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TygrBright

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Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 15,329

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When the other shoe drops...

That's how someone on Twitter described the feeling on Capitol Hill this weekend: "Waiting for the other shoe to drop."

Most people have heard by now: On Friday, Comey held a tight, closed-door briefing session with members of the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee. Staff not included. Afterwards, most of the Senators -by then on their way out of town for a long holiday weekend- declined comment.

But ranking Democrat Mark Warner said he had "a high level of confidence" the Committee would have access to the information needed to carry out their investigation.

Late last night, Reuters reported (quoting "five current and former government officials with direct knowledge of the situation,") that the FBI is conducting three separate probes related to Russian activity:

  • A cybersecurity-focused investigation into the pre-election hacking of the DNC, being conducted by the Bureau's Pittsburgh field office- this investigation has apparently progressed the furthest.

  • An operation by the San Francisco field office focused on identifying "Guccifer 2"- the hackers who took credit for posting Clinton campaign manager John Podesta's emails.

  • A Washington-based counterintelligence inquiry focusing on foreign communications intercepts and field informants- including (but not limited to) financial transactions conducted through middlemen and front companies, by Russian people and companies with links to >Redacted< associates.

Reuters was unable to obtain comment on this information from the White House, or further on-the-record information from the Bureau to confirm the extent and progress of the investigations.

Intelligence Committee staff, and staff of the Senate committee members, have also denied any knowledge related to Comey's Friday briefing.

>Redacted<, of course, went to Florida to attend a woozy sploogefest of word salad and press-bashing with the local supporters that share his nostalgic jones for campaign-level adulation and excitement. Also job-interview NSA candidates, golf, and schmooze Mar-a-Lago pals.

The White House sent out Reince Priebus for the Sunday morning barbecue rituals, but apart from an ominous response to a query on >Redacted<'s characterization of the press as "enemy of the American people" ("...certainly we would never condone violence" What would you condone, Reince? A little gentle state censorship? Government imposed 'truth standards'?) he merely repeated the same old talking points.

Oh, except for two things: "It never happened" has morphed into "it never happened that I know of" (contact between >Redacted< campaign personnel and Russian Intelligence) and the assertion that Pence WAS aware of the internal probe into Flynn's trustworthiness PRIOR to February 9th. Your turn under the bus, Mikey.

And that's where things stand, as of now.

I expect we'll start seeing more cracks sometime tomorrow. Watch for damage-control trial balloons, and perhaps a major distraction or two from >Redacted< himself, tomorrow or Tuesday.

Then, mid-week, the wheels will start to come off. Probably in slow motion. I don't think it will be a big dramatic explosion. More like a series of cracks, the rushing of water coming in, gathering slowly to a thunderous crescendo over the next few weeks. With a side of noisy, attention-deflecting distractions.

And I think that's deliberate.

For all the anticipatory glee about a really big blow to the clown krewe jammed into the front seat of the Executive Branch bus, no one who's really thought it through wants to see a big smash that would render one third of the mechanism of government (as opposed to policy and leadership) non-functional. There will be plenty of behind-the-scenes negotiations and bureaucratic bunfights about how to keep things running in the mean time.

They'll come up with compromises. We may end up with President Pence. Or not. There may be some off-camera reshuffling, leverage applied, that will leave >Redacted< with a Potemkin Presidency, while a new team of Executive staff managers and Cabinet-level appointees keep cranking from behind the scenes.

And, although we may be able to rejoice in the departure of some of the more egregious neo-nazis and incompetent kleptocrats, the end result will be less than the apocalyptic, Wagnerian comeuppance many of us passionately desire to see visited upon >Redacted<.

Because it will have to be. And that will, in the long run, be a good thing.

We need every hour of every day of the next forty-eight months to rub GOP noses in the mess and pull together a viable clean-up crew.

speculatively,
Bright


Today I went to my Democratic Party Ward Meeting.

Last week, someone from the County Democratic Party phoned up to remind the esposo and I that as registered Democrats, we're entitled and invited to attend the annual pre-County Convention Ward Meeting. On the agenda: Elect a Ward Chair and Vice-Chair, and delegates to the County Central Committee. Our ward is eligible to select fourteen delegates to attend the March 25th County Convention.

