Many, many (many) moons ago, I had dinner with my late father and had an interaction that changed me. I was freshy out of college and full of confidence in my ideas about the world — not an uncommon thing among the young.
I was talking to my dad about feminism and I said something about him being a feminist. I just assumed that my dad was a feminist — my parents brought me up to believe in feminist ideals and he was a very liberal person. When he said that he would not call himself a feminist, I was upset. Honesty, I remember it shaking me. It made me wonder what I didn’t know about him. It sounds kind of weird, but I kind of broke down at the news.
My dad saw how I was reacting and tried to explain. He told me that when he was young, he, like many other young people at that time, considered himself a communist. This was when Stalin was in power but before it was known what life was like in the Soviet Union. He thought that communism was the answer and he, and his friends, assumed that Stalin was a kind and wonderful leader guiding a utopia.
When he found out the truth, he was crushed. He couldn’t believe that he had been so wrong. He had been so sure of himself and so wrong.
He decided, at that very young age, to never call himself any “thing” again. He wasn’t a feminist; he wasn’t a liberal; he wasn’t a Democrat. He had his beliefs and things he fought for but he was never going to label himself again.
I assume part of this came from being a holocaust refugee and realizing the link between believing in an ideology of communism and Stalin and other people believing in an ideology that led him to flee his home and kill much of his family.
And you can easily argue that he took this too far.
But I also think there is a real lesson there and one to take seriously. It is one that I try to remember every day: don’t ever be too sure that you are right about something. Always be open to counter-data. Listen carefully to other perspectives.
Remember that being sure of things and being right are not the same things.
Being sure of things often leads us to ignore counterinformation. It leads us to disparage people we disagree with.
Honestly, I feel like one big problem today is that too many people are too sure of too many things. It is too easy to only see one side of something. It is too easy to surround yourself with only people who agree with you. It feels too good to feel confident and smarter than others. It is too hard to admit that we might have made a mistake.
But we should all try to do it more.
Of course, there are things we believe in and should hold onto — like the importance of truth and love and opportunity and equality.
But maybe if we were all a little less sure of everything else, we’d find it easier to move though life with the kind of grace that makes life better for everyone.
Now onto the good news!
Democrats are amazing
I continue to be astounded by the good that comes out of the Biden administration. Do I agree with every move? Nope. But I agree with most of them. And most of them are AMAZING
Biden-Harris Administration Proposes First-Ever National Standards to Combat PFAS in Drinking Water
Yesterday the Biden-Harris Administration announced new action to protect communities from per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) pollution. The first-ever national standard to address PFAS contamination in drinking water delivers on President Biden’s commitment to protecting public health and advancing environmental justice. And it builds on two years of action to ensure every community has access to clean drinking water, free of chemicals and pollutants that harm the health and wellbeing of children, families, and communities.
EPA anticipates the first-ever PFAS drinking water standard would prevent thousands of deaths and reduce tens of thousands of serious PFAS-attributable illnesses.
Joe Biden signs executive order to expand background checks for gun purchases
US President Joe Biden on Tuesday signed an executive order expanding background checks for gun purchases to curb increasing mass shootings. In a media briefing, Biden said the executive order is "common sense" and moves the United States as close as possible to universal background checks without new legislation requiring Congress' stamp of approval.
Biden says efforts to restrict transgender rights ‘close to sinful’
President Joe Biden called efforts to restrict transgender rights in Florida “close to sinful” in an interview released Monday, suggesting federal laws should be passed to protect those rights in all states.
“What’s going on in Florida is, as my mother would say, close to sinful. It’s just terrible what they’re doing,” Biden said during an interview with Kal Penn for “The Daily Show.”
Biden didn’t specify which rules he found offensive, but said that efforts to restrict the rights of trans individuals were “cruel.”
“It’s not like a kid wakes up one morning and says, You know, I decided I wanted to become a man or want to become a woman or I want to change. I mean, what are they thinking about here? They’re human beings. They love, they have feelings, they have inclinations,” he said.
