Friday, January 14, 2022

 -Virginia Republicans' anti-CRT bill, on the stuff Virginia students oughta learn

Heads up: There will be no newsletter on Monday, January 17, in observance of MLK Day. See you back in the inbox on Tuesday!

Democrats’ last-ditch voting rights push may be doomed to go out in a blaze of Senate Tradition over the next few days, but at least Republicans across the country have thoughtfully kept up a steady flow of evidence for its necessity.

  • Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced late on Thursday that the Senate won’t take up voting-rights legislation until Tuesday, citing COVID and another approaching winter storm. Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) tested positive earlier this week, and Democrats won’t have a simple majority to open debate until he’s sprung from quarantine. The Senate will delay its January recess to vote on changing the filibuster, after Republicans once again use it to help themselves rig future elections. 
  • Democrats’ final pro-democracy legislation would expand ballot access and broaden what people can use as voter ID, restore the preclearance provision of the Voting Rights Act, ban partisan gerrymandering, and make it harder to remove local election officials, along with other measures to address election subversion. (Delving into the specifics at this point feels sort of like scrolling through an ex’s Instagram, but we might as well know what’s in the bill that got away.)
  • President Biden acknowledged on Thursday that this week’s public pressure on Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) might be all for naught: “I hope we can get this done. The honest to god answer is: I don't know whether we can get this done.” Biden had “a candid and respectful exchange of views about voting rights” with the two of them that evening, according to the White House, after which neither senator had any enlightened new positions to announce.

It’s a shame, because Republicans and their allies have spent the last week hollering their antidemocratic intentions for all to hear.

  • In Wisconsin, a Waukesha County judge ruled Thursday that absentee-ballot drop boxes are illegal in the state, siding with the right-wing Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty. Republicans in Georgia and Arizona have introduced bills to ban drop boxes explicitly. In Texas, election officials have had to reject hundreds of absentee-ballot applications to comply with the state’s new voter-suppression law. Officials in Travis County, TX, said they’ve rejected about half of the 700 applications they’ve received so far.
  • Not only are Republicans aggressively pursuing measures to prevent people from voting, they’re increasingly unwilling to accept any election loss, even in a landslide. In South Florida this week, Democrat Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick won a special election to replace the late Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL) with 79 percent of the vote. Republican Jason Mariner, who trails Cherfilus-McCormick by over 32,000 votes, has refused to concede and vowed to challenge the results. 

Republicans far and wide are happily using simple (gerrymandered) majorities and partisan judges to suppress the vote and prepare the ground to overturn election outcomes, while the president unsuccessfully begs Senate Democrats to stop them with 51 votes. It’s past time for every senator to go on the record about it. 

Catch up on the latest episode of X-Ray Vision! This week, Jason Concepcion and Rosie Knight dive deep into the latest episode of Book of Boba Fett and discuss the recent news of the Image Comics Union and The Raid reboot at Netflix. Plus, Dune Pod hosts Jason & Haitch return to the show for a spoiler free conversation about HBOMax’s Station Eleven, post-apocalyptic media, and finding hope in stories and art. You can catch episodes of X-Ray Vision every Friday. Listen and follow wherever you get your podcasts

The Biden administration has accused Russia of sending operatives into Ukraine to conduct a false-flag operation as a pretext to invade. U.S. intelligence shows that Russia has already positioned operatives who are trained in urban warfare and in using explosives to attack Russia’s own proxy-forces, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said on Friday. White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan warned that Russia was using the same sabotage and disinformation tactics that it used ahead of the annexation of Crimea: “We saw this playbook in 2014.” A series of talks between Western and Russian officials failed to yield any breakthroughs this week. On Friday, Ukrainian government websites were targeted in a massive cyberattack, temporarily displaying threatening messages that warned Ukrainians to “be afraid and expect the worst.”

Far-right Republicans have already begun plotting a series of Benghazi-style investigations to throw at the Biden administration in the event that they retake the House in November. Rep. James Comer (R-KY), the top Republican on the House oversight committee, expects to drag Hunter Biden in for questioning, while Rep. Rodney Davis (R-IL), the top Republican on the House Administration Committee, and Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) have pledged a hard-hitting investigation into House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s role in the January 6 insurrection. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) would also like a congressional probe into the 2020 election results, and multiple members of the far-right have called for immediate impeachment proceedings. Seems like Democrats’ instincts to pull their punches and reach across the aisle might be pretty one-sided, and that Sen. Dick Durbin’s (D-IL) suggestion to use nicer words when discussing GOP authoritarianism might just be a bad one!

If you have investments, odds are high that your money has been winding up in places you would never put it on purpose. Places like Mitch McConnell’s campaign coffers. Here’s the problem: A lot of Americans own S&P 500 index funds—these are funds made up of the 500 largest U.S. publicly traded companies available, and they collectively contain over $1.5 trillion dollars of Americans’ retirement money.

Unfortunately, when you buy an S&P 500 index fund, you’re buying stock in the following companies:

  • First Energy, which just paid a $230M penalty related to a bribery scandal involving Ohio Republicans.
  • Wynn Resorts, one of the top contributors to Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell, and the GOP.
  • AT&T, which is already back supporting the election objectors in Congress, as well as the GOP sponsors of Texas’s abortion ban and voter-suppression law. It’s also a top donor to Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham.

  • Halliburton, one of the nation’s biggest defense contractors, which has funneled millions to the GOP. 

  • Lockheed Martin, which is one the largest weapons manufacturers in the world and one of Lindsey Graham’s top contributors.

The list goes on. But before you stuff all of your savings in your mattress and call it a day, you should know about DEMZ. 

DEMZ is the first investment product that allows you to get similar performance and exposure you would expect from the S&P 500,  without all the Mitch McConnell. It only includes companies who have made over 75% of their political contributions to Democratic causes and candidates. DEMZ has outperformed the S&P 500 since its launch in November of 2020.

You can finally put your money where your vote is, even on Wall Street. Look for the DEMZ ticker wherever you invest, or 
visit to learn more

The Ohio Supreme Court has rejected Republicans’ gerrymandered congressional map, which would have given them an advantage of 12 seats to three. 

The White House announced that Americans will be able to order free rapid tests on starting on Wednesday.

Washington, DC, has launched a pilot program that will provide direct cash payments to low-income new parents and pregnant people. 

The Bureau of Land Management has approved a third major solar project in California, which will generate enough energy to power 142,000 homes.

. . . . . .

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