NEW YORK STATE
After a little time off, followed by revamping and re-purposing, we present our first eblast for 2019 and hope you enjoy our new format. These last two years have had their difficulties, but the silver lining has been the privilege of meeting talented, creative activists. Each month we will focus on a specific issue and share the thoughtful perspective of our contributors.
Please email us (msw@Indivisiblethefightison.com) with any comments; we would love to hear from you. Thank you for staying with us!
The theme for this month’s eblast reflects Women’s History Month. If this was forwarded to you by a friend and you do not yet receive our emails you can signup HERE
Sajaa Tracy (née Ahmed) is a host and creator of Spotlight 19, a podcast tracking all things related to New York’s 19th Congressional District. The podcast was an essential tool used by volunteers in 2018 to flip the district blue and will continue to be released monthly in 2019.
JT Compton spent fourteen years in finance before becoming a screenwriter and a political blogger. He has an MFA in creative writing from The New School and has lived in Dutchess County for nineteen years.
Karen Smythe, NYS Senate Candidate in 2018, was the 4th generation to run her family’s Dutchess County union construction business. Born and raised in Poughkeepsie, she is committed to giving back to the community through volunteer and nonprofit work. She currently serves as President of the Dutchess County Woman’s Caucus, is on the Board of the Bardavon Theater and a Trustee of Vassar College.
Joan Daidone has been a community organizer, arts and social justice activist, as well as a creative director and writer for over 25 years. She has led communication teams for domestic and international non-profit youth development, literacy, healthcare, and other organizations, including Feeding America, Boy & Girls Club of America, Paralyzed Veterans of America, ASPCA, Ninos del Lago, Mercy Corp, and COPD Foundation.
Gully Stanford, retired from 35 years in the regional theatre movement and a decade in promoting public education, Gully is a member of the Dutchess County Youth Board Coordinating Council. He may be reached at email@example.com
Donna Goodman, long-time peace and justice activist in New York’s Hudson Valley. Author of Women Fight Back: The centuries-long struggle for liberation. Women Fight Back traces the historical evolution of a movement that has thoroughly transformed society and is in need of militant revival today.
Our next eblast will be published April 30, 2019. The focus will be on Education.
If you do not yet receive our emails (monthly going forward) you can signup HERE
The redacted Mueller Report is scheduled to be released TODAY, supposedly at 11am. But Attorney General William Barr scheduled a press conference at 9:30am to discuss the report before its release. Barr’s announcement brought a chorus of criticism from former Justice Department officials who said such a presser went against Department tradition and protocol, while media observers agreed that the presser would simply be another chance for Barr to spin and create a narrative ahead of a report that seems increasingly likely to be damaging to Trump. The whole circus begs the question, if the report is so exonerating to Trump, why would Trump and his surrogates, along with Barr, go to such lengths to manipulate our expectations and try to control the narrative?
It was also reported yesterday that Barr and the Justice Department have already discussed the Mueller report with the White House ahead of its release to Congress, which is perhaps the most outrageous thing Barr has done as Attorney General. Barr took an oath to serve the American people, not the president, yet his actions in office have gone in the opposite direction. Sharing an investigative report with the subject of that report before its release to authorities (Congress) is a massive betrayal of the public trust, and in its own way a perversion of justice, if not obstruction of justice. It is now crystal clear that Barr is a partisan hack who works for Trump, putting party above country and putting Trump above the law.
Late last evening a group of House Democrats including several committee chairs sent a letter to Barr requesting that he cancel his ridiculous and unnecessary press conference and let the Mueller report speak for itself. But that request has almost certainly fallen on deaf and unAmerican ears. Barr has revealed himself as a partisan hack and Trump stooge, willing to flush whatever was left of his reputation down the sewer to help a corrupt, dishonest and divisive president maintain power and escape responsibility for consorting with Russia and obstructing justice. Like so many other people who have worked in Trump’s orbit, Barr’s cumulative actions have dishonored himself and his office.
Late last evening it was also reported by the Washington Post that the Mueller document will be “lightly redacted”, so it will be interesting to see just what “lightly” means, and whether or not the WaPo story was leaked by Republicans to try, once again, to manage expectations and spin a web of BS.
