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 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.   

Dear Friends:

Whether one seeks to abolish or protect the filibuster, no one denies the importance or the impact of the filibuster rule.  Some believe the filibuster is a vestige of the Jim Crow south and is useful only to suppress minority rights; others feel it is a critically important rule to protect our democracy.  Tomorrow, join us to hear two divergent points of view by two renowned Constitutional scholars, UC Berkeley School of Law Dean Erwin Chemerinsky and co-author of the award winning book, Defending the Filibuster, Richard Arenberg in conversation with UC Irvine School of Law Professor Henry Weinstein. 

Immediately following tomorrow’s Filibuster program, stay on ZOOM for a 30 minute briefing by American diplomat Dennis Ross; Ross served as the Director of Policy Planning in the State Department under President George H. W. Bush, the special Middle East coordinator under President Bill Clinton, and was a special adviser for the Persian Gulf and Southwest Asia (which includes Iran) to the former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.  There is no one more qualified than Dennis Ross to brief us on the current situation in Israel. Register here



1. Dennis Ross Op-Ed about restoring peace in Israel & Gaza
Read Dennis Ross’ op-ed in the LA Times earlier this week on the situation in Israel.

2. David Brooks Interviews President Biden
In David Brooks’ recent op-ed in the NY Times he describes his interview last week with President Biden and concludes that while Biden’s values and world-view have not changed since he became President, the scale of what he is proposing is “gigantic” and that is definitely a change from his pre-Presidential years in government.  It is as if “a company that was making pleasure boats started turning out ocean liners. And that’s because Biden believes that in a post-Trump world we’re fighting not just to preserve the middle class, but to survive as the leading nation of the earth.”  Biden attributes the comparatively immense scale of his proposed legislative packages to the changed circumstances existing in the world at the current time.  Brooks concludes, “Biden is not a progressive in the current sense. He is the kind of liberal that emerged after World War II: confident in America’s greatness, confident in the state, having little interest in the culture wars that emerged since the 1960s, fierce about civil rights, deeply rooted in the working and middle classes.Biden hasn’t really changed; he’s just doing everything bigger.”
Dear Friends:
Whether one seeks to abolish or protect the filibuster, no one denies the importance or the impact of the filibuster rule.  Some believe the filibuster is a vestige of the Jim Crow south and is useful only to suppress minority rights; others feel it is a critically important rule to protect our democracy.  Next Wednesday, join us to hear two divergent points of view by two renowned Constitutional scholars, UC Berkeley School of Law Dean Erwin Chemerinsky and co-author of the award winning book, Defending the Filibuster, Richard Arenberg. 

Due to the Israel-Hamas crisis, we are pleased, once again, to provide a 30 minute briefing by American diplomat Dennis Ross; Ross served as the Director of Policy Planning in the State Department under President George H. W. Bush, the special Middle East coordinator under President Bill Clinton, and was a special adviser for the Persian Gulf and Southwest Asia (which includes Iran) to the former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.  There is no one more qualified than Dennis Ross to brief us on the current situation in Israel. Register here



1. Dennis Ross Op-Ed about restoring peace in Israel & Gaza
Read Dennis Ross’ op-ed in the LA Times earlier this week on the situation in Israel.

2.  Gerson Op-Ed about the “toxic masculinity” of Trump’s “political philosophy”
In this op-ed in yesterday’s Washington Post Michael Gerson declared that if Trump has any political philosophy, it is one of “toxic masculinity — the use of menace and swagger to cover his mental and moral impotence. And the mini-Trumps have taken their master’s lead…. pathetic, aging White men talking smack they could never back up. It exemplified a type of politics where cruelty is the evidence of commitment, brutality is the measure of loyalty and violence is equated with power.”  The most disturbing aspect of this aggressive bully-politics, or as Gerson describes it, “authoritarian populism”, is that Trump and team now have a strategy.  They are trying to reshape the American electoral system to produce their desired result. The first step of this strategy has already worked inasmuch as 66% of Republicans have denied the legitimacy of Joe Biden’s election as President.  The second stage, writes Gerson, is the modification of state election laws to suppress Democratic minority voter turnout; the third stage is to replace state election officials who show hints of independence.   While the amendments to voter suppression laws are dangerous, more dangerous, says Gerson, will be the purging of those with integrity who manage the elections in various states. Gerson writes: “Officials who held the line against electoral corruption in 2020 have been worn down by threats. Some have retired or been forced out of office. State legislators who didn’t act as reliable partisans have been targeted and intimidated…They will be exposed to political jeopardy and physical peril, particularly from activists who view the right to bear arms as the right to make armed threats.”  The only answer according to Gerson is to defuse the violence and aggressive rhetoric by embracing the truth–something that the overwhelming majority of the GOP elected leaders in Washington appear not ready to do. 
Dear Friends:

If you were not able to join us today to listen to the conversation between Bret Stephens and Michelle Goldberg moderated by Larry Mantle, you missed a great hour.  Lucky for you, it will be posted indefinitely at this link by 10 pm tonight.
 
Whether one seeks to abolish or protect the filibuster, no one denies the importance or the impact of the filibuster rule.  Some believe the filibuster is a vestige of the Jim Crow south and is useful only to suppress minority rights; others feel it is a critically important rule to protect our democracy.  Next Wednesday, join us to hear two divergent points of view by two renowned Constitutional scholars, UC Berkeley School of Law Dean Erwin Chemerinsky and co-author of the award winning book, Defending the Filibuster, Richard Arenberg.  Register here

Dear Friends:

Join us tomorrow to hear two different perspectives on the topic of Cancel Culture from two outstanding NY Times op-ed columnists, Pulitzer Prize winners Bret Stephens and Michelle Goldberg.  They will be in conversation with AirTalk’s Larry Mantle. Register here.
 

TWO VIEWS ON CANCEL CULTURE AND WOKE-NESS
1. Was Liz Cheney a victim of “cancel culture”? 
In this op-ed in the Washington Post, columnist Matt Bai says “no”, Cheney was not cancelled.  Bai explains that  Republicans cannot cancel because they do not currently have the power in American culture or society to do so.  In fact, those rejected by the GOP as Liz Cheney has, find their voices amplified, not cancelled. Bai writes: “[C]anceling has nothing to do with punishing a politician who won’t adhere to the party line. That’s just old-fashioned bullying. Rather, canceling is about a shift in the primacy of free expression. It refers to the idea that someone who traffics in the wrong ideas, or who has been accused of some profound moral transgression, does not deserve the right to be heard at all.” Bai contends that in order to be able to “cancel” a voice in the forum of public opinion, one needs to have some power in the public square; while currently, the GOP might have a certain degree of power when it comes to legislating, Bai contends that the GOP has little influence when it comes to the public square.  

2. What does it mean to be “woke”?
In this column by David Brooks which appears in the NY Times this weekend, Brooks parses the meaning of the word “wokeness”.  He concludes that at its best, the most substantial, productive and honorable meaning of wokeness relates to the focus on “concrete benefits for the disadvantaged–reparation, more diverse hiring, more equitable housing and economic policies.”  When used in other contexts, Brooks claims,  “wokeness”, is more an empty, elitist jargon, in the realm of non-productive “word wars among the highly advantaged.”  Brooks writes that being “woke”  in grappling with the legacies of racism has, in 2021 “produced more understanding, inclusion and racial progress than we’ve seen in over 50 years.”  But Brooks also opines that the other contexts in which the “woke” vocabulary is invoked is elitist, insular, shallow, and ultimately, has little depth.



VOTER SUPPRESSION, VOTING RIGHTS, AND ELECTION OVERSIGHT
3.  GOP efforts to thwart Black Americans’ Voting Rights
In this weekend’s post in her popular Letters from an American blog, Heather Cox Richardson, American historian and professor of history formerly at MIT and UMass Amherst and now at Boston College, gives a concise history of voting rights and the current efforts by the Republicans to thwart the voting rights of mostly Black voters.  The Republicans claim to be working to “fight the radical Socialist Democrat agenda”; but, Cox Richardson claims, that their efforts to supposedly combat “voter fraud” by backing various bills across the country to suppress the Democratic vote, is really a way for them to ensure that their GOP candidates can win.  In that respect, asserts Cox Richardson, their efforts are akin to the the way in which white supremacists “saved” the Jim Crow South. 

4.  Promoting the Big Lie of 2020 can lead to an even Bigger Steal in 2024 
Washington Post editorial page editor and columnist, Fred Hiatt, wrote a column published Sunday in which he underscored the serious threats to our democracy posed by the hundreds of voter suppression laws being considered in Republican controlled states. But, Hiatt opines, there is an even greater, more insidious threat lurking in the form of a concerted effort to unseat those secretaries of state and other election oversight officials who were unwilling to bend when leaned upon to lie and/or refuse to certify Biden as winner.  For example, Georgia’s Republican Secretary of State Raffensperger is “being primaried” by pro-Trump forces, and Aaron Van Langevelde, a Republican on the Michigan Board of State Canvassers who refused to cave to the pressure not to certify Biden’s clear victory in their state, has not been nominated for another term. In the end, Hiatt concludes, these insidious tactics promoting the “Big Lie”  which are being deployed by the GOP could well have the effect of creating an real “big steal” in 2024.  

Dear Friends:

If you missed tonight’s informative (and fun) discussion on 1970’s pop culture and its impact on politics with Ron Brownstein, in conversation with Patt Morrison, followed by a half hour enlightening briefing on the conflict unfolding in the Middle East with Ambassador Dennis Ross, you can watch both programs at this link starting at around 10 pm tonight (and indefinitely thereafter).

Ron Brownstein’s newly-released book, Rock me on the Water is a commentary about how pop culture both impacts and reflects political climate.  Here is is a link to the NYTimes book review of Rock me on the Water which was written by America at a Crossroads moderator, Madeleine Brand,  and here is a link to the book.

Join us next Wednesday to hear two different views from two outstanding NY Times op-ed columnists, Pulitzer Prizer winner Bret Stephens and Michelle Goldberg.  They will be in conversation with AirTalk’s Larry Mantle on the topic of Cancel Culture: Threat or Hype? Register here.
 

More on Liz Cheney from Tom Friedman, Michael Gerson and Bill Kristol
1.  In today’s Washington Post op-ed by Jennifer Rubin entitled “Truth-telling Republicans will have a lot of hard questions to answer”, she poses a host of questions about Liz Cheney and the future of those opposing the “Big Lie”.  She also analyzes the notion of a third party comprised of Republicans who have refused to embrace Trumpism.  Rubin reveals her skepticism about the likelihood that new (third) party is likely to materialize.  Rubin writes: “It is easy to say that anti-MAGA Republicans should let a thousand flowers bloom; some should leave, and some should stand with Cheney to essentially level the existing GOP. But in a fundamental sense, the two strategies are incompatible. If the sane, patriotic and truth-telling Republicans leave the GOP, the pool of voters who support Cheney and like-minded, pro-democracy Republicans shrinks. And if Cheney succeeds in retaining her seat in the House, the rationale for a third party, at least one based on center-right positions, would likely crumble.”   She also writes about Cheney’s staunch conservatism which is powerful in pushing back MAGA Republicans,, (” She cannot be written off as a RINO.”),  it limits Cheney’s appeal with the more centrist Republicans.  In the end, there are more questions than answers about how the Cheney ouster plays out and what will happen to disaffected Republicans.  It is also unclear whether Cheney will keep her seat, and whether she will continue to vote basically in sync with the MAGA Republicans in Congress.

2. In today’s NY Times, Tom Friedman claims he did not want to write again about the upcoming vote to replace Liz Cheney, but, he could not help himself.  He said that not writing about the Cheney vote would be like writing about the weather “the day after Watergate exploded or Lincoln was shot”.  So cataclysmic is this vote in Friedman’s opinion, that while it might not “constitute the end of American democracy as we’ve known it… there is a real possibility we’ll look back on May 12 , 2021, as the beginning of the end — unless enough principled Republicans can be persuaded to engineer an immediate, radical course correction in their party.”   In addition to the Cheney vote, Friedman claims that there has been “a daylight mugging of our democracy” referring to the voter-suppression laws being passed in Republican controlled states as well as laws which sideline Secretaries of State and empower partisan forces to control elections.  Friedman concludes with this ominous message: “[I]f Trump and friends are not stopped, one day they will get where they are going: They will lock in minority rule in America. And when that happens, both Democrats and principled Republicans will take to the streets, and you can call it whatever you like, but it is going to feel like a new civil war.”

3.  Here is Liz Cheney’s speech on the House floor given yesterday. Her GOP colleagues left the room before she began to speak. 
Dear Friends:
 
Here is the ZOOM link for today’s program with Senator (fmr) Al Franken who will be interviewed by
Howard Fineman, one of the country’s best-known and most respected political journalists, editors and authors. (Register here)

Franken on the Filibuster: Today’s program with former Senator Al Franken will provide us with an insider’s view of the US Senate.  In preparation for the program, we are again sending this recent blog post by Franken offering some common sense solutions to the problem of the filibuster. His key recommendation is to change the rules regarding ending debate.  Franken suggests that instead of requiring 60 votes to end debate, require 41 to continue debate, which would enable the majority leader to call votes any time the Senate is in session, around the clock.  This would mean, Franken points out, the minority members might have to show up in the middle of the night, or on Mondays, or weekends, when most, especially those up for reelection, would want to be in their home states campaigning.  “This kind of simple change would not eliminate filibusters. In fact, it would restore its original purpose – for the minority to demonstrate when it really cares about something, maybe even leading to, oh, constructive compromises. It would take away the incentive to use the tactic on every bill as a delaying device and begin to limit its use to high profile legislation.”  Read more here.

 Recent Articles/Op-Ed of Note:
1.  Is Liz Cheney history?
This article from The Hill describes what is shaping up as an likely ouster of Congresswoman Liz Cheney as GOP Conference Chair.  In openly opposing Trump and the “Big Lie” about the stolen election, Congresswoman Cheney says she is “trying to tug the party away from its veneration of a single figure and back to its pre-Trump policy ideals.”  House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy evidently has abandoned his former support for Cheney, and many opine that when Congress comes back into session on May 12 a secret ballot will be held to remove Cheney from her leadership position.  Read below what Tom Friedman thinks about the proposed ouster. 

2 .Tom Friedman on Cheney and the GOP
In this op-ed in today’s NY Times, Tom Friedman sounds the alarm about the condition of our American democracy.  He declares, “We are not OK….In fact, we are closer to a political civil war — more than at any other time in our modern history. Today’s seeming political calm is actually resting on a false bottom that we’re at risk of crashing through at any moment.”  The evidence he presents is the pace at which Trump’s Big Lie has gained steam; at this point, claims Friedman, it is embraced by a majority of Republicans at all levels of government, whether they are elected officials or simply party members.  Friedman highlights the efforts to oust Liz Cheney from her leadership role as an example of the deterioration of the GOP and the consequential threat to our democracy.  Friedman writes: “To be a leader in today’s G.O.P. you either have to play dumb or be dumb on the central issue facing our Republic: the integrity of our election. You have to accept everything that Trump has said about the election — without a shred of evidence — and ignore everything his own attorney general, F.B.I. director and election security director said — based on the evidence — that there was no substantive fraud.”  He concludes that there is simply no greater threat to our democracy than to have the losing party willing to claim the election is stolen without any evidence whatsoever.
Dear Friends:
 
Here is the ZOOM link for tomorrow’s program with Senator (fmr) Al Franken who will be interviewed by
Howard Fineman, one of the country’s best-known and most respected political journalists, editors and authors. (Register here)
 
Tomorrow’s program with former Senator Al Franken will provide us with an insider’s view of the US Senate.  In preparation for the program, we are again sending this recent blog post by Franken offering some common sense solutions to the problem of the filibuster. His key recommendation is to change the rules regarding ending debate.  Franken suggests that instead of requiring 60 votes to end debate, require 41 to continue debate, which would enable the majority leader to call votes any time the Senate is in session, around the clock.  This would mean, Franken points out, the minority members might have to show up in the middle of the night, or on Mondays, or weekends, when most, especially those up for reelection, would want to be in their home states campaigning.  “This kind of simple change would not eliminate filibusters. In fact, it would restore its original purpose – for the minority to demonstrate when it really cares about something, maybe even leading to, oh, constructive compromises. It would take away the incentive to use the tactic on every bill as a delaying device and begin to limit its use to high profile legislation.”  Read more here.

 Recent Articles/Op-Ed of Note:

1. Social Media and Merchandising Lure Recruits to Right Wing Extremist Groups 
In this article in last Friday’s Washington Post, senior reporter Mark Fisher writes about how extremists are using pop culture to lure recruits into their ranks.  Using gaming platforms and other social media which appeals to young people, right wing extremist groups have developed a strategy, explains Fisher, that seems to be delivering good results. “The far-right groups that blossomed during Donald Trump’s presidency — including white supremacists, self-styled militias and purveyors of anti-government conspiracy theories — have created enduring communities by soft-pedaling their political goals and focusing on entertaining potential recruits with the tools of pop culture”.  In many, if not most, instances, the recruits are seeking a sense of belonging, and might not even realize, at first, the nature of the cause into which they are being lured.  And, if there were any doubts, the words of the founder is one of the white supremacist organizations are revealing: “The only thing I’m grateful for these days is that Trump allowed us to reach a much broader population and to use a gentler way of bringing people into the fold. For years, I was pretty demoralized by the number of people turning out to our Columbus Day demonstrations. Then Trump comes along and gets tens of thousands of people and a certain percentage of them look further into our ideas.”

