I Believe That Unarmed Truth and Unconditional Love Will Have The Last Word: Saturday’s Good News

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State  Of Kaos / Flickr faith in you 1540811285.jpg...
State Of Kaos / Flickr

This week brought us great victories and I have every intention, as should you, of celebrating those victories. “I will not allow the light of my life to be determined by the darkness around me.” Sojourner Truth

Some will argue that the celebration is premature.  Some will argue that we still have too much to do to celebrate.

If that is our attitude, then we will never get to celebrate.  We will never get to feel joy.

Because we will never fully defeat darkness.  There will always be those among us who choose hate.  There will always be leaders who use fear to gain power. This is an eternal struggle.

I wish human nature was such that we could eradicate hatred and fear and selfishness, but it isn’t.

At the same time, I agree with the MLK quote that titles this Saturday’s good news.  I *do* believe that truth and love and light will win.

AND I believe that this week’s events bring us closer to that.

When we move towards more inclusiveness in representation, truth and love and light win.

When we move towards more opportunity for all, truth and love and light win.

When we move towards justice, truth and love and light win.

We will never fully defeat darkness. But we can push it into the corners with the light of love and truth — the light that each and every one of us brings. And that is a huge win.

During the Charlottesville white supremacist rallies, some counter-protesters spontaneously broke out in song to drown out the Nazi chanting and calm down the young and agitated peaceful protesters in their midst.  What did they sing?  “This little light of mine”

In a moment captured on video, the clergy and volunteers who sang — a group that included famed academic and activist Cornel West — are shown standing in a line, their voices rising over the chants of “You will not replace us” from the rally crowd. “The tensions went down … and it shook the Nazis,” Sekou says. “They didn’t know what to do with all that joy. We weren’t going to let the darkness have the last word.”

“They didn’t know what to do with all that joy. We weren’t going to let the darkness have the last word.”

Powerful and wise words.  JOY my friends, is a magical tool of ours.  The far right will always be better than us at fear and anger and fire.  We will not win this war by co-opting their tools.

We will win with love and hope and light. Those are tools they can’t master.  Those are gifts only *we* can bring.

Let your light shine.  Feel joy at every accomplishment, big and small.  Spread love.  Value truth.  Have hope.

And take one step on that road with me by enjoying the good news!

This Week: Love, Light, and Truth WON!!!!

We had some good news in NYS where we will now control every branch, which will allow us to Join California as a powerhouse fully devoted to the cause!:

Democrats declare victory in historic fight for State Senate

Democrats come January will seize control of the state Capitol after Republicans Tuesday night suffered major losses in key state Senate races, forcing a flip in the partisan leadership of the 63-member house after a century of GOP domination.

Did you read that?  We haven’t had the NYS Senate in a CENTURY.  And we won it this week.  And who will lead it?  An African-American woman!

Andrea Stewart-Cousins re-elected, likely to be the leader of New York State Senate

New York State Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins won an unopposed re-election bid Tuesday – and is likely to become the Senate’s first female majority leader.

Stewart-Cousins, a Yonkers Democrat first elected to the Senate in 2006, is considered a favorite to be named majority leader after Democrats took control of the Senate from the GOP in Tuesday’s election.

And she wasn’t the only African-American woman to have a great night:

All 19 Black Women Running for Judge in a Texas Race Won Tuesday Night

While a record number of women are projected to win House seats in Tuesday’s midterm elections, a local judicial race in Houston, Texas brings even more great news: All 19 black women who ran for various judicial seats in Harris County won their races last night, marking the single biggest victory for black women in the county’s history.

And not just African-American women: Latinas Made Huge Gains

Texas candidates Veronica Escobar and Sylvia Garcia were among the 33 of the 41 Latinx Democratic candidates who won their bids for Congress this week, making history as the first Latinas to, finally, represent the state in the United States House of Representatives. As Daily Kos’s Laura Clawson noted earlier this week, the efforts of Latinas in the midterms were particularly noteworthy.

And the politics of hate were rejected.  Think of all the effort Trump put into pushing that hate and we brought light and love and won:

ICE-friendly sheriffs suffer major losses in midterm elections

Voters across the country on Tuesday night issued a strong rebuke of Republican efforts to crack down on immigration and cooperate with federal immigration officials.

In several key races, incumbent sheriffs who had previously been friendly toward Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) were ousted and Republican candidates who had echoed President Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric were quickly shown the door.

A handful of ballot initiatives intended to protect immigrants also passed with resounding support.

