VMF Caucus News

May 2022 Newsletter

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May 2022

Newsletter

Vol. 2, No. 2

To view in pdf, click here

Letter from the Editor


These days it seems like there are more than enough worries to wake us up in the middle of the night. Autocratic regimes around the world are growing and democratic institutions in America are being threatened. Many anxieties are interfering with our restorative cleansing from deep sleep.

One worry is that overturning Roe v Wade would be the culmination of a half-century-long legal campaign by the GOP singularly focussed on that outcome. However, although 19 states have proposed or passed abortion restriction bills, there are clear signs that overturning Roe and restricting abortions is far from being an end in itself for the GOP. If (when?) the Supreme Court overturns Roe, the GOP would launch even more ambitious agendas, namely getting fundamental moral issues out of the realm of federal constitutional rights and under the control of the states.

A common argument for overturning Roe is that it should be states who resolve the issue of abortion for themselves, rather than by having a federal resolution imposed on them.

If Roe is overturned, what other more ambitious agendas might the Republicans launch? There are a series of federal decisions currently held that prohibit states from banning contraceptives, from criminalizing gay sex, and from recognizing same-sex marriage. These cases are now controlled by federal laws, not under the control of states. The more impactful effect of Roe being overturned is that it would grant power to the states to make laws that affect some of the most intimate aspects of people’s lives, and not be controlled by Federal laws passed by the Supreme Court.

In recent weeks, in anticipation of a Mississippi decision banning abortions, various Republican senators have questioned a law which struck down a state ban on contraceptives, a law which required states to recognize same-sex marriage, and a law which invalidated a state law which banned bi-racial marriages.

So beyond the GOP goal of overturning Roe is the goal of weakening the federal government’s power and shifting the power to the states.

If Democrats acknowledge the long-term ambitions of the GOP, and the current 6-3 conservative Supreme Court, and are armed with the fact that 80% of Americans think that abortion should be legal in all or some circumstances (here), then Democrats should be able to motivate their base to get out and vote in the upcoming midterms. The GOP aggressive attack on Roe and their plan to grant states the power to rule on personal behaviors could backfire for the GOP, if we reach out and engage our base. This is how Democrats can maintain the House and the Senate in November.

Let’s do everything we can to educate our family and friends on the GOP’s long-term ambitions, and support and motivate Democrats and the politically non-aligned Independents to vote. Our sleep will depend on it.

 

Yours Democratically, Bob Gould (Editor, DA-UK)

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April 2022 Newsletter

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April 2022

Newsletter

Vol. 2, No. 1

    To view in pdf, click here

PRIMARIES --  WHO CARES? 

I Do. How About you?

Hello Members and friends, I want to admit to you that for much of my life I ignored primaries. It felt like too much effort, and what would it matter anyway? I woke up a little in 1980. I was raised Republican but there was NO WAY I was voting for Ronald Reagan. I liked John Anderson, the Independent candidate and I was furious that even though he earned enough primary votes to be in the League of Women Voters presidential debates, everyone I knew said, “There’s no choice”, my first realization Americans are chronically binary.

In 1984 and 1988 I was really excited to be for Jesse Jackson in the primaries. I finally voted for a winning president in 1992 -- even though I’d worked for Jerry Brown in the primaries. You may notice that I am only mentioning presidential primaries! Sad but true most of us just wait for the November election run to pay attention to US Senators, US Congressman, Governors, Attorney Generals, State Representatives, Judges, on and on.

I know, it’s a heavy lift. We all have enormous demands on our time and brain. But, I’m sorry to tell you: We must do better. And, we can. Love her or not, AOC - Alexandria Ocazio Cortez (US Rep NY11) taught us that with inspiration and foot power, a novice can knock-off a long term establishment candidate. Her 2018 win was followed by a few other surprises in 2020 and many more challengers who rattled cages. None of us can do EVERYTHING but each of us can do SOMETHING.

