The Trump administration uses press conference footage deceptively edited by InfoWars to justify the banning of CNN’s Jim Acosta

Yesterday, when I posted about how Donald Trump had installed someone as acting Attorney General who has said publicly that the Mueller investigation should be stopped, I made a brief mention of the fact that CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta, on the same day, had his press credentials revoked after refusing to stop a line of questioning that Donald Trump didn’t like. I was tempted to go further into the story at that time, as I suspected that people might want to discuss it, but I ultimately came to decide that I should stay focused on the real threat at hand, which is that Donald Trump seems to be putting the pieces in place to stop the Mueller investigation, which, just to remind everyone, has already yielded dozens of indictments, and guilty please from several Trump campaign insiders, like George Papadopoulos, Paul Manafort, Rick Gates, and Michael Flynn. And my plan tonight was to say on Trump’s appointment of Matthew Whitaker as acting Attorney General, getting into a little more detail as to what we might expect in the coming days… but then I read this CNN headline, and I felt compelled to share it.

White House press secretary tweets misleading video from InfoWars personality to justify revoking CNN reporter’s credentials

Here, before we get any further into the analysis, is the tweet from Sarah Huckabee Sanders, which was put out after she issued a statement saying that Acosta’s press credentials had been revoked because he was “placing his hands” on a young White House intern.

This video, according to experts, as alluded to in the CNN headline above, has been edited to emphasize the chopping motion of Acosta’s hand as the young woman tries to pull the microphone from him hand, with some frames deleted, some frames duplicated, and some frames sped up. Here, for those of you who haven’t seen it, is the actual, unedited footage of the incident, so you can appreciate the difference… As for who altered the film shared by Sanders, it’s being attributed to Paul Joseph Watson, an editor-at-large for the pro-Trump conspiracy theory website InfoWars, which, I should note, has now had its incendiary, false content pulled from most social medial platforms.

Sanders, it should be noted, was made aware of the fact that the footage she shared to justify Acosta’s removal from the White House grounds was deceptively edited by InfoWars earlier in the day, and yet this post is still pinned to the top other official Twitter page.

The following excerpt comes by way of the CNN article linked to above.

…In a Thursday afternoon statement, Whitney Shefte, president of the White House News Photographers Association, said, “As visual journalists, we know that manipulating images is manipulating truth. It’s deceptive, dangerous and unethical. Knowingly sharing manipulated images is equally problematic, particularly when the person sharing them is a representative of our country’s highest office with vast influence over public opinion.”

At BuzzFeed, Charlie Warzel summed up those concerns, writing, “The entire ordeal is a near-perfect example of a scenario disinformation experts have predicted and warned of, where the very threat of video manipulation can lead to a blurring of reality.”

So, a member of the press, who the President does not like, has been barred from covering the White House, and the Trump administration is justifying the move with deceptively edited video, presented within the context of the increasingly weaponized “me too” movement. This, my friends, should scare the shit out of all of you.

But, really, does this surprise anyone? Didn’t we all know exactly where things were headed two years ago, when we set out on this journey across the post-fact landscape of Donald Trump’s mind?

[If you haven’t yet, I’d encourage you to watch the entire press conference, which is absolutely bonkers, and completely terrifying, from start to finish.]

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Sessions to be replaced by a Fox News commentator who once described in detail how he would kill the Mueller investigation… I think this probably qualifies as a constitutional crisis, right?

[above: A shot from outside the White House tonight by CNN’s Jim Acosta, who had his press credentials stripped this afternoon after standing up to Donald Trump.]

Back in July of 2017, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said there’d be “holy hell to pay” if Trump fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Well, today, Donald Trump not only fired Sessions, but announced that the Attorney General would be temporarily replaced by Matthew Whitaker, a former Fox News contributor who had been serving as Sessions’ Chief of Staff. As for why Trump selected Whitaker, who has previously been referred to by the New York Times as the West Wing’s “eyes and ears” inside the Justice Department, one would assume it has something to do with the fact that he’s been openly hostile toward the Mueller investigation.

