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jcitybone

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2021/05/20/us-made-bombs-are-devastating-gaza-sanders-resolution-aims-block-735-million-weapons

Jamil Dakwar, director of the ACLU’s Human Rights Program, said Thursday that despite the long odds of passage, the congressional resolutions are a “big deal” that show “growing support among progressives in Congress to restrict or condition arms sales to Israel.”

“The message to the Biden administration is powerful and clear: unconditional support to Israel is wrong,” Dakwar added.

jcitybone

Nina Turner on Bernie Sanders, Running for Congress, and Progressive Power | The Next Wave

jcitybone

https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-features/nina-turner-congressional-campaign-ohio-1170678/

October 2019 feels like a lifetime ago. Covid-19 didn’t exist yet. Donald Trump was president. George Floyd was alive.

And on a sunny, brisk fall day in Queens, New York, in a baseball field under a bridge across the street from the country’s biggest public housing project (Queensbridge, which birthed rap legends like Nas and Mobb Deep), a balding U.S. senator from Vermont held a rally.

Bernie Sanders had just had a heart attack earlier that month, declaring “I am back!” to the crowd of 26,000 who had turned out to hear him talk about Medicare-for-all, the 99 percent, how he could win the Democratic presidential primary, and other progressive topics of the day.

An all-star roster of national, statewide, and local New York lefty politicians got on stage to lend their support to the campaign, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, former Queens District Attorney candidate Tiffany Caban, State Senator Michael Gianaris, and former New York City Council member Rafael Espinal.

Nina Turner took the stage too.

And it was on that day, that for the first time, she uttered a spontaneous statement that has followed her since, becoming something of a personal motto.

“Hello somebody!”

The crowd roared back enthusiastically.

“I am a daughter of the black church,” she tells Rolling Stone. “We have what is called the call and response. When the preacher says something, you got to talk back. You don’t just sit there. And I wanted them to know: I see you, we’re together. So since I didn’t know everybody’s name, I said, ‘hello somebody.’ It just came out of nowhere, just I think from my soul, into my heart and then into my head and out my mouth.”

This wasn’t the first time Turner’s words moved a massive, excited crowd of Bernie supporters, and it certainly wouldn’t be the last. As the most visible surrogate for the campaign, Turner made a name for herself stumping across the country for Bernie. And now, the former Cleveland City Council member and Ohio State Senator is running for U.S. Congress in Ohio, where she hopes to join a growing and vocal progressive squad in Washington.

Turner is vying to fill a seat vacated by Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia Fudge in Ohio’s 11th Congressional district special election, with a primary to take place on August 3rd, and the general election on November 2nd. There are 13 candidates in the primary, including Cuyahoga County Councilor and mentee of Marcia Fudge Shontel Brown, and former State Senator Jeff Johnson. Nina Turner has snagged prominent endorsements, from AOC to Diddy, and has raised millions for her campaign, as this election is shaping up to be another choice for voters between establishment or progressive Democratic candidates.

For the latest installment of “The Next Wave,” Rolling Stone‘s series on the new leaders who will shape America’s future, Turner discussed local and state politics, being her authentic self in the public eye, George Floyd, and a slew of progressive policies, from Medicare-for-all to an increased minimum wage.

jcitybone

(Continued)

What was the moment that you first decided to run for Congress?

When the opportunity presented itself for my former congresswoman, who is now secretary of HUD, Marcia Fudge, to be secretary, my heart said, “This is it, you should go for this.” And it really is a culmination of all the work that I’ve been doing heretofore. Started off as a Cleveland City Councilwoman, went to the Ohio Senate, done a lot of work on a national level, primarily with Senator Bernie Sanders. And this opportunity was walking down the street. So I’m glad to be in this race.

Do you remember what the first moment was that you ever decided to run for office?

