During the dark days, we spent a lot of time trying to minimize the damage of the Trump team.  And, to our credit, we did better at that than I anticipated.

Now we have a functional government — as I will outline below, we actually have an amazing government working for the people.  Biden and the Democrats are making real changes to help the American people and the world.  

The key now will be to keep it.  Traditionally, midterm elections are a time when the party in power loses seats.  But there is reason to believe that we can buck that trend with hard work.

Let’s do it!

We Can Keep It

We can see the momentum for bucking the trend and keeping the House and Senate in donation dollars that people are dedicated to us winning

Boebert’s Democratic Challenger Raised $614,000 in 55 Days

Republican Representative Lauren Boebert’s main Democratic rival in 2022 is already drawing big fundraising hauls.

Colorado State Senator Kerry Donovan raised $614,000 in 55 days, according to her campaign, a large first-quarter total for a House challenger in a non-election year. Boebert raised $700,000 in the first quarter, according to Colorado Public Radio.

and

x

and the poll numbers are good right now:

The popularity of Congress is at its highest level in more than a decade as stimulus checks hit bank accounts

For the second time in the pandemic era, Congress is experiencing a burst of relative popularity, the normally reviled institution winning public support in the early days of a Democratic-run Washington.

Most of the surge comes from Democratic voters who are happy to see their party controlling both the House and Senate, along with the White House, for the first time since 2010, but a chunk of independents appear to be happy with the late December bipartisan passage of the $900 billion relief legislation that included $600 checks for most workers. Those independents remained content with Congress after the new $1.9 trillion legislation that President Biden signed into law March 11.

Democrats are doing great things

There is a lot we will be able to run on in the midterms because our party is doing great things.

Antony Blinken Demolishes Mike Pompeo’s Twisted Human Rights Approach

The beat-down that Secretary of State Antony Blinken delivered this week to his predecessor Mike Pompeo was so severe that it might have to be included in next year’s State Department Human Rights report. As it happens, Blinken’s explicit and implicit critique of his predecessor came in conjunction with the release of this year’s edition of the State Department rundown of human rights abuses worldwide.

The report itself was largely compiled by the State Department in the last days of Pompeo’s tenure. But adjustments made by the Blinken team, the way Joe Biden’s secretary of state framed the actions and attitudes of Pompeo, and key steps taken to undo some of the damage done by Donald Trump’s chief diplomat were brutal in their directness. As it happens they were also warranted, delivered in a way that made it absolutely clear that American foreign policy was once again going to be guided by our national interests and shared values and not by the political ambitions of Pompeo or the extreme views of the right-wing evangelical faction to which he catered.

Cardona suspends collection of 1 million federal student loans in default

The Biden administration on Tuesday halted the collection of more than 1 million federally guaranteed student loans, extending relief to a subset of the borrowers who have been left out of the government’s unprecedented freeze on loan payments and interest over the past year.

The Education Department said that it would pause the collection for all borrowers who have defaulted on student loans that are guaranteed by the federal government but held by a private entity. It also will set the interest rate to 0 percent on those loans.

Liberal group pledges $10M state legislative campaign on voting rights

A liberal group focused on voting rights and election administration is launching a $10 million campaign focused on state legislative races, as the battle over access to the ballot heats up in state capitals from Atlanta and across the country.

iVote said its $10 million campaign would be focused on legislators who “led or supported the suppression of voting rights,” starting in Georgia and spreading elsewhere.

After working for decades on the issue, Senator Patty Murray and Representative Rosa DeLauro teamed up to ensure that the stimulus law included a lifeline to the nation’s poorest families.

As President Biden stood in the Rose Garden this month, basking in the glow of his newly enacted $1.9 trillion stimulus package, he singled out two lawmakers who had been toiling away in relative obscurity on its key provisions for years.

“Rosa, you and I’ve spent so much time on this,” Mr. Biden said, addressing Representative Rosa DeLauro, Democrat of Connecticut and a 30-year veteran of the House. “You guys — you, Patty and others — are the ones that have been leading this for so long, and it’s finally coming to fruition.”

Patty, as in Senator Patty Murray, a Washington Democrat beginning her 29th year in Congress, and Ms. DeLauro have spent decades working on initiatives to lift children out of poverty, often behind the scenes and out of the spotlight.