The victories were emblematic of a greater shift among the electorate, a backlash to Republicans’ overall racist, anti-immigrant midterm messaging. Though voters gave multiple reasons for backing Democratic House candidates, for instance — who managed to swing the balance of power leftward — some argued it was Republicans’ decision to come out hard against immigration that led their Democratic opponents to victory.

And our healthcare advocates won →  I took my 3-year-old to Congress to fight for health care. I feel like we won the midterms.

Republicans voted against our health care. It just cost them the House.

On Tuesday night, after a hard-fought battle to protect our care, health care advocates like me won. Children with complex medical needs like Xiomara won. The Republican Party voted against our health care more than 50 times, and it just cost them control of the House of Representatives. Exit polls showed that health care was the No. 1 issue for voters this midterm election, and a majority — almost 60 percent — of Americans said Democrats would better address preexisting conditions as a health care issue.

As Vox’s Dylan Scott wrote, Obamacare repeal “proved devastatingly unpopular when the GOP actually tried to pass it, and voters made them, and Trump, pay the price on Election Day.”

And Gun Control advocates won → The NRA Is Running Scared Now

The midterms gave reason to hope the tide is turning in favor of gun control.

 Lucy McBath won. And she wasn’t alone: Many politicians running in swing districts this year argued openly for sensible gun regulations and found an increasingly receptive electorate

We won in many states → Democrats won HUGE in New Mexico this week

Three term congresswoman Michelle Lujan-Grisham, who led the Hispanic Caucus in the House of Reps, was elected governor. She is the second Latina governor in US history, right after New Mexico’s current governor, Republican Susana Martinez. This is the first time a state has elected back to back women governors.

New Mexico Dems won the US Senate and all the House seats as well. The nail biter was watching the race in southern New Mexico, where the seat had been held by a Republican.

We won all over →

and with our victories, three of the biggest Trump fables died.  They are:

Trump has magical political powers, and his lies are “working.”

Democrats have no answer to the nationalist backlash.

Democrats can’t assemble a multi-racial majority to confront Trumpism.

We won the seat Newt Gingrich and Tom Price used to have:

Trump may say he won, but that is just another one of his many lies:

Our local gains were deep → Democrats gain hundreds of legislative seats and secure majority of state attorneys general

After years of trying, Democrats expanded their influence in state capitols on Tuesday, flipping more than 300 state legislative seats while also claiming a majority of the nation’s attorney general offices.

The Democratic gains mark a significant turnaround for a party that had been losing clout in state legislatures for nearly a decade, allowing Republicans in many states to loosen restrictions on firearms, push through new voter-identification laws and weaken environmental regulations. Democrats had also ceded enormous power to Republicans to redraw congressional boundaries.

The victories — buoyed by an apparent net Democratic pickup of seven governorships — will also help fortify the party’s efforts to use states as a firewall against President Trump, including through coordinated lawsuits against the administration.

And those elections have consequences:

Democrats flipped seven governorshipssix state legislative chambers, and more than 300 state House and Senate seats on election night. The party went a long way to regaining control at the state level after suffering devastating losses throughout the Barack Obama years. Here’s why it matters.

Maine: Medicaid expansion is coming

Colorado: Democrats could institute an ambitious environmental agenda

Kansas: time for some centrism and some tax fights

Wisconsin: a dog fight between a new Dem governor and GOP legislature

New Mexico: Michelle Lugan Grisham targets a minimum wage hike and early education

Nevada: Harry Reid’s machine gives Democrats free rein on their agenda

Connecticut: Democrats must focus on the economy with a new trifecta

Illinois: a budget fix tops a billionaire governor’s agenda

New Hampshire: divided government comes to the Granite State

don’t let Debbie Downers of our own party diminish this week for you:

Biggest Dem Gains Since Watergate!

So far, Democrats have flipped 34 Republican-held House seats in the 2018 midterms. Because the GOP only won two Democratic seats, that means Democrats have netted, at the moment, 32 seats in total. Here’s how huge that number is:

It’s the largest number of seats Democrats have won in a single election since Watergate.

What does the win mean?

Winning the House means:

  • Subpoena power to investigate the unprecedented corruption of the Trump administration and campaign;
  • The power to guarantee that federal budgets reflect our priorities, including environmental enforcement, education, anti-poverty programs and health care;
  • Saving Obamacare from repeal;
  • Saving Dodd-Frank from repeal;
  • The ability to pass legislation that clarifies our priorities versus Trump’s;
  • The ability to recruit higher quality candidates who now see a path to victory in their states;
  • An end to the Trump legislative agenda.