They gave us the address for the meeting, and the time- 10 am.

So we went.

Good thing we left early because when we got to the meeting location, there wasn't a parking space for blocks.

When we got there, we signed in, and looked around for the sign that would direct us to the room for our ward, 3A (there were about a dozen wards all using the venue at the same time.) County Chair and Vice Chair candidates were circulating, glad-handing, talking about what they'd do to build a stronger Party in the county, but even they looked kind of overwhelmed by the turnout.

We finally had to ask someone at the registration table which room our ward was meeting in, and got told, somewhat apologetically, that since the turnout was so large, they were staggering the meeting times, and ours would begin an hour later.

So, we ran an errand, and came back, thinking we'd be able to park a little closer when the 10 am meetings were over.

We still had to park 3 blocks away.

Our ward is one of the smallest in the county, in both area, and population. So they'd naturally given us a small room.

We were busting at the seams.

More than twice the largest turnout the Ward Chair could remember. "I've been to plenty of these where I was the only one... or me and two or three other people."

He'd never had more people attending than County Central Committee delegate slots to fill. But it was okay, there were several of us who didn't want to be delegates. So we got all the volunteers signed up, voted them as a slate, and moved on to business.

The Ward Chair said anyone could nominate themselves as Chair or Vice Chair, or even Secretary or Treasurer. We hadn't had a Secretary or a Treasurer ever, but the County rules allowed us to elect one. Usually just him and the Vice Chair were the only ones who wanted to serve anyway, and they'd be happy to serve again, but did anyone else want to throw a hat in the ring?

And a young man spoke up- probably in his early 20s? Not very sure of himself but he said he thought it would be a good idea to have some younger people involved, and unless anyone else wanted to go for it, he thought he'd take a swing at Vice Chair.

All eyes turned to the incumbent Vice Chair, a woman maybe in her early 50s, with plenty of experience. She said "I think that's a great idea. Why don't I run for Secretary, then?"

So we asked if anyone else wanted to be considered. There were a LOT of first-timers there- willing to be CCC delegates, but unsure of the process and not ready to step up. So we voted in our slate- Incumbent Chair to continue, brand-new Vice Chair, and our first-ever Ward Secretary-Treasurer.

Then we started talking about what matters to us as south siders. There's a School Board vacancy right now, and we think that since our ward is right smack in the middle of the county's highest percentage of families with elementary and middle school-age children, we should have a say there.

Retired military guy who's an ESL teacher, seemed smart, steady, and allowed as how he supported teaching actual science in schools, bilingual ed, sex education, etc., STRONGLY, we all promised to support him if he'd go file for it.

We put together the contact list. Collected donations for the County Party, but since they'd come from our ward they'd be earmarked for organizing and supporting activities in our ward.

And that was the meeting.

On the way out I talked to one of the County organizers. She was still flabbergasted at the turnout. "It's never been this big. Never. NEVER."

So I guess that's something Captain Chaos can take credit for.

If he wants to.

happily,
Bright

[Redacted]'s Presser: The Media Has GOT to do Better

https://twitter.com/baseballcrank/status/832308645048233984

I admit it, I had fun watching. I was fascinated. I couldn't believe what an ass he was making of himself.

But then, I already KNOW what a threat to civilization Captain Chaos represents. I'm not "his" audience.

And little by little, I began to notice what WASN'T getting asked.

No questions about getting us sucked into war in Syria.

No questions about emoluments.

Nothing about the future of the >Redacted< Foundation in the state of NY.

Nothing about the effects of trade and immigration policy on agricultural businesses.

Nothing about the manifest incompetence and lack of qualifications among so many of his staff and appointees.

Nothing about the $9/million per month travel costs the taxpayers are picking up for his family members (as opposed to $10 million a YEAR for Obama.)

Nothing about the ACA and what his Administration is doing to work with Congressional #GOP on their vaunted "replacement" plan.

No one pressed him for details on the "jam tomorrow" tax plan that's gonna be 'so tremendous.'

Instead, the media got rope-a-doped into discussing their second-favorite topic: themselves. And their relationship with the Administration.

And he had that shit-eating grin, poking a stick into their cage, making them look like a bunch of yappy little dogs at the dog pound.

Seriously, media. I am disappointed.

