I hate the news.  I hate it more than I did in the Trump years… and that is saying something.
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Things were AWFUL during the Trump years.  There is no denying that. But at least I felt like the media was on the side of sanity.  I felt like we were united.   I EXPECTED there to be tons of bad news every day during the Trump years (and there was) so sifting through it for good news (to share with all of you) was invigorating.
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Now the news is distressing because, when it is bad, it makes me terrified we are squandering our chance.  I think “why are Biden’s numbers so bad?” “Why haven’t we passed more bills?” and “why is the other side just getting crazier?”
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But when I think logically about things, I remind myself of these things and they calm me down:
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1.  The other side is getting crazier because all they have is lies and fear.  They can’t win any other way.  What we are seeing is growing desperation.
2.  Biden’s numbers right now don’t matter.  Well, they might matter in Virginia (we’ll find out next week) but they won’t matter in November 2022 which is WAY more important for the future of democracy.  We have almost a year until his numbers start to matter for November 2022
3.  There is every reason to believe that his numbers will be way better by then.  When it looked like COVID was getting better and the economy was getting better, Biden was popular.  Now that COVID roared back and led the economy to slow down, Biden is unpopular.  Presidents are almost always popular based on how people are feeling about their lives at that moment (even if the President isn’t what caused it).  Vaccines are working. Vaccine mandates are working.  COVID numbers are going down.  We have every reason to think that things will be better by then and Biden will bounce back.
4.  The good bills ARE COMING.  Yes, it is taking longer than we wanted and yes they won’t have everything we want but they will have TONS of great stuff and they are coming soon (see below).  
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I know these are tough days to read the news.  Don’t be discouraged!  They only win if we give up.  Keep fighting for what you believe in.  We can do this!  
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Good Election News

I have all my fingers and toes crossed for NJ and Virginia next week.  Honestly, I have no idea how things will go.  But I am confident that we still have what it takes to win elections (with hard work). Here are some of the things giving me confidence:

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New Jersey Election 2021: Early Voting Returns

Both vote by mail and early voting as of yesterday totaled the following: 237,000 Democrats versus 77,000 GOP and 56,000 unaffiliated.

People who actually voted in polls yesterday appear to be about 20,000 statewide:

9,400 Democrats, 6,300 Republicans, 3,500 unaffiliated voters.

In all three battleground districts (LD2, LD8 and LD16), Democrats appear to be outpacing Republicans by strong margins.

In Virginia, Early Voting Has an Impact. And a Long Run.

The pandemic has helped convert more and more voters into early voters, as hundreds of thousands of Virginians have made clear in recent weeks.

More than 788,000 ballots had been cast in person and by mail as of Tuesday, more than four times the early turnout four years ago, according to the Virginia Public Access Project, a nonpartisan group that tracks voting data.

Partisan models show Democrats continuing to outpace Republicans at a significant clip for early voting. 

the McAuliffe campaign has been claiming momentum, heightened by a significant uptick in voting last week in key Northern Virginia suburbs. Deeply blue Fairfax nearly tripled turnout after more voting locations were opened across the county.

“This year we expect to have the highest voter turnout ever seen in a nonpresidential year in Virginia,” said Christina Freundlich, a spokeswoman for the McAuliffe campaign. “We have seen a meaningful jump in the daily early vote totals from the past week, with over 250,000 ballots cast since last Monday, concentrated in high-density Democratic areas in Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads.”

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Democrats are doing great things

the good guys continue to do good things:

Biden Administration Moves To Reverse Two Trump-Era Rules In Bid To Protect Endangered Species

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service have proposed rescinding two 2020 rules put in place by former President Donald Trump, a move that would allow the agencies more power to prevent development in endangered species’ habitats, part of a larger White House effort to undo policies Trump passed during office.

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At least five former Trump administration staffers have voluntarily spoken with the House committee investigating the January 6 attack on the US Capitol, CNN has learned.

Those discussions come as lawyers working for the committee have also reached out to a range of other Trump aides to inquire whether they would be interested in speaking with the committee voluntarily, without the threat of a subpoena.
The five former staffers who have had conversations with the committee have done so with either members or their staff. Some believe they have information worth sharing, while others are hoping to avoid being legally compelled to talk to the committee.

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Biden’s new cyber czar is pushing for collective defense inside government and out

The Office of the National Cyber Director wants to bring cohesion to efforts to strengthen computer defenses across a sprawling set of more than 100 civilian agencies even as it seeks to drive more robust cybersecurity in the private sector.

“This is the beginning, not the end” of the attempt to ensure that the United States enjoys a secure and open Internet, said National Cyber Director Chris Inglis in an interview Wednesday laying out a strategic vision for the federal government’s newest agency.

Part of that effort may eventually include cybersecurity mandates for critical infrastructure.

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Biden admin may pay millions to migrant families separated at border under Trump

Thousands of migrant parents and children separated from each other at the U.S. border by Trump administration policies may soon be eligible for hundreds of thousands of dollars per person in compensation, according to three sources familiar with ongoing negotiations in a lawsuit brought on behalf of separated families.

The Wall Street Journal first reported on Thursday that the Biden administration is in talks to offer separated migrant parents and children around $450,000 per person. That would mean that if a parent and a child were separated at the border, together they would be eligible for a combined payment of $900,000.

Build Back Better is F*CKING BETTER

Looks like President Joe Biden and congressional Democrats have finally settled on what’s going to be in the Build Back Better reconciliation bill, just in time for President Joe to fly off to Europe for two major summit meetings. A White House announcement of the framework of the bill indicates it will contain a lot of the priorities Biden had campaigned on, although it’s been trimmed down from the original, more ambitious plan that was introduced earlier this year. The total price tag will be about $1.75 trillion, which is less important than talking about what’s in the bill, so we’ll be focusing on that. It’s good stuff!

