AG Healey talks to Arlington

In an event with campaign atmosphere, but with no campaign to be had, a capacity crowd filled the First Parish Unitarian Church in Arlington tonight to hear Attorney General Maura Healey. She spoke to her actions as specific role as the state’s attorney, but also entertained topics in a Q&A session that went rather outside her bailiwick. Still, she was game to stand in as the stand-in for Massachusetts progressive pols, taking advice and entertaining action ideas from the crowd. She was introduced by Isabel Vargas, a Hillary Clinton campaign volunteer and “Dreamer”, a longtime undocumented resident allowed to stay under President Obama’s DACA policy.

Healey’s theme throughout the evening was the best way to react to the election of Trump is to speak up, show solidarity with each other, and act locally on issues we care about.

As AG, Healey said her “playbook hasn’t changed”: She mentioned the hate crimes hotline set up by the office, in response to the wave of harassment after the election; she committed to help immigrants, and mentioned that Boston Bar Association had offered help; she pointed to continued work on financial sector crime and on behalf of students with regard to predatory lending and for-profit schools; and fighting opioid over-prescription.

In other words, she assured us she’d still be doing her job — and it’s a huge one, since AGs will be the people to put sand in the gears of the Trump machine. But the job itself may change. She mentioned the 2007 Massachusetts vs. EPA Supreme Court decision, which forced the EPA to regulate CO2; what happens if Congress passes a law that simply forbids the EPA from doing so?

I confess I’m not sure what to make of statements like this, that assert that the response to this catastrophe is to just keep doing what we’ve been doing, only better! We don’t know exactly what the incoming administration is going to do, but it strikes me we should actually prepare for the worst.

Healey took questions and entertained action ideas from the crowd, in a sort of group brainstorm. Several speakers asked how to protect groups marginalized and targeted by Trump and the racists that feel enabled by him. Healey said to speak up and call out unconscious bias, without being antagonistic; find and rely on support networks;  support organizations that fight hate and bigotry; find candidates to take up the fight; and use the law.  An activist from the climate-change-fighting Mothers Out Front gave encouragement for Healey in Exxon’s lawsuit against her (“For the record: I didn’t sue Exxon, Exxon sued me”). Healey acknowledged the grave danger of climate change, and praised Massachusetts’ leadership and new energy bill. She advocated expanding the successful Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative to more states.

Other topics:

  • Support good candidates, at every level: Identify them early on, especially women and people of color.
  • Write letters to the editor and op-eds;
  • Donate money to organizations;
  • Divest from companies that support Trump;
  • Support news organizations to counterbalance “fake news”
  • Support ballot initiatives, like the Fair Share Amendment.
  • Meet your Congresspeople and local electeds;
  • Get out in real space.

Healey mentioned the Women’s March on Washington on January 21, “in solidarity with communities most affected by the hate, intolerance and acts of violence being perpetrated throughout the nation.” There will be a Boston Women’s March on the same date on Boston Common. Details as to message are a bit sketchy so far.

I might add we’ve got a Governor’s race in 2018. I suspect it’ll be more competitive than is widely thought.

In any event, Healey and the crowd did point out the power of solidarity, the various points of resilience, leverage, and resistance to a Trump administration; and the opportunities for action and improvement that we still enjoy in Massachusetts. The action is now here.

The Ongoing Fight For Fair Voting Laws

Thanks to everyone who read my last bit (whether you read it at thevibesman.com or at bluemassgroup.com) about taking Trump seriously and not literally. That was mainly about interpretation, but I wrote a bit in there about the danger his administration represents to voting rights for Americans. This threat is not “imminent”. It is already being carried out at the state level, now further emboldened by Trump’s accusations of voter fraud.

“Gerrymandering”, or the practice of drawing a congressional district in such a way as to ensure a majority of voters from one party or another, is a pretty common word these days in political circles, because the practice is pervasive. In North Carolina and Wisconsin, courts have found that the gerrymandering of certain districts was unconstitutional. Both cases are likely to go to the Supreme Court for a ruling, and their decision could set precedent on these matters indefinitely and have an effect on many cases yet to be heard.