But as Mr. Biden, 78 and himself a 36-year veteran of Capitol Hill, presses forward with an ambitious liberal agenda — including the sprawling pandemic aid law that is projected to cut child poverty by as much as half — Ms. DeLauro and Ms. Murray have deployed their legislative muscle and deep experience to deliver on his bold promises.

White House could attempt to advance $2 trillion infrastructure package without GOP votes

White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain on Thursday suggested the administration is willing to advance its $2 trillion jobs and infrastructure plan with no Republican support

While stressing the White House hopes to secure GOP support for the measure, Klain signaled that the administration is willing to use Democrats’ narrow majorities in the House and Senate to approve legislation aimed at rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure and confronting climate change. Klain also repeatedly said that the White House was optimistic it could garner GOP support for the plan and would try to do so.

and this guy is looking great too:

Biden Is Great

The infrastructure bill is Biden politics at its purest

In Pittsburgh on Wednesday, President Biden threw his bridge into the ring. He formally announced the American Jobs Plan, a $2 trillion proposal that would spend billions on improving roads and airports, overhauling water and energy systems and bolstering economic and caregiving systems. It’s an expansive interpretation of the word “infrastructure,” certainly, leading quickly to criticism from Republicans.

What it is, really, is the Green New Deal.

When that proposal was first introduced two years ago, it was quickly mired in bad-faith attacks over banning airplanes and hamburgers. The proposal itself was only indirectly centered on climate change, instead using the imminent disruptions that global warming will cause as a reason to rethink the investments the country was making. As I wrote then, it was far more “new deal” than “green,” in that it was centered on revamping the economy more than rolling out more solar panels. It was less about steering the country in a new direction than in preparing the United States for where it was already headed.

The Biden proposal does largely the same thing. It includes a number of the same proposals, in fact, though not as overtly framed as being about climate change.

similarly: 

How Biden plans to tackle the climate crisis in his $2 trillion infrastructure plan

True to Biden’s campaign promises, it places a central emphasis on tackling climate change.

From boosting public transit to funding new research and development in breakthrough clean energy technologies, the measures that could help cut greenhouse gas emissions add up to more than $1 trillion over eight years — larger than the total recovery package Obama passed to tackle the Great Recession.

Path from Clinton to Biden takes U-turn on debt, trade, more

 When Bill Clinton spoke of how to build a bridge to the 21st century, it was to be constructed with balanced budgets, welfare recipients who found jobs and expanded global trade.

Three decades later, President Joe Biden is dealing with harsh 21st century realities and his approach has been the exact opposite: Borrow to spur growth, offer government aid without mandating work and bring global supply chains back to the United States.

This change in Democratic policy reflects the unique crises caused by the pandemic, as well as decades-old trends such as the rise of economic inequality, the downward slope of interest rates that made borrowing easier and globalization’s pitfalls as factories departed the Midwest. White House aides are comparing the scope of Biden’s policy ambitions to Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s after the Great Depression.

Biden to review executive authority to cancel student debt

President Joe Biden has asked Education Secretary Miguel Cardona to prepare a memo about his legal authority to cancel student debt, chief of staff Ron Klain said Thursday, as pressure grows for the administration to address the student loan crisis crippling millions of Americans.

Klain said in an interview with Politico that Biden will decide how to proceed once he reviews the memo, which could be sent to his desk in the next few weeks.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and other Democrats on Capitol Hill are pressuring Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in student debt through executive action. 

Joe Biden Just Might be the Democrats’ Ronald Reagan

this article is by a conservative columnist who is not happy about this.  But I am 

Obama famously said that Reagan changed the trajectory of America in a way Nixon and Clinton did not. Biden may just change it in a way it turns out his old boss did not, either.

The National Journal’s Josh Kraushaar has described that strategy as: “Go for broke in the next two years because it’s the last best chance to get things done before the inevitable backlash. It’s not the unity that was promised, but rather the power politics that a no-holds-barred operator like [Rahm] Emanuel or even Mitch McConnell would appreciate.”

Biden doesn’t come across as ruthless as Rahm or as amoral and calculating as Mitch, which actually makes him more effective. In baseball, a pitcher whose slow delivery belies his velocity is thought of as “sneaky fast.” The political version may be Joe Biden—who is both “sneaky fast” and, it turns out, “sneaky partisan.” In fact, Biden’s ability to tell people to go to hell (in a way that has them looking forward to the trip) might be his secret power

During his short tenure as president, however, he is governing like a man on a mission, with grand aspirations of being a transformational president. If the backlash comes, it is possible that he will come to regret not having wooed Republican politicians. Or he could succeed beyond his wildest imagination, and his legacy could very well be having dramatically changed the size and scope of government in a manner that we haven’t seen since the likes of FDR’s New Deal and LBJ’s Great Society. The latter is an especially interesting comparison, since the “Master of the Senate” inherited his liberal agenda from a younger, more charismatic, Democratic president.