I encourage all of us to look at our state here and find out our primary dates. Twelve are in May, the bulk in June and August, with lonely Louisiana running the primary with the November 8 election. This election season there will be over 50 open seats in the House and 7 in the Senate. It is more important to get involved in these primary races to elevate our best candidates to qualify for the November race. Pick one race to care about, it doesn’t even have to be in your state. Send in a bit of money, or make phone calls, or send postcards, or contact people on the ground there and ask what they need. Be AWAKE to the fact that primaries are before the big money. Bet on a young, new horse to shake things up. It’s not like we don’t need new blood! (How’s that for double negatives?)

Democrats Abroad does not endorse primary candidates. But you can! FIRST go to votefromabroad.org to make sure you’re registered and find out when your primary is. Then go to Ballotpedia or some other site to see all the candidates running in your state. Or listen to friends or relatives. Pick some candidate to care about and .... do what you can. As Americans overseas, I think we really see that democracy is in trouble.

Be well and keep the faith,

Robin H. Rafaelidys (Co-Editor, Greece)


ADVOCACY

Improve the VA: In the previous newsletter we asked what 3 improvements you would suggest for bringing significant improvements to the VA. How could the VA be reformed to make life better for you as a veteran overseas? Email your suggestions here. Thank you!

Trouble Using Your GI Bill Benefits? Please reach out to us if you or someone you know is having trouble using the GI Bill benefits at a foreign school or university. We are in contact with congressional offices, urging every senator and representative to immediately address this issue. GI Bill and/or VR&E educational benefits are EARNED benefits, and we will not rest until the Dept. of Veterans Affairs' policies are changed to work in favor of veterans, servicemembers, and military family members - not against them. Here

Deportation of Veterans: This remains a top priority for the Global VMF Caucus which is pressing Congress to address the issue. The Veteran Deportation Prevention and Reform Act would prevent some our nation's veterans being deported, ripping American families apart and sending shockwaves throughout our communities, and would mend promises initially made by the Federal Government. VMF urges all Americans to contact their representative to cosponsor and support H.R. 1182 in the House, and contact their senators to cosponsor and support S. 3212 in the Senate.


VOTING…it is what we are all about!

  • Have you registered?
  • Have you requested your absentee ballot?
  • Can you get involved in GOTV in other ways, maybe learn how to phone bank? Go Here

More resources about Primaries and Midterms in your state are linked here.

WHAT’S CONGRESS UP TO?

The House Passes Bill to Automatically Enroll Vets in VA Health Care Eligible veterans would be automatically enrolled in the Department of Veterans Affairs’ health care system under the Ensuring Veterans' Smooth Transition, or “EVEST Act”. The bill passed with a vote of 265-163, falling largely along party lines, but 44 Republicans joined Democrats. Here

In addition, both chambers are moving forward on legislation addressing veterans' health care needs due to exposure from toxic burn pits. The Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee recently passed S. 3541, the Health Care for Burn Pit Veterans Act, and the House Veterans' Affairs Committee recently passed H.R. 3967, the Honoring Our PACT Act. Keep an eye out for early March 2022 hearings when Veterans Service Organizations arrive on Capitol Hill to testify on what pro-veteran legislative priorities remain for the rest of the year."


DEMOCRATS ABROAD ACTIVITIES AND EVENTS

Check out all the Global Democrats Abroad Activities happening this month by clicking here.


VETERANS’ ISSUES

Click this link to find our VMF Health Care information and resources on our webpage. Here.

Here is the link to the webpage for Transitioning and Jobs: Here.

SPOTLIGHT

Click here for Spotlight, “Josephine Baker Inducted Into the Panthéon”


ARTS AND EDUCATION

VMF4Picture1.png
Click here for our Podcast & Social Media Recommendations
Click here for our Poetry Corner
Click here for our Brain-Zone Quiz
Click here for our Educational Resources
Click here for our Film and Book Recommendations

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House Democrats Pass the Honoring Our PACT Act

On March 3rd, all 222 House Democrats and 34 House Republicans voted to pass the Honoring Our Pact Act, a bill introduced by House Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Mark Takano (D-CA-41). The bill addresses toxic exposure, burn pit exposure, radiation exposure, and, after decades of advocacy, creates a path for restitution for veterans and families exposed to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune, among other issues. Read the full press release here and read the text of the bill here


VMF February 2022 Newsletter

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February 2022

Newsletter

Vol. 1, No. 12

    To view in pdf, click here

Hello and Warm Greetings, Veterans and Military Families!

