Welcome 😄 to the Roundup of Good News!

As you can see from the headline, this is my 200th GNR.

I never thought I would write so many. I have discovered, as many of you knew, that this is a marathon and not a sprint. That persistence is required. And so we keep on writing — in order to keep on fighting for what is true and loving, even when we’re not suffering in the pit of despair. We still have so much work to do.

So today, although I will also include good news, I have a few pieces about what we can do to rescue our country, and with it, the world we all share.

Come in, dear friends, and add your own morsels. We are so much stronger together.


Regular Scheduled Programming

No one here is naïve; we are aware of the many who are fighting to destroy our country. Some of us expected it: the cheating, the lying, the chaos, and yes, even the attempts to cling to power despite the clear will of the people. But we are here to read the efforts and the positive results of those (including us and our fellow gnus) who are working so hard to save our country from those very bad people.  We are furious with them for what they are doing and we are letting them know.  Remember:

💚  There are more of us than there are of them.

💛 They are terrified when we organize.  THERE IS LOTS OF EVIDENCE THAT THEY ARE TERRIFIED!

💔 They want us to be demoralized. We have to keep demoralizing them. Name, blame and shame!  IT IS WORKING! WE HAVE EVIDENCE THAT THEY ARE DEMORALIZED!

💙 The best way to keep up your spirits is to fight. So, take the time to recharge your batteries, but find ways to contribute to the well-being of our country and our world.

🗽 Biden as President!🗽

Biden, Harris and their administration have been hard at work. Here are the last week’s posts at the White House briefing room.

Vaccinations status as of June 24, 2021, 9 am: Distributed 379,248,700; In Arms 320,687,205

Mostly it’s just the unvaccinated who are winding up in hospitals, but many, including kids, cannot get vaccinated yet.

👎 Out with the Bad, In with the Good 👍

Grimm stood up for the truth during the pandemic. So I guess she was never bad, but now she’s going to be better.

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Border Patrol guy is out Nick Miroff Washington Post

The Biden administration has forced out the head of the U.S. Border Patrol, Rodney Scott, clearing a path for a leadership overhaul at an agency strained by a 20-year high in illegal border crossings, and whose top officials were broadly sympathetic to President Donald Trump.

Scott, a 29-year veteran, published a statement on social media Wednesday saying he had received a letter offering him the option to resign, retire or relocate. He said the notice did not provide a rationale for his removal, describing it a pro forma notice “so the new administration can place the person they want in the position.”

Scott’s departure was widely anticipated, with several of his current and former colleagues surprised he remained in the post long after President Biden’s inauguration. During last year’s presidential campaign, Scott appeared several times alongside Trump, eagerly defending his hard-line policies, leading some colleagues to privately express concern that Scott’s enthusiasm occasionally veered into partisanship.

Authoritarians being challenged — they’re not popular. This is good for democracy Andrew Higgins. New York Times

LJUBLJANA, Slovenia — A right-wing populist wave in Eastern Europe, lifted by Donald J. Trump’s surprise victory in 2016, has not crashed as a result of his defeat last November. But it has collided with a serious obstacle: Its leaders are not very popular.

After winning elections by railing against widely disliked elites, right-wing populists on Europe’s formerly communist eastern flank, it turns out, are themselves not much liked. That is due in large part to unpopular coronavirus lockdowns, and, like other leaders no matter their political complexion, their stumbling responses to the health crisis. But they are also under pressure from growing fatigue with their divisive tactics.

In Hungary, Prime Minister Viktor Orban is being countered by an uncharacteristically united opposition. In Poland, the deeply conservative government has made an abrupt shift to the left in economic policy to win back support. And in Slovenia, the hard-right governing party of the Trump-loving prime minister is slumping disastrously in the polls.

💣 Republicans in Disarray 💣

Michigan Rs find no voter fraud AJ Vicens Mother Jones

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Following a months-long investigation into a litany of dubious election fraud claims made by former President Donald Trump and his allies, a GOP-controlled Michigan Senate panel concluded Wednesday not only that the state’s 2020 results are accurate, but that some of those who continue to push such claims should face criminal investigation.

A 35-page report, released Wednesday by the Michigan Senate Oversight Committee, “found no evidence of widespread or systematic fraud,” and says that anyone continuing to claim there is has “zero credibility.” While that conclusion is obvious and reality based, it is notable coming from a report crafted by three Republican elected officials.