2. By embracing “The Big Lie”, elected Republicans are more than merely guilty for threatening our democracy.  
In this op-ed from yesterday’s Washington Post,  Michael Gerson, former chief speechwriter for President George W. Bush, issues a stark indictment of the Republican party. “The GOP is increasingly defined not by its shared beliefs, but by its shared delusions. To be a loyal Republican, one must be either a sucker or a liar. And because this defining falsehood is so obviously and laughably false, we can safely assume that most Republican leaders who embrace it fall into the second category. Knowingly repeating a lie — an act of immorality — is now the evidence of Republican fidelity.”  Gerson distinguishes between various types of lies, analyzes why the motivation behind the lie matters, and looks at the culpability of who supports the lie. For example, former President Clinton was roundly criticized by, among others, leaders of his own party, as compared to Trump, whose is fellow party members bolster and repeat his lies.  And, the motivation of the liar matters: “A founding lie” explains Gerson in referring to Trump’s lie about a stolen election, “is intended to remove followers from the messy world of facts and evidence. It is designed to replace critical judgment with personal loyalty. It is supposed to encourage distrust of every source of social authority opposed to the leader’s shifting will.” And, according to Gerson, those elected Republicans who are lying “with open eyes” out of fear of losing their jobs, are not only guilty, but are a disgrace.

Dear Friends:

If you didn’t have a chance to join us to listen to Congresswoman Judy Chu and attorney activist Stewart Kwoh in conversation with Warren Olney on the topic of anti-Asian racism, you can watch the recording at this website starting at 10 pm tonight; like all of our programs, it will remain there indefinitely for your convenience. Here are links to Asian Americans Advancing Justice -LA, which Stewart Kwoh referenced (and founded): https://www.advancingjustice-la.org/get-involved/take-action.  Those interested in bystander intervention training can contact the organization to sign up for the training.  And, here is the national office website: https://www.advancingjustice.org/.  There is also bystander intervention training offered by  https://www.ihollaback.org/



Next week’s program with former Senator Al Franken will provide us with an insider’s view of the US Senate.  In preparation for the program, here is a recent blog post by Franken offering some common sense solutions to the problem of the filibuster. His key recommendation is to change the rules regarding ending debate. In a typically humorous fashion, Franken suggests that instead of requiring 60 votes to end debate, require 41 to continue debate, which would enable the majority leader to call votes any time the Senate is in session, around the clock.  This would mean the minority members might have to show up in the middle of the night, or on Mondays, or weekends, when most, especially those up for reelection, would want to be in their home states campaigning. Then, demonstrating his serious intent, Frank writes: “This kind of simple change would not eliminate filibusters. In fact, it would restore its original purpose – for the minority to demonstrate when it really cares about something, maybe even leading to, oh, constructive compromises. It would take away the incentive to use the tactic on every bill as a delaying device and begin to limit its use to high profile legislation.”  Read more here.

 Articles/Op-Ed of Note today:

Has the GOP lost touch with reality and if so, what can be done about it?
In this op-ed in today’s Washington Post, Max Boot writes that the promulgation of lies and false narratives by the Republican Party reflects the Party’s untethering from reality and creates a serious threat of sliding into authoritarianism. “The Republican Party” writes Boot, “is increasingly catering to people who live in an alternative universe of false narratives spread by media outlets such as Fox News and Newsmax and on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Google/YouTube. He analyzes the recent “red meat” lie which was spread by various right-wing media outlets, eventually retracted by some of them after the damage was already done. The lie was that President Biden is going to reduce red meat consumption by 90 percent, and mandate that every American is limited to just four pounds of red meat a year.  The story, was a bogus attempt to paint the Democrats as radical extremists who will fight climate change by taking away all individual liberties. Boot does suggest a remedy to limit the impact of these lies which, even when later retracted, undermine our democracy.  He suggests that Congress  force internet platforms to make available to its users “middleware”  which would provide a filter helping users determine veracity of the information presented.   While this won’t solve the entire of the problem, Boot advocates that “it is an important step to fight back against the falsehoods that threaten our democracy.”

Dear Friends:
Here is the ZOOM LINK for tomorrow’s program at 5 pm Pacific
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81458178488


TOMORROW’s PROGRAM: The timeliness of tomorrow’s program, anti-Asian racism in America, could not be more perfect, nor could the speakers we have invited to discuss the issue.  Last week the Senate passed the hate crimes bill (with the ONLY “no” vote in the Senate being that of Josh Hawley), which will improve the capacity to investigate and pursue hate crimes with alacrity.  Congresswoman and Chair of the Asian Pacific Congressional Caucus, Judy Chu, has played a key role in moving Washington forward on this critical issue.  Stewart Kwoh has been a legal activist fighting for equality and justice for Asian Americans for decades.  In this morning’s LA Times, this article, written by Kwoh in collaboration with Connie Rice and Connie Chung Joe, the authors argue that while the new law is a positive move forward, “[p]reventing violent crimes requires addressing hate at its roots. The wave of anti-Asian attacks — and the fear, pain and anger it has triggered — illustrates the corrosive effects of systemic racism and a culture of white supremacy that brands people of color as ‘the other.’ Law enforcement is not equipped to change that culture….[I]nvestments need to be made in community-based safety programs and anti-hate initiatives. Education must incorporate the rich and complex role of communities of color in the American story. And multiracial collaboration must be strengthened.”  They write about “bystander intervention training” and “chaperone services” programs which Kwoh’s organization has initiated across the country. Tomorrow night Stewart Kwoh and Congresswoman Chu will elaborate on defining the historical problems Asian-Americans have endured and will share ideas about how to tackle this complex problem of racism and violence. We are re-sending additional links (see below) for those who want more background on the history of anti-Asian racism.   Register here



Additional Articles of Note this Week:
1. Extremism and White Supremacy in the ranks of the GOP
In one of the many columns penned by the prolific Jennifer Rubin this week in the Washington Post, in this op-ed  Rubin describes the GOP as a “radicalized, nativist group that now repudiates (or pretends to repudiate) the results of the election.”  Her scathing indictment of the party goes far beyond the obvious nativists such as Ted Cruz who has consistently embraced and promoted the “big lie” and wholeheartedly supports the True Texas Project, which Rubin describes as “a rump tea party group” and which is so divisive that many in the GOP have distanced themselves from it. But the problem is bigger than Cruz and than a single organization, and that problem is the (current) GOP itself, writes Rubin.  “Fifty U.S. senators and 212 House members belong to a group [to wit:the GOP] that mouthed Russian propaganda; that tried to disenfranchise millions of voters, focusing on major metropolitan areas with large Black populations; that still reveres the former president and tries to play down the Jan. 6 insurrection; that frequents a cable TV news network that spouts replacement theory and other white supremacists themes; that insists Washington, D.C., is not “well-rounded” but Wyoming is; that attacks women of color nominated for top government posts…”  She concludes her indictment of the GOP saying that it is within that party that the greatest dangers to our democracy lie.

2. Arizona is in its 4th recount of ballots from November’s election, and the auditors doing the recount are proponents of Trump’s “Big Lie”
Despite three recounts since December 2020, there has been no evidence of fraud or error in the counting of Arizona’s presidential ballots cast in November. Nevertheless, as is reported in this article, Arizona Republican electeds have insisted on yet another recount, this time by hand; they have hired a pro-Trump so-called audit team from Florida (the “Cyber Ninjas”) to conduct the recount and to inspect the voter machines and all of the so-called observers of the process are anything but impartial, it is reported in this article.  The Cyber Ninja company, as well as those providing “oversight” have publicly embraced “the big lie” and have claimed, without offering any evidence, that Trump actually won Arizona by 200,000 votes. The courts are now involved, and the move has wreaked havoc within the state.  While the GOP elected officials in state and local government largely support the Trump-backed initiative, it seems that much of the citizenry of Arizona does not support the effort.  “Critics in both parties charge that an effort that began as a way to placate angry Trump voters has become a political embarrassment and another blow to the once-inviolable democratic norm that losers and winners alike honor the results of elections.” 

Dear Friends:

Since yesterday’s program with Larry Diamond, Rick Hasen, and Pam Fessler (you can listen to the excellent program here), we have received many requests to provide some follow-up information pertaining to various subjects covered.  Below is a list of the organizations which work on voting rights issues which were mentioned by Larry Diamond towards the end of the program.  We are also providing a link to the study/article entitled, “The Miracle and Tragedy of the 2020 Election” written by Stanford Law’s  Nathaniel Persily and MIT’s Charles Stewart which was cited by Diamond  and published in the Journal of Democracy.  Persily and Stewart acknowledge the miraculous adaptation of election processes by election administrators in light of the challenges posed by the pandemic;  but, they also write about the tragedy that despite the safe, secure and fair election which took place against so many unprecedented odds, the myth of “a rigged election” and voter fraud not only led to the January 6 insurrection, but on a more fundamental and widespread basis, has been deeply damaging to our democracy.  This in-depth scholarly article not only analyzes the 2020 election and its aftermath, but, also suggests a path forward to begin the process of repairing the damage. 

While there are surely others, here is a list of the organizations mentioned by Larry Diamond:
Represent US (represent.us)
United America (uniteamerica.org)

Fair Vote (fairvote.org)
Issue One (Issueone.org)
Common Cause (commoncause.org)
Brennan Center for Justice (Brennancenter.org)
Lawyers Committee (lawyerscommittee.org)
League of Women Voters (lwv.org)


In anticipation of next week’s program on anti-Asian hate in America:
 1.  Today,  the Senate passed an anti-Asian hate crimes bill by a 94-1 vote with Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo) being the only nay vote.  The bill will create a position in the Justice Department which strengthens state and local hate crime reporting.  Read more here.
 

2.  In the April 11th New Yorker, there was a selection of articles about the Asian-American experience and the on-going and growing wave of anti-Asian violence in America.  Included were articles not only about the Atlanta shootings of six Asian American women last month, but also historical articles about the history of racism, violence and exclusion of Japanese, Chinese and other Americans of Asian descent.  One of the articles analyzes how the pandemic, combined with a rise in anti-immigrant discourse, has triggered an increase in what novelist Ed Park calls “an increase in everyday bigotry”.  The issue features many articles with varying perspectives which, when taken together, can shed light on how certain deeply ingrained biases create a major challenge for America as we confront this scourge of anti-Asian hate crimes.  

3.  In today’s New Yorker, Michael Luo writes about the Forgotten History of the Campaign to Purge Chinese from America. The article details the mistreatment of Chinese immigrants who came to America in the 19th Century; ultimately, in 1882, Congress enacted the Chinese Exclusion Act which banned Chinese laborers from the entering the US and prohibited Chinese immigrants already here from becoming citizens.  Luo suggests that once one has reviewed the history of Asian immigrants to America, one should not be “perplexed” by the current surge in anti-Asian racism. 

Dear Friends:

If you were unable to watch tonight’s fascinating program with Larry Diamond and  Rick Hasen in conversation with Pam Fessler on the topic of American elections you can find it at this link later tonight. 

                                                                   
In anticipation of next week’s program on the topic of the growing threat of violence against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, here are several recent articles which have discussed the subject:


1.  This Wall Street Journal article, describes a recent meeting between President Biden and the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, of which next week’s guest, Congresswoman Judy Chu is chair. Among the key topics discussed was the pending Senate bill seeking to expedite Justice Department processing of pandemic-era hate crimes.  Also on the agenda was a discussion about the Caucus’ request that Biden increase Asian American and Pacific Islander representation in his Administration.

2.  In the April 11th New Yorker, there was a selection of articles about the Asian-American experience and the on-going and growing wave of anti-Asian violence in America.  Included were articles not only about the Atlanta shootings of six Asian American women last month, but also historical articles about the history of racism, violence and exclusion of Japanese, Chinese and other Americans of Asian descent.  One of the articles analyzes how the pandemic, combined with a rise in anti-immigrant discourse, has triggered an increase in what novelist Ed Park calls “an increase in everyday bigotry”.  The issue features many articles with varying perspectives which, when taken together, can shed light on how certain deeply ingrained biases create a major challenge for America as we confront this scourge of anti-Asian hate crimes.  
 

Dear Friends:

ZOOM link for tomorrow’s program: 
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82513081595

Information about tomorrow’s program: 

Rick Hasen is one of our country’s leading authorities on election law and campaign finance law. Hasen’s popular election law blog contains interesting facts and analysis about all things related to US elections.  Larry Diamond is a senior fellow at Stanford’s Freeman Spogli Institute whose expertise in the domain of “democracy studies” has made him a foremost authority on the subject of comparative analyses of democracies globally. Below is a book review written by Diamond about the adverse impact of social media and the internet on our democracy.   Pam Fessler serves on NPR’s national desk where she is the resident expert on election related issues. She is the author of the well-received study of America’s response to leprosy in the only leprosy colony in the continental US–Carville’s Cure: Leprosy, Stigma, and the Fight for Justice.

 

If you would like to make a donation to help offset the expenses of this America at a Crossroads virtual series, you can do so at this link. 
 



RECENT Article of Significance:

GOP Billionaires take aim at the Voter Reform Bill (HR1/SB1) 

This article by Jane Mayer in a recent New Yorker focuses on the forces opposing sweeping voter reform bill introduced by the Democrats known as the “For the People Act” (HR1/SB1); in particular, Mayer writes about Republican efforts to block the bill as the bill would “stem the flow of dark money from such political donors as the billionaire oil magnate Charles Koch.”  While McConnell and billionaire Republican donors are staunchly opposed to the bill, for obvious reasons, a key problem for those Republicans seeking to kill the bill is that it is extremely popular with the voting public, even amongst Republican voters.  In fact, it is so popular, that the leadership decided not to mount a pubic advocacy campaign against the bill.  Instead, “a senior Koch operative said that opponents would be better off ignoring the will of American voters and trying to kill the bill in Congress.”  Conservative groups are working on pressuring conservative Democrat Senator Manchin to oppose the legislation.  This is also the reason that so much Republican effort is being put into opposing any efforts by Democrats to abolish the Senate’s filibuster rule; without abolishing the filibuster, the Democrats might not succeed in passing the legislation.  Conservatives are consistently declaring that the filibuster is the “only thing standing in the way of progressive far-left policies like H.R. 1, which is Pelosi’s campaign to take over America’s elections.”  

Dear Friends:

For those who were unable to join us for the exceptional hour today with Fareed Zakaria interviewed by Warren Olney, you can find the recording at this link later tonight. If you would like to purchase Fareed’s book Ten Lessons for a Post-Pandemic World you may do so here.  Here is a link to the NY Times review of Fareed’s book.

(Below, for one final time, and by popular request, we are sending the summary of last week’s Doris Kearns Goodwin; we were unable to record the session and therefore, provide the summary below as well as a link to her master class)


If you would like to make a donation to help offset the expenses of this America at a Crossroads virtual series, you can do so at this link.


RECENT Op-Eds & Articles of Significance:

1. The internet has been hijacked, and democracy is suffering as a result:  In anticipation of next week’s program with Larry Diamond and Rick Hasen, here is a book review written by Larry Diamond entitled, “Rebooting Democracy” published this month in the Journal of Democracy.  The book which Diamond is reviewing is: Reset: Reclaiming the Internet for Civil Society by Ronald J. Deibert; the book is about the hijacking of the internet by those seeking profit and power. The review by Diamond gives an excellent summary of who is hijacking the internet and towards what ends.  In short, the book warns, “We risk irreversible losses of human freedom and privacy if we do not impose democratic controls on digital technologies and the companies and governments that deploy them.” Deibert also has recommendations on how to begin to solve the problem of the exploitation of thet internet; he advocates for a system “reset” which requires rules, regulations and laws which impose restraints on runaway government and corporate power. “Citizens must restrain government, and government must restrain the corporations.”  He also advocates for a reboot of civic education for the digital age. Importantly, he argues for new authority and larger budgets for oversight agencies so as “to limit what social-media companies can do to constantly collect, store, and commercialize personal data, and what law enforcement and other government agencies can do to access and utilize that data.” Of critical importance is to recognize that China is, by far, the most dominant global force in terms digital abuse and injustice.  To address the problem of China, Deibert advocates “end-to-end encryption technologies and new circumvention tools to bypass internet censorship, along with a democratic ‘united front’ against China’s bid to roll back human-rights protections in international forums”  Democracies need to unify in creating cyber-rules globally, as well as within their own borders if there is ever a chance to reclaim the internet for civil society. In Diamond’s opinion, as well as in Deibert’s, this problem has an important bearing on the preservation of our democracy.
.
2. Is Trump helping or hurting the GOP cause?
In this op-ed in the Washington Post earlier this week, James Downey writes about the GOP’s problem with its attachment to the former president, suggesting the party is prisoner to Trump.  Downey describes Trump’s Saturday tirade against Mike Pence and Mitch McConnell, noting that such outbursts are destructive to the GOP. But, Downey acknowledges Trump’s continuing power due to two primary reasons: (1) the fact that the voting restrictions which the GOP is promoting across the majority of states is tied to Trump’s big lie about the 2020 election; and (2) Trump has more money at his disposal than the entire RNC. However, Downey’s conclusion does not spell “victory” for the GOP in the midterms; he writes: “Historically, when one party takes over the White House and Congress, the minority party does well in the following midterm elections. But as Sunday showed, this cycle the minority party has a ball and chain on its ankle, in the form of Trump. With a drag that big, don’t be surprised if the GOP snatches defeat from the jaws of victory.”
 