Y'all have GOT to do better. The stakes are too high to get suckered like this.

irritatedly,
Bright

Hate Jews, Love Israel: The Logic of American Anti-Semitism

Seeing the surreal press conference with >Redacted< and Netanyahu today was jarring, to say the least.

The contrast between escalating manifestations of grassroots anti-semitism experienced by Jewish Americans, and the heartfelt rah-rah jingo embrace of Netanyahu's Likud vision for Israel practically defines 'cognitive dissonance'.

How is it possible?

The easiest trope to understand is the extreme Christian Millenialist viewpoint, in which the existence of Israel is a necessary precursor to the apocalypse that will 'rapture' them to their luxury seats in the Skybox of heaven- the ones with a panoramic view of the unbelievers suffering unspeakable tortures, and angelic waitresses to bring them snacks and cocktails. The Millenialists believe they have the libretto, and they're anxious to hurry the action along to get to the good part.

In the Millenialist view, "Israel" doesn't actually have much to do with Jews except insofar as it provides the catalyst for them, as Christ-killing sinners, to get What's Coming To Them when Payback Jesus finally shows up. Which can only happen in Israel, so, yeah... They're total besties with the State of Israel and are eager to do whatever it takes, up to and including kicking off The Big One, to move the show along.

Oh, and in the mean time, having a place that has to take in Jews just because they're Jewish? Two-fer... we can 'encourage' all the world's Jews to go there, which will make it extra convenient for the Destroying Angel to visit them with heinous plagues and so on.

This is the "put all your eggs in one basket, and then drop the basket" genocide strategy. We'll get back to that later, it's the centerpiece of another American anti-semite trope. For now, it's enough to note that there are plenty of opportunistic politicians in Israel who are perfectly well-aware of the Millenialists' motivations but are happy to take their handouts for all they're worth.

The "eggs/basket/drop" strategy is at the heart of the broader American neo-nazi racist version of anti-semitism. If Israel is the Jews' rightful homeland, then it's perfectly logical to convince them to get the hell out of America, and go there. Where, presumably, they and those other non-Aryan non-Christian people will annihilate each other, problem solved. We can go in and take the oil when they're all dead, and the sooner they get on with it, the better.

So, in the mean time, while we're convincing all the Jews in America that they're not welcome (to say the least), these latter-day Final Solution fans support the existence of Israel as a sort of one-stop, voluntary concentration camp.

Finally, there's the more nuanced and sophisticated approach of the old WASP elite. The "gentleman's agreement" they've reached with Israel is, essentially, to be their proxy bulwark maintaining the established order in the Middle East. Their anti-semitism is the most genteel and subtle of the lot. They even allow their children to marry into Jewish families-- wealthy and well-connected ones, anyway. There's always been an appreciation, among the ancient WASP elite, of the role those wealthy and well-connected Jewish families can play in enabling the upper echelons of legal and financial legerdemain, while keeping Jews as a group in reserve for scapegoating when required.

If support for Israel is the bargaining chip for the old WASP elite to enlist that cooperation, they're reasonably happy to oblige. After all, it also provides useful political cover for them. How can they be anti-semitic, when they're such Good Friends of Israel?

In the mean time, the synagogues receive their bomb threats, the flow of vile hate mail ticks up, and Palestinians see their hopes receding. And Jewish Americans who encompass a whole range of political, philosophical, ethical and moral viewpoints on Israel, peace in the Middle East, and America's role there, have frustratingly little success in being heard.

observantly,
Bright

P.S. Many thanks to all my heart donors! I'm so touched and honored by your kindness.



To the People of Japan, and His Excellency, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

Dear Japanese friends, and Your Excellency,

America is in your debt. This letter acknowledges the debt, expresses gratitude, and offers you a proposition which I hope you will consider favorably.

First: Abe-Sama, domo arigato. Arigato. Arigato goziemashita. (I'm sorry I don't know the kanji characters, but this keyboard isn't equipped for them, anyway. Please accept the intent and pardon any clumsiness of expression.)

It would have been so embarrassing for us, had the North Korean missile launch last night resulted in a belligerent public statement full of dick-banging and veiled threats from our man-baby Chief Executive, or had it touched off another explosion of childish rage-tweeting.

