Activism

There are a variety of non-profit organizations that are immersed in issues aligned with JUDJ’s mission. Representatives of most of the following organizations have been amongst the speakers in our “Community Conversations” series and the “America at a Crossroads” virtual series. We encourage you to connect with and support these organizations, many of which have volunteer opportunities and other ways to take action.

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:

Due to the votes to be taken in the Senate tomorrow evening, Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia has had to cancel his appearance on America at a Crossroads Virtual Town Hall. We are working with his office to reschedule as soon as possible.
We were extremely fortunate to be able to secure polling maven, political pundit, and uber analyst Ron Brownstein of CNN and The Atlantic to join in discussion with KCRW’s Warren Olney at 5:00PM [Pacific].

They will discuss topics ranging from the pending Senate bills to the latest polls, to the filibuster, to the extraordinary dysfunction we are witnessing in the House and the Senate.  Brownstein is a journalist, historian, and widely quoted political expert. He is a senior political and election analyst for CNN and an editorial director of Atlantic Media Company. His columns and analysis regularly appear in The Atlantic, the Los Angeles Times and the National Journal. He recently authored The New York Times best-seller, Rock Me on the Water: 1974, The Year Los Angeles Transformed Movies, Music, Television, and Politics (click here to order the book).

Join us next week for a discussion of the 2021-2022 United States Supreme Court term. This year’s docket has several monumentally important issues and warrants special attention. Prof. Rick Hasan of UC Irvine Law School will be joined by Slate’s and Newsweek’s Dahlia Lithwick; KPCC’s Larry Mantle will moderate. Register here

ARTICLES OF SPECIAL NOTE 
1.  In this op-ed in Sunday’s NY Times, guest columnist CUNY Professor of International Studies Zachariah Mampilly explores the question of what is driving citizen protests which are occurring across the globe.  While he acknowledges that the triggering event for these protests is the pandemic, he feels the problem goes much deeper than the pandemic.  He writes: “While many demonstrations explicitly invoke the pandemic, the bigger, latent concern is the inability of modern governments to serve the majority of their populations, especially the middle and poorer classes…Add the botched responses to Covid and it is no surprise that citizens have little confidence in their leaders, elected or otherwise, to confront these challenges.”  His conclusion about the breakdown in trust in social systems is a stark reality which reminds us of the repair work to be done in societies across the globe, as well as domestically,  “Social trust is a precious thing. It can take generations to build but can be lost in a flash. And so protests are likely to continue wherever that trust remains low…The pandemic has revealed the disconnect between governments and their citizens.”

2. In this op-ed in today’s NY TImes, Donald Ayer, a U.S. attorney and principal deputy solicitor general in the Reagan administration and deputy attorney general in the George H.W. Bush administration, expresses concern about the right-wing ideological bent of the majority of the current Supreme Court.  Ayer was an advocate for the Reagan-era policy which shunned judicial activism, and points out that this very conservative court is violating its charge as “stewards of an existing body of law and not innovators charged with radically remaking it.”  Ayer critically reviews the cases decided by the Court in the previous docket, pointing out the ways the Court has abandoned core and long-held democratic and legal principles.  Based upon those prior rulings by this Court, Ayer writes, “the expanding right-wing majority on the Supreme Court has relied on an array of innovative constitutional rights to undermine traditional governmental actions while discarding longstanding precedents with which they disagree…[while] at the same time it seems ready to cast aside certain constitutional rights” by giving “sweeping new interpretations” to well established rights and invokes those new interpretations “to radically narrow certain government powers that were until quite recently uncontroversial, including, for example, powers related to public safety or our democratic process.”

3.  The subject of  this op-ed by the editorial board of the Washington Post, involves an anti-semitic campaign mailer which was paid for by the Virginia Republican Party and which invoked the age old negative stereotypes about Jews; the mailer was sent out by a GOP challenger to the incumbent democratic Virginia state legislator whom the Washington Post endorsed in the column.  According to the reporting, the anti-Semitic tropes raised in the mailer “follow a recent GOP pattern among Virginia Republican candidates in this fall’s legislative elections.”
Dear Friends:  

Today at 5 pacific we welcome the prolific and brilliant Jennifer Rubin who will discuss the outsized role women are playing in our elections and in our democracy.  Last week, her book, RESISTANCE: How Women Saved Democracy from Donald Trump was released.  Register here.

ARTICLES OF SPECIAL NOTE 
Tom Friedman Challenges the Moderate and Progressive Dems
1.  Tom Friedman’s op-ed in today’s New York Times asks this question of Congressional Democrats, with a particular emphasis on both the “moderates” and the “progressives” : “Are you ready to risk a lot less than Liz Cheney did to do what is necessary right now — from your side — to save our democracy?”  Friedman writes that given the rogue behavior of all but 2 Congressional Republicans (Cheney and Kinzinger), the Democrats must act alone to protect electoral integrity and save our democracy from  this “Trump-cult version of the G.O.P.”. While Friedman notes that it will be a huge (and unfair) challenge, he also notes that “if Cheney can risk everything to stop Trump, then Democrats — both moderates and progressives — must rise to this moment and forge the majorities needed in the Senate and House to pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill (now scheduled for a Thursday vote in the House), a voting rights bill and as much of the Build Back Better legislation as moderate and progressives can agree on.”

Robert Kagan’s Chilling Op-Ed about Threats to our Peace & Democracy (re-send)
2. The opening sentence of this chilling op-ed in last week’s Washington Post by columnist Robert Kagan paints an extremely bleak picture of the near-future of our American democracy: “The United States is heading into its greatest political and constitutional crisis since the Civil War, with a reasonable chance over the next three to four years of incidents of mass violence, a breakdown of federal authority, and the division of the country into warring red and blue enclaves.”  He warns that the stage which has been set by Trump and his allies ensures that the 2022 midterms and 2024 presidential elections will create massive chaos that, according to Kagan, no one is taking seriously enough to adopt and implement measures to prevent the all-but-certain chaos and threats to our domestic peace and our democracy.  While Kagan’s perspective is depressing, to say the least, many of the country’s democracy scholars have taken note of the op-ed and have all-but-agreed with Kagan’s analysis and predictions. 

Jennifer Rubin on how Republican Tactics will Backfire and Benefit Dems (re-send)
3. In yesterday’s Washington Post op-ed column, Jennifer Rubin opines that the Republicans’ current policies and tactics are likely to politically backfire. Rubin references the outcome of the California gubernatorial recall, and writes, “There is nothing like the specter of misogynistic antiabortion policy or Republicans’ willful refusal to fight a deadly pandemic to engage the Democratic base. Moreover, in stressing these issues, Democrats do nothing to alienate independents or sane Republicans. To the contrary…”.
3. Also in yesterday’s Washington Post, this Jennifer Rubin column discusses the continued promulgation by Trump and allies of “the big lie”  and their never-ending calls for post-election audits, which will, in Rubin’s opinion, inure to the benefit of Democrats in upcoming elections.  She writes, “Democrats relish the reminder to voters that Republicans are a threat to the sanctity of elections and will invite chaos if the races do not go their way.”   
Dear Friends:  

Wishing all who celebrate, a joyous Sukkot holiday.  On Wednesday, September 22 at 5 pm, we will welcome The Atlantic’s David Frum in conversation with KCRW’s Madeleine Brand to discuss Trump’s continuing impact on American politics and on the world. The zoom link is provided above.  You can register here.


PAST PROGRAMS:  You can access recordings of ALL of our past programs here.   



Thank you for your donations!   We are very grateful to those who donate to help offset the costs of America at a Crossroads.  America at a Crossroads is a volunteer-driven effort and is a joint venture of Jews United for Democracy & Justice (JUDJ) and Community Advocates, Inc. (CAI).  All donations are tax-deductible and are shared by JUDJ and CAI.  Donations can be made here: JUDJ website  or here: CAI website.  JUDJ ( EIN 82-0742397) is a fiscally sponsored project of Jewish Center for Justice  (EIN: 81-4397882) which is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt California public benefit corporation. (If you prefer to write a check, email us by responding to this email or via judjlainfo@gmail.com for instructions.  

Article of Note
This Wall Street Journal article co-authored by America at a Crossroad’s recent guest, Michael Bender, discloses a growing divide between Trump and McConnell and reports that Trump is in search of a challenger to “depose” McConnell as the Senate’s Republican leader. “The main disagreement has been over the style of candidate best suited to pick off seats from Democrats. Mr. Trump has leaned on personal relationships and loyalty tests for most of his endorsements. In contrast, Mr. McConnell has looked to Republicans who have been vetted, with a demonstrated ability to win in their states.”

Washington Post columnist George F. Will has written a new book entitled,   American Happiness & DIscontents. In last week’s Washington Post,  Will’s column is highly personal; he recounts his career and reflects on how he came to be a “commentary columnist”.  The column, entitled, The Pursuit of Happiness is Happiness, is a prelude to his newly released book, and concludes with these words which suggest that the book is about the intersection of the personal and the political during these complicated times: “It has been well said that the United States is the only nation founded on a good idea, the proposition that people should be free to pursue happiness as they define it. In recent years, however, happiness has been elusive for this dyspeptic nation, in which too many people think and act as tribes and define their happiness as some other tribe’s unhappiness… Perhaps the information, the reasoning and, I hope, the occasional amusements in newspaper columns can help readers think through, and thereby diminish, our current discontents…They will diminish if, but only if Americans adhere to two categorical imperatives: They should behave as intelligently as they can, and should be as cheerful as is reasonable. The pursuit of individual happiness, and of a more perfect union, never reaches perfect fulfillment, but never mind…For Americans, the pursuit of happiness is happiness.”
Dear Friends:  

There is no program today because of the observance of Yom Kippur.  Next week, on Wednesday, September 22 at 5 pm, we will welcome The Atlantic’s David Frum in conversation with KCRW’s Madeleine Brand to discuss Trump’s continuing impact on American politics and on the world.  You can register here.


PAST PROGRAMS:  You can access recordings of ALL of our past programs, including last week’s Amb. Dennis Ross exceptional briefing on Afghanistan, here.   



Thank you for your donations!   We are very grateful to those who donate to help offset the costs of America at a Crossroads.  America at a Crossroads is a volunteer-driven effort and is a joint venture of Jews United for Democracy & Justice (JUDJ) and Community Advocates, Inc. (CAI).  All donations are tax-deductible and are shared by JUDJ and CAI.  Donations can be made here: JUDJ website  or here: CAI website.  JUDJ ( EIN 82-0742397) is a fiscally sponsored project of Jewish Center for Justice  (EIN: 81-4397882) which is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt California public benefit corporation. (If you prefer to write a check, email us by responding to this email or via judjlainfo@gmail.com for instructions.  


SPECIAL ESSAY FOR YOM KIPPUR
In deference to Yom Kippur, we share this essay by Rabbi David Wolpe of Sinai Temple, Los Angeles, published this week in the NY Times on the topics of forgiveness, Yom Kippur, T’shuvah and the special challenges posed by atonement in the context of “cancel culture”,  https://www.nytimes.com/2021/09/12/opinion/yom-kippur-forgiveness.html
Dear Friends:

If you missed tonight’s enlightening program about Afghanistan featuring Ambassador Dennis Ross in conversation with Patt Morrison you can listen to it at this link later tonight. (It remains there indefinitely).  

Next week, due to Yom Kippur, there will not be an America at a Crossroads program.  We return on Wednesday, September 22 at 5 pm with The Atlantic’s David Frum in conversation with KCRW’s Madeleine Brand to discuss Trump’s continuing impact on American politics and on the world.  You can register here.


