THUS THE ELECTION – Marilyn Armstrong

Not every count is in, but the general ambiance is “Yay we took the house — and a bunch of governorships” and “Boo, they still have the Senate — and sadly, Trump.”

Our polling area
Old High School lobby – Photo: Garry Armstrong

Not exactly a giant blue wave. More like a little wave that laps the shore. Garry is depressed. He was hoping for something more defining. A blue tsunami. I just wanted them to retake the house. And it’s not over yet. Really, it’s not. We don’t even have the votes from the west coast yet.

Photo: Garry Armstrong
The poll, AKA the old high school – Photo: Garry Armstrong
More polling Photo: Garry Armstrong

I realized I didn’t have any pictures or a single post for tomorrow, so it’s 11:18 and here I am, writing. We took a few pictures at the poll and near it.

I think we’ll know a lot more after we hear about the votes from the west.

Polling

And we did retake the House. That’s a bigger deal than you realize. It also means Mueller is good to go. I wish he’d get a move on it. Throw us a bone.

Tell us something.

BLUE WAVE FLUSHES OUT THE HOUSE, AND TRUMP’S IN DEEP DOO-DOO – Reblog – The Shinbone Star

BLUE WAVE FLUSHES OUT THE HOUSE, AND TRUMP’S IN DEEP DOO-DOO


— Andrew Prendimano/The Shinbone Star

Control of the U.S. House of Representatives changed hands yesterday, leaving Democrats giddy but still thinking about what might have been.

While watching election returns we allowed ourselves to get a little greedy as Beto O’Rourke made things interesting in his Senate race with Ted “Zodiac Killer” Cruz, but at the end of the day it appears Repugclicans will retain control of the upper chamber.

Democrats wanted a tsunami but only got a decent wave. So what’s it all mean?

Well, the good news is that with Democrats seizing control of the House, some semblance of checks and balances will be restored for Psycho Donald Trump. That’s a really nice way of saying that Democrats can make Trump’s life a living hell for the next two years, and that’s cause for celebration. Specifically:

  • Democrats will now chair House committees, meaning they will have subpoena power.
  • They will have oversight over whatever bullshit the White House tries to unleash, and lord knows Trump’s evil West Wing whackos have already unleashed plenty.
  • If the Mueller investigation reveals impeachable offenses against the president, well, the newly Democratic House can bring those charges, though they will likely die in the Republican Senate. Still, impeachment proceedings wouldn’t be a good look for the Tweeter in Chief.
  • Gains in Democratic governorships mean Republican-drawn legislative maps will now be viewed by someone more inclined to say, “WTF???”

We can now relish the fact that Republicans will soon be getting a new look at some old villains, like Nancy Pelosi who could again be House Speaker. And then there’s Auntie Maxine Waters, who is probably sharpening her long knives this very minute.

But it’s the new villains that must be most concerning to Republicans, bright new faces bringing stark contrast to an old Republican Party chock full of wrinkled white Neanderthal males. CNN’s Van Jones may have put it best in his analysis when he said:

“It’s the end of one party rule. It’s not a blue wave but a rainbow wave.”

The Shinbone Star’s staff is small and widely scattered. We can’t cover every race, but some of our crew of half-blind geriatrics burned the midnight oil covering issues and races of special interest to them:

DOWN IN THE LONE STAR STATE

O’ROURKE

We Texas Democrats of a certain age keep thinking victory will come to us, but it didn’t come on Tuesday night.

Beto O’Rourke has gone down swinging, running a campaign that a human being can be proud of — except for the part where he didn’t win. Now that it’s happened, I expect Democrats will dissect the defeat mercilessly. That’s what Democrats do.

But mark this down: a still-to-be-determined number of Democrats were elected to Congress on Tuesday, and it’s hard to imagine that any of them have anything but warmest regards for Beto O’Rourke. It was the excitement he brought to the race in Texas that brought a wave of voters, many of them new to the process.