Winning governorships and statehouses means:

  • Protecting all progressive priorities at the state level that Trump has damaged at the federal level, including education, the environment, civil and voting rights, civil justice reform, criminal justice reform and the social safety net;
  • The end to Republican gerrymandering, which will make Congress and state legislatures more representative of the people after the 2020 census when redistricting begins;
  • A political infrastructure that help the next Democratic presidential nominee;
  • The ability to sue the federal government when Trump oversteps, as he will;
  • State level judges who will protect rights that extremist federal judges appointed by Trump will not.

Below is a video to remind us all about how laws are passed.  Spoiler alert: IT CAN’T HAPPEN WITHOUT THE HOUSE.  Friends, they literally cannot pass any laws anymore without our say!  Woo Hoo!

and the local wins bode well for the future:

State Wins Lay Groundwork for Long-Term Power

Team Blue’s success at the state level cannot be overlooked. By flipping key state legislatures and governorships, passing game-changing ballot measures, and stripping Republicans of total government control in key swing states, Democrats are rebuilding real power at all levels of the ballot.

That’s a lot of new power for Democrats in states, and a lot of success for ballot measures that eat away at the structural disadvantages Republicans have implemented and profited from at the state level for years.

and the Senate in 2020, while still a big hill, may be slightly easier → 2020 could be big for Senate Democrats  

Next time, the advantage will shift. Senate Republicans had a spectacular 2014 election, winning control of the chamber after eight long years in the minority. This GOP victory four years ago will mean a big Democratic opportunity two years from now. In 2020, Republicans will likely have 22 seats to defend (provided that they hold a Mississippi seat in a special-election runoff) while the Democrats will have just 12. If Democrats were disappointed Tuesday night, they can hope that the 2020 Senate elections will be a mirror image of 2018.

and we MAY still win more races:  

Democratic Senate candidate Kyrsten Sinema has taken a narrow lead over Republican opponent Martha McSally in the Arizona Senate race as officials continue to tally mail-in ballots — a change in fortunes that could narrow the size of the GOP majority next year.

Brian Kemp’s lead over Stacey Abrams narrows amid voting complaints in Georgia governor’s race

“We believe our chance for a stronger Georgia is just within reach,” Abrams, who if elected would be the nation’s first black female governor, told supporters early Wednesday. “We cannot seize it, however, until all voices are heard. And we are going to make sure that every vote is counted — because in a civilized nation, the machinery of democracy should work everywhere for everyone.”

Democratic candidates in Florida pull into recount range as the state once again becomes the epicenter of a post-election fight over ballots

Nearly two decades after hanging chads transfixed the nation, Florida is once again headed toward a high-stakes election recount, as vote margins narrowed in Democrats’ favor Thursday in the state’s marquee U.S. Senate and governor’s races.

Why Democrats think they can still win Florida

Nelson’s campaign has already called for a recount; at press time, Scott, the current Republican governor, had a lead of about 0.2 percent — well in the range of a recount.

“At the end of this process Sen. Nelson is going to prevail,” Marc Elias, Nelson’s campaign lawyer, said Thursday on a press call. “I am very measured in how I treat what I say. When I say it is currently a jump ball … I mean that.”

Gillum has already conceded to DeSantis; however, as votes continue to be counted, the margin is becoming so small that it’s bounding toward a recount as well. At any rate, a concession speech isn’t legally binding, so if the recount goes Gillum’s way, he can just take it back.

some of the most populous counties in Florida don’t even know how many more votes there are to count.

That’s a good sign for Nelson and Gillum, who have seen their vote totals grow as more votes come in from the southeastern parts of the state.

In Broward County, the second-most-populous county in southeastern Florida that covers part of the Miami metropolitan area, Nelson currently has won 69 percent of the votes and Gillum has won 68 percent; there are still early and absentee ballots and Election Day votes to be counted. The same goes for Palm Beach County, where Gillum and Nelson are the big favorites.

All great news.  Allow yourself to celebrate and feel joy.  Use that positive energy to keep fighting!  ❤️ ✊ ❤️

Great Legal News

Donald Trump Played Central Role in Hush Payoffs to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal

Trump played a central role in the hush money payoffs to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal, WSJ reports.Federal prosecutors have reportedly gathered evidence of Trump’s participation in transactions that violated campaign-finance laws.

Federal prosecutors have gathered evidence of president’s participation in transactions that violated campaign-finance laws

Trump met with David Pecker in 2015, Pecker offered to buy the silence of women. That meeting is among several previously unreported instances in which Trump intervened directly to suppress stories about alleged sexual encounters with women.