PAST PROGRAMS:  You can access recordings of ALL of our past programs here.   



Thank you for your donations!   We are very grateful to those who donate to help offset the costs of America at a Crossroads.  America at a Crossroads is a volunteer-driven effort and is a joint venture of Jews United for Democracy & Justice (JUDJ) and Community Advocates, Inc. (CAI).  All donations are tax-deductible and are shared by JUDJ and CAI.  Donations can be made here: JUDJ website  or here: CAI website.  JUDJ ( EIN 82-0742397) is a fiscally sponsored project of Jewish Center for Justice  (EIN: 81-4397882) which is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt California public benefit corporation. (If you prefer to write a check, email us by responding to this email or via judjlainfo@gmail.com for instructions.  


ARTICLES OF NOTE
1. Anarchists versus Authoritarians
In this op-ed in Tuesday’s Washington Post, Max Boot questions whether today’s Republicans are anarchists or authoritarians; ultimately Boot decides that recent Republican actions prove them to be both anarchists AND authoritarians.  Boot cites many recent actions taken to support his contention: the Texas anti-abortion statute, the voter suppression laws passed in 18 Republican-controlled legislatures, the laws prohibiting the teaching of critical race theory in 8 Republican-controlled states, the actions taken by 5 Republican-appointed Supreme Court Justices, and more.  Based thereon, Boot concludes, “Republicans are fighting…to establish a state in which conservative White Christians are in charge. But until that happens, they will undermine every institution that they perceive as being under the control of their progressive foes…Republicans are ludicrously convinced that the left has hijacked even institutions such as big business and the military.”
 
2. Extremism in Texas: Anti-Abortion Law & Anti-Voting Law
Last week, the US Supreme Court declined to stop a Texas law that restricts most abortions after as early as six weeks of pregnancy, According to Sue Halpern, the writer of this piece in this week’s New Yorker, by so doing, the Roberts Court “dramatically further[ed] the illiberal, anti-democratic tendency of the” Court.  Interestingly, Chief Justice John Roberts, himself, dissented. Most controversially, the law, which has been dubbed “a vigilante law”, gives individuals, rather than the state, the right to enforce penalties against those who in any way participate in the illegal abortion. In a stinging dissent, Justice Sotomayer said that the statute and ostensibly the Court’s refusal to block it, “is a breathtaking act of defiance—of the Constitution, of this Court’s precedents, and of the rights of women seeking abortions throughout Texas.”  Halpern connects the odious Texas anti-abortion law with the newly passed Texas voter suppression law, the latter being a set of “draconian laws to make it harder to vote, especially for people of color. “Though the two laws address different domains, they are connected: in Texas and elsewhere in the country, a ligature of racism connects efforts to deny people of color their right to vote and women—disproportionately women of color—their right to terminate a pregnancy.
Dear Friends:

Next week due to  Rosh Hashanah, our program will be on
THURSDAY, September 9 at 6 pm.  

We will once again welcome Ambassador Dennis Ross, this time to brief us on AFGHANISTAN: What Happened and What Does it Mean? Ambassador Ross has served in numerous senior national security positions in the Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Clinton and Obama administrations, and is expert on the Middle and Near East in particular.  He has been a frequent guest of America at a Crossroads.  Register here



Thank you for your donations!   We are very grateful to those who donate to help offset the costs of America at a Crossroads.  America at a Crossroads is a volunteer-driven effort and is a joint venture of Jews United for Democracy & Justice (JUDJ) and Community Advocates, Inc. (CAI).  All donations are tax-deductible and are shared by JUDJ and CAI.  Donations can be made here: JUDJ website  or here: CAI website.  JUDJ ( EIN 82-0742397) is a fiscally sponsored project of Jewish Center for Justice  (EIN: 81-4397882) which is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt California public benefit corporation. (If you prefer to write a check, email us by responding to this email or via judjlainfo@gmail.com for instructions.  


ARTICLES OF NOTE
 
In anticipation of next Thursday Afghanistan briefing by Dennis Ross…
 In this op-ed in Sunday’s NY Times, Dennis Ross ,who will be giving us a briefing on Afghanistan next THURSDAY and who served in numerous senior national security positions in the Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Clinton and Obama administrations, challenges those who feel that the Afghanistan crisis has dealt a “mortal blow” to America’s position and credibility on the world stage. Without diminishing the tragedy of Afghanistan, Ross provides perspective by reviewing other times of credibility crises which the US has confronted in recent history, including Viet Nam, the Iran hostage crisis (Carter), the terrorist bombing in Saudi Arabia which killed 19 US soldiers (Clinton), the invasion of Iraq (Bush 2), the repeated threats to pull out of NATO (Trump), and so many more.  All of these situations to greater or lesser degree, were major crises and all damaged American credibility in varying measures.  Ross concludes by writing that “America is the most powerful country in the world, and its allies will need its help to combat direct threats and an array of new, growing national security dangers, including cyberwar and climate change. That does not mean that the United States can dismiss the costs of its mistakes in Afghanistan. But it does show that America can recover.”

Kevin McCarthy Threatens Firms that Cooperate with  January 6 Investigation
In this op ed in yesterday’s Washington Post, Michael Gerson analyzes the various flanks of the Republican Party and specifically writes about McCarthy’s demagoguery and the danger to our Republic were he to become House Speaker. Gerson writes: “Here is the problem: When a leader such as McCarthy fully embraces Trumpism — both its content and methods — as the essence of governing Republicanism, he is not only determining the predominant ideology of his party. He is also implicitly affirming the new ideological ecosystem of the American right — its lawless governing theory, its cultlike conspiracy theories and its threat of political violence. This is very much a package deal.”

Dear Friends:

If you weren’t able to join us this evening for an interesting and wide-ranging conversation between Susan Glasser and Patt Morrison, you can watch the entire program at this link starting a few hours after the program has ended. All of our past programs reside at that link and remain there indefinitely.
Thank you for your donations! We are very grateful to those who donate to help offset the costs of America at a Crossroads. America at a Crossroads is a volunteer-driven effort and is a joint venture of Jews United for Democracy & Justice (JUDJ) and Community Advocates, Inc. (CAI). All donations are tax-deductible and are shared by JUDJ and CAI. Donations can be made here: JUDJ website or here: CAI website. JUDJ ( EIN 82-0742397) is a fiscally sponsored project of Jewish Center for Justice (EIN: 81-4397882) which is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt California public benefit corporation. (If you prefer to write a check, email us by responding to this email or via judjlainfo@gmail.com for instructions.
CURRENT EVENT: RECONCILIATION BILL PASSED THE HOUSE

In this op-ed in today’s Washington Post, Jennifer Rubin describes Speaker Pelosi’s skills at managing the various factions amongst Congressional Democrats as masterful. The particular issue this week was a noisy and very public battle staged by 9 centrist Congressional Democrats who were threatening passage of the $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill if Pelosi did not first call for a vote on the bi-partisan infrastructure bill. According to Rubin, “[i]t seems the nine members obstructed the caucus to obtain leverage in crafting the reconciliation package to junk the $10,000 limit on state and local tax (SALT) deductions. If so, they suffer from political tone-deafness, as the deductions primarily help wealthy homeowners in blue states.” The reconciliation bill was passed by the House yesterday, which clears the way for Congressional Democrats to move forward on a sweeping package that includes President Biden’s key domestic policy proposals. Rubin concludes by reiterating the rule of thumb in DC: “Never bet against Pelosi.” Also yesterday, Pelosi set the deadline of the end of September for the bi-partisan infrastructure bill vote.

Dear Friends:

If you weren’t able to join us this evening for an interesting and wide-ranging conversation between Susan Glasser and Patt Morrison, you can watch the entire program at this link starting a few hours after the program has ended. All of our past programs reside at that link and remain there indefinitely.
Thank you for your donations! We are very grateful to those who donate to help offset the costs of America at a Crossroads. America at a Crossroads is a volunteer-driven effort and is a joint venture of Jews United for Democracy & Justice (JUDJ) and Community Advocates, Inc. (CAI). All donations are tax-deductible and are shared by JUDJ and CAI. Donations can be made here: JUDJ website or here: CAI website. JUDJ ( EIN 82-0742397) is a fiscally sponsored project of Jewish Center for Justice (EIN: 81-4397882) which is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt California public benefit corporation. (If you prefer to write a check, email us by responding to this email or via judjlainfo@gmail.com for instructions.
CURRENT EVENT: RECONCILIATION BILL PASSED THE HOUSE

In this op-ed in today’s Washington Post, Jennifer Rubin describes Speaker Pelosi’s skills at managing the various factions amongst Congressional Democrats as masterful. The particular issue this week was a noisy and very public battle staged by 9 centrist Congressional Democrats who were threatening passage of the $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill if Pelosi did not first call for a vote on the bi-partisan infrastructure bill. According to Rubin, “[i]t seems the nine members obstructed the caucus to obtain leverage in crafting the reconciliation package to junk the $10,000 limit on state and local tax (SALT) deductions. If so, they suffer from political tone-deafness, as the deductions primarily help wealthy homeowners in blue states.” The reconciliation bill was passed by the House yesterday, which clears the way for Congressional Democrats to move forward on a sweeping package that includes President Biden’s key domestic policy proposals. Rubin concludes by reiterating the rule of thumb in DC: “Never bet against Pelosi.” Also yesterday, Pelosi set the deadline of the end of September for the bi-partisan infrastructure bill vote.

Dear Friends:

Tomorrow at 5 pm pacific The New Yorker’s Washington Correspondent, Susan Glasser, will give us her analysis of recent current events, including her take on reconciliation and infrastructure bills, Afghanistan withdrawal, voter suppression bills, mask mandates, and more. In addition be having founded Politico, Susan Glasser is an award-winning veteran political and Washington correspondent known for her astute analysis of the most complex issues of the day. Glasser will be in conversation with Patt Morrison. Register here.
Thank you for your donations! We are very grateful to those who donate to help offset the costs of America at a Crossroads. America at a Crossroads is a volunteer-driven effort and is a joint venture of Jews United for Democracy & Justice (JUDJ) and Community Advocates, Inc. (CAI). All donations are tax-deductible and are shared by JUDJ and CAI. Donations can be made here: JUDJ website or here: CAI website. JUDJ ( EIN 82-0742397) is a fiscally sponsored project of Jewish Center for Justice (EIN: 81-4397882) which is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt California public benefit corporation.
Important Columns/Articles/Op-eds: Infrastructure & Reconciliation bills: Which Comes 1st?

1. A group of centrist Democrats penned this op-ed which appeared in the Washington Post over the weekend in which they advocated for the bi-partisan infrastructure bill to be passed before the vote on the $3 .5 trillion reconciliation bill. The group of 9 centrist democrats is challenging Speaker Pelosi who wants the reconciliation package vote to precede the infrastructure vote. The group of 9 wrote that it does not want the infrastructure bill held hostage for the reconciliation package, saying “we are firmly opposed to holding the president’s infrastructure legislation hostage to reconciliation, risking its passage and the bipartisan support behind it.”

2. BUT, in today’s NY Times, Jamelle Bouie’s op-ed says that those 9 Democrats are making a big mistake. He writes: “There will be no bipartisan [infrastructure] bill if the partisan [reconciliation bill] one isn’t passed, and no partisan bill if the bipartisan one does not come to a vote. If the two sides don’t hang together, then they will both go down to defeat.”