3. (Re-SEND by popular demand) AN ABBREVIATED SUMMARY OF DORIS KEARNS-GOODWIN TALK
Inasmuch as last week’s program with Ms. Kearns-Goodwin (DKG) was not recorded, we offer this partial summary of a few cogent points:   Importantly, the talk began with DKG reminding the audience that our country has survived very bad times in the past; she spoke of the resilience of the American people, especially when effectively led.  A key historical parallel to the present circumstances, is the situation confronted by FDR when he came to power in 1933.  The country was steeped in the Great Depression and people were in desperate circumstances; there were no public safety nets in that era, so the hardship and trauma Americans were experiencing were intensely dramatic.  FDR made it clear that it was not the American people that failed, but rather it was the American leadership which had failed the people.  FDR’s job was to mobilize national resources and to restore people’s faith that government can serve the people; he did so by understanding how to prioritize his many initiatives–he knew what to tackle first as a means of restoring trust.  For FDR, the banking system came first, then came jobs and then came systemic reforms.  Biden too must rebuild the people’s trust in government, with the very first priority being COVID; then he can tackle the economy and jobs (achievable via the Infrastructure bill) and then will come other more systemic initiatives. DKG spoke about the importance not only of understanding how to prioritize initiatives, but also the importance of thinking big, doing big and doing QUICKLY; like FDR, Biden understands that there is a short window of time during which he can dramatically move the needle to rebuild trust and establish his ability to lead in a way that touches people’s lives directly.  FDR did it by ensuring that the banks could re-open and Biden is doing it by bringing the vaccine to the masses.  As a final note, DKG spoke about characteristics of great leaders.  Highest on her list was their ability to empathize, which, according to DKG, requires humility.  While some, like Lincoln, were born with the “empathy gene”, most acquire that capacity in an evolutionary way as they experience their political lives.  DKG quoted Ernest Hemingway who said : “The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places.”   She expressed the opinion that Hemingway’s thought applies to people and to nations.  Finally, she said that when the conscience of the public is raised and the leader is there who can harness and mobilize that enlightened public, great progress can be made; the best examples of such progress are both FDR and the massive agenda he advanced, as well as LBJ and his passage of the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts.  She is hopeful that the same will said about Biden’s agenda.  

Doris Kearns Goodwin teaches a Master Class which is available at this link.  

Dear Friends:


Here is the ZOOM link for tomorrow’s program with Fareed Zakaria in conversation with Warren Olney.
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83528660766

We look forward to welcoming Fareed Zakaria tomorrow night and hope you will join us at 5 pm Los Angeles time.  Last week Fareed’s mother who lives in India, died of complications of COVID.  We join in expressing our condolences to Fareed and share with you Fareed’s beautiful tribute to his mother.

Here is a link to the NY Times review of Fareed’s most recent book, Ten Lessons for a Post-Pandemic World.

AN ABBREVIATED SUMMARY OF DORIS KEARNS-GOODWIN TALK
Inasmuch as last week’s program with Ms. Kearns-Goodwin (DKG) was not recorded, we offer this partial summary of a few cogent points:   Importantly, the talk began with DKG reminding the audience that our country has survived very bad times in the past; she spoke of the resilience of the American people, especially when effectively led.  A key historical parallel to the present circumstances, is the situation confronted by FDR when he came to power in 1933.  The country was steeped in the Great Depression and people were in desperate circumstances; there were no public safety nets in that era, so the hardship and trauma Americans were experiencing were intensely dramatic.  FDR made it clear that it was not the American people that failed, but rather it was the American leadership which had failed the people.  FDR’s job was to mobilize national resources and to restore people’s faith that government can serve the people; he did so by understanding how to prioritize his many initiatives–he knew what to tackle first as a means of restoring trust.  For FDR, the banking system came first, then came jobs and then came systemic reforms.  Biden too must rebuild the people’s trust in government, with the very first priority being COVID;  then he can tackle the economy and jobs (achievable via the Infrastructure bill) and then will come other more systemic initiatives. DKG spoke about the importance not only of understanding how to prioritize initiatives, but also the importance of thinking big, doing big and doing QUICKLY;  like FDR, Biden understands that there is a short window of time during which he can dramatically move the needle to rebuild trust and establish his ability to lead in a way that touches people’s lives directly.  FDR did it by ensuring that the banks could re-open and Biden is doing it by bringing the vaccine to the masses.  As a final note, DKG spoke about characteristics of great leaders.  Highest on her list was their ability to empathize, which, according to DKG, requires humility.  While some, like Lincoln, were born with the “empathy gene”, most acquire that capacity in an evolutionary way as they experience their political lives.  DKG quoted Ernest Hemingway who said : “The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places.”   She expressed the opinion that Hemingway’s thought applies to people and to nations.  Finally, she said that when the conscience of the public is raised and the leader is there who can harness and mobilize that enlightened public, great progress can be made; the best examples of such progress are both FDR and the massive agenda he advanced, as well as LBJ and his passage of the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts.  She is hopeful that the same will said about Biden’s agenda.  

Doris Kearns Goodwin teaches a Master Class which is available at this link.  


If you would like to make a donation to help offset the expenses of this America at a Crossroads virtual series, you can do so at this link.


Frightening Rise in Domestic Extremism:  In today’s Washington Post, this in-depth analysis entitled “The Rise of Domestic Extremism in America” reveals that data shows a “surge in homegrown attacks not seen in a quarter-century… Victims of all incidents in recent years represent a broad cross-section of American society, including Blacks, Jews, immigrants, LGBTQ individuals, Asians and other people of color who have been attacked by right-wing extremists wielding vehicles, guns, knives and fists.”  The article suggests that there is inadequate data on white-supremacists and on domestic terror, which is an obvious impediment to planning sustainable and effective solutions to the problem.   Rep. Jamie B. Raskin (D-Md.), who held oversight hearings in 2019, said,  “Any expert is going to tell you that this is the most serious security threat to the American people today, And yet we don’t have any good description of the magnitude and the dimensions of the problem.”

Dear Friends:

We are sorry, but there will not be a recording of tonight’s extraordinary program with renowned historian Doris Kearns Goodwin in conversation with Patt Morrison.  All of our other past programs can be viewed at this link.
Doris Kearns Goodwin’s most recent book, Leadership in Turbulent Times, can be bought here.

If you would like to make a donation to help offset the expenses of this America at a Crossroads virtual series, you can do so at this link.


IMPORTANT  OP-EDS & ARTICLES THIS WEEK

 IN COMMEMORATION: HOLOCAUST REMEMBRANCE DAY (RE-SEND)

This weekend, Bret Stephens dedicated his NY Times op-ed to Buba Weisz Sajovitz one of the 2,000 survivors of Auschwitz who are still alive today.  Stephens tells Buba’s painful, yet ultimately triumphant, story as a way of commemorating Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Memorial Day which will be observed this Wednesday, April 7.  Of the 1.3 million people, mostly Jews, transported to Auschwitz, 1.1 million of them were murdered, mostly in the gas chambers.  Both Buba, who is currently 95 and her husband, Luis, currently 99 and who survived Mathausen, live in Mexico and have a remarkable story.  This op-ed reminds us of the critical importance of memory and the power of resilience and dignity.   We join Bret Stephens in celebrating Buba and Luis and other survivors who have courageously recounted and documented their life stories so that we never forget the dangers of hate, racism, anti-Semitism, and authoritarianism.

 Corporate Reactions to Georgia’s Voter Suppression Laws and GOP Response
This article by Charles P. Pierce published yesterday in Esquire, offers analysis of the long history of the GOP’s efforts to suppress voting rights. Pierce asserts that “All voter-suppression is based on the feeling of entitlement to rule, and the Republicans are addicted to that more than they are addicted to anything else.”  Referencing Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s attack on MLB and other corporate giants who have roundly criticized Georgia’s new voter suppression laws, Pierce notes that now that “some of their [GOP] erstwhile allies in the country’s power elites are getting nervous about how far the party has gone, and the Republicans don’t have the faintest idea how to deal with that.”  Yesterday, in McConnell’s public outcry against these corporations, he ironically said: “It’s jaw-dropping to see powerful American institutions not just permit themselves to be bullied, but join in the bullying themselves.”  The Republican’s reaction is to play the beleaguered victim-martyr which “is beset on all sides by powerful legions of women, gay people, and poor people.”


Dramatic Parallels between FDR’s New Deal Era and Biden’s agenda
In his column in today’s Washington Post, Greg Sargent  interviews Eric Rauchway, a historian who has written a good new book called “Why the New Deal Matters.”.  The crux of the interview is the comparison of the context of FDR presidency to the current  Biden presidency.  While Roosevelt was challenged to lead the country out of the Depression through programs like the WPA and other New Deal initiatives, Biden is challenged with leading the country out of the COVID pandemic with programs like the $2 trillion COVID rescue package and the proposed $2 trillion infrastructure plan.  Like President Roosevelt, President Biden is challenged with major deep divisions within the American electorate and also like FDR, Biden is concerned about the threats of authoritarianism and fascism.    In fact, Rauchway asserts that  “The New Deal was really Roosevelt’s program for defusing extremism. For a long time, a lot of folks on the left saw the New Deal as preventing communism from arising. Roosevelt really wasn’t that fussed about communism. Roosevelt was very worried about fascism. He was very worried that something like that could happen in the United States.”  As a final note, Rauchway remarks that, similar to how FDR ultimately rejected the Southern Democrats and Jim Crow, today’s analogy is to the efforts around the country to suppress voting rights.  Rauchway concludes: “Democrats need to pay attention to the ways they can ensure that all Americans can cast ballots — drawing inspiration, if they like, from the New Deal.”  

Why Trump and MAGA supporters will continue to tear down Anthony Fauci, despite the obvious facts. 
In this op-ed in today’s Washington Post, Michael Gerson explains why the MAGA adherents, led by Trump and his team, must continue to villify Dr. Anthony Fauci.  Gerson writes: “If Fauci has been right about Covid, then playing down the disease, mocking masks, modeling superspreader events, denying death tolls, encouraging anti-mandate militias and recommending quack cures were not particularly helpful. If Fauci has been right, they presided over a deadly debacle… Fauci is practicing epidemiology. His critics are practicing idiocy. Both are very good at their chosen work.”

Dear Friends:
 

Here is the ZOOM link for tomorrow’s program with 
Doris Kearns Goodwin with Patt Morrison. 
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83696733859

 



IMPORTANT  OP-EDS & ARTICLES THIS WEEK

1. IN COMMEMORATION: HOLOCAUST REMEMBRANCE DAY
This weekend, Bret Stephens dedicated his NY Times op-ed to Buba Weisz Sajovitz one of the 2,000 survivors of Auschwitz who are still alive today.  Stephens tells Buba’s painful, yet ultimately triumphant, story as a way of commemorating Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Memorial Day which will be observed this Wednesday, April 7.  Of the 1.3 million people, mostly Jews, transported to Auschwitz, 1.1 million of them were murdered, mostly in the gas chambers.  Both Buba, who is currently 95 and her husband, Luis, currently 99 and who survived Mathausen, live in Mexico and have a remarkable story.  This op-ed reminds us of the critical importance of memory and the power of resilience and dignity.   We join Bret Stephens in celebrating Buba and Luis and other survivors who have courageously recounted and documented their life stories so that we never forget the dangers of hate, racism, anti-Semitism, and authoritarianism.

2. Legislating from the Bench:  How Courts are carrying the GOP agenda
In this recent op-ed in the NY Times, Ian Millhiser, a senior correspondent at Vox and author of the book “The Agenda: How a Republican Supreme Court Is Reshaping America”, Millhiser explains that despite the fact that the Republicans do not appear to have a legislative agenda, it would be erroneous to conclude that the Republicans do not have a policy agenda.  In fact, writes Millhiser, they have an aggressive agenda to, among other things, roll back voting rights, decrease government’s regulatory power, and empower religious conservatives.   But, as Millhiser writes, “It’s just that the Republican Party doesn’t plan to pass its agenda through either one of the elected branches. Its agenda lives in the judiciary — and especially in the Supreme Court.” But “legislating from the bench”, the party does not have to take responsibility for unpopular policies; further, the federal judges serve for life and therefore can easily create policies from the bench without worrying about the public’s support. 

3. The Anatomy of a Republican Congressman who was targeted and defeated by QAnon 
In this article from Sunday’s NY Times, politics reporter Jeremy Peters writes an in-depth analysis about former Congressman Denver Riggleman (R.-Va) and how he was “primaried” and lost his seat for taking on QAnon and the right.  Mr. Riggleman’s political troubles began when he was a freshman congressman and officiated at the wedding of a gay couple.  He began to get death threats and was attacked as a traitor after he called out QAnon for its false contentions that a satanic network of child molesters runs the Democratic party.  RIggleman, a former Air Force intelligence officer and former employee of the National Security Agency,  and who was endorsed by Trump in his original run for the open seat back in 2018, now finds himself amongst a small handful of mostly former Republican legislators who are willing to speak up despite the consequences that have suffered and will continue to suffer for doing so.   Riggleman now dedicates himself to working with a group of experts who are shining a light on the “social disease of disinformation.”

Dear Friends:
If you weren’t able to join us for tonight’s outstanding conversation with Jennifer Kavanagh of RAND and Jennifer Rubin of the WaPo, moderated by KCRW’s Warren Olney, after 10 pm tonight, you can watch the entire program at this link.

And, if you would like to view more about RAND’s Truth Decay Project, you can do so at the Project Truth Decay website and you can read the report entitled “Truth Decay: An Initial Exploration of the Diminishing Role of Facts and Analysis in American Public Life.”  



TODAY’S OP-EDS

1. Praise for the depth and scope of Biden’s infrastructure plan
In his op-ed column in today’s Washington Post, Greg Sargent claims that the ambitious, bold and far-reaching plan unveiled today by President Biden brings to mind the vast public works projects following WWII and could succeed in defeating Trumpism. Sargent writes: 
“Biden’s plan envisions an ambitious overhaul of the U.S. economy, rebuilding roads, bridges, sewer systems and electric grids. It would expand digital infrastructure such as rural broadband and retrofit the future decarbonized economy, incentivizing renewable energy and electric cars, packaged as industrial policy to stay competitive with China.”  The plan, according to Sargent, is creating a powerful center-left coalition of Democrats, which, in different times, certainly would have included centrist Republicans as well.  “While Trumpists fantasize about a monolithic, rampaging left pushing the country over the edge” opines Sargent, “we’re seeing center and left working hard to secure ambitious public investments to solve vast public problems…If this can in some measure succeed, which is hardly assured, it could weaken the hold of that deranged anti-leftism on the imagination of so many.”

2. Rubin’s take on Biden’s infrastructure plan 
In one of her three op-ed columns in today’s Washington Post, Jennifer Rubin writes about Biden’s infrastructure plan and about the “drumbeat” of criticism mostly coming from corporate interests which (predictably) oppose increasing corporate taxes to pay for infrastructure development.  Among other points, Rubin notes that infrastructure development should not be seen as simply an expense; “We are not burning $2 trillion; we are using it to generate far more benefits, both tangible (jobs) and intangible (e.g., improved aesthetics and quality of life in terms of shorter commutes and the like).”  

3.  Biden’s remarkable early judicial nominees
In another of Rubin’s columns today, she writes about the remarkable diversity of Biden’s initial 11 judicial nominees. Of the 11 nominees, 3 are Black women, 4 are Asian Americans and one is the very first Muslim American ever to serve on a District Court.  Not only do these nominees reflect Biden’s Administration’s commitment to diversity in terms of gender and ethnicity, but they also reflect an unusual and welcome diversity in terms of the legal backgrounds.  The list of nominees includes former public defenders, former prosecutors, sitting judges and attorneys at large law firms; a remarkable balance not often observed. 

Dear Friends:

Tonight’s program featuring David Brooks with Patt Morrison was illuminating and impressive in its depth and breadth; from gun control to the filibuster, to culture wars, to January 6, to the economy, to the future of the Republican party, and more.  You can watch the entire very impressive program at this link (it should be posted by 10 pm Pacific tonight). 



Next Wednesday, we will be joined by illustrious Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin and Jennifer Kavanagh, Director of RAND’s “Countering Truth Decay” initiative, which is comprised of a portfolio of projects exploring the diminishing reliance on facts and analysis in U.S.   Rubin and Kavanagh will be in conversation with Warren Olney on the topic of Truth Decay and the Future of American Democracy.  To prepare for next week’s program you can look at Rand’s Project Truth Decay website and read the report entitled “Truth Decay: An Initial Exploration of the Diminishing Role of Facts and Analysis in American Public Life.” 