Since our beginning, the Veterans and Military Families Caucus has been focused on advocating for overseas military families, and we have made significant progress recently with reforming the GI Bill. Soon veterans and military families overseas will be able to more easily receive their GI benefits.

We want to build upon these successes and apply the lessons we have learned to improve the Veterans Administration for overseas veterans and military families. Would you be willing to help us? If the VMF Caucus had a magic wand and the power to bring about significant change to the VA, what three (or more) improvements would you suggest? How could the VA be reformed to make life better/easier for you as a vet overseas?

Email your suggestions here: [email protected]

With much appreciation, and democratically yours, 

Bob Gould (Co-Editor, DA-VMF United Kingdom)

 

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VMF January 2022 Newsletter

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January 2022

Newsletter

Vol. 1, No. 11

    To view in pdf, click here

Greetings and Happy New Year from a VMF Co-Editor!

Have you been reading the alarming news from Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor that her colleagues were “embracing a cataclysmic reordering of the reproductive rights landscape?” Seeing what her colleagues were going to do, Sotomayor has been turning to the American people themselves, suggesting that the court need not have the last word on abortion. She was “alerting the people to the imminent threat to abortion rights” in the hopes that, hearing her alarm, we might mobilize with the sort of grass-roots energy that once fueled the civil rights movement. Here. The court may not save our rights, but maybe we can save them ourselves. Overseas military families, like all families, have too much to lose by the radicalism of the six conservative justices in SCOTUS.

In fact, do you realize that the reactionaries in the current-day Republican Party are a minority of the U.S.A.? David Atkins points out in the Washington Monthly that Republicans are operating from a position of weakness, and U.S. counties that are predominantly Democratic produce more than 70% of the nation’s gross domestic product. Democratic states are funding the Republican-dominated states, the ones where their residents are complaining about “socialism” and our “socialist” president, Joe Biden. Here. 83% of Americans now live in cities which tend to vote Democratic, and young people are overwhelmingly progressive. 

So here is the problem: We Democrats must win every single election to prevent the destruction of our democracy, while Republicans only need to win one U.S. Senate seat. And the American system is now set up so that Republicans will win sooner or later, whether fairly or by cheating. Atkins urges the American people to “start thinking about and planning for what ‘Break glass in case of emergency’ measures look like—because, he states, it’s more likely a matter of when, not if. “Conservatives will make every attempt to turn America into the next Russia or Hungary. It will take coordinated, overlapping solidarity among both regular people and elites to stop it.”

Sotomayor and Atkins stress that stopping the march of authoritarianism will be up to us, the people. No party or leader will shake us out of our stupor and save us. Americans need to start caring about democracy enough to act on it. Apathy is how democracies die. There is only one pro-democracy party, and that is us. Democrats need to present themselves as the pro-democracy party, as the party of workers and families, and present the Republican Party as the defenders of rich tax dodgers, anti-science and non-vaccine types, as climate change deniers, and warriors against women and abortion rights. 

January means it is time to roll up our sleeves and get to work. To start, each of us needs to register to vote NOW for the November elections. Each of us needs to make sure our friends, family, and colleagues have registered. Also, you can help GOTV by joining our Phone Banking Team. Our phone bankers have been crucial to getting out the vote during COVID. We have new teams forming now for 2022!

Lastly but no less importantly, if you have base-access or are passionate about the military vote, join our GOTV team by sending us an email at [email protected]. If you would like to learn more about UOCAVA voters, voter registration statistics, and how people across the United States and the world vote in our elections, click here

If we mobilize in a coordinated way, there is nothing we can’t accomplish. Certainly we all agree and know in our hearts that our country and our democracy are worth it.

