HomeUncategorized12.4-5 Open Threads
newest oldest most voted
Notify of

Tips for Orl for getting our weekend thread started!

Tip Jar.jpg

Kamala Harris is undergoing yet another transition.

Less than a year after assembling a mostly new team to help settle her into the vice presidency, key members of Harris’ orbit are leaving and even more are eyeing the exits.

Some Harris confidantes and Democratic allies are urging her to more aggressively embrace the concept of a reset, arguing that she needs to put her rocky first year behind her and openly embrace the idea that she’s entering a new phase. But others, including some top aides, are resistant to signaling a major shift is afoot, suggesting that the internal restructuring only feeds a narrative of disorder and that most of the new blood coming to the vice president’s office won’t be visible to the wider public anyway.

Harris sidestepped questions about the staff turnover and potential for a reset when asked about it by POLITICO, and her office declined to comment for this story. But behind the scenes, advisers have spent weeks researching possible replacements for important posts and feeling out others who passed on roles in the office earlier this year, to see if they would be more amenable to joining in a second round.

Four staffers have announced their departures from the vice president’s office in recent weeks. They include the high-profile exit by one of Harris’ closest aides, Symone Sanders, who serves as senior adviser and chief spokesperson, as well as Ashley Etienne, the office’s communications director. Officials maintain those departures were long-planned and not evidence of the turmoil. But they are part of a wave that could grow larger as staff inside the vice president’s office review other opportunities. More aides in Harris’ office have expressed interest in leaving, according to people familiar with those conversations.

Donna Brazile, a veteran Democratic strategist close to the White House and vice president’s office, stressed that turnover at this level of government isn’t surprising — especially in the case of Sanders, one of the first people President Joe Biden hired when he ran for president. But she said the new vacancies give Harris a chance to reassess.

“Every opportunity that you get in politics to renew and repurpose is a good opportunity,” Brazile said in an interview. “In every stage of [Harris’] life, there were people she could bring with her and then there were people that she had to pick up along the way because of the new responsibilities. And I think that this is an opportunity like she’s done with throughout her career to find people who are able to take their seats at the table because guess what? There’s something new on the menu.”

The shakeup among Harris’ staff has led to speculation about how she and her top aides have managed the office, as well as her own capacity as a boss. Aware of the grumbling, top Harris allies are defending her leadership skills, while characterizing the withdrawals as part of the usual burnout that comes from working in a pressure-cooker environment. There is fear among some confidants that if she is not more centrally involved in hiring at her office, a frustrating first year could become a more painful second one.

“If she’s not allowed to select her own people or have a lot of say in picking her own people, she’s f—ed,” a longtime Harris confidant told POLITICO, arguing she needs loyalists who also maintain support and trust within Biden’s inner circle.

The Biden administration over the summer had already brought in a pair of fixers — Lorraine Voles and Adam Frankel — to assess the vice president’s operation and institute changes. They have shared little about any internal changes, but a person close to Harris described Voles as “a calming influence” who has streamlined bottlenecks.

The vice president’s team declined to comment on what specifically has changed since Voles and Frankel, a former Barack Obama speechwriter, joined the office, but officials acknowledged they were handling long-term planning and organizational development.

The Bye Line: Ignore the negative narratives, Vice President Harris must follow her instincts
Democratic strategists and people closely aligned with both Harris and Biden view the pending reshaping of the office as an important moment for the White House, one where they can plot out how to better deploy a historic figure in the vice president role.

And with the departures of Sanders and Etienne, who are both Black, there’s also been renewed focus among Democrats to continue to push for more diversity in major jobs and across the Biden administration moving forward.

Harris’ allies also view it as an opportunity for her to embrace a more active role in shaping her coverage. Among them, there is a growing sense of frustration over what is viewed as over-torqued critiques that feed a doomsday assessment of her standing and political future.