So the sting will linger for a bit, but the 46-year-old O’Rourke will be heard from again.

In his concession speech, O’Rourke talked of visiting every Texas county, and being welcomed in every one of them. He also vowed that Democrats “will be defined by what we’re for.”

He promised to help Cruz where he can, but he most pointedly thanked his hometown of El Paso, and said the El Paso-Ciudad Juarez is a working hub of citizens from two nations. “It doesn’t need to be walled.” — Lin Lofley

NEW FACE IN NJ-11

SHERRILL

In New Jersey’s 11th Congressional District, the seat held for 12 terms by retiring Republican Rodney Frelinghuysen flipped to the Democrats as Mikie Sherrill, a former federal prosecutor and Navy helicopter pilot, scored a victory over Republican Jay Webber.

In his concession speech, Webber, who was backed by President Trump, seemed to blame his loss on the fact that his campaign was outspent by the Democrats.

The seat went up for grabs when Frelinghuysen, head of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, announced in January that he would not seek re-election.

He had come under criticism for failure to hold town hall sessions for his constituents. The campaign pitted Sherrill, a first-time office seeker, against Webber, a state assemblyman who has held statewide office since 2008. — Anne-Marie

WHY NANCY PELOSI SHOULD BE SPEAKER

PELOSI

With Democrats seizing control of the U.S. House of Representatives, there will be a struggle for leadership with some folks calling for newer, younger leadership. That would be a mistake.

Nancy Pelosi is a General Leia. She is the most powerful woman in U.S. political history and the most successful. Pelosi delivered landmark legislation for economic stimulus, financial overhaul, and healthcare.

Yeah, the Affordable Care Act — aka Obamacare, aka “death panels” — which conventional wisdom declared to be such a loser that most Democrats ran away from it (and President Obama) resulted in most of them getting their asses kicked. Yet here we are eight years later and what were the smart kids running on? Healthcare. Who knew?

We now have one branch of government back under control of people not under the sway of the crazy, racist bastard occupying the White House. But those who are under the sway of the crazy, racist bastard still run the other branches of government. Democrats haven’t been the majority in the House for eight years and will now be engaged in some of the most epic political battles we’ve ever seen. Literally trying to save the freaking nation! A sports analogy: It’s the playoffs . . . do you start a rookie who hasn’t played a minute in the league or do you go with your future Hall of Famer? Nancy Pelosi, House Speaker redux! — LarryBnDC

WHY DO I FEEL DIRTY?

MENENDEZ

Incumbent U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) retained his seat despite a nasty campaign with multimillionaire businessman Bob Hugin that featured ads questioning the ethics of the embattled, now a three-term senator.

Hugin, a former Celgene Corp. executive, spent $36 million of his own money on his campaign, which in the end saw him too closely tied to President Trump, who he supported to the tune of $200,000 in 2016.

Menendez’s re-election followed his corruption trial that ended in a mistrial. Hugin outspent his opponent by more than two-to-one en-route to the loss. — MastaTalka

THE LAND OF ENCHANTMENT

HAALAND

New Mexico native Deborah Haaland became the first Native American woman elected to the House of Representatives. Winning 59 percent of the vote, she easily defeated Republican Janice Arnold Jones.

New Mexico also has a new Democratic governor, Michelle Lujan Grisham, who narrowly defeated Republican challenger Rick Pearce. Grisham replaces Republican governor Susana Martinez who couldn’t run because of term limits — mercifully.

Incumbent senator, Democrat Martin Heinrich easily defeated Republican Mick Rich with 52.9 percent of the vote compared to 32 percent for Rich. Libertarian former governor Gary Johnson received 82,860 votes, or just 15 percent.