ARTICLES/COLUMNS OF NOTE THIS WEEK

1. QAnon targeting Asians and Jews
This story, “QAnon  now pushes alarming conspiracy myths targeting China and Jewish people” appeared on the front page of today’s Los Angeles Times.  The article reports that QANON is rebranding and shifting its narrative into talk of a “new world order” blending “anti-Chinese and anti-Jewish tropes with fears of vaccines and a global plot to take over the world.”    According to the Times,  since the election, “the anti-Asian sentiment has shifted to anxiety about worldwide dominance, specifically a communist overthrow of governments backed by Jewish people who control wealth. President Biden is seen as a pawn of these elites.”  According to the article, Southern California is a hotbed of QAnon organizing, and QAnon’s “new world order” theory is already playing a role in the efforts to recall Governor Newsom, as QAnon has portrayed Newsom as Hitler and as a puppet of the Chinese Communist Party who is in pursuit of global power.

2. Atlanta murders: were they hate crimes?

The horrific Atlanta murders of 8 women, 6 of whom were of Asian descent, have not yet been determined to be hate crimes and in this op-ed from Sunday’s NY Times, Bret Stephens criticizes the news media for seemingly conclusively reporting them as such.  While it is a fact that anti-Asian hate crimes have increased by 150% over the past two years, Stephens writes that until evidence confirming the assumption is found (and he advocates for further investigation), the news media has conflated the hate crime increase with the murders last week “for the sake of a compelling narrative”.  So far, the perpetrator claims that his motive in the murders was a sex addiction which is in conflict with his evangelical beliefs.  According to The Associated Press, “All three businesses where people were fatally shot Tuesday have detailed recent reviews on an online site that leads users to places that provide sexual services.”  Stephens concludes with this:  “Like so much else in public discourse today, it’s another capital-T ideological Truth in search of lower-case-t factual truths to validate its predetermined, overstretched hypotheses. That it has the laudable goal of “raising awareness” and “combating hate” does not relieve journalists of the responsibility to report facts scrupulously, not play to fears in the service of a higher good.”

3. Trump attorney Powell’s unusual defense to Dominion defamation suit
Last year, Trump attorney Sidney Powell claimed that Dominion Voting Systems, the manufacturer of election equipment, was involved in a conspiracy to steal the election.   Dominion sued Powell (and others) for defamation. Yesterday NBC reported that in Powell’s defense, her attorney’s argued that she could not be liable to Dominion since “no reasonable person would have believed” her.  NBC reported that Powell’s lawyers claimed in court that “Powell’s statements were so absurd they couldn’t be taken seriously.”  

4. (re-send) Senator Johnson and the future of the GOP  
In this opinion column in yesterday’s Washington Post, Greg Sargent advocates for the defeat Senator Ron Johnson (R.-Wisconsin).  For those who haven’t followed Johnson’s on-going disinformation campaign, in his most recent incendiary comments, Johnson suggested that he “never felt threatened” by the January 6 rioters, because they were “people that love this country.” But, he said, if they had been “tens of thousands of Black Lives Matter and antifa protesters, I might have been a little concerned.”  He also continued to assert, despite significant direct evidence to the contrary, that Trump supporters would not have done what the January 6 rioters did.  Johnson has taken the lead in promoting Trump’s lies and revisionist accounts of the events which transpired on January 6.  Sargent writes that the GOP must de-radicalize and “needs to stop obscuring the fundamental truth about the Capitol riot, which is that Trump just did incite an effort to violently overthrow U.S. democracy, after trying to subvert the election through illicit means in order to remain in power illegitimately.  All these tendencies need to be thoroughly repudiated. Defeating Johnson might help start us down a path toward doing that.”

Dear Friends:
 

Here is the ZOOM link for tomorrow’s program with DAVID BROOKS in conversation with Patt Morrison
 
 

RECENT COLUMNS/REPORT OF NOTE

1.  Russia, Iran, Hizbollah, Cuba & Venezuela all interfered in the 2020 election
Last week certain de-classified sections of this report entitled, Foreign Threats to the US 2020 Election, were released by the Director of National Intelligence.  The report concludes that Russia spread misinformation about Joe Biden during the presidential election with the intent to influence the election’s outcome.  The report concluded that not only did Russia engage in an “influence operation” which both undermined public confidence in our electoral process and exacerbated sociopolitical divisions in the US, but several other countries also engaged in such “influence campaigns”.  The report concluded that Iran’s “influence campaign” was aimed at sowing division and undercutting Trump’s chances for re-election, as were efforts by Hizbollah, Cuba and Venezuela.

2. Georgia’s Voter Suppression Bills
In this article ,”The High Cost of Georgia’s Restrictive Voting Bills”, to be published in the March 29th New Yorker, Jelani Cobb analyzes the Georgia voting bills which were recently passed by the Republican-controlled state legislature; the bills have one goal to diminish (Democratic) voter turnout and “undo the state of affairs that led to Democrats winning the Presidential race in November and both Senate runoff races in January.” The irony, notes Cobb, is that the Georgia capitol is in the Congressional District which Congressman John Lewis represented until his recent death; Lewis played a critical role in leading the fight for the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.  The bill’s supporters falsely claim the bills are needed to eliminate election fraud.  But, their premise is based upon the “big lie”; as was proven, the election was fraud-free. Cobb writes about the New Georgia Project which is seeking to enlist Georgia-based Fortune 500 companies, like Coca-Cola, Delta Airlines, and Home Depot, in opposing the specious and undemocratic bills.  It looks like the New Georgia Project intends to create an economic fall-out for those supporting the proposed disenfranchisement.

3. Senator Johnson and the future of the GOP  
In this opinion column in yesterday’s Washington Post, Greg Sargent advocates for the defeat Senator Ron Johnson (R.-Wisconsin).  For those who haven’t followed Johnson’s on-going disinformation campaign, in his most recent incendiary comments, Johnson suggested that he “never felt threatened” by the January 6 rioters, because they were “people that love this country.” But, he said, if they had been “tens of thousands of Black Lives Matter and antifa protesters, I might have been a little concerned.”  He also continued to assert, despite significant direct evidence to the contrary, that Trump supporters would not have done what the January 6 rioters did.  Johnson has taken the lead in promoting Trump’s lies and revisionist accounts of the events which transpired on January 6.  Sargent writes that the GOP must de-radicalize and “needs to stop obscuring the fundamental truth about the Capitol riot, which is that Trump just did incite an effort to violently overthrow U.S. democracy, after trying to subvert the election through illicit means in order to remain in power illegitimately.  All these tendencies need to be thoroughly repudiated. Defeating Johnson might help start us down a path toward doing that.”

Dear Friends:
 In the event you were not able to join us for Madeleine Brand’s fascinating interview of Wolf Blitzer, you can watch it starting tomorrow morning at this link.

Join us next week to hear political and cultural commentator and New York Times Op-Ed columnist David Brooks in conversation with Patt Morrison.  register here  


TODAY’S COLUMNS of NOTE:
1. GOP Descent into Authoritarianism
In this column by Max Boot in today’s Washington Post, Boot contends that while the GOP’s embrace of authoritarianism has been growing since 2016, in recent months that embrace has accelerated and intensified. “Trump’s unprecedented assault on our democracy has not shaken his support with the base:..Republicans realize that Trump remains unpopular with the country as a whole. (His approval rating among registered voters is only 37 percent.) But instead of renouncing Trump, they are renouncing democracy.”  The most egregious case in point are the efforts in 43 states wherein Republican lawmakers are proposing laws to severely limit voting rights.  With respect to those efforts to suppress voting rights, Boot concludes: “It is hard to imagine a more damning indictment of the party once led by freedom fighters such as Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.”
2. Smear Campaign against nominee Kristen Clarke
In this scathing op-ed in today’s Washington Post,  Jennifer Rubin reveals the facts behind yet another Republican smear campaign against a woman of color, in this instance, against Kristen Clarke, President Biden’s nominee to head the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.  In the case of Clarke, the campaign to discredit her goes back decades to an event which occurred when she was President of the Black Student Union at Harvard University; despite the clear facts which Rubin investigated and uncovers in this column, right wing groups have taken words out of context and have baselessly accused Clarke of believing in Black supremacy.   

Dear Friends:

Here is the ZOOM link for tomorrow’s program with Wolf Blitzer and Madeleine Brand  
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87282334240

 



RECENT ARTICLES of NOTE:
1. Prosecution of Trump
Will Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance successfully prosecute Donald Trump?  In this column in today’s New Yorker, chief Washington correspondent and author of “Dark Money“, Jane Mayer, writes about the importance to our democracy of pursuing Trump’s fraudulent business conduct.  She analyzes Vance’s case against Trump, its strengths and weaknesses.  Mayer warns that failing to pursue Trump’s violations emboldens him and others, and threatens to create a culture of lawlessness and impunity. 
2.  Domestic Terror Laws
A propos of last week’s program on domestic terrorism, in this recent opinion column in the Wall Street Journal, former FBI special agent and legal attaché Thomas J. Baker argues, consistent with the testimony last week of FBI Director Christopher Wray, that existing laws are adequate to pursue domestic terrorists. The proposals which were introduced as a direct result of the events of January 6, are, according to Baker, wholly unnecessary, and threaten to abrogate civil liberties guaranteed in the Constitution.  He writes, “A menu of federal criminal laws already on the books can be and have been invoked to fight domestic terrorism without compromising the First Amendment. The Bill of Rights can’t get lost in an urge to ‘do something’ that will make some advocates feel better. As former FBI Director William H. Webster frequently reminded us agents: ‘We must do the job the American people expect of us, but in the manner that the Constitution demands of us.'”
3. Politicization of the Humanitarian Crisis at the Border
In this 1 1/2 minute news clip, Jacob Soboroff, recent America at a Crossroads guest speaker, NBC news journalist who broke the 2017 story on Trump’s policy of separation of families at the border (and wrote a book called Separated: An American Tragedy about it) , speaks with NBC’s Nicole Wallace about the travesty of how some in the GOP are currently using the children at the border as political pawns in their efforts to discredit President Biden. According to Soboroff, for whom this issue of children at the border has become a key focus of his reporting, some are looking for solutions to the humanitarian crisis at the border while others are simply looking for an opportunity for a press conference.

Dear Friends

If you missed tonight’s extraordinary program with Brian Jenkins and Javed Ali, moderated by Larry Mantle you will find a recording at this link by tomorrow morning.

During the program tonight these articles were mentioned by our speakers:  https://international.ucla.edu/media/files/Rapoport-Four-Waves-of-Modern-Terrorism.pdfhttps://www.thecipherbrief.com/column_article/the-5th-wave-of-rebel-terrorism, https://www.rand.org/blog/2021/01/the-battle-of-capitol-hill.html

Further, while we sent the following out previously, now that you have heard tonight’s speakers, we thought you might want to access these again:
1. Here is a link to Brian Jenkin’s congressional testimonwhich he gave last month regarding homeland security, domestic terrorism, and the January 6th uprising.  
2. In this opinion column in The Cipher Brief (a digital, security-based conversation platform that connects the private sector with the world`s leading security experts), Javed Ali co-writes about what the Biden Administration should be doing to tackle domestic terrorism.

TODAY’S ARTICLES of NOTE:
Voter Suppression:
Greg Sargent writes in yesterday’s Washington Post that Georgia’s efforts to suppress votes is extremely serious and alarming; Georgia’s sweeping and draconian voting reforms are, according to Sargent, a blatant effort to reduce the electoral impact of Georgia’s African American voters.  And, Georgia’s efforts are being replicated around the country.  Sargent writes, “the GOP has largely abandoned winning majorities, instead recommitting to anti-democratic tactics and exacerbating its anti-majoritarian structural advantages.”  These efforts represent the major obstacle to “a more just and egalitarian political system.”

California’s Ethnic Studies Curriculum
In this op-ed in yesterday’s NY Times, Bret Stephens explains why he opposes even the revised version of the proposed California Ethnic Studies Curriculum.  There have been several drafts of the proposed Curriculum; the prior drafts met with muscular criticism from the Jewish community inasmuch as there was little or no recognition of anti-Semitism in the curriculum, despite the growing prevalence of anti-Semitism. Stephen’s bottom line conclusion is this: “Public education is supposed to create a sense of common citizenship while cultivating the habits of independent thinking. This is a curriculum that magnifies differences, encourages tribal loyalties and advances ideological groupthink.”   

Dear Friends

If you missed tonight’s extraordinary program with Brian Jenkins and Javed Ali, moderated by Larry Mantle you will find a recording at this link by tomorrow morning.

During the program tonight these articles were mentioned by our speakers:  https://international.ucla.edu/media/files/Rapoport-Four-Waves-of-Modern-Terrorism.pdfhttps://www.thecipherbrief.com/column_article/the-5th-wave-of-rebel-terrorism, https://www.rand.org/blog/2021/01/the-battle-of-capitol-hill.html

Further, while we sent the following out previously, now that you have heard tonight’s speakers, we thought you might want to access these again:
1. Here is a link to Brian Jenkin’s congressional testimonwhich he gave last month regarding homeland security, domestic terrorism, and the January 6th uprising.  
2. In this opinion column in The Cipher Brief (a digital, security-based conversation platform that connects the private sector with the world`s leading security experts), Javed Ali co-writes about what the Biden Administration should be doing to tackle domestic terrorism.

TODAY’S ARTICLES of NOTE:
Voter Suppression:
Greg Sargent writes in yesterday’s Washington Post that Georgia’s efforts to suppress votes is extremely serious and alarming; Georgia’s sweeping and draconian voting reforms are, according to Sargent, a blatant effort to reduce the electoral impact of Georgia’s African American voters.  And, Georgia’s efforts are being replicated around the country.  Sargent writes, “the GOP has largely abandoned winning majorities, instead recommitting to anti-democratic tactics and exacerbating its anti-majoritarian structural advantages.”  These efforts represent the major obstacle to “a more just and egalitarian political system.”

California’s Ethnic Studies Curriculum
In this op-ed in yesterday’s NY Times, Bret Stephens explains why he opposes even the revised version of the proposed California Ethnic Studies Curriculum.  There have been several drafts of the proposed Curriculum; the prior drafts met with muscular criticism from the Jewish community inasmuch as there was little or no recognition of anti-Semitism in the curriculum, despite the growing prevalence of anti-Semitism. Stephen’s bottom line conclusion is this: “Public education is supposed to create a sense of common citizenship while cultivating the habits of independent thinking. This is a curriculum that magnifies differences, encourages tribal loyalties and advances ideological groupthink.”   

Dear Friends


Here is the ZOOM link for tomorrow’s program with Amb. McFaul and Max Boot
 https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86922012620
 

Tomorrow’s Speakers:
There is simply no better team to talk about US policy with Russia and China than tomorrow’s team. 

Michael Anthony McFaul served as the United States Ambassador to Russia from 2012 to 2014 and is currently a Professor of International Studies at Stanford, where he also is the Director of the Institute for International Studies and a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution. Prior to his nomination to the ambassadorial position, McFaul worked for the U.S. National Security Council as Special Assistant to the President and senior director of Russian and Eurasian affairs.

Max Boot is Russian-American author, consultant, editorialist, lecturer, and military historian. He is the Jeane J. Kirkpatrick Senior Fellow in National Security Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations and a columnist at The Washington Post. Register here
 

In preparation for tomorrow’s program, in this article written by Michael McFaul and published in January 2021’s Foreign Affairs, McFaul analyzes the Biden Administration’s challenge of developing “a new, comprehensive Russia strategy that strikes the right balance between containing Moscow and engaging it in narrow areas of shared interest. To get there, the Biden administration will need to shed myths and misperceptions that for years have hampered U.S. analysis of Moscow and to replace them with an accurate assessment of what sort of threat Putin’s Russia really poses and how the United States can effectively counter it.”

Here is Max Boot’s most recent column on foreign policy issues which was published 2 weeks ago in the Washington Post in which he writes about Biden’s challenges vis a vis US policy in the Middle East.

COLUMNS AND ARTICLES OF NOTE THIS WEEK
This week’s opinion pages were replete with commentary, some scathing, about last weekend’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).  Here are a few of those columns and postings:
1. In this Washington Post column by Jennifer Rubin, she contends that the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) this past weekend confirmed that conservatism has devolved into a valueless, policy-less, vengeful, and meaningless “receptacle of resentment, cult worship and racism.”  Rubin likened the golden statue of Trump to the “golden calf” through which its “worshippers” are in pursuit of the “lost cause of White Christian domination … [and] the lost cause of a mythical stolen election.”