Oh, my goodness, yes, I do. I worked for the mayor of the city of Cleveland, the second African American mayor, to be exact, to be elected. And his name is Michael R. White. And he decided not to run again. But I was so entrenched in what a good public servant could do, the power of public office to really change people’s conditions. And I thought, “Wow, I should run for [office at the] local level.” It was amazing to see the things that you can impact on the local level government. Even to this day, I still believe local level government is the most important, even though it does not get the attention. Council people are not patted on the back enough for doing the hard daily work of keeping their residents lifted, whether it’s snow removal or just taking that call from a senior who’s lonely. So in 2001, I ran for the very first time for Cleveland City Council. I did not win that race. So I had to make a decision, “Are you running again?” I ended up doing it again. And I ran in 2005, took the oath of office in 2006, and actually became the first woman to serve my community in Ward One in Cleveland in Lee-Harvard. So I made a little history too.

Have you always been able to express your authentic self in politics?

No. That came over time, because there are these barriers that are put up for politicians, and I would say women, and especially black women, to tone ourselves down and not to be our true selves. And so I have had to, over time, embrace that. And I think that embrace has certainly come with more age and more confidence in one’s self. And also just getting to a point in your life where you’re just not for the foolishness. I will keep this PG. There’s another word that I want to use, but I won’t. But it’s a process to getting that kind of confidence, to be, more times than not, authentically who you are in the public space. And then the fear, you know, the fear of rejection, the fear that you’re going to be over-judged, particularly if you are a public figure, there’s an extra judgment on you on how you are supposed to comport yourself. And that bothers me a lot because my former boss, Mayor Michael R. White, used to say, “If your hair is on fire, act like your hair is on fire.”

And so when I see the challenges that people are facing in this country, particularly those who are poor or are among the working poor to barely middle class, we need to do something to help change their material conditions. And so when people don’t have enough money to pay their rent or the mortgage or they don’t have access to clean food, clean air, clean water, that’s a hair-on-fire moment. It’s not particularly the moment to be cool, calm and collected. So it has been a journey for me. I’m there. Some days is harder than others, but I think, for the most part I express my authentic self most of a time.

What are the most important things America can do right now to work towards eradicating white supremacy?

First, confess. We have to recognize that white supremacy and then anti-blackness and all the other negative “isms” are very much rooted in a patriarchal, very much white, male dominated hierarchy. And white supremacy is that stain. And it is the stain that causes most of the conundrums that we face as a nation. It is linked to a notion that if you are white and male, in particular, that your life means more than anybody else’s life. And if you’re wealthy, all of that, all of that stuff comes from white supremacy. So we got to, first of all, confess our sins. We have to have some real truth and reconciliation in this country. Not be afraid of it. Let’s go and take the good, the bad and the ugly and let’s deal with this so that we can be on a path to the change that we need to happen. I believe that from police brutality, the gunning down of unarmed black men and women in particular, and some of our other sisters and brothers get caught up in that, and then there’s a class dynamic to it, too, is really a microcosm of what America really is. And so while we must be about the business of reforming and revolutionizing policing in America, what I want my sisters and brothers to understand is that policing is a reflection of the problems of a larger society. And we cannot separate ourselves from that reflection.

How has America changed and how hasn’t it changed since the police killing of George Floyd?

Well, there are laws. The Movement for Black Lives certainly has forced some policy changes in this country. On the local level, on regional levels, and also on state levels of government, laws have been changed. And that’s a beautiful thing. They didn’t just change them because people with power woke up and said, “You know what, I need to fix that.” It was changed because of the bubbling up of the grassroots, of the masses, of the activist class getting out there and making the demand.