It was the leverage of your presence, your experienced and rational analysis and response to the incident, and the need to, at least temporarily, maintain some semblance of respect from a world leader of your stature that prevented that. (Of course, all those mulligans and easy-putt gimmes you allowed on the golf course didn't hurt, either. Don't think we don't know about that, Sir. And thank you.)

The actual response was, in the circumstances, the best we could have hoped for and one of the most normal and world-leaderly-appearing actions we've yet seen from The Don Baby. For this, we are much in your debt.

So, here is the proposition: Could you extend your visit for a few days?

Not long, I promise, he has the attention span of a fruit fly and no good influence has much effect over a longer term. And we don't want him to decide you're a threat, throw a tantrum and put you on his encyclopedic Enemies List. But just for a few days. I know you people of Japan can't spare your head of government any longer, in any case.

Just enough to give him a longer glimpse of how an actual head of state appears, acts, speaks, responds to challenging situations, and handles anxiety. He is capable of mimicry, if he thinks he's mimicking something respect-worthy.

I realize this is the equivalent of asking the people of Japan to loan us their head of state as a glorified babysitter, and that is far, far beneath the dignity and importance of your nation and its leader. But consider the stakes. It's not just any baby. The Don Baby has that nuclear football thingie following him around and the economy of your major trading partner trapped in his playpen. You do have an interest in preventing the kind of chaos he's proved himself abundantly capable of creating.

We have a long friendship, many experiences in common, and shared interests in peace and prosperity to consider. And really, that idea about the high-speed train development is worth serious discussion. It could be of great mutual benefit, if we can work out the details. It'd have to be sustainably powerable and operable over the long haul, of course. But our infrastructure sure needs work, and that looks like a potential job-creator, assuming The Don Baby isn't allowed to divert everything to his cheap-labor cronies as contractors. Let's talk, anyway.

With very great esteem and friendship, and most cordial gratitude,

TygrBright

P.S. I apologize for making fun of the Matryomin thing. Really, what you want to do with theramins and Matryushka dolls is your own business, and it's certainly no more bizarre than line dancing or American football. Gomen nasai.

The Role of Resistance

I am old enough to remember Kent State. And I am old enough to remember how effectively the right-wing establishment was able to de-legitimize the anti-war movement with agents provocateur (and provocateuse,) surveillance programs, counter-intell, planting of false evidence, imprisoning leadership based on (you should excuse the expression) trumped-up charges, and the rest of COINTELPRO machine.

If you think that was dismantled when it was exposed, or even after the Church Committee findings, give yourself a merit badge for naive optimism. Successful counterintelligence programs never die, they just change names, shed a few embarrassing personnel, acquire new tools, reorganize the taxonomy, and carry on.

That's what we're up against, with our resistance. And today I watched this short clip and it crystallized the "why" for me. (The relevant bit is from 00:35 to 01:36)



Transcript:

Piers Morgan: "Calm down, Bill... there is no 'Muslim ban'. If there was..."

Jim Jefferies: "Oh, FUCK off... Fuck off! There's a fucking Muslim ban, he SAID there was a Muslim ban... There's a Muslim ban! "

Piers Morgan: "This is the point... the... this is the hysteria I'm talking about! Eighty-five percent of the world's Muslims are allowed into the country!"

Jim Jefferies: "This is what you do, Piers... you say, 'he hasn't done this, he hasn't done that, he's not gonna do all these things...' Give him a fuckin' chance, mate! Y'know what I mean? Because... Hitler didn't kill the Jews on the first day... he worked up to it!"

>>applause<<

Bill Maher: "All right! I have to stop you all..."

Piers Morgan: (talking over) "There, see? That is the exact... that is the exact ridiculous, hysterical, over-the-top nonsense.."

Jim Jefferies: (talking over) "Not ridiculous! If people got hysterical, in Germany, right away, then it wouldn't have..."

Piers Morgan: (still talking over) "...that is, I'm afraid, making people like you ridiculous! He's not the new Hitler!"

Jim Jefferies: "You just like... you just like that you won 'The Apprentice' and you have a famous friend, mate, that's all you fuckin' like."

>>Several panelists and Maher talking at once, Jefferies repeating 'that's all you like... that's all you like!'<<

Piers Morgan: "Mate, mate... You're losing... I know where you... listen, you're losing your audience, here is why, 'cause you're sounding unpleasant, and you're also..."

