Activism

Many of our America at a Crossroads audience members have repeatedly asked what they can actually DO to help protect our democracy. We have researched and vetted a number of non-partisan, non-profit organizations that are immersed in issues aligned with JUDJ’s mission. Voting rights, voter suppression and other pro-democracy ideals lie at the heart of the organizations we have included below. In many cases, these organizations have volunteer opportunities, including internships and special opportunities for high school and college students. We encourage you to connect with and support these organizations and actively engaged in protecting our American democracy.

Anti-Defamation League is a leading anti-hate organization. Founded in 1913 in response to an escalating climate of anti-Semitism and bigotry, its timeless mission is to protect the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment for all. Today, ADL continues to fight all forms of hate with the same vigor and passion. ADL is a global leader in exposing extremism and delivering anti-bias education, and is a leading organization in training law enforcement. ADL is the first call when acts of anti-Semitism occur. ADL’s ultimate goal is a world in which no group or individual suffers from bias, discrimination or hate.

Learn more about ADL and volunteer opportunities.

The Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law is a nonpartisan law and policy institute that seeks to improve our systems of democracy and justice. We work to hold our political institutions and laws accountable to the twin American ideals of democracy and equal justice for all. The Center’s work ranges from voting rights to campaign finance reform, from ending mass incarceration to preserving Constitutional protection in the fight against terrorism.

Learn more about the Brennan Center for Justice. 

The California Center for Civic Participation is a non-partisan, non-profit civic education organization, engaging high school students by sparking their interest with exposure to real excitement of the democratic process. We believe that youth hold so much untapped and unlimited power to change their communities and their world and we exist to expose and nurture that power.

Learn more about the California Center for Civic Participation and volunteer opportunities. 

The Center’s mission is to promote an enlightened and responsible citizenry committed to democratic principles and actively engaged in the practice of democracy. The Center has reached more than 30 million students and their teachers since 1965.

The Center for Civic Education helps students develop (1) an increased understanding of the institutions of constitutional democracy and the fundamental principles and values upon which they are founded, (2) the skills necessary to participate as competent and responsible citizens, and (3) the willingness to use democratic procedures for making decisions and managing conflict.

Learn more about the Center for Common Ground.

The Center for Common Ground empowers under-represented voters through non-partisan voter registration and Get Out the Vote. It provide voter information through door knock canvassing, texting, phone-banking. It also provide free rides to the polls on Election Day.

Learn more about the Center for Common Ground and volunteer opportunities.

Center for Election Innovation & Research engages in cutting-edge work to build voter trust, increase voter participation, and improve the efficiency of election administration. Their work helps elections officials maintain accurate and complete voter lists and secure election technology infrastructure.

Learn more about Center for Election Innovation & Research.

Common Cause is a nonpartisan, grassroots organization dedicated to upholding the core values of American democracy. We work to ensure open, honest, and accountable government; to promote equal rights, opportunity, and representation for all; and to empower all people to make their voices heard as equals in the political process. Common cause works across four major issue areas: voting and elections; money and politics; ethics, transparency and government accountability; and media and democracy.

Learn more about Common Cause and the Common Cause Education Fund

Democracy North Carolina is a nonpartisan organization that uses research, organizing, and advocacy to strengthen democratic structures, build power among disenfranchised communities, and inspire confidence in a transformed political process that works for all.

Learn more about Democracy NC and volunteer opportunities. 

ElectionDay.Org engages businesses to provide resources and tools to promote voting within their organizations including information on how to register, voting methods, and relevant deadlines. 

Learn more about ElectionDay.Org.

Equal Justice Works creates opportunities for lawyers to transform their passion for equal justice into a lifelong commitment to public service. Equal Justice Works is a 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization and is the nation’s largest facilitator of opportunities in public interest law. Equal Justice Works brings together an extensive network of law students, lawyers, legal services organizations, and supporters to promote a lifelong commitment to public service and equal justice. The organization believes that a community of lawyers committed to public service can fulfill our nation’s promise of equal justice for all. Following their Fellowships, more than 85% of Equal Justice Works Fellows remain in public service positions, continuing to pursue equal justice for underserved communities.

Learn more about Equal Justice Works and available volunteer opportunities.

The Election Official Legal Defense Network (EOLDN) is a project of the nonpartisan, nonprofit Center for Election Innovation & Research. EOLDN connects licensed, qualified, pro bono attorneys with election administrators who need advice or assistance. Election workers from all over the country, at the state and local level, can contact EOLDN via this website or by phone (1-877-313-5210) at any time, to request to be connected to a lawyer who can help them, at no cost. This service is available regardless of the election official’s political affiliation, or whether they work in a blue or red state or county.

Learn more about Election Official Legal Defense Network and available volunteer opportunities. 

FairVote is a nonpartisan organization seeking better elections for all. They research and advance voting reforms that make democracy more functional and representative for every American. FairVote has a proven record since 1992 as a nonpartisan trailblazer that advances and wins electoral reforms at the local, state and national level through strategic research, communications and collaboration. Today, we are the driving force behind advancing ranked choice voting and fair representation in multi-winner legislative districts that will open up our elections to better choices, fairer representation and more civil campaigns.

Learn more about FairVote and volunteer opportunities.

Indivisible is committed to providing civic education, policy resources, strategic guidance, and targeted trainings for groups across the country. It educates and empowers civic leaders at the community level across the country. 

Learn more about Indivisible and volunteer opportunities available in several states.

Inspire2Vote supports nonpartisan efforts to promote voter registration among high school students. Inspire2Vote is a program of Project High Hopes, a 501(c)3 operating foundation which engages in innovative programs in the areas of civic responsibility. For more information about Project High Hopes,

Learn more about Common Cause.

The League of Women Voters of the United States encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy.

Learn more about League of Women Voters.

The Lincoln Project is a leading pro-democracy organization in the United States — dedicated to the preservation, protection, and defense of democracy. The Lincoln Project launched with two stated objectives. The first was to defeat Donald Trump at the ballot box. The second was to ensure Trumpism failed alongside him. As we have seen, our fight against Trumpism is only beginning. We must combat these forces everywhere and at all times. Our democracy depends on it.

Learn more about The Lincoln Project and available volunteer opportunities. 