How many cases? It will be many more than there were before. Their decision in Shelby County Vs Holder enabled state governments to attack voting rights at will. The spirit has always been willing in GOP-led states, but since their attacks are always based on specious claims of widespread in-person voter fraud which have always been easily discredited in the past, they’ve been especially emboldened by the President-elect’s attack on the fairness of our elections. As reported today in The Nation, GOP lawmakers in Michigan have filed a new voter-ID law, even before they have finished counting the votes from the last election.

“Donald Trump tweeted that millions had voted illegally and 48 hours later this bill popped up out of nowhere,” says Dan Korobkin, deputy legal director for the Michigan ACLU. “That’s either a giant coincidence or a very concerted effort to disenfranchise people at the state and local level based on lies.”

…Already, Trump’s discredited lie that “millions” voted illegally in 2016 seems to be impacting Republican actions. “A multitude of candidates have raised the concerns about the integrity of elections,” said GOP Representative Lisa Lyons, who sponsored the bill. “We need to respond to those questions. We are going to make sure that we’re protecting you—all voters—and the integrity of the election.”

It’s worth noting that despite alleging concerns about the integrity of their elections while sponsoring voter ID laws, MI GOP lawmakers are suing to block Jill Stein’s attempt to have their Presdential vote recounted because, “she cited no evidence of fraud or mistake in the canvass of votes.” So the MI GOP believes that you need evidence to count votes again, but not to disenfranchise voters.

In addition to the ongoing battles in NC and WI, the Nation references a new voter ID law being proposed by newly elected NH Governor Chris Sununu, and Texas’ ongoing attempt to revive a voter ID law struck down as unconstitutional 10 years ago.

These voter ID laws are discriminatory, but even if you are not a minority, you should be opposed to them. According to the ACLU, they also hinder students, the elderly, and disabled voters, who are among the groups that may not have a valid driver’s license in state or other required ID.

Voter ID laws also cost you money. They represent a tax on every citizen for the right to vote, for which no American should have to pay.

Requiring voters to obtain an ID in order to vote is tantamount to a poll tax. Although some states issue IDs for free, the birth certificates, passports, or other documents required to obtain a government-issued ID cost money, and many Americans simply cannot afford to pay for them

In addition, states incur sizable costs when providing IDs to voters who do not have them. Given the financial strain many states already are experiencing, this is an unnecessary allocation of taxpayer dollars.

What’s at stake? Well, Republicans control 33 state legislatures right now. If they get to 34 they will have the amount they need to force a Constitutional convention in order to attempt to amend the Constitution. If they get to 38 they will be able to ratify amendments on their own. Then the GOP, which right now is under the spell and control of a con man, his white supremacist chief strategist, his Islamophobic conspiracy-minded National Security Adviser, and a host of opportunistic power brokers with the ethics of a crocodile and empathy to match. It should go without saying that protecting voting rights is important. Right now, it’s crucial.

Please pay attention!

Thanks for reading – see you soon.

McKinsey and Company Talks Energy and Climate at MIT

On November 21, 2016 Scott Nyquist of McKinsey & Company (http://www.mckinsey.com) spoke to the public at MIT’s Sloan School.

Over the next 20 years, there are projections for 80% more demand on resources as a result of growing populations and growing economic production. However, higher energy intensity, efficiency, and slower GDP growth leads McKinsey and Company to consider a less than base case view.

McKinsey sees 74% of our energy still coming from fossil fuels by 2050, with an energy related CO2 peak by 2035, and a similar peak in transportation by 2025. COP 21, the Paris Agreement, has businesses going ahead and beyond waiting for negotiation, regulations and governments. Nyquist pointed us toward not only the Energy Transitions Commission (http://www.energy-transitions.org), 28 leaders from business who recognize that COP21 is not enough and are setting zero carbon as a planning goal but also the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative (http://www.oilandgasclimateinitiative.com), 10 companies with 20% of global oil and gas production, which has pledged $1 billion for low carbon technology.