With gratitude for all that you're currently doing, 

Bob Gould

DA-VMF Caucus Steering Committee, London, UK

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VMF December 2021 Newsletter

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December 2021

Newsletter

Vol. 1, No. 10

    To view in browser, click here
    To view in pdf, click here

Greetings from a leader of the VMF Steering Committee, Erin Watson

Willkommen, Bienvenue, Welcome!

The seasons are changing, the 2021 elections have finished, and we learn to take the good with the disappointing. In the Northern Hemisphere, we’re getting ready for cold winters and the holiday season. In the Southern Hemisphere, we’re preparing for the fire season and summer vacations. In Democrats Abroad, we’re celebrating our victories as we prepare for the 2022 midterms.

While losses are always easier to see, we did have important wins. Congratulations to Representative Shontel Brown (OH-15), Governor Phill Murphy (NJ), Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver (NJ), Mayor Eric Adams (NYC), Mayor Ed Gainey (Pittsburgh), Mayor Michelle Wu (Boston), and Mayor Tim Keller (Albuquerque). Our votes count, and our vote matters. Next year it will be time to put our money where our mouths are and get more Democrats elected to protect our country and the planet.

But for now, in December, we’re taking small actions, and you can join us.

  1. Join our Commander-in-Chief Cup fundraiser! A small donation goes a long way to reaching and registering overseas voters. To access, click here.
  2. Talk about our GI Bill advocacy with your families and friends. Family gatherings are a chance to find out if someone isn’t getting the support they earned.
  3. Talk about our Veteran Deportation advocacy. No family deserves to be separated, especially during the holidays.
  4. Rest and stay healthy. The 2022 midterms are critically important, and we want all our volunteers to be healthy, stay healthy, and be fighting fit for our democracy.
  5. After January arrives, register to vote here: votefromabroad.org. The best holiday present is being assured of receiving a ballot for the November 8th elections.

We thank you for all of your support throughout 2021. It means the world to us as we keep up the good fight. From all of us at DA-VMF to you, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

Erin Watson, Global Military GOTV Coordinator

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VMF Ninth Newsletter

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November 2021

Newsletter

Vol. 1, No. 9

    To view in pdf, click here

Greetings from VMF Co-editor

 

“The Democrats don't matter.”--- Steve Bannon

Hello and welcome members and friends,

          I am amazed that it is already November! It is tempting to head into the holiday season wanting to put issues of government and politics behind us. Please understand that when you personally need a break, it is important to take one. No one's psyche can handle the current political whirlpool endlessly. There is a podcast I listen to, The Daily Beans, (more below in the new PODCASTS section) where the host often says, “Pass the baton.” She also finishes every episode with “Take care of your mental health.”

          The thing about passing the baton is it only works if enough of us are in the relay race. I invite you to find a podcast that speaks to you (Please share links of your favorites with us at [email protected].) and take some action. Small, medium or large--- find a way to get involved with an issue that particularly matters to you.

          We all live outside the States, at present, and I for one am most grateful to begin my 16th year living in my olive grove on the Greek island of Lesvos. But we all CARE. And things are not going well in our country of citizenship. In fact, alarming, disgraceful and dangerous things are happening in the US.

          I titled this missive with words from Steve Bannon, from an interview he did with Michael Lewis, the author of many great books: Moneyball, The Big Short, The Fifth Risk, etc. I throw these words out there at the head of our precious newsletter because I think they are a wake up call. Influential people, like Bannon (as much as you might dislike him you ignore him at our democracy’s risk), believe that they can discount Democrats and get away with it.

          In fact the whole quote is even more alarming: “The Democrats don't matter. The real opposition is the media. And the way to deal with them is to flood the zone with sh*t.” This is the tactic being used all across America right now, a simple and simpleton's tactic but one that is sadly powerful. And let me tell you the sh*t is flying in the news these days. We as Democrats (and Independents who join in our fight) have to make ourselves matter.