Johnson and Jill Stein running as Libertarians in 2016, helped propel Donald Trump into the White House. Of interest to state conservationists was the race for land commissioner pitting, Democrat Stephanie Garcia Richard winning against oil industry-backed Republican Patrick Lyons. — Fred Bunch

LAND OF THE FREE

It’s almost 9 p.m. here in British Columbia, so Election Day coverage is almost over for most Americans. As a realist who leans towards pessimism, the outcome is what I hoped/expected for at best. And hey, it’s definitely a more survivable event than if the Republican Party and their morally bankrupt leader had kept everything.

So, on that note, as a Canadian, the one story I have been following is the Florida vote on whether former felons should be given back their voting rights. Yes, to all of you who just take for granted your right to vote, I typed that correctly. I don’t think many people realize just how difficult it is to actually get out and vote in the United States; state by state, rules and regulations differ.

And if you are or were a felon, that comes with a whole other box of bullshit. The U.S. is one of the harshest countries when it comes to those who have committed a crime. Florida was one of three states (the other two are Kentucky and Iowa) that held a lifetime ban on voting for any felon, former or otherwise.

That’s all changed now. An estimated 1.5 million former felons will have their voting rights restored in Florida thanks to the midterm voter turnout in favour of the amendment on the ballot.

In a country that claims to be home of the free yet has the largest number of incarcerated people on the planet, this is a big deal. It’s a big deal for those directly affected and it’s also a big deal for politics.

Florida has long been the state that determines political outcomes for the country, and now with more than a million people now able to have their voices heard and their votes counted in future elections, this could be a game-changer.

Let’s hope it’s a move towards change for better voting rights in all of the United States of America. — Madmegsblog

NO REPRESSION! VOTE! – Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango — Repress


In a few minutes, we are out of here to go vote. I hope that’s what you are doing today, too. No repression in Massachusetts. We aren’t that kind of state. But wherever you are, don’t let them stop you.

Your job is to be a citizen and VOTE. Please vote. Today!

THE ROAD WE ARE ON – Rich Raschall

It’s Not A Great One, by Rich Paschall

Aside from insulting our allies and befriending our enemies, here are just a few of the actions by the current administration. They show that we are actually taking away the things that made America great:

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

This was the promise to help all people through tax cuts, but the truth is it primarily helped corporations and the top one percent of the wealthy. In defense of this, Republicans have argued the faulty theory of “trickle down” economics. That did not work in the 1980’s and it is not working now. Many corporations used the extra money to buy back stock and strengthen their company. Billionaires can donate some of their extra millions to Republican campaigns to help them maintain power.

The 2016 Overtime Rule:

The current administration would not defend the rule. Now low-level managers, making 23,660 dollars or more, can be made to work many extra hours for no extra pay, saving corporations a lot of money.

Pooled tips:

Some restaurants and bars used a “pooled tips” system.  This means all tips go into a pool and are then distributed among workers. busboys, and cooks, for example, might share these tips.  The current administration has taken action to remove any restrictions, allowing employers to pocket the cash.

Ending DACA:

One of the downsides of attempting to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals is that it would take away documentation and the protections of young adults brought here as children. This could force them into working “under the table,” that is, illegally.

Companies could then pay them anything.

Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces:

Initially, this sounds like a good thing.  We should not give contracts to companies that do not follow this rule.  The Trump administration, however, has backed the Congressional resolution to block record keeping in this area, making it hard to tell who is playing fair.

The Federal Reserve Board:

The current administration had three appointments to make and two more members have resigned since the beginning of 45’s term.  Appointments by 45 are there to protect Wall Street. The new chair is Jerome Powell, a Wall Street venture capitalist.  “We’re so bad at forecasting productivity, it’s just very hard to know when productivity is going to arrive and in what quantity….”

Well, I guess that is rather honest.

The Supreme Court:

Appointments such a Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh have swung the balance of power to the extreme right. The current administration has sought to politicize the court with these appointments.  In addition to an expected challenge to the Roe v. Wade ruling (1973) allowing abortion, these appointments may, in fact, protect 45 and other Republicans from court challenges for things like tax returns. A challenge to gay marriage may also be coming.