On the other hand, we still have a very long way to go. Far too many black men and black women are still being gunned down, unarmed, and particularly unarmed black men. And that is a problem. We are nibbling around the edges with some of these policies. We just got to come straight at it. We have to analyze the system of policing, admit that it was never designed to protect and serve the black community. It was designed to surveil, to haunt, to hunt people in the black community. And that has to change. And then beyond that, the George Floyd murder reminded me, when I was watching this police officer with just pure hatred in his eyes, at least from my perspective, continue to put his knee on George Floyd’s neck, it reminded me of lynching. White people used to gather and bring their kids and take pictures (we got the receipts) as they lynched black people. Just by the look on his face, he was not moved by this life, that he was choking out, that he killed. He killed this man. And he had absolutely no remorse about it. It is a reminder that black lives are still seen in this country as somehow less than the white lives. And it is reflected in policing, and is also reflected in our politics, it’s reflected in education, it’s reflected in the wealth gap between black and white people.

So it’s not just in the criminal and the legal system that we need to fix this. We need to fix this and every single system — socioeconomic, political, environment. Black children die at higher rates of asthma, black women still die at higher rates than our white sisters in the United States of America. Black babies still die at higher rates. And my God, if they grow up, we still fear when they walk down the street. So we have lots of work to do. George Floyd, his death is not in vain, because activists are really pushing, and his murder has shaken the entire world. Systemic problems require systemic solutions, and that is when we are going to see a transformation in this country. When politicians understand that the system itself has to be changed. And the system is not some out-there thing. I want people to understand that. People run the systems. And so we got to put people in power who actually understand that it is vitally important for the survival of all, not just the black community, but for the white community, for the brown community, for all of us to have those systems change.

jcitybone

(Continued)

Will Medicare-for-all ever be a reality in the United States, and why isn’t it now?

I believe that Medicare-for-all will absolutely be a reality in the United States of America. We will keep pushing for that just like generations before us. You know, the original concept of Medicare was supposed to be Medicare-for-all before bad politics got in the way. And so we’re bumping up against those same bad politics in the insurance industry in particular, who control members of Congress. I call them “owner donors.” The owner donors are in control. And that’s the reason why we don’t have it at the moment. But there’s a 21st century awakening about this. And we are going to get it. Not going to happen because a politician got an epiphany or two. It is going to happen because the American people are making the demand.

If you could have an hour with the senators who voted against a $15 minimum wage, what would you tell them, and where would you take them?

If I could talk to the members of Congress who denied the $15 an hour minimum wage, I would ask them to walk a mile in the shoes of people who are among the working poor. The term working and poor should not go together. But it is a concept and it is real, rooted in reality, in the United States of America. And because they themselves derive their money, their income, their health care from tax dollars of the people, and then at the same time could be as brazen and heartless. [That] would have been bad before the pandemic. Because people were suffering before then, too, but especially, especially heartless during a pandemic to deny a $15 an hour minimum wage increase. Which is the floor. It is already the compromise position. It is not the ceiling.

In what ways has Biden impressed you thus far and in what ways has he disappointed you?

President Biden has impressed me with the Covid package — $1.9 trillion certainly was a great start, from the child tax credits in there, making extra money for schools. I would also say in looking at infrastructure, that he is proposing, even though it’s not enough money — as far as I’m concerned, we need more money because, again, we’ve got systemic problems and we need systemic solutions. And part of that, the federal government is the only level of government that can bring the noise, so to speak, in terms of the money that is necessary to really, truly turn the tide. But I like the fact that that the whole notion of human capital in the care industry is wrapped into those two packages. We need that.

Disappointed about the $15 an hour minimum wage increase. Because Democrats control both chambers of the Congress and they control the presidency. So I’m still scratching my head as to why a parliamentarian who was only giving an opinion — it was not binding — could control whether or not the $15 minimum wage went through. And then also the filibuster. Don’t equivocate on the filibuster. The filibuster must go. It is a relic of racism. It was used to stop abolitionist work in the Congress. So the filibuster must go. So don’t equivocate on that.

What were your biggest lessons from the Bernie campaign trail?

That conscious-minded people can can shift things in politics. And the progressives have done that. I mean, we see more progressives than ever being elected across the country and across levels of government. And even in cases where progressives were running and they did not necessarily win the seat, we changed how politicians, especially on the Democratic side, had to talk about issues. Medicare-for-all would not still be being debated if it was not for that progressive movement. Canceling student debt, legalizing marijuana, you name it. It is because of the progressive movement that we’re having real robust debate about the type of country we want to be, about the type of country that we should be.

