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Beware the hardcore crazies!

Anti-abortion crazies are on the attack

Anti-abortion battleground in Virginia

The floodgates of accusations against Democrats in Virginia are related to the 2019 state elections. This November, both houses of the Virginia Legislature stand for election. The House of Delegates stands every two years, and the Senate every four. There is a very real possibility that Democrats can capture a majority in both houses. Since the governor is also a Democrat, the party can gain full control of both branches of government.

This is a big deal on two fronts. With the 2020 Census on the horizon, legislators elected this year will re-draw the state’s Congressional districts. Democrats can correct extreme gerrymandering if they gain control.

Abortion

Democratic control of Virginia’s government mobilizes the crazy wing of the Republican Party. Anti-abortion activists follow a scorched-earth policy in their attempts to stop changes in restrictive abortion legislation. The disinformation attacks on are all-out and intense. This is where attacks on top Democratic elected officials originate.

I’m not sure what we can do for the men in charge now, but Democrats should be aware of the lengths these people will go to get their way. We need to push back against Republican activists as hard as we can.

Bernie 2020 – What does Sanders stand for?

Bernie 2020

Bernie 2020 – What’s different?

In 2016, Bernie Sanders put forward a number of solid and thoughtful positions on many issues. It would be easy for the Sanders Cult to simply assert that these positions and policy proposals still apply, should Bern try again this cycle.

That’s not what his True Believers argue, though. Instead of making the case for Sanders, they make a case against Harris, O’Rourke, and even Warren. They lost their minds over last weekend, when the media toyed with the notion of Hillary Clinton running again.

Why not just push what works for Bern?

The biggest problem Sanders has is he’s not the default opposition to a popular front-runner. The bar is much higher this time. Multiple candidates push positions we heard from Bern in 2016. Elizabeth Warren made opposition to Wall Street a cornerstone of her kickoff. Her Iowa “retail” campaign will hit this hard. Harris and O’Rourke (assuming Beto’s in) will siphon off the student-loan constituency. Labor support will be fractured. In this environment, Bern’s just another voice.

What we’ve learned about Bern since 2016

  • He has a #metoo problem
  • He is willing to parrot Republican and Russian propaganda
  • He has a solid pro-Russia voting record
  • He’s still not a Democrat

When faced with a strong woman, it was easy for Bern surrogates to go full-misogynist. They’re trying it this year, with early attacks against Harris. They’re going to need more than that to move up past fourth or fifth in the polls, though.

“She’s a Cop” is racist and misogynistic.

“She’s a Cop” is an ill-advised attack on Harris by #nonpartisanprogressives

Senator Kamala Harris (R-CA) is running for President

“She’s a Cop”

Senator Kamala Harris wants to be President of the United States. She’s going to be a formidible candidate, and that makes folks supporting lesser candidates nervous. Those folks now chant “she’s a cop” on social media, in an effort to discredit Harris. It’s a racist, misogynistic attack.

Supporters of Senator Sanders have issues with discussion and discourse. “We don’t want a coronation” was a common trope in 2015, as the Democratic candidates for President lined up. Secretary Clinton’s massive advantages in popularity and fund raising meant they had to go on the attack early.

The “we don’t want a coronation” line appealed to discussion and debate. We aren’t an organized political party, after all. We’re Democrats. We put ideas out in the street and talk them out. That was fine, but then the Sanders folks moved to brutal attacks, some of which were long-standing Republican tropes. That’s because their candidate was losing. The Clinton campaign had a better ground game, and Super Tuesday proved that.

In the 2020 cycle, there’s no coronation. A number of candidates are testing the waters. Sanders isn’t the “or” in an either-or equation. So, his disciples attack what they think is an easy target, Senator Harris.

Attorneys General aren’t cops

“In the criminal justice system, the people are represented by two separate yet equally important groups. The police who investigate crime and the district attorneys who prosecute the offenders. These are their stories.”

–Introduction to the television show, “Law & Order”

Before going to DC as a Senator from California, Kamala Harris was that state’s Attorney General. Before that, she was a district attorney. She’s not a police officer, any more than the DAs on the teevee show were police officers. They were officers of the court, and part of the process, but they were separate.

Those saying “she’s a cop” know that.

Race-based attacks

The “she’s a cop” attack is a cynical tactic. Those saying it believe they can appeal to the general distrust of law enforcement in minority communities. It’s a dogwhistle. They’re saying, “forget the fact that Harris looks like you. She doesn’t represent your interests.”