Jim Jefferies: (talking over) "I'm not losing my audience!" (to audience) "Am I losing it..?"

>>wild applause, whistles, shrieks of approval, clapping<<

Jim Jefferies: (gives Morgan the finger)


And there you kinda have it. Almost lost in there, but critical: "If people got hysterical, in Germany, right away, then it wouldn't have..."

And he's right.

It wouldn't have.

Tyrants are enabled by silence, which they can spin as acquiescence, even approval.

The role of the resistance is to make it impossible for the GOP regime to make that spin. To make every attempt to delegitimize us ring hollow through persistence and stubborn, principled, peaceful but passionate clarity about what we are resisting:

  • We are resisting the promotion of fear and xenophobia and the creation of scapegoats to deny rights to some in the name of 'security for all'.

  • We are resisting the assumption of imperial power by an Executive Branch willfully ignoring the structural checks and balances required by our Constitution, and the GOP-controlled Legislative Branch's supine lack of resistance or even collusion in such perilous usurpation.

  • We are resisting the wholesale and reckless dismantling of a complex structure of laws, regulations, and resources created under due process and review by the mechanism of a democratic republic, for peaceful domestic governance and responsible relationships with other nations.

  • We are resisting the efforts of a small cabal of extreme ideologues to empower a demagogue in the subversion of a deliberative and democratic process for a 'winner take all' power grab.

  • We are resisting the destruction of a flawed but functional structure of agencies and processes to deliver the benefits of civil order, economic regulation, and social progress, in favor of wholesale corruption and cronyism.

We are resisting ALL of it. And that is why this resistance needs ALL of us.

It needs those concerned for the rights of people denied access to the privileges accorded others by reason of gender, race, religious belief/atheism, sexual orientation, age, health, and physiological ability.

It needs those concerned for the principles of law, equity, and constitutional government.

It needs those concerned for the future of our land and our planet to support life in the time of our children's great-grandchildren.

It needs those concerned for freedom of the press, freedom of speech, and the power of factual realities, science, and truth to guide decision making.

They will try to delegitimize us with this very breadth of scope and concern. They will try to drive wedges among us, find cracks, exploit the concerns of some against others. They will try to out-spend and out-wait us. They will talk over, spin, gaslight, propagandize. They will try to exhaust us, weary us, willfully misunderstand and misdirect. They will mock us, laugh at us, ridicule us. They will pretend to negotiate, and do so in bad faith. They will send the current version of COINTELPRO to subvert and undermine us.

NONE of that will matter, none of it will be effective, if we just keep resisting. If we just persist. In numbers too big to ignore, with voices clear and passionate.

We are doing this. We are "getting hysterical", right now. And staying that way.

We are giving them NO ROOM to turn silence into consent.

This is the role of the resistance.

adamantly,
Bright

A Difficult Choice for Democrats (warning: LONG)

Justin Gest, in The Two Kinds of >Redacted< Voters posits a possible opportunity for Democrats to take into account in building strategy for 2018, 2020, and beyond.

The "exasperated", as he calls them, may be up for grabs. That seems to be his term for the white working class folks, including some former Obama voters, who crossed over to pull the lever for >Redacted< to 'send a message' to all those establishment-co-opted liberal elites or whatever they were blaming Hillary for on November 8th.

For now, let's go along with this and leave the role of misogyny (as powerful and perhaps even more pervasive than racism) out of the equation. Let's stipulate there's a big chunk of disaffected, mostly white people who voted for >Redacted< because they were just so pissed off at how their lives look right now, and they connected it with the Democratic Party ticket somehow.

And let's stipulate that Gest's analysis of what he calls the "Nationalist" segment of >Redacted<'s base is permanently out of reach for the Democratic Party.

Then let's state some assumptions about the most basic (and realistic) short- and intermediate-term goals for the Party (long-term goals are important, too, but we'll bring them in a little later.)

Short-term: Two Gubernatorial elections in 2017, NJ and VA, both up for grabs with term-limited incumbents. Worth putting in the effort to take both.