Another lesson that I learned that it is really hard to beat the status quo. That when you are trying to change systems in the way that our campaign was trying to do, that the status quo is not just going to let you do that. And that it will mount, it will unite, to try to stop you. And I think people who are on a justice journey have to always keep that in mind.

Will Democrats ever be as united in left-wing stances as Republicans are in right-wing ones, to be able to wield their supposed political power to enact major progressive policy changes?

Yes, I mean, the nation is there. When we look at the things that people really care about now, again, especially because of the pandemic, it is healthcare. It is increasing the minimum wage. It is canceling student debt. When I started this journey with Senator Sanders in the latter part of 2015, people thought “They’re crazy. Why are they talking about this stuff? This doesn’t make sense.” And you fast forward to 2021, and those subjects, those issues are what animate people’s lives every single day.

So just as the Republicans are determined to wreak havoc, especially those on the federal level, the Democratic Party, because we asked the American people to give us the presidency. Check. Give us the Senate by way of Georgia. Check. Help us keep the majority in the House of Representatives. Check. So we got check, check and check. Now we must go ham. Ham on behalf of the American people. Power is made to be used. You can’t squander it. You got to use it. And do I think there is some value in trying to bring people along? Yes, I do. Dr. Maya Angelou once said that when people show you who they are, you ought to believe them. And the Republicans time and time again, especially on the federal level, have shown us who they really are. So let’s not be confused. There’s no confusion. And the Democrats should use that power that was given to us by the people to change their material conditions, and not to apologize.

polarbear4

exactly right.

I always have my little quibble with Nina and Bernie that it’s not just the working class that shouldn’t be poor in America. It’s everyone. “poor” implies that you are not able to thrive, that life is short and often mean.

wi63

I had high hopes that that day would propel Bernie to the nomination Little did we know how bad the DNC were drawing thier plans against him

orlbucfan

True, but working the 2016 campaign was one of the best times of my life. I was around a lot of young people and the feeling of optimistic hope was infectious and sorely needed. Plus I met all my fellow TPW Nesters.😊☮️👏

jcitybone

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/may/20/democrats-bill-water-utility-companies-coronavirus

Legislation to cancel utility debts for millions of low-income households and bail out struggling utility companies is to be introduced in the US Senate on Thursday.

Jeff Merkley, a Democratic senator from Oregon, will propose a $30bn low-interest loans program for electric, water and sewage and broadband providers as part of the Maintaining Access to Essential Services During the Covid Emergency Act of 2021.

The loans would allow utilities to recoup money in order to stay afloat without resorting to fines and shutoffs. Utilities have long justified using disconnections as a way to force people to keep up with bills.

“We cannot rebuild the strength and resilience of America from the ground up if millions of families lose electricity, water and broadband, we have to keep these essential services turned on if people are going to get back on their feet,” Merkley told the Guardian. “This is like PPE for utilities. If we can get the concept in place, we can later add more funds if needed.”

It’s unclear how much is owed to utility companies nationwide, though it is probably significantly more than the $30bn earmarked in the bill.

In Merkley’s bill, the loans would be conditional on utilities canceling debts for low-income households. Two years after the end the pandemic, public and small utilities could see the loans forgiven for the amount of outstanding arrears, as long as they had not reverted to using punitive measures. Utilities that disconnect or fine customers would be obliged to immediately repay the loan in full.

“The conditions are very much the heart of the bill. The goal is to enable utilities to do the right thing but not suffer catastrophic economic consequences as a result,” added Merkley.

polarbear4

Great. I wish he’d negotiate some kind of partial municipal or state interest in any that are privately owned.

jcitybone

https://theintercept.com/2021/05/19/voting-election-reform-chuck-schumer-joe-manchin/

CHUCK SCHUMER AND Joe Manchin are locked in a voting rights standoff.

