May 24, 2022
Regarding Senator Bill Cassidy’s statement regarding maternal deaths where you received disagreement that it was racist, I beg to differ with those who feel it was just a statistical point. It comes across as racist to this white woman. The United States has the highest rate of maternal mortality than any other developed country, & it is the only country where mortality rate has been rising. This speaks to the fact that healthcare in this country is considered a privilege of the wealthy & not a right. To excuse the death rate as “not so bad” by excluding black women from the numbers is inexcusable in my eyes. What is the point of dividing results by the color of skin if not racist?
It works from my perspective. GOP - a Group of Pirates looking to steal you blind. They will steal your....
Thank you, Robert. I humbly suggest that the riposte re: Hunter Biden's laptop be rephrased to something shorter and stickier. Instead of "“We’ll trade Hunter’s laptop for Kushner’s encrypted texts with Mohammed bin Salman soliciting investments in Kushner’s private equity fund while Kushner was on government payroll," how about "Hunter Biden's laptop is nothing compared to Jared Kushner's laptop. That one holds a lot of evidence about Kushner's corrupt relationship with Mohammed Bone Saw."
Great message and add a few to the list regarding :protection from polluted air and water, mitigation of climate change and compensations for climate catastrophes, occupational safety, and most important of all...a safe future for your children!
You left out from your excellent list: right of privacy will be lost, the right to have the government out of your bedroom and your doctor's office come to mind.
One tweak: Democrats should adopt the Stop the Steal refrain. In terms of election laws being passed, it’s actually valid. And it would sow so much chaos that hopelessly confused Trump supporters might vote for Democrats.
Love this think it is just simple enough to be remembered and talked about. Has opportunities for expansion and dumps on Donnie.
From the New Deal to the Big Steal.
As to those that see Senator Cassidy's statement excluding Black women from maternal deaths in La., as a mere statistical correction, they should note that he missed an opportunity to show perfection in La. by excluding all women from the statistics and arguing that no adult men had died in childbirth in his state.
I posted the following last night in response to yesterday's newsletter on the "death" of outrage. Someone suggested that I re-post earlier today so that Robert and others might actually see it. :-) So here goes:
I'd respectfully like to suggest a different way to deal with outrage. It's time we all consider investing in Democracy rather than making one-time donations to a single candidate's campaigns. Campaign donations are not the most effective way to fight voter suppression and disinformation and turn the tide the way we must right now.
First, realize that most of the money donated to candidates' campaigns is used for TV or digital ads and flyers -- outreach designed to change swing voters minds with soundbites and slogans --usually an impossible task. (See this from Vox: Experiments Show that this is the best way to win campaigns. But is anyone actually doing it? https://www.vox.com/2014/11/13/7214339/campaign-ground-game)
Also make sure you are donating to a winnable race. In the days following Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death, Americans donated over $70 million to Amy McGrath's campaign or the Get Mitch or Die Trying Fund. At one point ActBlue was logging $100K a minute. Amy McGrath ended up with a war chest of $90+ million but Mitch McConnell still won his Senate seat resoundingly with his "paltry" $60 million war chest.
Another more impactful way to donate is to support grassroots organizations working to register and activate voters in critical districts of swing states. Remember that even though Biden won the popular vote by more than 7 million, he eeked out his razor-thin electoral college victory with 43,809 votes across Wisconsin, Georgia and Arizona. Grassroots organizations are THE most effective at GOTV because they practice relational voter turnout. They have multiple conversations about the election and spend more time educating new voters (who are their own neighbors) on local, state and national issues, what sorts of documents they will need to vote, how to get a mail-in ballot or even provide PPE. They never close shop after elections, they work year round holding listening sessions, building political power and turning out the vote in local and state elections. Here are some great articles if you're interested in learning more about how grassroots organizations are so successful:
This inspirational op-ed from LUCHA in Arizona explains beautifully the important role grassroots organizations play in relational GOTV and the long game of building enough power to swing a state like Arizona to the left.
How to Turn Fear and Anger into Political Power.
This article from Mother Jones explains relational organizing:
The Secret to Beating Trump Lies with You and Your Friends
Here are two organizations that offer very impactful ways to invest in grassroots organizations.
Flip the Vote 2022 - They provide a slate of vetted BIPOC-led grassroots orgs in 7 critical Swing States. You can easily donate through FTV’s platform - 100% of your donations go directly to the orgs. You can also host an in-person or Zoom house party with FTV which is a very effective way to get people engaged and invested in the elections. Read FTV's strategy here: https://www.flipthevote.org/strategy.