Affordable Care Act:

Despite the promise to “repeal and replace” Obamacare “very, very quickly” the Trump administration has done neither. Instead, they have taken actions to undermine its success.  “I think we’re probably in that position where we’ll just let Obamacare fail.”

To this end they cut the budget last year for the marketing of the Affordable Care Act, apparently hoping people would miss the deadline for enrollment.

ISIS:

There was the campaign promise that ISIS would be defeated in 30 days by a “secret plan” only 45 knew.  Apparently, he is still the only one who knows it.  While ISIS has been driven from their stronghold in Raqqa, Syria, they have not been “wiped out” as 45 claims.

Infrastructure bill:

Promised, but never delivered.

The Wall:

You may recall the promise that we would build a wall and Mexico would pay for it.  While we have repaired a few sections of fence and added some additional fencing, there is no wall and Mexico will never pay for one.

The Paris Agreement:

Almost every climate scientist of note in the entire world agrees that man-made pollution is causing global warming with possibly dire consequences.  Despite this, the current administration has pulled out of this historic agreement that was signed by 195 nations.  The USA joined Nicaragua as the only nations not part of the agreement.

Tweets:

It is hard to quantify just how unpresidential this is.

LGBT:

Not only has 45 refused to sign the traditional Pride Month declaration, but he has also, along with Pence, spoken to the Values Voter Summit, an anti-LGBT group.

Trade War:

Tariffs are, after all, taxes.  By warring on China with tariffs, the administration has cost farmers billions of dollars in sales.  As a result, the taxpayer will have to bail out US farmers to the amount of 12 billion dollars. This will be paid for in part by borrowing money…from China.

If you are an ardent follower of the current occupant of the White House and his party, you probably have not read this far. Just as well. You would likely not believe most of it anyway, despite the overwhelming proof of it.

There are a lot more broken promises and destructive policies that could be listed.  If you have not gotten the point, more examples would be of little value.

Many Americans do not agree with the road we are on.  It is not the great journey that some believed it would be.  The choice is now.  Continue down this path, or vote for change.

Sources include: “Ten actions that hurt workers during Trump’s first year,” Economic Policy Institute, epi.org, January 12, 2018.
“Most millionaires don’t plan to spend their tax savings, CNBC survey finds,” cnbc.com, 27 June 2018.
“DACA alive, barely, a year after Trump ended it,” cnn.com, September 5, 2018.
“Did Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell Just Say That?” forbes.com, September 28, 2018.
“With the appointment of Brett Kavanaugh, Roe v. Wade is likely dead,” Perspective, Carole Joffe, The Washington Post, July 10, 2018.
Trump Drops Key Campaign Promise to ‘Repeal and Replace’,” nbcnews.com, July 18, 2017
“Editorial: Wrong About ISIS,” The Weekly Standard, weeklystandard.com, September 26, 2018.
“Trump Has Now Broken Every One of His Economic Populist Promises,”  Intelligencer, nymag.com, May 11, 2018.
“Trump’s Trade Wars Are Bad. They Could Soon Get a Lot Worse,” foreignpolicy.com, July 25, 2018.
“Dem senator: Trump is borrowing money from China to ‘pay our farmers to not sell their crops to China’,” thehill.com, September 26, 2018.

 

FORGET FEAR. FORGET RAGE. LET’S TALK ABOUT DISGUST – BY TOM CURLEY

Elisabeth Kubler Ross defined the five stages of grief. They are Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance.

The tragedy that is this current administration and Republicans, in general, have created a completely different five stages of grief.  Shock, Denial, Anger, Rage and finally,

DISGUST.

I never really thought about disgust as an emotion. Usually, you’re only disgusted when you see, smell or eat something really gross.

It first hit me during the Kavanagh hearings.

Remember them? It was a long, time ago. About a month.

