I have family in Israel and they have been on my mind all week.  

My relatives range from left of center to far left.  They are against the occupation and are not fans of Bibi.  

When I was there visiting them about a year and a half ago, they told me how the left had collapsed in Israel.  For a whole bunch of complicated reasons, the left wing parties that used to a real force now get like 10% of the vote.  

The mess this week is horrible but also completely predictable in a land in which awful leaders use awful events to keep themselves in power.  Indeed, what is heartbreaking is how predictable it is.  What is heartbreaking is  how predictable the next mess over there will be.  The more I read about it, the less hopeful I feel.

A couple of days ago, one of my cousins posted this after going to a gathering:

Something wonderful happened today at Hamad Bridge. Jews and Arabs stood in peace side by side. There was happy music and people danced on the road, hugged with each other, distributed flowers and bloomed balloons. For an easy hour the horror and filth disappeared or at least it was pushed and we remembered the simple truth: loving is much better (and much easier too)

They gathered.  Jews and Arabs together.  In the middle of a war.  They played music. The danced.  They sang.  They handed out flowers and balloons.  They felt joy and hope and love.  Lots of love.  Here are some pictures:

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Talk about the audacity of hope.  People in the middle of a horrible war.  People who, by any logic and rational thought, have no chance at all to change anything.  Those people gathered together with hope.  Those people brought one another love.  Those people sang and danced and hoped.

If they can hope, then we have no excuse.  If they can continue to fight for peace and equality and justice then we have no excuses.

I’d been depressed because all week I kept seeing articles like this one:

How Republicans Could Steal the 2024 Election

But that depression is a loser’s game. 

If left wing Arabs and Jews in Israel can gather in peace and love and keep working then we have no excuses.  

Here in the US, we are the majority.  We have the White House.  We have the Senate.  We have the House.

2022 is going to be full of tough races to win.  But that doesn’t mean we can’t do it.  We have to… and we will ❤️  

I always bet on us.

The Good news

First, Biden continues to do great things:

Biden meets with ‘dreamers’ at White House to spotlight immigration reform

Biden on Friday met with six people protected from deportation by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to discuss immigration reform and their experiences working on the front lines of the pandemic.

The “dreamers” who met with Biden, who were not named, work in health care, education and agriculture, according to a White House readout of the meeting. Biden expressed his support for them as well as other essential immigrant workers, and they discussed the continued need for immigration reform, the White House said.

Biden also reiterated his desire for Congress to pass both the Farm Workforce Modernization Act and the American Dream and Promise Act. The latter would grant citizenship to an estimated 2.7 million undocumented immigrants who arrived as children or have temporary permission to stay, according to the Migration Policy Institute.

There Are Only 2 Native American Federal Judges. Biden Just Nominated A Third.

President Joe Biden unveiled his latest batch of judicial nominees on Wednesday, and in the mix is a woman who would be one of the nation’s few Native American federal judges.

Biden nominated Lauren J. King to a lifetime seat on the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington. King, a citizen of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation based in Oklahoma, is currently an attorney at the Seattle-based law firm Foster Garvey, P.C. She has served as a pro tem appellate judge for the Northwest Intertribal Court System since 2013 and previously taught Federal Indian Law at the Seattle University School of Law.

Other democrats are doing great things to, even this guy:

Joe Manchin’s surprisingly bold proposal to fix America’s voting rights problem

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) has been an endless source of frustration for his fellow Democrats. He clings to dreams of bipartisanship that seem like fairy tales in a world where Republicans defrock their own leaders for the sin of acknowledging that President Joe Biden won the 2020 election. And his loyalty to the filibuster may doom most of his party’s legislative agenda.

Yet on Wednesday, Manchin proposed a solution to the congressional impasse over voting rights legislation that could be even more aggressive than a parallel proposal offered by Democratic leaders.

