One voter at a time

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On Sunday afternoon Renee Hoagenson (D), a candidate in the 4th Congressional District, held an informal meet and greet with voters in a supporter’s home in rural Johnson County. Approximately thirty individuals attended.

Renee Hoagenson (D).

Over the course of the two hour event Renee Hoagenson spoke individually with everyone, addressed the group, and answered a number of questions on a variety of subjects – including the dysfunction in Congress, health care, Medicare, Social Security, campaign finance, and “Right to Work”.

You meet voters, tell them who you are and what you believe in, and ask them for their support and vote.

At least he made the trains run on time …

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Wish I had a nickel, dime or whatever for every time I’ve heard somebody excusing Mussolini’s fascist coup by referring to those timely trains. Which may be why I was so gob-smacked by Republican Senator Roy Blunt’s comments when asked to react to the fact that the current occupant of the White House lies consistently. Blunt refused to engage with the substance, declaring that :

It would [be a problem] “if we weren’t getting things done,” Blunt responded. “What the regulators are doing. … The tax package, better than I would have expected. I think the foreign policy, the president was left with lots of problems. We had about eight years where we acted like the United States of America was basically any other country in the world. And a lot of things got off track during that eight years.”

So, as far as Blunt is concerned, Trump can do no wrong, he can lie, collude with Russians and curry favor from Vladimir Putin, and enrich himself with taxpayer money as long as he delivers on goodies that Blunt has been trying to get for his rich cronies. Because that’s what “getting things done” means.

Stop and think about that list of achievements: The justly unpopular and deficit-busting tax cut for the wealthy? Deregulation? Tell me in a few years how you like living in a country where basic health, consumer and social protections – air and water pollution and our food supply,  for instance – are left to the tender mercies of corporate America. Foreign policy? You gotta be joking. – and don’t give me any backchat about Korea now that it seems more and more likely that the naive and egoistic Trump  is getting played two ways to Sunday.

Funny thing is, the claim that Italian fascists managed to make the trains run on time is equally spurious.  As Brian Cathcart put it in The Independent, “like almost all the supposed achievements of Fascism, the timely trains are a myth, nurtured and propagated by a leader with a journalist’s flair for symbolism, verbal trickery and illusion.”

Sounds a bit like that prominent liar that Blunt is so eager to defend, doesn’t it?

Meanwhile, folks like Madeleine Albright* are warning us that if the tendencies that Trump embodies are left unchecked, the U.S., like Italy, could also go the fascist route:

“The possibility that fascism will be accorded a fresh chance to strut around the world stage is enhanced by the volatile presidency of Donald Trump,” Albright warns.  “Instead of standing up for the values of a free society, Mr. Trump’s oft-vented scorn for democracy’s building blocks has strengthened the hands of dictators. No longer need they fear United States criticism regarding human rights or civil liberties. On the contrary, they can and do point to Mr. Trump’s own words to justify their repressive actions,” she adds.

In order to save our democracy Albright recommends  “defending the truth in the press, [and] recognizing that no one is above the law, ” both efforts that Blunt eschews because, under Trump, “we” are “getting things done.” I can hear that fascist choo-choo train pulling into the station right on time.

As Snopes observes about Mussolini and the ubiquitous trains trope, if you can’t –  or won’t – govern to benefit the majority of the people, “the next best thing is to convince them that you have done something of benefit to them, even though you really haven’t.” Trumpism – and today’s GOP – in a  nutshell.

*Typo corrected; Albrecht changed to Albright 5/20/18, 11:19.

Jefferson City: House minority end of session press conference – May 18, 2018

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House Minority Leader Gail McCann Beatty (D) (center) – May 18, 2018.

House Minority Leader Gail McCann Beatty (D) held an end of session press conference immediately following the republican press conference after the regular session adjourned on Friday evening:

Representative McCann Beatty (D) pointed out the cloud of Governor Greitens’ (r) behavior and impending impeachment along with enumerating the majority’s efforts to cut state revenue, to hobble public education, and to diminish workers’ ability to collectively bargain.

Previously:

Jefferson City – the end of the regular session – May 18, 2018 (May 19, 2018)

Jefferson City: House majority end of session press conference – May 18, 2018 (May 20, 2018)

Jefferson City: House majority end of session press conference – May 18, 2018

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Speaker Todd Richardson (r) – May 18, 2018.

Speaker Todd Richardson (r) held an end of session press conference immediately after the session adjourned on Friday evening:

In the context of an impending special session to address the possible impeachment of Governor Eric Greitens (r) the House majority press conference was a celebration of cuts to state revenue, insufficient resources for education and higher education, and the continued diminution of workers’ ability to collectively bargain.

At one point, in response to a media question about Eric Greitens’ (r) impact on legislation during the session most in the republican caucus laughed.

The House Special Investigative Committee on Oversight will be getting additional members (up to this point five Republicans and two Democrats) because, in the words of the Speaker. “There’s a whole lot of work to be done…” The Speaker did not respond to the follow up question asking who those additional members would be.

Previously:

Jefferson City – the end of the regular session – May 18, 2018 (May 19, 2018)

Jefferson City: the beginning of the special session – May 18, 2018

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On Friday night after the close of the regular session and after short end of session majority and minority press conferences the special session addressing the possible impeachment of Governor Eric Greitens (r) was called to order.

The spaces between the pillar in the side galleries were crammed with media tripods and cameras. The Press Gallery had a full contingent.

Media in a side gallery.

Waiting for the gavel.

The opening of the session was like the opening of any other session – the gavel, a prayer, the Pledge of Allegiance, and the start of business.