AG events tonight and 12/21; Interfaith solidarity event Sunday night 12/11

  • Tonight Attorney General Maura Healey will be talking to Dem activists in Arlington, on the way forward in the time of Trump. Given that state AGs (Healey, Schneiderman in NY, Becerra in CA, et al.) will be at the forefront of resistance in the next few years, this should be very interesting indeed. I’ll be there — unfortunately the event filled up for the capacity of the venue, but you can watch it at Healey’s Facebook page starting at 7:15pm, and you can tweet questions to her @maura_healey.
  • Healey will do another such event in Framingham, 7 PM on December 21 at Heritage Assisted Living Center 747 Water St. Sign up here: http://tinyurl.com/j7s2y59
  • “Out of Many, One: An Interfaith Call for Dignity and Diligence” — with Mayor Marty Walsh and Sen. Elizabeth Warren. Sunday night 12/11, 6pm-7:30pm at the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center, 100 Malcolm X Blvd, Roxbury Crossing. This is sponsored by the excellent folks at Greater Boston Interfaith Organization. It’s imperative to show solidarity with our Muslim neighbors right now.

    Join together with people of faith from across the city for a special evening service that will feature testimonies from local residents, prayers from Boston’s interfaith leaders, and a non-partisan call to Senator Elizabeth Warren and Mayor Walsh for dignity and diligence in this time of heightened social tension and political transition.

    RSVP at https://goo.gl/forms/GPWGTTzrhfd9bOVQ2

Meet people in meatspace. It still happens. If you have other such events, feel free to post them on BMG.

State officials need to respect voters’ decision to legalize marijuana

Over the past year, state officials from both parties tried in vain to scare voters away from legalizing marijuana. In spite of — or perhaps even because of — this fear-mongering, 54% of Massachusetts residents voted yes on question 4 to tax and regulate marijuana for adults over 21. But rather than accept the will of voters, some of these officials have already called for gutting this new law before it even takes effect. This is tremendously disrespectful to the people of Massachusetts and cannot be tolerated. Instead, officials should listen to their constituents and focus on implementing this new law responsibly. Below, I’ve listed three of the most important issues being discussed right now:

  1. Timeline:
    One of the most common concerns is the timeline set up by the initiative, with Treasurer Deb Goldberg even calling for an extension. But while our law will remove penalties for personal possession on December 15, 2016, retail sales would not begin until early 2018. This gives the state plenty of time to set up the Cannabis Control Commission and enact sensible regulations. In fact, it’s almost exactly the same amount of time that Colorado took to set up their industry, and they were starting from scratch. With the experience of four other states to guide us, we should have no trouble sticking to the same timetable as those trailblazers.
  2. Home growing:
    Some officials and pundits are also calling to remove the right of people to grow marijuana in their homes, with Goldberg lamenting that it would be untaxed. Yet this is part of the point — marijuana is expensive and not covered by health insurance, and because our medical marijuana law does not allow all patients to grow their own, providing this protection to all adults will finally let patients provide for themselves. And beyond that vulnerable population, it’s unlikely that this right will be exercised by many beyond the most enthusiastic hobbyists. Home brewing is legal, but my neighbors making their own beer isn’t putting the Boston Brewing Company out of business any time soon.
  3. Taxes:
    Speaking of taxes, the final proposal being floating by many politicians is drastically increasing the tax rate approved by voters. This argument sounds sensible at first: Massachusetts’ effective tax rate of 12% is much lower than that in Colorado and Washington. But it’s lower for a reason. Drafters of the initiative saw those states having trouble extinguishing their black market, since the high tax rates make it cheaper to buy off the street than in a store. And critics fail to mention that Maine also legalized marijuana this year, with an even lower tax rate of 10%. If we raise ours too high, that creates an incentive for people to buy in Maine and bring it back to Massachusetts, just like they already drive to New Hampshire for cheaper alcohol — but this time, they’d be breaking both New Hampshire and federal law.

Now, that doesn’t mean there’s no room for improvement. The initiative was smart to create a Cannabis Control Commission to regulate the industry, filling in all of the gaps that couldn’t be addressed in a ballot measure. Its members will be able to regulate everything from packaging, to warning labels, to the types of products that can be sold. For example, regulators in Colorado have banned marijuana gummy bears and other items shaped like animals, and Massachusetts regulators could, and probably will, do the same. Since the Commission will be appointed by the Treasurer, it’s almost certain they’ll be quite cautious about the new industry. This regulatory process is where Goldberg should focus her efforts, not on lobbying for a bill to gut the law.

