Project Blue

By Juven Jacob

PHOTO: LYNE LUCIEN/DAILY BEAST

In the 2010 elections, the Republicans seared the fate of the Democratic party for at least a decade. Three words: United States Census. Not only did the Republicans gain 63 seats to take over the U.S. House of Representatives, equally as important they took control of 29 of the 50 state governorships, and they did something incredible — for the first time in American history, they won 680 legislative seats giving them control of 26 state legislatures.

Remember those three words? The United States Census is mandated by the Constitution to allocate representatives among the states. Once the census is complete, the data is given to the states where the legislature typically draws the lines for both the state and federal elections. The Republicans having just won control, gerrymandered themselves into power — locking out the Democratic party. They drew the lines to ensure republican victories by just enough, while packing the democratic voters into large swaths. For example, in the 2012 presidential election, although Democrats won 1.5 million more votes in the U.S. House, the Republicans maintained the third largest majority in the house since the 1920s.

In 2018, the Democrats need to gain 23 seats in the U.S. House to regain control of the chamber, but it will not be easy. Not only do the candidates have to compete against unfair district lines, the Republicans have passed a slew of voter suppression bills into law that disproportionately affects minorities and young voters with the combination of purging the voter rolls, disenfranchising millions of Americans from their constitutional right.

What we must remember is that the state congressional races are just as important as the federal. Out of the 99 state chambers across the nation, Republicans control 66 of them. Nearly 800 legislative seats are up for grabs in 2018. Victories in just 16 seats would flip 8 chambers. And the track record thus far is not to be discounted. Democrats so far have flipped 44 state legislative seats from red to blue.

The states are called the laboratories of democracy for a reason. Many state laws are implemented on the federal level. Where we see democratic control, we see progressive policies that help worker's rights against corporations and big businesses, banning conversion therapy, expanding Medicaid, sensible gun reform, access to healthcare, women's rights, automatic voter registration, earning sick leave, expanding access to higher education. These progressive policies are supported by a vast majority of Americans.

If the Democrats take over state legislative chambers in 2018 and expand on those in 2020, we hold the power to draw the maps after the 2020 presidential election. And it would make it a trifecta if we do this while retaking the presidency.

There are three key messages that every single Democrat around the country should run on: Healthcare, higher wages, and stopping the Republican corruption. Because the Republicans will tell you they don't believe in government. But they do. They believe in government to help the wealthy and corporations and that is all. The rest of you are on your own.

Well in the words of a 2012 Democratic convention speech: We don't run this country for corporations, we run it for the people.

The Fraying of America

By Juven Jacob

american-flag-tattered-1280x720 (1).jpg

The Deputy Attorney General of the United States, Rod Rosenstein announced 12 charges against Russian intelligence officials of hacking the Democratic National Committee, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and the campaign of Secretary Hillary Clinton. These new charges brings the total number of indictments to 35 with 5 guilty pleas.

The indictments charge Russia with conspiring to interfere in the 2016 presidential election. Astonishingly enough, Donald Trump continues to call the special counsel's investigation a witch hunt. Something he has often spouted without any merit. Even more troubling is the fact that the president has left America completely vulnerable to another attack as he has refused to order our intelligence agencies to protect us. This is a direct intrusion from a hostile foreign power to subvert our democracy. Russia is neither a friend nor competitor but an adversary determined to weaken America from within.

The indictment states that on the same day that Trump encouraged Russia to hack Clinton's emails, the Russian hackers launched their first strike against Clinton's servers that housed her emails.

Indictment

 

Think about that. The candidate for president was encouraging a foreign power to hack his opponent's emails and release them publicly for political gain. Just a month prior to this, Trump's son, Donald Jr, his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and campaign chairman, Paul Manafort (which is now in jail), had a meeting at Trump Tower with Russians who they believed were offering damaging information about Clinton. Prior to the meeting, Donald Jr. had received an email stating that the meeting was “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.” 