The Trump Tower meeting and its aftermath are among several previously unreported instances in which Mr. Trump intervened directly to suppress stories about his alleged sexual encounters with women, according to interviews with three dozen people who have direct knowledge of the events or who have been briefed on them, as well as court papers, corporate records and other documents.

Trump was involved in or briefed on nearly every step of the agreements. He directed deals in calls and meetings with Michael Cohen and others. The U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan has evidence of Trump’s participation in the transactions.

When Cohen pleaded guilty, prosecutors filed a charging document asserting Cohen “coordinated with one or more members of the campaign … about the fact, nature, and timing of the payments.”The unnamed campaign member(s) referred to Trump”

can’t say that any of that is surprising BUT it is great news that the US attorney’s office has actual evidence of this.

Federal judge blocks Keystone XL pipeline, saying Trump administration review ignored ‘inconvenient’ climate change facts

A federal judge temporarily blocked construction of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, ruling late Thursday that the Trump administration had failed to justify its decision granting a permit for the 1,200-mile long project designed to connect Canada’s tar sands crude oil with refineries on the Texas Gulf Coast.

It was a major defeat for Trump, who attacked the Obama administration for stopping the project in the face of protests and an environmental impact study. Trump signed an executive order two days into his presidency setting in motion a course reversal on the Keystone XL pipeline as well as the Dakota Access pipeline.

That is huge!  And also this from earlier in the week that may have gotten lost to some among election results:

Supreme Court declines to take on net neutrality challenges, in a blow to the telecom industry

In a setback for industry groups, the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear a number of challenges to Obama-era “net neutrality” regulations that barred internet service providers from giving certain customers preferential treatment

and this!

and RBG is back up and at’um!  Justice Ginsburg ‘up and working’ after breaking ribs, nephew says

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is “up and working” and making jokes after being hospitalized with rib fractures, her nephew said on Thursday at the premiere of a new movie about her early career fighting for women’s equality.

and the ACLU continues to be our best ally → ACLU files suit to stop Trump new asylum limits

The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a legal challenge to President Donald Trump’s order denying asylum to migrants if they cross the U.S.-Mexico border illegally.

The lawsuit was filed Friday in federal court in San Francisco and argues the new rules are against the law. Attorney Lee Gelernt says the regulations will put families in danger.

The suit seeks to declare the regulations invalid and want a judge to stop rules from going into effect while the litigation is pending.

Good News from Around The World

Muslims Surround Toronto Synagogues With Protective ‘Rings Of Peace’

People from various faiths came together in a moving act of solidarity for the victims of the Tree of Life synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh on Oct. 27, as well as a show of strength and protection for Jewish people across Canada.

Numerous “Rings of Peace” were formed around Toronto synagogues on Friday night and Saturday morning, made up of multi-faith worshippers standing shoulder-to-shoulder and joining hands. The events were organized by the National Council of Canadian Muslims in partnership with mosques across the city.

The Beginning of the End for Poland’s Populists?

After years in power, the Law and Justice party lost big in recent mayoral elections.

Last weekend a coalition of opposition parties in Poland solidified the results of a stunning mayoral election season: In several major cities, including Warsaw, the opposition defeated the ruling Law and Justice party, a populist, anti-immigrant party led by Jaroslaw Kaczynski.

Mr. Kaczynski’s party remains in control, for now, and it has touted its tightened hold on many of the country’s rural districts. But in all but the smallest cities, it is in free-fall.

Russia Russia Russia

It was a scary week with Trump firing Sessions (although, can I celebrate a little that the racist P.O.S is gone? Lord, I dislike that man!)

But don’t despair.  That was a move of a cornered and panicking man.

Remember, we have more power now:

Mueller has powerful new House allies as he bears down on Trump

Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi has already pledged to make sure Mueller’s “documentation is preserved” and the likely next House speaker also holds in her back pocket the threat of launching impeachment hearings against Trump if the president tries to oust Mueller or if the special counsel’s investigators ultimately uncover a smoking gun involving criminal behavior.

Democrats are even prepping a break-glass scenario in case there’s a Nixon-era Saturday Night Massacre during which Trump fires his current DOJ leadership and tries to shutter the Mueller probe in the process. If that happens, senior Democratic officials say Mueller would likely get an immediate summons to Capitol Hill for nationally televised testimony about his findings.

and it also leads to things like this:

Top Democrats sent letters to several Trump administration and Department of Justice officials on Wednesday, announcing their plans to probe  Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ departure and requesting preservation of all relevant documents.

