On Thanksgiving, I’m thankful my ancestors left Europe, and that America took them in

“I’ve got something I’d like to say.” That’s what I usually offer up as a preamble, as I try to get the attention of my kids and other family members gathered around the Thanksgiving table—although this year, due to COVID-19, it will sadly be just my wife and kids. It usually takes a couple of attempts, but once we’re all on the same page, I offer words of thanks for my ancestors. I talk about how brave they must have been to leave the communities of their birth—which were at least familiar, despite the hardship, discrimination, and all-too-common violence they faced—and come to a land where they didn’t speak the language, didn’t know the culture, and, in many cases, didn’t know a soul.

In this offering, I mention the family names of the people who came and the places they came from. We’ve done quite a bit of genealogical research—on my side and my wife’s side of the family—and are lucky to have as much information as we do. My goal is to give my kids a sense of who their ancestors were, and what they went through to give us a chance to have the life we do. One branch of my father’s family came from Vilnius, now the capital of Lithuania; another from Riga, Latvia’s capital; another from Minsk, capital of Belarus; and the last from Odessa, now in Ukraine. Growing up, I had learned that all my father’s ancestors were “Russian.” It turns out none of them came from places that are now in that country (at least as of this writing).

The story is similar on my mother’s side. One branch was described to me as Austrian; in fact they came from Skole in today’s Ukraine. The other was Hungarian, and came from Sighet (Elie Wiesel’s hometown) in Transylvania, now a province of Romania. During my Thanksgiving meal talk, I also thank my wife’s family, who came from Vienna, Poland, and Russia. In reality, the primary point of identification in terms of culture and identity for all these people was not the country of origin on their passport, but the fact that they were members of the Jewish people, irrespective of any particular level of belief or religiosity.

In addition to being Jews, the family ancestors I’ll be acknowledging were also, of course, Americans. And that’s the other part of the thanks I’ll give on the holiday. I’m thankful that my ancestors had a place to go, that they could become Americans and make a life here.

The last of them got in just under the wire, arriving a few months after the First World War and only a couple of years before a series of immigration “reforms” severely limited the number of immigrants our country accepted from outside the British Isles and northwest Europe. My wife’s grandmother’s family got out of Poland in 1937—and only because the youngest child had been born here (it’s a long story), one of the oldest living “anchor babies,” I’d surmise. Very few Jews were able to find refuge here at that point and immediately afterward—during the years when they needed it most.

I make sure my kids know about these restrictions on immigration, as well as the fact that Asians had almost no chance to emigrate and become U.S. citizens until the early 1950s. We also talk about how—although their ancestors and other Jewish immigrants certainly didn’t have it easy—they at least had opportunities that America denied to the large numbers of African Americans and American Indians who had arrived long before our family. America didn’t treat everyone living here equally, either on paper or in practice. Certainly, as the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and too many others have reminded us, we’ve still got room for improvement on that front as well, to say the least, although we have come a long way thanks to those heroes who fought and bled to get us as far as we have come.

Over the past four years, the soon-to-be-former occupant of the White House has been making the process for coming here far more difficult, far more treacherous, for refugees and asylum-seekers. But hopefully, The Man Who Lost The Popular Vote (Again) will be shuffling off the stage in the very near future. That is something for which my family and I are deeply thankful.

Contrast him with the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society of Pennsylvania, who last year organized a Thanksgiving event in Philadelphia specifically for immigrants—the 11th year they’ve done so—although they won’t be able to do something similar this year thanks, if that’s the word, to the pandemic. Over 100 people shared the holiday meal:

Vanessa, who declined to give her last name, says the event is exactly what she and her family needed after being under the threat of deportation.

"We couldn’t miss it today, because recently my parents were in deportation court," she said.

Vanessa says she's thankful her family can stay together just in time for the holiday.

If that organization sounds familiar, it might be because of the wonderful work it does on behalf of immigrants, or it might be because the terrorist who killed 11 Jews at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh specifically mentioned HIAS in a post just a few hours before committing that mass murder:

A couple of hours before opening fire in a Pittsburgh synagogue, Robert Bowers, the suspected gunman, posted on the social network Gab, “HIAS likes to bring invaders in that kill our people. I can’t sit by and watch my people get slaughtered. Screw your optics, I’m going in.” HIAS is the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, and Bowers had posted about it at least once before. Two and a half weeks earlier, he had linked to a HIAS project called National Refugee Shabbat and written, “Why hello there HIAS! You like to bring in hostile invaders to dwell among us?” Another post that most likely referred to HIAS read, “Open you Eyes! It’s the filthy EVIL jews Bringing the Filthy EVIL Muslims into the Country!!”