Biden might just understand public opinion better than his critics

News pundits have been predicting a reckoning for President Biden: He’s risking his agenda with a big tax plan! Paying for infrastructure is politically perilous!

Maybe not. The latest Morning Consult/Politico poll finds that “voters broadly support this expanded notion of infrastructure, with measures like increasing housing options for low-income families garnering the support of 70 percent of registered voters, including 87 percent of Democrats and 53 percent of Republicans.”

Gosh, it’s just like Biden’s covid-19 stimulus package. Republicans in Congress are dead-set against it, but a lot of their own voters think it is a fine idea.

Foreign workers blocked by Trump are no longer banned from entering the US

Foreign workers who were barred from entering the US since last June — under a pandemic-related ban instituted by former President Donald Trump — will finally be able to apply for temporary visas again.

President Joe Biden is reportedly not seeking to renew the ban, which expired Wednesday after Trump extended it in December, citing concerns that foreign workers could threaten employment opportunities for Americans who were laid off as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Why Joe Biden is a man in a hurry

President Joe Biden may look relaxed, but don’t let that deceive you. He is a man in a hurry. Behind that seemingly laid-back smile, he’s moving at a frenetic pace.

Two months into his presidency, Biden has already notched up major achievements in his far-reaching agenda. In addition to enacting a raft of executive actions, including rejoining the Paris climate agreement, he has signed the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan into law, launching a frontal assault on the pandemic, shoring up the finances of struggling Americans, supporting local governments and expanding access to health care. He has also reengaged our allies and moved uncommonly fast to nominate a diverse group of federal judges to the bench.
    Whether or not you agree with his priorities, it’s undeniable that the scope of his actions in the last 70-some days has been enormous. And Biden — the man Trump frequently derided as “sleepy” — is just getting started. His $2 trillion infrastructure proposal is his latest move in what is already one of the most ambitious presidencies in decades. And it’s all happening at a dizzying speed.

    Progressives say Biden’s foreign policy is the same as Trump’s. They’re wrong.

    While there are some similarities between the two presidents, Biden and Trump have extremely different foreign policies. Any claims that they’re the same are incomplete at best.

    What’s more, Biden’s different tone — defending democracy and supporting human rights, among other things — is in itself a substantive policy change from the Trump years.

    “I made it clear that no American president [should] ever back down from speaking out of what’s happening to the Uyghurs, what’s happening in Hong Kong, what’s happening in-country,” Biden said during a press conference last week about his conversations with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

    Biden issues first presidential proclamation on Trans Day of Visibility

    President Joe Biden on Wednesday issued the first presidential proclamation recognizing Transgender Day of Visibility.

    The day is dedicated to celebrating transgender people and bringing awareness to the discrimination and violence they face everyday.

    In his proclamation, Biden said Trans Day of Visibility recognizes the generations of activism by transgender and nonbinary people.

    Biden admin scraps Trump’s restrictions on transgender troops

    The Pentagon on Wednesday scrapped restrictions on transgender troops imposed by the Trump administration, and unveiled new rules designed to end discrimination and provide medical care for those service members.

    What Biden’s judicial picks tell us

    President Biden’s announcement on Tuesday of 11 judicial nominees — by far the most named by a president in decades so early in his term — includes Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to replace Merrick Garland on the critical D.C. Circuit. The Post reports, “Jackson, often considered a contender to be the first Black woman on the Supreme Court, is among Biden’s 11 nominations that include three Black women for appeals court vacancies and the first Muslim American to serve on a District Court.” They also include four Asian American nominees.

    The nominees tell us a lot about how this administration views diversity. In addition to racial and gender diversity, which is horribly lacking in federal courts (Biden’s picks include the only Black judge on the 7th Circuit and the first Black judge on the Federal Circuit), Biden addressed concerns that the judiciary is heavy on prosecutors.

    Other Great News

    Senate Republicans already have a Donald Trump problem

    Over the past 10 days, two things happened that make clear that a) Trumpism isn’t going anywhere and b) it’s going to complicate Republican attempts to retake control of the Senate next November.