Speaker Todd Richardson (R) calls the special session to order.

After the formalities the session was adjourned – the body of the House will return once the House Special Investigative Committee on Oversight has recommendation(s).

The Clerk reads…

It’s a start.

Previously:

The end of the regular session, the beginning of the special session (May 18, 2018)

Jefferson City – the end of the regular session – May 18, 2018 (May 19, 2018)

Campaign Finance: they left off the last part

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Yesterday at the Missouri Ethics Commission in support of right to get paid less:

C180291 05/18/2018 Missourians For Freedom To Work Greg Hoberock 500 Braeburn Ct Washington MO 63090 HTH Companies Inc CEO 5/18/2018 $100,000.00

[emphasis added]

It’s a new PAC, supporting right to get paid less and opposed to the CLEAN Missouri initiative on campaign finance, lobbying and redistricting reform.

C180291: Missourians For Freedom To Work
Committee Type: Campaign
239 Rock Industrial Blvd Suite 108
Union Mo 63084
Established Date: 04/18/2018
[….]
Treasurer
Greg Hoberock
239 Rock Industrial Blvd Suite 108
Union Mo 63084
[….]

Not to be confused with Freedom to Work. Having a lot of money is something they have in common, though.

Why is it corporate CEOs and not working people who write those $100,000.00 checks? Oh, right, because they

    can

.

Jefferson City – the end of the regular session – May 18, 2018

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The regular session of the Missouri General Assembly ended at 6:00 p.m. yesterday, as mandated by the state constitution.

The last day consisted of a rapid succession of bills presented for final approval. The Republican super majority in the House, 114 to 47, and the Senate and the mandated time for the close of business leaves the minority only one weapon. Talk.

The majority has a weapon to end that debate. They call the previous question – the immediate vote to end debate and vote on the bill as it stands. The Democratic minority tried to talk yesterday, slowing down the process. The Republican majority called the previous question, trying to speed things up.

Among the bills the majority got over the line were those cutting corporate taxes and diminishing organized labor. And, there were a few catch all omnibus bills, lumping bills of “similar” subject matter together, to finish the process.

Representative Shawn Rhoads (R) – on the floor of the House – May 18, 2018.

Truth, twice.

Media in a side gallery.

Repreentative Crystal Quade (D) – on the floor of the House – May 18, 2018.

Representative Bruce Franks, Jr. (D) – on the floor of the House – May 18, 2018.

Representative Deb Lavender (D) – on the floor of the House – May 18, 2018.

Assistant Minority Floor Leader Gina Mitten (D) -on the floor of the House – May 18, 2018.

Minority Floor Leader Gail McCann Beaty (D) – speaking to media in a House side gallery during a short recess – May 18, 2018.

Representative Dan Houx (R) – on the floor of the House, after introducing special guests during a lull in the proceedings – May 18, 2018.

For decades (as far back as anyone can remember, perhaps) upon adjournment of the regular session members of the House have tossed the paper copies of bills and amendments in the air. It takes a while for someone else to clean up the mess. This year, with a thirty minute scheduled break between the end of the regular session and the start of an historical special session concerned with the possible impeachment of Governor Eric Greitens (r), there was speculation about whether the papers toss would occur. Think of the logistics in getting the paper cleaned up in under a half hour. And, the contrasting optics of the frivolous (at the very best) with the serious wouldn’t look so good. No one tossed paper at the end of the regular session.

Previously:

The end of the regular session, the beginning of the special session (May 18, 2018)

Jefferson City: Tikkun olam – May 18, 2018 (May 19, 2018)

Jefferson City: Tikkun olam – May 18, 2018

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תיקון עולם‬

Save the world.

Representative Stacey Newman (D) – May 18, 2018.

In the flurry of votes on the last day of the regular legislative session long time members of the House who will not be returning for the next regular legislative session (due to the eight year term limit or not seeking reelection) can be recognized to speak while the board is still open and other members have yet to vote.

Representative Stacey Newman (D), the most senior member of the House – serving nine years due to a special election, was recognized to speak towards the end of yesterday’s session. She recognized and thanked her family, staff, and colleagues. She also stated that she will remain active in the issues of our public life.

Tikkun olam. Save the world. It’s an obligation that doesn’t end.

In the gallery.

“Do all the good you can, for all the people you can, in all the ways you can, for as long as you can.”

There is a difference, Eric Greitens (r).

Previously:

Stacey Newman: This woman’s place is in the House (March 31, 2008)

Stacey Newman wins the nomination for Steve Brown’s seat (September 8, 2009)

NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri PAC Endorses Stacey Newman (September 15, 2009)

Stacey Newman explains a communications strategy for progressive women (October 10, 2011)

Representative Stacey Newman (D) [2016 file photo].

Rep. Stacey Newman (D): on reducing gun violence (January 5, 2016)

Rep. Stacey Newman (D): January 6, 2016 (January 7, 2016)

Representative Stacey Newman (D) speaking with a television reporter after the House and Senate Minority press conference.

This times 32,283* (June 27, 2016)

Rep. Stacey Newman (D): about those guns… (December 12, 2016)

HB 366: precedent (January 6, 2017)

HB 151: HA 5 – we’re all kneeling before the right wingnuts in the General Assembly now (February 21, 2017)

Representative Stacey Newman (D) [2017 file photo]

HB 1563: not a right wingnut gun bill (December 12, 2017)

“Pro-life” vitriol (March 3, 2018)

Jefferson City: “Carthago delenda est” – HCS SB 743 (May 9, 2018)