Speaking at the Royal Castle in Warsaw, Poland, today, President Biden continued to define this global moment as one in which democracies are defending their way of life against rising authoritarianism. Biden’s speech followed his surprise visit to Kyiv yesterday, a visit that demonstrated for the world that Putin has failed to take the city in a year of brutal assaults. It built on Vice President Kamala Harris’s speech to the Munich Security Conference saying that Russian atrocities in Ukraine are crimes against humanity. And it built on the fact that the U.S. sent the largest delegation ever to the conference and that the delegation was bipartisan.
Scrolling through the top couple threads of the comments yesterday, and hoo boy, y'all, I could I feel the anxiety emanating off the screen! Some of y'all are back in election anticipation terror mode almost two years ahead, with a side order of despairing over the national discourse. I get it. Me too. But gather in, because it is time for a pep talk.
The primary election took place today in Wisconsin to fill an upcoming vacancy of the state Supreme Court. If a liberal judge wins in April, ideological control of the court will switch. The ramifications would be enormous. Cases would be brought - and almost certainly succeed - to throw out the state and federal gerrymanders, overturn voting restrictions, nullify the state's abortion ban, give boosts to unions, and much more. Four judges were on the ballot in what is usually a low turnout affair. Democratic endorsee Janet Protaseiwicz, who has been explicit she is running to save democracy and personal freedoms, came out first. Yay. But here's the kicker: she received slightly more votes than the two conservative challengers *put together*, and a second liberal candidate took an *additional* 7.5% of the vote.
This is Wisconsin. Do I gotta tell y'all whether an 8-point democratic preference in Wisconsin is impressive? It's impressive.
Over in Virginia, Jennifer McClellan won her special Congressional election too. Her district was D+35 for Biden, and D+13 in the '21 gubernatorial. She won today by 48 points. A nearby special state Senate election was held in recent days. Dems flipped it, solidifying their control of that chamber.
In Pennsylvania, Dems also recently put a bow on their newfound control of the state legislature there, not just winning all three special elections held, but outdoing Biden's wide margins by double digits.
This is what being on the winning team looks like.
Political control is numbers and gamesmanship. Feelings don't really enter the picture. I know, I know. Most of us here are big liberals with bigger feelings, and right now we have the biggest sense of concern! It doesn't *feel* like we're winning, because we see crazy people in positions of power, and that doesn't *feel* safe. We just want to *feel* like we know it's going to be ok and that no bad people will ever be in charge anywhere, and we don't *feel* that yet.
But, my friends, that is where we get into trouble.
We have all been traumatized these last few years by the madness in our country. Yes, that is what we are feeling: patriotic trauma. Trauma builds anxiety. Anxiety convinces you to doubt and second-guess and triple-check and think and think and think, sending you on a mental wild goose chase to find the feeling of cosmic safety and certainty that life just can't seem to give you, to crack the code, to find THE ANSWER as to what to think and say and do to make sure the things you want to happen happen, and the things you do not want to happen do not.
How do I know this? Hard experience, my friends. I have three overlapping mental health disorders: the poorly-named Generalized Anxiety Disorder, the poorly-portrayed-on-TV Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and Major Depressive Recurrent. I'll spare the gory clinical details of what these each entail. I will simply say that there is a common denomination among all three of these dark clouds that make up this perfect storm, and that is that they are all very good at convincing my entire brain and body that something feels very wrong with everything, even when nothing is actually wrong with anything. The silver lining if years of therapy is that I have been forced - out of the necessity of survival - to realize that feelings are not facts. When your brain is a misgivings machine, you must learn to ignore misgivings and creeping suspicions and sneaking hunches. When OCD tells your body that the appropriate response to something as anodyne as touching a doorknob wrong is a sudden shock of fear, learning to ignore your fears becomes less a noble ideal and more a practical imperative. And I am not a guru: it is way, way easier said than done. Feelings are an essential part of how we experience life, yes. But they cannot be allowed to totally dictate it.
We are winning. Winning does not mean winning every battle. It means holding your ground and not giving up. We have the people, and we have the momentum. It feels scary still. But there is nothing different we need to do to get democracy to prevail. We simply need to keep doing what we are doing.And add https://chopwoodcarrywaterdailyactions.substack.com/ to your morning tea session while you're at it!
Yes. We. Can! We already are.
The train wreck story is a sign that Republicans are again going to fight the next election exclusively on culture war issues. Buttigieg is hitting a perfect rapid response combative tone, playing up the Republican hypocrisy and pushing the legislation that will protect railroad workers and the public, and programs that will ensure better fair and job opportunities for all workers.
Biden and Buttigieg have to keep giving lessons on how to talk back to the Republicans.
Heather, thank you again for your letter focusing on the most critical issues of the day. I listened to Biden's speech and it was outstanding in its content and its delivery. Biden absolutely understands that he must define true patriotism for both our country and the world.