Dear Friends:

If you missed the fascinating conversation between the NY Times cyber journalist, Sheera Frenkel, and UCLA Con Law Professor Eugene Volokh, moderated by Larry Mantle, you can watch the recording at this link starting later on tonight.  All of our past programs reside indefinitely at that link.  Further, here is a link to the book which Sheera Frenkel co-authored with Cecelia Kang entitled,  An Ugly Truth: Inside Facebook’s Battle for Domination. 
Thank you for your donations!   We are very grateful to those who donate to help offset the costs of America at a Crossroads.  America at a Crossroads is a volunteer-driven effort and is a joint venture of Jews United for Democracy & Justice (JUDJ) and Community Advocates, Inc. (CAI).  All donations are tax-deductible and are shared by JUDJ and CAI.  Donations can be made here: JUDJ website  or here: CAI website.  JUDJ ( EIN 82-0742397) is a fiscally sponsored project of Jewish Center for Justice  (EIN: 81-4397882) which is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt California public benefit corporation.

Important Columns/Articles/Op-eds: More on Withdrawal from Afghanistan

1.  In this week’s New Yorker Q&A column, Isaac Chotiner interviews dean of Columbia Journalism School Steve Coll, who is also a staff writer at the New Yorker, author of many books, including one on Afghanistan, and a two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize.  Chotiner elicits Coll’s reaction to the US withdrawal and his perspective on why the US was so unsuccessful in training the Afghan army to control the country. Coll observed that it was very difficult for the Americans to facilitate the building of a “normal Afghan state” when the (Afghani) militias, who NATO and the US had to rely upon, were politically and legally unaccountable.  He also noted that the main US-led NATO objective was counterterrorism, not nation-building. Finally, Coll explained that Biden inherited a terrible situation because the deal made between the Taliban and Trump was that the Taliban would not attack US troops in exchange for a hard total withdrawal deadline of May, 2021. The Biden Administration understandably feared that repudiating or rewriting the deal would lead to more bloody conflict.   

2 .  In this NY Times op-ed entitled “Biden Could Still be Proved Right in Afghanistan”, Thomas Friedman, suggests that it is too soon to judge whether Biden’s withdrawal from Afghanistan, and indeed, the overall American engagement (and then disengagement) in Afghanistan over the past twenty years were the failures that many have reported them to be. While Friedman opines that the lack of a “proper security perimeter and transition process” to safely remove American allies, human rights and aid workers, and diplomats seems almost inexplicable, he further writes that “ultimately, the Biden team will be judged by how it handles the morning after the morning after. Biden made a claim — one that was shared by the Trump team — that America would be more secure and better able to deal with any terrorist threats if we were out of Afghanistan than if we stayed embedded there, with all the costs of people, energy and focus. He again suggested as much in his address to the nation Monday afternoon. The Biden team essentially said that the old way of trying to secure America from Middle East terrorists through occupation and nation-building doesn’t work and that there is a better way. It needs to tell us what that way is and prove it out the morning after the morning after.”

3. The events this week in Afghanistan which led to what appeared to be a lightening-speed takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban were actually planned over the course of time, according to this article in this week’s Washington Post written by Susannah George.  She writes: “The spectacular collapse of Afghanistan’s military that allowed Taliban fighters to walk into the Afghan capital Sunday despite 20 years of training and billions of dollars in American aid began with a series of deals brokered in rural villages between the militant group and some of the Afghan government’s lowest-ranking officials. The deals, initially offered early last year, were often described by Afghan officials as cease-fires, but Taliban leaders were in fact offering money in exchange for government forces to hand over their weapons, according to an Afghan officer and a U.S. official. Over the next year and a half, the meetings advanced to the district level and then rapidly on to provincial capitals, culminating in a breathtaking series of negotiated surrenders by government forces, according to interviews with more than a dozen Afghan officers, police, special operations troops and other soldiers.”  It appears from George’s account, that the Taliban was poised to do what it did no matter how the American withdrawal was implemented.  

4.  For those who missed it, here is the speech President Biden gave yesterday on the fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban. Biden’s  address to the nation .

5.  CALIFORNIA’s RECALL: Constitutional Scholar and America at a Crossroads guest, Erwin Chemerinsky, Dean UC Berkeley School of Law, believes that the California recall is unconstitutional.  In this NY TImes op-ed, he explains why. The relevant ballot asks 2 questions:  (1)  Should Gov. Gavin Newsom be recalled and removed from office?, and (2) If so, which of the candidates on the ballot should replace him?  Chemerinsky explains: “The first question is decided by a majority vote. If a majority favors recalling Mr. Newsom, he is removed from office. But the latter question is decided by a plurality, and whichever candidate gets the most votes, even if it is much less than a majority, becomes the next governor.”  This means that if 10 million people vote in the recall election and Mr. Newsom gets just 1 vote short of 50% (i.e.4,999,999 vote to keep him in office), he would be removed and replaced by someone who gets the most votes out of the 50 candidates on the ballot, once of which is not Gavin Newsom.  So, a candidate who receives far fewer than 5 million votes could be the governor even though implicitly, Newsom had the support of 4,999,999 voters. Chemerinsky declares this to be unconstitutional as “[I]t violates a core constitutional principle that…[e]very voter should have an equal ability to influence the outcome of the election.”
Dear Friends:

Tomorrow’s guests are Sheera Frenkel, NY Times journalist covering cyber-related issues and co-author of An Ugly Truth: Inside Facebook’s Battle for Domination, and UCLA Constitutional Law Professor Eugene Volokh.  They will be in conversation with Larry Mantle discussing the role of social media in general and Facebook in particular in spreading fake news as well as the desirability, legality and likelihood of regulation of social media content.  Register here. 
Thank you for your donations!   It is always a good time to help offset the costs of our programming with your tax deductible donation.  America at a Crossroads is a joint venture of Jews United for Democracy & Justice (JUDJ) and Community Advocates, Inc. (CAI).  All funds are shared by JUDJ and CAI to produce this series.  Donations can be made here: JUDJ website  or here: CAI website.  JUDJ ( EIN 82-0742397) is a fiscally sponsored project of Jewish Center for Justice  (EIN: 81-4397882) which is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt California public benefit corporation.

Important Columns/Articles/Op-eds: AFGHANISTAN & CALIFORNIA RECALL
1.  The events this week in Afghanistan which led to what appeared to be a lightening-speed takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban were actually planned over the course of time, according to this article in this week’s Washington Post written by Susannah George.  She writes: “The spectacular collapse of Afghanistan’s military that allowed Taliban fighters to walk into the Afghan capital Sunday despite 20 years of training and billions of dollars in American aid began with a series of deals brokered in rural villages between the militant group and some of the Afghan government’s lowest-ranking officials. The deals, initially offered early last year, were often described by Afghan officials as cease-fires, but Taliban leaders were in fact offering money in exchange for government forces to hand over their weapons, according to an Afghan officer and a U.S. official. Over the next year and a half, the meetings advanced to the district level and then rapidly on to provincial capitals, culminating in a breathtaking series of negotiated surrenders by government forces, according to interviews with more than a dozen Afghan officers, police, special operations troops and other soldiers.”  It appears from George’s account, that the Taliban was poised to do what it did no matter how the American withdrawal was implemented.  

2.  For those who missed it, here is the speech President Biden gave yesterday on the fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban. 

3.  Constitutional Scholar and America at a Crossroads guest, Erwin Chemerinsky, Dean UC Berkeley School of Law, believes that the California recall is unconstitutional.  In this NY TImes op-ed, he explains why. The relevant ballot asks 2 questions:  (1)  Should Gov. Gavin Newsom be recalled and removed from office?, and (2) If so, which of the candidates on the ballot should replace him?  Chemerinsky explains: “The first question is decided by a majority vote. If a majority favors recalling Mr. Newsom, he is removed from office. But the latter question is decided by a plurality, and whichever candidate gets the most votes, even if it is much less than a majority, becomes the next governor.”  This means that if 10 million people vote in the recall election and Mr. Newsom gets just 1 vote short of 50% (i.e.4,999,999 vote to keep him in office), he would be removed and replaced by someone who gets the most votes out of the 50 candidates on the ballot, once of which is not Gavin Newsom.  So, a candidate who receives far fewer than 5 million votes could be the governor eventhough implicitly, Newsom had the support of 4,999,999 voters. Chemerinsky declares this to be unconstitutional as “[I]t violates a core constitutional principle that…[e]very voter should have an equal ability to influence the outcome of the election.”
Dear Friends:

If you missed the enlightening and moving conversation between Lt. Col (ret’d) Vindman and Patt Morrison you can watch the complete recording at this link within about 3 hours after the program’s completion.  All 68 of our past programs can be found at that same link.  If you would like to purchase of copy of Lt. Col. VIndman’s just released NY Times Best Selling memoir, Here, RIght Matters: My American Story you can purchase the book at this link.

Next Wednesday, we welcome two extraordinary guests: (1) Sheera Frenkel, NY Times journalist covering cyber-related issues and co-author of An Ugly Truth: Inside Facebook’s Battle for Domination ; and (2) UCLA Constitutional Law Professor Eugene Volokh.  They will be in conversation with Larry Mantle discussing the role of social media in general and facebook in particular in spreading fake news as well as the legality and likelihood of regulation of social media content.  Register here. 
Thank you for your donations!   It is always a good time to help offset the costs of our programming with your tax deductible donation.  America at a Crossroads is a joint venture of Jews United for Democracy & Justice (JUDJ) and Community Advocates, Inc. (CAI).  All funds are shared by JUDJ and CAI to produce this series.  Donations can be made here: JUDJ website  or here: CAI website.  JUDJ ( EIN 82-0742397) is a fiscally sponsored project of Jewish Center for Justice  (EIN: 81-4397882) which is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt California public benefit corporation.

Important Columns/Articles/Op-eds:
NEW ADL REPORT ON EXTREMISM. From Charlottesville to January 6

1.  Today is the 4th anniversary of the “Unite the Right” rally which was held in Charlottesville at which hundreds of right-wing extremists created the largest, most violent gathering of white supremacists in decades.  ADL’s Center on Extremism has been tracking the various participants and groups which were part of that event and this week issued this report with its findings.  The report also reviews the similarities between the Charlottesville gathering and the more recent extremist events such as the January 6 attack on the US Capitol.

2.  My Pillow’s Mike Lindell attempts to baboozle attendees at his cybersecurity conference at which he promised to reveal unequivocal digital proof of election fraud.  This op-ed by Joseph Marks in today’s Washington Post contends that Lindell continues to promulgate lies and provide nothing more than baseless claims with no meaningful supportive data.  Quoting from a respected election security expert (who himself is a major critic of voting machine security), who attended the conference said, “This is a big fat nothing and a distraction.”  Marks concluded that the conference’s “running theme was a promise of digital evidence that was never provided to experts in attendance.”

3. (RE-SEND) In these two op-eds published in the Washington Post yesterday and today, Jennifer Rubin deftly analyzes the political landscape both in (1) Washington in the context of the national legislative agenda, and (2) in the context of next years’ 36 gubernatorial elections across the US. 

A. In the op-ed entitled, “Are Progressives Paying Attention“, Rubin analyzes the critical role of the centrist democrats in accomplishing legislative objectives. Rubin noted that over the last few years, by and large, the more progressive side of the Democratic party has not succeeded in electing candidates, whereas the centrists have been much more successful. “The candidates endorsed by far-left groups like Our Revolution and Justice Democrats flipped zero [congressional seats]. They struck out again in 2020, while the moderates were busy defending the House and building a Senate majority.” 