The report, according to the lone D in the panel, does not go far enough but it does recommend taking steps against some of the charlatans and grifters. (But the Rs are still Rs, so they’re supporting voter suppression efforts in Michigan.)

Mike Pence finally breaks with tRump! Supports Constitution:

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What is giving him this modicum of courage? Let’s see, could it be: August reinstatement rescheduled for autumn Evan Hurst Wonkette

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The goalposts are about to leave the stadium, kids.

Couple weeks ago, Mike Lindell, el hombre de las almohadaswas admitting it was probably his babbling that put the idea in Donald Trump’s small head that he should be president again by August. That was when the Supreme Court was gonna see it, even though they weren’t going to be in session, and they were gonna rule nine-zip to TAKE IT DOWN and re-install Trump as Dear Leader for life maybe, we dunno.

We regret to inform you that the tentative date has moved (again). Right Wing Watch reports on one of those wackass QAnon Jesus traveling roadshows that happened in Florida over the weekend, a rally called “Restore America.” Of course, Lindell had a primo speaker’s slot, because he’s one of America’s most prominent current grifters.

The fact that tRump is losing some steam may have encouraged Pence. Or perhaps the possibility that the truth may be coming out: Plea deal reached for one of the oath keepers from Jan 6 Matt Shuham Talking Points Memo

The first plea deal has been reached in a massive conspiracy case alleging that several members of the Oath Keepers, the right-wing extremist group, planned together to interrupt Congress on Jan. 6.

The plea agreement hearing for Graydon Young, one of the alleged conspirators, was announced Wednesday morning and set for 2 p.m. before Federal Judge Amit Mehta. ✂️

Mehta estimated that sentencing guidelines for the crimes would amount to Young serving 63 to 78 months behind bars, or five to six and a half years — before factoring in the Justice Department’s potential future statement on Young’s cooperation, which is known as a 5K1.1 motion.

Young joins a growing list of Capitol attack defendants reaching plea deals with the government. The first such deal involved another Oath Keeper who was not part of the conspiracy case, the heavy metal guitarist Jon Schaffer.

Schaffer in April promised to cooperate fully with the government, and the Justice Department offered to sponsor him for the witness protection program, Mehta noted at the time. Schaffer’s attorney, Marc Victor, declined TPM’s request for comment Wednesday on the status of Schaffer’s cooperation.

Younger white evangelicals not so interested in culture wars Terry Shoemaker Talking Points Memo

Over the past six years, I have been working with an interdisciplinary team of scholars at the American Academy of Religion to analyze generational shifts in evangelicalism and religion more broadly in the United States. We are finding that some of the younger evangelicals are openly questioning their religious and political traditions. In short, the majority of white evangelicals are aging and a portion of younger evangelicals are engaging in both religion and politics differently. ✂️

Many of the younger evangelicals in my study stated that their stances on culture war issues were significantly different from the evangelical majority of the past 50 years, which aligns with the findings of a 2017 Pew Research Center poll. This survey found that younger generations of millennials are more liberal than older evangelicals on numerous political issues.

My interviewees cited an acceptance and welcoming of those who identify as LGBTQ into their communities as both members and leaders. They support and ally with the objectives of the #BlackLivesMatter movement. In sum, they are actively dismantling many of the insider/outsider distinctions established by older white evangelicals and transforming what it means to be a politically engaged evangelical in America.

Furthermore, many of the people that I spoke with cited a culture war fatigue. Some believe that evangelicalism’s multi-decade investment in campaigning for these conservative stances and alliance with the Republican Party actually harmed the evangelical tradition instead of empowering it, while others are simply trying to opt out of the culture war and focus on their faith instead.

 💙 Democrats Being Cool 💙

I know some things seem bleak with respect to movement on the Biden agenda. But listening to the podcasts from Wednesday night’s line-up on MSNBC, they were not doom and gloom, but hopeful on voting rights, on infrastructure, on police reform, and more, in which the Ds seemed to have definite ideas on how to move forward in these areas.

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Message from Indivisible

WOW. After we sent our email on Tuesday night (below) we were BLOWN AWAY by how many people reached out to get involved. For as infuriating as it was to watch Republicans filibuster even beginning debate on S.1 (the For the People Act), it was even more inspiring to be a part of this amazing community of activists who used that obstructionism as an inspiration to rally for our democracy.