I watched pathetic old white Republican Senators sitting behind a woman because they were too cowardly to ask questions to another woman accusing the Supreme Court nominee of sexual harassment.

It was disgusting.

Then the next day this same nominee came out yelling and screaming about how everybody was picking on him. He threatened “payback” for Democrats who asked him mean questions. He treated the female Democratic Senators on the committee with stunning disrespect.

I like beer. I really like beer. Beer beer beer beer beer!

I was disgusted.

Then all the male Republicans on the committee proceeded to scream with phony rage about how this poor man is being treated.

I was beyond disgusted.

Since then, long ago (last month), things have gotten more and more disgusting.

The Fear-Monger-In-Chief has been crisscrossing the country trying to convince his moronic minions that a few thousand desperate refugees — mostly women, and children — fleeing their home countries and walking more than 2000 miles to come to America. Based on the very slim hope of being granted asylum, Trump claims they are really a raging mob of barbarians, criminals, and terrorists coming here to

INVADE AMERICA!

Disgusting.

He also says he can change the Constitution ON HIS OWN. He — alone and without an amendment or even a conversation with Congress — can deny citizenship to children born in the United States if they’re babies he doesn’t like.

No citizenship for you!

Disgusting.

This Idiot-in-Chief and every Republican running are claiming that they are only ones protecting pre-existing conditions for our health care. Even though they’ve all voted to abolish the Affordable Care Act more than 60 times and are planning on doing it again.

Disgusting.

They claim Democrats are trying to abolish Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. If they are elected the entire country will become an apocalyptic dystopian nightmare of crime and violence.

And Zombies!

The Democrats are coming!!!

Disgusting

Racist attacks on African-American candidates that have gone from racial dog whistle code words to obscene robocalls from Nazis who don’t even live in the state in which the candidates are running.

Disgusting

In one week, a white racist, living in a van covered with alt-right pro-Trump memes sends 17 pipe bombs to two living Presidents and other Democratic leaders.

Disgusting.

Then another white racist, who after listening to the President telling crowds that Jews like George Soros is supporting the invading horde of refugees over 800 miles away decides to take an AR-15 and slaughter 11 Jews in a Temple. On Shabbat no less.

And what does the President say? It wasn’t his fault and it wasn’t fair to blame him for it. Then goes to a rally that very night and says the exact same thing!



I could go on, but I’m too disgusted.

I’m writing this on the day before the mid-term elections.  If you’re reading this before the election, use your rage, your disgust.

Go out and vote.

If you’re reading after the election and you didn’t vote?

Disgusting.

IT’S NOT FUNNY ANYMORE – Reblog – THE SHINBONE STAR

THE SHINBONE STAR

WRITTEN BY MADMEGSBLOG – November 4, 2018

As a Canadian watching helplessly from north of the border, all I can do is scream at the laptop and the television and type “VOTE” over and over until my fingers cramp up. There used to be a time I could tell you the current political stories and climate for both countries; now, it’s more like “Trudeau who?”I know I could walk away from social media (and I have at times) and I could shut my ears to the constant noise, but I just can’t. Most of us can’t.

What has been a constant train wreck that was both cringe-worthy and entertaining in a circus kind of way has become one giant ball of horrific attack after horrific attack thrown at the citizens of a country I used to know.

What used to be a bit of joke for Canadians to heckle has become a tragedy of historic proportions. We still can’t look away, but we sure as hell aren’t laughing anymore. None of this is funny. Hell, watching “Real Time with Bill Maher” and “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” no longer keeps me sane. I try to chuckle at their witty jokes, but I cry inside wondering if the disaster down below is a survivable event.

I commend the likes of Maher, John Oliver, Jimmy Kimmel, and Samantha Bee. To go on air weekly or nightly and try to make people laugh about that thing in their Oval Office that is ruining their great country one hateful tweet at a time makes my heart hurt for them.