B. In the other, entitled, “Why Governor Races will be so Critical in 2022” Rubin looks at the plummeting ratings of Governors Abbott (R-Texas) and DeSantis (R-Florida) due to their positions on Covid public health issues which has resulted in the spiking surge of the Delta variant, including spiking mortality rates, in their states.  With both governors being challenged in 2022, along with governors’ races in 34 additional states, those elections will “serve as a test of whether playing to the MAGA mob at the expense of the health and well-being of residents is good political strategy… Democratic wins in governors’ races in Florida, Texas, Georgia, Arizona, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin could put the right people in place to veto voter suppression bills, challenge existing ones and defend county election officials from takeover by partisan Republican legislatures.”
Dear Friends:

Lieutenant Colonel Alex Vindman fled the Ukraine with his father and brothers, arriving in the US as a young refugee child. From humble origins, Vindman became a scholar, diplomat, decorated officer in the United States Army and Harvard-educated Ukraine expert on the White House’s National Security Council.  He then was subpoenaed to testify in Trump’s initial impeachment hearing which was centered on Trump’s dealings with Ukraine. VIndman was the star witness for the impeachment which led to him losing his National Security Council position and him being bullied into retiring from the military after 21 years of highly decorated and distinguished service.  Last week, Vindman’s memoir, Here, Right Matters: An American Story was released.  Tomorrow he will be our guest in conversation with Patt Morrison so that we can hear Lt. Col VIndman’s report first hand.  Register Here
 
A.  In this week’s The Atlantic, you can read a compelling and chilling excerpt of Vindman’s memoir entitled, “What I Heard in the White House Basement” . 

B.  Here is the NY Times review of Vindman’s book which appeared in the August 3 NY Times.


Thank you for your donations!   It is always a good time to help offset the costs of our programming with your tax deductible donation.  America at a Crossroads is a joint venture of Jews United for Democracy & Justice (JUDJ) and Community Advocates, Inc. (CAI).  All funds are shared by JUDJ and CAI to produce this series.  Donations can be made here: JUDJ website  or here: CAI website.  JUDJ ( EIN 82-0742397) is a fiscally sponsored project of Jewish Center for Justice  (EIN: 81-4397882) which is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt California public benefit corporation.

Important Columns/Articles/Op-eds:
In these two op-eds published in the Washington Post yesterday and today, Jennifer Rubin deftly analyzes the political landscape both in (1) Washington in the context of the national legislative agenda, and (2) in the context of next years’ 36 gubernatorial elections across the US. 

1. In the op-ed entitled, “Are Progressives Paying Attention“, Rubin analyzes the critical role of the centrist democrats in accomplishing legislative objectives. Rubin noted that over the last few years, by and large, the more progressive side of the Democratic party has not succeeded in electing candidates, whereas the centrists have been much more successful. Quoting Matt Bennett from the centrist Third Way, Rubin writes: “The only way to make progress in Washington is to control the White House and both houses of Congress. And the only way for Democrats to win the presidency and to build and hold congressional majorities is by moderates winning in swing districts…[M]oderates handed Nancy Pelosi the Speaker’s gavel in 2018, when they flipped 32 of the 41 seats that changed hands. The candidates endorsed by far-left groups like Our Revolution and Justice Democrats flipped zero. They struck out again in 2020, while the moderates were busy defending the House and building a Senate majority.” 

2. In the other, entitled, “Why Governor Races will be so Critical in 2022” Rubin looks at the plummeting ratings of Governors Abbott (R-Texas) and DeSantis (R-Florida) due to their positions on Covid public health issues which has resulted in the spiking surge of the Delta variant, including spiking mortality rates, in their states.  With both governors being challenged in 2022, along with governors’ races in 34 additional states, those elections will “serve as a test of whether playing to the MAGA mob at the expense of the health and well-being of residents is good political strategy…Those elections will be critical not only for education, health care, the environment and other policy areas in those states, but they also will have grave implications for our democracy. Democratic wins in governors’ races in Florida, Texas, Georgia, Arizona, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin could put the right people in place to veto voter suppression bills, challenge existing ones and defend county election officials from takeover by partisan Republican legislatures.”
Dear Friends:

If you were unable to listen to tonight’s outstanding program featuring co-authors of How Democracies Die, Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt, in conversation with Larry Diamond, within a few hours after the program’s conclusion you can find the
full recording at this link.  Recordings of all of our past programs are at that same link. In tonight’s program a recent article by Levitsky and Ziblatt was mentioned.  Here is a link to that article which is entitled “The Biggest Threat to Democracy Is the GOP Stealing the Next Election” with this summary subtitle: Unless and until the Republican Party recommits itself to playing by democratic rules of the game, American democracy will remain at risk.


Lieutenant Colonel Alex Vindman fled the Ukraine with his father and brothers, arriving in the US as a young refugee child. From humble origins, Vindman became a scholar, diplomat, decorated officer in the United States Army and Harvard-educated Ukraine expert on the White House’s National Security Council.  He then was subpoenaed to testify in Trump’s initial impeachment hearing which was centered on Trump’s dealings with Ukraine. VIndman was the star witness for the impeachment which led to him losing his National Security Council position and him being bullied into retiring from the military after 21 years of highly decorated and distinguished service.  This week, Vindman’s memoir, Here, Right Matters: An American Story was released.  Next Wednesday he will be our guest in conversation with Patt Morrison so that we can hear Lt. Col VIndman’s report first hand.  Register Here
 
Here is a compelling excerpt from Vindman’s book as published in The Atlantic:  In this week’s The Atlantic, you can read a compelling and chilling excerpt of Vindman’s memoir entitled, “What I Heard in the White House Basement” . 


Thank you for your donations!   It is always a good time to help offset the costs of our programming with your tax deductible donation.  America at a Crossroads is a joint venture of Jews United for Democracy & Justice (JUDJ) and Community Advocates, Inc. (CAI).  All funds are shared by JUDJ and CAI to produce this series.  Donations can be made here: JUDJ website  or here: CAI website.  JUDJ ( EIN 82-0742397) is a fiscally sponsored project of Jewish Center for Justice  (EIN: 81-4397882) which is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt California public benefit corporation.

Important Columns/Articles/Op-eds: (Re-SENT)

1.  In this Washington Post column published on Monday, Greg Sargent analyzes the differential likely economic impact of Biden’s new, expanded child tax credit , which was opposed by Republicans.   Sargent analyzes an important new study of the distribution of benefits which concluded that the benefits and economic impact of the child tax credit program in rural working-class communities (which are typically Republican), will be even greater than benefits to more urban (more Democratic) regions.  He writes, “the expanded child allowance — which has started delivering up to $300 per child per month to most U.S. households with children — will shower outsize benefits on residents of rural and less populous states and will deliver a disproportionately large relative boost to their local economies.” The irony, as pointed out by Sargent, is that “It has long been central to Republican mythology that Democrats have nothing but seething contempt for the rural and small-town inhabitants of the Real American Heartland.”  After reviewing the data, which Sargent shares in the article, Sargent’s conclusion is apparent in the title of the column, to wit:  “The GOP scamming of rural Trump voters continues. A new study shows the latest.”


2. Heather Cox Richardson is a an American historian and professor of history at Boston College; she previously taught history at MIT and the University of Massachusetts Amherst.  Richardson posts daily blog through her blog entitled, Letters from an American, through which she connects history to today’s politics.  Her blog post from earlier this week focuses on the affinity between Fox’s Tucker Carlson, Trump’s base and Hungarian Prime Minister Orban.  Richardson describes how Orban’s authoritarian proclivities, while sometimes clothed in his empty claims of democracy, are clearly anti-democratic and dangerous.  This week Tucker Carlson’s fascination with this authoritarian regime is on full display as he is broadcasting his Fox show from Hungary.  Richardson describes the connection and between Carlson and Hungary: “Carlson has shown support for Hungary in the past. Notably, in 2019…Hungary paid a D.C. lobbying firm $265,000, in part to arrange an interview on Carlson’s show. But for him to visit Orbán and to broadcast from Hungary right now, when American democracy is under the very sort of threat Orbán represents, seemed to me to be a deliberate demonstration of the Trump Republicans’ plans for our future.”
Dear Friends:

Tomorrow we welcome Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt, the co-authors of “How Democracies Die”, a NY Times best seller and winner of multiple awards and prizes. Levitsky and Ziblatt, both Harvard Professors of Government, have spent their academic careers studying failed democracies and, in the book, conclude, “Democracy no longer ends with a bang—in a revolution or military coup—but with a whimper: the slow, steady weakening of critical institutions, such as the judiciary and the press, and the gradual erosion of long-standing political norms.”  They will be in conversation with acclaimed political sociologist and expert in the field of democracy studies, Stanford University’s Larry Diamond.  (Register here)  

Thank you for your donations!   It is always a good time to help offset the costs of our programming with your tax deductible donation.  America at a Crossroads is a joint venture of Jews United for Democracy & Justice (JUDJ) and Community Advocates, Inc. (CAI).  All funds are shared by JUDJ and CAI to produce this series.  Donations can be made here: JUDJ website  or here: CAI website.  JUDJ ( EIN 82-0742397) is a fiscally sponsored project of Jewish Center for Justice  (EIN: 81-4397882) which is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt California public benefit corporation.

Important Columns/Articles/Op-eds:

1.  This week, Lt. Col (ret’d) Alexander Vindman’s memoir entitled Here, Right Matters: An American Story was released.  In this week’s The Atlantic, you can read a compelling and chilling excerpt of Vindman’s memoir entitled, “What I Heard in the White House Basement” . Lt. Col. Vindman will be our America at a Crossroads speaker on August 11 at 5 pm pacific.  

2. Heather Cox Richardson is a an American historian and professor of history at Boston College; she previously taught history at MIT and the University of Massachusetts Amherst.  Richardson posts daily blog through her blog entitled, Letters from an American, through which she connects history to today’s politics.  Today’s blog post  focuses on the affinity between Fox’s Tucker Carlson, Trump’s base and Hungarian Prime Minister Orban.  Richardson describes how Orban’s authoritarian proclivities, while sometimes clothed in his empty claims of democracy, are clearly anti-democratic and dangerous.  This week Tucker Carlson’s fascination with this authoritarian regime is on full display as he is broadcasting his Fox show from Hungary.  Richardson describes the connection and between Carlson and Hungary: “Carlson has shown support for Hungary in the past. Notably, in 2019…Hungary paid a D.C. lobbying firm $265,000, in part to arrange an interview on Carlson’s show. But for him to visit Orbán and to broadcast from Hungary right now, when American democracy is under the very sort of threat Orbán represents, seemed to me to be a deliberate demonstration of the Trump Republicans’ plans for our future.”

3.  In her column in yesterday Washington Post, Jennifer Rubin opines that the recently released contents of the December 27 phone call between Trump and the Justice Department constitutes adequate evidence for prosecutors to proceed with their criminal investigation against Trump for his role in the insurrection. According to the NY Times reporting last week, the notes taken by deputy attorney general Richard P. Donoghue of that phone conversation constitute evidence that Trump knew there was no election fraud and that Trump asked acting attorney general Jeffrey Rosen to “Just say that the election was corrupt, and leave the rest to me.”   Rubin concludes, “It’s almost as if this once-in-a-lifetime incriminating evidence has been served on a platter for prosecutors. Moreover, since the Justice Department has already held that overthrowing an election is outside the scope of “any” official’s duties, Trump has no special protection for his actions. If “no one is above the law” is to have any meaning, he must be subject to vigorous federal investigation.”