So while I’m thankful to our country for taking in my family, and so many others, I am aware that not everyone approves of America’s generosity. There’s another person, whose family is also Jewish and from Eastern Europe, who expressed a sense of gratitude that reminded me of my own. This person did so in the context of coming forward to testify in an impeachment inquiry focused on Donald Trump. He has faced anti-Semitism from Trump and his allies in retaliation for stepping forward and telling the truth. Here are the words of Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, words that make me proud to share my heritage with this man:

Next month will mark 40 years since my family arrived in the United States as refugees. When my father was 47 years old he left behind his entire life and the only home he had ever known to start over in the United States so that his three sons could have better, safer lives. His courageous decision inspired a deep sense of gratitude in my brothers and myself and instilled in us a sense of duty and service. All three of us have served or are currently serving in the military. Our collective military service is a special part of our family’s story in America.

I also recognize that my simple act of appearing here today, just like the courage of my colleagues who have also truthfully testified before this Committee, would not be tolerated in many places around the world. In Russia, my act of expressing my concerns to the chain of command in an official and private channel would have severe personal and professional repercussions and offering public testimony involving the President would surely cost me my life. I am grateful for my father’s brave act of hope 40 years ago and for the privilege of being an American citizen and public servant, where I can live free of fear for mine and my family’s safety.

Dad, my sitting here today in the US Capitol talking to our elected officials is proof that you made the right decision forty years ago to leave the Soviet Union and come here to United States of America in search of a better life for our family. Do not worry, I will be fine for telling the truth.

Thanksgiving—at least in the form we celebrate in this country—is an American invention, and also a holiday about each of our relationships to America, and to our fellow Americans. It means different things to different people, depending for some on how their ancestors were treated. For me, America is my home, the only one I’ve got. It is the place that made my life and my family possible. My membership in the American people, the American national community, is central to my identity.

We are living in a time when, once again, demagogues are playing on our deepest fears to argue against taking in people fleeing oppression in their homelands, just as was the case in 1939. Demagogues are also casting doubt on the loyalty of Jewish Americans who were born elsewhere, just as was the case in the Dreyfus Affair over a century ago. I am truly grateful for what America did for me—taking in my ancestors when they needed a place to go. I know there are many others who will end up being far less fortunate. They are the ones we have to fight for now.

This is an updated version of a piece I have posted the last couple years on Thanksgiving.

Cheers and Jeers: Family Dysfunction Awareness Day

Before the election I predicted that, if he won, Joe Biden would call the Butterball Hotline at least once during his presidency. I stand by that. He just gives off that vibe. As we wait for our 46th president to prove me correct, here’s another POTUS—“Joe Bethersonton”—doing the deed:

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My annual list of thanks, a Molly Ivins bon mot, and a few more goodies below the fold. Then let's eat.

Cheers and Jeers for Thanksgiving 2020

Note: As for the rest of the C&J posting week, nothing formal tomorrow, although we'll post a "Who won the week" poll—the greatest ever—in the diaries at our usual Friday evening time (7:30ET). Back Monday.  Have a great holiday and may your end of the wishbone be the long one.

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14 days!!!

Days 'til Christmas: 29

Days 'til the National Menorah lighting in D.C.: 14

Date of Lincoln's Thanksgiving proclamation: 10/3/1863

Number of NFL games today: (Ravens-Steelers game postponed due to Covid-19)

Population of Turkey, Texas (hometown of Bob Wills): 384

Percent of Parade readers who believe calories don't exist on Thanksgiving: 69%

Number of Thanksgivings during which Eric Trump has gotten his head stuck in a can of cranberry sauce: 6

Number of Americans who intend to eat human brains for Thanksgiving dinner, up from 4,021 last year and spreading rapidly from northwest to southeast (stay tuned to your short-wave radios for updates and lock your doors): 5,641

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Your Thursday Molly Ivins Moment:

The Progress Report has come up with some dandy things to be thankful for, starting with American troops. It also lists:

  • Rep. Jack Murtha, D-Pa., for showing it's patriotic to speak your mind.
  • The 90 senators who stood up to Cheney to say that torture is not an American value.
  • The 79 senators who demanded the Bush administration detail a plan for Iraq.
  • That Sen. Bill Frist is not our physician.

Consider these additional delights: Tom Delay is under indictment, Heckuva Job Brownie is no longer on the public payroll, and for some inexplicable reason, the administration found a Republican prosecutor in the Plame affair who seems to care more about the law than politics. […]

There's music in poor bleeding New Orleans again, Ted Koppel and his hair put in a commendable 25 years, some terrific new films are out, my puppy has not eaten a shoe for an entire month now, and the Mountain West is moving from red to purple. So let's all loosen our belts and get right down to the all-American tradition of overeating on Thanksgiving. It's still a great country, even if it is a little strange. I am grateful for all my fellow citizens -- how would we know it was America if we didn't hear regularly from the nincompoop faction? Happy turkey to you all.