Whitaker not only penned an op-ed for CNN titled, “Mueller’s investigation of Trump is going too far,” but he said the following during a subsequent interview on the cable news network. “I could see a scenario where Jeff Sessions is replaced,” he said, “and (the incoming) Attorney General doesn’t fire Bob Mueller, but he just reduces his budget to so low that his investigations grinds to almost a halt.” And he’s also gone on the record stating that, by crossing Trump’s “red line,” and looking into the finances of the President and his family members, Mueller has raised “serious concerns that the special counsel’s investigation was a mere witch hunt.”

[above: The magnificent beast, and protector of Donald Trump, Matthew Whitaker.]

So, now, this Trump loyalist, who once referred to Mueller’s investigators as a “lynch mob,” will be overseeing the Mueller investigation as acting Attorney General of the United States…. As you’re recall, Sessions wasn’t directly overseeing the investigation, as he’d recused himself from anything Russia-related when it became known that he’d lied about meetings that he’d taken with Russian officials while serving on Trump’s campaign team, but Whitaker, as he’s not recused himself, can claim ownership of the investigation, taking oversight responsibilities away from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

Speaking of recusals, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer demanded this afternoon that Whitaker “should recuse himself from (the Russia probe) for the duration of his time as acting Attorney General” given his previous comments “advocating defunding and imposing limitations on the Mueller investigation.” And, to their credit, a few Republicans followed suit to some extent. In a statement, Senator Susan Collins said, “I’m concerned Rod Rosenstein will no longer be overseeing the probe. Special Counsel Mueller must be allowed to complete his work without interference—regardless of who is Attorney General.” And outgoing Senator Jeff Flake, who Trump, earlier today, bragged about driving from office, urged his colleagues to pass S.2644, the Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act, to safeguard the Mueller investigation. “McConnell should bring the bill to the Senate floor as soon as possible.” But, of course, Lindsey Graham’s “holly hell” never came.

[above: This image comes from a post I wrote last July, after the bipartisan Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee, only to have Mitch McConnell keep in from being voted on by the full Senate. Read the post, if you get a chance, and share it. It’s important stuff.]

As for why Trump made the move to fire Sessions now, and thereby attempt to end the Mueller investigation, one can only assume that it has to do with the results of yesterday’s midterm election, and the prospect of a Democratic majority being seated in the House on January 3rd. Donald Trump knows that, unless he does something over the next two months, he’s finally going to be held accountable for his numerous crimes. [Trump had wanted to be rid of Sessions since he recused himself from the Russia probe. We know, from reports, that Trump said that Sessions didn’t do enough to “protect him” and “safeguard” him, apparently not understanding that it’s the Attorney General’s job, not to look out for the President, but to ensure that our laws are upheld.]

And, I should add, this wasn’t all that Trump did today. This morning, before once again declaring the press “the enemy of the people,” he began making threats against those Democrats who would be using their newly found subpoena power to investigate him. And Mitch McConnell began warning his colleagues in Congress against what he called “presidential harassment,” apparently forgetting that Congress has a constitutional role to provide presidential oversight.

I have to say that, right now, I’m pretty damned concerned, as it certainly appears as though our President is ratcheting up his obstruction of justice game in hopes of avoiding any legal consequences for his actions. All is not lost, though… at least not yet. Here are three things to consider.

1. I don’t know how much merit the argument has, but I just saw it mentioned that, as Chief of Staff for Attorney General Sessions, Whitaker would not have gone through a Senate confirmation hearing, and therefore cannot legally serve as Attorney General. If true, one would imagine this would slow whatever their plan is down considerably. Of course, it may not be true that he has to be confirmed, as he’s just been named the interim Attorney General, but it’s something to explore.

2. According MSNBC Producer Kyle Griffin, “If Whitaker is now supervising the Mueller investigation, any final report by Mueller will go to Whitaker, who could decline to make it public or transmit it to Congress. But the House Intelligence Committee could subpoena it and anyone involved in preparing it.” So, no matter what happens, the findings of the Mueller report, now that we’re going to have a Democratic House, will become public.

3. There’s a good chance that Mueller knew that this was going to happen eventually and took precautions. Most likely, he likely already has sealed indictments ready to go. The following is from independent journalist Marcy Wheeler.