Dear Friends:

If you were unable to join us for today’s fascinating conversation  between  two political “gurus” Bob Shrum and Mike Murphy, in conversation with Larry Mantle, starting three hours after the conclusion of tonight’s program it will be available (with all of our past programs), at this link. 

Next Wednesday we welcome Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt, the co-authors of “How Democracies Die”, a NY Times best seller and winner of multiple awards and prizes. Levitsky and Ziblatt, both Harvard Professors of Government have spent their academic careers studying failed democracies and, in the book, conclude, “Democracy no longer ends with a bang—in a revolution or military coup—but with a whimper: the slow, steady weakening of critical institutions, such as the judiciary and the press, and the gradual erosion of long-standing political norms.”  They will be in conversation with acclaimed political sociologist and expert in the field of democracy studies, Stanford University’s Larry Diamond.  (Register here)  

Thank you for your donations!   It is always a good time to help offset the costs of our programming with your tax deductible donation.  America at a Crossroads is a joint venture of Jews United for Democracy & Justice (JUDJ) and Community Advocates, Inc. (CAI).  All funds are shared by JUDJ and CAI to produce this series.  Donations can be made here: JUDJ website  or here: CAI website.  JUDJ ( EIN 82-0742397) is a fiscally sponsored project of Jewish Center for Justice  (EIN: 81-4397882) which is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt California public benefit corporation.

Important Columns/Articles/Op-eds:
January 6 Select Committee Initial Hearing: FIVE COLUMNS

1.  In yesterday’s NY Times this op-ed by Congressman Adam Kinzinger (R-Illinois) discusses what he wants the Select Committee on January 6 to accomplish.  Kinzinger is one of only two Republicans on the Select Committee, both appointed by Speaker Pelosi after Minority Leader McCarthy attempted to sabotage the work of the Select Committee by appointing 5 GOP Congressmembers, some of whose primary goal was likely to promote Trump’s agenda.  Ultimately, Pelosi did not confirm two of the McCarthy appointees (Reps. Jordan and Banks) and subsequently, McCarthy withdrew his other picks.  Pelosi appointed Congressmembers Cheney and Kinzinger to serve.  Kinzinger sees answers to the basic questions many Americans have about January 6, such as: “Who spurred this effort? Was it organized? When did our government leaders know of the impending attacks and what were their responses? What level of preparation or warnings did our law enforcement have? Was there coordination between the rioters and any members of Congress, or with staff?”  KInzinger wrote that in order to restore trust in this country, a full investigation is necessary, and inn order to heal those who are responsible must be held accountable. 

2.  This article in the Wall Street Journal reviews the status and projected plans of the Select Committee. The article reports that the Select Committee investigation will be different from the bipartisan Senate investigation into Jan. 6, which published findings and recommendations in June mostly related to security-related concerns.  The House’s Select Committee will be going far beyond security-related issues in looking at communications between Congress and the executive branch and at the role of individuals—including Mr. Trump.  The article quotes Congressman Bennie Thompson (D-Mississippi) Chair of the House Select Committee, who affirmed that the Committee will investigate Trump’s role, if any, in the events of January 6.

3.  In this Washington Post op-ed, Dana Milbank describes the scene as 6 GOP congressmembers, including Matt Gaetz and Marjorie Green Taylor, held a press conference yesterday to advocate for whom they called the “political prisoners”  awaiting trial for their roles in the January 6 insurrection.  The GOP congressmembers claimed that those arrested “are political prisoners who are now being persecuted and bearing the pain of unjust suffering.”  They also blamed the events of January 6 on Capitol Police and House Speaker Pelosi. The GOP attacked  Select Committee members Kinzinger and Cheney, whom McCarthy has labeled “Pelosi Republicans”.   Milbank made the point that these very Republicans who are attempting to discredit the Select Committee for being partisan, voted down an independent bi-partisan commission which had been negotiated by top the Republican on the House Homeland Security Committee. “And now they claim Pelosi is the one blocking a fair, bipartisan investigation?”  As Cheney aptly stated during Tuesday’s hearing, “Will we be so blinded by partisanship that we throw away the miracle of America? Do we hate our political adversaries more than we love our country?” 

4. In yesterday’s Washington Post, columnist Jennifer Rubin wrote this op ed in which she reviewed the opening statements of Committee Chair Congressman Bennie Thompson (D.-Mississippi) as well as the testimony of four law enforcement officers’ who were defending the capitol against attack on January 6.  Rubin writes, “The [January 6 select] committee’s work will… provide a definitive account to rebut the lies and the conspiracy theories. Absent Republican disrupters, we may finally learn all there is to know about this vicious assault on our democracy.”  She also reviews the efforts by House Minority Leader McCarthy both to discredit the hearings and to blame the Democrats for not having been properly prepared for the attacks.  The current GOP attack on the January 6 investigation attempt is a change from some of the GOP’s earlier stated positions that January 6 was not an insurrection at all but rather was a peaceful exercise of protesters’ 1st Amendment rights.  Rubin opines that McCarthy’s actions and attitudes on the January 6 Select Committee “will have devastating consequences for the MAGA cult’s attempt to rewrite history and embrace the violent insurrectionists as some sort of heroic figures.”

5. On the same topic, Select Committee Chair Congressman Bennie Thompson wrote this op-ed which was published earlier this week in the Washington Post in which he pointed out that despite the GOP opposition to establishing what would have been an independent commission assigned to study the January 6 insurrection, which opposition included a filibuster by Senator McConnell, a recent poll tells us that “72 percent of Americans agree there is more we must learn about that day.”  He continues, “This hearing is just the beginning of the select committee’s work; when it comes to the security of the Capitol — and our democracy — nothing will be off-limits. .. We owe it to the country we love to provide the answers that the American people deserve.”
Dear Friends:

Tomorrow, with NPR AirTalk’s Larry Mantle as our moderator, we will welcome Bob Shrum and Mike Murphy, two of the country’s most seasoned political consultants who, together co-direct The Center for the Political Future at USC . 

Robert M. “Bob” Shrum, is co-Director of the USC Center for the Political Future and a Professor of the Practice of Political Science at USC. He is a former political consultant, who has worked on numerous Democratic campaigns, including as senior advisor to the Kerry-Edwards campaign(2004) and to the Gore-Lieberman campaign (2000).  

Michael Ellis Murphy, co-Director of the Center for the Political Future at USC, is a Republican political consultant, entertainment industry writer, and producer. He advised Republicans including Mitt Romney, John McCain & Jeb Bush He is a widely known political pundit, appearing frequently on NBC, CNN, and NPR. Register here
 

Important Columns/Articles/Op-eds:

1. January 6 Select Committee
In today’s Washington Post, columnist Jennifer Rubin wrote this op ed in which she reviewed the opening statements of Commmittee Chair Congressman Bennie Thompson (D.-Mississippi) as well as the testimony of four law enforcement officers’ who were defending the capitol against attack on January 6.  Rubin writes, “The [January 6 select] committee’s work will be more emotionally disturbing than many expected. It will provide a definitive account to rebut the lies and the conspiracy theories. Absent Republican disrupters, we may finally learn all there is to know about this vicious assault on our democracy.”  She also reviews the efforts by House Minority Leader McCarthy both to discredit the hearings and to blame the Democrats for not having been properly prepared for the attacks; the latter was described by Rubin as a classic case of “blaming the victim”.  The current GOP attack on the January 6 investigation attempt is a change from some of the GOP’s earlier stated positions that January 6 was not an insurrection at all but rather was a peaceful exercise of protesters’ 1st Amendment rights.  Rubin opines that McCarthy’s actions and attitudes on the January 6 Select Committee “will have devastating consequences for the MAGA cult’s attempt to rewrite history and embrace the violent insurrectionists as some sort of heroic figures.”

On the same topic, Select Committee Chair Congressman Bennie Thompson wrote this op-ed which was published in yesterday’s Washington Post in which he pointed out that despite the GOP opposition to establishing what would have been an independent commission assigned to study the January 6 insurrection, which opposition included a filibuster by Senator McConnell, a recent poll tells us that “72 percent of Americans agree there is more we must learn about that day.”  He continues, “We will not be distracted by politically motivated sideshows. This hearing is just the beginning of the select committee’s work; when it comes to the security of the Capitol — and our democracy — nothing will be off-limits. We will do what is necessary to understand what happened, why and how. And we will make recommendations to help ensure it never happens again. We owe it to the country we love to provide the answers that the American people deserve.”

2. US Supreme Court Study Commission
Late last week, NY Times Opinion Columnist Jamelle Bouie wrote this op ed about the work of the Presidential Commission on the US Supreme Court . The 36 member Commission was formed by President Biden  “to hear arguments for and against Supreme Court reform and to analyze and appraise the merits of specific proposals.” Bouie opines that the Commission is not expected to make recommendations or suggest specific changes; further, he says that  the commission members “come from the upper echelon of the legal elite — exactly the people most comfortable with the institutional status quo on the Supreme Court.” Nevertheless, Bouie writes that the Commission has value because it has provided a platform for scholars to provide “powerful critique” of the role of the Court within “the nation’s constitutional order.”  Bouie writes that what has been important is the testimony critical of the court around the issues of race, life tenure of the Justices, and other USSC practices and norms which Bouie and the testifying scholars believe are anti-democratic. He concludes, “Supreme Court reform is not on the horizon. There is no popular movement to reshape the institution, and too many on the elite end — on both sides of the political divide — are too invested in the status quo. But this commission, for whatever its worth, has opened a space within the political mainstream for serious consideration of major reform to the federal judiciary. It may not mean much now, but change has to begin somewhere.”

Thank you for your donations!   It is always a good time to help offset the costs of our programming with your tax deductible donation.  America at a Crossroads is a joint venture of Jews United for Democracy & Justice (JUDJ) and Community Advocates, Inc. (CAI).  All funds are shared by JUDJ and CAI to produce this series.  Donations can be made here: JUDJ website  or here: CAI website.  JUDJ ( EIN 82-0742397) is a fiscally sponsored project of Jewish Center for Justice  (EIN: 81-4397882) which is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt California public benefit corporation.
Dear Friends:
If you were unable to join us for the stimulating conversation amongst the NY Times’ David Leonhardt & Bret Stephens in conversation with Larry Mantle, you can watch the full program at this link.  It will be posted within 3 hours of the conclusion of the program and will stay posted indefinitely with all of our 64 past programs! 

Next Wednesday with NPR AirTalk’s Larry Mantle as our moderator, we will welcome Bob Shrum and Mike Murphy, two of the country’s most seasoned political consultants who, together co-direct The Center for the Political Future at USC . Robert M. “Bob” Shrum, aside from being a co-Director of the Center for the Political Future, Shrum is also the Carmen H.& Louis Warschaw Chair in Practical Politics at the University of Southern California, where he is a Professor of the Practice of Political Science in the Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. He is a former political consultant, who has worked on numerous Democratic campaigns, including as senior advisor to the Kerry-Edwards campaign(2004) and to the Gore-Lieberman campaign (2000).  Michael Ellis Murphy, co-Director of the Center for the Political Future at USC, is a Republican political consultant, entertainment industry writer, and producer. He advised Republicans including John McCain, Jeb Bush, John Engler, Tommy Thompson, Spencer Abraham, Christie Whitman, Lamar Alexander, and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Until January 2006, he was an adviser to Mitt Romney. Murphy is a vocal Republican critic of 45th U.S. President Donald Trump. In 2020, he endorsed McCain and Romney’s vice presidential opponent Joe Biden for president. Murphy has been called a “media master” by Fortune magazine, the GOP’s “hottest media consultant” by Newsweek, and the leader of a “new breed” of campaign consultants by Congressional Quarterly. He is a widely known political pundit, appearing frequently on NBC, CNN, and NPR.