Thanksgiving 2005

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Puppy Pic of the Day: Suck it up, Buttercup...

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And my world-famous annual…

Things For Which I Am Thankful: 2020 Edition

Our republic, which we've decided to keep for at least four more years

The 2020 Biden-Harris landslide

Red-to-blue flips Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Arizona

Grassroots Democratic organizers and voters, especially in red states and doubly-especially women of color

Campaign volunteers, ride sharers, and polling place workers

Nancy Pelosi, preparing for her historic 4th term as Speaker of the House

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Katie Porter, and all the other kickass-style House Democrats

Having an astronaut (Mark Kelly) in the Senate again

The judges, legal teams, and elections officials who made Trump's attempted coup one of the clumsiest and inept debacles in American history

House Intelligence and Impeachment Committee chair Adam Schiff

The legacies of Rep. John Lewis and Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg

Maine’s state government, which will spend another year with Dem control of the state House and Senate, and Democratic governor Janet Mills navigating the Covid-19 crisis with skill and compassion

The Congressional Black, Hispanic and Progressive Caucuses

Doctors

Nurses

Hospital administrative workers

Dr. Anthony Fauci

Essential workers

The Covid-19 tracers and trackers

The vaccine researchers sciencing the shit out of the virus

The governors and state health officials making difficult decisions and sticking to them as mobs of ignorant narcissists embrace superspreader events

Americans wearing masks (including over their nose), social distancing, and frequently washing their hands

New Zealand, for showing the world how to fight a pandemic together and win 

All the indigenous people of North America

Sadat Rahman, winner of Desmond Tutu’s 2020 International Children's Peace Prize

The Nobel and Pulitzer winners

The first responders and relief organizers who went above and beyond in the wake of this year's hurricanes, floods, and wildfires

Employers who give their employees Thanksgiving off

Employees who don’t get the day off so they can keep vital services running while the rest of us do

Teachers

Immigrants

Caregivers

Our troops over here and over there

Wind turbines and solar panels

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AMERICANS WHO VOTED

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Samantha Bee, Stephen Colbert, John Oliver, Jimmy Kimmel, Seth Meyers, and SNL for continuing the renaissance in late-night political humor

Randy Rainbow and Sarah Cooper for lighting up social media

Freedom of the press

Freedom of speech fuck Trump

The cardboard boxes that'll hold the stuff of departing White House maniacs Stephen Miller, Jared, Ivanka, Mike Pence, and the most destructive and corrupt cabinet in American history

The #5 thing on internet lists that actually SHOCK me

The Lincoln Project, for showing Democrats how to throw a punch

Ta-Nehisi Coates, Malcolm Nance, Joy Reid, Bishop William Barber, Joan Walsh, Charles Pierce, John Nichols, Howard Dean, E.J. Dionne, Eugene Robinson, David K. Johnston, the Kagro in the Morning radio show

Chuck Rosenberg’s zen aura

Naomi Klein, Marcy Wheeler, Rachel Maddow, Chris Hayes, Trump money-follower David Fahrenthold, Trump fact-checker Daniel Dale (who documented all 20,000+ of Trump lies), David Corn, Lawrence O’Donnell, Nicolle Wallace, Joy Reid

Atrios, Digby, Charles M. Blow, Americablog, John Cole, Joe Jervis, Michelangelo Signorile, Dan Savage, Leonard Pitts, Lizz Winstead

Media Matters, The Hispanic Federation, The Southern Poverty Law Center, PFAW, PFLAG, 350.org, RAICES, March for Our Lives, Indivisible, Black Lives Matter, Run For Something, Planned Parenthood, NAACP, IAVA, ACLU and the many other advocacy organizations that prevented the worst of Trump’s abuses, often in coordination with each other 

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Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter

Bill and Hillary Clinton

Barack and Michelle Obama

Joe and Jill Biden

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My partner, Michael, for growing old with me

Obamacare

All of my bosses (if you’re reading this, you’re one of them) at Daily Kos

The front-pagers and diarists here, for explaining stuff I don't know boo about

My morning front-page blogger-neighbors: the Abbreviated Pundit Roundup, morning cartoonists, and Elections Morning Digest

The rest of the progressive blogosphere, for having the wisdom to follow all of the orders issued by “Keyboard Kingpin” Markos “Mouse Tits” Moulitsas

Netroots Nation and its organizers, for executing a flawless virtual convention when the pandemic prevented the in-person one from happening in Denver

Those amazingly upbeat Good News Roundups

Dirty Fucking Hippies. We must breed more of them.

M’ doggie. M' pootie. M’ squirrels.