In fact, there was almost a coordinated attempt to use the hacked emails between Russia and Trump. Candidate Trump mentioned WikiLeaks and the emails 141 times during the final month of the election. This is no witch hunt and it is no game show. The President of United States refuses to protect America from its most powerful adversary. And instead of the republicans in congress stepping up for the country, they have decided to participate in the destruction of our institutions by attacking the FBI and career public servants who have spent decades as intelligence officials combating Russia. The republicans have abdicated their responsibility as a co-equal branch of government and have turned their backs on America for the sake of tax cuts and a conservative supreme court.

We Americans begin to know the difference between the truth on the one side and the falsehood on the other, no matter how often the falsehood is iterated and reiterated. Repetition does not transform a lie into a truth.
— Franklin D. Roosevelt

We must also recall two important dates, the Russians released hacked emails on July 22, 2016, just days before the Democratic National Convention and again on October 7, 2016, the same day the Access Hollywood tape came out where Trump brags about sexual assault. This is no coincidence. It is a sophisticated, coordinated attack on one American political party and candidate for president, Hillary Clinton to help Donald Trump win the election.

In what I consider the most damaging part of the indictment; is the revelation that Russia coordinated with a yet to be named American. The conspirator (Russia) was in regular contact with senior members of the presidential campaign of Donald J. Trump. They write "thank u for writing back...did you find anything interesting in the docs I posted? Please tell me if I can help u anyhow...it would be a great pleasure to me."

Indicment 

 

What we are witnessing is the slow motion fraying of our American democracy. With one political party sitting silently as the fraying escalates and the other political party powerless to stop it. Donald Trump's constant attacks on the FBI, the courts, the press, and the rule of law have slowly chipped away at the public's trust in our most sacred institutions. The fact that the sitting president of the United States might be compromised by Russia and is our greatest national security threat is almost too mind boggling to write but that is where we are.

Impeachment is a political act. It would put the country through a rigorous partisan debate and would continue to tear us apart. I continue to believe the best avenue to remove Donald Trump is at the ballot box. Defeated not by our representatives in congress but at the hands of the American people. It will finally close a chapter on one of the darkest periods in American history.

The warning lights are blinking red. Our fate is in our hands should we choose to wield our collective power and vote.

 

 

 

 

 

 

LGBT Pride Reception

In Defense of Hillary

By Juven Jacob

We live in a headline and selected clip world, and the recent New York Times story fed right into our modern day media frenzy - attack and speculate as breaking news, retract and clarify later as a footnote. At the heart of the story is that the former secretary may have broken the law by using a personal email account and by not preserving the emails as part of the Federal Records Act -- neither are true.

First, let's look at the facts. The Times article says, and I quote, "The existence of Mrs. Clinton’s personal email account was discovered by a House committee investigating the attack on the American Consulate in Benghazi as it sought correspondence between Mrs. Clinton and her aides about the attack." This is blatantly false. 

Knowledge of Secretary Clinton's use of a personal email address has been publicly known since Gawker broke the story in March 2013. In fact, the domain CLINTONEMAIL.COM was registered on January 13, 2009, one week before President Obama was sworn into office, and the same day that Clinton's confirmation began before the Senate.

The alleged violation of personal email in the Times article is also false. Section 1236.22 of the 2009 National Archives and Records Administration ("NARA") states that agencies that allow employees to send and receive official electronic mail messages using a system not operated by the agency must ensure that federal records sent or received on such systems "are preserved in the appropriate agency record keeping system." The use of personal email is not illegal and does not break the 2009 regulation.

In fact, the primary source cited in the Times article, Jason Baron, the former director of litigation for the Office of General Counsel at NARA, has since stated that Clinton did not violate the law.

Former Secretary of State Clinton speaking at the 30th anniversary Emily’s List gala

The law that the Times article purports its readers to assume applies to Clinton - H.R. 1233, modernizing the Federal Records Act of 1950 - was signed into law by President Obama on November 26, 2014, well after Clinton had stepped down as secretary of state in February 2013.