Couple updates on the fight to pass the For the People Act:

  1. Thanks to all this enthusiasm, groups and activists have added dozens more Deadline for Democracy events nationwide over the next two and a half weeks. If there’s an event near you, it’ll be displayed below, please take a minute to RSVP and put it on your calendar. If there’s no event, never fear: We’re adding more events every day, so be sure to check our events map throughout recess or join us virtually for one our upcoming national phonebanks on Tuesday, June 29 or Wednesday, July 7.
    2. If you haven’t yet seen it, take a second to watch Indivisible Co-Executive Director Ezra on Rachel Maddow earlier this week and then share it with a friend. It’s a little out of date now (it was from before the filibuster) but it gives a great overview of the Deadline for Democracy campaign. Then if you’re feeling inspired, chip in a few bucks to help fund this week of action and all our work.

    3. And before the events begin, we need your help kicking off this recess in style! 🎉 RSVP now to tune in our Deadline for Democracy livestream event on Monday, June 28 at 8pm Eastern Time/5pm Pacific Time. Be sure to invite your friends to join us!

    Ezra summarized it well on Maddow the other night, so we want to leave you with his words:

    “Politicians have a very scientific method for figuring out what they’re going to do. They lick their finger, they stick it up in the air, and they see which way the wind is going to blow… If we are successful in changing the way the wind blows over the course of the July 4th recess, they’re going to take this up again, they’re going to amend the filibuster, and they’re going to pass these voting rights reforms.”

    If you’re ready to make sure the wind blows towards democracy, RSVP for an event now.

President Biden is taking important steps against the other plague in the land — gun violence. Alana Wise NPR

Citing the uptick in violence since the coronavirus pandemic forced millions of Americans out of work and into their homes for extended periods, Biden on Wednesday announced a five-point proposal that includes:

  • Cracking down on gun sellers who violate federal laws, with a new zero-tolerance policy.
  • Giving additional support to local law enforcement to help with summer crime increases.
  • Investing in community violence intervention programs.
  • Expanding summer employment and services, particularly for teens and young adults.
  • Helping formerly incarcerated individuals successfully reenter their communities.

And Pelosi is doing what needs to be done to investigate the insurrection. 

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💜 Unity? 💜

There are many ways in which the country is united, even if some in the Senate are not. We have large agreements with respect to voting rights and gun safety in the country. And even the Senate seems to be making some progress on a bipartisan carve-out of the infrastructure.

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And look at this!!!!

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But we also know of factions in the country which are dangerous and becoming more so. This USA Today article (Will Carless) is about how some guys become members of the Proud Boys; presumably other domestic terrorist groups use the same techniques. Now, if there is only one article you click on and read in full from this diary, I hope you click on this one.

Last year, Berry said, he remembered a guy at the Veterans of Foreign Wars hall asking him if he had heard of the Proud Boys. The group was vocal in its support for then-President Donald Trump, whom Berry had voted for. Members called themselves “Western chauvinists” and said they welcomed true men. That sounded about right for Berry, who considers himself a dyed-in-the-wool patriot.

He did some internet searches and sent off an email. Almost immediately, he received a link to an encrypted chatroom.

So began Berry’s journey into the dark world of the Wisconsin chapter of the Proud Boys.

Berry, along with a member of the Wisconsin Proud Boys and another former recruit, told USA TODAY the group is a den of racism and antisemitism. Moving up within the group, they said, is dependent on sadistically bullying potential members and promoting white supremacist talking points.

Because of fair use, I can only take a few paragraphs. However, I don’t think USA Today has a paywall. Basically, these guys have a tendency towards darkness, but the techniques used make it much, much worse. If you know anyone who might be like this, the article is worth a read.

📥 Actions You Can Take 📤

Voting rights. This may be the biggest issue threatening our democracy right now. Besides contacting your representatives at the state and federal level to do the right thing (depending on who they are), you can support and contact these organizations:

ACLUAmerican Civil Liberties Union

Democracy Docket — founded by Marc Elias, so important in fighting the challenges after the last election.

Fair Fight — founded by Stacey Abrams

Indivisible — it first took on tRump, now has the goal of saving democracy.

🌱Grass roots. Biden and Harris can do the top-down stuff, but we have to support from the bottom. I don’t know how to deprogram 75 million people, but some things have been written about, such as deep canvassing, and lots of people are talking about this. If you know someone (who did not storm the Capitol), then see if you can be pleasant. Instead of trying to reason with them (logic is obviously not their strong point) distract them with something else. We need to remove the sources of lies and to take down the temperature. If we get more of the Rs to wear masks and to get vaccinated and to vote for Ds, the country will be a better place. We need to coax some of them out of the rabbit holes and diffuse the anger and the crazy.