Senate Majority Leader Schumer, D-N.Y., shot down an effort from Sens. Manchin, D-W.Va., and Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, to focus narrowly on reauthorizing the 1965 Voting Rights Act, instead championing the For the People Act as the more immediate fix for systemic problems in the U.S. electoral system.

For the uninitiated: The For the People Act, also known as H.R. 1 in the House and S. 1 in the Senate, would amount to a sweeping overhaul of election and campaign finance law; the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, or H.R. 4, would work to re-implement Justice Department oversight of voting laws in states that have a history of voter suppression and discrimination.

Schumer dismissed the Manchin gambit in unusually blunt terms. “Here’s the bottom line: … The Voting Rights Act is actually authorized until 2032, so their letter to us saying authorize it, well, it’s pretty much done,” Schumer told reporters during a press conference Tuesday.

The necessity of revisiting the question of voting rights stems from a 5-4 Supreme Court decision in 2013, in which Chief Justice John Roberts gutted the Voting Rights Act of 1965 by striking down its key provision, known as preclearance, which mandated certain jurisdictions with histories of discrimination obtain approval from the federal government before they could change their voting laws. Stripping out preclearance allowed states to pass ever-expansive voter suppression laws.

“This decision effectively gutted one of the federal government’s most effective tools to preserve confidence in our nation’s elections, and we are seeing the results manifest themselves in state legislatures across the country,” Manchin and Murkowski, the lone Republican in support of reauthorization, wrote in a letter to leadership in Congress on Monday.

Manchin and Murkowski may have identified the problem, but their solution is untenable.

Experts say reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act would be insufficient to address the restrictions to ballot access that Republicans are cheering in the states. Put simply: Because the Roberts court has already struck down preclearance, it could easily do so again.

Roberts’s decision instructed Congress that if the legislature wanted to re-implement preclearance, it would have to build a strong case over time that the states where it would apply, concentrated in the South, were indeed engaged in discriminatory voter suppression. Convincing an average observer of that reality would not be difficult, but Roberts, in his 2013 decision, effectively declared racism over.

In order to re-implement the Voting Rights Act, Congress would either need to appoint new justices to the Supreme Court or go through the lengthy process of building a case to convince not just Roberts but at least one of his colleagues to his right. H.R. 4, which Manchin recently suggested Congress focus on in lieu of the For the People Act, is designed to build that lengthy case, specifically aimed at winning approval from the court.

The For the People Act, or H.R. 1, takes a more direct approach, simply outlawing many of the most effective suppression tactics. First passed by the House in 2019, it also mitigates the role of big money in politics and bars partisan gerrymandering — which by itself is potentially enough to give Republicans the House majority. (Title I of the bill, focusing on ballot access and countering voter suppression, was largely written by Lewis before he passed away last July, but the decision was made to add his name instead to the new voting rights legislation. Support grew for the 1965 Voting Rights Act after the brutal beating of civil rights demonstrators in Selma, Alabama, where Lewis had his skull fractured and nearly lost his life.)

jcitybone

jcitybone

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/19/nyregion/cuomo-covid-test-investigation.html

Federal prosecutors have been looking into whether Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s administration granted special access to rapid coronavirus test results for the governor’s family and other influential people, according to two people with knowledge of the discussions.

Investigators from the Eastern District of New York had been looking into the handling of data on nursing home deaths by Mr. Cuomo’s office. More recently, their focus expanded, according to the people, to include questions surrounding a priority testing program that benefited Mr. Cuomo’s close family members, including his brother, Chris Cuomo, in the early weeks of the pandemic.

Those who received special access to testing and fast results during that period also included Giorgio DeRosa, a top Albany lobbyist and the father of the governor’s most senior aide, Melissa DeRosa, according to two people with knowledge of the tests who spoke to The New York Times.