“It just, to me, is, I dunno, it’s cruel,” he went on.
Biden uses the budget to bludgeon Republicans
President Biden likes to say, “Show me your budget, and I’ll tell you what you value.” Biden’s budget shows what he values. And by contrast to MAGA Republicans’ plans, he shows what they don’t value: crime-fighting, debt reduction and tax fairness. Budget comparisons might be among his most effective tools in setting the themes of the 2024 election season.
Biden, in preview of budget fight, hits GOP on health care
President Biden on Wednesday touted his administration’s policies on lowering the cost of prescription drugs and helping recipients of Medicare and Medicaid, programs that have become a major topic of debate as Republicans look for significant budget cuts to trim growing federal deficits.
Biden also ramped up his defense of the Affordable Care Act, pointing to the dozens of times Republicans have tried to repeal the signature law signed by President Barack Obama. His remarks put health care front-and-center at a time when Biden is widely expected to run for re-election with a message centered on pocketbook issues like health care.
“These MAGA Republicans, they’re different. They’re just different. They continue to be determined to repeal the Affordable Care Act,” the president said on a stage at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas. “If MAGA Republicans had their way, as many as 100 million people with preexisting conditions would lose their protection. That’s a fact.”
Bad News for Bad Guys
Y’all the day is FINALLY coming for Trump
It really looks like Trump is going to be indicted next week (knock wood).
Law enforcement agencies are prepping for a possible Trump indictment as early as next week
Local, state and federal law enforcement and security agencies are preparing for the possibility that former President Donald Trump is indicted as early as next week, according to five senior officials familiar with the preparations.
Law enforcement agencies are conducting preliminary security assessments, the officials said, and are discussing potential security plans in and around the Manhattan Criminal Court, at 100 Centre Street, in case Trump is charged in connection with an alleged hush money payment to Stormy Daniels and travels to New York to face any charges.
I actually thought it would happen this week, but this fella had so much more to tell them that it took up all their time:
Michael Cohen Says He Believes Prosecutors Have All The Info They Need To Indict Trump
Donald Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen said, in his view, Manhattan prosecutors have enough evidence to indict and convict the former president as part of the office’s investigation into the hush money payment to adult film actress Stormy Daniels.
“I promise you and I promise the American people that all the information that is needed in order to create the indictment, to get a prosecution and a conviction, is in the hands of the district attorney,” Cohen told ABC News Anchor George Stephanopoulos on Friday.
and that isn’t the only indictment that may be coming:
Fulton County investigators have another recording of a Trump phone call pressuring a Georgia official
Fulton County investigators have an audio recording of a phone call that former President Donald Trump made to the Georgia House speaker to push for a special session to overturn Democrat Joe Biden’s 2020 victory in the state, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The Fulton County special grand jury, which investigated Trump’s actions in the state after the 2020 election, heard the recording of Trump’s call to David Ralston, according to five of the jurors who spoke anonymously to the AJC. A source confirmed to CNN the existence of the recording, which hasn’t been made public.
The recording adds to what’s known about the pressure campaign by Trump and his allies on Georgia officials. It’s the third audio recording of the former president’s phone calls to Georgia officials that is known to exist.
Behind the scenes of Trump grand jury
One juror said she would cry in her car at the end of the day after hearing from witnesses whose lives had been upended by disinformation and claims of election fraud.
Many emerged with heightened respect for election workers and others who kept the state’s voting integrity intact.
The grand jury was dissolved in January after submitting its final report.
The grand jurors said they understand why the public release of their full final report needs to wait until Willis makes indictment decisions.
“A lot’s gonna come out sooner or later,” one of the jurors said. “And it’s gonna be massive. It’s gonna be massive.”