🏃 Run for something. If you want to run for something, but have no idea what to do, these people will help you. They also like money and volunteers to help those people who are running, so even if you’re not in a position to stand for office, you can help. Note: they are especially planning to target the 57 Rs in local governments who participated in the insurrection.

👎 Defund the seditionists. This is a list with companies that sometimes have donated to the seditionists, and their current approach to supporting or not supporting the seditionists. The list is long. You will recognize many of the corporations, and you probably have a relationship with some — either you are a customer, a shareholder, or maybe even an employee. Contact them and compliment or complain, but let them know you are watching. Forward it to others.

🐍 Schadenfreude 😈

😆 I am sure everyone has seen this, but I like it too much not to share it again!

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And the story continues:

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👢 Some right-wing extremists losing their jobs Robert Klemko Washington Post

In a flash, Laura Jedeed was surrounded by screaming men. The freelance journalist was filming a group of Trump supporters walking the streets of the District after the “Million MAGA March” on Nov. 14 when a man wearing an American flag gaiter mask approached her, stepped on her toes and began yelling.

“What’s up, you stupid b—-?” the man shouted, his mask slipping down his face. ✂️
The man in the flag mask was quickly identified as Washington state resident Edward Jeremy Dawson by a local antifa group. Twitter users mining public records later released his address and phone number.

He was fired. His wife also lost her position (but that might have been for other reasons).

👢 Another insurrectionist loses her position Dillon Collier, KSAT

SAN ANTONIO – A Bexar County Sheriff’s Office lieutenant who posted multiple photographs on Facebook showing her near the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 as a protest erupted into a deadly riot has been fired, BCSO officials confirmed Wednesday night.

Lt. Roxanne Mathai, 46, was given an order of dismissal five months after BCSO Sheriff Javier Salazar said he intended to never have her set foot in a BCSO building again.

Mathai’s attendance of the insurrection first became public in report by the KSAT 12 Defenders on Jan. 7. She later claimed through an attorney she was unaware of the bloodshed, including a slain police officer, at the riot. ✂️

Mathai went through the BCSO grievance process after being handed the dismissal, but the termination was upheld, according to a BCSO spokeswoman.

DOJ has arrested 500+ people now with respect to January 6th. Summer Concepcion, Talking Points Memo

Attorney General Merrick Garland on Thursday said that the Justice Department has arrested 500 people thus far amid its investigation into the Jan. 6 insurrection.

“We have now crossed the threshold of 500 arrests, including the 100th arrest of a defendant on charges of assaulting a federal law enforcement officer,” Garland said in a statement Thursday.

Oh, and this guy is in trouble.

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Hope he loses his right to vote.

Finally, something to watch out for: convicted murderer Derek Chauvin is to be sentenced today.

📣 Let’s Honor Truth ☀️

Jean Peters Baker, prosecutor, fighting to free Kevin Strickland Linsey Davis, Ashley-Schwartz-Lavares, Gabriella Abdul-Hakim, Allie Yang, Andrea Amiel, Meredith Frost, and Seni Tienabeso ABC News

The Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office is the same prosecutor’s office that originally tried Strickland for three Kansas City, Missouri, murders in 1978. It announced that it now believes Strickland is innocent after the key witness and only victim to survive the attack recanted her story.

“I’m here advocating for Mr. Strickland’s freedom and his conviction should be vacated,” Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker said in May. “Most importantly, though, I am advocating that this man must be freed immediately.” ✂️

During a press conference earlier this month, Prosecutor Baker, who was not involved in the original case, said, “it is important to recognize when the system has made wrongs and what we did in this case was wrong.”

I️ don’t know why the MO governor hasn’t done anything, except poor Kevin Strickland is black. I commend Baker for bringing this up, over and over and over.

🌹 Let’s Celebrate Love ❤️ ️

Dr. Jill Biden. What a difference a good FLOTUS makes! For more see this DKOS diary.

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📎Odds & Ends 📎

Repurposing greenhouse gases Jon Gertner New York Times

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Sorry, couldn’t find an example of Interface carpet. Can you find the dog?

You have probably set foot on Interface products. The company, based in Atlanta, makes commercial flooring — carpet tiles, lightly napped, highly durable, easily overlooked in the commercial offices and educational facilities where they are mostly in use. When Interface sent me samples of its newest product earlier this year, at a glance they seemed banal, familiar: These were the marbled gray patterns that cover the floors of airport terminals, corporate hallways and CVS pharmacies all over the world. How many miles had I walked on those carpets?