Under the Voting Rights Act, states and local governments with a history of racist voting practices were required to “preclear” new election rules with officials in Washington, DC. The idea was to catch rules that would disenfranchise voters of color before they go into effect, and block those laws before they could prevent a single voter from casting a ballot. And, while Republican support for preclearance evaporated in recent years, the Voting Rights Act had strong bipartisan support for many decades.

Most congressional Democrats have rallied behind a bill, known as the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, that would restore preclearance in a handful of states, while simultaneously making it easier to impose preclearance on new states and local governments that attempt to disenfranchise racial minorities.

But Manchin suggested on Wednesday that Congress should pass a much bolder attempt to roll back Shelby County. In an interview with ABC News, Manchin proposed making the John Lewis Act apply “to all 50 states and territories.” Thus, all states, not just the handful of states with the worst record on race, would be required to submit any new voting rules to federal review in order to make sure that the new rule will not target voters of color.

I know she takes a lot of flack on Dkos but I love our junior Senator:

Gillibrand military sexual assault bill gets supermajority status

A Senate bill that would change how the military justice system handles major crimes such as rape now has at least 61 co-sponsors, the measure’s supporters confirmed Thursday.

CQ Roll Call disclosed April 30 that supporters of the bill believed they had a Senate supermajority to secure its passage. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., confirmed it in a May 6 interview with NPR and, on Thursday, added the details by posting online a list of the co-sponsors.

The list reveals major changes in senators’ positions on this question over the past seven years. In fact, a majority of the Republican leadership team in the Senate now supports the bill — a remarkable turnaround from fairly solid GOP resistance in the past.

What’s more, the measure now enjoys, for the first time, the support of a majority of the Senate Armed Services Committee, which has traditionally fought the proposal.

Gillibrand’s bill would require that independent military prosecutors, not unit commanders, decide whether prosecution is warranted for most felonies. Gillibrand, in her statement, said garnering the support of 61 senators is a pivotal milestone.

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The senate did this great thing

U.S. Senate votes to repeal ‘true lender’ banking rule issued under Trump

The U.S. Senate voted on Tuesday to repeal a regulation introduced during former President Donald Trump’s administration that Democrats say allows predatory lenders to skirt state consumer protections.

Lawmakers voted 52 to 47 to repeal the “true lender” rule, marking the first time Democrats have rolled back a Trump-era financial rule using the Congressional Review Act, a 1996 law that gives Congress the ability to rescind recently enacted regulations. (Reporting by Pete Schroeder)

and government agencies are doing great things under Biden:

DHS stands up domestic terror intelligence team

The Department of Homeland Security’s intelligence arm is setting up a dedicated team to focus on domestic terrorism, two DHS officials told POLITICO. The team will have several full-time personnel. DHS is also renaming and refocusing a separate office that has drawn criticism for its prior work fighting extremism. The moves come as the department is increasing its focus on domestic terrorism and violent threats.

Interior Department approves first large-scale offshore wind farm in the U.S.

The Biden administration on Tuesday approved the first large-scale offshore wind farm in the United States, a project that envisions building 62 turbines off Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts and creating enough electricity to power 400,000 homes.

Vineyard Wind is the first of several massive offshore wind-farm proposals that could put more than 3,000 wind turbines in the Atlantic Ocean from Maine to North Carolina. 

and finally, as evil as they are, they are also idiots.  Exhibit 1:

Trump’s GOP Drives Out Reagan Republicans

Republicans have spent decades searching for another Ronald Reagan, the conservative icon who for many continues to embody – years after his death – the small government, optimistic view of America and the Americans who make it happen.

They’ve yet to find him.

In the fruitless search, they ended up with Donald Trump. Now they’re stuck with him – even after his defeat for reelection last year – and the party is struggling with how to move forward and grow without a unifying ideology to define themselves and their vision for the future.

exhibit 2:

Trump’s blog isn’t lighting up the internet

Four months after former President Donald Trump was banished from most mainstream social media platforms, he returned to the web last Tuesday with “From the Desk of Donald J. Trump,” essentially a blog for his musings.

A week since the unveiling, social media data suggests things are not going well.