People For the American Way Foundation conducts research, legal, and education work on behalf of First Amendment freedoms and democratic values; monitors, exposes, and challenges the Religious Right movement and its political allies; identifies, trains, and supports the next generation of progressive leaders through its Young People For youth leadership programs and its Young Elected Officials Network; and carries out nonpartisan voter education, registration, civic participation, and election protection activities.

Learn more about People for the American Way. 

Project Vote is a national, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization founded on the belief that an organized, diverse electorate is the key to a better America. Project Vote’s mission is to build an electorate that accurately represents the diversity of this nation’s citizenry, and to ensure that every eligible citizen can register, vote, and cast a ballot that counts.

Learn more about Project Vote. 

Project Vote Smart offers services and programs for political journalists to enhance their coverage of politics and elections. The Project partners with more than 300 national, state, and local news organizations, all endorsing Project programs. In addition to comprehensive databases on more than 40,000 candidates and incumbents, the Project provides journalists with special research services and publications. We devote considerable effort to researching information about all candidates for presidential, congressional, gubernatorial and state legislative office and elected officials. Voters thus have access to unbiased information on candidates as well as those serving in elected positions.

Learn more about Project Vote Smart and available volunteer opportunities. 

The Public Citizen Foundation supports Public Citizen’s education, litigation, research, and public information activities. Public Citizen is a national consumer advocacy organization founded in 1971 to represent consumer interests in Congress, the executive branch and the courts. Public Citizen fights for openness and democratic accountability in government, for the right of consumers to seek redress in the courts; for clean, safe and sustainable energy sources; for social and economic justice in trade policies; for strong health, safety and environmental protections; and for safe, effective and affordable prescription drugs and health care.

Learn more about Public Citizen and available opportunities. 

Reform Elections Now works to reduce partisanship in government through electoral reform. It believes that election reform is the most systematic way to reduce partisanship in government. To this end, we pursue our mission by providing our members and audience with insightful analyses, high-return solutions, and opportunities for targeted engagement with like-minded organizations. Led by a team of non-partisan business people, we focus on pragmatic election reform initiatives that are achievable, constructive, and measurable.

Learn more about Reform Elections Now. 

Rideshare2Vote was created to increase the voice and power of people by expanding their civic engagement and voting rights. We have created a voter touch outreach field program that includes our transportation service specifically for Democratic and progressive voters. Rideshare2Vote focuses our work in disenfranchised communities; voting for the first time; who are not voting in every election; that are disabled; living in poverty and who are elderly.

Learn more about Rideshare2Vote and available volunteer opportunities. 

Rise mobilizes student voters to build our political power for change. Our vote is one of the most powerful ways we can change our communities and our county. Rise works to empower students with the knowledge, skills, and tools we need to get out the vote. 

Learn more about RISE and available volunteer opportunities. 

Fusing pop culture, politics, and technology, Rock the Vote works to mobilize the millennial voting bloc and the youth vote, protect voting rights, and advocate for an electoral process and voting system that works for the 21st century electorate. For almost 25 years, Rock the Vote has pioneered ways to make voting easier by simplifying and demystifying voter registration and elections for young adults.

Learn more about Rock the Vote and available volunteer opportunities. 

Spread The Vote helps members of our communities empower themselves to be heard at the polls: with IDs, registration, education, and turnout. 21 million Americans don’t have photo ID. If they live in a strict voter ID state, they can’t vote. Volunteer to help Americans win back their fundamental right to vote. We love our volunteers! Whether you live in a voter ID state or not, there are a lot of ways that you can help us fight voter suppression. 

Learn more about Spread The Vote and available volunteer opportunities. 

Students for Justice is a non partisan organization created to empower underrepresented voters in voter-suppression-states. Students for Justice engages young people in the electoral process through paid internships; interns take on a variety of projects –- communications, outreach, and community organizing— all aimed at getting out the vote. Interns develop paid social media campaigns to increase voter registration and turnout. They recruit, train, and motivate volunteers to use postcards, phone calls, and texts to contact some of the 16.5 million Americans who have been purged from the voter rolls, helping them re-establish their voter registration, and get out the vote.

Learn more about how to donate and to apply for an internship. 

The Andrew Goodman Foundation makes young voices and votes a powerful force in democracy. Our ability to spark their passion — today — will result in change, tomorrow. The Andrew Goodman Foundation supports youth leadership development, voting accessibility, and social justice initiatives on campuses across the country with mini-grants to select institutions of higher learning and other financial assistance to students.
Our vision is that young people will become active, engaged citizens who ensure a just democracy and sustainable future. Join us during this critical time for American democracy and help shape the next generation of civic leaders.

Learn more about The Andrew Goodman Foundation and available volunteer opportunities. 

The Center for Public Integrity is dedicated to producing original, responsible investigative journalism on issues of public concern. The mission of the Center for Public Integrity is to protect democracy and inspire change using investigative reporting that exposes betrayals of the public trust by powerful interests. To pursue its mission, the Center generates high-quality, accessible investigative reports, databases, and contextual analysis on issues of public importance; disseminates work to journalists, policymakers, scholars, and citizens using a combination of digital, electronic, and print media; and educates, engages, and empowers citizens with the tools and skills they need to hold government and other private institutions accountable.

Learn more about The Center for Public Integrity. 

The Civics Center is dedicated to building the foundations of youth civic engagement and voter participation in high schools through education, organizing, and advocacy. We support student-led, peer-to-peer voter registration and pre-registration efforts in high school communities.

Learn more about The Civics Center and available volunteer opportunities. 

VoteRiders is the country’s leading nonprofit, nonpartisan organization focused on the issue of voter ID. Our mission is to ensure that no eligible voter is prevented from casting a ballot that counts due to voter ID laws, either directly from lack of acceptable ID or indirectly because of voter confusion. Founded ten years ago, our work has helped millions of voters successfully navigate and overcome the barriers that result from voter ID laws, which are currently in place in 36 states. As we head into 2022 and the crucial midterm elections, our far-reaching voter ID education resources, partnerships, and free ID assistance programs are now more important than ever before.

VoteRiders offers a wide range of virtual and on-the-ground volunteer opportunities for individuals looking to make a difference, including virtual letter-writing and text-banking events and in-person or virtual ID assistance opportunities to support voters in the states of Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Texas, and Wisconsin.