  1. The CPAC gathering this past weekend similarly inspired Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson to write this op-edin which he questions how Christian Evangelicals, who comprise the largest single group within the new GOP coalition, justify their embrace of “Trumpism”, which, according to Gerson, directly contradicts the teachings of Christ.   The Republican party, according to Gerson, has been “swiftly repositioned as an instrument of white grievance. It refuses to condemn racists within its congressional ranks. Its main national legislative agenda seems to be the suppression of minority voting. Trumpism is defined by the belief that real Americans are beset by internal threats from migrants, Muslims, multiculturalists, Black Lives Matter activists, antifa militants and various thugs, gangbangers and whiners…The whole Trump movement, and now most of the Republican Party, is premised on the social sanctification of pre-cognitive fears and disgust.”  Quoting from Matthew 25, Gerson points out the hypocrisy of evangelical embrace of Trump: “Those who follow their pre-cognitive disgust and refuse to treat the hungry, the stranger, the sick and imprisoned as they would Christ are told: “Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”  

    3.  In yesterday’s entry in her blog, Letters from an American, Boston College History Professor Heather Cox Richardson comments on yesterday’s The Bulwark column by Bill Kristol in which Kristol, a noted Conservative, sounds the alarm bell about our democracy being on a dangerous precipice. “After all,” writes Kristol “we did just fail to have a traditionally peaceful transfer of power. One of our two major parties—having failed in a coup attempt—now claims that the current administration is illegitimately elected, the result of massive, coordinated fraud. The logical extension of this position would seem to be that the American constitutional order deserving of our allegiance no longer exists. So we are at the edge of crisis, having repulsed one attempted authoritarian power grab and bracing for another.”  In this column Kristol was explaining and defending his previous week’s Bulwark column in which he suggested that Conservatives should consider supporting the Biden wing of the Democratic party as a means of preserving our democracy.  Cox Richardson bolsters Kristol’s suggestion noting that the danger of the current crisis is that ” we seem largely to have normalized that the former president of the United States refused to accept his loss in the 2020 election and enlisted a mob to try to overturn the results. Along with his supporters, he continues to insist that he won that election and that President Joe Biden is an illegitimate usurper.”  The continued embrace of Trump’s “big lie” coupled with the pervasive attempts by Republicans in many states to suppress minority voting rights, Cox Richardson writes, spells danger for our democracy.

Dear Friends

If you missed tonight’s outstanding panel discussion on the threat of domestic terrorism and white supremacy, by tomorrow morning you can watch it in its entirety at this link.

Here are the links again to the organizations related to tonight’s panelists.
www.integrityfirstforamerica.org to learn more about IFA’s work, to support their work and to sign up for case updates.
www.adl.org  and https://www.adl.org/who-we-are/our-organization/advocacy-centers/center-on-extremism
And, here are links to some of the ADL reports that were mentioned by Joanna Mendelson

NEXT WEEK’s PROGRAM:

There is simply no better team to talk about US policy with Russia and China than Amb. Michael McFaul and Max Boot. 
Michael Anthony McFaul served as the United States Ambassador to Russia from 2012 to 2014 and is currently the Ken Olivier and Angela Nomellini Professor in International Studies in the Department of Political Science at Stanford University, where he is the Director of the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies. He is also a Peter and Helen Bing Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution and a contributing columnist at The Washington Post. Prior to his nomination to the ambassadorial position, McFaul worked for the U.S. National Security Council as Special Assistant to the President and senior director of Russian and Eurasian affairs. Ambassador McFaul will be interviewed by the incomparable Max Boot, Russian-American author, consultant, editorialist, lecturer, and military historian. Boot worked for The Christian Science Monitor and The Wall Street Journal. He is now Jeane J. Kirkpatrick Senior Fellow in National Security Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations and a columnist at The Washington Post. Register here

COLUMNS AND ARTICLES OF NOTE
1. At Tuesday’s Senate hearing on the January 6 insurrection, Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wis) read excerpts from a piece “”I Saw Provocateurs at the Capitol Riot on Jan. 6” into the Senate record which described the rioters as “jovial” and “friendly” who had gathered for something like a picnic.  The only ones, according to Johnson, who were not “jovial” were “fake Trump protesters” whom Johnson would have us believe were the ones that planned the insurrection, just posing as Trump supporters.  Yes, these were ideas espoused and supported by this sitting US Senator this week at a Senate hearing.   In this op-ed published in today’s Washington Post, columnist Alexandra Petri uses scathing literary style to express the ridiculous nature of Johnson’s wild conspiracy theory. 

2.  This Forbes poll published today,  found that Biden’s approval rating is at an impressive 58%,whereas Donald Trump’s unfavorable rating is 60%.  And, who, according to the Forbes poll are the least popular national figures? That distinction goes to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy who is down by 20 points and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell whose favorability rating is 17% and unfavorability rating is 61%.  Senator Ted Cruz’s ratings also fell by 30%.  Ratings for Democrat Leaders Schumer and Pelosi also declined, but to a much lesser extent.  

Dear Friends
 

Here is the zoom link for tomorrow’s program on domestic terrorism, extremism and white supremacy
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82815205044

 

 

THIS WEEK’S PROGRAM COULDN’T BE MORE TIMELY
Today’s Senate hearings on Capitol Security on January 6 continued to shine a bright light on the deadly problem of domestic extremism in our midst; last week President Biden proclaimed, “White supremacists…the most dangerous people in America…That is the greatest threat to terror in America: domestic terror.”  Tomorrow’s program deals with this precise issue.  We have assembled this outstanding panel of experts who will be in conversation moderated by Patt Morrison: attorney Roberta Kaplan of Kaplan Hecker & Fink LLP, in partnership with Integrity First for America (IFA), is lead counsel representing plaintiffs in their case against 24 white supremacists, neo-Nazis and hate groups for the violent events of Charlottesville in August 2017.  According to IFA, this lawsuit, supported and propounded by Integrity First for America, is the only current legal effort taking on the broad leadership of the white supremacist movement. It provides a model for bringing these extremists to justice — and a tangible way to take action against the violent white supremacy poisoning this country with the goal of holding the leaders and hate groups at the center of this movement fully accountable.  Visit www.integrityfirstforamerica.org to learn more about IFA’s work and sign up for case updates.

Joanna Mendelson is a critical part of ADL’s national team at the ADL Center on Extremism, which combats extremism, terrorism and all forms of hate in the “real” world and online. She is a certified subject matter expert on domestic terrorism-related activity and has provided testimony in numerous criminal cases; she has trained more than 12,000 federal, state and local law enforcement officers, judges and public officials nationwide on the subject. SAC Voviette Morgan assumed the position of Special Agent in Charge of the Intelligence Division at FBI Los Angeles in which position SAC Morgan is responsible for driving the complete integration of intelligence and operations within FBI Los Angeles. Register here

 Relevant to tonight’s program:
1.  This op-ed published last month in the JTA  co-authored by tomorrow’s panelist Roberta Kaplan links the violent events Charlottesville to those who attacked the Capitol on January 6.

2.  This article, entitled “Capitol Attack Could Fuel Extremist Recruitment for Years, Experts Warn” appeared in the January 16 NY Times and analyzes the growth of the extremist movements involved in both Charlottesville and the Capitol Insurrection. 
 

 TODAY’S COLUMNS OF NOTE:  HAS WOKE CULTURE GONE TOO FAR?
1.  This week is the Jewish holiday of Purim which makes Bret Stephen’s column in today’s NY Times about cancel culture and “woke” culture especially timely.  He recalls an incident in which Bon Appetit was attacked for the title associated with an article about hamentashen (the triangular cookie traditionally eaten on Purim); the tongue and cheek title suggested that the cookies were not tasty.  After being challenged on social media (years after the article appeared), Bon Appetit’s editor made this statement: “The original version of this article included language that was insensitive toward Jewish food traditions and does not align with our brand’s standards.”   Bon Appetit has implemented an “Archive Repair Project” which Stephens describes as a self abasing scouring and cleansing of recipes and titles “told through a white American lens.”  While the hamenstashen example seems entertaining and even funny, Stephens notes that it is emblematic of a very serious and pervasive problem on university campuses and in editorial board rooms of “woke” culture going overboard. Stephens concludes, “In the game of Woke, the goal posts can be moved at any moment, the penalties will apply retroactively and claims of fairness will always lose out to the perpetual right to claim offense.”

2. Apropos of domestic terrorism and attorney general nominee Justice Merrick Garland, Dana Milbank’s column in yesterday’s Washington Post highlights the commitment shown by Justice Garland to define “domestic terrorism” and to hold perpetrators accountable for their actions.  While Senator Hawley, whom Milbank calls a “seditionist” for abetting the January 6 insurrection, tried to downplay the actions of those who attacked the Capitol and to equate the Portland protestors to those who attacked the Capitol, Garland responded that “using violence to disrupt democratic processes (as occurred in the Capitol) is domestic terrorism, while attacking a courthouse at night (as occurred in Portland) is not. Both are criminal, but one is a core attack on our democratic institutions.”

Dear Friends

If you missed the remarkable hour with the extraordinary former Secretary of the Defense William Cohen in conversation with Warren Olney, you can view the recording here; it will be posted by tomorrow morning. 

 

NEXT WEEK’S PROGRAM COULDN’T BE MORE TIMELY
Yesterday at his very first post-inaugural Town Hall, President Biden proclaimed, “White supremacists…the most dangerous people in America…That is the greatest threat to terror in America: domestic terror.”  Next week’s program, on Wednesday, February 24 at 5 pm PST, deals with this precise issue.  We have assembled this outstanding panel of experts who will be in conversation moderated by Patt Morrison: attorney Roberta Kaplan of Kaplan Hecker & Fink LLP, in partnership with Integrity First for America, is lead counsel representing plaintiffs in their case against 24 white supremacists, neo-Nazis and hate groups for the violent events of Charlottesville in August 2017.  Joanna Mendelson is a critical part of ADL’s national team at the ADL Center on Extremism, which combats extremism, terrorism and all forms of hate in the “real” world and online. She is a certified subject matter expert on domestic terrorism-related activity and has provided testimony in numerous criminal cases; she has trained more than 12,000 federal, state and local law enforcement officers, judges and public officials nationwide on the subject.  SAC Voviette Morgan assumed the position of Special Agent in Charge of the Intelligence Division at FBI Los Angeles in which position SAC Morgan is responsible for driving the complete integration of intelligence and operations within FBI Los Angeles. Register here

FRIEDMAN & RUBIN: TODAY’S COLUMNS OF NOTE:

1. In his column in today’s New York Times, Tom Friedman emphatically contends that our country will be stymied in its pursuits until we have two functional parties, both of which embrace diversity and a “shared association” looking to a better future. HIghly critical of the GOP for having continued in a cult-like fashion to stick with a leader who actively attempted to undermine our democracy is, in Friedman’s words, “an acute national problem — a cancer, in fact. And like any cancer, the required treatment is going to be painful for the patient.”  He advocates three specific initial remedies “getting rid of the filibuster in the Senate, granting the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico statehood (they each have more U.S. citizens than Wyoming) and passing a new Voting Rights Act that forbids voter suppression. While that may sound hyper-partisan, it’s the necessary, but not sufficient, remedy for America to regain its political health.”

2.  In Jennifer Rubin’s column in today’s Washington Post Rubin explains why we need a 1/6 Commission.  Not only must we “put purveyors of [the] Big Lie in the same category as 9/11 Truthers“, explains Rubin, but a 1/6 Commission would also put the matter of white supremacy and domestic extremism/terrorism squarely before the American people as the lethal threat which it is.  “We certainly need more attention and resources devoted to protecting Americans against what is now far and away the most lethal terrorist threat. The impeachment trial was just the start of the Jan. 6 probe. Now the hard work begins.”

Dear Friends,
 

For those who were unable to attend tonight’s program with the incomparable Max Boot on the subject of American Foreign Policy, you can watch it in its entirety at this link starting tomorrow morning.  

Next Wednesday, February 10 at 5 pm PST join us as we welcome, once again, noted political analyst and frequent commentator on several networks,  William Kristol, will be in conversation with Larry Mantle on the topic: “Is the Future ‘Grand’ for the Grand Old Party?” (Register here)

Aside from Mr. Kristol’s work as an analyst, writer and commentator, he is also the founder and director of Defending Democracy Together and founder and chairman of the board for the Republican Accountability Project; both of these organizations were created to defeat and discredit  “Trump” republicans. In this article published in OpenSecret.org there is a full description of the various organizations started by responsible current and former republicans who seek to defeat the “party of Trump”.   Kristol worked as an executive branch staffer during the administrations of both former Republican Presidents George H. W. Bush and Ronald Reagan.  

ARTICLES OF NOTE:
1. This article published yesterday in AXIOS is a continuation article in a series called “Off the Rails” in which Jonathan Swan and Zachary Basu took us inside the final 2 months of the Trump presidency–from November 2 until the January 6 insurrection.  In this particular article, the writers take us into a a meeting on an evening in December in which Trump’s attorney, conspiracy advocate Sidney Powell joined by Michael Flynn instigated a major confrontation with White House staff.  Powell, Flynn and their team accused White House counsel, Pat Cippilone, and White House senior adviser, Eric Herschmann, of being quitters and essentially disloyal for not declaring Trump the winner of the election; also under attack were the Department of Justice, the FBI and the entire judicial system which, according to Powell, cannot be trusted. The Powell theory was that “because foreign enemies had stolen the election, all bets were off and Trump could use the full force of the United States government” to gain control of the White House.  The President expressed his support for the Powell approach over the vociferous objection of his top tier staff.  The meeting, as described by Swan and Basu, was crazy, as tempers raged and chaos prevailed; the fact that radical conspiracists were in the Oval Office fighting with senior White House officials, in Trump’s presence is, by itself, remarkable.  This article should shock every reader.  You can  🎧 Listen to Jonathan Swan on Axios’ new investigative podcast series, called “How it happened: Trump’s last stand.” Read the rest of the “Off the Rails” episodes here.

  1. In this opinion column in today’s (February 3) Washington Post, Greg Sargent takes on the issue of political violence, and the lack of unequivocal GOP condemnation of those who incite it.  The dilemma about what the GOP legislators are going to do about Taylor Greene and Trump are, in Sargent’s view ” fundamentally about whether Republicans will unambiguously stand for the proposition that the temptation to resort to political violence is wholly intolerable in a democracy and has no place whatsoever in their party.” However, Sargent predicts that the GOP legislators will take whatever steps are necessary to obscure the true nature of the problem presented by both Trump and Taylor Greene. In fact, those Republicans who are condemning Greene, are doing so for her assertions related to 9/11 or her contentions that Parkland shootings and the wildfires were staged events, not about the bigger issue–namely, that she “also endorsed the killingof numerous high-profile Democrats.”  In the end, Sargent notes that Greene will likely face consequences by the GOP; but, the bigger instigator of political violence will not. He writes, “It is often said that Republicans can’t condemn Greene because she’s allied with Trump… What binds them, exactly?  Among other things, it’s that both genuinely believe the Trump movement should be fully prepared to resort to political violence against their political opponents.”

Re-Circulating In Case You Missed It:
1.  A couple of hours ago, Bill Kristol, who will be our guest on February 10 at 5 pm PST,  posted this on twitter which is a short video produced by the Republican Accountability Project .  In the short video, the finger for the Capitol Insurrection is pointed squarely at Trump; through the Republican Accountability Project Republicans & conservatives are fighting against disinformation and are advocating for accountability for those who tried to overturn the election.

  1. And, for those who do not watch Bill Maher’s Real Time on a regular basis, you might have missed this 7 minute tribute to former Congressman Henry Waxman, who was a guest of America at a Crossroads some months ago.  While the segment is replete with Maher’s special brand of irreverence and (some would say) over-the-top, raunchy humor, Maher makes a very serious point.  His point? Lasting societal change is made not by those who invade the capitol building or commit violent or other destructive actions.  Rather, Maher says, change comes by virtue of hard-working committed public servants like Congressman Waxman who brought the tobacco industry to its heels, drafted the Affordable Care Act, brought about monumental nursing home reform, and did so much more.  At the end of the video, Congressman Waxman accepts the “Baldy Award” for his service to the American people.  
January  27, 2021

Dear Friends,

If you were not able to join us to listen to Jacob Soboroff and Madeleine Brand in conversation about families separated at the border and about US immigration policy, the program was recorded and can be found by tomorrow morning at this link.

Next Wednesday, February 3 at 5 pm PST join us as we welcome Max Boot, Jeane J. Kirkpatrick Senior Fellow in National Security Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations and a columnist at The Washington Post in conversation with KCRW’s Madeleine Brand on the topic: “Can Humpty Dumpty Be Put Back Together—American Foreign Policy After Trump?
”  (Register here)

DHS ISSUES WARNING OF EXTREMISM THREATS
In anticipation of our February 24th program on extremism (details below), here are two important articles on the subject of violent domestic extremism:
1. This article in today’s NY Times, reports on the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) warning that the US will face increased threats from “violent domestic extremists” who were “emboldened by the assault on the Capitol”.  The warning noted that the threats could be targeting elected officials as well as government facilities.  The DHS warning notice is in effect from today, the date of issuance of the warning, until April 21, and states, in summary, “
Information suggests that some ideologically-motivated violent extremists with objections to the exercise of governmental authority and the presidential transition, as well as other perceived grievances fueled by false narratives, could continue to mobilize to incite or commit violence.”

2. In this article in this weeks New Yorker, David Rohde writes about Biden’s Vital but Fraught Battle Against Domestic Terrorism. Political extremism, white supremacy and domestic pluralism are clearly critical issues to the Biden Administration.  He already ordered the DHS and intelligence agencies to assess the threat and propose a strategy.  There is substantial evidence of increased on-line communication and coordination (often international) amongst disgruntled extremists.  Some contend that a major challenge in fighting against domestic extremism is that our previous approaches are out-dated. “American politics, laws, and technology firms have failed to recognize the power of instant communication in the digital age. ..[T]he Trump era has shown that online disinformation can contribute to radicalization, and confronting that challenge is a core part of countering extremism.”   Rohde concludes by asking whether the prevailing political response to this problem will it be the more labor-intensive  effort to enact reforms that protect free speech but set guardrails for the digital age, or rather, will it be the more authoritarian embrace of the trafficking in disinformation and conspiracy theories for short-term political gain?