The ex-president’s blog has drawn a considerably smaller audience than his once-powerful social media accounts, according to engagement data compiled with BuzzSumo, a social media analytics company. 

exhibit 3:

The GOP scared Latinos from the census. Now that may cost the party red seats.

Everyone knew Hispanics were at risk of being undercounted in the 2020 Census, because the Trump administration gave every indication of wanting them undercounted. 

The reapportionment numbers released this week seemed to confirm this fear

The greatest underperformance, relative to projections, occurred in three Sun Belt states — Texas, Florida and Arizona — where head counts fell short of projections by 177,000, 163,000 and 262,000, respectively. These three states also have some of the highest proportions of Hispanics in the country: 40 percent in Texas, 26 percent in Florida and 32 percent in Arizona.

Given that two of those states, Texas and Florida, are red and Arizona is a closely divided purple state, Republicans did not do themselves any favors: Their actions may have suppressed census responses in places where they would benefit from more seats in Congress.

exhibit 4:

The stampede away from the GOP begins

On Thursday, 150 former governors, members of Congress, Cabinet officials, senior administration officials, strategists and grass-roots leaders issued their own declaration of independence with an explicit threat to leave the party if the GOP does not abandon the MAGA mentality. In a document titled, “A Call to American Renewal,” the signatories reference Cheney’s ouster and write, “This ‘common-sense coalition’ seeks to catalyze the reform of the Republican Party and its recommitment to truth, founding ideals, and decency or, if unsuccessful, lay the foundation for an alternative.”

A week of great covid news:

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The Racial Gap in U.S. Vaccinations Is Shrinking

Black and Hispanic people across the United States have received a disproportionately smaller share of vaccinations to date, according to a New York Times analysis of state-reported race and ethnicity information. And vaccine disparities have grown in some of the most socially vulnerable parts of the nation, leaving many low-income communities of color with vaccination rates well below the national average.

However, state and federal data reveal that the country has made some progress toward vaccine parity.

Since March, nearly every state reporting the race and ethnicity of vaccinated people has seen the Black share of the total vaccinated population increase, inching closer to the Black share of the general population.

On the lighter side

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Want to protect voting rights?

Here are some things you can 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.

Want to increase racial justice?

Here are some things you can do:  

  1. Campaign Zero has ten evidence-based solutions to address police violence. Contact your city or town government representative(s) and police chief to advocate for these policies.
  2. Within the evidence-based solutions in #2, Campaign Zero has a project called 8Can’tWait, with eight specific policies to be prioritized to end police violence.
  3. If you or a friend is an educator, buy said friend books that feature POC as protagonists and heroes, no matter the racial make-up of the class. A few good lists are here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here. bell hooks, one of the heroes of our time, has authored five children’s books. You can purchase educational toys that feature POC, such as finger puppets, Black History Flashcards, etc for their classroom.
  4. Donate to anti-white supremacy work such as your local Black Lives Matter Chapter, the National Council for Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls, the NAACP, Southern Poverty Law Center, United Negro College Fund, Black Youth Project 100, Color of Change, The Sentencing Project, Families against Mandatory Minimums, A New Way of Life, Equal Justice Initiative, and Dream Defenders. Join some of these list-serves and take action as their emails dictate.
  5. Don’t buy from companies that use prison labor. Find a good list here.
  6. Find and join a local “white space” to learn more about and talk out the conscious and unconscious biases us white folks have. If there’s not a group in your area, start one.
  7. Join or start a Daughters of Abraham book club in your Church, mosque, or synagogue.
  8. Join your local Showing up for Racial Justice (SURJ) group. There is a lot of awesome work going on locally — Get involved in the projects that speak to you.
  9. Do deep canvassing about race and racial justice. Many SURJ groups are organizing them, so many people can do it through your local SURJ group. If they’re not already doing it, start it.
  10. Don’t be silent about that racist joke. Silence is support.

I am so lucky and so proud to be in this with you ✊🏾✊🏻♥💙💚💛💜🧡✊🏽✊🏻

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