The governor’s office has not disputed that the governor’s family and others received priority access to testing in the pandemic’s early weeks.

But the special treatment for Mr. Cuomo’s family has lasted far longer than previously known, through at least last month, The Times found.

On April 3, the day before Easter, one of Mr. Cuomo’s daughters, Mariah Kennedy Cuomo, and her boyfriend, Tellef Lundevall, were tested at a state-run site in Albany, N.Y., and the samples were labeled a priority — “specials,” as they were known inside the Health Department — before being rushed for processing at the state’s Wadsworth Center laboratory nearby.

The samples were processed within hours, according to two people familiar with the events. Their reason for getting priority was personal: They were going to see the governor for the holiday.

The couple’s preferential treatment underscored how a system meant to ensure fast test results for high-priority cases — such as those involving possible outbreaks — had been repeatedly used for Mr. Cuomo’s immediate family and other influential people.

jcitybone

https://www.ny1.com/nyc/all-boroughs/news/2021/05/18/rising-in-new-poll–scott-stringer-releases-public-ethics-plan

Rising in new poll, Scott Stringer releases public ethics plan

Democratic mayoral candidate Scott Stringer released a plan for ethics reform Tuesday, calling for an outright ban on campaign contributions by anyone doing business with the city or lobbying City Hall, if he’s elected mayor.

“Pay to play, campaign finance loopholes, agents of the City and blurred lines between lobbyists and City Hall proves that a century and a half later it’s clear we still have a long way to go,” Stringer said.

Stringer made the announcement at Foley Square alongside supporters a day after a PIX11, NewsNation, Emerson College poll on the race showed Stringer in third place with 15%, behind Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, who got 17.5%, and Andrew Yang, who received 15.4%.

Stringer’s ethics proposal would also ban contributions and contribution bundling by people doing business the city, meaning all people who are on the city’s “doing business with” list — including lobbyists – would be prohibited from donating.

Current regulations allow individuals in the city’s “doing business with” list to contribute a maximum of $400 dollars to citywide candidates for office. People doing business with the city are also allowed to act as “bundlers” which allows them to collect donations from a larger group of people on behalf of a campaign. Stringer said he would also ban that practice.

“We cant allow dark money from special interests and dark money to shape our recover from COVID and we cant allow a culture of corruption to take root again at city hall,” Stringer said.

The plan was released just days after The New York Times ran a story detailing years of campaign contributions to Eric Adams, raising questions about whether Adams had taken donations from people who had interests before the city. Adams has denied any wrongdoing, saying he has always followed campaign finance rules and has never let any fundraising impact his decisions as an elected official.

Stringer’s proposal would mark a significant change to how political business is done in New York City — for decades, lobbyists and special interests have enjoyed access to municipal government thanks to loopholes in the law that allow donations.

jcitybone

https://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/nyc-elections-2021/ny-nyc-mayoral-race-scott-stringer-jamaal-bowman-endorsement-20210518-d3gwvrphvvfchagqqjcwwxb5ke-story.html

Just days after city Comptroller Scott Stringer came under an allegation of sexual misconduct, Rep. Jamaal Bowman took back his endorsement of the mayoral candidate.

Now he’s feeling some remorse.

“Quite frankly, I sometimes regret it because I wasn’t more patient, didn’t ask more questions, didn’t call for other things because I do like Scott,” Bowman told a local chapter of lefty group Empire State Indivisible over the weekend.

magsview

Rising in new poll, Scott Stringer releases public ethics plan

I’m not a huge fan of Stringer, but I must admit I don’t want that ex-Republican Adams to win, so was glad to see him rising in the polls. But again, I don’t live there so whomever wins I just hope they are the best one for the people of NYC.

I saw this, things getting hot.

Andrew Yang was heckled at a news conference in Brooklyn on Thursday, the latest disruption on the mayoral campaign trail in the bid to run New York City.