Learn more about VoterRiders and available volunteer opportunities. 

When We All Vote is a leading national, nonpartisan initiative on a mission to change the culture around voting and to increase participation in each and every election by helping to close the race and age gap. Created by Michelle Obama, When We All Vote brings together individuals, institutions, brands, and organizations to register new voters across the country and advance civic education for the entire family and voters of every age to build an informed and engaged electorate for today and generations to come. We empower our supporters and volunteers to take action through voting, advocating for their rights, and holding their elected officials accountable.

Learn more about When We All Vote and available volunteer opportunities. 

JUDJ Newsletter

JUDJ regularly sends supporters newsletters highlighting upcoming events and a round up of important articles and news coverage related to our efforts and issue areas.

Dear Friend:

Tomorrow at 5 pm Pacific,Peter Baker, chief NY Times White House correspondent will discuss the Russo-Ukraine war as well as domestic issues in conversation with Madeleine Brand.  Baker was a foreign correspondent based in Moscow, under Putin for four years and is one of the leading journalists now covering the White House.   Register Here.
Here is a link to recent articles by Peter Baker on topics related to Biden, politics, the January 6 committee, gas prices, and more.

Here is a special reflection on the Dobb’s case which overturned Roe v. Wade from Rabbi Ed Feinstein of Valley Beth Shalom in Encino, California. Feinstein called the case a “profound step backward” and notes that “the decision, and the restrictive state laws it triggers, are an assault on the dignity and autonomy of women.  It will be harshest on poor women…Those who celebrate the decision see it as protection for the sanctity of life.  My Jewish tradition reveres the sanctity of life, but instructs me to ask a searching question-whose life?”

MOST AMERICANS WANT ABORTIONS TO BE LEGAL IN ALL OR MOST CASES
The US Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v Wade represents a major turning point in America.  According to Boston College history professor and daily blogger Heather Cox Richardson (Letters from an American June 24, 2022 post), “For the first time in our history, rather than conveying rights, the court has explicitly taken a constitutional right away from the American people…Dobbs decision marks the end of an era: the period in American history stretching from 1933 to 1981, the era in which the U.S. government worked to promote democracy. It tried to level the economic playing field between the rich and the poor by regulating business and working conditions. It provided a basic social safety net through programs like Social Security and Medicare and, later, through food and housing security programs. It promoted infrastructure like electricity and highways, and clean air and water, to try to maintain a basic standard of living for Americans. And it protected civil rights by using the Fourteenth Amendment, added to the U.S. Constitution in 1868, to stop states from denying their citizens the equal protection of the laws…Now the Republicans are engaged in the process of dismantling that government.”

Max Boot, in this op-ed in Saturday’s Washington Post was highly critical of the Court’s decision; he suggests that the “hard right” justices seem to be acting on personal preference rather than on well formulated legal and judicial principles.  Boot’s central point is that while the Supreme Court is not obligated to follow popular will, rulings which fly in the face of the will of a vast majority of the public, erodes public faith in our legal and judicial systems. He notes that only 28% of Americans are in favor of overturning Roe v. Wade whereas 58% want abortion to be legal in most or all cases.  “Public faith in the Supreme Court is down to a historic low of 25 percent, and there’s a good reason why it keeps eroding. We are experiencing what the Founders feared: a crisis of governmental legitimacy brought about by minoritarian tyranny. And it could soon get a whole lot worse. In his concurring opinion in the abortion case, Justice Clarence Thomas called on the court to overturn popular precedents upholding a right to contraception, same-sex relationships and marriage equality. So much for Hamilton’s hope [in Federalist No. 22] that ‘the sense of the majority should prevail.’”

Dear Friend:

If you were unable to tune in this afternoon to hear about VOTER SUPPRESSION and other current events relating to upcoming mid-term elections from two highly acclaimed experts (Rick Hasen and Greg Bluestein moderated by Patt Morrison), you can listen to the entire recording at THIS PAST-EVENTS LINK .  The recording is posted about three hours after it ends; all 110 past America at a Crossroads programs are posted there and remain there indefinitely.  

Next Wednesday Susan Glasser, the author of The New Yorker’s Letter from Biden’s White House and her husband, Peter Baker, chief NY Times White House correspondent will discuss the Russo-Ukraine war as well as domestic issues in conversation with Madeleine Brand.  Glasser and Baker were foreign correspondents based in Moscow, under Putin for four years.   Register Here.

Here is a link to a collection of Susan Glasser’s recent columns in The New Yorker on issues ranging from the January 6 hearings, gun violence, Biden, and the war in Ukraine..and more.

Here is a link to recent articles by Peter Baker on topics related to Biden, politics, the Janaury 6 committee, gas prices, and more.

CONSPIRACY THEORY POLITICS:
CAN THE GENIE BE PUT BACK INTO THE BOTTLE?

In this guest opinion essay in today’s NY. Times, Thomas Edsall analyzes “Conspiracy Theory Politics” and dives deeply into theories as to why such theories flourish in what he calls “Trump’s America”.  Edsall writes that Trump uses conspiracies as a political mobilizing “designed to capture anger at the liberal establishment, to legitimize racial resentment and to unite voters who feel oppressed by what they see as a dominant socially progressive culture.”  The essay draws from many scholars in an array of fields, including social psychologist Jonathan Haidt who will be speaking on this topic to America at a Crossroads on July 20.  They note that Conspiracy Theory Politics has been the adhesive holding the dominant Trump-MAGA wing of the GOP in lock-step, primarily because the believers perceived themselves to be “losing”, be it culturally, politically or economically.  The critical question is whether our democratic institutions will survive or will election losers no longer be willing to accept the legitimacy of an election they haven’t won.   
NEW POLL RESULTS: 6 in 10 AMERICANS SAY TRUMP COMMITTED A CRIME:  
ABC/IPSOS conducted a poll last week, after the third January 6 Committee Public Hearing.   The poll found that almost 6 in 10 Americans say that Trump should be criminally charged for his role in the January 6th Capitol riot.  Comparing earlier polling data (ABC/Washington Post poll from January 2021) on the same subject to last week’s poll results, there is a 6% increase in the number of Americans who say that criminal charges should be brought against the former President.  Among self-described Independents, 62% think that Trump should face charges, 91% of Democrats and 19% of Republicans say that criminal charges should be brought. 
JANUARY 6 COMMITTEE HEARINGS