“There are definitely some improvements that are widely acknowledged that need to be made in that office. And those improvements are acknowledged by the people in her office and they are acknowledged by the people in the White House,” said a Democratic strategist with ties to Bidenworld.

The strategist added the even though there’s a lot of “talented people in the office,” Harris is now presented with an opportunity to take lessons learned from the first year and “structure the office in a way that meets the needs and goals of what she’s trying to accomplish and what she is accomplishing for the administration.”

Karen Finney, a Democratic strategist who has worked on campaigns for Hillary Clinton and Stacey Abrams, said that despite the headlines, Harris had done laudable work on voting rights, meeting with people not traditionally heard from around D.C., and by helping put a “human face” on the president’s sprawling legislative agenda via her travel around the country.

“Vice President Harris is doing the job of the vice president,” Finney said. “That is to be the No. 2, to help push and get passed the president’s agenda, to represent the United States around the world and help repair our global alliances; and on the pandemic to get the aid package passed and travel the country urging Americans to get vaccinated.”

Harris has long had trouble finding her early footing in offices to which she’d just been elected, even those where she had considerable experience. In the span of a decade — 2011 to 2021 — she rose from attorney general of California to U.S. senator to vice president.

With the exception of her four years in the U.S. Senate, the learning curve has led to early missteps and rough patches in every job she’s held. But she’s always recovered, in part by excelling in the work, aides noted. “And that recovery is a result of people focusing on what she is doing and not on what people are saying,” one longtime former Harris aide said.

Harris has few advisers around her with long-standing personal relationships. And throughout her career in elected office, there have been staff exoduses. However, it wasn’t until her tailspin in the 2020 presidential campaign that they began to creep into the actual news coverage of her. Some fear that if she doesn’t create some stability within the top ranks of her office with the necessary help of Biden’s team, that type of coverage will come to define her.

“The ceaseless staff turnover will continue unless the White House takes charge and provides stewardship for the vice president’s office,” said Gil Duran, a former top Harris aide in California who is now the opinion editor of the San Francisco Examiner. “The stakes for President Biden and the nation are high, and so this narrative of division and dysfunction must be swiftly put to rest.”

Harris’ press operation is undergoing the most visible retooling. When it was conceived, officials conceded, neither the White House nor Harris’ office was prepared for the level of scrutiny on the vice president, both for the historic nature of her position and as the No. 2 to a president many Democrats aren’t convinced will run again in 2024.

“Her press corps, her press contingency, is much larger and much more robust than previous vice presidents,” a Democratic strategist aligned with the White House said. “There’s just a different level of scrutiny and a different level of coverage. That goes back to the original discussion about how the team can construct the office in a way that helps meet those demands of the press corps in this press environment.”

Harris, herself a relative newcomer to Washington, has had to adapt to the traditionally understated role of vice president. She has been reluctant to forge relationships with members of the news media, and there has been little in the way of proactive pitching of stories on her — magnifying the impact of process pieces from mainstream press outlets and fierce criticism from right-wing outlets.

“Why is it that if Kamala goes to the bathroom, everybody says ‘she used toilet paper’ or if she goes into the kitchen, everyone says ‘she bought a new pot?’” Brazile said. “How many people have left the West Wing? How many people have said, ‘I’m only going to do this for six months.’ There’s this insatiable appetite to carry every conversation that Kamala is having into the press but it’s never one that says, actually, what’s going on.”


DNC coronation/puppet underway.


Easier to get a gun than a drivers license or to vote in the USA


To me this is about the WASPs wanting control over women, they could care less about abortion. If their mistress gets pregnant they simply fly them to a country that will do the procedure for them. I’ve always been pro choice as it’s between the Woman and her Dr. It’s the women that won’t have access or $$$ to get an abortion who suffer



Wisconsin’s Democratic governor vetos GOP anti-abortion bills

Fri, December 3, 2021, 6:00 PM
Wisconsin’s Democratic Gov. Tony Evers on Friday vetoed five anti-abortion bills passed by the Republican-controlled state legislature.