          If you need any convincing, I encourage you to listen to a 6-episode podcast series (approx 30-minutes each) called Southlake. I warn you people behave badly, and the students of the Carroll Independent School district suffer. Then,  just yesterday my son called me from Wisconsin and said the local paper had a headline of similar school board issues in our home state.

          One final podcast I will mention is called Gaslit Nation. It is a bit harder to listen to than some, it doesn't have great sound quality, and the topics are uncomfortable, but the two women are experts on the subject of rising autocracies and dictators around the world. They know a thing or two! Andrea Chalupa produced a film about Stalin's imposed famine in the Ukraine. Just last week there was a showing of the film in Moscow. The police came, locked the doors from the outside, and interrogated everyone present.

          I truly don't know what Republicans are thinking. The path they seem determined to follow – just yesterday all 50 Republican Senators voted against even debating the Freedom To Vote Act – leads directly to such perilous outcomes. And in their attempts to control school boards America’s youth will be deprived. When perspective disappears only the sh*t remains.

          I apologize for starting the month off with such a mood of doom and gloom, but if even one of us is motivated to take action, it has to be worth it. Thank you for your attention.

          Be well,

          Robin H Rafaelidys

          Lesvos, Greece

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Join the Global Veterans and Military Families Caucus Team!

Join the Global Veterans and Military Families Caucus Team!

We are quickly approaching a time of great change in America. Former President Donald Trump won Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania in 2016 -- three states that made up a core part of the Democrats’ “blue wall.” In 2020, President Biden won back all three along with Arizona and Georgia, but his victory was achieved by incredibly small margins in key states.

As we prepare for 2022 and 2024, we will need to adapt to this change. We will need to identify the places where we can make a difference for our community and other communities alike and fight to keep the House, Senate, and White House blue. I am determined to ensure that our 2021-2023 VMF team is ready to tackle these challenging times with a diverse, active, and outspoken group of leaders and volunteers.

I will be accepting applications for our steering committee leadership positions until 11:59 PM EDT on October 15th. I will strive to complete making appointments to these positions no later than October 20th. If you are just interested in volunteering with our caucus’s teams, please still send an application! I will share volunteer applications with our appointed leaders so that they can fill out their teams with interested volunteers.

Available Steering Committee and Volunteer Positions:

  • Secretary
  • Regional representatives for the Americas, Asia-Pacific, and the Middle East/Africa
  • Member Engagement and Advocacy - Team leader and volunteers
  • Events Coordinator - Team leader and volunteers
  • Communications and Social Media - Volunteers

If you are interested in being on our VMF team, please send me an email with what position or activities you are interested in and why you want to be a part of our team. Current service members, veterans, military family members, and allies are all welcome and encouraged to apply.

Best,


Anthony “Mike” Nitz
Chair, Global VMF Caucus
[email protected]


VMF Eight Newsletter

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October 2021

Newsletter

Vol. 1, No. 8

    To view this in pdf, click here

Greetings from a VMF Caucus Guest Contributor

At ease…

One of the proudest decisions of my post-active and -reserve military life is committing to volunteering for Democrats Abroad (DA). As I'm sure you're aware, there are many non-profit organizations and political groups that aim to support veterans and military families (VMF), but DA's Veterans and Military Families Caucus is unique. We are comprised of not ​only VMF Americans living abroad but also strong allies of our causes who live abroad and understand the overseas perspective. In my involvement with the VMF Caucus, I've created templates for our members to contact their Members of Congress, edited podcast discussions with issue-expert guests, brainstormed ideas ​on how ​to ​take advocacy action, and ​much more. Why am I dedicated to volunteering with the VMF Caucus​ and urging you to do the same?

Since last year's General Election, Democrats across the board have made significant progress in taking care of America's veterans and military families. Six months ago, President Biden signed into law legislation to provide COVID-19 vaccinations, whenever available, to all veterans, veteran spouses, caregivers, and VA Civilian Health and Medical Program recipients. The Democratic-led Senate has taken legislative steps forward on tackling the serious issue of eliminating sexual assault within the military, while the Democratic-led House of Representatives has tackled other important issues such as allowing VA employees to organize into labor unions, researching ways to halt veteran suicides, and repatriating deported veterans. In addition, Secretary McDonough has committed to making meaningful reforms to the oft-plagued Dept. of Veterans' Affairs while Democratic governors throughout the states have been enacting pro-veterans laws supported by millions of Americans. We need to not only keep these Democratic incumbents in office but expand this group by booting out anti-compromise, do-nothing Republican politicians holding back meaningful pro-VMF policies.