FORMER APPELLATE JUDGE LUTTIG “PATRON SAINT OF CONSERVATIVE LEGAL MOVEMENT” SAYS TRUMP ATTEMPTING TO “STEAL AMERICAN DEMOCRACY”
In this op-ed published yesterday and co-written by Laurence Tribe, Harvard Law School’s star Constitutional Law scholar,  former appellate Judge Luttig was described as “the patron saint of the conservative legal movement.”  Here is Judge Luttig’s statement made last Thursday at the January 6 Committee Public Hearing.  In this Letters from an American blog-post by American historian, blogger and Boston College history professor, Heather Cox-Richardson wrote:  “Luttig is a leading conservative thinker, a giant in Republican legal circles, who worked in the Reagan administration, was appointed by President George H. W. Bush to a federal judgeship, and was on the short-list for a Supreme Court seat during President George W. Bush’s term. In January 2021, then–vice president Mike Pence’s staff turned to him for support to make sure Pence didn’t agree to count out electors; Luttig opposed the scheme absolutely.  Luttig’s words carry weight among Republican lawmakers”. 

Cox-Richardson notes that “Judge Luttig examined the ongoing danger to democracy and located it not just on former president Donald Trump and his enablers, but on the entire Republican Party of today, the party that embraces the Big Lie that Trump won the 2020 election, the party that continues to plan to overturn any election in which voters choose a Democrat.” 

In Luttig’s words: “The war on democracy instigated by the former president and his political party allies on January 6 was the natural and foreseeable culmination of the war for America. It was the final fateful day for the execution of a well-developed plan by the former president to overturn the 2020 presidential election at any cost, so that he could cling to power that the American People had decided to confer upon his successor, the next president of the United States instead. Knowing full well that he had lost the 2020 presidential election, the former president and his allies and supporters falsely claimed and proclaimed to the nation that he had won the election, and then he and they set about to overturn the election that he and they knew the former president had lost. The treacherous plan was no less ambitious than to steal America’s democracy.”

Dear Friend:

If you would like to listen to today’s stimulating and enlightening conversation with CNN senior political reporter and senior editor at The Atlantic,  Ron Brownstein, and  Robert Shrum, Director, Center for the Political Future and the Carmen H. and Louis Warschaw Chair in Practical Politics at the University of Southern California, the program can be found at THIS PAST EVENTS LINK within a few hours of the end of the program; all of our 109 programs remain at the PAST EVENTS LINK indefinitely. 

Over the last several years more than 400 bills have been introduced in 48 states most of which would impose barriers which make it harder for people to vote, thereby undermining the foundation of our democracy. Next Wednesday, June 22 at 5 pm Pacific, two seasoned experts will analyze efforts to suppress voting and whether those efforts have succeeded in actually reducing the number of voters.  Leading voting rights and election law expert and author, Rick Hasen of UC Irvine School of Law and Greg Bluestein, political reporter for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution will be in conversation with Patt Morrison of the LA TImes to discuss this critically important and timely issue of voter suppression. REGISTER HERE
 
MORE ON JANUARY 6 COMMITTEE HEARINGS
1.  WHO IS FUNDING THE “BIG LIE CAUCUS”?   In today’s NY TImes, this opinion essay by Alex Kingsbury addresses the question of who is financing former President Trump’s “Big Lie Caucus”. Kingsbury writes that “[i]n the month of April alone…Fortune 500 companies and trade organizations gave more than $1.4 million to members of Congress who voted not to certify the election results, according to an analysis by the transparency group Accountable.US. AT&T led the pack, giving $95,000 to election objectors…We tend to think of the past and future threat to elections as coming from voters for Donald Trump and those whom they’d elect to office. But the success of these politicians also depends on money. And a lot of money from corporations like Boeing, Koch Industries, Home Depot, FedEx, UPS and General Dynamics has gone to politicians who reject the 2020 election results based on lies told by the former president.”  Alex Kingsbury, formerly on the editorial board of the Boston Globe is a member of the editorial board of the NY Times. 

2. In this column in yesterday’s The Bulwark, Policy Editor Mona Charen writes that the legal standard which should be applied to former President Trump is not what he knew or believed, but rather, what he should have known. (The usual legal standard is what a reasonable person in similar circumstances believed, meaning that if a reasonable person in a similar situation would have believed those who advised him then Trump would be culpable no matter what he claims.)  Accordingly, Charen writes, “Trump is responsible for his lies however fervently he may tell himself and others that he believes in them because what he believes is irrelevant. His mind is a black hole of truth. It’s not what he knows but what he has a responsibility to know. And the same goes for all of us.”

3. In this opinion essay in yesterday’s NY Times, former acting US Solicitor General Neal Katyal reviews the evidence presented in the first two public January 6 Committee hearings and, based thereon, concludes that there are a number of obvious criminal charges which should be brought against the former President. Katyal writes, “a subsequent investigation is virtually inevitable, given the evidence generated by the committee. How could Attorney General Merrick Garland ignore the facts the American people are now learning about?”

4. TRUMP RESPONSE TO FIRST TWO PUBLIC JANUARY 6 PUBLIC HEARINGS.
This column in The Hill published yesterday, describes former President Trump’s 12-page rebuttal to the evidence presented by the January 6 Committee.  In his rebuttal, Trump continues to assert the “Big Lie” and the existence of massive voter fraud in the 2020 elections, despite the testimony of many of Trump’s closest campaign and presidential advisors to the contrary.  In his rebuttal Trump claims that the January 6th Committee findings are purely political; Trump writes, “As we near the midterm elections, we’re watching the Swamp creatures circle the drain as true Americans step up to replace the corrupt Establishment with patriots who will fight for our freedoms.”

Dear Friend:.

If you missed tonight’s program with NY Times business and economics journalist David Leonhardt, veteran in conversation with KPPC’s Larry Mantle,  which addressed a broad array of topics,  you can find the full unedited recording at this PAST EVENTS link within a few hours of the program’s completion.  All of our 109 past programs are posted at that link and remain there indefinitely.  