Wineries

Distilleries

Breweries

Teriyaki sauce

Mayochup yes I said mayochup!

Taco Tuesdays

Excedrin Migraine. Next to the epidural, God’s gift to pain relief.

Blueberries

Candy corn

Snow

Evolution

Electric cars

High-speed rail

NASA

The expected return of net neutrality

The expected return to the Paris Climate Agreement

Unions

Diversity

The Resistance

Maine’s proximity to Canada

Peace. (Yeah, it's a word. Really. I looked it up.)

That magic moment every day at 6am when the Bacardi 151 crosses the blood-brain barrier.

Microwave ovens, which are excellent for re-heating food that gets cold because some idiot spent three hours listing all the stuff he was thankful for.

My excellent memory

Stay safe. Stay healthy. Pass the taters.

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Michigan County Board Throws Support Behind Impeaching Gretchen Whitmer

Michigan’s Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer got some bad news this week when a county in the northern part of her state expressed support for a resolution to impeach her that was put forth by three Republican members of Michigan’s House of Representatives.

Michigan County Votes In Support Of Resolution To Impeach Whitmer

The Kalkaska County Board of Commissioners voted four to two in favor of supporting the impeachment effort, according to Michigan Live.

Whitmer has become known for imposing some of the strictest coronavirus lockdown measures in the country on her state. Commissioner David Comai stood by the board’s decision to support the impeachment effort, claiming that  Whitmer’s “unconstitutional executive orders” were to blame for Kalkaska County’s current economic crisis.

This comes days after Republican Representatives Beau LaFave, Matt Maddock and Daire Rendon issued the impeachment resolution, alleging that Whitmer was guilty of “corrupt conduct in office and crimes and misdemeanors” over her latest COVID-19 guidelines.

RELATED: Michigan Lawmakers Push For Impeachment Hearings Against Gretchen Whitmer

Michigan Speaker Of The House Defends Whitmer

Not all Michigan Republicans are behind this effort, however, as the state’s GOP Speaker of the House Rep. Lee Chatfield has spoken out against it. He described the resolution as a “distraction from the real things we have to get done in our state.”

“We’re not the party that impeaches someone because we’re upset with policies that they’ve enacted,” he said, according to Fox News.

“I thought it was shameful what the Democrats did to President Trump last year, and I would assume that any attempt by Republicans right now, with the current set of facts that we have to impeach the governor, would be on the same level,” Chatfield added. 

RELATED: Gretchen Whitmer Blames Her Strict Lockdown Orders On Trump

However, Maddock said last week that he has a “growing list of Michigan Legislators” who are planning to begin proceedings to impeach Whitmer, according to The Hill.

When asked why he feels she should be impeached, Maddock claimed that the Democrat has “ignored court orders. Violated our Constitutional rights. Completely ignored due process and the legislature. Weaponized contract tracing databases to aid democrat campaigns,”

This piece was written by James Samson on November 25, 2020. It originally appeared in LifeZette and is used by permission.

Read more at LifeZette:
Robert De Niro Warns Trump Supporters That They ‘Should Be Afraid Of What’s Gonna Happen’ When He Leaves Office
Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein Steps Down As Head Of Judiciary Committee After Backlash From Progressives
Dershowitz Slams Dominion Ploy And Trump’s Chances

The post Michigan County Board Throws Support Behind Impeaching Gretchen Whitmer appeared first on The Political Insider.

Schiff Comes Unglued Over Reports Of Flynn Pardon – Says Trump ‘Acting Like An Organized Crime Figure’

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) came unglued on Wednesday over reports that President Donald Trump is considering pardoning former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn.

Back in 2017, Flynn pled guilty to lying to the FBI about contacts he had with Russia, but he later attempted to withdraw this plea, according to The Hill.

Schiff Unravels 

While appearing on CNN’s “New Day,” Schiff accused Trump of “acting like an organized crime figure” because he feels that the president is trying to reward people who lie for him.

“It would send a message that at least as far as President Trump is concerned, if you lie on his behalf, if you cover up for him, he will reward you,” Schiff said. “He will protect you, but only if he thinks it’s in his interest.”

“There are others that lied for him that he’s not going to extend that kind of service to, but it just, frankly reflects so ill on our democracy, on the United States,” he added.

“Imagine what people around the world think when we have a president who’s acting like an organized crime figure,” Schiff continued. “But this is who Donald Trump is. It’s who he was on the way into the presidency. It will be exactly who he is on his last days of the presidency.”

RELATED: Hunter Biden Associate Bobulinski Says He Came Forward Because Schiff Accused Him Of Peddling Russian Disinformation

Schiff Admits Trump Could Legally Pardon Flynn

Despite this rant, Schiff could not deny that legally Trump has every right to pardon Flynn, “assuming that it’s not on the basis of some illicit quid pro quo.” However, the Democrat made a point of adding that he does not believe that Trump can pardon himself.