Important Columns/Articles/Op-eds:
1.  Just How (in)Accurate are Polling Metrics and Why Does It Matter?
In today’s Washington Post, columnist Alyssa Rosenberg’s op-ed focuses her column on the declining reliability of polling and on the adverse impact of inaccurate polling on our body politic.  It is common knowledge that the pollsters did not predict Trump’s win in 2016; “Now,” writes Rosenberg, “the American Association for Public Opinion Research has concluded that polls performed even worse in 2020.”  The main point that Rosenberg makes, is that inaccurate and unreliable polling leaves a vacuum and allows for fake news and false narratives to spread.  She opines that reliable data is critical to our ability to recover our democracy’s equilibrium. “It’s getting more and more difficult to measure and describe the world in ways everyone agrees are accurate;” and that, believes Rosenberg, is a serious problem.

2. Globally, COVID 19 has Matched AIDS in taking on Children 
Professor of Child & Family Social Work, Dr. Lucie Cluver, recently co-authored a study on Covid-related orphanhood in which it was found that from March 2020-April 2021 more than a million children worldwide lost a mother, father, grandparent or another adult they relied on as a primary caregiver to Covid-19.    In this op-ed published in yesterday’s NY Times, Dr. Cluver describes the study’s findings and looks at the countries around the world where COVID produced the greatest number of orphans, and what is being done to care for the orphaned children. “Our estimates suggest that every 12 seconds, a child loses an important caregiver to the coronavirus…This toll is unequal in many ways. In countries like the United States there are already robust social services for children who lose their caregiver. In other countries, like those that have already been hard hit by diseases like AIDS and Ebola, there are fewer safeguards.”  And, the study finds that an all-too-frequent response to this crisis is to institutionalize the orphaned children, which wreaks havoc on these already vulnerable children.  Cluver suggests that we emulate the work done during the AIDS epidemic through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, also known as PEPFAR, through which support was provided globally to children whose primary caregivers had died or were infected. Clearly, increasing vaccination around the world will prevent caregivers from dying; but, in the interim, Dr. Cluver says that when children lose a parent to Covid-19, they should be supported by a social worker or community organization, just as was done through PEPFAR for children orphaned by AIDS. Siblings should be kept together, and more attention should be paid to their grief and overwhelming loss they going through.  Institutionalization, as is being practiced in many countries right now, is the most undesirable result for the long term health of the children and the countries they live in. “The global community needs to consider options like these. Children losing their parents and caregivers to Covid-19 is a secondary pandemic.”

3. (Re-SEND): DAVID LEONHARDT: OVERCOMING VACCINE-HESITANCY

In this column published earlier this week in the NY Times, tonight’s America at a Crossroads guest, David Leonhardt, analyzes vaccine hesitancy.  He writes that “Nationwide, more than 99 percent of recent deaths have occurred among unvaccinated people, and more than 97 percent of recent hospitalizations have occurred among the unvaccinated, according to the C.D.C. ‘Look,’ President Biden said on Friday, ‘the only pandemic we have is among the unvaccinated.’” Leonhardt provides data from two recent Kaiser Family Foundation polls, the earlier of which revealed that 23% of American adults intended to refuse vaccination; the second, later poll, however, showed a significant number of those who had initially intended to refuse vaccination changed their minds and decided to get the shot.  Leonhardt discusses the Kaiser findings as to what made people change their minds.  There were three themes:  (1) Seeing that millions of other Americans have been safely vaccinated; (2) Hearing pro-vaccine messages from doctors, friends and relatives; and (3) Learning that not being vaccinated will prevent people from doing some things.
Dear Friends:

Tomorrow we welcome two NY Times Pulitzer Prize winning journalists, David Leonhardt & Bret Stephens in conversation with AirTalk’s Larry Mantle on this topic: The Impact of Covid on our Economy, our Norms and our Future.  Register here.

Important Columns:
1. SHOCKING REVELATIONS FROM GENERAL MARK MILLEY
 A propos of last week’s conversation with former Chair of the Joint Chiefs, Admiral Mullen, in this Washington Post column,  ReisThebault writes about the current Chair of the Joint Chiefs, General Mark A. Milley; specifically, the column focuses on some of the revelations contained in the new book, I Alone Can Fix It: Donald Trump’s Catastrophic Final Year by Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker.  The book’s authors interviewed more than 140 people, including senior Trump administration officials, friends and advisers to get the fullest possible picture of events that transpired. In the book, they describe episodes in which Gen. Milley is said to have expressed grave concerns about a possible Trump-inspired coup and used the words, “This is a Reichstag moment” and “The gospel of the Führer” when he listened to Trump’s untrue complaints of election fraud.  Milley is reported to have drawn a comparison to the 1933 attack on Germany’s parliament building that Hitler used as a pretext to establish a Nazi dictatorship. In fact, in a meeting with top law enforcement and military leaders held just prior to Biden’s inauguration, Milley reportedly made this statement: “Everyone in this room, whether you’re a cop, whether you’re a soldier, we’re going to stop these guys to make sure we have a peaceful transfer of power… We’re going to put a ring of steel around this city and the Nazis aren’t getting in.”

2. DAVID LEONHARDT: OVERCOMING VACCINE-HESITANCY
In this column published yesterday in the NY Times, tomorrow’s America at a Crossroads guest, David Leonhardt, analyzes vaccine hesitancy.  He writes that “Nationwide, more than 99 percent of recent deaths have occurred among unvaccinated people, and more than 97 percent of recent hospitalizations have occurred among the unvaccinated, according to the C.D.C. ‘Look,’ President Biden said on Friday, ‘the only pandemic we have is among the unvaccinated.’” Leonhardt provides data from two recent Kaiser Family Foundation polls, the earlier of which revealed that 23% of American adults intended to refuse vaccination; the second, later poll, however, showed a significant number of those who had initially intended to refuse vaccination changed their minds and decided to get the shot.  Leonhardt discusses the Kaiser findings as to what made people change their minds.  There were three themes:  (1) Seeing that millions of other Americans have been safely vaccinated; (2) Hearing pro-vaccine messages from doctors, friends and relatives; and (3) Learning that not being vaccinated will prevent people from doing some things.
Dear Friends:

Today at 5 pm we welcome Michael Mullen, retired US Navy Admiral who served as the 17th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under Presidents Bush and Obama.  Admiral Mullen previously served as the Navy’s Chief of Naval Operations. He has expressed concerns about the future of our democracy and will share his perspective in conversation with Warren Olney.  Register here.
 

1.  A propos of tonight’s program with Admiral Mullen: Is our NAVY Ready for War? 
In this Op-ed from the Wall Street Journal staff writer Kate Bachelder Odell suggests that the culture of bureaucracy and risk aversion might be impeding the Navy’s readiness for war.  Odell cites from the Report on the Fighting Culture of the US Navy Surface Fleet recently completed for Congress and prepared by two high ranking (now retired) Navy officers.  Among other conclusions, the Report states “the surface Navy is not focused on preparing for war and is weathering a crisis in leadership and culture.”  Carlos Del Toro, President Biden’s nominee for Navy secretary, is in the process of gaining Senate confirmation.  Odell writes: “Perhaps Mr. Del Toro, a former destroyer captain, can shake the Navy awake. As the new report notes in closing, there isn’t much time for learning once war is under way.”

2. Trump and the F-word…”There is a Word for What Trump is Becoming”
In this column in this week’s The Atlantic, staff writer and author, David Frum, writes that Trump is more “unleashed” than ever, as he unabashedly embraces those who stormed the capitol on January 6.   “The Trump movement was always authoritarian and illiberal” wrtites Frum. ” It indulged periodically in the rhetoric of violence. Trump himself chafed against the restraints of law. But what the United States did not have before 2020 was a large national movement willing to justify mob violence to claim political power. Now it does”.  Frum observes that in this post-Trump-presidential era, the distinctions which used to separate European-style fascism from American-style “illiberalism” (which he defines as contemporary for legality combined with a cult of violence) are quickly disappearing. While Frum asserts that Trump is not Hitler, there are various shades and styles of fascism; “[T]hey [Hitler and Trump] share some ways of thinking. The past never repeats itself. But it offers warnings. It’s time to start using the F-word [fascism] again, not to defame—but to diagnose.

Resending These Important Columns on Trump Supporters and Voting Rights


1. Evangelicals are Losing Ground and Rejecting Democracy
In this op-ed in the Washington Post Jennifer Rubin writes about the recent findings of Public Religion Research Institute’s recent study which revealed a precipitous decline in evangelical affiliation rates in the US.   “Since 2006, white evangelical Protestants have experienced the most precipitous drop in affiliation, shrinking from 23% of Americans in 2006 to 14% in 2020.”   PRRI also found that “about one-quarter of White evangelical Protestants and nearly three 3 in 10 Republicans believe in the core tenets of QAnon, including the belief that ‘’rue American patriots may have to resort to violence to save our country.’’”  The conclusion reached by Rubin is that  evangelical communities are turning against democracy after having “failed to capture the hearts, minds and souls of a majority of Americans… They prefer an authoritarian theocracy to a multiracial society in which they are a distinct minority. And that, candidly, is a threat to our democracy and to the notion of equal justice under the law.”

2.  What Biden Needs to Do About about VOTING RIGHTS!
Also in last week’s Washington Post was this op-ed by Jennifer Rubin in which she makes seven concrete suggestions of what Biden should undertake to protect voting rights. First on her list was that Biden must make it  clear to the American people that Republicans “have launched an unprecedented assault on voting in the states. The genesis of that assault is the “big lie” about a stolen election, and House and Senate Republicans remain determined to abet red states’ attack on the essence of our constitutional system. He must make clear to voters and key Democratic senators that inaction in the face of this drive to enact voting suppression and partisan election administration measures is unacceptable.”  

3. NPR Interview about What Motivates Trump’s Supporters
On NPR’s All Things Considered last week week, NPR’s Danielle Kurtzleben speaks with Johns Hopkins University professor Lilliana Mason about a recent study she co-authored entitled “Activating Animus: The Uniquely Social Roots of Trump Support.”  The recording is 6 minutes long and both the recording and the full transcript is available at this link.  The study (“Activating Animus”) was published by Cambridge University Press June 30, 2021,  and can be found at this link.  The study looked at the extent to which  hostility to minority groups drove support for Trump. 

Dear Friends:

If you were unable to join us for tonight’s discussion with Congressman Raskin and election law expert Rick Hasen, moderated author and journalist Jane Mayer you can watch the entire program at this link. Recordings of all of our past town halls can be found at that same link.

Next Wednesday, July 14 we are looking forward to welcoming Michael Mullen, retired US Navy Admiral who served as the 17th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from October 2007- September 2011, under Presidents Bush and Obama. Admiral Mullen previously served as the Navy’s Chief of Naval Operations. He has expressed concerns about the future of our democracy and will share his perspective in conversation with Warren Olney. Register here.