…All that said, Mueller was surely expecting just such an eventuality. And the fact that they got Roger Stone attorney Tyler Nixon to testify Friday suggests they were prepping for it, getting the last bit of evidence against Stone in place.

The only question is whether they got the grand jury to approve whatever indictments they were working on. I’d be surprised if Mueller didn’t (unless Rod Rosenstein prevented him from doing so).

If that’s the case, then Whitaker is not going to help Trump get out of his legal troubles. That’s because Chief Judge Beryl Howell, not Whitaker, will make the decision about unsealing anything sealed in this grand jury investigation.

So if Mueller prepared for this very predictable eventuality, then Trump may have just fired a key player in his racist agenda for naught…

But, with all of that having been said, we shouldn’t count on anything good coming of this. And we can’t afford to just sit back and hope for the best. I know it’s a long shot, especially now that the Republicans have even more of a stranglehold over the Senate, but we need to try to force Mitch McConnell to bring the Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act to a vote. It’s hard to say what would happen if he did, and whether or not Republicans would vote to protect the investigation, but we should at least try to bring it to a vote, if for no other reason that to see where our elected officials stand when it comes to protecting the rule of law.

One last thing… Is anyone else wondering why Donald Trump and the Republicans are no longer talking about the deadly army of invaders heading toward our southern border? I hate to say it, but it’s almost as if the whole thing was just political theater. Who would have thought?

Oh, and it’s probably worth nothing that Whitaker, in addition to having worked for Fox News, served as campaign chair for Sam Clovis’s 2014 bid to become Iowa state treasurer. Clovis, as you’ll recall, is the man who, as Trump’s 2016 campaign co-chairman, brought Russian stooge Carter Page onto the team. Make of that what you will.

update: Audio has been unearthed of Whitaker saying that the Russians did not interfere in our election, contradicting the findings of every U.S. intelligence agency. “The left is trying to sow this theory that essentially Russians interfered with the US election,” he says in the recording. “Which has been proven false.”

update: There will be a protest in Ann Arbor Thursday, November 8, at the federal building. It will begin at 5:00.

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2018 Election Day open thread

9:00 AM I’m home with a sick kid, so thing may not go as planned, but I’m hoping to vote soon, and then head back home to do some remote phone banking through Swing Left for Amy McGrath, the Democratic candidate for Kentucky’s 6th district, which covers Frankfort, where I lived as a baby, Georgetown, where my great grandparents were tobacco farmers, and Lexington, where I was born, and most of my family still lives. As of right now, it’s an incredibly tight race, and, if I can convince just one person to head to the polls, I’ll feel as though I at least helped in some small way. [I’d thought of taking a few days off and knocking doors in Kentucky, but chose to stay here and work in Michigan instead. The decision has been weighing on me, though.] Here, according to the FiveThrityEight forecast, is how things look right not for that race.

9:30 AM If you have any Election Day observations to share, good or bad, please leave a comment on this thread. I’ll be checking throughout the day… I’m encouraged to see that there’s not really much chance of rain in the forecast here in Southeast Michigan, but high winds could pose a problem for some voters, especially if we experience power failures.

9:45 AM In Georgia, where I’ve also lived a good part of my life, it’s looking like, in spite of the aggressive voter suppression efforts against black voters, the unfounded last-minute accusations of hacking, and racist robocalls, Secretary of State Brian Kemp must still think that he’s going to lose the gubernatorial race to Democratic candidate Stacey Abrams. Why else would he be resorting to posting bullshit nonsense like this to social media?

10:00 Speaking of offensive racists, here’s what Donald Trump had to say this morning when asked about the fact that networks were refusing to air his appallingly xenophobic and factually incorrect ad about how Democrats want to let homicidal killers into America to kill police officers. It should be noted, speaking of Trump’s grotesque racism, that he declared Brian Kemp’s black opponent, Stacey Abrams, to be “not qualified” for the office of Governor. Abrams, in addition to being a dynamic black woman, is a graduate of Yale Law School with 17 years of political experience, serving the last ten years in the Georgia General Assembly, where she served as House Minority Leader.