Regardless, today should prove to be an epic media circus, and it’s easy to imagine the day beginning with a storm of Tweets from the angry orange clown.
Set your sights on the 2020 election and keep resisting…
It’s been a long day and I’m tired. And I’m especially tired of Trump and his cadre of rogues and stooges, hacking away at our democracy one norm and one agency at a time. To quote Jerry Maguire, every day under Trump is “a pride swallowing siege” as he Tweets ridiculous nonsense and/or grotesque vitriol. And now, every time I hear his half-screeching, half-whining voice on television I start to vomit in my mouth. But then I remind myself that my distress is exactly what his supporters want. Trump could burn our democracy to the ground and shred the constitution and his cult wouldn’t care as long as the lib-tards were angry about it. Take that for making us feel ashamed about our intolerance, racisim, sexism and homophobia!
But as I’ve written before in this blog, the stage was set for hatred long before Trump. He is just the inevitable result of decades of Fox fear-mongering and Republican dog whistling. Jamelle Bouie writes about this in an excellent column in yesterday’s New York Times.
He identifies in this excerpt Trump’s purpose in attacking Ilhan Omar:
Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts accused Trump of “inciting violence against a sitting Congresswoman — and an entire group of Americans based on their religion.” That, of course, is the idea. Trump believes he benefits from the passions and anger stirred by racist demagoguery.
He then draws an obvious conclusion about the underlying racist, sexist, homophobic rhetoric of conservatives and Republicans:
Donald Trump has simply brought this rhetoric to the bully pulpit of the American presidency. He has taken everything coursing through the last 20 years of Republican politics and made it explicit. It now has an official seal of approval.
Here is the link:
Trump will continue to stoke fear, anger and resentment as we head toward the 2020 election. These are the nefarious forces we must continue to resist…
It was announced yesterday that the Justice Department will be releasing the redacted version of the Mueller report this Thursday morning. The announcement sent the media into a frenzy of speculation because nobody has any idea if AG Barr will try to conceal any damning information, or if the two-year investigation even found anything damning that we don’t already know.
Some people on social media were urging followers to gear up for renewed calls for impeachment. And there’s no president in our history more worthy of impeachment than Trump. For starters, he’s an unindicted co-conspirator in felony election fraud. And he utterly failed (and continues to fail) to protect our democracy from hacking by Russia and others. But consider two things. First, the Senate is controlled by Republicans who have proven themselves prostitutes to power, especially leader Mitch McConnell, tolerating every scandal and outrage flowing from Trump. It’s hard to imagine what might be in the Mueller report that could force them to stop putting party above country and greed above people. Second, even if something horrible pushed Republicans to consider impeachment, the process could easily last beyond the 2020 election. So as a practical matter, impeachment is an unrealistic long-shot.
Beyond the impeachable actions of Trump, it’s also a fact that he’s the most disgraceful, divisive, dishonest, vile, vain and vengeful president of our lifetimes. He has destroyed or degraded many of our agencies and damaged the legitimacy of many core democratic institutions, like our voting system and our justice system. He’s also harmed many of our international alliances and caused many people outside America to question our standing and legitimacy in the world community. And he’s done everything possible to ruin and reverse our already lame response to climate change. There could be no greater priority than to remove Trump from office as soon as possible.
Yet it’s highly likely that the 2020 election will be our only opportunity to end his reign. This route has a silver lining. Losing the election won’t allow Trump to play quite the victim he would under impeachment. Sure, he will scream “the election was rigged!” without a shred of evidence, but that’s a far cry from the division and animosity he would generate if impeached. And it will greatly reduce the anger his supporters could stir up from his ouster. Losing the 2020 election would be a total rebuke of Trump and Trumpism, and winning is within our grasp as long as we remain united beyond the primary.