However, despite the above ​Democratic-led ​accomplishments, I'm not yet fully satisfied with the state of things and I suspect you aren't either. If you’re anything like the fellow Marines and Sailors I served with, you know that legislative victories that support veterans and military families don't come easily. The current system of VA health care is far from covering all of our nation's veterans from the physical injuries and mental scars sustained from their time in service, especially those veterans ​needing care ​who live abroad. An estimated millions of veterans harmed from toxic smoke and particulate matter stemming from so-called “burn pits” over the past few decades have yet to receive the earned VA-provided care needed to address their health. Moreover, with mold, lead-based paint, asbestos, poor water quality and exposure to sewage, base housing is still not completely safe for military families, especially for those military families residing abroad. When it comes to veterans and military families, "taking care of our own" goes without saying. But it also is an all-of-the-above strategy that the DA VMF Caucus strives to achieve.

Maybe you've thought about becoming more active with our caucus but aren't quite sure what we do. Let's discuss. We register U.S. citizens living abroad to vote. We provide assistance to those needing to request their ballot from their home state voting jurisdiction. We spread our messaging via social media and encourage others to share. We strive to have diversity and inclusion among our steering committee and full caucus membership. In short, we want what you want: to improve the federal government's response to supporting and taking care of our nation's veterans and military families; to hold our elected officials accountable; to always seek to improve our Party and our Caucus; and to increase voter turnout from Americans overseas.

So what can we as VMF Caucus members do? As it turns out, there are plenty of action items we can and must do to move our country forward. Whether it be:

  • making a generous contribution to getting out the critical military overseas vote,
  • spearheading an issue advocacy campaign,
  • sharing with us your personal veteran or military family experience that you believe should be brought to our attention,
  • researching ways federal issues affect the American veterans and/or military families abroad population,
  • recommending notable guests for VMF webinar discussions and roundtables,
  • drafting an op-ed, letter-to-the-editor, or convincing language to reform our Party and stances on VMF issues,
  • participating in a commemorative or remembrance occasion,
  • being an extra pair of hands during in-person VMF events,
  • attending monthly online VMF meetings and sharing new information with fellow Democrats Abroad members in your country committee and personal network,
  • raising awareness of a political issue,
  • assisting with I.T.-related projects,
  • mentoring, engaging, or empowering other VMF members, or
  • following us on social media to learn of events and activities, it is easy:
Connect with us on    fb.png twit.png Insta.svg  

There are countless ways you can help the VMF Caucus!

We take great pride in the fact that since our caucus' founding four years ago, we have been 100% volunteer-run and operated with an overall clear goal of supporting American citizens abroad exercising their right to vote, and we invite you to help with our missions as our vital work continues to grow. Thank you for being a valued member of our caucus. And if you've received this newsletter from someone else, consider joining us, then let us know your skills and level of motivation, and we'll make sure your volunteering contributions won't be wasted.

Semper fi, Michael Ramos (DA Australia, IL voter, former enlisted USMC)

** IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT **

You might be surprised to hear that there are over 20 states having elections right now. All states allow absentee ballots to be returned by mail, but with supply chains slowed down by COVID, mail may not be the fastest or best option for you. Many states allow ballots to be faxed, so please check your state's guidelines at Votefromabroad.org. (If you don’t have access to a fax machine, there are several online fax services that will send your ballot quickly and safely, or perhaps a copy store near you.)