“There are other limitations on the pardon power, but it is very broad and subject to abuse as he has demonstrated,” Schiff said.

RELATED: President Trump Unleashed: ‘Watermelon Head’ Adam Schiff ‘Should Be Locked Up’

Schiff was one of the Democrats who led the impeachment witch hunt charge against Trump during his presidency. That’s why it would not be surprising if he’s planning to lead yet another witch hunt effort against Trump and those close to him, once the president leaves office.

The hatred Schiff has for President Trump remains nothing short of disturbing.

This piece was written by James Samson on November 25, 2020. It originally appeared in LifeZette and is used by permission.

Read more at LifeZette:
Robert De Niro Warns Trump Supporters That They ‘Should Be Afraid Of What’s Gonna Happen’ When He Leaves Office
Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein Steps Down As Head Of Judiciary Committee After Backlash From Progressives
Dershowitz Slams Dominion Ploy And Trump’s Chances

The post Schiff Comes Unglued Over Reports Of Flynn Pardon – Says Trump ‘Acting Like An Organized Crime Figure’ appeared first on The Political Insider.

Cheers and Jeers: Wednesday

One Call Does It All

The Late Show makes special arrangements for the 45th president’s departure: 

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I’d be be happy to contribute some gas money to the cause. It’s a long road to Florida. 

Cheers and Jeers for Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Note: Here's the posting schedule for the rest of the week.  Special Thanksgiving edition tomorrow, and then no C&J Friday, though we'll probably post a "Who Won the Week" poll in the diaries at our usual 7:30 time. Back Monday for the ceremonial fighting over the leftover gizzards. Bring sturdy body armor. —Mgt.

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By the Numbers:

Starts in 15 days!!!

Days 'til the start of Hanukkah: 15

Percent of Americans polled by Harvard CAPS-Harris who say it’s time for Trump to concede: 58%

Percent who believe the vote-by-mail system was fair: 61%

Age at which Patrick Quinn, co-creator of the ALS "Ice Bucket Challenge" that has raised $220 million for research into the treatment of Lou Gehrig's Disease, died Sunday: 37

Average cost of a Thanksgiving meal for 10 people, the lowest since 2010 according to the American Farm Bureau Federation, with a 16-pound turkey going for $19.39: $46.90

Rank of "sausage stuffing" and "gravy", respectively, among Thanksgiving dishes searched online most often in Joe Biden's Delaware and Kamala Harris's California, according to Google Trends: #1

Sales of recreational marijuana during Maine's first official month selling it, with the average buyer spending $66: $1.4 million

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Mid-week Rapture Index: 182 (including 3 gogs and 1 pair of sinner’s glasses).  Soul Protection Factor 8 lotion is recommended if you’ll be walking amongst the heathen today.

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Puppy Pic of the Day: Hello…

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CHEERS to today’s top story. Ladies and gentlemen, this election is over. The greatest state in the union has officially certified its votes and, by god, it's a beautiful sight:

Maine has certified the results of the 2020 election, Secretary of State Matt Dunlap said Monday. … Dunlap said he handed the certified results to Democratic Gov. Janet Mills at 2 p.m. on Monday, the day they were due.

The final result: Joe Biden got 1 Electoral vote for winning the 1st district and 2 EVs for winning the overall state vote, and Donald Trump got one electoral vote for winning the pro-pussy-grabbing 2nd congressional district up north. By my math—and my math is the best math—that's a final count from the state of Maine of 270-1. Congratulations, President-elect Biden. I hope you don’t mind I took the liberty of activating your official transition site and organizing your inauguration in a pandemically-sensitive way. But now I have to take the dog out to pee, so you can take it from here. Good luck, sir. We're all counting on you.

CHEERS to confronting the XY-chromosomed bullies among us. Today is International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. And like all events, the pandemic looms large over this year’s observances. The United Nations provides a little reminder that… 

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, emerging data and reports from those on the front lines, have shown that all types of violence against women and girls, particularly domestic violence, has intensified. UN Women provides up-to-date information and support to vital programmes to fight the Shadow Pandemic of violence against women during COVID-19.

Violence against women and girls (VAWG) is one of the most widespread, persistent and devastating human rights violations in our world today and remains largely unreported due to the impunity, silence, stigma and shame surrounding it.

To further clarify, the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women issued by the UN General Assembly in 1993, defines violence against women as “any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life.”

Just as pink is worn for breast cancer awareness and Red is worn for AIDS awareness, the U.N. urges everyone to wear and/or display orange between now and December 10 to show support for the fight to prevent violence against women.  On this site I don’t think that'll be a problem.