Next week, veteran analyst, CNN senior political reporter and senior editor at The Atlantic,  Ron Brownstein, will be in conversation with Robert Shrum, Director, Center for the Political Future and the Carmen H. and Louis Warschaw Chair in Practical Politics at the University of Southern California. on the topic: LOOKING AHEAD TO THE 2022 MIDTERMS…ARE THEY A DOOMSDAY FOR DEMOCRATS? REGISTER HERE



JANUARY 6 HEARINGS
1. Washington Post Editorial Board: With the House Committee public hearings beginning tomorrow, the editorial board of the Washington Post published this editorial stressing the critical importance of the hearings and the hope that the process will lead to important reforms to protect our democracy from future subversive attack.  “The committee’s work is the best hope the nation has to get a definitive account of one of its most perilous moments…Americans must be reminded how Jan. 6 called into question many things they could previously take for granted: that their leaders would accede to free and fair election results; that the president would defend the U.S. system of government; that violent resistance to the nation’s democratic institutions would find no succor in the White House or in the halls of Congress. There can be no higher priority than restoring those fundamental norms.”

2. Rick Hasen op-ed in today’s WashingtonPost:   In this op-ed in today’s Washington Post, election law expert and America at a Crossroads past and future (June 22) guest, Rick Hasen, opines that while the upcoming hearings may well provide the public with more information about the events of the January 6 insurrection, the most important outcome will be to “highlight continuing vulnerabilities in our electoral system and propose ways to fix them, before it is too late.”  Hasen also writes that the pubic hearings present the best chance to mobilize public support for election reform.  Hasen warns, “[I]f Republicans retake the House in November, they will never put forth bills that imply the country needs protection from Trump, their kingmaker. If these hearings don’t spur action by this summer or fall, expect Congress to do nothing before the 2024 elections, at which point American democracy will be in great danger.”

BOTH-SIDISM IN THE MEDIA:
Are Fox News and CNN truly mirror images?  NO! says this op-ed.
In yesterday’s Los Angeles Times, in this op-ed by Kurt Bardella, a former Republican congressional staffer, he makes the point that Fox News, which had 1000 segments on the Benghazi issue, will not be airing the January 6 hearings this week, as they have decided that the January 6 investigation is nothing more than a “witch-hunt”.  On the other hand, Bardella (who defected from the Republican party in 2017) writes that CNN has come under criticism for being partisan when it calls out GOP hypocrisy. (SEE AXIOS: CNN Evaluating Partisan Talent, June 7).  “There are those in the establishment media world” writes Bardella, “who still cling to this notion that Democrats and Republicans represent two different-but-equal sides of the same coin. That it’s important for the American people to be presented with ‘both sides’ as if they carry equal weight.”  But, the column concludes, what is responsible is that the media “[n]ot allow their platforms to become launderers for the GOP’s lies. [They should] refuse to quote the Republicans who in bad faith rejected the entire inquiry process. Refuse to book on their shows and segments voices who refer to the insurrectionists as ‘patriots.'”

Dear Friend:
CORRECTED LINKS:

1.   HERE IS CORRECTED LINK TO LAST NIGHT’S PROGRAM WITH JENNIFER RUBIN
2.  HERE IS THE CORRECTED LINK TO JUNE 29TH PROGRAM WITH PETER BAKER AND SUSAN GLASSER

Next week we welcome David Leonhardt, veteran Pulitzer prize-winning NY Times business & economics journalist, in conversation with Larry Mantle,  to discuss domestic economy &  its impact on the  political scene. Register Here


THIS WEEK’S UKRAINE COLUMNS: FRIEDMAN & LEONHARDT
1.  In this op-ed  the New York Times’ columnist Thomas Friedman writes that Putin did not just invade Ukraine, but in essence invaded all of Europe.  Speaking of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, Friedman says “This could be the biggest act of folly in a European war since Hitler invaded Russia in 1941…This invasion — with Russian soldiers indiscriminately shelling Ukrainian apartment buildings and hospitals, killing civilians, looting homes, raping women and creating the biggest refugee crisis in Europe since World War II — is increasingly seen as a 21st-century rerun of Hitler’s onslaught against the rest of Europe, which started in September 1939 with the German attack on Poland. 

2.  Also on the op-ed page of the NY Times this week was this column about the Russo-Ukraine war co-authored by next week’s America at a Crossroads speaker, David Leonhardt. A key point in the column is that while “the war has gone much worse for Russia than almost anybody expected”, nevertheless, Russia “may yet accomplish the more limited goal of dominating Donbas.”  Despite Russia’s seeming progress in the Donbas region, the column notes that “many analysts believe that Russia’s military problems will make it very difficult for Putin to control large parts of Ukraine for months or years. Yet Donbas is where he is most likely to find some success.”

 

 

Dear Friend:
 
We join in mourning the deaths of the 19 children and their teachers murdered yesterday in Uvalde, Texas. Supporting the action demanded by this impassioned plea for action by San Francisco Warrior’s Head Coach Steve Kerr is one way to honor the memory of those murdered in this horrific tragedy.  STEVE KERR PLEA  

If you were not able to attend tonight’s program with Secretary Leon Panetta in conversation with Warren Olney, the entire unedited version will be at THIS PAST EVENTS link within a few hours after completion of the program.  It remains there indefinitely together with all of our past programs. The discussion was wide-ranging, covering yesterday’s horrible events in Texas, the war in Ukraine, the baby formula crisis, domestic politics, and more.