Nobody says “she’s a cop” when discussing Letitia Jones, Attorney General of New York. Nobody mistakes Louisiana Attorney General (and highly-visible racist) Jeff Landry for a cop. None of the other 99 members of the United States Senate are referred to as “cops.” Lindsey Graham was a Judge Advocate General in the United States Air Force. Nobody says “he’s a cop.”

Misogyny

Sanders supporters go after the woman. They need to tear down candidates who look more like the Democratic Party than the old white guy they advocate. In Kamala Harris, they give the misogynistic tactics used against Clinton a one-two punch, adding racism to the mix.

Campaigns and Iowa – thoughts by @TVietor08

Crooked Conversations Podcast

Crooked Conversations

Priyanka Aribindi’s “Crooked Conversations” interview with her boss, Tommy Vietor, was fun to listen to. The ep’s titled, “What’s it like to work on a campaign?” Ms. Aribindi does well in getting Vietor to talk about his early political career. He talks about working on campaigns going back to 2004. That’s going back to ancient times. 2004 was the year I joined DailyKos.

Takeaways

Iowa

First, Vietor spent a lot of time during the 2008 campaign in Iowa. He was part of the in-state team in 2007. The Iowa caucuses are, for better or worse, Yuge/Bigly. Losing Iowa may not do a candidate in, but winning the caucuses can really boost your campaign. Obama’s Iowa win in 2008 put him on top, going into New Hampshire. The narrative at the time was more, can Hillary catch Obama, rather than focusing on how strong a candidate she was.

Vietor’s public displays of affection for Iowa are consistent. It doesn’t sound like he’s saying these things just to be polite.

Volunteering

There’s a scene from The West Wing, from “In the Shadow of Two Gumnen, Part 2,” where Donna’s thinking back to the early days of the Bartlet campaign. The staff’s getting ready to leave New Hampshire (nothing to see there, Bartlet was governor and a CongressCritter from NH). As they’re packing up to go south to South Carolina, Josh tells Donna he can’t carry her in SC. She says, she’ll work as a volunteer, sleep on someone’s floor, etc. Eventually she knew he’d put her on paid staff, if the campaign continued. And so the relationship began.

Vietor’s thoughts echo what Donna did. Tommy tells listeners, get involved in a campaign for a candidate you believe in. Volunteer. Work unpaid. Work hard, be good at it. He reminds everyone that all the success stories you hear of from the Obama administration (Crooked Media, Plouffe, Axelrod, Alyssa) originated with volunteering and working for Obama’s Senate campaign.

Priyanka edits the “What a Day” newsletter for Crooked. Tommy joked that she can’t leave to work on a campaign.

Go listen.

Shit, even I know what a skee wee is.

Skee Wee!

Skee Wee!

It was 1976. I was a freshman at the University of New Orleans, and an Associate Member of Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity. As a group, we sat around a table in the University Center’s snack bar. Even though I was an Education major (the college was on the other side of campus), I gravitated to the UC.

One day that fall, I walked up to the UC’s main entrance around lunchtime. A crowd had gathered there. That’s when I saw my first “stomp.” Men, pledges from Alpha Phi Alpha and Omega Psi Phi (didn’t know they were called “Q’s” at that time) did their dance routines, which I learned were called “stomps.”

Then came the ladies of Delta Sigma Theta, Incorporated, followed by the pledge class of the UNO chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha, Incorporated. That’s when I first heard the “Skee Wee.” So, when Senator Kamala Harris mentioned her sorority, AKA, at book promotion event at DC’s Politics and Prose on Wednesday, her Sorors did a “skee wee.”

As they fucking should.

I’ll let The Root tell the story of the event and the aftermath.

Exercise caution when messing with Sororities

It’s a Sorority thing. Honestly, it’s not even a Black thing as much as it’s a Sorority thing. What made it a black thing was a white woman. Ms. Chelsea Janes, recently assigned to political coverage after being on the Washington Nationals beat for years, covered the talk for the Washington Post.

And now she’s infamous. Ms. Janes forgot to check her privilege before entering an event with a mostly-black audience. When the Sorors of AKA did the Skee Wee, this is what she tweeted:

As I often do, I’d like to paraphrase Professor Tolkien by saying, I “cordially dislike” the term, “unpacking,” in the context of a photo, written work, etc. That said, there’s much to unpack here.

Just Fucking Racism

“Screech?” Like a sound a monkey makes? We’re off to a good start here, Chelsea.