10:10 Speaking of Trump’s attitude toward the press, and his attempts to cast journalists as the ones who are responsible for the political violence that we’re seeing in the country today, I don’t think I’ve mentioned it here yet, but, a few days ago, he said the following on the White House lawn. “You’re creating violence by your question,” he said to a reporter. “The fake news is creating violence.” [As if you needed one more reason to vote today, right?]

10:15 Remember, this is about health care, not caravans.

10:25 For what it’s worth, I’m not just interested in hearing about your voting experiences in Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti. I’m curious to know what you’re observing, no matter where you might be. With that said, though, I’m particularly interested in few races around the state of Michigan where the Democrats might be able to win seats back from Republicans, like the the Michigan 7th (where Republican incumbent Tim Walberg is facing Democrat Gretchen Driskell), the Michigan 8th (where incumbent Mike Bishop is facing Democratic challenger Elissa Slotkin), and the Michigan 11th (where Democrat Haley Stevens is running agains Republican Lena Epstein for the seat being vacated by the reprehensible Dave Trott). Any insight you might be able to offer as to what’s happening on the ground in those areas would be greatly appreciated.

10:40 I just got a call from my daughter, asking to be picked up from school here in Ypsi. Apparently the power is out, I suspect due the high winds. Hopefully the polling places aren’t impacted.

11:40 My polling place was hopping. I was voted number 363 at 11:20. There was a decent little line, but it didn’t take more than about 15 minutes, from the time that I walked in with the kids, to the time when I got to start working on my ballot. Also, if you, like me, happen to be voting at Ypsilanti International Elementary School, be sure to take a few extra dollars for the PTO bake sale. There’s still lots of good stuff to be had… Oh, and the guy behind me in line to vote was one of the guys the Landline team bowled agains last night. We each won one game, and then tied the third. It was an incredible athletic competition. [Their team as the best beards in the league.]

11:50 Again, if you fell for this contemptible and racist Republican ploy to influence the election in their favor, you are a moron. This was $220 million that could have been spent out caring for our veterans, educating our kids, and protecting those of us with pre-existing conditions. It’s absolutely shameful that this happened in America, and one hope the Democrats retake the House so that we can hold investigations.

1:00 I just heard from Jeff Irwin, who is soon to be our next State Senator, that his polling place in the Township was packed. “Turnout was high at the Polo Fields on Packard in Ypsilanti Township,” he reports. “Despite the rain, we had a long line for much of the time before 9:00, a good sign.” Speaking of which, the volunteers on my polling place said that it was just as busy this morning as it was for the last presidential election, which is a great sign.

2:00 Completely unrelated, on the way up the street to vote, I noticed that the play structure is being installed at Riverside Park.

2:10 Back to the crime taking place right now in George, check this out.

Terri Durham followed up at 11:30 to say that the lines, four hours after the polls opened, have finally started moving. “I just hope the people who left come back,” she said.

One hopes that enough Democrats win that there can be a through investigation into what happened in Georgia. It’s absolutely disgraceful.

2:20 Linette just got home from a meeting with Global Detroit, and she tells me that one of the people she was meeting with was voter number 900 this morning. I don’t know which Detroit precinct it was, but that has to be a good sign, right?

2:25 Best early headline of the day comes from Politico — “Retiring Rep. Issa calls it early: There will be a Dem representing my district

2:30 Bloomberg is reporting that Twitter removed a fake flag-burning video that was shared 55,000 times. The video claimed that Democrats were burning flags. A few days ago, it was reported that Twitter had taken down thousands of accounts urging people (I’m assuming young people and people of color) not to vote.

2:45 OK, people are finally starting to answer their phones. After leave a lot of voicemails, I’ve finally his a streak where I’m talking to real Kentuckians about Amy McGrath. The good news is, everyone I’ve talked with thus far has already voted for her. Now I just need to get better about convincing them to call their friends. [So far, I’ve not seen the numbers of any my relatives in Lexington pop up.]

3:30 More from the banana republic of Georgia.