Next Wednesday Washington Post’s prolific opinion columnist and blogger Jennifer Rubin will be in conversation with KCRW’s Madeleine Brand discussing the most important issues of the day, including abortion, the January 6 Committee and the federal grand jury investigation of Trump.  Before Rubin joined the Washington Post in 2000 she wrote for the Weekly Standard and for Commentary.  Register Here



RAFFENSPERGER WINS GOP PRIMARY IN GEORGIA…WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
Yesterday’s GOP primary results for Georgia’s Secretary of State were being watched closely as a possible indication of whether Trump’s power as kingmaker persists.  At least in Georgia, both respect to Secretary of State and Governor, Trump’s endorsed candidates lost; and, in Idaho and Nebraska, Trump’s candidates in the gubernatorial primaries lost as well.   In this analysis by Elaine Godfrey appearing in today’s The Atlantic, Godfrey writes that “[t]he Georgia results add to a growing body of evidence that Trump’s power as a kingmaker–or at least, his power to carry out a political vendetta–has weakened.”  Trump was angry at Kemp for not helping to push the “big lie”, and Trump was angry at Raffensperger, for refusing to “find” the 11,780 votes that Trump wanted, and for recording and making public the notorious phone call. But, Godfrey notes, what happens in Georgia’s primary does not reflect what is happening in many other primaries: “Election deniers all over the country are running successful primary campaigns.  During the last presidential election, a handful of elected officials, including Raffensperger, chose to hold the democratic process above their own political preferences. Next time around, a different handful of people- in Arizona and Michigan and a number of other states—might choose differently.”

MORE ON YESTERDAY’S PRIMARIES
For additional analysis of yesterday’s primaries, see today’s Bulwark’s Charlie Sykes, Sarah Longwell, et al at Bulwark’s Morning Shots. 

RUSSIA’S U.N. COUNSELOR BONDAREV RESIGNS IN PROTEST 
In this article in Monday’s Washington Post, it was reported that Boris Bondarev, a counselor at the Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations, resigned his position in protest over Russia’s invasIon of Ukraine.  In the chilling letter of resignation  (see below)  Bondarev writes: “Those who conceived this war want only one thing — to remain in power forever, live in pompous tasteless palaces, sail on yachts comparable in tonnage and cost to the entire Russian Navy, enjoying unlimited power and complete impunity. To achieve that they are willing to sacrifice as many lives as it takes. Thousands of Russians and Ukrainians have already died just for this.”  Under Russian law those who criticize the war face prosecution under laws that make it a crime to spread “false information” about the Russian military, including by calling the war a war, rather than a “special operation” — Putin’s preferred term. (Bondarev letter of resignation)

 

Dear Friend:

If you were not able to attend today’s program with Washington Post opinion columnist Max Boot in conversation with Patt Morrison on the topic: Is American Democracy at the Tipping Point?  you can watch the entire program at this Past Events link.  The program is posted about 3 hours after it ends, and remains there indefinitely with ALL of our past America at a Crossroads programs.  

On May 25 at 5 pm Pacific we will hear from Secretary Leon Panetta, a most unique American leader. In a spectacularly diverse career over the past many decades, Leon Panetta has served the country as Secretary of Defense, White House Chief of Staff, Director of the CIA, Congressman, Director of the Office of Management & Budget,  Director, US Office for Civil Rights and more.  There may no other American leader who has a better understanding of our government and military than Secretary Panetta–the perfect expert for Part III of “An Expert’s View of a TOPSY-TURVY World”.  Register Here.  




FEATURED ARTICLES

Replacement Theory
Today’s New York Times features a powerful column by last week’s America at a Crossroads guest, Bret Stephens. In the column, Stephens warns that the racist and anti-Semitic “replacement theory” (which allegedly animated the Buffalo massacre shooter) is dangerous not because “a handful of its followers are crazy but that too many are sane … it weaponizes America against itself.” Alongside the Stephens piece is an op/ed by another of our prior speakers, Northwestern University Professor Kathleen Belew. It, too, is about “replacement theory” and its long pedigree in American history.

Bret Stephens: “The Right Weaponizes America Against Itself” – read more.

Kathleen Belew: “The Long Game of White-Power Activists Isn’t Just About Violence” – read more.

 

Dear Friend:
If you were unable to attend today’s program with Pulitzer Prize-winning NY TImes opinion columnist Bret Stephens in conversation with Patt Morrison, the unedited recording will be at this Past Programs link a few hours after the conclusion of the program.  It remains at that link indefinitely together with all of our America at a Crossroads past programs.

The program with Ambassador Dennis Ross which was scheduled for May 17th has been postponed.  We will provide the new date within the next couple of weeks. However, next Wednesday, May 18 at 5 pm Pacific we will welcome Washington Post opinion columnist Max Boot who will discuss: Is American Democracy at the Tipping Point?  Max A. Boot is prolific columnist covering, among other topics, national security.  He writes on a wide range of topics including military strategy, foreign diplomacy, domestic security, the Russo/Ukraine war, and American politics and democracy.  Boot is Russian-American and, before joining the Washington Post, he worked as a writer and editor for Christian Science Monitor and The Wall Street Journal.  Boot has written a number of books, has received a number of important awards, and is the Jeane J. Kirkpatrick Senior Fellow in National Security Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.  Register Here 

Here is the Bret Stephens letter to the US Supreme Court Justices about the abortion-related leaked opinion; the letter was in the form of a column mentioned in tonight’s program.  It was circulated last week, and here it is again.  

SELECTED COLUMNS/OP-EDS by THREE AMERICAN AT A CROSSROADS PAST AND FUTURE GUESTS
MAX BOOT.   BRET STEPHENS.    JENNIFER RUBIN
1. CAN WE STILL BE OPTIMISTIC ABOUT OUR DEMOCRACY?  STEPHENS
In todays NY TImes in this op-ed, tonight’s guest, Bret Stephens contrasts America’s many problems with the condition of countries, such as China and Russia, which are governed by authoritarian regimes. While the latter advertise their strengths and hide their weaknesses, explains Stephens, democracies do the opposite.  “We obsess over our weaknesses even as we forget our formidable strengths. It is the source of our pessimism. But it is also, paradoxically, our deepest strength:  refusing to look away from our flaws, we not only acknowledge them but also begin fixing them…We rethink. We adapt. In bending, we find new ways to grow. We have a demonstrated record of defanging right-wing demagogues, debunking left-wing ideologues, promoting racial justice, reversing crime waves, revitalizing the political center and reinvigorating the American ideal. Our problems may be hard, but they are neither insoluble nor new.”  