Blueprint by Swing Left offers a portfolio “investing” strategy that is also targeted and data driven. It also encourages “giving circles” for people who want to invest together. Read more about that here:
Gather your friends and see how you can maximize your investment in Democracy! You will feel more hopeful and have a much bigger impact on the midterms and the 2024 election.
I believe that Senator Cassidy was being racist. Why should women of color be removed from the total number of maternal deaths? He should have been asked why women of color should not be counted in the total number of maternal deaths. Is it because some of them are below the poverty line? There are also white women who are below the poverty line. Is it because women of color might be more likely to be uninsured and therefore can not receive prenatal medical care? There are plenty of white women in that situation as well.
All pregnant women in this country should be receiving good pre and post natal care. All babies born should have regular medical check ups. The problem is that Republicans do not want to subsidize medical care for the poor. Yet they are taking away a woman’s right to choose whether to continue the pregnancy to term or terminate the pregnancy, all in the name of protecting human life. They need to understand that life goes on after birth and those children and their mothers need good medical care.
I do not agree with your assessment of President Biden's remarks regarding Taiwan. I'm glad the President was clear on our position. We need more of that.
Regarding whether a "statistical" argument is free of racist underpinnings, consider the "statistical" argument the NFL made (through its lawyers at one of the big and wealthy New York law firms) that the cognitive damages resulting from concussive football injuries should allow for a reduced award of damages for Black, compared to white, players because Black men have a lower cognitive functioning in their normal state compared to white men. This argument, which the NFL was shamed to retract when different lawyers filed suit alleging unlawful discrimination in the legal position, was based on evidence and argument. The statistics were shown to be the result of racist bias in the studies that gave rise to the statistics, and thank goodness for the legal team that exposed the NFL's racist position and got them to withdraw it. Can you imagine being a Black lawyer (or staff person) working at the law firm that argued that position for the NFL? Law firms don't have to argue positions like that. Lawyers are permitted to honor their own morals when representing clients in civil matters.
What is especially pernicious about the prospect of disallowing "ineffective assistance of counsel" as a basis for reversing a criminal conviction is the likelihood that ineffective assistance of counsel is the cause of the conviction. What this majority of SCOTUS is really doing is eliminating a likely basis for appeal because they want to reduce the taking of appeals--in this situation with full awareness that many criminal defense lawyers are, indeed, incompetent. Often they are new lawyers in a legal system that found, in a comprehensive October 2020, report by the Institute for the Advancement of the Legal System, that our law schools are graduating students that lack many of the basic, minimum competencies required for the practice of law. Moreover, the study established that notwithstanding the failure (i.e., inability) of law schools to instruct on those basic competencies, these graduates are passing bar exams across the United States (because our licensing authorities can't really test for them). Sad. Sad for the incarcerated persons, the lawyers who lost their trials, and the people in this country who know our overcrowded prisons house many innocent men and women, with families who grieve their imprisonment.
Yes-there is a strong reason to emphasize the "Big Steal" or whatever moniker is used.
The bigger question is what type of country do we want.A Democracy or an Autocratiic Dictatorship?
If you want to save our country it should be phrased as DEMOCRACY vs.FASCISM.
Fascism-a governmental system led by a dictator having complete power,forcibly suppressing opposition and criticism,regimenting all industry,commerce,etc. and emphasizing an aggressive nationalism and racism.Sound familiar?Hitler-Stalin-Mussolini-Putin-What about Trump-isn't this his mantra?
This is the fight that we must engage in.
This election should be phrased in that manner.
Democrats need to be as vindictive as the opposition and spin it in a extremely strong manner.
If we don't stop this move towards autocracy now,it may be too late.
Let's get on board.
While open debate is good, trial by public opinion is rarely useful. President Biden has had more hours speaking one-on-one with China's President Xi Jinping than any one else in the US or most political leaders in the world. I would take his word for how to deal with China over just about anyone else in the US and I believe President Biden is talking to those people as well. One thing about Taiwan I would want the US to import is its vTaiwan social media consensus building software which is a model for direct democracy. Here's an article on it in MIT's Technology review https://www.technologyreview.com/2018/08/21/240284/the-simple-but-ingenious-system-taiwan-uses-to-crowdsource-its-laws/