By the way, I just checked the census data, and it looks like Snellville is about 36% black. I wonder if this is also happening in the areas of Georgia that are more white, and more Republican?

3:35 A new article has been posted to Time. The headline reads, “Michigan Voted for Trump. Now It’s Poised to Elect Democratic Women.” Here’s an excerpt.

…Now, in a year when an unprecedented number of women are running for office all over the country, the state that helped make Trump president is also the state with the most notable surge in enthusiasm for female candidates. Democratic women are running strong races up and down the ticket. Senator Debbie Stabenow and gubernatorial candidate Gretchen Whitmer both have solid leads over their male Republican opponents, according to a new poll released Monday, mostly thanks to a massive edge among women voters: Stabenow is up 23 points with women, while Whitmer is up 28. Democratic Attorney General candidate Dana Nessel and Secretary of State candidate Jocelyn Benson also have leads heading into Election Night.

Stevens is favored to win the open seat vacated by GOP Rep. Dave Trott. (She’s running against Lena Epstein, former Michigan chair for the Trump campaign, so Michigan’s 11th will be represented by a woman no matter the outcome on Tuesday.) If she does, she’ll be joined in the Michigan House delegation by other Democratic women. Rashida Tlaib is running unopposed in Michigan’s 13th district, making her all but certain to become one of the first Muslim-American women in Congress. Former CIA official Elissa Slotkin is mounting a tough challenge to Rep. Mike Bishop in Michigan’s 8th district. Former state representative Gretchen Driskell has outraised GOP Rep. Tim Wahlberg in Michigan’s 7th district. Former teacher Cathy Albro is challenging Rep. Justin Amash in a heavily Republican district. And the two Michigan incumbents, Debbie Dingell and Brenda Lawrence, don’t seem to be going anywhere…

3:48 Among all of the other things I’d like for the Democrats to investigate, should they take back a chamber or two of Congress, I’d like a hearing on whether or not Trump violated federal law yesterday when he warned people to stay away from the polls. His supporters, I’m sure, will say that he just did this to discourage voter fraud. You cannot tell me, however, that messages like this don’t put a chilling effect on participation from marginalized groups, who might be fearful, for instance, of being arrested if their addresses don’t match perfectly, etc.

4:00 Average wait time at the polls in Atlanta, according to reports, is currently three hours.

4:00 Fuck. I could watch videos like this all damn day… What’s more beautiful than this?

6:20 OK, let’s start the predictions. Here’s the first one, from Ann Arbor County Commissioner Andy LaBarre. “My guess is we’ll win about 30 US House seats and the four statewides. Hope I’m wrong, and we do more.“ And, with that, I’m headed to Pita Pita for dinner.

7:30 If I should disappear for a while to go get a beer with Dr. Pete Larson, just watch the Pod Save America livestream until I get back. And check the comments section, where iRobert is keeping up informed on returns.

9:00 Drinking beer with Dr. Peter Larson at Sidetrack, and watching the results as they come in.

10:20 The Michigan gubernatorial race has been called for Gretchen Whitmer, effectively ending the political career of Bill Schuette. Or at least that’s my hope.

11:00 It’s still not done yet, but NBC, FOX and NPR are projecting that the the Democrats will retake the House. As bad as it hurts that great candidates like Abrams, Gillum, and O’Rourke lost, I’m taking a lot of comfort in the idea that, in a few short months, Adam Schiff will be running the House Intelligence Committee instead of Devin Nunes. This is huge… I cannot wait for the hearings to begin. [Jerrold Nadler, The Democrat slated to chair the House Judiciary Committee, tells CNN: “This election was about accountability. Donald Trump may not like hearing it but for the first time, his administration is going to be held accountable.”]

11:15 Speaking of investigations, it’s already being reported that the Democrats intend to request Trump’s tax returns.