AN IMPORTANT READ
PRE-FASCISM, AUTHORITARIANISM AND THE GOP:
In this article, The GOP’s ‘Pre-Fascist’ DNA,  published in yesterday’s in The Bulwark, the writer, Richard North Patterson notes that the word “‘fascist’ too often precedes anti-historical histrionics. But the term is useful in deconstructing the devolution of Republicanism into the minoritarian-authoritarian saboteur of pluralist democracy.”  He then analyzes the predicates of “nascent fascism” and reviews Trump’s support in that light.  Patterson looks at (1)Trump’s exploitation of sense of victimization amongst whites, evoking a sense of loss of America’s strength; (2)
 the GOP’s persistent undermining of certain (disfavored groups’) voting rights in the name of protecting the US democracy; (3) the GOP base’s loathing of supposedly degenerate liberalism and its apparent desire for authoritarian leadership to restore their chosen hierarchy; and (4) the attack on fact, truth and reality–castigating the media as enemy of the people–“Like the avatars of fascism, Republicans increasingly trumpet mendacious propaganda—including about voter fraud.”.  Patterson concludes “It is far too little to say that the GOP has lost its way. Quite deliberately, it has become American democracy’s most dangerous enemy.”
 


NEW PROGRAM ADDED ON EXTREMISM
Upcoming JUDJ/CAI American at a Crossroads Programs

On Wednesday, February 10 at 5 pm PST noted political analyst and frequent commentator on several networks,  William Kristol, will be in conversation withLarry Mantle on the topic: “Is the Future ‘Grand’ for the Grand Old Party?” (Register here)

On Wednesday, February 17 at 5 pm PST we welcome former Senator (R, Maine) and former Secretary of Defense under President Clinton, William Cohen, in conversation with Warren Olney on the topic: “A Republican Discusses the Future: Foreign & Domestic Policy in a Hyper-partisan World.” (Register here)

On Wednesday, February 24 at 5 pm PST we welcome Roberta Kaplan, the attorney pursuing the Nazis who perpetrated the violence in Charlottesville and Joanna Mendelson from the ADL’s Center on Extremism in conversation with Patt Morrisonon the topic: From Charlottesville to the Capitol Insurrection: extremism–how worried should we be? (Register here)


Two Interesting Community Events 
1. Presented by UCLA Law School
The Second Impeachment of Donald Trump: A Discussion
Friday, January 29 at 12:00 PM PST
On February 8, the second impeachment trial of former president Donald Trump is scheduled to begin in the Senate. Join us for a conversation with a distinguished panel of experts who will consider the unprecedented nature of this trial, and all the questions it raises including whether an impeachment trial of a former president is permissible, the implications of the impeachment and potential conviction of a former elected official, and the impact of the trial on a deeply divided country. This is one conversation you will not want to miss!  Register Here
2.  Presented by The Huntington Library
The Rise of the Latino Vote: A history  

Professor Benjamin Francis-Fallon, author of The Rise of the Latino Vote: A History, will discusses how Latina/o leaders in the U.S. first came to see themselves as belonging to one political community, exploring their attempts to establish mutual bonds and pass legislation and analyzing how both major political parties attempted to co-opt this emerging constituency and reshape it in their own image. Event is via Zoom on February 3 at 4 p.m. (PST). To register go to this link: https://tickets.huntington.org/events/3398949e-4a9d-6026-1de5-4a7140cf4ee1

Thank you for your donations!   It is never too late to help offset the costs of our programming.  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.

PAST PROGRAMS:
You can access recordings of all of our past events here.  

January  26, 2021

Dear Friends,
 
Here is the zoom link for tomorrow’s (Wednesday) 5 pm PST program featuring best-selling author and journalist,
Jacob Soboroff,  in a conversation with KCRW’s Madeleine Brand . 

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85944851741
The topic is immigration policy and most especially about the on-going crisis of separated families caused by the prior administration’s border policies. 
 
Jacob Soboroff’s best selling book Separated: Inside an American Tragedy is the author’s account of what he witnessed as a journalist at the border when the Trump administration began implementing its “Zero Tolerance” policy; he saw how children were ripped from the arms of their mothers and placed in cages, a practice which pediatricians and physicians have now called “torture”.  Soboroff’s reporting on this humanitarian tragedy as it was unfolding on American soil, not only contributed to a change in policy, but also earned Soboroff the Cronkite Award for Excellence in Political Broadcast Journalism and, with his colleagues, the 2019 Hillman Prize for Broadcast Journalism.(Register here)

Re-Send: IMMIGRATION TRAUMA OF SEPARATION OF FAMILIES CONTINUES
This story published last week by the Associated Press focuses on a report issued last week by the inspector general for the Justice Department in which it is concluded that the Department of Justice (DOJ) proceeded to enforce the 2018 “zero tolerance” border policy knowing full well that children would be separated from their parents and that families would be torn apart and traumatized, perhaps leaving permanent injury.  The report also concludes that the leadership of the DOJ “failed to prepare to implement the policy or manage the fallout, which resulted in more than 3,000 family separations during ‘zero tolerance’ and caused lasting emotional damage to children who were taken from their parents at the border.” 


In this Opinion Essay published in January 22’s Washington Post, George Conway III, Contributing Washington Post columnist, attorney and co-founder of the Lincoln Project, describes the many criminal acts which Conway contends were committed by Trump as President; Conway then analyzes the pros and cons of pursuing those actions.  He contrasts those scholars and historians who oppose investigating and pursuing a former president, with those who feel, as Conway himself does, that accountability is paramount.  Conway writes: “Trump’s post-election conduct makes it impossible for the Justice Department to look away. If prosecutors don’t investigate and, if warranted, charge, this former president, then we might as well say that all presidents are completely immune from criminal consequences for their conduct…We might as well say, flat-out, that presidents are above the law…Trump has managed to avoid serious legal repercussions — not just during his four years as president, but throughout his life. Trump’s presidency has ended. So, too, must his ability to dodge the consequences.”


Upcoming JUDJ/CAI American at a Crossroads Programs

On Wednesday, February 3 at 5 pm PST we welcome Max Boot, Jeane J. Kirkpatrick Senior Fellow in National Security Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations and a contributor to The Washington Post  who will speak on: “Can Humpty Dumpty Be Put Back Together—American Foreign Policy After Trump?”  (Register here)

On Wednesday, February 10 at 5 pm PST we welcome noted neoconservative political analyst and frequent commentator on several networks,  William Kristolwho will speak on: “Is the Future “Grand” for the Grand Old Party?”
(Register here)


On Wednesday, February 17 at 5 pm PST we welcome former Senator (R: Maine) and former Secretary of Defense under President Clinton, William Cohen, who will speak on: “A Republican Discusses the Future: Foreign & Domestic Policy in a Hyper-partisan World.” (Register here)

Thank you for your donations!   It is never too late to help offset the costs of our programming.  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.

PAST PROGRAMS:
You can access recordings of all of our past events here.  

January  20, 2021

Dear Friends,

For those who missed last night’s program with election lawyers GInsberg and Hasen in a remarkable conversation with NPR’s national election editor, Pam Fessler, you can watch it at this link

Next Wednesday, January 27 at 5 pm PST best-selling author, Jacob Soboroff, the NBC and MSNBC journalist who first broke the story on family separations, will join us to talk about immigration reform and the continuing problem of families that have been separated at the border.  “Separated–Inside an American Tragedy”.  He will be in conversation with KCRW’s Madeleine Brand, one of our frequent moderators. (Register here)


IMMIGRATION TRAUMA OF SEPARATION OF FAMILIES CONTINUES
This story published this week by the Associated Press focuses on a report just issued by the inspector general for the Justice Department in which it is concluded that the Department of Justice (DOJ) proceeded to enforce the 2018 “zero tolerance” border policy knowing full well that children would be separated from their parents and that families would be torn apart and traumatized, perhaps leaving permanent injury.  The report also concludes that the leadership of the DOJ “failed to prepare to implement the policy or manage the fallout, which resulted in more than 3,000 family separations during ‘zero tolerance’ and caused lasting emotional damage to children who were taken from their parents at the border.” 


THE AGE OF MOBOCRACY
In this op-ed column in yesterday’s NY Times, Bret Stephens refers to today’s times as the “Age of Mobocracy”.  He writes: “The president who got himself elected by summoning a digital mob through Twitter and Facebook wound up trying to reverse the results of an election by summoning an actual mob to Washington”.  Referring to Trump, Hawley and Cruz as “men in the mold of Caesar or Napoleon who would sooner tear down than defend republican institutions in order to slake a thirst for glory”, Stephens suggests that Biden’s greatest challenge is to “exorcise the mobocratic spirit that is Trump’s chief contribution to American politics” .  

THE IMPEACHMENT CASE IS A SLAM DUNK
In yesterdays The Bulwark, Philip Rotner’s excellent column about the impeachment case against Trump claims the case to be “clear and compelling”.  Rotner presents the single ground for impeachment, to wit: incitement of insurrection, and analyzes the legal strength of the claim; he analyzes the likely defenses which would be raised by Trump’s counsel, looking at both substantive as well as “process” or “procedural” defenses. In the end, Rotner concludes there are no valid or winnable defenses to the claim, and suggests that the politics of some senators to win or maintain support of Trump’s base is pointless. In Rotner’s concluding words, “There is nothing to be gained by trying to assuage the feelings of white supremacists, conspiracy theorists, and other MAGA crazies. It’s time to hold bad actors accountable, not to appease them. It is time to let the truth have its day.”

Upcoming JUDJ/CAI American at a Crossroads Programs

On Wednesday, February 3 at 5 pm PST we welcome Max Boot, Jeane J. Kirkpatrick Senior Fellow in National Security Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations and a contributor to The Washington Post  who will speak on: “Can Humpty Dumpty Be Put Back Together—American Foreign Policy After Trump?”  (Register here)

On Wednesday, February 10 at 5 pm PST we welcome noted neoconservative political analyst and frequent commentator on several networks,  William Kristolwho will speak on: “Is the Future “Grand” for the Grand Old Party?”
(Register here)


On Wednesday, February 17 at 5 pm PST we welcome former Senator (R: Maine) and former Secretary of Defense under President Clinton, William Cohen, who will speak on: “A Republican Discusses the Future: Foreign & Domestic Policy in a Hyper-partisan World.” (Register here)

Thank you for your donations!   It is never too late to help offset the costs of our programming.  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.

PAST PROGRAMS:
You can access recordings of all of our past events here.  

January 19, 2021

Dear Friends,
Here is the ZOOM link for tomorrow’s, TODAY’s, program at 5 pm PST 
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84003788682
 
Today, on the eve of the Presidential Inauguration, there is no better topic to discuss than the vulnerability of our electoral system.  And, there are not two more qualified speakers to lead that discussion.  We are pleased to welcome two renowned election law attorneys who will help us understand what must be done to ensure the protection of the primary ingredient of  our democracy–namely, the integrity of our electoral systems.  Benjamin Ginsberg and Rick Hasen  are both speakers and frequent commentators on various media, including CNN and MSNBC. Benjamin Ginsberg has spent most of his career representing Republican candidates, causes, and the Republican party; he was amongst those who were highly critical of President Trump’s contention that the election was stolen by Biden. Ginsberg  has been a  Resident Fellow at the Institute of Politics, Kennedy School of Government, and at Harvard University.  Rick Hasen is an American legal scholar and expert in legislation, election law and campaign finance. He is currently Chancellor’s Professor of Law and Political Science at the University of California, Irvine School of Law.  He is the author of 4 critically acclaimed books, the most recent of which, Election Meltdown: DIrty Tricks, Distrust and the Threat to American Democracy, was published in February 2020. The program will be moderated by NPR’s outstanding national election editor, Pam Fessler.  (Register here) (See Hasen and GInsberg articles below)

In this op-ed column in yesterday’s NY Times, Bret Stephens refers to today’s times as the “Age of Mobocracy”.  He writes: “The president who got himself elected by summoning a digital mob through Twitter and Facebook wound up trying to reverse the results of an election by summoning an actual mob to Washington”.  Referring to Trump, Hawley and Cruz as “men in the mold of Caesar or Napoleon who would sooner tear down than defend republican institutions in order to slake a thirst for glory”, Stephens suggests that Biden’s greatest challenge is to “exorcise the mobocratic spirit that is Trump’s chief contribution to American politics” .  

In yesterdays The Bulwark, Philip Rotner’s excellent column about the impeachment case against Trump claims the case to be “clear and compelling”.  Rotner presents the single ground for impeachment, to wit: incitement of insurrection, and analyzes the legal strength of the claim; he analyzes the likely defenses which would be raised by Trump’s counsel, looking at both substantive as well as “process” or “procedural” defenses. In the end, Rotner concludes there are no valid or winnable defenses to the claim, and suggests that the politics of some senators to win or maintain support of Trump’s base is pointless. In Rotner’s concluding words, “There is nothing to be gained by trying to assuage the feelings of white supremacists, conspiracy theorists, and other MAGA crazies. It’s time to hold bad actors accountable, not to appease them. It is time to let the truth have its day.”



RE-SENDING IN ANTICIPATION OF TUESDAY’S PROGRAM WITH HASEN AND GINSBERG:
In 
this article in The Atlantic, Rick Hasen identifies the flaws and weakness of our electoral system and suggests what needs to be addressed to eliminate the political gamesmanship which resulted in the disastrous aftermath of Biden’s victory.  Hasen writes: “To remove the potential for this sort of gamesmanship in certifying and counting each state’s votes for president, the country needs to adopt a number of measures in the next few years to eliminate the power of individuals to interfere with election results. This can be done without opening up larger constitutional issues, such as whether to keep or do away with the Electoral College. Americans shouldn’t have to know the inner workings of the canvassing board of Wayne County, Michigan—or depend on representatives and senators to accurately count votes as states have reported them to Congress—to figure out who will be president.” 

This op-ed written by Benjamin Ginsberg and published in the Washington Post last  month speaks to the cracks in the foundations of the state certification of electors systems.  Ginsberg notes that “Some shoring-up is clearly needed before the next election cycle begins. A good place to start might be with the appointment of a bipartisan commission that would propose election reforms to Congress and the states.: He then proposes a number of steps that could be taken to further shore up our electoral systems

Upcoming JUDJ/CAI American at a Crossroads Programs

 
On January 27 at 5 pm PST best-selling author, Jacob Soboroff, the NBC and MSNBC journalist who first broke the story on family separations, will join us to talk about immigration reform and the continuing problem of families that have been separated at the border.  “Separated–Inside an American Tragedy”.  He will be in conversation with KCRW’s Madeleine Brand, one of our frequent moderators. (Register here)

On Wednesday, February 3 at 5 pm PST we welcome Max Boot, Jeane J. Kirkpatrick Senior Fellow in National Security Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations and a contributor to The Washington Post  who will speak on: “Can Humpty Dumpty Be Put Back Together—American Foreign Policy After Trump?
”  (Register here)

On Wednesday, February 10 at 5 pm PST we welcome noted neoconservative political analyst and frequent commentator on several networks,  William Kristolwho will speak on: “Is the Future “Grand” for the Grand Old Party?”
(Register here)


On Wednesday, February 17 at 5 pm PST we welcome former Senator (R: Maine) and former Secretary of Defense under President Clinton, William Cohen, who will speak on: “A Republican Discusses the Future: Foreign & Domestic Policy in a Hyper-partisan World.” (Register here)

Thank you for your donations!   It is never too late to help offset the costs of our programming.  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.

PAST PROGRAMS:
You can access recordings of all of our past events here.  

January 18, 2021
MLK Day


Dear Friends,
Here is the ZOOM link for tomorrow’s, TUESDAY’s, program at 5 pm PST 
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84003788682
 
Tomorrow, January 19 (Note: Program is Tuesday not Wednesday this week!) at 5 pm PST, on the eve of the Presidential Inauguration, there is no better topic to discuss than the vulnerability of our electoral system.  And, there are not two more qualified speakers to lead that discussion.  We are pleased to welcome two renowned election law attorneys who will help us understand what must be done to ensure the protection of the primary ingredient of  our democracy–namely, the integrity of our electoral systems.  Benjamin Ginsberg and Rick Hasen  are both speakers and frequent commentators on various media, including CNN and MSNBC. Benjamin Ginsberg has spent most of his career representing Republican candidates, causes, and the Republican party; he was amongst those who were highly critical of President Trump’s contention that the election was stolen by Biden. Ginsberg  has been a  Resident Fellow at the Institute of Politics, Kennedy School of Government, and at Harvard University.  Rick Hasen is an American legal scholar and expert in legislation, election law and campaign finance. He is currently Chancellor’s Professor of Law and Political Science at the University of California, Irvine School of Law.  He is the author of 4 critically acclaimed books, the most recent of which, Election Meltdown: DIrty Tricks, Distrust and the Threat to American Democracy, was published in February 2020. The program will be moderated by NPR’s outstanding national election editor, Pam Fessler.  (Register here)

RE-SENDING IN ANTICIPATION OF TUESDAY’S PROGRAM WITH HASEN AND GINSBERG:
In 
this article in The Atlantic, Rick Hasen identifies the flaws and weakness of our electoral system and suggests what needs to be addressed to eliminate the political gamesmanship which resulted in the disastrous aftermath of Biden’s victory.  Hasen writes: “To remove the potential for this sort of gamesmanship in certifying and counting each state’s votes for president, the country needs to adopt a number of measures in the next few years to eliminate the power of individuals to interfere with election results. This can be done without opening up larger constitutional issues, such as whether to keep or do away with the Electoral College. Americans shouldn’t have to know the inner workings of the canvassing board of Wayne County, Michigan—or depend on representatives and senators to accurately count votes as states have reported them to Congress—to figure out who will be president.” 