I know I have run out of steam so I can only imagine what my American friends are feeling right now. You can see the exhaustion on their faces. It’s pretty bad when Stormy Daniels has to be the one to carry the humour on Bill Maher’s show.

It’s a scary time right now.

For Americans and for anyone who believes in democracy. Nationalism and racial divide is popping up all over the globe. Europe is in disarray and hate groups are on the rise. There are 49 countries that are officially ruled by a dictatorship.

That may not sound like a lot, but given how influential the United States is globally, the fact that the piece of garbage currently now running the country routinely threatens freedom of the press and attempts to dismantle the Constitution while cozying up to ruthless leaders gives governments in struggling countries a renewed energy to do the same. Here’s a map below to give you some idea of “freedom” in the world. Green is free, at least for now. Let that sink in.

We are all watching the decline of democracy globally, and the Great Ape in Charge of America is leading the parade. The sad part is, he doesn’t even really know it. It was never his intention; his intention is to WIN. At any cost.

The free and not-free world

So all we Canadians can do is sit and watch, and freaking hope beyond all hope that every American citizen gets out there on Nov. 6 and VOTES!!! Because if Trump and the Republican Party win and keep the majority, the cost will be huge and will be felt everywhere. The ripple effect of hate and malignant tribal politics will be far-reaching and even harder to beat come 2020. Even if it’s a Democratic sweep in November, it’s still an uphill battle to regain the political dignity that the Big O and his cronies have destroyed.

We aren’t laughing anymore. There’s no more condescending Canadian humour at the expense of our American friends. How could anyone joke about the idiot in the White House when people are dying at the hands of hate? No, we are frightened for you and we hope you can win this fight. We are behind you 100 percent.

So I will just say it one more time:  PLEASE GET OUT AND VOTE!!!

via It’s Not Funny Anymore

WHY YOUR VOTE REALLY DOES MATTER – Marilyn Armstrong

I hear a lot from many people, including in my own family, that “my vote doesn’t matter.” The reasons given range from “I live in the country and it’s just the votes in the cities that make the difference.” There’s some truth in that and it is frustrating, particularly on a local level.

Then I hear “None of this has anything to do with me.” That’s pretty hard to accept from a kid living in HUD-managed reduced cost housing and who survives on Social Security Disability. And a woman.

Others include “This state is so blue, my vote won’t matter.” That’s how we elected Trump.

The thing is, the vote isn’t just YOUR vote. Your vote is one of the millions of votes never given.

In the last election, more people didn’t vote than did.

One person doesn’t vote? No big deal. A dozen people don’t vote? Still no big deal.

When millions of people don’t vote? That’s a very big problem not in a single election, but in all elections. For years, we have had more non-voters than voters in national elections and in mid-terms, the voting is even worse.

If everyone like you and me will vote, we fix the problem. Voting means millions of people will get their ballots counted. I know my vote doesn’t count because not only do I live in a hugely blue state but because Boston has so many more votes than the rest of the state combined. However, Boston goes, so Massachusetts also goes.

This is true in every state that has one or two major cities which hold the concentration of voters. New York, for example, sets the votes of the state. As New York city votes, so goes the rest of the state — even though New York is a large state and is primarily rural.

You’d never know it from the vote count. Those of us who live in the country don’t have much impact. But if everyone who can vote actually votes, it would change the country’s demographics.

Because the truth is, we don’t know how those non-votes would vote. There are so many of them, they could create a third-party that could change our entire political system.

Collectively, we matter. Unless you are planning to run for office, you will always be one of many. Or as we say “E Pluribus Unum.”

It’s our national motto and it means “One From Many.”

Be one. Be part of the many.

Many things need changing, but we need people in office willing to change the status quo. To create an amendment that eliminates or massively alters the Electoral College. A serious rewrite of the second amendment. We need some legal requirements about who can hold office, especially the presidency.

We have a great constitution, but it is hundreds of years old and needs an upgrade.