Final thoughts for the night… While disappointed that we didn’t get everything that we wanted tonight, we got back the House, and that’s huge. One party rule is over. Furthermore, midwestern states like Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, swung back in a big way, after giving Trump the presidency. [It felt really good to see Scott Walker lose his reelection bid in Wisconsin, and for Kris Kobach to get his ass kicked in Kansas.] And, of course, it was terrific to see so many talented Democratic women winning their House races. Was it perfect? No. As I said above, I would have loved to have seen Cruz and Kemp swept out of office, and it would have been incredible if we’d taken the Senate, but, all in all, it was huge night for America. Finally, after two long years, we’ll see the Trump agenda slowed, and the members of the Trump crime family held accountable for their numerous misdeeds.

And, here in Michigan, we did alright. While Democrats failed to flip either the State House or Senate, we did make headway, winning back the Governor’s office, holding onto Stabenow’s Senate seat, winning back the Secretary of State’s office after 30 years, and flipping a few House seats… While Democrat Gretchen Driskell failed to defeat Republican incumbent Tim Walberg in Michigan’s 7th, we flipped Michigan’s 8th, where Republican incumbent Mike Bishop lost to Democratic challenger Elissa Slotkin, and Michigan’s 11th, where Democrat Haley Stevens beat Republican Lena Epstein for the seat vacated by Dave Trott.

8:00 This morning, Donald Trump gives us a little insight as to what’s to come. After taking credit for the great Republican “success” of last night, he said the following… Buckle up, folks. If you thought things were crazy before, just wait.

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Health Care, Caravans, and the Fight for Truth and the Future of America

I know a lot has happened over the past two years, since Donald Trump took office. The sheer amount of what we’ve been forced to process as informed citizens has been absolutely overwhelming. There have been multiple shootings by white supremacists, assassination attempts against our most effective opposition leaders, and false accusations intended to kill an investigation into the crimes perpetrated by Donald Trump and members of his administration. And that’s just been over these past two weeks. When you add to that the overwhelming number of lies about the so-called “caravan” of immigrants making their way northward through Mexico, and everything else going on right now, it’s a wonder that we haven’t all just nailed out front doors shut and disengaged completely. But, yet, most of us, as least from what I can tell, keep on attempting to make sense of every new threat as it arises, trying our best, in our own little ways, to mitigate what we can, and make our current situation a little less terrible. Unfortunately, though, when we’re caught up in this everyday whirlwind of toxic rhetoric, corrosive lies, and political violence, it’s easy to lose sight of what came before. And, with that said, I wanted to just take a break for a moment and share an old photo from May, 2017, shortly after Donald Trump took office.

That, my friends, is what wealthy, white men look like when they take health care from the American people. The photo, for those of you who might not remember when it was in the press, was taken just after House Republicans passed a bill to repeal and replace significant elements of the Affordable Care Act, the 2010 law that, under President Obama, expanded health care coverage to approximately 20 million Americans. Since then, as a result of continued efforts on the part of the Republican Party, a significant number of Americans have lost their health coverage. In 2017 alone, Gallup estimates that 3.2 million Americans lost their coverage, and that number is growing. And the protections for people with pre-existing conditions, passed into law under Obama, are now on the chopping block.

The Republicans, as you might expect, are blatantly lying about this, knowing full well that the American people support moves to expand health care access, protect people with pre-existing conditions, and safeguard Medicare and Medicaid. Asked about health care a week or so ago, White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders said, “The president’s health care plan that he’s laid out, covers pre-existing conditions.” This, of course, is a lie, as the President has never laid out a health care plan. Not only is there not a plan, though — every action taken by the Trump administration has been to weaken the protections established by Obamacare. The Trump administration, for instance, just imposed new rules that would make it easier for insurance companies to deny service to those with pre-existing conditions. And, to make matters worse, they just recently filed a brief in federal court arguing that protections for people with pre-existing conditions are unconstitutional. And yet Donald Trump keeps tweeting things like this.

This, of course, is an easily provable lie.

And it’s critically important… All of the lies we’re being told are important, but it’s especially important, I think, that we’re being lied to about pre-existing conditions, as 14% of voters, according to a recent Kaiser Health poll, say the protecting people with pre-existing conditions is their top priority… not one of their top priorities, but their very top priority.

As Ezra Klein just recently wrote for Vox, “The essence of elections is that voters have a clear idea of what the two parties intend to do so they can make an informed choice between them. The fact that the president is trying to utterly deceive them is important.