It’s also important that we help our fellow citizens in any way we can to flip the Senate. Our Senators in New York State are not vulnerable, but Republican leader Mitch McConnell has been singularly and uniquely ruinous to the Senate, turning the great chamber into a purely partisan tool to subvert the will of the people, so the sooner we wrest control of the Senate from Republicans the better. Imagine a Democratic president and a Democratic house with a Senate still held by Republicans and controlled by McConnell. Years of stalling on judicial confirmations, years of denying the president a Supreme Court pick. We’ve seen this movie before during the Obama years and it was an ugly disgrace thanks to McConnell.
It’s a mistake to expect that impeachment will be a magic cure for Trumpism. Instead, we need to stay connected to the political process and eventually join in the hard work it will take to keep our district blue and rid the White House of the worst president ever. Keep resisting…
Most of the media conversation over the weekend centered around the Julian Assange situation, Trump’s attack on Ilhan Omar, and the possibility that Trump might send detained immigrants to sanctuary cities. But much of the social media discussion featured infighting by Democrats around whether or not they should defend Ilhan Omar, and whether or not Bernie Sanders was using Trumpian tactics on the campaign trail.
EJ Dionne published a thoughtful piece last night on which party was the more divided (Democrats) and what it means for the 2020 election. Here’s an excerpt:
Democrats are more diverse than Republicans in almost every imaginable way: racially, ethnically, religiously and ideologically. And the Democrats’ diversity is increasing because of the flood of new supporters fleeing President Trump’s GOP. Many of these newcomers are not registered as Democrats, meaning they won’t vote in most of the 2020 primaries and caucuses. But their ballots helped Democrats win control of the House. As for the Republicans, they are, overwhelmingly, a party of whites and Christians. They tilt male, especially in their leadership: Among women in the House, 89 are Democrats; only 13 are Republicans. The GOP is the party of older people; the Democrats are the party of the young, partly because of the racial and ethnic heterogeneity of the rising generations. In the 2018 House races, according to the exit polling, Republicans won 50 percent among those 45 and older but only 36 percent of those under 45 — and just 32 percent from the under-30s.
Link to full article:
I observed a Twitter conversation yesterday between two Democrats. The first, a Bernie supporter, wrote that he would never vote for a “corporate Democrat” in the general election, while the second was criticizing the position of the first as ridiculous.
Aside from the nebulous meaning of “corporate Democrat,” there is no “corporate Democrat” remotely as corrupt, dishonest, or malignant as Trump. Any of the Democrats would be a world of difference from Trump. If we can’t agree on that, we’re screwed. We can debate all we want about which contender will best represent our aspirations and which will have the best chance of beating Trump. But if we don’t come together after the primary, we’re cutting off our nose to spite our face.
None of the Democratic contenders perfectly reflect my views on every issue. Any vote I have ever cast was a compromise. So it makes no sense to quarrel with the eventual nominee beyond trying to push them towards policies that we want. It makes no sense to let the perfect outweigh the good. To withhold a vote, or vote for an independent or write-in, is a vote from Trump. This isn’t a crazy opinion. It’s a mathematical and logical fact. If we want to defeat the worst president (by far) in modern history, we have to come together after the primary. It will be especially difficult because Russia is already trying to pit Bernie supporters against everyone else, hoping to drive a wedge that will leave a bitter feeling and keep some people from the polls if Bernie isn’t nominated, or keep other people from the polls if he is.
I don’t like Bernie Sanders. And I won’t vote for him in the primary. But if he’s the eventual nominee, I’ll vote for him with the same determination I would for any other nominee. Trump is an epic, historic disgrace, an utter disaster, a wrecking ball destroying years of hard work by liberals and progressives, a petty tyrant who would become a dictator if our system let him, and the GOP seems willing to let him as long as the rich get more tax cuts and the fanatics get another Supreme Court pick. That’s the bottom line. Whether we have single payer or Medicare-for-all pales in comparison. Whether or not we raise the top marginal tax rate pales in comparison. Policy debates are important, but they won’t matter if Trump is still in the White House in 2021.
In recent years it’s been necessary to demand that various professions not protect their “bad” members. We want doctors to reject bad doctors. We want clergy to reject bad clergy. And we want cops the reject bad cops. Otherwise, people get hurt. And it’s the same for journalists. We need journalists to reject bad journalists.