 

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VMF Seventh Newsletter

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September

Newsletter

Vol. 1, No. 7

Greetings from the Co-Editor

Although we Democrats have big challenges ahead, most notably the evacuation in Afghanistan, the Covid-19 spikes hitting mainly the unvaccinated, the GOP’s coordinated efforts to suppress voting, and the global environmental crises, there are plenty of very real and tangible reasons for optimism. The 7-month-old Biden-Harris administration has executed a robust agenda, and significant accomplishments have been made. Here are the more salient reasons for optimism.

To start, in March Congress and Biden passed the very popular $1.9 trillion Covid Relief Bill, clearing the way for stimulus checks and vaccine aid. Then the Senate passed a massive bipartisan infrastructure bill. Fifty Democrats and 19 Republicans voted for this bill, which will be devoted to rebuilding the nation’s roads, transit networks, water-supply pipes, and sewer systems. Then comes the budget resolution, which Senate Democrats hope to pass by this fall. It would allow social policy legislation, paid for by raising taxes on the wealthy, large inheritances, and corporations. Should all 50 Democratic Senators close ranks, the measure could pass the Senate without any Republican votes, thereby avoiding a filibuster threat.

Together, these 2 bills could secure all of President Biden’s $3.5 trillion economic agenda: to rebuild the nation’s roads, bridges, rail lines, water systems and electricity grid, while upgrading public education, social welfare, health care, addressing climate change, and revamping the federal tax code. This is further explained in WHAT’S CONGRESS UP TO? Go to page 11 and check it out, or click here.

The Biden administration already participated in an important victory when 130 countries signed on to a plan for a global minimum corporate tax, supporting Biden’s belief that countries need to prevent corporations from taking advantage of weak tax rules.

Let’s not forget the August job report released by the Department of Labor showing better results than economists had predicted, and the administration had hoped for. The report also validates the Democrats’ approach to growing the economy. Since Reagan in 1981, Republican lawmakers have opposed government intervention to stimulate the economy, insisting that low taxes and private investment will drive the economy more efficiently. This recent job report confirms the exact opposite approach works more efficiently.

In another vein we heard the shocking revelations from former acting attorney general Jeffrey Rosen about former president Trump’s direct efforts to use the Department of Justice to overturn the 2020 election. With Trump loyalist Jeffrey Clark from the DoJ and Mark Meadows, Trump’s chief of staff, soon testifying to Congress about their messaging that “the election had been stolen”, we can expect more damning revelations.

Sadly 25% of Republicans say they support the January 6 Insurrection as repackaged by allies of former president Trump to sway the public’s understanding of what happened that day. However, 535 insurrectionists have been arrested and await their sentences, some with jail time. There are reports that the Insurrection has convinced some moderate Republicans to shift their party identity to Independent, and to be noted, some even joined us, the Democrats.

Let’s also remember that in July, New York prosecutors charged the Trump Organization with a 15-year “scheme to defraud” the government and charged its Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg with grand larceny and tax fraud. Since Weisselberg, who has pandered to Trump for decades wants to avoid spending the rest of his life in prison, many suspect he will flip and cooperate with authorities despite the hold Trump has over so many facets of his life.

There is good and bad news coming from a report by James Hohmann in the Washington Post related to voter protection efforts. "Twenty-eight states have passed 71 laws since last November’s election to make voting easier, which will benefit 63 million eligible voters, while 18 states have passed 31 laws during that same time to erect barriers, affecting only 36 million eligible voters.” Speaking on the anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, Merrick Garland endorsed moral courage when he said, “We must say again that it is not right to erect barriers that make it harder for millions of eligible Americans to vote. And it is time for Congress to act again to protect that fundamental right.”

Further, Jennifer Rubin made an encouraging analysis at the Washington Post by pointing to the Republican assumption that restrictions on early or mail-in voting would hurt Democrats, but since many Republican voters are older or live in rural areas and cannot get to the voting stations easily, the Republicans may be shooting themselves in the foot, and their efforts to undermine democracy may boomerang and reduce their chances for 2022 victories. Here

Although the road is bumpy, there are reasons to be optimistic about our country’s and our party’s future. The Biden-Harris administration is moving forward and I hope you will join me in admiring all the accomplishments described above.

Democratically yours, Bob Gould

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