And that’s what this is. It’s purposeful deception. Right now, there are laws in place to protect people with pre-existing conditions, preventing insurance companies from denying service, and the Republicans want them overturned. But, at the same time, the Republicans know that an overwhelming percentage of our citizens want these protections. So they lie… They tell us that it’s the Democrats who want to roll back protections for people with pre-existing conditions. They tell us that it’s Donald Trump who is looking out for us. He’s our protector, they say. Sure, he laughed when they started dismantling the ACA, and signed legislation to give $1.5 trillion to America’s most wealthy, necessitating cuts social welfare programs, but it’s us working folks, according to Republicans, that he really wants to help. And that’s why, a few weeks ago, he promised to pass a 10% middle class tax cut by Election Day. Of course, it never came to fruition, and it never will. But truth no longer matters. All that matters is that 30-some percent of Americans accept it as having happened.

Which brings us back to the caravan, and why Donald Trump is making such a big deal out of something that, to be honest, isn’t that big of a deal. These caravans have been happening for decades, and the most recent one before this, this past April, only resulted in approximately 350 people reaching the U.S. border, as most people making the journey up from South America settled in Mexico. This is not an invading army, as the President and his enablers at Fox News would have you believe. These are poor people seeking better, safer lives for their families. But that message doesn’t dominate news cycles, which is what this is really all about. This is all about keeping health care off the front page. As a source close to the White House told CNN’s Jim Acosta a few days ago, when discussing the caravan, “It’s clearly working. We are all talking about it and not health care.”

So, instead of talking about substantive issues that really affect our families, we’re talking about how Democrats want to let homicidal killers into America to kill our children, and that’s not hyperbole. The President is actually suggesting that the Democrats want to put our families in danger… The following image comes from a racist ad shared a few days ago by the President of the United States.

In the ad, the man seen above, Luis Bracamontes, can be heard saying, “I killed fucking cops” and “I’m going to kill more cops soon,”
while phrases like, “Democrats let him into our country, Democrats let him stay,” flash across the screen. No where is there mention of the fact that Bracamontes entered into the country under both Democratic and Republican presidents, and was essentially put back on the street when a Republican local official dropped a pending case against him.

I want to say more, but I think you get the point, and I’m running later for a phone-banking shift at the local Democratic Party headquarters.

Oh, before I go, though, I do want to say two more things. First, Donald Trump is lying when he says, as he did a few days ago, that only “3% of people released for an asylum hearing actually show up for court,” implying that these asylum seekers from South America, if we allow them into the country, will simply disappear into our cities to plot against us. The truth, according to Trump’s own Justice Department, is that 89% last year, 91% in 2016, 93% in 2015, and 94% in 2014 showed up in court for their asylum hearings. And, second, according to the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, Trump’s pre-election move of ordering thousands of active duty U.S. troops to the border, for no reason other than to lend credence to the laughable claim that an invasion force is approaching, will cost us between $42 million and $110 million. And, here, with that said, is a little something from Richard Haass, the president of the Council on Foreign Relations, for you to think about.

Please vote, folks. Working together, we can end this.

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Do you agree that we need to stand up to Trumpism? Here’s how you can help as we approach Election Day, Ypsilanti.

A few quick thoughts for my fellow Ypsilantians… things that you can do between now and Election Day, not only to make your voting experience better, but to finally change the tide against Trumpism, and to do so in a decisive fashion.

First: Read Your Ballot… If you live in Ypsi, and you haven’t done so already, go to the Secretary of State’s website and download your sample ballot, and, then, if you’re so inclined, head back to the the thread last week where we discussed the various races, sharing notes on Judges, comparing notes on City Council candidates, and debating the finer points of the ballot initiatives we’ll all be voting on.

Second: Find Your Polling Place… Just to be sure, check and make sure you know where to vote. My polling place changed last time, and I suspect that others in Ypsilanti may have as well.