This op-ed written by Benjamin Ginsberg and published in the Washington Post last  month speaks to the cracks in the foundations of the state certification of electors systems.  Ginsberg notes that “Some shoring-up is clearly needed before the next election cycle begins. A good place to start might be with the appointment of a bipartisan commission that would propose election reforms to Congress and the states.: He then proposes a number of steps that could be taken to further shore up our electoral systems

ARTICLE OF IMPORTANCE
This essay entitled, The American Abyss , written by TImothy Snyder, Professor at Yale and historian of fascism and political atrocity, appeared in the NY Times Magazine last week. It is so compelling that we decided to include it for a second time in case you missed it.  Snyder 
analyzes the Trump base, some of which Snyder describes as “gamers” and some of which as “breakers”. The gamers are described as those Republicans, such as Mitch McConnell, who supported Trump’s lies to “game the system” so as to “maintain power, taking full advantage of constitutional obscurities, gerrymandering and dark money to win elections with a minority of motivated voters. They have no interest in the collapse of the peculiar form of representation that allows their minority party disproportionate control of government.”  The breakers, according to Snyder, are best exemplified by Senators Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz who knowingly sought to break the system and have power without democracy.  Snyder distinguishes between gamers and breakers, inasmuch as breakers went so far as to give flesh to Trump’s lies, taking a concrete step last Wednesday to overthrow the government. Eight Senators and more than 120 congressmembers voted for what Snyder called “post-truth”, which he equates to “pre-fascism”. His conclusion is chilling and sets for the challenge to be met in the next 4 years:  “America will not survive the big lie just because a liar is separated from power. It will need a thoughtful repluralization of media and a commitment to facts as a public good. The racism structured into every aspect of the coup attempt is a call to heed our own history. Serious attention to the past helps us to see risks but also suggests future possibility. We cannot be a democratic republic if we tell lies about race, big or small. Democracy is not about minimizing the vote nor ignoring it, neither a matter of gaming nor of breaking a system, but of accepting the equality of others, heeding their voices and counting their votes.”

HONORING MARTIN LUTHER KING MONDAY @ 4 PM PST
JUDJ is a proud co-sponsor of what is sure to be an outstanding program honoring the legacy of Martin Luther King produced by Sinai Temple (West Los Angeles).  (See full flyer below).  The spirit and content of the program is sure to be a worthy tribute to the remarkable legacy of this prophetic man.  You can find a full listing of participating artists and speakers on Sinai Temple’s homepage. To participate, register here, and you will receive a reminder email on Monday prior to the programMonday, January 18, 2021 at 4 pm PST at: streaming.sinaitemple.org 
 
 



Upcoming JUDJ/CAI American at a Crossroads Programs

On January 27 at 5 pm PST best-selling author, Jacob Soboroff, the NBC and MSNBC journalist who first broke the story on family separations, will join us to talk about immigration reform and the continuing problem of families that have been separated at the border.  “Separated–Inside an American Tragedy”.  He will be in conversation with KCRW’s Madeleine Brand, one of our frequent moderators. (Register here)

On Wednesday, February 3 at 5 pm PST we welcome Max Boot, Jeane J. Kirkpatrick Senior Fellow in National Security Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations and a contributor to The Washington Post  who will speak on: “Can Humpty Dumpty Be Put Back Together—American Foreign Policy After Trump?
”  (Register here)

On Wednesday, February 10 at 5 pm PST we welcome noted neoconservative political analyst and frequent commentator on several networks,  William Kristolwho will speak on: “Is the Future “Grand” for the Grand Old Party?”
(Register here)


On Wednesday, February 17 at 5 pm PST we welcome former Senator (R: Maine) and former Secretary of Defense under President Clinton, William Cohen, who will speak on: “A Republican Discusses the Future: Foreign & Domestic Policy in a Hyper-partisan World.” (Register here)

Thank you for your donations!   It is never too late to help offset the costs of our programming.  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.

PAST PROGRAMS:
You can access recordings of all of our past events here.  

January 13, 2021

Dear Friend,


As far as COVID-19 vaccine distribution, today’s program with Dr. Ferrer addressed many questions; in the event that you were unable to attend the program today with Dr. Ferrer, you will be able to watch it, starting tomorrow morning, at this link.
The website for the LA County Department of Public Health for the most up to date COVID 19 vaccination information in LA County is publichealth.lacounty.gov  At this website you can sign up to receive the updates about COVID 19 vaccination in LA County.
 
Next TUESDAY, January 19 at 5 pm, on the eve of the Presidential Inauguration, we welcome two renowned election law attorneys who are the very best people to discuss the the vulnerabilities of our US electoral systems and what must be done to ensure the protection of the primary ingredient of  our democracy–namely, the integrity of our electoral systems.  Benjamin Ginsberg and Rick Hasen  are both speakers and frequent commentators on the subject on various media, including CNN and MSNBC. Benjamin Ginsberg has spent most of his career representing Republican candidates, causes, and the Republican party; he was amongst those who were highly critical of President Trump’s contention that the election was stolen by Biden. Ginsberg  has been a  Resident Fellow at the Institute of Politics, Kennedy School of Government, and at Harvard University. Rick Hasen is an American legal scholar and expert in legislation, election law and campaign finance. He is currently Chancellor’s Professor of Law and Political Science at the University of California, Irvine School of Law.  He is the author of 4 critically acclaimed books, the most recent of which, Election Meltdown: DIrty Tricks, Distrust and the Threat to American Democracy was published in February 2020. The program will be moderated by NPR’s national election editor, Pam Fessler.  (Register here)

ARTICLES BY HASEN AND GINSBERG ABOUT ELECTORAL SYSTEM:
In this article in week’s The Atlantic, Rick Hasen’s wrote this article entitled, “We Can’t Let Our Elections Be This Vulnerable Again” in which he identifies the flaws and weakness of our electoral system and suggests what needs to be addressed to eliminate the political gamesmanship which resulted in the disastrous aftermath of Biden’s victory.  Hasen writes: “To remove the potential for this sort of gamesmanship in certifying and counting each state’s votes for president, the country needs to adopt a number of measures in the next few years to eliminate the power of individuals to interfere with election results. This can be done without opening up larger constitutional issues, such as whether to keep or do away with the Electoral College. Americans shouldn’t have to know the inner workings of the canvassing board of Wayne County, Michigan—or depend on representatives and senators to accurately count votes as states have reported them to Congress—to figure out who will be president.” 


This op-ed written by Benjamin Ginsberg and published in the Washington Post last  month speaks to the cracks in the foundations of the state certification of electors systems.  Ginsberg notes that “Some shoring-up is clearly needed before the next election cycle begins. A good place to start might be with the appointment of a bipartisan commission that would propose election reforms to Congress and the states.: He then proposes a number of steps that could be taken to further shore up our electoral systems.

ARTICLE OF IMPORT by David Frum about Impeachment #2:
In this week’s The Atlantic, David Frum looks at the events of January 6, 2021 through the lens of what he calls The Conservative Cult of Victimhood“.  “The central concept in modern conservatism is victimhood. Responsibility, accountability—those are standards they apply to others, never to themselves. Even as they confront their stark record of complicity and culpability, they cannot absorb it.”  Frum then writes about the the need for accountability as he writes in his conclusion: “There is no redemption without repentance. There is no repentance without accountability. There is no accountability without consequences. (emphasis added) Republican support for the impeachment and removal of President Trump, and his disqualification from ever again holding office, is the first step toward the renewal and recovery of the party that will otherwise bear the mark of Trump even after he departs office.”

MARTIN LUTHER KING PROGRAM
JUDJ is a co-sponsor of the “If Not Now, When? a Multicultural, Interfaith Tribute to Martin Luther King” presented by Sinai Temple (Los Angeles).  It will take place on Monday, January 18, 2021 at 4 pm PST at: streaming.sinaitemple.org See full flyer below


Upcoming JUDJ/CAI American at a Crossroads Programs
On January 27 at 5 pm best-selling author, Jacob Soboroff, the NBC and MSNBC journalist who first broke the story on family separations, will join us to talk about immigration reform and the continuing problem of families that have been separated at the border.  “Separated–Inside an American Tragedy”.  He will be in conversation with KCRW’s Madeleine Brand, one of our frequent moderators. (Register here)

On Wednesday, February 3 at 5 pm we welcome Max Boot, Jeane J. Kirkpatrick Senior Fellow in National Security Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations and a contributor to The Washington Post  who will speak on: “Can Humpty Dumpty Be Put Back Together—American Foreign Policy After Trump?
”  (Register here)

Thank you for your donations!   It is never too late to help offset the costs of our programming.  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.

PAST PROGRAMS:
You can access recordings of all of our past events here.  

January 13, 2021

Dear Friend,
Here is the ZOOM link for today’s program @ 5 pm (PST) with
Dr. Barbara Ferrer and Larry Mantle.  
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81122231093


.
 
Dr. Barbara Ferrer is CEO of LA County Public Health and a national figure in the fight against Covid 19 and the distribution of the vaccine.  Dr. Ferrer is exactly the person we want to hear from in terms of the status and timing of vaccination delivery.  In these days of record breaking Covid 19 deaths, Dr. Ferrer will help us understand the current trends and the likely events over the next several months. Dr. Ferrer will be in conversation with KPCC’s Larry Mantle.  Join us today at 5 PST. Register Here
 
resending: COVID-RELATED ARTICLES OF NOTE:
1.  WHO SHOULD BE VACCINATED FIRST?    In Isaac Chotiner’s Q&A column in yesterday’s New Yorker, he interviews Dr. Barry Bloom, immunologist and professor at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health. Bloom is also a member of the Massachusetts governor’s Covid-19 Vaccine Advisory Group. The interview covers how the virus has affected different populations, how best to balance the needs of older Americans and frontline workers, and whether health officials have done a good job of communicating with the public. 


2. Last month, the New Yorker’s David Remnick interviewed Harvard’s Dr. Atul Gawande. You can read the interview here.  Dr. Gawande is the multi-talented and highly accomplished author of the Times #1 best-selling book, Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End. In the interview Gawande discussed the distribution of the vaccine and shared his thoughts about the prospects for eradicating the virus. 

ARTICLE OF IMPORT by David Frum about Impeachment #2:
In this week’s The Atlantic, David Frum looks at the events of January 6, 2021 through the lens of what he calls The Conservative Cult of Victimhood“.  “The central concept in modern conservatism is victimhood. Responsibility, accountability—those are standards they apply to others, never to themselves. Even as they confront their stark record of complicity and culpability, they cannot absorb it.”  Frum then writes about the the need for accountability as he writes in his conclusion: “There is no redemption without repentance. There is no repentance without accountability. There is no accountability without consequences. (emphasis added) Republican support for the impeachment and removal of President Trump, and his disqualification from ever again holding office, is the first step toward the renewal and recovery of the party that will otherwise bear the mark of Trump even after he departs office.”


MARTIN LUTHER KING PROGRAM
JUDJ is a co-sponsor of the “If Not Now, When? a Multicultural, Interfaith Tribute to Martin Luther King” presented by Sinai Temple (Los Angeles).  It will take place on Monday, January 18, 2021 at 4 pm PST at: streaming.sinaitemple.org See full flyer below


Upcoming JUDJ/CAI American at a Crossroads Programs
On TUESDAY, January 19 at 5 pm, for Inauguration Eve, we welcome two renowned election law attorneys, Benjamin Ginsberg and UC Irvine School of Law’sRick Hasen to discuss “What has to Change to Protect our Vulnerable Electoral System?”   Both speakers are frequent commentators on the subject on CNN and MSNBC. The program will be moderated by NPR’s national election editor, Pam Fessler.  (Register here)

On January 27 at 5 pm best-selling author, Jacob Soboroff, the NBC and MSNBC journalist who first broke the story on family separations, will join us to talk about immigration reform and the continuing problem of families that have been separated at the border.  “Separated–Inside an American Tragedy”.  He will be in conversation with KCRW’s Madeleine Brand, one of our frequent moderators. (Register here)

On Wednesday, February 3 at 5 pm we welcome Max Boot, Jeane J. Kirkpatrick Senior Fellow in National Security Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations and a contributor to The Washington Post  who will speak on: “Can Humpty Dumpty Be Put Back Together—American Foreign Policy After Trump?
”  (Register here)

Thank you for your donations!   It is never too late to help offset the costs of our programming.  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.

PAST PROGRAMS:
You can access recordings of all of our past events here.  

January 12, 2021

Dear Friend,
Here is the ZOOM link for tomorrow’s program @ 5 pm (PST) with
Dr. Barbara Ferrer and Larry Mantle.  
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81122231093

 
Dr. Barbara Ferrer is CEO of LA County Public Health and a national figure in the fight against Covid 19 and the distribution of the vaccine.  Dr. Ferrer is exactly the person we want to hear from in terms of the status and timing of vaccination delivery.  In these days of record breaking Covid 19 deaths, Dr. Ferrer will help us understand the current trends and the likely events over the next several months. Dr. Ferrer will be in conversation with KPCC’s Larry Mantle.  Join us Wednesday at 5 PST. Register Here
 
ARTICLES OF NOTE
1.  WHO SHOULD BE VACCINATED FIRST?    In Isaac Chotiner’s Q&A column in yesterday’s New Yorker, he interviews Dr. Barry Bloom, immunologist and professor at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health. Bloom is also a member of the Massachusetts governor’s Covid-19 Vaccine Advisory Group. The interview covers how the virus has affected different populations, how best to balance the needs of older Americans and frontline workers, and whether health officials have done a good job of communicating with the public. 


2. Last month, the New Yorker’s David Remnick interviewed Harvard’s Dr. Atul Gawande, the multi-talented and highly accomplished author of the Times #1 best-selling book, Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End. In the interview Gawande discussed the distribution of the vaccine and shared his thoughts about the prospects for eradicating the virus.  You can read the interview here

3. This op-ed in yesterday’s NY Times is entitled “The Roots of Josh Hawley’s Rage”; in brief, the author contends that those roots lie in Hawley’s passionate embrace of “religious nationalism”. The op-ed’s author, Katherine Stewart, writes: “Mr. Hawley’s idea of freedom is the freedom to conform to what he and his preferred religious authorities know to be right. Mr. Hawley is not shy about making the point explicit. In a 2017 speech to the American Renewal Project, he declared — paraphrasing the Dutch Reformed theologian and onetime prime minister Abraham Kuyper — “There is not one square inch of all creation over which Jesus Christ is not Lord.” Mr. Kuyper is perhaps best known for his claim that Christianity has sole legitimate authority over all aspects of human life.”

American Jewish Committee PROGRAM TODAY
American Jewish Committee-Los Angeles welcomes your attendance later today (Tuesday January 12) at 4 pm PST to this program: Voting Rights and Election Integrity: Lessons from 2020. The program features Janai Nelson, Associate Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, in conversation with Nina Shaw, Founding Partner, Del, Shaw, Moonves, Tanaka, Finkelstein & Lezcano, and AJC’s 2018 Learned Hand Award recipient. To register,  click here.

Upcoming American at a Crossroads Programs
On TUESDAY, January 19 at 5 pm, for Inauguration Eve, we welcome two renowned election law attorneys, Benjamin Ginsberg and UC Irvine School of Law’sRick Hasen to discuss “What has to Change to Protect our Vulnerable Electoral System?” 
What Really Saved the Republic From Trump? This year we dodged a bullet in terms of efforts made to steal the election; but we came dangerously close to a serious constitutional crisis.   Both speakers are frequent commentators on the subject on CNN and MSNBC. The program will be moderated by NPR’s election specialist, Pam Fessler.  (Register here)

On January 27 at 5 pm Jacob Soboroff, the NBC and MSNBC journalist who first broke the story on family separations, will join us to talk about immigration reform and the continuing problem of families that have been separated at the border.  “Separated–Inside an American Tragedy”.  He will be in conversation with KCRW’s Madeleine Brand, one of our frequent moderators. 
(Register here)

On Wednesday, February 3 at 5 pm we welcome Max Boot, Jeane J. Kirkpatrick Senior Fellow in National Security Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations and a contributor to The Washington Post  who will speak on: “Can Humpty Dumpty Be Put Back Together—American Foreign Policy After Trump?
”  (Register here)

Thank you for your donations!   It is never too late to help offset the costs of our programming.  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.

PAST PROGRAMS:
You can access recordings of all of our past events here.  

January 10, 2021

Dear Friend,


If you were not amongst the almost 5,000 people who “attended” the stellar program this evening with Susan Glasser and Peter Baker, you can still view the program! Beginning tomorrow morning, the recording will be at this link.  Our guests, moderated by Warren Olney, gave outstanding and enlightening perspectives on the remarkable events of last week and gave thoughts about what we might be looking at over the next few days, weeks and months.