2.  AMERICANS IN DENIAL ABOUT THREATS TO OUR DEMOCRACY?  BOOT
In this column in today’s Washington Post Max Boot writes about the palpable threats to our American democracy and claims that Americans are in denial about those threats.  Between voter suppression laws being passed in an increasing number of states and the widespread Republican continued fealty to Trump,  Boot writes that Trump could end up taking the presidency in 2024. He explains:  “Republican state legislatures in swing states that Biden (or another Democrat) narrowly wins can claim the results are fraudulent and send in competing slates of electors pledged to Trump. The House and Senate would then vote on which electors to accept. Even if the Senate remains Democratic, a GOP-controlled House could prevent Biden from getting the 270 electoral votes needed to win. It would then fall to the House to decide the presidency. A majority of House Republicans already voted in 2020 to throw out electoral college votes for Biden. Even more are likely to do so in 2024 after four years of Trumpist purges.”  

3PUTIN IS IN A STRATEGIC QUANDARY BOOT
In this column in Monday’s Washington Post  Max Boot writes that, as evidenced by his Victory Day speech, Putin is in a “strategic quandary”.  The war that it launched is  a “war of choice” which is going badly, and neither escalation nor withdrawal are palatable to Putin.  “if Ukraine can return its borders close to where they were on Feb. 24, while sanctions continue to erode the Russian economy,” writes Boot, “it will be a tremendous victory for the West and a terrible defeat for Russia. Putin’s Victory Day speech might indicate he is groping for a way out, as the British defense minister suggests, but there is no easy exit from the disaster he created.”

4. THE PROSPECT OF CRIMINALIZING ABORTION  RUBIN
In this column, Jennifer Rubin analyzes what would be entailed in enforcing laws criminalizing abortion.  She writes that “Whenever [a] government has attempted to control women’s reproduction, an extraordinary degree of surveillance, intrusion and spying has been required.”  Enforcing such laws would create a “society of snitches, suspicion and distrust. When the Texas bounty bill was first passed, Robin Fretwell Wilson of the University of Illinois law school wrote: ‘The encouragement of ‘voluntary espionage’ between neighbors hints at forms of totalitarianism that most Americans would publicly rail against.” 

5. MORE ON CRIMINALIZATION OF ABORTION
This article from Forbes describes a law being advanced in the Louisiana legislature (HB813) which makes abortion, from the moment of conception, a homicide, irrespective of whether Roe v. Wade is overturned.  The article explains that there are 13 states “set to immediately ban abortion if the court does strike Roe down through ‘trigger bans’ that will go into effect once there’s a ruling. HB813 goes far beyond the state’s existing trigger ban, which would make performing an abortion a crime punishable by up to two years in prison and a $1,000 fine. While many abortion bans that will take effect make performing an abortion a felony punishable by prison time, none punish the person having the abortion themselves, making HB813 particularly extreme in relation.”


SIGN UP for the podcast edition of America at a Crossroads
Our programs are now available to stream on your favorite podcast platform. 
Visit Jewsunitedfordemocracy.org/Podcast to listen and subscribe.


SELECT ORGANIZATIONS PROVIDING RELIEF TO UKRAINIANS 
1. Jewish World Watch is providing urgently needed relief to Ukrainians at the frontlines and to refugees fleeing to neighboring Moldavia.  Donate Here
2. Project Hope is on the ground and coordinating with local organizations in Ukraine, Poland, Moldova, and Romania to provide medical supplies and care inside Ukraine as well as in the surrounding countries. Donate Here
3. Save the Children’s Ukraine Crisis Relief Fund is providing children and families with immediate aid, such as food, water, hygiene kits, psychosocial support, and cash assistance.Donate Here
4. President’s Office launches humanitarian aid website. Ukraine set up an official portal https://help.gov.ua/en for those who want to provide humanitarian or financial assistance to affected people, businesses or the government amid Russia’s war against Ukraine. https://help.gov.ua/en
5.  This organization, Zrzutka.pl, is headquartered in Poland and has created this Ukraine assistance fund which distributes money to 14 grass roots organizations on the ground in Ukraine and Poland .  Donations made are not tax deductible in the US.  FYI, there are 4.5 zloty to the US dollar; $100 US= 450 zlotys.
6.  To aide Ukrainian Jews, many of whom are elderly survivors of the Holocaust, this Fund was established by the Jewish Federation of Los Angeles; 100% of all monies collected are being distributed to four different Jewish organizations, including to the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee and the Jewish Agency (JAFI), which are providing direct assistance to Ukraine’s Jewish community. Donations are tax deductible.  Donate here
7. IsraAID, is an Israeli non-profit non-sectarian organization which responds to natural and man-made disasters around the world.  IsraAID launched operations to assist refugees from Ukraine who have fled to Moldova, along the Southwest border of Ukraine. Donations are tax deductible.  Donate here.  
8.  Direct Relief has established this special Ukraine fund and is working directly with Ukraine’s Ministry of Health and other partners in the region to provide requested medical aid, from oxygen concentrators to critical care medicines – while preparing to offer longer-term medical aid to people displaced or affected by the conflict.  Donations are tax-deductible. Donate Here.
9. HIAS, the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, a non-profit non-sectarian organization, is responding with HIAS emergency humanitarian assistance to those who are displaced.  A HIAS response team is in Poland  assisting Ukrainians — Jews and others — as they cross into Poland.   It is interesting to note that HIAS was founded in 1881 to assist Jewish refugees from pogroms in the Ukraine, Russia and Eastern Europe.  Today it is a non-sectarian refugee assistance organization helping refugees all over the world.  Donations are tax-deductible. Donate Here.
Dear Friend:

Today is the first in a 3-part America at a Crossroads trilogy featuring Experts’ Views on a Topsy-Turvy World.  Our first expert is former Chair, Joint Chiefs of Staff, Navy Admiral (ret) Mike Mullen.  Admiral Mullen served as the 17th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and prior to that served as the Navy’s 28th Chief of Naval Operations.  During his impressive career, Admiral Mullen championed emerging and enduring at the U.S. Naval Academy, the Naval Postgraduate School, and at Harvard Business School.  He is a Member of the National Academy of Engineering and a trustee at Caltech and a  long-time visiting professor at Princeton University’s School of Public and International Affairs.  He is President of MGM Consulting, LLC – which provides counsel to global clients on issues related to geo-political developments, national security interests, and strategic leadership. There are few people more expert in understanding and interpreting our topsy-turvy world than Adm. Mike Mullen.  Register here.
Next Wednesday,
May 11 5 pm Pacific,
An Expert’s View on a Topsy-Turvy World Part II
NY Times opinion columnist Bret Stephens
Register Here