Why it matters: The veto announcement comes at the end of a week in which the right to an abortion was front and center in America.

Stay on top of the latest market trends and economic insights with Axios Markets. Subscribe for free

The Wisconsin bills would have added additional requirements on what medical providers must tell women who are seeking an abortion.

One of the measures, which Evers had previously vetoed in 2019 as well, would mandate a lifetime prison sentence for any doctor who does not attempt to offer medical care for a baby born following an attempted abortion, an extraordinarily unusual situation.

What he’s saying: “I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again today: as long as I’m governor, I will veto any legislation that turns back the clock on reproductive rights in this state—and that’s a promise,” tweeted Evers, who is up for re-election in 2022.

Evers is the only thing holding our fascist controled senate and assembly at bay in WI. If he loses in 22 it will make Walkers 8 years look like a church bake sale


What the next gereration has to look forward to after our unbridled consumerism and lack of recycling ruins the enviroment. Off to the landfills it goes to pollute even more.


Mainstream media definitely is biased against progressives, it turns out they are also biased against moderates vs. Trumpists.


Artificial intelligence can now measure the negativity with precision. At my request, Forge.ai, a data analytics unit of the information company FiscalNote, combed through more than 200,000 articles — tens of millions of words — from 65 news websites (newspapers, network and cable news, political publications, news wires and more) to do a “sentiment analysis” of coverage. Using algorithms that give weight to certain adjectives based on their placement in the story, it rated the coverage Biden received in the first 11 months of 2021 and the coverage President Donald Trump got in the first 11 months of 2020.

The findings, painstakingly assembled by FiscalNote vice president Bill Frischling, confirmed my fear: My colleagues in the media are serving as accessories to the murder of democracy.

After a honeymoon of slightly positive coverage in the first three months of the year, Biden’s press for the past four months has been as bad as — and for a time worse than — the coverage Trump received for the same four months of 2020.

Think about that. In 2020, Trump presided over a worst-in-world pandemic response that caused hundreds of thousands of unnecessary deaths; held a superspreader event at the White House and got covid-19 himself; praised QAnon adherents; embraced violent white supremacists; waged a racist campaign against Black Lives Matter demonstrators; attempted to discredit mail-in voting; and refused to accept his defeat in a free and fair election, leading eventually to the violence of Jan. 6 and causing tens of millions to accept the “big lie,” the worst of more than 30,000 he told in office.

And yet Trump got press coverage as favorable as, or better than, Biden is getting today. Sure, Biden has had his troubles, with the delta variant, Afghanistan and inflation. But the economy is rebounding impressively, he has signed major legislation, and he has restored some measure of decency, calm and respect for democratic institutions.

We need a skeptical, independent press. But how about being partisans for democracy? The country is in an existential struggle between self-governance and an authoritarian alternative. And we in the news media, collectively, have given equal, if not slightly more favorable, treatment to the authoritarians


Thanks orl!



In some ways, Texas is correct: The right to abortion is not the only one currently on the table. If the Supreme Court rules that the Constitution’s promise of liberty and equality to all is predicated on 19th-century history and whatever state laws were when the 14th Amendment was adopted in 1868, then there are a whole lot of rights that are in trouble — including the right to use birth control, the right of adults to engage in consensual sexual activity, and the right to marry whom we choose.

Rikelman was clear about this during a press conference hours after oral arguments concluded. “The types of arguments that the state is making could absolutely be made against a host of other rights,” she said, “because the state is arguing that people’s liberty should be limited to the laws that were enforced in 1868.”

“That is just a very dangerous argument,” she added, and not one the Supreme Court has accepted to date. “It would mean that the historical discrimination against groups that were considered unequal in the 1800s, including women, would continue. And that cannot be true under our Constitution.”