First, we need the broader body of journalists to acknowledge that Fox “news” employees may have some characteristics in common with journalists, but the network is in reality a propaganda outlet pushing a destructive and divisive political agenda. For thirty-plus years they have sowed the seeds of hatred, bigotry, misogyny and fear among their viewers. For thirty-plus years they have worked to demonize science and learning and objective debate–not to mention liberals, feminists, Muslims and non-whites. No wonder Trump and his core supporters get their marching orders from Fox. And no wonder so many of them are neck-deep in grotesque and destructive conspiracy theories, like Hillary Clinton runs a pedophile ring! Or Democrats are evil Communists and want to destroy America! No other person has had such a negative impact on our culture, politics and democracy than Rupert Murdoch. So when Trump’s cult shrugs off another one of his vile smears or epic scandals or daily lies or violations of the Constitution, real journalists need to acknowledge that this is the fruit of Rupert Murdoch’s hate machine.
Second, we need to distinguish journalism from crime. It’s easy to forget that Rupert Murdoch’s newspapers in the UK were busted for hacking the phones of many, many celebrities–as well as regular citizens–to publish humiliating tabloid stories. It was a major scandal that proved Murdoch’s empire rested far more on sleaze than on anything resembling responsible journalism. Which brings us to WikiLeaks, which may have been something resembling journalism way back when. But WikiLeaks didn’t stay that way. Here’s a great Twitter thread I’ve pasted together from writer Greg Olear (@gregolear) that puts Assange in perspective:
Whatever legitimate journalism Assange’s Wikileaks may’ve done previously, by 2016, he was an asset of Russian intelligence. The coordinated released of stolen Podesta emails an hour after the Access Hollywood tape dropped was not journalism; it was an act of cyber warfare. In general, the indiscriminate dumping of sensitive documents stolen by hackers is also not journalism. This is something the Bolsheviks did with Romanov papers after the Revolution, BTW. It was done to sow chaos. Assange was intimately connected with Edward Snowden’s defection to Russia. He helped a traitorous spy escape, and he helped implement a propaganda campaign to present that spy as a First Amendment hero. Assange sought asylum at the Ecuadorian embassy because he was wanted in Sweden for sexual assault. A guiltless man might demand his day in court, so that he would be exonerated. Assange fled the country & hid out in an embassy basement. You know, like an innocent man would. Remember some years ago, when we on the left falsely believed Assange was the cat’s meow, and Obama did not? Yeah, Obama had intel we didn’t have. He knew what Assange really was: an opportunistic fame whore & chaos agent with unseemly ties to the FSB. Recent visitors to Assange include: Nigel Farage, Roger Stone, and Sean Hannity. Hannity has a fishy relationship with Assange:
Also, Assange reached out to Hannity, or tried to, with anti-Dem info:
Hannity is one of three clients of Michael Cohen, who reportedly met for over 40 hours w/the Mueller team, and was also supposedly in front of the Grand Jury this past week. Wikileaks DM’d with Donald Trump, Jr. during the campaign.
Wikileaks is “Organization 1” in the Mueller indictment against the 12 Russian hackers. So we know Assange is on his radar.
And now Assange, we find out, is under sealed indictment. Assange, who coordinated w/Junior & Stone and possibly Hannity during the campaign.
In short: no matter how many anarchists sing his praises, or how many ex-Baywatch babes he boinks, Assange is what Mike Pompeo said he was: head of a non-state hostile intelligence service aligned with Putin’s Russia.
He belongs in US prison.
That’s where he’s going.
Assange is wanted by the United States government not for publishing something they objected to, nor for refusing to give up his sources. Assange is wanted for helping to hack a government computer, sort of like the Murdoch empire broke British law by hacking phones. It’s not what real journalists do. And for this reason, it has little to do with the first amendment, nor does it have grave implications for American journalists as long as they don’t want to become criminal hackers. The First Amendment is sacred, but I’ve yet to hear or read anything that concerns me about the charge against Assange, who seems to have become a criminal tool of Russia.