In 2018 on a national level, at a minimum, we may be able to limit losses in the Senate (23 Dem, 2 Ind and 8 GOP up for re-election- with the best efforts I think we'll still end up at least four more seats behind) but begin making gains in the House. Whether we could flip the 23-25 seats needed for a majority, given how thoroughly gerrymandered the district lines are, is in some doubt, but it's possible. Still, seems more likely we'd end up with a nearly-equal split.

On the state level, we need to start flipping legislatures and governors. The stakes are much higher here, as we'll be prepping for the post-Census redistricting. Some of the most gerrymandered states, especially those with large populations, may be vulnerable and that's worth putting a lot of effort into even if it means letting others slide for another couple of cycles. (Yes, I'm looking at YOU, Texas... but also Florida and Ohio.)

Intermediate-term: Depending on how bad the Senate damage is in 2018, we could get close to an equal split in 2020. 50-50 is worth trying for but not terribly likely unless we have a very strong candidate at the top of the ticket. We need to start working on some consensus about that as soon as possible, as another small-field, hard-fight primary could cook us. We could push a majority in the House with a strong ticket, and if we've done our state-by-state work we might be in position to un-gerrymander a few key states after the Census.

Over and above electoral results, major goals should include, but certainly not be limited to, an un-hackable election process, stronger enforcement of voting rights, and some version of Electoral College reform that (at a minimum) gives us proportional rather than winner-take-all electors. (Would it be nice to get rid of the EC altogether? Possibly, although there are still good arguments either way, and it's not likely a winnable fight in the intermediate term.)

Laying out the board this way leaves Democratic Party strategists with a challenge:

How much and what kind of investment do we make in bringing "exasperateds" into the tent? And which ones? (This I include because although Gest's description seems to focus on the urban working class missing their "smelters and mills", without reference to the whole "forgotten rural America" discussion. I group many of the rural folks with the "exasperateds," because their motivations seem similar. See below.)

Picking apart the 'exasperated' mindset, I see three motivational buttons that the GOP and >Redacted< were able to push effectively:

1. Nostalgia
2. Fear
3. Exasperation

Nostalgia. This is the whole "back when it was better" fantasy. When the farm paid enough to send a kid to college. When the plant had those solid (Union, but funny how that's rarely part of the rosy picture in the rearview mirror...) jobs where a guy could put in forty and take a vacation with the family now and then and retire with dignity. When there was a 'real' downtown in the small towns, not just a few big-box stores out on the highway and a lot of shuttered, decaying buildings on Main street. Memory simplifies things. The good things seem brighter and less complicated. The stuff we worried about then is past, too, and so seems less awful in the face of present awfulness we have no idea how to deal with. Which leads to...

Fear. That's a big one and an easy button to push. There's a lot of very real things to worry voters who live from paycheck to paycheck in shitty jobs (if they have jobs at all.) A big helping of fake news, some conspiracy theories, a few scapegoats, and you can direct those fears squarely at the 'uncaring elites sipping their latte's downtown in the Financial District and not giving a rat's ass about YOU.' Sure, most of the things these voters fear have their roots in corporate oligarchy and their GOP helots. But that's effectively obscured when Democrats are easily painted as just as reliant on big lobbyist money, and just as protective of a status quo that gives these voters the fuzzy side of the lollipop. Which brings us to...

Exasperation. This is the most psychological factor of all. Take any of these voters aside and ask them which candidate in their memory made the biggest impression or the strongest connection to them, and you'll get any of several answers. But they'll mostly fall into two categories: First, the candidate who showed up where they were, and looked them in the eye, and seemed to care about what they thought or wanted or even said. Second, the candidate whose utterances, on teevee or wherever, sounded like the voice in their own head. The voice that identifies 'what's wrong' and 'how to fix it.' The stronger the correlation, the bigger the impression. And it's fairly clear that they haven't had that experience with many Democrats.

Democrats' messaging is part of the problem, because we're reluctant to over-simplify complex problems, to propose simple band-aid solutions we know damn' well won't produce lasting results, and very reluctant indeed to promise the undeliverable: return to the 'better time' when everything was simple and right and good and understandable.

Democrats keep wanting to explain and to educate. We keep wanting to respect the minds we know voters must have, even when they're blindly following their emotions. We keep wanting to be honest about what's do-able, what's deliverable. We keep talking about the trade-offs and the costs, and how we can't deliver all of what interest group A wants, without being unfair to interest group B.