Anti-Sorority bias

I don’t know anything about Janes’ background (other than she’s a member of the Baseball Writers Association). I’ve heard the tone she uses from GDI (God Damn Independent) women from back in my UNO days. Sorority women? Nothing to see here, move along.

But Mz. Chelsea couldn’t help herself. As much as the screech/monkey thing sticks in my thoughts, It’s likely that remark wasn’t made to mock black women. It’s more likely she tweeted that because she just doesn’t like sorority women. Some of the cheers/calls/chants white sorority girls do are pretty screech-y as well. If you didn’t get the right recs, or if you got cut from Sorority Row at your school, this stays with you for life.

Anti-Harris Bias

Again, I don’t know for sure, but there are many in the Sanders Cult who loathe Kamala Harris. They see her as a much greater threat to the election of their Dear Leader. Maybe Mz. Chelsea is a Berner?

A Cautionary Tale

There are two main takeaways for White People from this event:

  1. Don’t tweet analysis and reactions from an event with a mostly-minority audience. Say where you are. Say you’re enjoying the speaker. Save everything else for when you write up the event. THINK before Tweeting.
  2. If you forget the above, Black Twitter is going to eviscerate you. And you’ll likely deserve it.

Gunshot victims deserve our empathy, even @SteveScalise

Gunshot victims suffer long after the shooting

gunshot victims

Gunshot Victims

I can’t speak personally about what it’s like to get shot. I have friends who are shooting victims. I know a few people who lost their lives in shooting incidents. I sincerely hope that me and mine avoid this experience.

One does not have to be a gunshot victim to realize it’s a horrible thing to happen. It sounds trite to say, I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy. While that’s the extreme side of the equation, I certainly wouldn’t wish that anyone in Metro New Orleans shot.

Congressman Steve Scalise

Steve Scalise is the Representative from Louisiana Congressional District 1. That makes him my CongressCracka. He’s an awful human being. The aura of his horrible beliefs is almost visible. I don’t know if he really is a racist, or he just plays one in politics. It doesn’t matter. He appeals and nurtures the worst in the white people of his district.

On June 14, 2017, a gunman shot four people, including #KlanSteve Scalise. While most of the news coverage focused on Scalise, it’s important to remember that he wasn’t the only victim that day. Analysis of the incident suggests that Scalise was a target of opportunity. Standing on second base on a baseball field offered the shooter a clear shot.

Serious injuries

The shooter’s bullet found Scalise’s hip. It traveled through his body, doing extensive damage. While the shooting was not a classic “gut shot,” the shot damaged organs and bone alike.

Getting gut shot is like when an automobile gets “t-boned.” There’s that saying that a car is never the same after a collision, and one car hitting another broadside severely damages the target. Insurance companies total out t-boned cars. They’re just not worth the money to repair.

We can’t total out someone who gets gut shot. If the victim survives, we take extraordinary measures to repair their damage. (Assuming the victim is insured, but that’s a different subject.) Physical and mental rehab, post-shooting, presents major challenges for the victim.

Even Steve Scalise.

Empathy

I have empathy for Steve Scalise, as well as the three others shot on 14-June-2017. As well as other gunshot victims. They don’t deserve to suffer through the recovery process. Many choose not to suffer. They take their own lives. Others are like those t-boned cars. No matter what you do in the way of repairs, they’re not the same.

Steve Scalise is an angry, bitter man. His position in the House of Representatives put him at the top. Had his party maintained control of the body, he would’ve had a legitimate claim at Speaker.

Still, I have empathy. He didn’t deserve to get shot. Putting a bullet in this man did not change the political landscape of Jefferson Parish. Had he retired, or worse, had he died from his injuries, the horrible majority of LA-01 would have replaced him with someone equally awful. The Red/Blue calculus would be unchanged.

We can do a lot of things to stand in opposition to horrible people. We don’t have to wish them the suffering of getting gut shot.

Profile: Louisiana House District 82

Louisiana House District 82 – Cameron Henry

Louisiana House District 82

Current rep: Cameron Henry

1539 Metairie Road
Suite A
Metairie, LA 70005 

Phone:  (504)838-5433 
Fax:       (504)838-5435
henryc@legis.la.gov 

Legislative Aide:  Myrna Schlesinger 

Representing Parishes:  Jefferson 

Corresponding Senate Districts:  5, 9, and 10

Population

Population: 44,939

Households: 20,644

Race and Ethnicity

79.2% White
8.8% Black
8.7% Hispanic
1.9% Asian

Election 2019 Profiling State/Parish Races in Jefferson Parish

Election 2019 Profiling

Election 2019 Profiling

Starting a new project for this election cycle. I’m going to research and profile each of the Louisiana House and Senate districts for Jefferson Parish. Here’s the list:

54Jerry “Truck” GislcairDist. 54 MAP
78Kirk TalbotDist. 78 MAP
79Julie Skinner StokesDist. 79 MAP
80Polly ThomasDist. 80 MAP
82J. Cameron HenryDist. 82 MAP
83Robert E. BilliotDist. 83 MAP
 84J. Patrick “Pat” ConnickDist. 84 MAP
85Joseph A. “Joe” Marino, IIIDist. 85 MAP
 87Rodney Lyons, Sr.Dist. 87 MAP
 92Joe StagniDist. 92 MAP
94Stephanie Hilferty
105J. Chris LeopoldDist. 105 MAP

Objectives

This project has two objectives: Recruiting and Running.

Recruiting – You’re in the car line at, say, St. Louis King of France. You regularly run into a progressive mom while you’re waiting for the kids. Encouraging her is easy for you, but encouraging her for what? Here’s the information.

Running – Candidates need data. They familiarize themselves with the neighborhoods outside of their subdivision and church parish. We give them that data in these profiles, they take it from there.

House districts present interesting opportunities for aspiring politicians. They contain neighborhood clusters. The district boundaries aren’t overly gerrymandered.

Data

Data for each district includes:

  • Geographic boundaries
  • Neighborhood/subdivision names
  • Public schools
  • Catholic church parishes
  • Other churches
  • Neighborhood asociations
  • Playgrounds
  • Shopping malls/strip malls
  • Popular restaurants (pizza places, donut shops, etc)
  • Supermarkets

Suggestions for more? Ping me at @yatpundit on Da Twittah, or in Metairie Indivisible on FB. Lists grow into spreadsheets. Spreadsheets grow into databases. Data is evergreen. We improve upon it for the next cycle and the next.

Senate and School Board

After profiling the House districts comes the School Board. Running for School Board requires less political experience than the legislature, but there’s a catch. While in the past, school board elections were “entry level” contests, voters demand more now. Candidates must have a more-direct connection to the school system than just, well, I live in the district.

Beyond House, School Board, Senate

Many more politicians stand for election in Jefferson Parish this November. From the Parish Council to the 24th Judicial District, to the District Attorney, there are many races for us to examine. We should determine which races make sense to run in.

Jefferson Parish Democratic Party

In addition to government positions, we choose the members of the Executive Committee of the party this November. We’ll examine these positions in detail as well.

Help!

I’d like to do this with other offices up in this cycle (November, 2019). That means I could use some help! If you’d like

Subtle anti-semitism of “Nice People” incites violence in America

Subtle anti-semitism of “Nice People” incites violence in America

Subtle antisemitism makes me sad.

subtle antisemitism

Protest against circumcision in Metairie, LA, 29-Oct-2018

Subtle antisemitism is problematic

There are a number of issues in our body politic that have origins in discrimination against Jews. While there are many reasons for ignorance on these, I’m still concerned. Therefore, it’s important to take a moment and talk about things that have their roots in hatred of Jews.

Circumcision

There was a protest against circumcision in my neighborhood (#themetrys) yesterday. I know a number of people who do not approve of circumcision. While their numbers are few, they make a solid case for not doing this to their infant sons. I respect that.

What I don’t respect is a group of men protesting this issue in public within days of a massacre of Jews. The Jewish people are the one single group in the world immediately connected to circumcision. Did those men standing on Clearview and Veterans in Metairie yesterday consider this when protesting this procedure? It’s unclear. It’s unclear because they did it in the wake of the massacre of Jews in Pittsburgh over the weekend.

Failure to recognize context

I saw the photos of this protest tweeted by a friend around mid-afternoon yesterday. My first reaction was, this is way too tone deaf. No legitimate group looking to promote an idea or issue could possibly be this unaware of the world around them. So, my process took the next step. Clearly these people were organized. They had to know what happened Saturday. They had to know those people in Pittsburgh were gunned down at a bris, of all events. Therefore, there was a good chance the protesters were antisemitic.

Reactions from social media

I said as much on Zuckerbook. Read the responses. A number of people know the group and its agenda. They claimed the protesters are not antisemitic. Commenters presented logical reasons for their beliefs.

My concern continued. These people have a website. They’re literally “on tour” with these protests. Zuckerfriends reported seeing them in Shreveport, Galveston, and Baton Rouge, before their appearance in Metairie. That level of commitment requires logistics. It requires communication.