The main role for the legislature in the post-legalization world is to decide where the new money raised through marijuana taxes goes, and I hope they steer a large portion of it to evidence-based drug prevention programs and public education. With tax revenues projected around $100,000,000 per year once the new industry is up and running, there’s even more reason to move quickly on implementation.

The political establishment already failed at scaring voters away from legal marijuana. Rather than continue their campaign of resistance, they should listen to the people and regulate marijuana responsibly.

Apparently Joe Biden's Thinking About 2020

That a boy Joe. You know I always believed Joe, Beau, and the Biden clan never had a problem with him running for the big job.  Beau’s death didn’t take the fight for the presidency out of Joe. Nope. Not at all. Rather the personal tragedy took away his fight to destroy Hillary, the DNC, and the course it had taken.

If Joe ran he would have had to declare war on the DNC and Hillary’s coronation to the nomination.  Then he had to run for the presidency.

Anyway, he doesn’t have to worry about that in 2020. Unless of course the elite Democrats want to keep believing Hillary lost because of bigots, James Comey, fake news, chauvinists, and anything else not associated with the weakness of the candidate.

Here’s hopping the party gets the message and sees how other people see it. No Hollywood ending either if they don’t.

Mnuchin, The Swamp Creature.....

For what it’s worth, Donald “Drain the Swamp” Trump appointed Mnuchin to Secretary of the Treasury. Mnuchin has previously “donated” to Bill Clinton, Al Gore, Bill Bradley, Steve Forbes, John Kerry, Chris Dodd , Bill Richardson, Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney, and who the F cares….it’s all the same. It’s billionaire bullies buying our government and Trump has just proven that he is NO f’ing different. Oh, did I mention that Mnuchin never “donated” to Bernie Sanders?

THE RISE OF AMERICAN FASCISM

” Fascism is a merger of state and corporate power.”  MUSSOLINI

As the grandson of anti-Fascist Italian immigrants I grew up in a family keenly aware that the cancer of fascism did not die with the Allied victory in World War II in which my three uncles honorably served.  My Dad taught me that we must be ever vigilant against its rise again.

In his message to Congress in 1938, President Roosevelt sounded the alarm :

” The first truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than the democratic state itself.  That, in its essence, is fascism — ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power.”

WAKE UP, AMERICA !

The Trumpists are stealing our democracy !

Fred  Rich  LaRiccia

Energy Transfer Partners - the "parent" of the DAPL pipeline says it will ignore the Army Corps of Engineers failure to grant an easement under Lake Oahe as "merely political" #NoDAPL

Here is the link to the public statement from Energy Transfer Partners: http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20161204005090/en/Energy-Transfer-Partners-Sunoco-Logistics-Partners-Respond

While it is right to be thankful that the Army Corps of Engineers did not grant that easement, and in not granting it, the project “should” pause – that does not end the threat. It is winning a battle or maybe a skirmish, but does not end the campaign to protect the water supply against the “black snake” of the DAPL pipeline and the forces of greed. As Andrew Jackson famously said to the United States Supreme Court, when the Supreme Court blocked the removal of the Cherokees – I paraphrase – “How many soldiers does the Supreme Court have?” – and President Jackson did a forced genocidal removal of the Cherokees, the “Trail of Tears” and made them walk to Oklahoma, men, women, children, and elderly and thousands died. It is a shameful heritage, the “Trial of Tears”, just as Internment is a shameful heritage.

The Water Protectors are right to stay in Oceti Sakowin Camp, continue to seek allies and resources. The “black snake tribe” of Energy Transfer Partners/DAPL still wants to destroy them and pollute their water supply. Further, the mercenaries of DAPL aka Energy Transfer Partners and the Morton County Sheriff and his hirelings MUST be held accountable for the damage they have inflicted on people including dog bites, water cannon injuries, grenade injuries, rubber bullet injuries, and all the resultant trauma. The excessive force and militarized equipment and tactics used against Native Americans, to force down their throats at gun point what white Bismark refused is hideously wrong and opposing and holding those responsible accountable is essential to retaining any democracy and a republic in the United States. Mr. Jordan is right. This is the civil rights campaign and critical moral issue of our time.