But the exasperateds don't want to hear it.

We cannot promise to restore the economy to status quo 1965, when a high school diploma and a (Union) job in a local mine, mill, or factory produced economic security for millions of (white) families. What can we promise, without complications, ambiguities, ifs ands or buts?

We can promise to build a new economy that will provide economic security and opportunity for children through an evolving structure that will put more control in the hands of workers. Instead of relying on big-brother mega-employers to provide both wages and benefits sufficient to allow families to live well, we can ensure the most important benefits (health care, retirement security, educational costs within reach for our children) stay with the worker no matter what. We can invest in employers and businesses who share our vision for sustainable communities of all sizes, from rural areas protecting the land and producing quality foodstuffs, to small towns connected by a vibrant transit and communications infrastructure, to livable big cities full of neighborhoods and opportunity.

We need not push the fear button, but we can tear away the veil of fake news and conspiracy theories, and shine the spotlight of reality sharply on precisely how the GOP is perpetuating the things they fear, and making them worse, for the benefit of the one-tenth of one percent cavorting at Mar-a-Lago and rolling K Street money into Republican coffers. (Of course, we'll have to do a little house cleaning, to make this one really effective, won't we?)

We need to go big on going local. We need to invite the exasperateds to the local Party organization, listen to them, give them a chance to help us. We need to get them running for the most basic local offices. And we need to have our candidates and office holders there at the local level wherever and whenever possible. Listening. Looking into people's eyes. Shaking their hands. Sharing a coffee. Asking "what do you think of this?" and "What matters more to you, if I have a tough choice to make?"

And finally, we need to build a consensus, among ourselves, starting now, for new top-of-the-ticket leadership and what it will look like and what messages they will carry. Now is the time when it's okay to be messy and scrappy and contentious, so yeah, keep arguing. But always with the bigger picture in mind and the reality that every one of us will have to compromise, to give on something that matters to us personally, in order to make a bigger impact.

I'm not saying that we have to give up on our "go to the wall for it" issues. We all have them. And I will never, ever stop pushing for the rights of women to control our own bodies, and the need to save our planet's ability to sustain life. But sometimes I can see past the speed bumps. I will never stop pushing for those things, but if one of them HAS to take a back seat for the other one to make a few steps forward, I'll deal. (And yeah, I'll bring it back around in the long run.)

I said I'd get back to the long-range goals, because they are important. Here it is: There's a trade-off we've all been too willing to make, in the past. A trade-off between "not having to pay attention to the messy bits of government of, by, and for the people" and "worrying about the future of our children." Any snake-oil salesman coming along with a pitch for 'the easy way' has a quick sale when we don't want to have to spend our evenings in community center meeting rooms talking about choices between raising the mill rate and letting the junior high class size creep upwards.

The long range goal is a better understanding, for all of us, of the trade-offs between the value of getting exactly what we want for ourselves, and living in a community where everyone shares benefits, responsibilities, and choices. The long range goal is a clearer understanding of how big and complex and interdependent all the various parts of our economy are on all of us, and how many diverse gifts and requirements we all bring to the table to balance among ourselves. It'll never be easy and it'll always be more work than we want to do.

But in this political environment, I think it's our only positive choice, as a long-term goal. We can disagree on which of several states or districts we should put the most effort into for those 2017 governor's races, or which immigration strategy will serve us best in the 2020 race. But if we keep the long term goal in mind, we'll make better short and intermediate-term choices, and have better success. Of that, I'm confident.

long-windedly,
Bright



Arizona Mother Deported to Mexico After Living in U.S. For 21 Years

Source: TIME

Guadalupe Garca de Rayos who inspired protests in Phoenix, Arizona, when she was detained Wednesday during a routine check-in with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) was deported to Mexico on Thursday morning.

Garca de Rayos, a 35-year-old mother of two, came to the United States illegally when she was 14 years old. She has been required to regularly check in with ICE officials since 2008, when she was caught using a fake Social Security Number to gain employment.

Her attorney, Ray A. Ybarra Maldonado, said he was informed of her deportation Thursday by the Mexican consulate but had few further details. Maldonado had filed a stay of deportation on Wednesday to keep her in the country, but he said ICE officials never responded to it, though they told him they would take it into consideration.