In the meantime the release of the House security tapes story gets stranger and stranger given that Tucker Carlson, the man who was proven to have lied bout Jan 6 to his viewers just the day before, is the one McCarthy gave EXCLUSIVE access of the tapes to. What it could also do, beyond the security implications, is provide endless fodder for the convicted insurrectionists to raise appeals.
This is a story where Hakeem Jeffries and the Democrats have to blare out their message louder than the Republicans.
As I read President Biden's beautiful speech on freedom, I couldn't help thinking that in the United States half the population has less freedom than they did a year ago when the Dobbs decision was handed down by the heartless Supreme Court on June 24, 2022, leaving it up to majority white male state legislatures to force pregnancy on all women and making the right to life of any woman lower priority without exception than any fetus, half of whom are male, based on a minority portion of one religion's extreme position on abortion and criminalizing the healthcare of all women by ignoring the 9th (un-enumerated rights), 13th (no forced labor) and 14th (right to privacy and freedom for all) amendments of the U.S. Constitution and the precedent of almost fifty years which sought a balance between the right to life of both the woman and the fetus. The battle for democracy and freedom for all over the tyranny of a theocratic kleptocracy is not over even in America, the land of the "free" and the home of the brave and determined! We, the People of all genders and religions, all of us THIS time!
Having been a passenger on Amtrak 2 years ago I can vouch for the poor condition of track between Minnesota and Seattle. Both Amtrak and freight trains use the same track, which is owned by the freight railroad company, not Amtrak. In certain sections the train would rock and roll vigorously, sometimes violently , and within a month after my journey, there was a derailment of an Amtrak train. The railroads are reluctant to spend on track maintenance , at the level that is necessary for safety. They need more regulation, not less. As for Joe Biden , he is an Amtrak fan and I am sure he cares about the toxic train wreck in Ohio. He is a little busy right now trying to deal with the military aggression by Putin, who is a friend to the GOP.
My Republican fatigue is by far greater than any Ukraine fatigue I may be experiencing. Question for those who would have the US walk away from Ukraine and let Putin walk in; did the US and Allied soldiers who fell in WW I and WW II die for nothing?
On his worst days, Pete Buttigieg is still about a hundred times smarter than the MAGA Republican dopes (triple redundant?) trying to take him down.
Heather, this is a blockbuster letter. I am concerned there was no mention of Putin’s stated intent to eliminate the last nuclear disarmament agreement between the US and Russia. He will not renew his country’s commitment to stopping the proliferation of nuclear arsenals in 2025. The threat of nuclear conflict is very real and I believe every effort must be made to reverse it. MQarthy is predictably idiotic in his grandstanding decision to “turn over” hours of the Jan 6 tapes to Tucker Carlson, a truly groveling servant of all things fascist. Margerine Traitor Greene displays her shameful ignorance of government with discussion of her “national divorce” idea. If she had no power it would be laughable. She has her own form of a “bully pulpit” and smiles through her lies and distortions with great ease. I hope Dominion crushes FNC, as they fully deserve to be annihilated. I think we would all have a great deal of satisfaction at Rupert Murdoch’s demise.
I remember when the SCOTUS proclaimed "Corporations are people" during the "Citizens United decision.
People who are going to put their car or truck on a road need to have adequate insurance, vehicle inspection, adequate driving lights, brakes, emissions tests, and minimum amounts of tread on tires. There are serious consequences for not complying with these common sense standards required for public safety.
Now it appears when a large railway corporation chooses not to maintain similar standards to address public safety, suddenly "Corporations aren't people." They lobby politicians not to regulate them, and politicians comply. When their combined negligence creates a disaster, they now lobby politicians for special immunity from responsibility.
It does appear that when SCOTUS claimed "Corporations are people," they seemed to mean that corporations will have the privileges and the people will have the responsibility to clean up the corporations' disasters.
The proRussia/proPutin wing of the Republican Party in the House of Representatives
Matthew Gaetz (FL 01) (2022 -- Defeated Dem Rebekah Jones 68-32)
Andy Biggs (AZ 05) (2022 -- Defeated Dem Javier Garcia Ramos 57-37)
Lauren Boebert (CO 03) (2022 -- Defeated Dem Adam Frisch, running again in 2024, 50.08-49.92)
Paul Gosar (AZ 09) (2022 -- Unopposed)
Marjorie Taylor Greene (GA 14) (2022 -- Defeated Dem Marcus Flowers 66-34)
Anna Paulina Luna* (FL 13) ( 2022 -- Defeated Dem Eric Lynn 53-45)
Thomas Massie (KY 04) (2022 -- Defeated Dem Matt Lehman 65-31)
Mary Miller (IL 15) (2022 -- Defeated Dem Paul Lange 71-29)
Barry Moore (AL 02) (2022 -- Defeated Dem Phyllis Harvey-Hall 69-29)
Ralph Norman (SC 05) (2022 -- Defeated Dem Evangeline Huntley 64-34.5)
Matt Rosendale (MT 02) (2022 -- Defeated Independent Gary Buchanan 57-22; Democrat Penny Running was third with 20 points)
*Anna Paulina Luna has recently been accused of being I a league with George Santos for making up her personal history.
