Campaign Action Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) continues to be characteristically quite on her thinking on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. What we know is that there is mounting opposition to it among Alaska stakeholders, particularly the Alaska Native community who see a grave and certain threat to their rights from Kavanaugh. That pressure is increasing, with the state's independent Gov. Bill Walker, as well as Lt. Gov. Byorn Mallot, announcing their opposition to Kavanaugh's confirmation. «One of our top priorities as Governor and Lieutenant Governor is expanding affordable healthcare access to all Alaskans,» they write. «Another priority of our administration is protecting the rights of working Alaskans.» «Mr. Kavanaugh's record,» they continue, «does not demonstrate a commitment to legal precedent that protects working families.» They also write that Kavanaugh's appointment could «jeopardize the Indian Child Welfare Act, Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, and other laws that enable tribal self-determination due to his overly narrow view of the relationship between federal and tribal governments.» The conclude with a call for a «thorough review of past allegations» against Kavanaugh, stressing that «violence against women in Alaska is an epidemic,» and that they cannot «condone placing someone into one of our nation's highest positions of power while so many key questions remain unanswered.» That's just about every solid talking point Murkowski would need to defend a vote against Kavanaugh. Healthcare, check. Native rights, check. Workers' rights, check. Women's rights, check. It's practically tailor-made for her, and very well could be. It's possible she's made her decision and communicated it to the people she needs to cover her. At this point, it seems likely as not Murkowski is going to vote against this nominee. That will make Susan Collins look even more craven if she ends up supporting Kavanaugh, refusing to stand bravely shoulder-to-shoulder once again with her old friend. So, let's go, Sen. Murkowski. Oppose this guy. It's the right thing to do.
Donald Trump won’t even say her name. To him, Christine Blasey Ford, who says his Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh tried to rape her, is “that woman.” That’s not surprising. What is mildly surprising is just how many media outlets are still similarly depersonalizing Dr. Blasey Ford. That’s depersonalize in a literal sense, stripping her of identity in relation to Brett Kavanaugh. ABC News manages to get Dr. Blasey Ford’s full name in headlines. So has the Los Angeles Times. Not so the Washington Post. Don’t tell me it’s a length issue: It’d have been more efficient to use her name. Instead, they used the unwieldy “Woman who accused Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault wants FBI to investigate incident before she testifies to Senate.” The New York Times is just as infuriating. Covering the Grassley-Blasey Ford exchange, they’ve used the phrase “failed to respond” with respect to Blasey Ford at least twice. That implies a failure, a shortcoming, on her part and legitimizes a total deviation from precedent and process. USA Today used her name in the headline and framed the same information entirely differently. Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who has accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct, has until Friday morning to decide whether or not she will testify before senators about her allegations. That’s language that acknowledges that Blasey Ford does not have to respond; it’s up to her to exercise agency. It’s not hard to avoid depersonalizing, blaming, and disempowering. If the genders were reversed, would they write it the same way?
Russia. Russia. Russia. While the news that former Trump attorney Michael Cohen decided to plead guilty on multiple counts and extend an offer of cooperation to the special counsel’s office might have led to expectations that Robert Mueller would be getting an earful on Trump’s affairs and his shady business deals, ABC News reports the focus of a series of conversations between Cohen and the special counsel’s office has been … farther east. The special counsel’s questioning of Cohen, one of the president’s closest associates over the past decade, has focused primarily on all aspects of Trump's dealings with Russia -- including financial and business dealings and the investigation into alleged collusion with Russia by the Trump campaign and its surrogates to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election, sources familiar with the matter tell ABC News. When Cohen first pleaded guilty, it wasn’t clear that he had spoken with Mueller’s team, but now it seems that investigators have spent hours with Trump’s “fixer” in both Washington, D.C., and New York City. Not only were these talks hosted by members of the special counsel team, they were also attended by federal prosecutors from the Southern District of New York. Cohen is familiar not just with Trump’s Russia dealings when it comes to the campaign, but has also been involved in his business dealings with Russian oligarchs. He could have evidence on everything from the Trump Tower meeting back to Trump’s 2001 bailout by Russian crime bosses—with a possible stopover at a Moscow hotel. News that Cohen is spilling on Russia is bound to generate some fresh attention from Trump’s new legal team. Rudy Giuliani: [Michael Cohen is] an honest, honorable lawyer. Also Rudy Giuliani: He’ll lie like crazy, because he’s lied all his life. Cohen has already pleaded guilty to eight felony counts, including bank fraud and tax evasion. His decision to cooperate with Mueller represents one of the biggest threats to Trump.