Recent Articles: Toyota: Supporting supporters of Insurrections?
Voting Rights and Anti-Semitism on US Campuses

1. Has Toyota become the “Car of the Insurrectionists”?
In Today’s Washington Post, Dana Milbank’s op-ed discloses that Toyota has given much more money in political contributions to politicians who support the insurrectionists than any other corporate entity. “Most corporations stuck to their initial pledges and didn’t give money, at least directly, to those who stood for overthrowing democracy. But one has bankrolled the insurrectionists at a level far higher than the others: Toyota” writes Milbank. He opines, “Toyota likes to say its cars are “made in America” — while its actions are unmaking America.” Toyota’s response to those opposing Toyota’s political contributions is that Toyota “supports candidates based on their position on issues that are important to the auto industry and the company.” In response to the spokesman’s declaration, Milbank bitingly writes, “Apparently, constitutional democracy isn’t one of those issues.”

2. Supreme Court Rules on Voting Rights: Op-Ed by Rick Hasen
In a disturbing ruling for those seeking to protect voting rights, last Thursday, in two separate cases, the US Supreme Court upheld two Arizona rules that will have the likely impact of reducing minority voting rights. One rule disallows the counting of a vote cast in the wrong precinct and the other disallows third party collecting of absentee ballots. In this NY Times op-ed, penned by Rick Hasen he writes that these cases have dealt a devastating blow to Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act in that the court lightened the burden of proof on the states when suppressive voting rules are challenged. “Rather than focus on whether a law has a disparate impact on minority voters, as Justice Elena Kagan urged in her dissent, the court put a huge thumb on the scale in favor of restrictive state voting rules. Thanks to Brnovich [the Arizona case at issue], a state can now assert an interest in preventing fraud to justify a law without proving that fraud is actually a serious risk, but at the same time, minority voters have a high burden: They must show that the state has imposed more than the ‘usual burdens of voting.’ ”

3. Entanglement of GOP in January 6th Insurrection
In her popular blog, Letters from an American, Professor Heather Cox Richardson posted this blog entry about the revelation last week that a participant in the January 6th insurrection remains close with various Congressmembers ( including Marjorie Taylor Greene) who are part of the very conservative congressional Republican Study Committee, which, incidentally, employs Tucker Carlson’s son. She compares this contemporary situation to James Garfield’s rise to power in 1879. She also discusses the new Select Committee established by Speaker Pelosi to investigate the January 6th insurrection, about which Cox Richardson comments, “Forcing the creation of this select committee, rather than taking the offer of an independent, bipartisan committee, was a curious decision[on McCarthy’s part]. In 1879, when voters spent several months watching extremists of one party try to suppress the vote and take over the country, they rejected that party so thoroughly that it had to reinvent itself.”

4. CNN Report and Analysis of Antisemitism (with corrected link)
Last week, CNN posted this article entitled, Not Just Neo-Nazi’s with Tiki Torches: Why Jewish students say they also fear cloaked anti-Semitism. The article gives a chilling account of the fears being expressed by Jewish students on campuses throughout the US, and analyzes the role of social media in the growing and very disturbing problem.

Dear Friends:

Join us as Jane Mayer, author of Dark Money and Staff Writer at The New Yorker, engages Congressman Jamie Raskin (D-Md.8), Second Trump Impeachment Manager and RIchard Hasen, foremost election law expert and Professor of Law and Political Science at UC Irvine. They will analyze the current state of affairs in Washington and what we can learn from the past as we plan for America’s future. Register Here
Recent Articles: Voting Rights and Anti-Semitism on US Campuses

1. Supreme Court Rules on Voting Rights: Op-Ed by Rick Hasen, tonight’s panelist.

In a disturbing ruling for those seeking to protect voting rights, last Thursday, in two separate cases, the US Supreme Court upheld two Arizona rules that will have the likely impact of reducing minority voting rights. One rule disallows the counting of a vote cast in the wrong precinct and the other disallows third party collecting of absentee ballots. In this NY Times op-ed, penned by Rick Hasen (frequent America at a Crossroads guest who will be on tomorrow’s panel) he writes that these cases have dealt a devastating blow to Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act in that the court lightened the burden of proof on the states when suppressive voting rules are challenged. “Rather than focus on whether a law has a disparate impact on minority voters, as Justice Elena Kagan urged in her dissent, the court put a huge thumb on the scale in favor of restrictive state voting rules. Thanks to Brnovich [the Arizona case at issue], a state can now assert an interest in preventing fraud to justify a law without proving that fraud is actually a serious risk, but at the same time, minority voters have a high burden: They must show that the state has imposed more than the ‘usual burdens of voting.’ ”

2. Entanglement of GOP in January 6th Insurrection

In her popular blog, Letters from an American, Professor Heather Cox Richardson posted this blog entry about the revelation last week that a participant in the January 6th insurrection remains close with various Congressmembers ( including Marjorie Taylor Greene) who are part of the very conservative congressional Republican Study Committee, which, incidentally, employs Tucker Carlson’s son. She compares this contemporary situation to James Garfield’s rise to power in 1879. She also discusses the new Select Committee established by Speaker Pelosi to investigate the January 6th insurrection, about which Cox Richardson comments, “Forcing the creation of this select committee, rather than taking the offer of an independent, bipartisan committee, was a curious decision[on McCarthy’s part]. In 1879, when voters spent several months watching extremists of one party try to suppress the vote and take over the country, they rejected that party so thoroughly that it had to reinvent itself.”

3. CNN Report and Analysis of Antisemitism (with corrected link)
Last week, CNN posted this article entitled, Not Just Neo-Nazi’s with Tiki Torches: Why Jewish students say they also fear cloaked anti-Semitism. The article gives a chilling account of the fears being expressed by Jewish students on campuses throughout the US, and analyzes the role of social media in the growing and very disturbing problem.

Dear Friends:
If you missed tonight’s outstanding and highly informative program on Extremism and the Military with Congressman Ted Lieu (D-CA 33) and Kathleen Belew with Larry Mantle you can watch the entire program at this link starting later tonight. Many have asked for a link to Professor Belew’s book entitled Bring the War Home: The White Power Movement an Paramilitary America; here is the link:
https://www.kathleenbelew.com/bringthewarhome


Next week we welcome Congressman Jamie Raskin (D-Md.8), Second Trump Impeachment Manager and RIchard Hasen, foremost election law expert and Professor of Law and Political Science at UC Irvine who will be in conversation with the outstanding Jane Mayer, staff writer of The New Yorker. They will analyze the current state of affairs in Washington and what we can learn from the past as we plan for America’s future. Register Here
Articles about Military & Extremism

1. A propos of this evening’s program about extremism in the military:
This article in yesterday’s Washington Post by Rachel Weiner looks at the involvement of members of the military who participated in the January 6 insurrection.

2. Michele Norris’ column from yesterday’s Washington Post discusses the testimony on Capitol Hill presented last week by Joint Chiefs Chair General Mark A. Milley, in which he suggested that the Military take a good, hard look at race relations within its own ranks. The adverse reaction to his testimony from Conservatives was fast and swift, and included Donald Trump, who called him “pathetic” and Fox News host Tucker Carlson who said, “He’s [referring to Milley] not just a pig. He’s stupid.“ And the villainization of Milley grew and was propounded by those who denied that there has been any racism in the US military over the course of history. Michele Norris reviews just some of the racist history in the Military and writes: “Pretending that the military has had a sterling history on race erases both the current challenges and the slow evolution past racist restrictions. It’s too easy to see the fully integrated armed forces of today and forget that there have been outright bans, separation of the races and a wide range of restrictions on service going back to the American Revolution.”

Dear Friends:
If you were unable to join us to listen to the fascinating dialogue between former RNC Chair Michael Steele and conservative analyst William Kristol, you can watch it at this link.  It will be available several hours after the program ends and remains there indefinitely.  
 
Next Wednesday we welcome Dannagal Young, a talented improvisational comedienne, as well as a professor at the University of Delaware.  Dr. Young’s research focus is the intersection of entertainment and information, including the effect of the comedy of performers like Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert on public opinion and discourse.  Dannagal Young will be in dialogue with Lorraine Ali, a journalist and pundit, who currently is the television critic at the LA Times.  Register here.  

We appreciate your tax deductible donations which help to offset the costs of this America at a Crossroads Series:  You can donate here

ARTICLES of INTEREST

1.  WILL ATTORNEY GENERAL GARLAND SUCCEED IN HIS PURSUIT OF JUSTICE?
In this article published in this week’s New Yorker, David Rohde writes about the extraordinary challenges facing AG Merrick Garland and reviews the questions that some have raised about whether Garland’s commitment to centrism and impartiality will be effective in holding the Trump administration and Justice Department accountable for their many political improprieties.  Just in the last several days, Garland has been faced with information about former AG Barr’s seizure of journalists’  phone records and former AG Sessions’ subpoenas to Apple in an effort to gather metadata of Congressmen Schiff and Swalwell (including their staff members and family members, one of whom is a minor).  The  question Rohde analyzes is whether Garland’s approach might be “antiquated” and inadequate in the face of the “Trumpian” political realities.

2. US REGAINING ITS STATURE AMONG NATIONS (RE-SEND)
The ever-prolific Jennifer Rubin wrote this op-ed published in Sunday’s Washington Post in which she reviewed Biden’s first six months in office.  She emphasizes foreign affairs and the position of the US in the world, and reflects on the confidence which most Americans, as well as foreign allies and other powers, have in President Biden. Even before Biden’s departure for Europe, writes Rubin, “polling showed the United States regaining its stature after it had so horribly diminished under the last president. A Pew Research survey found: ‘In each of the 16 publics surveyed, more than six-in-ten say they have confidence in Biden to do the right thing in world affairs. Looking at 12 nations surveyed both this year and in 2020, a median of 75% express confidence in Biden, compared with 17% for [former president Donald Trump] last year.’ That stunning turnaround reflected not only relief that an erratic bully is gone, but also that a president with actual foreign policy experience is now in charge.”

3. ISRAEL’S NEW GOVERNMENT (RE-SEND)
In this op-ed published in Monday’s New York Times Bret Stephens writes about the remarkable diversity of the new government in Israel. Not only are Israel’s new leaders politically diverse, representing parties from the right to the left, but amongst the leaders, are an Ethiopian Jew rescued by the Mossad, a religiously conservative Arab-Muslim, an openly gay man, and many others representing minority and divergent interests and views.  The two most prominent government leaders are emblematic of this study in contrasts, with Naftali Bennett, Israel’s first Prime Minister who is a religiously observant Orthodox Jew, partnered with Yair Lapid, the epitome, according to Stephens, of a secular Israeli. Observes Stephens: “It’s difficult to think of any coalition government, in any country, that is as ideologically diverse. It’s also easy to suppose that nothing holds it together beyond shared loathing of Netanyahu, who remains leader of the opposition.” Stephens realizes that this “rainbow coalition” of opposites might not work, but he calls for a show of respect for those “willing to abandon a ferocious conviction for the sake of a pragmatic compromise”. 

Dear Friends:
If you were unable to join us to listen to the fascinating dialogue between former RNC Chair Michael Steele and conservative analyst William Kristol, you can watch it at this link.  It will be available several hours after the program ends and remains there indefinitely.  
 
Next Wednesday we welcome Dannagal Young, a talented improvisational comedienne, as well as a professor at the University of Delaware.  Dr. Young’s research focus is the intersection of entertainment and information, including the effect of the comedy of performers like Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert on public opinion and discourse.  Dannagal Young will be in dialogue with Lorraine Ali, a journalist and pundit, who currently is the television critic at the LA Times.  Register here.  