Event featuring Sen. Ben Downing: State of Solar in Massachusetts

Whether you’re a policy wonk, clean tech guru, or concerned citizen looking to advance solar energy in Massachusetts, you don’t want to miss this event. Climate Action Business Association and Solstice Initiative are coming together to host The State of Solar in Massachusetts, Thursday, December 15, 6pm-8pm.

With a rapidly growing solar industry, state policy hasn’t been able to keep pace with the market. As the distribution end of the electric grid gets more complex, we’re seeing a lot of interesting solutions emerge for addressing that complexity. What does the future electric grid look like? Where do utilities and solar companies fit into that vision? Engage with experts in a high-level discussion to address these questions and more.

Following the panel will be an open forum and networking event, where free beer and food will be provided. Register here. 

Panelists:

  • Senator Benjamin Downing: Vice President of New Market Development, Nexamp
  • Paul Gromer: CEO/Founder, Peregrine Energy
  • Mark Hoff: Head of Outreach, Solstice Initiative

Moderator:

Bruce Gellerman: Reporter, WBUR

Schedule:

  • 6:00-6:30pm: Networking
  • 6:30-7:15pm: Panel Discussion
  • 7:15-8:00pm: Open Forum

Location: Prince Lobel Tye LLP, 1 International Place, Suite 3700, Boston, MA 02110

Swing state exit polls show Hillary won "economy" voters

So, this is interesting.

According to a broad swath of popular understanding, Donald Trump will be the next president because he narrowly won three critical states — Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — powered by working class voters frustrated with economic intransigence.

But that’s not what exit polling shows in those states…. Exit polls show Hillary Clinton winning a majority of the vote from people who told pollsters that the economy was the most important issue facing the country. What’s more, in each state, a majority of voters said that was the case….

How can she win a majority of the majority and still lose? Because she lost with other groups worse.

The exit poll questionnaire gave voters a choice between four options for the most important issue. Clinton was generally preferred by those who said foreign policy was the most important issue, too, but Trump was preferred by those who saw immigration or terrorism as most important. The key is the margins. On average, about 13 percent of people in the 27 states said foreign policy was most important and they preferred Clinton by an average of 30 points. On average, voters who said the economy was most important preferred Clinton by 7.3. But on terrorism, rated most important by a fifth of voters, on average, Trump led by an average of 21.8 points. On immigration (most important to an average of 12.2 percent of respondents)? A huge 42.1 percentage point lead for Trump.

Shorter: a majority of swing-state voters said the economy was the most important issue, and among those voters, Hillary won by about 7 points.  But she got slaughtered among voters who said terrorism or immigration was the #1 issue.  Bottom line:

across the country, the story told by the exit polls seems clear: Trump didn’t win because people were worried about the economy. He won thanks to people who were worried about the subjects of immigration and terrorism that he started hammering on from the very first day of his campaign.

Now, exit polling isn’t always right, so take this with the appropriate amount of salt.  But before you buy into the frame that Democrats lost because of their economic message, look into what the data show.  It’s maybe not so clear.

CHANNELING JOHN KENNETH GALBRAITH ON TRUMP

In light of the recent election debacle, Congressional Republicans vow to destroy 84 years of New Deal / Great Society economic and social justice progress by pulling up the safety net ladder on Medicare and the Affordable Care Act.

The only solace I can offer my fellow disillusioned progressives before I head for the bunker lies within the wisdom of John Kenneth Galbraith :

” There are times in politics when you must be on the right side and lose … The modern conservative is engaged in one of man’s oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness … In all life one should comfort the afflicted, but verily, also, one should afflict the comfortable, and especially when they are comfortably, contentedly, even happily wrong.”

And, years from now,  when my grandchildren ask me what I did during the Trump Era, I will look them in the eye and say : ” I survived.”

Fred  Rich  LaRiccia

 

Holiday Party in Westborough on Sunday the 11th

You are all invited to the holiday party at my house on Sunday. It’s a holiday open house and a great chance to meet fellow BMGers from across the state. The event goes from 2 pm to 6 pm at 17 Gary Circle in Westborough on Sunday, December 11. Although not specifically a BMG event, we always have a strong attendance from the BMG community. Here’s the link to the facebook event.