Third: Pack A “Fuck Yeah I’m Voting” Voting Bag… Like an expectant mother, make a bag and put it by your front door. Not only will it remind you to vote come Election Day, but it’ll make it more likely that you’ll have a good voting experience. One this that you absolutely need to have, right along with your ID, is the this number: 833-430-VOTE. That’s the number to call if you experience any problem at all voting. And, along with your ID, and that number, be sure to include some food, like granola bars, to share. [Nothing is better than sharing food with people in line.] And it couldn’t hurt to bring a couple of umbrellas, as it’s supposed to rain. [Bring a few, as someone near you in line may not have one, and we want to be sure that everyone sticks around to vote.] And, I guess, if you don’t like talking people, bring a magazine or two.

Fourth: Make a Contribution… If you’ve you got any money at all that you can afford to invest in the race, the folks at Vote Save America have identified a number of races where you’re donations could still make a significant difference. And, of course, there are still those three flippable seats in Michigan that we talked about back in August… here’s what I wrote about them at the time.

I know, having lived through the 2016 election cycle, polls can be horribly wrong, but, as of right now, the folks at FiveThirtyEight are giving the Democrats a 74.6% chance of retaking the House, which is currently controlled by the Republicans, who hold 236 of the 435 seats in the chamber. [The Democrats currently hold 193, and there are 6 vacancies.] So, to retake the House, the Democrats would need to hold every seat they currently hold, and pick up 24 seats currently held by Republicans. And, according to the FiveThirtyEight model, as of right now, “there is an 80% chance that the Democrats will gain anywhere from 14 to 58 seats.” So, it’s conceivable that we can do this. We just need to stay strong, knock on every door, give till it hurts, and flip 24 seats… The question I’m struggling with is which of these races I should try to help with, seeing as my district is solidly Democrat.

(According to modeling done by) FiveThirtyEight, we have a decent chance of picking up three seats (here in the mitten state); the Michigan 7th (where Republican incumbent Tim Walberg currently leads Democrat Gretchen Driskell by only about 2.5 points), the Michigan 8th (which FiveThrityEight considers a “toss-up” between incumbent Mike Bishop and Democratic challenger Elissa Slotkin), and the Michigan 11th (which is currently leaning Democrat, with Haley Stevens leading Lena Epstein for the seat being vacated by the reprehensible Dave Trott).

The good news is, since I last posted that, these three races have shifted even more toward the Democrats. According to FiveThirtyEight, Elissa Slotkin is leading Mike Bishop by over a point, Haley Stevens is leading Lena Epstein by over four points, and Gretchen Driskell is within striking distance of Tim Walberg. Not only that, but three more races have become competitive; Michigan’s 1st, 2nd and 6th. The Republicans in those districts are still leading my relatively large margins, but no where near the level that people expected, and there’s a chance that we could have one or two upsets on our hands if Democrats turn out to vote in record numbers.

Fifth: Volunteer… I was just at the Democratic Party Headquarters on Michigan Avenue (seen in the photo above), and they need more volunteers to work the phone bank and go door to door, encouraging people to go and and vote on Tuesday. The office, at 418 Michigan Avenue, is open from 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM today, tomorrow, and Monday, and from 7:00 AM to 8:00 PM on Election Day. According to the folks at the office, there’s no need for drivers on Election Day, but there’s a huge need for people to work the phones and go door to door. So, if you have an hour or two to work a shift, it would be very much appreciated. And, of course, if you want to bring food when you show up to volunteer, it would be awesome. As of right now, the snack levels look pretty good, but I’m sure, as we get closer to Election Day, bottles of water, muffins, and the like, would be appreciated.

Sixth: Talk with Your Friends… Tell everyone you know to get out and vote, especially any young folks you may know. We need every vote we can get here in the liberal paradise of Ypsilanti to offset the conservative votes elsewhere in the state, and anything at all that you can do to encourage those who you know to do so would be incredible. And don’t just say, “Are you voting?” Ask if they’ve seen their ballot. Ask if they know where their polling place is. Ask if they’d like to come along with you, have lunch afterward wit the them, whatever. This is the most important election of our lifetimes, and we all have to do whatever we can to vote the Republican Party out of power. The future of our democracy depends on it.

Did I forget anything? If so, please leave a comment.

See you at the polls.

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