Every day in America, one pressing need:
Stretchers. Straitjackets. Secure padded cells.
Heaven help us!
From poisonous psychotic politicians, deliver us!
Biden’s speeches reminded me of the America I have loved. I felt proud that he committed us to assisting the brave Ukrainian people. It is so simple. If Russia looses they can just walk away, if Ukraine looses they cease to exist. They must fight and win. They are fighting for all democracies, because if Putin wins there he will attack Poland, the Baltic States…
Ukraine must win 🇺🇦
The contrast of the quality level between Trump's and Biden's cabinets leaves one bleary-eyed. Buttigieg is the man of the moment as he hurls deserved blame on the trump administration's undoing of rail regulations. As a smart and successful ex-mayor of a major city, he could not have been a better pick as Secretary of Transportation.
In response to a totally different topic of Heather's newsletter, both Kevin McCarthy and *ucker Carlson should be tarred and feathered....
The good news is “The democracies of the world have grown stronger, not weaker. But the autocrats of the world have grown weaker, not stronger.” Yes, President Biden recognizes the reality of countries working together as opposed to autocracies like Russia, that not only threaten world peace but peace and justice in their own countries. And being there, Poland and Kyiv, meeting in person with leaders struggling to build Democracies, is powerful. And courageous. Our president is showing the world our commitment is backed up with action. As we grow stronger we see the necessity of our own political parties to work together, here at home, as we must repair and strengthen domestic and environmental systems, our railroads, water quality, clean energy. And Justice. Especially Justice. We must hold accountable those elected and appointed leaders who choose to jeopardize our safety and security. Speaker McCarthy giving away or perhaps selling or trading January 6 video clips to Fox News Tucker Carlson is of great concern. First question: Why? We can begin to understand that justice and equality are not just words, but backed up with commitment. Safety regulations for communities and railway workers. Answering the right wing criticism with real action and change. Action speaks louder than words and lies. And accountability to those who threaten and sabotage domestic security and policies with lies and violence must be and are being held accountable. After several years of drama and danger by self-serving followers of a weakening repub party and TFG, we are hoping that courts and Justice do their jobs.
I am so proud today to be an American, with a real American President who supports Democracy for everyone and Freedom for everyone. It is such a great feeling to be represented by a bipartisan team of people willing to stand up to a brutal despot who, like the trumpster' cares nothing for the people he represents, willing to throw them by the hundred of thousands into an ignominious death just to assuage his ego. I sincerely hope the American people realize how lucky we are. Bravo President Biden, Vice President Harris, and Secretary Buttigieg.
Thank you Professor!
(Sorry for the following run-on sentences.)
I would simply note the disingenuous "calls to resign" that the GOP and their media echo chambers keep yapping about
target highly intelligent, qualified, working, problem-solving, crisis-addressing and thoughtfully appointed Cabinet members like Rhodes-scholar Pete Buttigieg.
They target and attack the qualified "rising stars" to "poison the well" of public opinion, with their constant sniping and made-up "push" polling.
To borrow another campaign phrase,
the Biden Administration "has a plan for that."
They demonstrate the ability to respond to MULTIPLE ISSUES
without the false charge from the GOP that claims they are only capable of addressing one at a time.
Let the adults keep doing the work.
Meanwhile, the GOP is standing on the sideline,
complaining with no constructive input.
They do not care about the people affected, except to manipulate their plights to create more chaos, division, anger and fear.
They are like arsonists - burning books is just the start of burning everything else down if they cannot be in power.
The blatant hypocrisy is simply astounding
of the conspiracy-driven extremists currently driving the QAnon clown-car off the rails
with cries that they want to go back to the short-lived Confederacy.
Busy news day Professor handled with your usual clarity and panache. Some observations on intent and purpose of certain Republicans and faux journalist Tucker Carlson ... it is always about show and shallowness, they are not interested in solving problems, only in sheer demagoguery, and one thing you do not want to do is mess with Secretary Pete Butigieg. That person knows his stuff and he is a gifted speaker and sharp as a tack. However, what is most unsettling is the sharing of the January 6th video trove. It will be manipulated and edited to demonstrate a MAGA point of vie.w on the insurrection. I hope Hakeem Jeffries and the Capitol Police do not let this sneaky deal go without proper investigation. My feeling is that collusion is present.