This coming Wednesday we will hear from Dr. Barbara Ferrer, who is CEO of LA County Public Health and a national figure in the fight against Covid 19 and the distribution of the vaccine.  Dr. Ferrer is exactly the person we want to hear from in terms of the status and timing of vaccination delivery.  In these days of record breaking Covid 19 deaths, Dr. Ferrer will help us understand the current trends and the likely events over the next several months. Dr. Ferrer will be in conversation with KPCC’s Larry Mantle.  Join us Wednesday at 5 PST. Register Here


 
Statement by former Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger
Regarding the events of this past Wednesday, former Republican Governor Schwarzenegger issued this chilling statement in which he condemns the Trumpian mob and contextualizes what occurred against the backdrop of his youth in Austria.
 
ARTICLES OF NOTE:
1. In yesterday’s NY Times, this article by Peter Baker, entitled For Trump and the Nation, a Final Test of Accountability, was posted. Baker reports on the different Congressional perspectives on the impending second impeachment, and looks at what it all might mean both for Trump and for the new Administration.

2.  In this morning’s NY Times, this extraordinary essay by historian and Professor at Yale University, Timothy Snyder, analyzes the Trump base, some of which Snyder describes as “gamers” and some of which as “breakers”. The gamers are described as those Republicans, such as Mitch McConnell, who supported Trump’s lies to “game the system” so as to “maintain power, taking full advantage of constitutional obscurities, gerrymandering and dark money to win elections with a minority of motivated voters. They have no interest in the collapse of the peculiar form of representation that allows their minority party disproportionate control of government.”  The breakers, according to Snyder, are best exemplified by Senators Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz who knowingly sought to break the system and have power without democracy.  Snyder distinguishes between gamers and breakers, inasmuch as breakers went so far as to give flesh to Trump’s lies, taking a concrete step last Wednesday to overthrow the government. Eight Senators and more than 120 congressmembers voted for what Snyder called “post-truth”, which he equates to “pre-fascism”. His conclusion is chilling and sets for the challenge to be met in the next 4 years:  “America will not survive the big lie just because a liar is separated from power. It will need a thoughtful repluralization of media and a commitment to facts as a public good. The racism structured into every aspect of the coup attempt is a call to heed our own history. Serious attention to the past helps us to see risks but also suggests future possibility. We cannot be a democratic republic if we tell lies about race, big or small. Democracy is not about minimizing the vote nor ignoring it, neither a matter of gaming nor of breaking a system, but of accepting the equality of others, heeding their voices and counting their votes.”


3.  The title of Bret Stephen’s op-ed column in last Thursday’s NY Times says it all: Impeach and Convict. Right Now: Trump is too dangerous to leave in office for even another minute.

4. David Remnick’s Comment column in yesterday’s New Yorker discusses Trump’s history of bigotry and provocation and questions those Republicans who are, only now, jumping off the Trump bandwagon. Remnick writes: “How surprising can Trump’s recent provocation be when for years he has served as an inspiration to bigots everywhere, to damaged souls plotting to mail pipe bombs to journalists and to kidnap the governor of Michigan?  This dawning of conscience [of Republicans now distancing themselves from Trump] is as bewitching as it is belated.”


A PROGRAM ON VOTING RIGHTS AND ELECTION INTEGRITY
We are pleased to inform you of this program presented by our newest America at a Crossroads co-sponsor, American Jewish Committee-Los Angeles on TuesdayJanuary 12 at 4 pm PST entitled:. Voting Rights and Election Integrity: Lessons from 2020. The program will feature Janai Nelson, Associate Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, in conversation with Nina Shaw, Founding Partner, Del, Shaw, Moonves, Tanaka, Finkelstein & Lezcano, and AJC’s 2018 Learned Hand Award recipient. To register,  click here.

Upcoming American at a Crossroads Programs
This coming Wednesday, January 13  at 5 pm, we welcome Dr. Barbara Ferrer, PhD, MPH, MEd, who directs the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.  Dr. Ferrer is a nationally-known public health leader with over 30 years of professional experience as a philanthropic strategist, public health director, educational leader, researcher, and community advocate. She will help us understand the COVID19 vaccination distribution plan across the country and in particular, in large American cities.  The program will be moderated by Larry Mantle. (Register here)
 
On TUESDAY, January 19 at 5 pm, for Inauguration Eve, we welcome two renowned election law attorneys, Benjamin Ginsberg and UC Irvine School of Law’s Rick Hasen to discuss “What has to Change to Protect our Vulnerable Electoral System?” 
What Really Saved the Republic From Trump? This year we dodged a bullet in terms of efforts made to steal the election; but we came dangerously close to a serious constitutional crisis.   Both speakers are frequent commentators on the subject on CNN and MSNBC. The program will be moderated by NPR’s election specialist, Pam Fessler.  (Register here)

On January 27 at 5 pm Jacob Soboroff, the NBC and MSNBC journalist who first broke the story on family separations, will join us to talk about immigration reform and the continuing problem of families that have been separated at the border.  “Separated–Inside an American Tragedy”.  He will be in conversation with KCRW’s Madeleine Brand, one of our frequent moderators. 
(Register here)

On Wednesday, February 3 at 5 pm we welcome Max Boot, Jeane J. Kirkpatrick Senior Fellow in National Security Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations and a contributor to The Washington Post  who will speak on: “Can Humpty Dumpty Be Put Back Together—American Foreign Policy After Trump?
”  (Register here)

Thank you for your donations!   It is never too late to help offset the costs of our programming.  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.

PAST PROGRAMS:
You can access recordings of all of our past events here.  

 

January 10, 2021

Dear Friend,

 
Here is the zoom link for the Glasser-Baker program today @ 5 pm PST
 https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83312158140

 

NEW ARTICLES OF NOTE:
1. In yesterday’s NY Times, this article by Peter Baker, entitled For Trump and the Nation, a Final Test of Accountability, was posted. Baker reports on the different Congressional perspectives on the impending second impeachment, and looks at what it all might mean both for Trump and for the new Administration.

2.  In this morning’s NY Times, this extraordinary essay by historian and Professor at Yale University, Timothy Snyder, analyzes the Trump base, some of which Snyder describes as “gamers” and some of which as “breakers”. The gamers are described as those Republicans, such as Mitch McConnell, who supported Trump’s lies to “game the system” so as to “maintain power, taking full advantage of constitutional obscurities, gerrymandering and dark money to win elections with a minority of motivated voters. They have no interest in the collapse of the peculiar form of representation that allows their minority party disproportionate control of government.”  The breakers, according to Snyder, are best exemplified by Senators Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz who knowingly sought to break the system and have power without democracy.  Snyder distinguishes between gamers and breakers, inasmuch as breakers went so far as to give flesh to Trump’s lies, taking a concrete step last Wednesday to overthrow the government. Eight Senators and more than 120 congressmembers voted for what Snyder called “post-truth”, which he equates to “pre-fascism”. His conclusion is chilling and sets for the challenge to be met in the next 4 years:  “America will not survive the big lie just because a liar is separated from power. It will need a thoughtful repluralization of media and a commitment to facts as a public good. The racism structured into every aspect of the coup attempt is a call to heed our own history. Serious attention to the past helps us to see risks but also suggests future possibility. We cannot be a democratic republic if we tell lies about race, big or small. Democracy is not about minimizing the vote nor ignoring it, neither a matter of gaming nor of breaking a system, but of accepting the equality of others, heeding their voices and counting their votes.”


3.  The title of Bret Stephen’s op-ed column in last Thursday’s NY Times says it all: Impeach and Convict. Right Now: Trump is too dangerous to leave in office for even another minute.

4. David Remnick’s Comment column in yesterday’s New Yorker discusses Trump’s history of bigotry and provocation and questions those Republicans who are, only now, jumping off the Trump bandwagon. Remnick writes: “How surprising can Trump’s recent provocation be when for years he has served as an inspiration to bigots everywhere, to damaged souls plotting to mail pipe bombs to journalists and to kidnap the governor of Michigan?  This dawning of conscience [of Republicans now distancing themselves from Trump] is as bewitching as it is belated.”


A PROGRAM ON VOTING RIGHTS AND ELECTION INTEGRITY
We are pleased to inform you of this program presented by our newest America at a Crossroads co-sponsor, American Jewish Committee-Los Angeles on TuesdayJanuary 12 at 4 pm PST entitled:. Voting Rights and Election Integrity: Lessons from 2020. The program will feature Janai Nelson, Associate Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, in conversation with Nina Shaw, Founding Partner, Del, Shaw, Moonves, Tanaka, Finkelstein & Lezcano, and AJC’s 2018 Learned Hand Award recipient. To register,  click here.

Upcoming American at a Crossroads Programs
This coming Wednesday, January 13  at 5 pm, we welcome Dr. Barbara Ferrer, PhD, MPH, MEd, who directs the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.  Dr. Ferrer is a nationally-known public health leader with over 30 years of professional experience as a philanthropic strategist, public health director, educational leader, researcher, and community advocate. She will help us understand the COVID19 vaccination distribution plan across the country and in particular, in large American cities.  The program will be moderated by Larry Mantle. (Register here)
 
On TUESDAY, January 19 at 5 pm, for Inauguration Eve, we welcome two renowned election law attorneys, Benjamin Ginsberg and UC Irvine School of Law’s Rick Hasen to discuss “What has to Change to Protect our Vulnerable Electoral System?” 
What Really Saved the Republic From Trump? This year we dodged a bullet in terms of efforts made to steal the election; but we came dangerously close to a serious constitutional crisis.   Both speakers are frequent commentators on the subject on CNN and MSNBC. The program will be moderated by NPR’s election specialist, Pam Fessler.  (Register here)

On January 27 at 5 pm Jacob Soboroff, the NBC and MSNBC journalist who first broke the story on family separations, will join us to talk about immigration reform and the continuing problem of families that have been separated at the border.  “Separated–Inside an American Tragedy”.  He will be in conversation with KCRW’s Madeleine Brand, one of our frequent moderators. 
(Register here)

On Wednesday, February 3 at 5 pm we welcome Max Boot, Jeane J. Kirkpatrick Senior Fellow in National Security Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations and a contributor to The Washington Post  who will speak on: “Can Humpty Dumpty Be Put Back Together—American Foreign Policy After Trump?
”  (Register here)

Thank you for your donations!   It is never too late to help offset the costs of our programming.  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.

PAST PROGRAMS:
You can access recordings of all of our past events here.  

January 8, 2021

Dear Friend,
Here is the zoom link for the Glasser-Baker program Sunday at 5 pm PST
 https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83312158140

 
This has surely been a week like no other; between the Georgia Senate elections, the storming of the Capitol, and the subsequent calls for Trump’s impeachment or removal, you will want to join us this Sunday at 5 pm PST to hear from these two outstanding, expert, highly experienced journalists in conversation with veteran  broadcast journalist Warren Olney.

ARTICLES OF NOTE:
1. In case you missed it (ICYMI): In preparation for Sunday’s program, here are the links to the articles published earlier this week by Susan Glasser for the New Yorker and Peter Baker for the NY Times. Peter Baker wrote this column entitled: A Mob and the Breach of Democracy: The Violent End of the Trump Era and Susan Glasser wrotethis article entitled: Trump’s Reckoning—and America’s

2. Just minutes ago, the New York Times published this article by Peter Baker and Maggie Haberman entitled, The White House slips deeper into crisis in the final days of the Trump presidency.  
3. Here is yesterday’s opinion column by David Brooks in which he challenges Congress in the wake of  Wednesday’s “rampage”, to right our sacred ship. “Leadership matters. Character matters.” writes Brooks. “The thousands of people who work in the Capitol complex were chased from their chambers or barricaded in their offices by the furies that are ravaging this nation. The shock of this atrocity is bound to have a sobering effect… We look to you, our 535 representatives, to simply do the people’s business, to cut deals so people can stock their pantries and school their kids, and so that a 14-year-old, or a 59-year-old, can enter your building with eyes of wonder, awe and devotion.”

A PROGRAM ON VOTING RIGHTS AND ELECTION INTEGRITY
We are pleased to inform you of this program presented by our newest America at a Crossroads co-sponsor, American Jewish Committee-Los Angeles on TuesdayJanuary 12 at 4 pm PST entitled:. Voting Rights and Election Integrity: Lessons from 2020. The program will feature Janai Nelson, Associate Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, in conversation with Nina Shaw, Founding Partner, Del, Shaw, Moonves, Tanaka, Finkelstein & Lezcano, and AJC’s 2018 Learned Hand Award recipient. To register,  click here.

Upcoming American at a Crossroads Programs
This coming Wednesday, January 13  at 5 pm, we welcome Dr. Barbara Ferrer, PhD, MPH, MEd, who directs the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.  Dr. Ferrer is a nationally-known public health leader with over 30 years of professional experience as a philanthropic strategist, public health director, educational leader, researcher, and community advocate. She will help us understand the COVID19 vaccination distribution plan across the country and in particular, in large American cities.  The program will be moderated by Larry Mantle. (Register here)
 
On TUESDAY, January 19 at 5 pm, for Inauguration Eve, we welcome two renowned election law attorneys, Benjamin Ginsberg and UC Irvine School of Law’s Rick Hasen to discuss “What has to Change to Protect our Vulnerable Electoral System?” 
What Really Saved the Republic From Trump? This year we dodged a bullet in terms of efforts made to steal the election; but we came dangerously close to a serious constitutional crisis.   Both speakers are frequent commentators on the subject on CNN and MSNBC. The program will be moderated by NPR’s election specialist, Pam Fessler.  (Register here)

On January 27 at 5 pm Jacob Soboroff, the NBC and MSNBC journalist who first broke the story on family separations, will join us to talk about immigration reform and the continuing problem of families that have been separated at the border.  “Separated–Inside an American Tragedy”.  He will be in conversation with KCRW’s Madeleine Brand, one of our frequent moderators. 
(Register here)

On Wednesday, February 3 at 5 pm we welcome Max Boot, Jeane J. Kirkpatrick Senior Fellow in National Security Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations and a contributor to The Washington Post  who will speak on: “Can Humpty Dumpty Be Put Back Together—American Foreign Policy After Trump?
”  (Register here)

Thank you for your donations!   It is never too late to help offset the costs of our programming.  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.

PAST PROGRAMS:
You can access recordings of all of our past events here.  

January 6, 2021

Dear Friend:

 
Here is the zoom link for the Glasser-Baker program today at 5 pm PST
 https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83312158140

 
In light of today’s events in DC and yesterday’s election results, we anticipate today’s program with special feelings.  Peter Baker and Susan Glasser are the experts from whom we want to hear as to what is happening in DC today and how a 50/50 split in the Senate means and what control of the Senate, House and White House portends for the Biden Administration’s agenda and for our country.
 
In this article published in yesterday’s NY Times, Peter Baker, analyzed the chaos surrounding the Congressional certification of the presidential election of 1876 and contrasted that certification to today’s certification of President Biden’s election.  Baker points out that whereas In 1876 there were competing electoral slates sent by 3 states, in the current presidential election, every state certified their results.  “In 1876, unlike today, three swing states in the South still occupied by Union troops — Louisiana, South Carolina and Florida — sent competing slates of electors to Washington for Congress to consider. No state has done that this time and every state has certified its results, resulting in a decisive victory for Mr. Biden with 306 electoral votes to 232 for Mr. Trump.”

Here is the latest Lincoln Project ad which attacks President Trump as a traitor for the call he made this past weekend to Georgia Secretary of State Raffensperger.


Upcoming Programs
Today January 6, 2021 at 5 pm we host the outstanding duo: Susan Glasser of the New Yorker and Peter Baker of the New York Times, on the topic: “Can Washington Work Again: On Trump, BIden, and What Comes Next?” The conversation will be moderated by Warren Olney.  (Register here).  

On January 13  at 5 pm we welcome Dr. Barbara Ferrer, PhD, MPH, MEd, who directs the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.  Dr. Ferrer is a nationally-known public health leader with over 30 years of professional experience as a philanthropic strategist, public health director, educational leader, researcher, and community advocate. She will help us understand the COVID19 vaccination distribution plan across the country and in particular, in large American cities.  The program will be moderated by Larry Mantle. (Register here)
 
On TUESDAY, January 19 at 5 pm, for Inauguration Eve, we welcome two renowned election law attorneys, Benjamin Ginsberg and UC Irvine School of Law’s Rick Hasen to discuss “What has to Change to Protect our Vulnerable Electoral System?” 
What Really Saved the Republic From Trump? This year we dodged a bullet in terms of efforts made to steal the election; but we came dangerously close to a serious constitutional crisis.   Both speakers are frequent commentators on the subject on CNN and MSNBC. The program will be moderated by NPR’s election specialist, Pam Fessler.  (Register here)

On Wednesday, February 3 at 5 pm we welcome Max Boot, Jeane J. Kirkpatrick Senior Fellow in National Security Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations and a contributor to The Washington Post  who will speak on: “Can Humpty Dumpty Be Put Back Together—American Foreign Policy After Trump?
”  (Register here)

Thank you for your donations!   It is never too late to help offset the costs of our programming.  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.

PAST PROGRAMS:
You can access recordings of all of our past events here.  

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

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