CHEERS to another crack in the glass ceiling. President-elect Biden, brilliantly generating momentum toward his inevitable January 20 swearing-in, released a flood of cabinet nominees this week. Among them is Janet Yellen, 74, who is now poised to become the first woman Treasury Secretary. In a preview of her overall approach to her job, President Barack Obama said this about Yellen when he nominated her to be the first person with lady parts to be the Federal Reserve Chair in 2014:

In Yellen’s plus column: she’s Brooklyn tough.

"The American people will have a fierce champion who understands that the ultimate goal of economic and financial policymaking is to improve the lives, jobs and standard of living of American workers and their families.

She understands that fostering a stable financial system will help the overall economy and protect consumers.

I am confident that Janet will stand up for American workers, protect consumers, foster the stability of our financial system, and help keep our economy growing for years to come."

Among the items on her agenda: unblocking Steve Mnuchin's misogynist logjam on the new Harriet Tubman $20 bill that was supposed to be released this year. But first, once confirmed, she'll spend a few hours rolling around in a giant pile of money shouting "Yippeeee!!!!"  (I hear it's a sacred tradition going back to Hamilton.)

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BRIEF SANITY BREAK

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"It's working!" Check out the critters big and small who are using Utah's first wildlife overpass to cross Interstate 80. The @UtahDWR shared this video on Thursday. pic.twitter.com/H7d896eiYs

— KUTV2news (@KUTV2News) November 21, 2020

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END BRIEF SANITY BREAK

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JEERS to Reagan's impeachment-worthy moment. On November 25, 1986, the Iran Contra "Affair" busted wide open when Captain Shining City On A Hill appointed the Tower commission to find out what the $#!!#$ was going on.  It later resulted in this public admission from Reagan:

"A few months ago I told the American people I did not trade arms for hostages. My heart and my best intentions still tell me that's true, but the facts and the evidence tell me it is not.

Thankfully, he was finally impeached & convicted for wearing a tan suit.

As the Tower board reported, what began as a strategic opening to Iran deteriorated, in its implementation, into trading arms for hostages.  This runs counter to my own beliefs, to administration policy, and to the original strategy we had in mind."

Eleven people ended up getting nailed, but George H.W. Bush pardoned them before he left office.  Some of the Iran-Contra figures, like Elliott Abrams and John Negroponte, would pop up again in the Bush II administration despite the stains on their names.  Abrams is still stinking up the place as Trump's special something-or-other to Venezuela. And a couple years back the NRA tapped convicted felon Lt. Col. Oliver North to serve as president, a role he quickly left because that domestic-terrorism was too corrupt for him.  And George H.W.'s attorney general Bill Barr, who supported and encouraged pardoning all those criminals, became Trump's…wait for it…attorney general!  Because truly scurrilous help is so hard to find.

CHEERS to mostly smooth sailing. If you're traveling today in your 2020 Tesla electric jetpack, you might get a sprinkle or two in the middle of the country. But other than that, it looks fine. Meanwhile this is what the Turkey Day map looks like, according to CNN's Atari 2600 forecast computer:

Be very careful in the southwest & Lake Erie regions, where giant spinning lozenges may form.

The gays, feminists and pagans are quick to point out, by the way, that any weather messes this holiday are not their fault.  Responsibility rests solely on the homophobes, the Nazis, the KKK, and their cousins the conservative Bible thumpers. It’s residual from their huge 2020 election loss—their feelings are still delicate and tender. Hence the overall holiday outlook: scattered annoying snowflakes.

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Ten years ago in C&J: November 25, 2010

CHEERS to new rules.  Starting January 1, health insurance companies have to spend at least 80 cents of every dollar on actual health care coverage.  Not advertising.  Not lobbying.  Not junkets or bonuses.  Health care coverage.  Of course, the industry must be screaming about The Unfairness Of It All, right?  As usual...not so much, now that the fight is over:

[I]ndustry watchers said the final regulations wound up being more manageable than investors initially feared.  Analyst Les Funtleyder, who covers the industry for Miller Tabak, noted that HHS has wide latitude to adjust the rules to prevent market disruptions.  "From an expectations point of view, these are rules that managed care can live with in 2011," he said.

Not that it'll stop Republicans in Congress from pissing and moaning.  Which, coincidentally, constitutes at least 80 percent of what they spend their time on.

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And just one more…

CHEERS to sweet sounds. The Grammy nominations were announced yesterday and you can check out all the nominees here. I always go to the Spoken Word category first, because there's a good chance it'll have an Obama or a Carter or a Maddow on it. And this year…there is!

Flea: Acid for the Children

Ken Jennings: Alex Trebek—The Answer Is…

Her second Grammy nod. #1 was in 2013 for “Drift.”