Judge Rules Trump Lawyer Must Testify in Documents Inquiry
A federal judge ruled on Friday that prosecutors overseeing the investigation into former President Donald J. Trump’s handling of classified documents can pierce assertions of attorney-client privilege and compel one of his lawyers to answer more questions before a grand jury, two people familiar with the matter said.
Among the subjects that the Justice Department has been examining since last year is whether Mr. Trump or his associates obstructed justice by failing to comply with repeated demands to return a trove of government material he took with him from the White House upon leaving office, including hundreds of documents with classified markings.
Federal investigators examined Trump Media for possible money laundering, sources say
Federal prosecutors in New York involved in the criminal investigation into Donald Trump’s social media company last year started examining whether it violated money laundering statutes in connection with the acceptance of $8m with suspected Russian ties, according to sources familiar with the matter.
The company – Trump Media, which owns Trump’s Truth Social platform – initially came under criminal investigation over its preparations for a potential merger with a blank check company called Digital World (DWAC) that was also the subject of an earlier investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The expanded nature of the criminal investigation, which has not been previously reported, threatens to delay the completion of the merger between Trump Media and DWAC, which would provide the company and Truth Social with up to $1.3bn in capital, in addition to a stock market listing.
Even if Trump Media and its officers face no criminal exposure for the transactions, the optics of borrowing money from potentially unsavory sources through opaque conduits could cloud Trump’s image as he seeks to recapture the White House in 2024.
and Trump isn’t the only jerk with trouble:
Kevin McCarthy’s Deal with the Devil has worked out great — for Democrats
Kevin McCarthy had long dreamed of being speaker of the House, and in January he finally held the gavel in his hand. Granted, it took 15 humiliating votes (and a near fistfight), making secret deals with Freedom Caucus holdouts, and sucking up to Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, not to mention handing over most of the power of the speakership to the most extreme elements of his party … but he did get a really nice chair. And the gavel.
So, what is the result of that very public self-abasement? A gift to Democrats that just keeps giving and giving. Let’s recap some highlights from the first two months with McCarthy at the helm.
Normally when grading a speaker’s leadership, one would start with legislative accomplishments. But we are talking about McCarthy here, so let’s instead begin with the hearings being held by the maniacs he handed plum committee assignments to.
For example, a vital oversight hearing to finally learn why a social media company kept Republicans from seeing pictures of Hunter Biden’s penis, prompting a group of former Twitter executives to be hauled in and accused of pedophilia, all while getting yelled at for having community moderation, not to mention being threatened with prison time for unspecified crimes. Sadly for Republicans, the most memorable moment was when we learned that Donald Trump was really mad about a celebrity being mean to him on Twitter, with this memorable exchange being officially entered into the Congressional Record:
NAVAROLI: Would you like me to give the direct quote?
NAVAROLI: Please excuse my language. This is a direct quote, but Chrissy Teigen referred to Donald Trump as a “pussy ass bitch.”
More recently, perhaps upset that his House colleagues were grabbing all the headlines, McCarthy decided to step into the spotlight … by giving Tucker Carlson "exclusive" access to 41,000 hours of security footage from the Jan. 6 insurrection, never mind the security concerns. When Carlson aired cherry-picked clips and described the rioters as persecuted tourists, the blowback was immediate.
The GOP Campaign Trail Is Already Getting DeSantis-Proofed
As he explores a run for president, the demanding Florida governor is already coming across as a “nightmare” in the early primary states.
At any given fundraiser or VIP room where he’s present, Ron DeSantis is usually easy to find—in the corner, keeping to himself.
Despite having a job that entails exchanging small talk and pleasantries on a daily basis, the Florida governor tends to brush off those obligations and struggles with basic social skills, according to a source close to DeSantis, several of his former staffers, and other GOP operatives who have worked with him and his team.
“Easily the least responsive campaign I’ve ever dealt with,” one veteran event host in an early primary state told The Daily Beast, requesting anonymity to avoid alienating the Florida governor.
“We invite, invite, invite, ping, ping, ping. We don’t hear anything,” this prominent event host said.
