trump regime is now heralding the Mueller statement as vindication that Trump did nothing wrong, while at the same time maintaining that Mueller is an angry Democrat on a witch hunt.  Trump may or may not have suborned perjury, but he almost surely obstructed justice, and he’s already an unindicted co-conspirator in a felony federal election fraud case.  Speculation continues to abound that Trump will concoct a crisis or distraction to avert our attention from the stinking mess of his presidency.  It was recently reported that Trump’s national security adviser John Bolton asked the Pentagon to provide possible attack options for Iran, increasing fears that the Trump team will start an unprovoked war with Iran as a distraction.  He might also declare a “national emergency” along the border with Mexico as a way to divert attention and give himself a way out of the government shutdown.  Whatever he does, it’s crucial that activists stay alert and be prepared to protest or otherwise make noise if Trump does anything from the dictators’s playbook.

According to FiveThirtyEight’s poll of polls, Trump’s approval rating slid to a miserable 39.9% and his disapproval rating rose to 55.2%–numbers that will make it difficult for him to get re-elected.  And if the numbers get any worse for Trump they will make it difficult for Republicans to continue to support him.  GOP politicians only care about getting re-elected, so if their support of Trump begins hurting their chances more than helping, they will back away from him quickly. But we’re not there yet.

Wishing you a safe and warm weekend.  Beware of the incoming snow storm and keep resisting…

Day 728 – Obstruction Bombshell

A bombshell report in Buzzfeed last night claimed that Donald Trump told his personal lawyer Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about Trump’s Moscow Tower Real Estate Deal.  According to authors Jason Leopold and Anthony Cormier, the Mueller probe apparently has multiple witnesses, documents and other evidence that corroborates the testimony of Michael Cohen.

The special counsel’s office learned about Trump’s directive for Cohen to lie to Congress through interviews with multiple witnesses from the Trump Organization and internal company emails, text messages, and a cache of other documents. Cohen then acknowledged those instructions during his interviews with that office.

If the details of the story are true, Trump would be guilty of obstruction of justice, the same crime Richard Nixon was impeached for.   Here is the full article:

https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/jasonleopold/trump-russia-cohen-moscow-tower-mueller-investigation

Democratic lawmakers took to social media last night to express their concern and outrage.  Rep Joaquin Castro:

Rep Adam Schiff:

Though many political observers suspected that Trump was hiding his dealings with Russia, it now seems clear that Trump was actively working to keep his Russia project a secret from Mueller and the public by instructing Cohen to lie to Congress about his involvement, thwarting investigators while committing the crime of obstruction of justice.  Also implicated in the story were Donald Jr. and Ivanka Trump, who were apparently informed about Cohen’s dealings with Russians for the Moscow Tower deal.

Keep your eye on Trump’s response to this news, especially with his children in the flow of information about the Moscow Tower deal.  By the time you read this blog Trump will likely have gone on a Twitter rampage.  We can only hope he doesn’t start a war or other catastrophe to distract us from the mushrooming scandal unleashed by Cohen’s cooperation with Mueller.  Calls for impeachment will continue to get louder.

Stay alert and keep resisting…

Day 727 – The GOP protects Russia. Why?

A bill supported by Senator Chuck Schumer to condemn the Trump regime for easing sanctions on dirty Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska fell short in the Senate yesterday.  The bill needed 60 votes to pass but only garnered 57 (it included 11 Republicans).  It strains the imagination to wonder why any Republican would vote in favor of a Russian oligarch, but that’s where we are in the era of Trump.  Why does Trump have such fealty to Putin and Russia, and why does the Republican party continue to cover for him?  There is no new Russia.  Russia is a pretend democracy that continues to operate as a corrupt kleptocracy where bribery and graft are daily features of economic life and wealth is extracted from the citizens and given to a ruling class loyal to Vladimir Putin, a bloody dictator whose career was spent mostly as a spy trying to screw the West.  Russia attacks our nation constantly via the internet, and they endeavor to destroy the western world order that we paid for in blood during World War Two and spent decades toiling since to build.

Why do Republicans care so much about Russia? Maybe it’s because Russian money has been funding their causes and campaigns? Whatever the reason, it’s disgraceful.

Meanwhile the Trump Shutdown continues to ripple through the economy, causing increasing hardship and loss every day.  TSA agents are staying home sick, furloughed government workers are showing up at soup kitchens, and now the Department of Homeland Security is out of funding, increasing the risk that terrorists might take advantage of the shutdown to attack us.  The Republicans and Democrats originally came together and hashed out a deal to continue funding the government but Trump rejected it, and then Mitch McConnell decided to join Trump and hold 800,000 Americans hostage to Trump’s wall–a wasteful vanity project that a majority of Americans don’t want.  As we discuss the shutdown, it’s important to place a lot of blame on McConnell.  He could allow another vote but he refuses, putting partisanship over patriotism.

Nancy Pelosi struck back at Trump, asking that he postpone his State of the Union speech until after the government re-opens.  The speech takes place in the House chamber and is technically hosted by the House of Representatives, so Trump is at the mercy of Pelosi and won’t be able to grandstand and spew his usual fear mongering garbage until the crisis has been resolved, which is a good thing.

Finally, a new poll by CNN showed that Trump is losing the support of one of his core constituencies, white Americans without college degrees.  Support among this group dropped three percent while disapproval increased six percent, both significant shifts in what had previously been a steady group.  Here’s more detail from The Hill:

https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/425584-trump-loses-support-from-key-constituency-of-white-people-without-a

Enjoy your Thursday and keep resisting…