Rachel Maddow: Blowout—Corrupted Democracy, Rogue State Russia, and the Richest, Most Destructive Industry on Earth

Ronan Farrow: Catch and Kill

Meryl Streep & Full Cast: Charlotte's Web

President Donald Trump: White House Coronavirus Task Force Briefing—Bleach Injections Work Very Quickly, Almost Like A Cleaning

That last one isn’t officially on the ballot yet, but Rudy Giuliani is suing in all 50 states to get it added, and when has he ever lost?

Taylor Swift, Beyonce, and Lady Gaga got their usual 150 nominations each, and my all-time favorite composer, John Williams, got his 72nd nod (for his Rise of Skywalker score).  Other notables on the Grammy list: James Taylor, Rufus Wainwright, Vince Gill, Ricky Martin, and a very posthumous one for Leonard Cohen. Trevor Noah hands out the awards on January 31st. And those kids better keep the noise down or I'm calling the police.

Have a happy humpday, and if you won’t be here tomorrow we'll say it now: Happy Thanksgiving!  Floor's open...What are you cheering and jeering about today?

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Today's Shameless C&J Testimonial

Markos Moulitsas Fuming That the Cheers and Jeers Kiddie Pool is Filled With “Fools That Are Making Him Look Bad”: Report

Mediaite

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Michigan county board supports impeachment of Democratic Gov. Whitmer

A county in northern Michigan threw its support behind a resolution put forward by three Republican members of Michigan’s House of Representatives calling for the impeachment of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer last week.

More Senate Republicans call for transition to begin

As President Donald Trump continues to contest the results of the 2020 election, a small but influential number of Senate Republicans are starting to suggest it’s time to move on.

Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) on Monday both joined calls for the transition process to begin. While neither are saying Joe Biden is the president-elect just yet, both senators indicated it was time that he receive briefings on national security and the coronavirus pandemic.

In an op-ed published in the Cincinnati Enquirer, Portman, who is up for re-election in 2022, wrote that any disputes over the election results should end by Dec. 8, the final day to certify their election results. He added that “in the meantime, the General Services Administration (GSA) should go ahead and release the funds and provide the infrastructure for an official transition.”

Capito, who just won re-election in West Virginia, said that while Trump has the right to pursue legal challenges, “at some point, the 2020 election must end.” She added that “the window for legal challenges and recounts is rapidly closing” and that the Biden team should receive the necessary briefings “to facilitate a smooth transfer of power in the likely event that they are to take office on January 20.”

Until Monday evening, Emily Murphy, the GSA Administrator, refused to certify Biden as the winner of the election, preventing the president-elect’s transition team from coordinating with federal agencies, receiving briefings or having access to certain funds.

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito arrives at the Capitol in Washington.

The GOP recognition of Biden's success will be critical to getting his Cabinet confirmed. Much of that work begins now, and committee hearings often start before the president-elect is sworn in so his Cabinet can be confirmed quickly. Biden announced Monday he would nominate Antony Blinken for secretary of state, Alejandro Mayorkas for secretary of homeland security and Avril Haines as director of national intelligence.

Should Republicans keep the Senate in January, Portman will oversee Mayorkas’ nomination as chair of the Homeland Security Committee. Sen. Jim Risch (R-Idaho), who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, will hold Blinken’s confirmation hearing and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) will handle Haines' hearing. Like Portman, Risch and Rubio have also acknowledged the need for a transition. Capito is likely to chair the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.

Portman and Capito are not officially in GOP leadership, but both attend weekly Monday night meetings held by McConnell.

While members of his own party are suggesting the transfer of power should begin, Trump is pressuring state officials to reject certification of states Biden won, including Michigan. Last week, the president invited Michigan GOP lawmakers to the White House, though the state-level lawmakers who met with Trump said after the meeting that they received no evidence that would change the outcome of the election. The electoral college vote is scheduled for December 14.

Even though Trump’s legal challenges are getting thrown out in court, the universe of Republicans calling for the transition of power to begin may remain small. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky has yet to recognize Biden as the president-elect and most Senate Republicans are following suit. Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming is the only member of GOP leadership in the House or Senate who has called on Trump to either demonstrate evidence of fraud or move on and “respect the sanctity of our electoral process.”

The majority of Republicans who have said the transition should begin have also recognized Biden as president-elect.

In a statement Sunday evening, Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska said Trump had the opportunity to pursue his legal challenges, but noted that they have so far fallen short.

“A pressure campaign on state legislators to influence the electoral outcome is not only unprecedented but inconsistent with our democratic process,” Murkowski said. “It is time to begin the full and formal transition process.”