Street parking goes fast. You can also park at the Middle School 20 Fisher St, Westborough. It is a family friendly and football criendly event.

I’m finding that folks want to talk about the election and what we can do, both now and in the future. Come to talk, socialize and share your opinions with activists and elected officials from across the state.

You can find information on this and other events in this week’s Dispatch. I thought that I would take a minute and invite those who are interested to subscribe to my weekly e-mail Democratic newsletter, the Democratic Dispatch. Just once per week, the newsletter is primarily a calendar of Democratic events across the state.  To subscribe send an e-mail to DDemDispatch-subscribe@yahoogroups.com. Yahoo then typically sends an e-mail asking for confirmation. This sometimes goes to spam, sent check all your mailbox folders. You can check out previous issues.

 

 

How the Democrats Blew It

Hindsight is 20-20 I know, but indulge me.
The Democrats had a clear opportunity in 2009 to establish themselves clearly as the party of the white working class. The first thing they should have done was save a lot of blue-collar jobs. I would have gone big league, and picked an industry that was not only a major employer but the very symbol of a well paying blue collar job. That’s right– I’m talking about the auto industry.
Can you imagine the Democratic landslide in Michigan (and the rest of the upper Midwest) if the Democrats had rammed through a bill saving all those auto industry jobs? And done it over Republican objections? Instead, look at what happened. As other posters on this site have pointed out, the Democrats did absolutely nothing. We just sat around sipping lattes and doing identity politics.
I wouldn’t stop there. Just in case there were white workers who didn’t feel like the auto bailout benefited them personally, I would have done something that would put money in every white worker’s pocket. I would have done something dramatic about energy prices.
I mean fracking. Why oh why did we ever listen to those environmentalists and stop all the fracking? We should have ignored them and let the price of gasoline drop and drop, along with the price of heating oil, and the chances of the Republicans ever taking the presidency. What if energy prices today were a fraction of what they were when the Democrats took over? Picture gasoline at about $2.50/gallon. It seems impossible, but I’m convinced it could have happened. But I guess we’ll never know.
Low gas prices and an entire industry saved. Let some demagogue try run a campaign going after Mexicans and Muslims then.

A couple of bipartisan moments

Just wanted to mention a couple of interesting tidbits today:

  • PoliticoMA and State House News Service are both reporting that Elizabeth Warren would be more than happy to support Scott Brown, whom of course she ejected from the Senate, should he be Trump’s nominee to be Secretary of Veterans Affairs.  She believes he will pour his heart and soul into serving our veterans and she will go to bat for him.
  • Meanwhile yours truly may have found a point of agreement with Trump.  Apparently he spoke on the phone today with the President of Taiwan.  Rachel Maddow and the foreign policy establishment are freaking out about it, and who knows where this will ultimately lead, but I have long thought we should recognize the Taipei government as the legitimate government of Taiwan.  This should in no way change that Beijing is the legitimate government of the mainland, but China doesn’t get to tell us whom we do and do not recognize.

Shapiro still does not get it. Will this Clinton trickle down canard ever die?

Trump’s Carrier speech ‘absolutely chilling,’ economic analyst says

 

Robert Shapiro, former undersecretary of commerce for economic affairs under President Bill Clinton said the problem in this country is not about getting people to work.

“Unemployment is below 5 percent today. We’ve largely achieved that. The goal is to keep that going and to do it with rising incomes,” he said in an interview with CNBC’s “Power Lunch” before Trump’s speech.

That means a serious agenda of public investment in education, training, infrastructure and other things that make companies more productive, he explained.

 

Ahem, as the ever growing by leaps and bounds Gross Domestic Product  keeps leaping….Median Household Income in the United States lifts a little and then stalls.

Making companies more productive is great, except for the reality that in the USA, all the gains of that productivity go to the 1% regardless of who we’ve put in the White House.

But Shapiro still delivers the Democratic version of trickle down, that education and job training will be the remedy and eventually, the American worker will reap their due rewards.