The demonstrator, Miles Earl, carried a sign in support of Democratic candidate Maya Wiley and shouted, “Andrew Yang doesn’t vote in New York City” for much of the conference near the Parkside Avenue subway station in Flatbush.

At one point, Yang stepped aside from the press gaggle and spoke briefly with Earl. A young man leaned out an apartment window and yelled at the protester: “Shut up, he’s going to give us $1,000″ — a reference to Yang’s former presidential universal basic income proposal.

“This is a very New York moment,” Yang said.

Wiley responded:

“No more of this PLEASE!” tweeted Maya Rupert, Wiley’s campaign manager. “This isn’t how we do things on #TeamMaya. We expect all of our supporters to lift up Maya’s vision for NYC without tearing anyone else down.”

And Stringer hitting Yang for sounding clueless:

City Comptroller Scott Stringer pounced on Yang as well, lambasting him for appearing not to know that the city has designated shelters for victims of domestic violence. At a forum on homelessness Thursday, Yang said that it “would be extraordinarily helpful … to have specific shelters for victims of domestic violence” who should have “a separate facility or place.”

“In fact, these shelters already exist,” Stringer spokesman Tyrone Stevens said. “The next mayor needs to expand these shelters and supports — but they’ll have a hard time doing that if they don’t even know they exist.”

And Yang does, sometimes, sound a bit clueless.

Yang said the Police Department needs to be more representative of the city. “We need a 21st-century approach to policing that helps the NYPD evolve,” he said.

But he faced a grilling from reporters on specific aspects of public safety, and he appeared to struggle to identify 50-a, a repealed state law that was used by police departments to prevent the release of disciplinary records.

Can’t help but wonder what Yang meant by “a 21st-century approach to policing”..

orlbucfan

T and R, Ms. Benny!! ☮️😊👏

Don midwest
Don midwest
Don midwest
Don midwest

Thoughts about setting up the Jan 6 commission by an author of a book on the 9/11 commission report

Interview with Philip Shenon: Lessons from the Uncensored History of the 9/11 Commission

Do you remember Phillip? I do, but didn’t realize his tie to Condi

The staff of the 9/11 commission was exceptionally talented. Lots of policy experts and smart lawyers. But when it came to influence, only one staffer had real power – the intelligent and abrasive executive director, Philip Zelikow, the University of Virginia history professor. I’d argue he was more influential than several of the 10 commissioners when it came to writing the final report. At the end of the investigation, many staffers felt their most important and controversial conclusions were not reflected in the report’s findings, especially when it came to demanding accountability in the Bush administration for the intelligence failures that led to 9/11. That was also true about the evidence of possible Saudi government ties to the conspiracy. The choice of an executive director – to run the day-to-day investigation—is vital. I think the 1/6 commission should be on the lookout for someone as smart as Zelikow but more willing to share authority and with fewer conflicts of interest. (Zelikow was close to Condi Rice and had been on the Bush administration’s White House transition team in 2000, with responsibility for national-security issues. That still astonishes me.) Certainly the staffers of the 1/6 commission should have much greater — maybe even guaranteed — access to the 10 commissioners.

that was the first paragraph response of the interview. Here is the last paragraph of response

Goodman:

Are there other lessons from the experience of the 9/11 Commission that you think should guide the public understanding and/or media coverage of a January 6 Commission? Are there other lessons for how a January 6 commission members and their staff should envision their mandate and carry out their work?

Shenon: One lesson, I think, is to make no early judgements about where this investigation will go and how long it will take. The central outline of the 9/11 commission report was written even before the staff got to work, which was a mistake (and certainly created suspicion among some staffers that the outcome was predetermined). The draft legislation suggests the 1/6 commission will wrap up by the end of the year, which seems an impossible deadline. Setting up a federal commission is like setting up a small federal agency. Just finding office space and establishing a payroll system can take weeks or months. Staffers will need security clearances. Better, I think, to mandate lots of public hearings and an authoritative preliminary report by the end of the year, with a final report sometime in 2022.