Over the weekend, Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania formally congratulated Biden on winning the election, after a federal District judge in Pennsylvania dismissed Trump’s lawsuit to throw out millions of votes. Toomey was among the first Republicans who, earlier this month, called for the transition process to start and said it was “quite likely” Biden would be the 46th president.

In his statement Saturday, Toomey, who will retire in 2022, praised Trump for policies enacted during his administration and encouraged the president to “accept the outcome” of the election “to ensure that he is remembered for these outstanding accomplishments, and to help unify our country.”

GOP Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, along with Sens. Mitt Romney of Utah and Ben Sasse of Nebraska have also recognized Biden as the next president and slammed Trump’s pressure campaign to reverse the election results. Romney, who voted to convict Trump earlier this year during the impeachment trial, said last week that “it is difficult to imagine a worse, more undemocratic action by a sitting president.”

Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, who is retiring this year, has also called on the transition process to begin. In a new statement Monday, Alexander said he hoped that Trump would "put the country first and have a prompt and orderly transition to help the new administration succeed." He added that "when you are in public life, people remember the last thing you do."

Yet the reluctance of most Republican senators to push Trump to concede highlights the firm grip the president holds, and will continue to hold, on his party. Republicans also need Trump’s assistance to help win the two runoff races in Georgia on Jan. 5, which will determine control of the Senate. While the GOP is favored to hang on, Republicans are still counting on the president to turn out his base of voters and potentially campaign in the state.

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Behind closed doors, apparently 21 Senate Republicans are just as sick of Trump as the rest of us

Journalist Carl Bernstein is reminding us all that he owes Senate Republicans nothing, least of all protection as they cower in public and let President Donald Trump make a mockery of our democracy. Bernstein tweeted Sunday: “I'm not violating any pledge of journalistic confidentially in reporting this: 21 Republican Sens–in convos w/ colleagues, staff members, lobbyists, W. House aides–have repeatedly expressed extreme contempt for Trump & his fitness to be POTUS.”

They represent almost 40% of the 53 Senate Republicans. “With few exceptions, their craven public silence has helped enable Trump’s most grievous conduct—including undermining and discrediting the US the electoral system,” Bernstein tweeted

He listed senators:

  • Rob Portman, of Ohio;
  • Lamar Alexander, of Tennessee;
  • Ben Sasse, of Nebraska;
  • Roy Blunt, of Missouri;
  • Susan Collins, of Maine;
  • Lisa Murkowski, of Alaska;
  • John Cornyn, of Texas;
  • John Thune, of South Dakota;
  • Mitt Romney, of Utah;
  • Mike Braun, of Indiana;
  • Todd Young, of Indiana;
  • Tim Scott, of South Carolina;
  • Rick Scott, of Florida;
  • Marco Rubio, of Florida;
  • Chuck Grassley, of Iowa;
  • Richard Burr, of North Carolina;
  • Pat Toomey, of Pennsylvania;
  • Martha McSally, of Arizona;
  • Jerry Moran, of Kansas;
  • Pat Roberts, of Kansas; and
  • Richard Shelby of Alabama

Rubio's inclusion on the list comes as no surprise. He called Trump "a con artist" about to take over the Republican party in 2016. And much opportunistic flip-flopping aside, the Florida senator has ceased many opportunities since then to criticize the Trump administration. Bernstein, however, told CNN’s Alisyn Camerota it wasn’t just Rubio, that most of those he listed were “happy to see Donald Trump defeated in this election” as long as Senate Republicans remained in control. 

“We are witnessing the mad king in the final days of his reign willing to scorch the earth of his country and bring down the whole system,” Bernstein said, “to undermine our whole democracy, strip it of its legitimacy, poison the confidence of our people in our institutions and the constitution for Donald Trump's own petulant, selfish, rabid ends."

"We have a President of the United States for the first time in our history sabotaging this country. That’s where we are."

The Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist said Republicans know what Trump has done “to undermine confidence in our institution.” They are living through a pandemic, witnessing Trump’s “homicidal negligence” that is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Americans,” he said. “McConnell knows what’s going on,” Bernstein said. “And finally I’m told in the last 24/48 hours, I believe he and some others are attempting to find a way to somehow bring the country off the ledge that we are on because of the mad king and what he is doing.”

The 21 Senators Carl Bernstein names would be enough for an emergency impeachment and removal of Trump. They should’ve stood up during the Ukraine impeachment instead of voting to not even hear evidence. https://t.co/6KWuQhxz2a

— Tom Joseph (@TomJChicago) November 23, 2020

RELATED: 'It's over': GOP leaders start to come to grips with reality of Trump's loss

The Georgia runoff is Jan. 5. Click here to request an absentee ballot. Early in-person voting starts Dec. 14. And REGISTER TO VOTE here by Dec. 7.

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