Spotlights hit New Hampshire every four years, when presidential candidates roll into town. For months, we trip over them everywhere – at diners, supermarkets, town halls, and on small-town street corners. But once the candidates leave, Granite Staters still have to get up, make coffee, drive their trucks to work, then drive home to make dinner for their families. That is, if they have a home, or can afford one. Like much of the nation, New Hampshire is in a housing crisis. Prices for homes are skyrocketing and too few new homes are being built, especially for those who need them most. That’s why this past Sunday I joined members of Rights & Democracy and Manufactured Housing Action Votes (MHAction Votes!) to bring this vital issue to the attention of New Hampshire’s presidential hopefuls. We visited the offices of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Vice President Joe Biden and the home of former Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), to remind them that we need real solutions, like a Homes Guarantee, to our housing crisis now. And if they want to be credible to voters like us, candidates should be ready to roll up their sleeves and advocate for us in the halls of power. That’s what elected officials are supposed to do, right?
Mulvaney, Sondland Spill Beans On Ukraine Pressure
Mulvaney and Sondland fill in the blanks on quid pro quo in Ukraine. LA Times:
"Two of President Trump’s presumably loyal appointees painted an alarming picture Thursday of how Trump and lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani turned up the pressure on Ukraine to ensure its help with two politically oriented investigations. No matter how the White House tries to spin the news, it’s seeming increasingly clear that the president abused his office by using the tools of foreign policy explicitly for his own domestic political benefit. And that’s indefensible. Gordon Sondland, Trump’s ambassador to the European Union, offered House investigators firsthand proof of a quid pro quo demanded by Giuliani, Trump’s designated go-between on all things Ukraine. The obvious goal was to advance Trump’s chances for a second term, either by discrediting Biden, a top Democratic rival, or by undermining the findings of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III and the U.S. intelligence community that Russia sought to help Trump win the 2016 election. An even more startling revelation than Sondland’s came from acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, who told reporters (before trying to walk it back later in the day) that the administration held up nearly $400 million in crucial military aid to Ukraine until it agreed to comply with Trump’s demand that it investigate Ukraine’s supposed role in the hacking of the DNC computers and meddling in the U.S. election."
Trump's 'Shout-It-Out-Loud' Strategy
Trump's shout-it-out-loud strategy. Axios: "The Trump administration is testing a novel strategy for dealing with controversy and possible illegalities: Pretend you have nothing to hide by blurting it out loud. President Trump and his aides and allies seem to think that by being unapologetic and admitting things that would have touched off blazing scandals just a few years ago, they can move the goalposts of what's acceptable to Republicans and the public. Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney just said it out loud at a White House briefing, connecting Trump's release of Ukraine aid with an investigation of corruption that included U.S. Democrats. Mulvaney replied: 'We do that all the time with foreign policy.' This, of course, pulverized Trump's 'no quid pro quo' mantra. The subtext of the pivot was: Own it. So what? He's allowed. He's the president. There's no coverup. Republicans on the Hill couldn't believe it. A House GOP committee source to Axios' Alayna Treene: Mulvaney's 'diatribe has blown up the [Gordon] Sondland interview — Democrats are referring to the transcript mid-interview. WTF.'"
SCOTUS Tests Immigration Enforcement
Supreme Court wrestles with immigration-related case as Sotomayor breaks the new 2-minute rule. CNN: "Justice Sonia Sotomayor was so eager to jump into a case Wednesday concerning the tension between the federal government and states when it comes to immigration enforcement that she broke the Supreme Court's new rule that allows a lawyer to begin arguments for two minutes without interruption. Wednesday's case concerns whether immigrants who stole Social Security numbers in an attempt to gain employment could be prosecuted under state identity theft law. In general, when it comes to immigration, federal law regulating a certain area preempts or supersedes state law in order to avoid a patchwork of different regulations across the country. Wednesday's arguments raised the question of how far a state can go when applying its law without interfering with federal law. At oral arguments, some of the justices questioned whether Kansas, in prosecuting immigrants under state fraud law, encroached on an area reserved for the federal government."
NY City Council Votes To Close Jail Complex
City council votes to close New York's notorious Rikers Island jail complex. NPR: "The City Council of New York voted 36-13 Thursday to approve a plan to close the city's notorious jail complex on Rikers Island by 2026 in favor of four smaller jails spread out across the city. Under the $8 billion plan, the four new or expanded jails will be located in the boroughs of Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx and Queens, closer to existing courthouses. The proposal was born out of the conclusion of Mayor Bill de Blasio and other Democrats that mass incarceration and a massive jail complex are out of step in an era of falling crime rates. Rikers, a complex of 10 jails set on an island between Queens and the Bronx, mainly housed inmates waiting for trial. It is notorious for violence, inhumane conditions and neglect."