 

 

 

VAN JONES - Dakota Pipeline Protests as big as the Civil Rights Movement! #NoDAPL

As Morton County’s Sheriff creates a social media team to spew Orwellian language, and a group of veteran’s raises $800,000 through crowd funding and led by Wesley Clark, Jr. deploys in convoy towards North Dakota – WHERE is leadership? When white Bismark said “NO” the DAPL “Trans Energy Partners” began to ram DAPL down the throats of Native Americans at gunpoint – where is the outrage?

Liberal commentator Van Jones says he sees similarities between the demonstrations against the Dakota Access pipeline and the biggest protests of the 1960s.

“To me, this is Selma, this is Birmingham, this is as big a civil rights movement and as big a civil rights moment as you’re ever going to see,” Jones said on Chelsea Handler’s Netflix talk show “Chelsea” in an episode airing Friday.

In a brief clip from the episode, Handler mentions to Jones she wants to visit the protest site and asks what he thinks of the issue.

“They were going to put the pipeline through a white town, and the white people said, ‘Hell no!’ So instead, the Dakota Access company decided to route it through a Native American reservation,” Jones said. “And it turns out that the land that they’re putting it on is some of the most sacred land for Native Americans in the world.”

“For some reason, the mainstream media really hasn’t talked about it as much,” Jones added.

He added that the movement is one of the largest gatherings of Native American tribes since Christopher Columbus arrived in America, calling it the equivalent of the civil rights movement.

Jones called for President Obama to take action to stop the pipeline.

“President Obama is still the president of the United States right now,” he said. “And I think he should tell the Army Corps of Engineers to cancel this whole project. If Trump wants to do it, we’ll deal with that later, but President Obama should stand up and say this has gone far enough and needs to stop and needs to stop right now.”

Whither GOTV?

So, as a result of the presidential election, I am curious if anyone else is wondering about the future of GOTV? The short version of this is: the vaunted GOTV capabilities of the Democratic Party, based in meticulous and scientific tracking of voting records was defeated by a Trump organization that effectively had no on-the- ground GOTV effort except in a couple of places. What does this say about current and sacrosanct Dem party theories of voter mobilization, locally, statewide and nationwide?

I would make one observation: it seems like the current model of GOTV is based on the idea that our voters aren’t particularly motivated, so you have to work really hard to get your voters to actually go vote by individually tracking and targeting them through endless email, door knocking, phone calls, etc. This entails an enormous effort involving many thousands of activists And huge hauls of cash. But the Trump model seems to be the opposite: give your voters the proper motivation to vote and they will go vote. On their own. Without being begged or badgered. Without the coaxing of, might we say, a Nanny Party?

So, has the Dem GOTV model evolved in its supposed sophistication out of “facts on the ground,” in other words, uninspiring politics and candidates, that have led to a demotivated base of voters? Have we unintentionally normalized the bland, safe, uninspiring agenda not relevant to a large swath of voters? We lionize all of the wonderful people who travel weekend after weekend to do GOTV in NH, etc. but what if that is all just busywork focused on the wrong targets? What if instead of targeting voters, we should have been targeting our own thinking and what we stand for?  If so, then the solution, as some of the commentary on the election suggests, is to stand for something and run candidates that voters really want to turn out and vote for. Like Trump did. And by the way, it can be argued that not long ago, Scott Brown did that in defeating Martha Coakley . . .  Etc.

As a town committee chair for a decade, I was involved in endless debates about the effectiveness of GOTV efforts before, during, and after every election. But, perhaps we should have been focused on a different target altogether.

Thoughts?

Senator Sanders in Rolling Stone

An Interview with Matt Taibbi worth reading in full. Bernie is careful to avoid some of the pitfalls that have befallen many of us (myself included) in our last three weeks in the Mirror Universe. No Hillary bashing, no assertions he could’ve won, and no false binary between defending people of color, women, Muslims, and the LGBT community and advocating for all working class Americans. Worth reading in full and sharing!

December BMG Stammtisch


The Saloon

Come, enjoy some libations, and talk politics at the first post-truth stammtisch. Our now-regular monthly BMG Stammtisch will happen, as usual, the first Wednesday of the month — 7-December— at The Saloon in Davis Square at 7p.

Hope to see you there!