We appreciate your tax deductible donations which help to offset the costs of this America at a Crossroads Series:  You can donate here

ARTICLES of INTEREST

1.  WILL ATTORNEY GENERAL GARLAND SUCCEED IN HIS PURSUIT OF JUSTICE?
In this article published in this week’s New Yorker, David Rohde writes about the extraordinary challenges facing AG Merrick Garland and reviews the questions that some have raised about whether Garland’s commitment to centrism and impartiality will be effective in holding the Trump administration and Justice Department accountable for their many political improprieties.  Just in the last several days, Garland has been faced with information about former AG Barr’s seizure of journalists’  phone records and former AG Sessions’ subpoenas to Apple in an effort to gather metadata of Congressmen Schiff and Swalwell (including their staff members and family members, one of whom is a minor).  The  question Rohde analyzes is whether Garland’s approach might be “antiquated” and inadequate in the face of the “Trumpian” political realities.

2. US REGAINING ITS STATURE AMONG NATIONS (RE-SEND)
The ever-prolific Jennifer Rubin wrote this op-ed published in Sunday’s Washington Post in which she reviewed Biden’s first six months in office.  She emphasizes foreign affairs and the position of the US in the world, and reflects on the confidence which most Americans, as well as foreign allies and other powers, have in President Biden. Even before Biden’s departure for Europe, writes Rubin, “polling showed the United States regaining its stature after it had so horribly diminished under the last president. A Pew Research survey found: ‘In each of the 16 publics surveyed, more than six-in-ten say they have confidence in Biden to do the right thing in world affairs. Looking at 12 nations surveyed both this year and in 2020, a median of 75% express confidence in Biden, compared with 17% for [former president Donald Trump] last year.’ That stunning turnaround reflected not only relief that an erratic bully is gone, but also that a president with actual foreign policy experience is now in charge.”

3. ISRAEL’S NEW GOVERNMENT (RE-SEND)
In this op-ed published in Monday’s New York Times Bret Stephens writes about the remarkable diversity of the new government in Israel. Not only are Israel’s new leaders politically diverse, representing parties from the right to the left, but amongst the leaders, are an Ethiopian Jew rescued by the Mossad, a religiously conservative Arab-Muslim, an openly gay man, and many others representing minority and divergent interests and views.  The two most prominent government leaders are emblematic of this study in contrasts, with Naftali Bennett, Israel’s first Prime Minister who is a religiously observant Orthodox Jew, partnered with Yair Lapid, the epitome, according to Stephens, of a secular Israeli. Observes Stephens: “It’s difficult to think of any coalition government, in any country, that is as ideologically diverse. It’s also easy to suppose that nothing holds it together beyond shared loathing of Netanyahu, who remains leader of the opposition.” Stephens realizes that this “rainbow coalition” of opposites might not work, but he calls for a show of respect for those “willing to abandon a ferocious conviction for the sake of a pragmatic compromise”. 

Dear Friends:
Below you will find the zoom link for tomorrow’s program. But, first…  We wanted to share with you this just published, article in The Forward (a national Anglo-Jewish newspaper that has been publishing since 1897). It recounts the success that this virtual series, America at a Crossroads , has had over the past fifteen months.   We owe our success to the participation of viewers, like you, across the country and overseas.  We are grateful to you, to our list of what The Forward describes as “some of the world’s most prominent public speakers,” and to our unmatched moderators who know how to ask the questions that everyone wants answered.  It has been a thrill for us to offer this program to you every week.
 
Here is the zoom link for TOMORROW’S program @ 5pm Pacific with Deborah Lipstadt and Rabbi Edward Feinstein
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85910904133

On Wednesday at 5 pm Pacific we will welcome Professor Deborah Lipstadt and Rabbi Edward Feinstein.  Deborah Lipstadt is the Dorot Professor of Modern Jewish and Holocaust Studies at Emory University.  She is one of the nation’s foremost experts on Holocaust denial and modern anti-Semitism. Lipstadt is the author of many books, including “History on Trial: My Day in Court with David Irving;”  the book tells the story of her libel trial in London against Irving, who sued her for calling him a Holocaust denier and right wing extremist. The now-famous libel trial occurred when Irving sued Lipstadt over her 1993 book, “Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory,” the first full-length study of the history of those who attempt to deny the Holocaust. The case grew into a six-year legal battle in which Lipstadt prevailed.   The legal battle was depicted in the 2016 feature movie, Denial, starring Rachel Weisz.  

Rabbi Ed Feinstein is the beloved senior rabbi at Valley Beth Shalom in Encino, California, one of the largest Conservative congregations in the United States. He has served on the faculty of the Ziegler Rabbinical School of Rabbinic Studies at American Jewish University since 1990 and is an instructor for the Wexner Heritage Program, lecturing widely across the United States.


BACKGROUND READING RELATED TO WEDNESDAY’S PROGRAM:
 We provide the following articles by our guest, Deborah Lipstadt,  in advance of tomorrow’s program on the subjects of anti-Semitism, anti-Zionism, and holocaust denial:
 

1.  April 21, 2021: The Forward: by DEBORAH LIPSTADT: Battles over the Shoah https://forward.com/opinion/467517/eichmanns-trial-deborah-lipstadt-holocaust-israel-60th-anniversary/

2.   February 15, 2021 The Guardian: by Deborah Lipstadt: Jews Fear Republican Applauding of  Marjorie Taylor Greene

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/feb/15/jews-fear-republicans-applauded-marjorie-taylor-greene-conspiracy-theorist

3. December 23, 2020: The Washington Post: by Deborah Lipstadt and Norm Eisen: Holocaust Denial Threatens Democracy https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2020/12/23/democracy-denial-holocaust-denial/

4. December 29, 2019 The Atlantic: by Deborah Lipstadt:  Jews are Going Underground
https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/12/after-monsey-will-jews-go-underground/604219/
Dear Friends:
 
HERE IS THE ZOOM LINK FOR TODAY’S PROGRAM WITH CONGRESSMAN KINZINGER:
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89681007657

Today at 5 pm Pacific we welcome Congressman Adam Kinzinger (R.-Illinois) who has been an outspoken opponent of Trump and Trumpism. After the 2020 presidential election, in which Trump was defeated by Joe Biden, Kinzinger denounced Trump’s false claims that the election was “stolen” and criticized Trump’s attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. In December 2020, after Trump repeated his baseless claims of fraud on Twitter, Kinzinger tweeted that it was time for Trump to delete his Twitter account. He also criticized the Texas Republican Party, and called for the firing of its chairman Allen West, when the party floated the idea of secession, after the Supreme Court rejected Texas v. Pennsylvania, a bid by the state of Texas to overturn the presidential election outcome. Join us to hear Congressman Kinzinger’s ideas for the future of the GOP. Register here.

GEORGE CONWAY, SUSAN GLASSER & MAX BOOT:THREATS TO OUR DEMOCRACY

1. CONWAY:  In yesterday’s op-ed in the Washington Post, George Conway asserts that by killing the Senate bill on the January 6 Commission, the Republican Senators have outdone themselves in terms of demonstrating their cowardice, their extremism, and their lack of concern for preservation of our democracy.  Speaking of the GOP Senators, Conway writes: “They quiver in fear of the man who cost them the presidency and both houses of Congress. As they continue to quake, the “big lie’s” cancer upon democracy grows, with spurious election audits in pursuit of fantasies of fraud, and with some insanely claiming — reportedly including Trump himself — that he’ll be “reinstated” in due course.  Four years of Trump have led to the Republican Party becoming a threat to democracy, a declining sect dominated by crackpots, charlatans and cowards. Of these, it’s the cowards, including the senators who killed last week’s legislation, who bear the most blame.”


2. GLASSER:  In this week’s New Yorker, Susan Glasser wrote this opinion piece analyzing the future of America’s democracy.  Glasser notes that Biden is clearly trying to lower the temperature to take some of the “heat and rage out of American politic.”  But, despite Biden’s efforts, the fact that a third of Republicans agree that “country is so far off track that American patriots may have to resort to violence against their political opponents” speaks volumes in terms of the threat to our democracy. 

3. BOOT:  In this op-ed from today’s Washington Post, Max Boot sounds the alarm about the dramatic and pervasive voter suppression laws being passed in many states which are designed both to reduce Democratic voting and to empower Trump Republicans to exercise control over the ballot counting and processing.  Boot writes that in the first 4 1/2 months of 2021, 14 states  enacted 22 laws restricting access to vote, and 61 similar bills are pending in 18 different legislatures.  “Those bills” writes Boot, “are designed not to avert nonexistent voter fraud but to avert another election defeat for Republicans — and they are drawing perilously close to that goal.”  Boot warns that if Republicans regain control of Congress in the midterm elections our democracy could be doomed: the Democrats could be denied an electoral college majority and throw the election to the House — where each state delegation, regardless of population, would cast one ballot.”  As such, when balancing saving the filibuster against the very existence of our democracy, Boot chooses our democracy; HR1/ SB1, the For the People Act, must be passed, even if at the expense of the filibuster.   

Dear Friends:
 
HERE IS THE ZOOM LINK FOR THURSDAY’S PROGRAM WITH CONGRESSMAN KINZINGER:
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89681007657

 THURSDAY at 5 pm Pacific we welcome Congressman Adam Kinzinger (R.-Illinois) who has been an outspoken opponent of Trump and Trumpism. After the 2020 presidential election, in which Trump was defeated by Joe Biden, Kinzinger denounced Trump’s false claims that the election was “stolen” and criticized Trump’s attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. In December 2020, after Trump repeated his baseless claims of fraud on Twitter, Kinzinger tweeted that it was time for Trump to delete his Twitter account. He also criticized the Texas Republican Party, and called for the firing of its chairman Allen West, when the party floated the idea of secession, after the Supreme Court rejected Texas v. Pennsylvania, a bid by the state of Texas to overturn the presidential election outcome. Join us to hear Congressman Kinzinger’s ideas for the future of the GOP. Register here.

SUSAN GLASSER & MAX BOOT WRITE ABOUT THE THREATS TO OUR DEMOCRACY

1.  In this week’s New Yorker, Susan Glasser wrote this opinion piece analyzing the future of America’s democracy.  Glasser notes that Biden is clearly trying to lower the temperature to take some of the “heat and rage out of American politic.”  But, despite Biden’s efforts, the fact that a third of Republicans agree that “country is so far off track that American patriots may have to resort to violence against their political opponents” speaks volumes in terms of the threat to our democracy. 

2.  In this op-ed from today’s Washington Post, Max Boot sounds the alarm about the dramatic and pervasive voter suppression laws being passed in many states which are designed both to reduce Democratic voting and to empower Trump Republicans to exercise control over the ballot counting and processing.  Boot writes that in the first 4 1/2 months of 2021, 14 states  enacted 22 laws restricting access to vote, and 61 similar bills are pending in 18 different legislatures.  “Those bills” writes Boot, “are designed not to avert nonexistent voter fraud but to avert another election defeat for Republicans — and they are drawing perilously close to that goal.”  Boot warns that if Republicans regain control of Congress in the midterm elections our democracy could be doomed: the Democrats could be denied an electoral college majority and throw the election to the House — where each state delegation, regardless of population, would cast one ballot.”  As such, when balancing saving the filibuster against the very existence of our democracy, Boot chooses our democracy; HR1/ SB1, the For the People Act, must be passed, even if at the expense of the filibuster.   

How an upstart L.A. group crushed the Jewish internet: JUDJ featured in The Forward.

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