Anyway, we got no new information from that press conference other than that President Obama supports the idea of a true bipartisan commission to investigate the Russian interference in our election. That is different from what Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell say they support, which is an investigation by the usual committees. (Nevermind that the chairman of the House Oversight Committee has already signaled he's NOT starting an investigation....) The difference is that the usual committees can choose to hold closed door sessions, don't necessarily provide the minority party with subpoena power, and have other competing priorities that could delay the completion of the investigation. So, if you want to call your representatives and press for an investigation, I recommend mentioning that you are supporting the bill Reps Swalwell and Cummings introduced, or you can say that you are urging a true bipartisan commission like the one we had after the September 11 attacks.
My worries are ratcheted back down to where they were at the beginning of the week, and I'm back to thinking that we need to prepare for a lengthy push to get investigations of Trump's many conflicts of interest and the Russian hacking. I was curious about precedent here, so I went and looked up the timeline for the Watergate scandal. It wasn't as fast as people seem to think. Nixon was re-elected in the middle of it. And that was with Democrats in control of Congress. I look forward to talking with my parents about what they remember from that time over the holidays, to see what lessons we might take for now. Forcing legislators to investigate a President from their own party is not going to be easy, but I think we have to try. And if they won't do it, we have to try to elect people in 2018 who will.
Why do we need an investigation if all our intelligence agencies agree the Russians were behind the hacks? David Frum poses five questions. I would also like to hear FBI Director Comey explain why he treated the hacking news so differently from the discovery of emails from Hillary Clinton on Anthony Weiner's laptop. Why did he keep the former quiet and announce the latter?
If you're not aware of what is happening in North Carolina right now, here is a short description that puts it into the broader context. I am genuinely curious to hear from any readers who see a defense for what the Republicans are doing right now. It seems so blatantly anti-democratic to me, and I have yet to find any conservative writer defending it. But bubbles, blah blah blah... so maybe I'm missing something. Let me know. I promise to listen!
If you're fired up and ready to fight, here are two things to read: The leader of the NC NAACP about creating a moral movement for change will help you think about why you fight and a document from a group of former Congressional staffers who watched the Tea Party stifle Obama's agenda will give you ideas about how to fight.
I know that I have at times felt like there is little I can do from my safely blue state, but Heather Gerken makes a case about how states like California can use state's rights arguments to fight back. My governor has already had this idea. He gave a rousing speech to the American Geophysical Union, which included a quote that is making the rounds of the internet:
“And, if Trump turns off the satellites, California will launch its own damn satellite”
(If you want to read a summary of the speech, the Sacramento Bee has one.)
Ta-Nehisi Coates' longread on President Obama, My President Was Black, is excellent. But don't miss Tressie McMillan Cottom's response, The Problem with Obama's Faith in White America. That one was a humbling read as I realize even more of how little I understand about how race really works in this country.
Zadie Smith's On Optimism and Despair is excellent, too.
Gianpiero Petriglieri's defense of cosmopolitanism was my favorite thing I read all week.
I meant to share this essay from someone who worked as a voter protection volunteer in Philadelphia earlier, but I forgot. It is an eye opening read. My voting experiences have been uniformly good. I am sad that this is not universally true.
This is a sad story of one type of heartbreak associated with illegal border crossings. So many deaths, so many families who don't know what has happened to their love ones. I wish I thought that the policy changes promised by our new administration would stop this sort of heartbreak, but I don't. I've lived in a border state for all except 6 years of my life. I have never seen an enforcement policy stop people from coming. Changes to enforcement policies just lead to changes in how people come. It is a very big border that covers a lot of wilderness. The amount of money it would take to physically block it boggles my mind. I suspect what we'll do is make it still possible to cross, but even more dangerous. So more people will die. Will fewer people decide to try? I don't know.
(I was going to put in a link to a story I saw earlier today about immigration from Mexico already being much lower than it was earlier, but I can't find that. I don't suppose it would change any minds, anyway. Immigration has become an issue like abortion: land of true beliefs and no room for finding common ground to work towards shared goals. It is too bad, because I think this leads to more death and suffering. In both cases.)
Enough politics... this is a surprisingly interesting deep dive about the F word and its surrogates.
And here's my favorite bunny picture of the week!
Happy weekend, everyone.