The letter also requested that officials maintain documents relevant to special counsel Robert Mueller’s ongoing probe.

more will come from Muller:

Robert Mueller, the Master Of Silence

What should be apparent to anyone following the Russia investigation is that there is, in addition to everything known about Trump already, some X factor, something that is known to members of the intelligence community but has yet to be revealed to the public. John Brennan, the former CIA director, has referred to X repeatedly, tweeting about what might happen when “the full extent” of Trump’s wrongdoing “becomes known” and hinting at times that in 2016 he possessed information about contacts between the Trump campaign and the Russians, which he passed on to the FBI. As far as those on the outside can tell, X originated in intelligence gathered by Britain and perhaps some other foreign countries. It has passed from Brennan to Comey to Mueller. Senator Warner, who told me he knows “Mueller a bit but not well,” reportedly joked at a dinner in June that “if you think you’ve seen wild stuff so far, buckle up.” At the end of Mueller’s investigation, the fight will commence in Congress over the size and significance of X and whether to terminate this presidency early or allow it to hobble its way to the finish line. All Mueller can do is unearth the X and bring it to light. He can arm the country with facts for these coming battles. But he cannot fight them for us.

Weekly Reminder: Roger Stone Will Be Indicted

this perspective was interesting.  Opinion: “Step Down From The Ledge” Over Matt Whitaker

Whitaker would have to document and justify his decisions under this standard, knowing (especially with Dems in control of the House) that he would have to testify to them under oath. Flimsy or corrupt justifications would open him up to obstruction of justice.

Even if he wanted to “starve the investigation,” the SC regs state that the budget for the coming year must be approved within 90 days of the fiscal year. The fiscal year already started on October 1, and so the budget is in place until Sept ’19. The next approval is in June ’19.

Another objection he made publicly is that going into Trump’s finances would be crossing a red line. Remember that Mueller farmed out the Cohen case to SDNY. That is likely the thread that leads to the Trump Org, and it is not under Mueller. So that should not be an issue.

 What would be the payoff? He’s not going to be AG, this is temporary. If he has political ambitions he is much better off with Sessions as an ally and being respected in DOJ than hitching his wagon to Trump’s (falling) star.

In short, the rules, culture, and incentives all point to just keeping what’s happening on track, not going off a cliff, which would be professional suicide. I may be proven wrong, I hope I’m not. 
but I am still glad that we are fighting this.   And we are:

and this:

and the people fighting too!  Here is just one example from here in WNY → 1,000 protest in support of Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller

and this one, just because it has the best chant:

Lots of great allies fighting with us!

My Very Early 2020 Endorsement

Beto’s consolation prize: Running for president

Beto O’Rourke dodged a bullet. The Texas congressman came dangerously close to beating Ted Cruz on Tuesday.

Lest his groupies wallow for long in defeat, they should know there’s a lot for them to like about his loss: No getting bogged down in the drudge-work of a freshman senator in the minority or obligation to fulfill his duty to serve out his term.

And, to O’Rourke’s credit, there was no blowout, a fate that would have extinguished his star. Indeed, he showed an unapologetic liberal could compete and almost win in Texas.

O’Rourke has not yet indicated his intentions, but he has built, in the course of a few short months, a national brand and a national fundraising base that few Democrats can match. Conveniently, the chief knock on O’Rourke’s campaign, that he embraced staunchly progressive positions that played poorly in Texas, only heightens his appeal in a national primary for a Democratic Party that has been tacking leftward.

Y’all, I am on team Beto.

And I am on it because we will only win if we bring something they can’t bring: love, hope, and light.  We have a lot of candidates out there who are amazing.  We have a lot of candidates who can harness our anger and righteous indignation.

But we will never win a general election for the presidency if we fight it on their terms.  The right will always win a battle when hatred, fear, and intimidation are the weapons.  They will always be better than us at fighting dirty. We will only lose, and in doing so, relinquish not only our country, but our souls.

We won when Obama brought the audacity of hope.  We won when Clinton delivered the power of empathy.

Our gift to the world is light and love and truth.  When we bring those, we will win.

So far, of the candidates I have seen, Beto brings those the best.

I will fight like heck for whomever we nominate, but I know who I am pulling for right now.

But 2020 is still a long way off, and we have many more battles to fight before that big one.  So lets get to it!  ❤️

OK, that is it for me today.  Thanks to all of you for your hard work to bring the blue wave.  We did it!  Now, onward!!!

Sing us out… Jimmy Fallon (no for real, well worth a listen!)

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Debra
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Debra

Thank you for the vote for BETO. A lot of us here in Texas feel as you do. I am holding on to my BETO for Senate sign and am going to add President to it after the holidays and put it back in my yard. I like that he is a decent man and did not add all the hate to his campaign as so many others did.