    The first is that former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens (R), who resigned from office in 2018 amid a series of allegations of sexual and campaign misconduct, is running for the open Senate seat of Roy Blunt (R).
    The second is that Alabama Rep. Mo Brooks (R), one of Trump’s most ardent defenders and a believer in the idea that the 2020 election was somehow stolen from the 45th president, is running for the open seat being left behind by retiring Sen. Richard Shelby (R).
      Both Greitens and Brooks made sure to mention their support for former President Donald Trump in announcing their candidacies.
      So, Greitens and Brooks are in. And that is a major problem for the likes of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who badly wants to become Senate MAJORITY Leader Mitch McConnell following the 2022 election.
        Why? Simple. Both Brooks and Greitens, by dint of their unstinting loyalty to Trump — not to mention their high profiles in their states — will likely start as the frontrunners for the respective Republican nominations in both states.
        Which is the problem. Because, for different reasons, Greitens and Brooks could well put what should be safe Republicans seats in some jeopardy if they wind up as the GOP nominees.

        Corporate giants bow to pressure in Georgia voting law backlash

        A belated but growing corporate backlash came too late to halt Georgia’s new election law but voting rights activists are now calling on US CEOs to prove their long-term commitment to the fight against Republican voter suppression.

        Huge employers in the Atlanta area, including Delta Air Lines and Coca-Cola, on Wednesday steered into a confrontation with Georgia’s Republican Gov. Brian Kemp, who signed the law critics described as a revival of Jim Crow racism.
        Their shift came after initial and widely criticized silence or ambivalence from powerful corporate leaders following the passage of the law that discriminates against Black voters and is rooted in ex-President Donald Trump’s election fraud lies.

        Pandemic recovery picks up speed as employers add 916,000 jobs

        The US economy’s recovery from the pandemic strengthened in March as employers added 916,000 jobs — the biggest gain since August, the Labor Department reported Friday.

        The huge jump in jobs was up from the 468,000 increase in jobs reported for February, which itself was revised up by nearly 100,000 jobs from its initial reading.
        The gain was also much better than predicted by economists, who expected a strong but more modest increase of 647,000 jobs.

        ‘This is a win’: Kentucky is joining rising number of places limiting no-knock warrants

        On the last day of the legislative session, the Kentucky House of Representatives voted 92-5 Tuesday to pass Senate Bill 4, limiting the use of no-knock warrants across the state, clearing the way for Gov. Andy Beshear’s signature.

        No-knock warrants have gained national attention in the wake of Breonna Taylor’s death, a 26-year-old Black woman fatally shot by Louisville Metro Police officers in her apartment last March.

        Mysterious Ailment, Mysterious Relief: Vaccines Help Some COVID Long-Haulers

        An estimated 10% to 30% of people who get COVID-19 suffer from lingering symptoms of the disease, or what’s known as “long COVID.”

        As the U.S. pushes to get people vaccinated, a curious benefit is emerging for those with this post-illness syndrome: Their symptoms are easing and, in some cases, fully resolving after they get vaccinated.

        HALT Act limiting solitary confinement signed by Gov. Cuomo

         Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed the HALT Act — legislation that reformed the practice of solitary confinement — into law.

        The Humane Alternatives to Long-Term (HALT) Solitary Confinement Act:

        • Limits the amount of time people can spend in segregated confinement or special housing units to 15 days
        • Creates Residential Rehabilitations Units that will afford incarcerated individuals out-of-cell programming and trauma informed care, to address the underlying actions that resulted in their discipline
        • Establishes a minimum amount of out-of-cell time, therapeutic programming and/or recreation;
        • Restricts the placement of youth, pregnant women, elderly and individuals with a serious mental illness into segregated confinement
        • Increases the training of all staff that work within special housing units on de-escalation techniques, implicit bias, trauma-informed care, and dispute resolution

        The Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines are very effective in real-world conditions at preventing infections, the C.D.C. reported.

        The coronavirus vaccines made by Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech are proving highly effective at preventing symptomatic and asymptomatic infections under real-world conditions, federal health researchers reported on Monday.

        On the lighter side

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        Don’t forget to keep fighting for voting rights.

        What  can you do?

        Most important: DON’T LOSE HOPE.  This is a giant and important fight for us but, win or lose, we keep fighting and voting and organizing and spreading truth and light.  We never give up.

        I am so proud and so luck to be in this with all of you ❤️ ✊ ❤️ 

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