"She just has all the equities that would necessitate finding humanitarian reasons to grant her a stay in this country," Maldonado said in a press call on Thursday.

Read more: http://time.com/4665860/arizona-deportation-mexico-guadalupe-garcia-de-rayos/?xid=time_socialflow_twitter



I do not understand why this story is not front-page on every media outlet that is concerned about what will happen as >Redacted<'s brutal, authoritarian anti-immigrant policies are implemented.

This is a mother being torn from her American citizen children.

Deported.

Those two children were there, as their mother was pushed into the back of an ICE van, behind the mesh. They saw their mother's face, pulling away from them.

A crowd was trying to stop this. Many were arrested. It was on television.

WHERE IS THE WALL-TO-WALL NATIONAL MEDIA COVERAGE?

Where is the outrage?

This will happen, again and again and again. Families torn apart. Parents taken from their children by uniformed government officers, confined and deported.

It will keep happening.

This is where the policies hit the street. This is where the racist, xenophobic supporters of tyranny voted to send us: To have government officials cruelly rip families apart.

If we do nothing, it will become a routine.

If we ignore this case, there will be others.

If we do not say, loudly and repeatedly, "THIS IS NOT AMERICAN", the weasel-talking policy shills will get away with tut-tutting about breaking eggs to make the "security" omelet, and co-opt high-sounding rhetoric about the "rule of law" sometimes requiring hard choices.

NO.

We can NOT let that happen.

passionately,
Bright

I'm wondering how Homeland Security is liking their boss right now.

A little story to illustrate how I think they must be feeling.

Back in the 1980s I worked for a Community Action Agency. These were the organizations formed all over the country during the War on Poverty in the 1960s and 70s, to be the local administration for Federally-funded programs such as Head Start, Senior Dining, Energy Assistance, etc. They were required to have a tri-form Board of Directors that included 1/3 representatives appointed by local officials (such as County commissioners, mayors, etc.) 1/3 representatives selected of/by those participating in the services, and 1/3 'other'- usually business, advocacy, etc.

CAAs were NEVER uncontroversial. They came out of the gate scrappy and conflicted and always accused by whoever felt they were getting the fuzzy side of the lollipop of being 'sellout' or 'co-opted' or 'out of control' or whatever the flavor of the month was. Some did have those issues. Most of the ones I knew didn't. We as staff just tried to keep sorting through the ever-accumulating morass of rules, requirements, regulations, etc., imposed by whichever party was trying to help or hinder our work at any given time, and do our damnedest to deliver the programs as well as we could to as many as we could.

Given the built-in conflicts of that Board structure, you can imagine that we were never without a vigorous minority-from-within, criticizing staff, executive leadership, board, etc. We went through three Executive Directors over the course of about six years.

I remember the last one I experienced. The Board seemed fairly pleased with his resume and his interview, the senior staff had a chance to meet with him before the board finalized his hire and were guardedly optimistic in the 'well-he's-not-the-worst-candidate-we've-seen' sense.

So they hired him. And he promptly scheduled a meeting with all senior and middle management staff.

At which he started straight off by telling us that the one thing that really got on his wick was seeing resources that SHOULD be going to help people in communities who really need them, supporting "poverty pimp" staff people collecting checks and getting fat off the public funding, and WE WEREN'T GONNA HAVE ANY OF THAT HERE, WERE WE?

I kinda imagine the Homeland Security staff is feeling just about as warm and loving toward their new boss as we all left that meeting feeling about our new boss.

reminiscently,
Bright

Just Wondering: What is this Bigoted Twitfuckery Costing Me?

I am a taxpayer, after all.

Thousands of visas and green cards were cancelled at a moment's notice.

I have worked in a public bureaucracy. That can certainly be done, but it sure as hell ain't cheap. You can bet that consulates and embassies all over the world had staff on overtime.

Customs and Immigration, airport security, other federal agencies had to mobilize hundreds, maybe thousands, of extra staff, again at a moment's notice, in airports all over the world.

That doesn't come cheap, either.

Then, tonight, all those visas are being reinstated again...

WHAT AM I PAYING FOR THIS SELF-AGGRANDIZING PANDER TO NUMPTY XENOPHOBIA??

angrily,
Bright
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