Racist horses and lunatic audits

And Gavin Newsom quickly disappoints

Welcome to a premium Thursday evening edition of Progressives Everywhere!

It’s raining again here in New York City, casting a torrential thrum through the night sky that hangs above both the palatial hotel that hosts Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, and the crumbling slum walls of Rikers Island, where at least a dozen people have died this year.

But don’t worry, it’s not all bad tonight! I promise!



Heroes

Poor People’s Campaign: While all eyes in DC are focused on the infernal, infuriating infrastructure bill negotiations, the Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II and his social justice organization continue to beat the drum on voting rights. They have been relentless in pressuring Joe Manchin on the filibuster, utilizing marches, caravans, protests, open letters, a new call-in campaign, and even an interview with the West Virginia Gazette-Mail to ensure that they stay on his radar. That interview led to an editorial board piece calling for the hard-headed house boat resident to be reasonable.

Dolores Huerta: The labor and civil rights icon is now 91 years old and still leading protests, displaying a mix of stamina and dedication that puts most (all?) people to shame. Earlier this week she led a protest at the Arizona Capitol building to urge Kyrsten Sinema to start acting like a human and even just pretend she cares about her constituents.

United Farm Workers: Meanwhile, the union she that Huerta co-founded is marching across the state of California as we speak to protest Gov. Gavin Newsom’s veto of a bill that would have made it far easier for farm workers to form unions. They’re tracing the path traveled by Cesar Chavez in his famed 1968 march, with a final destination of French Laundry. No war but class war. More on this below.

Professor Franita Tolson: The USC law school professor deserves her own custom sneaker after this absolute posterizing of Ted Cruz.

Even better was her smackdown of the shamelessly dishonest and impotent response that Cruz likely cribbed from a third-grader.

Villains

Gavin Newsom: Unions spent millions of dollars to save the California governor’s political career and he repays them by vetoing AB 616, which should have allowed them to vote for a union via mail or ballot drop box. What the hell?

Newsom’s explanation — that “various inconsistencies and procedural issues related to the collection and review of ballot cards” — is just a bunch of gobbledygook, not any kind of actual justification. I guess he’s getting ready to run for national office, since it’s becoming Democratic tradition to make big promises, win on the strength of working people, and then abandon them almost immediately.

Florida State Sen. Manny Diaz: What really sets the post-Trump conservative movement apart from its predecessors, even more than the open racism, naked violence, and clear yearning for dictatorship, is just how devoted its adherents have become to mass self-mutilation and homicide.

Not satisfied by Florida’s seven-day rolling average of over 9,000 new cases of Covid and 350 deaths per day, one of the state’s top GOP lawmakers has decided that he’s going to now look into all the other widely established, decades-old, life-saving vaccines that children in the state are required to receive. It was inevitable, but it’s nonetheless still disturbing to see the antivax movement come full circle like this.

WTF?

Did you see those photos of the Border Patrol wannabe cowboy hooligans terrorizing Haitian refugees? The White House said it was very disturbed by the obvious human rights violations, and credit to them, they moved quickly to address the problem.

Turns out it was the horses that were racist monsters! Problem solved!

It really is the ultimate modern Democratic solution: Act super “concerned” and outraged over some gross inhumanity, then take “action” that is just utterly useless and insulting to the people whose lives are being ravaged.

Wonk Stuff

Congress: Desperate to not use an ounce of their power and deluded into thinking anyone will blame the minority Republicans for a government shutdown and the subsequent crisis, Democrats are preparing to preserve the filibuster even if it means economic brinksmanship and a full-on crisis.

As for the budget reconciliation and infrastructure car crash, I don’t think anyone really knows what’s going on right now — Democratic leaders say they’ve come to some nebulous agreement over a supposed framework, but more than 20 progressive House members are promising to vote down the bipartisan infrastructure bill without a solid guarantee of their much more expansive and significant bill passing. Maybe this, as dumb as it is (just tax the rich, Joe!) is a start?

The political press, meanwhile, is reveling in this disaster, ignoring all essential policy questions for catty, petty gossip that borders on the nihilistic.

Antitrust: At least new FTC chair Lina Khan is showing a serious interest in enacting desperately-needed reforms.

Legislative updates

California: Newsom couldn’t fully abandon organized labor, so on Wednesday, he signed AB 701, the bill that gives some minimal rights to warehouse workers. It’s aimed squarely at Amazon, so he was essentially obligated to do it, especially because this bill will impact voting citizens, not a workforce largely consisting of poor undocumented immigrants.

The other labor bill passed by the legislature this month, a garment workers’ bill of rights, is still on his desk.

New York City: History was made on Thursday as Mayor de Blasio took some time away from his visit with the Royal-ish Couple to sign into law a baseline of protections and rights for app-based delivery workers. This is very good news!

Mississippi: Nearly a year after voters passed a ballot initiative to legalize medical marijuana only to later see the state Supreme Court nullify it (and the entire initiative process altogether), lawmakers are on the enacting the legalization through legislation. Now Republicans can take credit for passing a very popular policy!

Voter Suppression and Redistricting

Pennsylvania: The legal battle over the GOP’s attempt to launch a very, very, very late Arizona-style sham election “audit.” Republicans are trying to subpoena all nine million registered voters’ personal information from the state, a request that Democrats in the state senate are trying to block. Attorney General Josh Shapiro is also working to block it in court.

Elsewhere, the redistricting committee has decided to partially roll back the decision to end prison gerrymandering in state legislative maps. Cool.

Texas: Donald Trump today pushed for a “forensic audit” of the 2020 election in Texas, too, a request that brushes up against logic on multiple fronts. First, there’s no such thing as a “forensic” election audit, and second, he won Texas. And Ike clockwork, the state’s Secretary of State just authorized an audit in Texas’s four largest, bluest counties.

Wisconsin: Aware that they’re unlikely to come to an agreement with Democratic Gov. Tony Evers on congressional or legislative maps this fall, Wisconsin Republicans plan to pass a law that at least gives them an edge in the process. The veto-proof resolution instructs those drawing maps to prioritize retaining as much of the very, very gerrymandered current districts as possible.

Secretaries of State: Donald Trump’s attempt to overthrow the election was foiled in large part by GOP governors and secretaries of state in Arizona and Georgia that refused to overturn the will of voters. Determined to not let democracy stand in his way again, he’s backing a squadron of Big Lie-peddling lunatics in primaries for those offices in races across the country next year.

Work Sucks, I Know

Ohio: Like Florida, Ohio’s unemployment system has been a useless shambles over the past 18 months, leaving hundreds of thousands of people holding the bag and deep in debt. This is a painful read.

Amazon: More problems for Jeff Bezos’ giant universe-controlling conglomerate at the NLRB. I’ll have more on Amazon’s transgressions on Sunday.

Starbucks: Speaking of multinational conglomerates facing heat at the NLRB, the board is pretty skeptical of Starbucks’ insistence that workers in all 20 stores in Buffalo vote as one unit. I’ve been in close contact with the unionizing workers there and have really admired their stamina and solidarity under relentless union-busting pressure.


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