Childcare: Families of four earning under $300,000 a year will get subsidized childcare, so they’ll pay no more than seven percent of their income on childcare for kids under six

Universal Pre-K:  That’s everywhere, for all three- and four-year-olds whose parents want it.

Home & Community Based Services: Increased Medicare funding to provide home care services for seniors and folks with disabilities, with provisions to improve caregiver job benefits, too.

Climate — $555 billion in investments aimed at moving forward the transition to green energy

Obamacare subsidies: The framework preserves the American Rescue Plan’s increased subsidies for Obamacare premiums, helping about nine million Americans save an average of $600 per person per year.

Closing the Medicaid gap: the roughly four million Americans currently in the “Medicaid gap” will be able to get ACA premium tax credits, allowing them to buy insurance with a premium of zero dollars.

Medicare benefit expansion: Medicare will  cover hearing services. 

Companies reporting more than $1 billion in annual profits for three consecutive years will have to pay 15 percent minimum on their profits. 

 the plan will increase the maximum amount of Pell Grants by $550, increase payments to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and to Tribal Colleges and Universities, as well as to other minority-serving higher education institutions.

the plan will expand the availability of free school meals and provide the school nutrition assistance year-round, so kids won’t be hungry during the summer,

the bill will expand funding for low-income housing for rental assistance, down payment assistance, and construction/refurbishing of affordable housing.

investments in lead paint removal, and incentives to promote state and local zoning reforms to encourage more duplexes and multi-family housing

New budget deal marks the biggest climate investment in U.S. history

The White House’s Build Back Better plan unveiled Thursday represents the biggest clean-energy investment in U.S. history, with a $555 billion package of tax credits, grants and other policies aimed at curbing greenhouse gas emissions that are fueling climate change.

Although Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) forced Democrats to drop a key provision targeting the electric power sector, the final bill includes an array of tax credits for companies and consumers that will make it easier to buy electric vehicles, install solar panels, retrofit buildings and manufacture wind turbines and other clean-energy equipment in the United States.

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Biden’s plan to make your internet cheaper and better is one step closer

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which regulates everything from TV to internet service providers in the United States, is finally poised to pursue the pro-competition, pro-consumer agenda that President Joe Biden laid out in a July executive order declaring that an array of US companies have become too big and need to have their power checked.

It took over nine months, but Biden has picked the FCC’s chair and nominated someone to fill the long-vacant spot for a fifth commissioner. Jessica Rosenworcel, who has served as acting chair since January, will continue to lead as the agency’s permanent chair; she was also nominated for a new term, which would be her third. And Biden nominated Gigi Sohn, a former FCC staffer and prominent advocate for an open and affordable internet, to fill the agency’s last spot.

Assuming the confirmations go through, which is expected because Democrats control the Senate, the biggest change to watch for is that the FCC will finally have the Democratic majority it needs to bring back Obama-era net neutrality rules, which have become a hugely divisive issue between Democrats and Republicans.

Other Good News 

On Tuesday, a little less than a week before the start of the United Nations climate conference in Glasgow, activists announced that the fossil fuel divestment campaign has reached new heights. Endowments, portfolios and pension funds worth just shy of $40 trillion have now committed to full or partial abstinence from coal, gas and oil stocks. For comparison’s sake, that’s larger than the gross domestic product of the United States and China combined.

It’s gone far beyond Unity College. Institutions such as Oxford and Cambridge (and more than half the public universities in the United Kingdom) have committed to divest; so have the University of California and the University of Michigan. Most of the Ivies are on board now, as are Catholic powerhouses like Georgetown; in the last couple of months, places as diverse as Harvard, Loyola University Chicago and Oregon’s Reed College have joined in.

And by this point, divestment has spread way beyond colleges and universities. Enormous pension funds serving New York City and state employees have announced that they will sell stocks; earlier this year, the Maine legislature ordered the state’s retirement fund to divest; and just last month, Quebec’s big pension fund joined the tide. We’ve seen entire religious groups — the Episcopalians, the Unitarian Universalists, the U.S. Lutherans — join in the call; the Pope has become an outspoken proponent (and many high-profile Catholic institutions have announced they will divest). Mayors of big cities have pledged their support, including Los Angeles, New York, Berlin and London. And an entire country, even: Ireland has announced it will divest its public funds.

And some of the most historically important investors in the world have joined in too: A Rockefeller charity, the heirs to the first great oil fortune, divested early. Just last week, the Ford Foundation got in on the action, adding a great automotive fortune to the tally. This month also saw the first big bank — France’s Banque Postale — announce that it would stop lending to fossil fuel companies before the decade was out.

Florida judge rules Trump can’t skirt Twitter’s terms just because he was president, in latest legal setback

A Florida federal judge ruled Tuesday that Donald Trump’s status as a former president does not exclude him from following Twitter’s terms of service, the latest setback in his quest to get back on the social media platform after being banned this year.

About 40 Louisiana Dads Formed a Group to Prevent Violence at a Local High School–and It’s Working

If a father knows best, imagine what happens when about 40 dads come together to help curb violence at the high school their kids attend.

The result, as CBS News reports, is “Dads on Duty”– a group that formed in the wake of 23 students being arrested after several fights at Southwood High School in Shreveport, Louisiana. Their mission is to create a more positive environment within the school to dissuade fighting and encourage learning.

Donning red shirts with the name of the group emblazoned on them, the Dads on Duty take shifts hanging out at the school and interacting with the students.

Since the group formed, no incidents have been reported at the school.

On the Lighter Side SPOOKY EDITION

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What can you do to save democracy?

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.

That is it for today.

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

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This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.

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