So, now I’m even more skeptical. They’re not operating in a vacuum. A group concerned about the bigger issues would stand down, out of respect for others who disagree with them. This group didn’t. Are they ignorant, or do they have an an additional agenda?

Antisemitism has long roots

subtle antisemitism

Pogroms in Russia. Turned away from the United States. Hitler and Himmler. These are but examples of discrimination and hate focused on Jews.

Hitler served in the German Imperial Army in World War I. The Treaty of Versailles ended that war. That accord dealt harsh terms and conditions to Germany. Those terms included demands for reparations that were unreasonable. Like many at the time, Hitler was hurt and angry and defeated. He channeled that anger not towards the British or the French, but towards German Jews.

Hitler believed the Jews came out of World War I way too nicely, while Christian Germans suffered. This is a common theme going back millennia.  Shakespeare created “Shylock, a Jew”, as his bad guy for The Merchant of Venice. That didn’t happen in a vacuum.

Pogroms in Russia

The Tsars treated their serfs badly for centuries. To make Christian serfs feel better about their lot in life, the Tsars and the Church focused the anger of the serfs on the Jews. Blood libel and profiting from Christians were two examples of “crimes” of the Jews. The Tsars allowed Christians to carry out “pogroms” against Jews. Thousands of Jews were displaced, turned out of Russian cities. Jews were attacked, injured, and killed.

Have you ever watched Fiddler on the Roof? Go back, now that you know what a pogrom is.

“Mutilation” of Christian boys

One of the common tropes of the 20th and 21st centuries with respect to Jews relates to circumcision. Groups spreading hatred of Jews claim there is a conspiracy involving Jewish doctors to mutilate Christians. This goes back long before the Nazis. That regime used this accusation as one of many to deny Jews civil rights in Germany between the World Wars.

Lack of understanding

Read. Learn. Understand. Do you have Jewish friends? Ask them why they circumcise their children. Do you think they’re part of an international conspiracy? Do you believe they should be shot down in their places of worship? Take a step back. Look at the entire picture.

Dear Prudence – touchy feely relationships in a #metoo context

Dear Prudence – touchy feely relationships in a #metoo context

Dear Prudence tackles an interesting letter

dear prudence

Slate’s “Dear Prudence” pod, starring Daniel Mallory Ortberg.

Dear Prudence advises

The latest number of the “Dear Prudence” podcast presented an easy but thoughtful situation. A woman wrote, seeking advice on how to discuss playful/casual groping by her boyfriend. The boyfriend gives her the occasional caress on her butt, or boob-grab. She’s been OK with it. Until lately, that is. The whole #metoo thing triggered her. She’s less interested in in random touching. That boob-grab that was once fine now concerns her.

Unspoken triggers?

The letter-writer expressed problems with the groping and touching of late, but did not really offer a reason beyond #metoo, in her letter. That’s her privilege, of course. If a person wants more space, end of discussion. Many things trigger this sort of reaction. Cat-calls, a work colleague who doesn’t respect personal boundaries might be the issue. Maybe it’s just too much time on social media, listening to other womens’ stories.

So, let me re-iterate: Whatever her reasons, if she doesn’t want to be touched, that’s that.

What about the boyfriend?

The letter-writer seeks advice on how to explain this to the boyfriend. She factors in potential reactions from her partner. Daniel and his guest made it clear, this is about what she wants. While the hosts understood her concerns, they wanted to be clear, this is about HER. They understood. This is a relationship, therefore, a dramatic shift should be discussed. The writer wants an approach. The reply was simple: tell him how you feel!

That’s rarely bad relationship advice. So, hopefully the boyfriend will get it. Understanding and empathy are important.

What if he doesn’t?

Short letters allow Daniel and his guests opportunity for expansion. They moved from specifics to general observations. Boyfriend behavior in #metoo shouldn’t be a challenge. Still, defense mechanisms kick in when we tell someone they’re doing something unwelcome. The hosts explained that this presented an opportunity to the letter-writer. After presenting her thoughts on the boob-grabs, she receives the opportunity to observe. Will he understand? Will he freak out? This issue changes boundaries, even temporarily. Reactions tell both partners if they’re a good fit.

I wish we could see how this turns out.

#metoo means working on relationships

Guys often resist change. They resist challenges to their masculinity. A woman rejecting an advance, even in a consensual context like this relationship is problematic. What was once playful may now be triggering. Guys need to understand how that works and adjust.

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