In his typically off-the-cuff and unhinged way, Trump yesterday threatened to ship immigration detainees to sanctuary cities like New York City and Los Angeles to flood those cities with gang members and criminals. Of course, the vast majority of immigrants are neither gang members nor criminals, but in the fear-fevered mind of Trump, the sanctuary cities would suffer and beg Trump to build his wall. The White House quickly brushed Trump’s comment back and assured reporters that the president wasn’t serious. But then the president brushed his own people back and insisted he was serious. The plan would be costly and almost certainly illegal, but breaking the law never stopped Trump. Here is good coverage of the debacle in the Washington Post:
It was also reported yesterday Trump told his new Homeland Security Secretary to break the law and Trump would pardon him. Some Republicans shrugged it off as a joke, but anyone with a measurable IQ understands that this is exactly who Trump is. After all, he fired his last Homeland Security Secretary for not breaking the law on his command. The report was called “Fake News” by Trump, which tell us that the report was in fact accurate and correct. Here’s coverage by CNN:
House Oversight and Reform Committee chairman Elijah Cummings yesterday was on the verge of issuing a subpoena to the Mazars USA accounting firm for ten years worth of Trump financial records. Committee member Jim Jordan of Ohio tried to undermine the probe by urging Mazars not to comply with the subpoena, using Trump’s “witch hunt” myth as a rationale. But Cummings chastised Jordan in a memo to his committee. That members of Congress like Jordan are still giving cover to a corrupt president is a national disgrace, and a betrayal of their role as a check on the executive branch. Here is coverage from Politico:
To reiterate a point made in this blog many times, future Democratic presidents will come under criticism from Republicans, and every single time there will be an example of something much worse that Trump did that Republicans let slide. Trump has completely ruined any claim to virtue, ethics, values, principles or standards from the Republican party, and we can’t ever let them forget it. Trump is immoral to the core, willing to break the law to get what he wants, a degenerate liar, a vile and vengeful bully, wholly unfit for public office. We can’t ever let the Republicans forget the epic and historic disaster that they’ve spawned and coddled in Trump, especially since it’s inconceivable that we will ever in our lifetimes have a Democratic president remotely as corrupt or divisive or malignant.
But we have to vote Trump out first. Keep resisting…
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was kicked out of the Ecuadorean embassy in London yesterday and turned over to British authorities. The US is asking for his extradition on a computer hacking charge, which could take years to arrange. Meanwhile the pundits have been debating whether or not Assange is actually a journalist, and whether or not the charge against him–helping Chelsea Manning to break the law by hacking a government computer to obtain classified documents–has any merit or consequence. Two things to highlight. One, Assange is less a journalist or publisher than he is a dumper of classified documents without going through them first and removing the sensitive bits, which is what real journalists do. Two, the Assange charge isn’t related to material he disclosed, nor related to secret sources–it’s related to his alleged commission of a crime to get material. So the case is less about something that could put real journalism at risk, and more about a guy who crossed a line and apparently committed a crime, possibly in the service of a hostile foreign power.
As the Mueller report languishes in the hands of AG Barr, Trump continues to rant and rave about the “witch hunt”, calling the Mueller team’s investigation “treason” and pretending he didn’t spend hours on the campaign trail talking about the “amazing WikiLeaks” and declaring “I love WikiLeaks!” Trump lies so habitually, he lies when he doesn’t even need to. In front of the press, almost everything out of his mouth is a lie or a ridiculous exaggeration. But his latest rants and lies are more frantic and angry than they have been in the past and it stands to reason that his desperation stems from the fact that Congress is going after his taxes and the Mueller report. The request for extradition of Julian Assange to the United States came from a sealed indictment that had been filed long ago. It was unsealed the moment Assange was kicked out of the embassy. And this is exactly the scenario that Trump will face when a new president is sworn in. It stands to reason that an indictment should have been sealed for Trump when his lawyer Michael Cohen was charged with felony campaign finance fraud. Trump was an unindicted co-conspirator in that crime. So he should be charged with that crime the moment he leaves office.
So much is riding on our ability to rid Washington of the worst president ever–our climate, our health care, our immigration policy, our sense of fairness and equality, our trust in the justice system, and women’s sovereignty over their own bodies. Let’s keep working to make sure Trump becomes a one-term blunder…