Wednesday, July 26, 2017

MORNING PETE: Can the Democratic Party save itself and, in so doing, save our country?

I just read the most encouraging/discouraging op-ed piece in the today's NYT, entitled 
The Real Civil War in the Democratic Party, written by Lee Drutman, author of a report done for the Democracy Fund Voter Study Group, entitled Political Divisions in 2016 and Beyond: Tensions Between and Within the Two Parties.
I found it to be encouraging because, I thought it identified ways that the Democratic Party could change that would save it and, possibly our country. 
I found it to be discouraging because I am skeptical that the corporatist Clintonite Democrats who still rule the party will allow these needed changes to take place.
I recommend that you, at least, read the NYT piece and, if you're so inclined, you might want to read some or all of the much longer report, which includes a cogent analysis of both political parties and the hazards they (and our country) face.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

MORNING PETE: Reading Frederick Douglass's "The Meaning of July 4th for the Negro"

Therese and I just returned from the Worcester, VT 4th of July celebrations, which included a community reading of one of Frederick Douglass's most famous orations, The Meaning of July 4th for the Negro, a speech he delivered in Rochester, New York on July 5, 1852 and which is being read in 30 communities across Vermont over the first two weeks of this July, sponsored by the Vermont Humanities Council and a number of other civic organizations.

It was a moving and sobering experience reading this prescient speech aloud with dozens of white Vermonters. The most famous lines of this speech are, as follows:

What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer; a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciations of tyrants, brass fronted impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade, and solemnity, are, to him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy—a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages. There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices, more shocking and bloody, than are the people of these United States, at this very hour.
If you haven't read or heard the speech read, here are some links that you might want to consult:
1. The text of the complete speech (we read a version that was shortened for commemorative readings like the one we did.)
2. A video of Morgan Freeman reading a short segment of the speech
3. Dear white people: Frederick Douglass explains the Trump resistance in "What to the Slave is the Fourth of July? an essay by Chauncey DeVega (Includes a video of Trump famously appearing to think Frederick Douglass was still alive.)

Monday, July 3, 2017

MORNING PETE: Let them know we are watching the damage they are doing to the American people and will hold them accountable

...please, please do NOT let this sideshow [Trump's temper tantrums over the Russian investigation] distract you from the far more important damage being done by the Republicans in Congress and in local governments to our country ...
Now, let me add to this a plea to also be vigilant about the damage being done to the country by Trump's cabinet and other high-level appointees, particularly Scott Pruitt, Trump's dangerously effective head of the EPA and Jeff Sessions, Trump's heartless Attorney General. 

And let them all know (by phone, email, snail mail, and contributions to organizations fighting these actions in court and in congress) that we are watching everything they're doing and will hold them accountable at the ballot box and in the courts.

In order to track the damage these Trump appointees (as well as congress) are doing on a daily basis, I strongly recommend that you check in on Moyers & Company's thoroughly-researched, unbearably-revealing daily column While He Was Tweeting which is 
tracking the rule changes, rollbacks, executive orders, agency moves and the legislation that are underway as the president, his team (and often, the media) are distracted by the five ongoing Russia investigations and the various legal cases surrounding the Trump administration. 
As Moyers & Company adds,
Those are important, too — but we wanted to create a special series that looks at the changes being wrought in Washington that will affect us all, perhaps for decades.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

MORNING PETE: This is no time to let up on stopping TrumpCare

Although it seems to be getting clearer to all that the current TrumpCare/RyanCare/McConnellCare bills are not going to pass in their current forms, don't underestimate the deviousness of the congressional leadership or the cluelessness of Trump to come up with some kind of bill that will repeal the ACA and/or weaken it to the point where it will die and/or replace it with a "compromise" that will fool many voters into believing that it will preserve their health insurance and, so, get just enough Republican (and probably even some Democratic) votes to pass.
So here's a suggested action: send the story below (and any others like it that you come across), which movingly illustrates the potential human cost of repealing the ACA to the staffers of every person in congress (with a special note to your own congresspersons), urging them to read the article(s) and consult their consciences before repealing the ACA and replacing it with a substitute that do irreparable harm to the most vulnerable in our society.

Supplemental benefits for millions of recipients, many of them disabled, would be at risk under Republican proposals to repeal the Affordable Care Act.