SELECTED ARTICLES/COLUMNS/OP-EDS
1. LEAKED DRAFT SUPREME COURT OPINION OVERTURNS ROE v. WADE:
a.  Neal Katyal Interview in The New Yorker
Last week’s America at a Crossroads guest, former Acting US Solicitor General and constitutional law professor at Georgetown, Neal Katyal, was interviewed  yesterday by Isaac Chotiner of The New Yorker about the leaked draft Supreme Court opinion set to overrule Roe v. Wade.  In the interview Katyal describes the processes of the court in this case, but he also expresses his deep concern about the direction this court is going. “I’m worried about the Court right now” says Kaytal, “and its ability to act in a way that upholds our principles. A decision like this draft gravely, gravely worries me because it is as huge a step back for women in reproductive justice as anything in our lifetimes.”
b. Next Week’s Guest, Bret Stephens, says draft reveals a RADICAL (not conservative) Court
 Bret Stephens’ column in this morning’s NY TImes is in the form of a letter to Supreme Court Justices Roberts, Thomas, Kavanaugh, Gorsuch, and Barrett imploring them not to sign onto Alito’s  opinion as drafted, which he describes as “radical” rather than merely “conservative”.  He writes, among other objections he has with the opinion, that failing to show respect for the doctrine of stare decisis (following precedent) violates the underlying principles and doctrines of the role of the Court in American society. “[T]he decision will also discredit the court as a steward of whatever is left of American steadiness and sanity, and as a bulwark against our fast-depleting respect for institutions and tradition. The fact that the draft of Justice Alito’s decision was leaked — which Chief Justice Roberts rightly described as an “egregious breach” of trust — is a foretaste of the kind of guerrilla warfare the court should expect going forward. And not just on abortion: A court that betrays the trust of Americans on an issue that affects so many, so personally, will lose their trust on every other issue as well. The word ‘conservative’ encompasses many ideas and habits, none more important than prudence. Justices: Be prudent.”

2. UKRAINE PROVES THAT WE ARE IN AN AGE OF DEFENSIVE DOMINANCE
In this op-ed in this morning’s Washington Post, Max Boot writes about defensive dominance in Ukraine afforded by  sensors that allow the Ukrainians “to detect attacking forces and to hit them with precision-guided munitions without revealing their own positions.”   Not only are the sensors inexpensive compared to tanks and ships,  when sensors are pervasive and coupled with portable missiles and drones, they create dominance.  “If Russia fails in Ukraine, it will send a welcome message about the perils of mounting wars of aggression in an age of defensive dominance” concludes Boot. 

3. HARVARD RELEASES STUDY OF YOUNG AMERICANS’ ATTITUDES ABOUT POLITICS 
In this piece in yesterday’s Los Angeles Times David Lauter analyzes whether young Americans (18-29) are so disillusioned with politics that they will disengage and essentially not show up at the polls.  Inasmuch as young Americans were critical to Biden’s victory, the question of engagement of this demographic has critical political ramifications. Last week, Harvard’s Institute of Politics revealed the latest results from its semiannual poll of American young people; not only did the poll reveal plummeting support of Biden amongst 18-29 year old Americans, but it also revealed that a majority of young Americans are often feeling “down, depressed, or hopeless”.  Almost half of the group said that “[p]olitics and news are hurting their mental health.”


SIGN UP for the podcast edition of America at a Crossroads
Our programs are now available to stream on your favorite podcast platform. 
Visit Jewsunitedfordemocracy.org/Podcast to listen and subscribe.


SELECT ORGANIZATIONS PROVIDING RELIEF TO UKRAINIANS 
1. Jewish World Watch is providing urgently needed relief to Ukrainians at the frontlines and to refugees fleeing to neighboring Moldavia.  Donate Here
2. Project Hope is on the ground and coordinating with local organizations in Ukraine, Poland, Moldova, and Romania to provide medical supplies and care inside Ukraine as well as in the surrounding countries. Donate Here
3. Save the Children’s Ukraine Crisis Relief Fund is providing children and families with immediate aid, such as food, water, hygiene kits, psychosocial support, and cash assistance.Donate Here
4.. President’s Office launches humanitarian aid website. Ukraine set up an official portal https://help.gov.ua/en for those who want to provide humanitarian or financial assistance to affected people, businesses or the government amid Russia’s war against Ukraine. https://help.gov.ua/en
5.  This organization, Zrzutka.pl, is headquartered in Poland and has created this Ukraine assistance fund which distributes money to 14 grass roots organizations on the ground in Ukraine and Poland .  Donations made are not tax deductible in the US.  FYI, there are 4.5 zloty to the US dollar; $100 US= 450 zlotys.
6.  To aide Ukrainian Jews, many of whom are elderly survivors of the Holocaust, this Fund was established by the Jewish Federation of Los Angeles; 100% of all monies collected are being distributed to four different Jewish organizations, including to the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee and the Jewish Agency (JAFI), which are providing direct assistance to Ukraine’s Jewish community. Donations are tax deductible.  Donate here
7. IsraAID, is an Israeli non-profit non-sectarian organization which responds to natural and man-made disasters around the world.  IsraAID launched operations to assist refugees from Ukraine who have fled to Moldova, along the Southwest border of Ukraine. Donations are tax deductible.  Donate here.  
8.  Direct Relief has established this special Ukraine fund and is working directly with Ukraine’s Ministry of Health and other partners in the region to provide requested medical aid, from oxygen concentrators to critical care medicines – while preparing to offer longer-term medical aid to people displaced or affected by the conflict.  Donations are tax-deductible. Donate Here.
9. HIAS, the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, a non-profit non-sectarian organization, is responding with HIAS emergency humanitarian assistance to those who are displaced.  A HIAS response team is in Poland  assisting Ukrainians — Jews and others — as they cross into Poland.   It is interesting to note that HIAS was founded in 1881 to assist Jewish refugees from pogroms in the Ukraine, Russia and Eastern Europe.  Today it is a non-sectarian refugee assistance organization helping refugees all over the world.  Donations are tax-deductible. Donate Here.