“He’s been tighter in his requests than other candidates,” a top New Hampshire Republican told The Daily Beast, adding that only former House Speaker Newt Gingrich came to mind as a bigger “nightmare” to deal with.
While DeSantis is winning over supporters in the conservative movement for his hard-right brand of politics—and has impressed with his electoral success in once-purple Florida—his untested skills under the bright lights of a presidential campaign have led operatives and pundits to wonder if he is just the second coming of Jeb Bush or Scott Walker.
Trump Super PAC Files Ethics Complaint Against DeSantis Daring Him To Announce 2024 Bid
Former President Donald Trump’s allies are escalating their attacks on Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), who is expected to announce a 2024 presidential bid soon becoming possibly the biggest roadblock in Trump’s third run for office.
Trump Super PAC Make America Great Again Inc. filed a 15-page complaint on Wednesday with the Florida Commission on Ethics, accusing DeSantis of violating state ethics and election laws with his “shadow presidential campaign,” according to a MAGA Inc. spokesperson.
A draft of the complaint — which was first obtained by NBC News — asks the commission to investigate whether pro-DeSantis super PACs, his “personally lucrative book tour” and a continued wave of state-level campaign contributions “are unlawful because they serve his personal political objectives, are in furtherance of his personal financial gain at the expense of Florida taxpayers, and are intended to influence his official decision to resign from office.”
International Criminal Court Issues Arrest Warrant for Putin
The International Criminal Court on Friday issued an arrest warrant for President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia for war crimes, saying he bore criminal responsibility for the abduction and deportation of Ukrainian children.
Ukrainian officials and human-rights groups hailed the warrant as an important step in holding Moscow to account for abuses during its yearlong war
Other Good New
Federal appeals court leaves DeSantis’ anti-’woke’ law blocked in Florida public colleges
A federal appeals court on Thursday ruled that a temporary block on a portion of a law pushed by Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis restricting what can be taught in Florida’s public colleges and universities will remain in place.
The three-judge panel of the 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals denied a request from the DeSantis administration and officials with the state university system to stay an injunction from US District Judge Mark Walker, who called the law “positively dystopian” in a 138-page order, while the case plays out.
20 years later, despite America’s carelessness, Iraq is recovering
After years of bloodshed, though, the country is now in a far different place. Aside from having a far closer relationship with neighboring Iran than the United States, Iraq is more peaceful and prosperous than at any time in the last two generations. It is a democracy, albeit a fragile one, which is a rarity in the Arab world. Baghdad is thriving. Oil exports are flowing. Foreign investors are betting on the country’s growth. All of this has occurred in spite of the mistakes made by American civilians during the U.S. occupation.
Why we should all be liberal: The power of an adjective
The word “liberal” is noble and vexed, loved and hated. It is used by different kinds of people to refer to a wide constellation of worldviews, and it is denounced from many ideological directions.
It also happens to be the word most worth fighting for at this moment — as an adjective.
That is the thesis of what I believe will be the year’s most important political book, Michael Walzer’s “The Struggle for a Decent Politics: On ‘Liberal’ as an Adjective,” published last month. Approachably compact, it’s a volume that politicians and activists, students and academics, and citizens representing every creed should read, ponder and argue about.
The adjective “liberal,” he writes, “determines not who we are but how we are who we are.”
Liberals “aspire to be open-minded, generous and tolerant” (even if, as Walzer notes, we don’t always pull this off). They can “live with ambiguity,” are “not dogmatic,” are “not fanatics,” can “recognize moral limits,” and “oppose every kind of bigotry and cruelty.”
To qualify as liberal, a regime and philosophy must be “not despotic, not repressive, not cruel — constrained by individual rights.” The adjective encourages “pluralism, skepticism and irony.”
On the Lighter Side
I am so lucky and so proud to be in this with all of you 💚💛💖✊🏻✊🏽✊🏽✊🏻💚💛💖
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