Clinton spokesperson Nick Merrill in a statement said, "Like Secretaries of State before her, she used her own email account when engaging with any department officials. For government business, she emailed them on their department accounts, with every expectation they would be retained. When the department asked former secretaries last year for help ensuring their emails were in fact retained, we immediately said yes."

In response to the State Department's request, Clinton turned over 55,000 pages of email, which averages about 40 pages a day over the course of four years. 

On Wednesday, Clinton tweeted, "I want the public to see my email. I asked State to release them. They said they will review them for release as soon as possible."

With the Clintons, rightfully or wrongfully, comes extra scrutiny. They have to be twice as good and twice as transparent, especially as the Republicans gear up to take her down before her presumed 2016 run for the Presidency.

While some attempt to conjure up controversy and try their hardest to muddy her up, she will go on to talk about issues that Americans actually care about and the future of the country.

Hillary In Waiting

By Juven Jacob

 Photo by robertwbauer/iStock / Getty Images

Photo by robertwbauer/iStock / Getty Images

On January 8, 2008, Hillary Clinton stood in front of New Hampshire voters and told them, "I have listened to you, and in the process I found my own voice," but at that very moment, the fate of her campaign was sealed, it was over.

As the 2016 GOP primary kicks off with at least 9 or more candidates vying for the top spot, there is radio silence on the other side of the aisle. Although Clinton has not formally announced her candidacy, her campaign is being assembled as I type this. She's hired a campaign manager, a campaign chairman, a chief strategist, a chief pollster, a communications director, and those are the ones that have leaked or that I have heard about.

By comparison, Clinton had already announced her candidacy for the 2008 election in January 2007. She reportedly will not make an announcement until the summer, although an April announcement is still on the table. Make no mistake, I know Hillary will fight for every vote, and campaign her heart out, but it is better to make mistakes early where voters have a chance to forgive missteps.

If anyone thinks a third consecutive Democratic term President will be easy with Hillary Clinton leading us, is lying to themselves and vastly underestimates the GOP. The campaign will be hell and back. The Democratic party and Hillary will both be better served by a rigorous primary where she will be tested and molded into a better candidate for the general election.

I leave you with my favorite HRC video...

President Abraham Lincoln Delivered the Gettysburg Address 150 Years Ago Today

"We here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of Freedom — and that Government of the People, by the People, for the People, shall not perish from the earth."

He sits forever watchful.

Picture taken by Juven Jacob at the Lincoln Memorial

The Ghost Of Congress Future

Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer usually includes a small segment in which he gives his personal take on the latest news. His segment yesterday moved me enough to highlight and memorialize. He takes us on a travel with the ghost of congress future where Washington, D.C. functions and works the way it was intended. The transcript is below along with the video.

I had a dream the other night. The Ghost of Congress Future took me on a flying tour of Capitol Hill and I could not believe what I saw down there. Both houses of Congress were filled with members. There were lively, spirited, informed debates going on. I am used to seeing members speak to an empty chamber. What is going on? I said. Oh, the ghost said, the people threw out the whole bunch you knew after one of those shutdown government debacles and the people demanded new rules. We pay Congress by the hour now, like most of the other government employees, and they don't get paid anymore unless they are legislating. But it is Friday afternoon, I said. Why aren't they back in their districts? Because the people stopped paying their travel expenses, the ghost said. They get one round-trip bus ticket back to their districts a year. So most of them just stay here and work. They have actually gotten to know each other and it goes a lot smoother now. Well, you must pay them well, I said. Actually, we cut their pay, the ghost said. The people decided a public office shouldn't be the most lucrative job someone ever had. We pay them about what school teachers and people at nonprofits make. It is amazing. We are getting a whole different class of candidates now, folks who do it for the same reason teachers teach. They want to help others. Then I was awakened by a noise. Some guy on TV was reciting talking points. In Washington, the nightmares don't come when you are asleep, but more often when you are awake.