Donald Trump's problem with women started long before his latest brush with putting full support behind a man with credible sexual assault allegations against him. But Trump’s latest go 'round with Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is exacerbating the female support fallout that appears to have started with his forced family separations this summer. In short, Trump is increasingly turning off more independent women and even some Republican women at the same time that the Democratic Party is getting a considerable bump in popularity among female voters overall. Bottom line: the Democratic party has just crossed the threshold into favorable territory with women overall, 46 to 44 percent, while Trump is 27 points underwater with them and the Republican party is 35 points in the negative with female voters. Let's look at the trends from Civiqs. Independent women and Trump The Trump administration's family separation crisis first started coming into public view in early May, but the gravity of the forcible kidnappings took several months to sink in as news trickled out story by story. The real turning point in public opinion and awareness appears to have come in the aftermath of dozens of rallies against the policy that took place across the country on June 30. Since that time, Trump has steadily lost ground among independent women as his unfavorable rating ticked up 5 points, from 58 to 63 percent. x Civiqs Results Democratic women almost universally despise Trump at 95 percent disapproval, so their numbers barely budged. But interestingly, there has been a modest fall off in support for Trump even among Republican women.
Campaign Action With a sexual assault allegation building against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and Republican Senate leadership refusing to allow an independent investigation of the claim, it's worth remembering that this is far from the only question raised about Kavanaugh's fitness to serve on the nation's highest court. It's also worth reiterating that Republicans have been covering up for him since his nomination, releasing a small fraction of the documentation behind his political career. That small fraction, about 7 percent of the total, has already proven dicey for him with a handful of examples of out-and-out perjury rising up. Beyond parts of his testimony where he clearly was not telling the truth, there are those areas where he'd have to be a total idiot or amnesiac to maintain his claims. The Washington Post's fact-checker, Glenn Kessler, has an exhaustive examination of one of those claims: that Kavanaugh never had any idea at all while he was in the Bush White House, coordinating judicial nominations, that the information he was getting from Republican Judiciary staffer Manny Miranda was stolen from committee Democrats, 4,670 files taken over an 18-month period from 2001 to 2003. Kessler creates a timeline based on the documents eventually made public by the committee, emails between Miranda and Kavanaugh in which Miranda is directly quoting from highly sensitive materials created by and for committee Democrats. It’s material that would never be made public or shared with the opposition. Kavanaugh's insistence that «nothing raised red flags and that he never received documents that appeared to be stolen or obtained in an 'untoward' manner,» Kessler concludes, «defy logic» and «strains credulity.» And this isn't very flattering to Kavanaugh: «It reminds us of Sergeant Schultz in the 1960s TV show 'Hogan’s Heroes'—'I see nothing! I hear nothing! I know nothing!'» Ouch. The «best-case scenario is that Kavanaugh, who is up for a seat on the nation’s highest court, has a glaring lack of curiosity or a superficial level of discernment,» Kessler concludes. «The worst-case scenario is that he has been feigning ignorance since his first confirmation hearing in the Senate in April 2004, which was held after the Senate sergeant-at-arms had released his report documenting Miranda’s serial theft.» Kessler says «feigning ignorance,» the rest of the world says «lying.» Whether he is stupid or duplicitous, though, he should not be on the Supreme Court. It's why there has to be a real investigation into his accuser’s claims, not the sham that we're seeing from the committee. But it's also why Republicans are not going to let that happen. They already know he's going to lie about it. It's time to bring the Senate into the 21st century. Please help with $3 to our Senate candidates.
Campaign Action Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III continues to mold immigration courts, of which he has vast authority over as attorney general, to reflect his racist, anti-immigrant worldview. “In one decision,” CNN reports, “Sessions further constrained the discretion of immigration judges to show leniency to undocumented immigrants. In the other, he signaled he may restrict the ability of immigrants awaiting asylum hearings to be let out of detention.” “Sessions ruled that immigration judges are not allowed to use their discretion to terminate or dismiss cases,” CNN continued. “Under the ruling, only if the Department of Homeland Security decides it no longer wants to pursue the case or the immigrant achieves or proves a legal right to stay in the US can a judge dismiss their deportation case. Judges may not simply decide the case is not worth pursuing further.” Sessions has already taken vast action, by decree, to stomp on asylum claims and possibly return thousands of Central Americans escaping domestic and gang violence back to their deaths. Just days ago, he complained to dozens of incoming immigration judges that immigration courts show too much “sympathy” in decisions, and that immigration attorneys are “like water seeping through an earthen dam.” Sessions, the executive of the Department of Justice, wants no justice. “By placing his thumb firmly on the scales of justice,” said Benjamin Johnson, executive director of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), “the Attorney General shows a fundamental disregard for immigration courts and judges, and their vital role in the administration of justice. Time and time again the attorney general's actions have shown us that an immigration court system housed under the Department of Justice cannot be one that guarantees due process.”
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