Leading voting rights activists came away frustrated and alarmed from what they hoped would be a breakthrough meeting last month at the White House to discuss a strategy to pass federal voting rights legislation.

There were high hopes for the 15 November teleconference between the White House and the leaders of the hundreds of groups that comprise the Declaration for American Democracy (Dfad), many of which have been campaigning hard for federal voting rights legislation. Kamala Harris had agreed to stop by the meeting.

After Joe Biden gave a strong endorsement in late October of altering the Senate filibuster rule for voting rights legislation, the activists hoped that the White House would lay out a course for getting the stalled bills through the US Senate.

Instead, multiple people who attended the meeting said they didn’t hear any kind of plan from the White House.

The vice-president, who is leading the White House’s voting rights effort, arrived midway through the meeting and read just over six minutes of prepared remarks and then left without taking any questions, according to people who attended.

White House staffers stayed on the call and answered three questions from participants. “They did not lay out a strategy for getting this done,” said one person who attended, who requested anonymity to discuss a private meeting.

Cliff Albright, a co-founder of Black Voters Matter, also attended the meeting and said it felt like a “check-the-box kind of a call”.

“Nothing substantive came out of it,” he said. “It was very frustrating.”

A third participant was also critical of the way the White House handled the meeting.

“She said her five-minute remarks, which were the ‘same-old, same old’, and then she left”, said the person, who also requested that their name not be disclosed.

“We had hoped going into that meeting that after the president’s comments at the town hall that there would have been some sort of strategic shift, some sort of internal tactical thinking and planning done. It was, from that meeting, clear that no work had been done legislatively,” the person added. “They seemed pretty eager to talk about anything other than legislation.”



Republicans being Republicans




Since Sandy Hook didnt result in change, Michigan shouldnt expect any change.


All to impress Cuban voters in Florida who aren’t going to vote Dem anyway.


President Biden’s presidency raised expectations among many Cubans of a return to the Obama days, when the United States sought to bury the last vestige of the Cold War by restoring diplomatic relations with Havana and calling for an end to the embargo.

Instead, Mr. Biden is taking an even harder line on Cuba than his predecessor, President Donald J. Trump, who tightened restrictions on travel and financial transactions.

The island became an early foreign policy crisis for the Biden administration after Cubans poured into the streets to denounce their authoritarian government and the food and medicine shortages exacerbated by the pandemic. The rare act of rebellion was quashed with the biggest crackdown on dissent in a generation.

The White House imposed new sanctions against Cuban officials in the past few weeks in response to the arrest of hundreds of protesters who took to the streets in cities across the island nation on July 11. Mr. Biden also asked government experts to draw up plans for the United States to unilaterally expand internet access on the island and has pledged to increase support for Cuban dissidents.

“We hear the cries of freedom coming from the island,” Mr. Biden said during a recent meeting with Cuban Americans in the White House. “We’re holding the regime accountable.”

To many Cubans who had seen in the election of a Democratic president reason to hope for a return to normalized relations — with more flights to the island and more channels to send cash, medicine and food to loved ones — Mr. Biden’s approach has been a blow.

“The past month has been really, really hard to take,” said Manuel Barcia Paz, a Cuban scholar in the United Kingdom, who has struggled to send money to his ailing parents in Cuba.

Cuba experts and American government officials say that Mr. Biden’s policy shift reflects the ascendant influence of Sen. Robert Menendez, who as chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee wields enormous power over administration nominees and other administration priorities.

Mr. Menendez, the son of Cuban immigrants who was an ardent critic of the Obama gambit toward the island, has relished seeing a new Democratic president largely in lock step with his sticks-over-carrots approach.

“Let us not repeat the mistakes of the past,” Mr. Menendez said in a speech on the Senate floor last week, in which he praised Mr. Biden and called for an even tougher set of measures. “Let us not fall victim to tired myths.”


TPTB Are getting evermore used to having their way. You can bet the next coronation will be with someone they know they can control.