Yet in their very composition, they were something new. This carpeting was a result of four years of intensive research and development, according to Interface. It incorporated a material made from recycled vinyl and processed vegetation; it was infused with a latex created from smokestack exhaust. It was topped and tufted with salvaged nylon. And it had been manufactured in the least environmentally demanding way possible. By Interface’s reckoning, the carpeting had a carbon footprint of negative 300 grams per square meter. “It’s not a magic material,” Erin Meezan, chief sustainability officer at Interface, told me recently. But the math does have a magical quality to it: In part because of how the carbon is sourced, carpeting a 10-feet-by-20-feet conference room, say, with these tiles can be seen as the equivalent of pulling roughly 12 pounds of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere.

In case you don’t want to watch, this is about two NRA guys giving a speech to empty chairs: 3044 of them, representing the kids who should have graduated in 2021 but who were lost to gun violence. Done by the Parkland parents, this is an example of making a statement without waiting for another mass shooting.

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Rats off of two Galapagos Islands Good News Network

Great frigatebird (Fregata minor) breeding pair, Genovesa Island (El Barranco), Galapagos Islands.

Two years after a rodent eradication program began on two Galapagos Islands, conservations are excited to finally declare the lands rat-free—and drones, for the first time, contributed to the big success.

The actions carried out over the last two years on Seymour Norte and Mosquera islands will now ensure that native biodiversity on the island ecosystems can return to normal.

Seymour Norte, for instance, hosts one of the largest populations of magnificent frigatebirds (pictured), whose eggs and babies became constant prey to the two rat species that had run amok since arriving with ships in the 1800s and early 1900s.

Formerly incarcerated people becoming lawyers? Allen Arthur Reasons to Be Cheerful

As a teenager, Phil Miller dreamt of becoming a CIA field officer — a spy, he says. But incarceration derailed that dream. It seemed to derail any future ones he’d have, too. ✂️

The CIA off the table, Miller became a jailhouse lawyer — an incarcerated person who informally helps others challenge their convictions while in prison. It suited him: He had success winning appeals and sentence reductions from inside. Still, he assumed his own sentence had imploded his future, especially the idea of one day taking his law practice beyond the prison walls.

Miller wasn’t wrong to assume this: The National Inventory of Collateral Consequences of Conviction catalogues around 40,000 official restrictions limiting or excluding people with convictions from accessing employment, education and more in the United States. For aspiring lawyers with convictions, the pinnacle of their restriction manifests as the “character and fitness” portion of the Bar Exam, a labyrinthine mandatory background check that often excludes people with criminal records. That is to say, the bar to pass the Bar as someone with a record often feels almost impossibly high.

And yet, Miller might have been wrong about his own future. This year, he’s finishing his first year of law school at the City University of New York, deciding between a specialty in criminal or entertainment law. But, he says, he wouldn’t be where he is without support: at CUNY Law that came from the Formerly Incarcerated Law Students Advocacy Association (FILSAA). Today, a future that once seemed impossible is close within Miller’s grasp.

An important decision in Belgium

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🐦 I do a lot of other writing. A recent offering: Hunters of the Feather, a story about a thinker-linker crow who wants to save birdkind from extinction. (It’s really good! It’s really cheap! Buy it! Review or rate it positively! Now available on Audible!) Now the second volume, Scavengers of Mind, is available. Other stories, based on Jane Austen novels — including a new one for lovers of Pride & Prejudice, Mrs. Bennet’s Advice to Young Ladies — and others on Greek mythology, can be found here.

💙 What You Can Do to Rescue Democracy 💙

It turns out that participation in democracy is not just an every-four-years event but requires active participation, like, whenever you can find time.

Current projects:

Look in the comments for Progressive Muse’s report on Postcards to Voters

And some other ideas:

You can relax and recharge.

You can join protests and freeway blog.

You can help register new voters.

You can smile.

You can get out the vote for special elections.

You can reach out to upset Republicans.  We need to win some back.

You can share your ideas below.

🌻

💙Our history has been a constant struggle between the American ideal that we all are created equal and the harsh ugly reality that racism, nativism, fear, demonization have long torn us apart. The battle is perennial, and victory is never assured.” 💙

President Joseph R. Biden

🌹 🌹 🌹

TRUTH MATTERS. LOVE MATTERS.

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