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— Publisher’s Note —
Good morning! Here’s hoping we all got LOTS of rest over the holidays – because the new year has just started, and already we are inundated in political news at both the state and national level.
Here’s a quick sample:
- Trump recorded pressuring the GA SOS to “find” enough votes to flip the state to Trump.
- Former Secretaries of Defense (incl Dick Cheney!) post joint editorial warning Trump not to use military to try to overturn the election. (Why did they feel the need to write this now?)
- Kentucky General Assembly starts tomorrow, with multiple bad bills already filed (along with a few good ones), and Republicans in firm control, able to pass pretty much whatever they want.
- Coronavirus still raging across the country, with hospitals in many areas at breaking point.
- Georgia run-off election is tomorrow. It will determine whether Mitch McConnell is still in control, or not.
- Counting of electoral votes is Wednesday in Congress, with much drama already planned.
- Trump has urged his followers to come to DC on Wednesday to pressure lawmakers during the counting of electoral votes. Numerous militias and right-wing groups are planning to show up, with weapons.
Tired yet? Yeah, me too.
But remember — one tactic of autocrats is to create so much chaos that you stop paying attention to any of it. As much as you are able, try not to give in to that. Pay attention, stay engaged. We’re going to get through all of this, but only if we stand together and support one another.
I’ve got some ideas to share on how we can stay engaged, especially with KYGA21. I’ll share more on that over the coming days.
Keep washing those hands, wearing your mask, and staying safe. See you tomorrow morning.
Today’s Five Things to Know
Trump caught on tape threatening Georgia Secretary of State, demanding state ‘find’ votes to overturn Biden win
President Trump made an hour-long call to the Georgia SOS, Braf Raffensberger, demanding that he “find” enough votes to change the results of the presidential election in Georgia. The call was recorded, and the Washington Post has put the recording of the entire call online on their web site.
Trump tries multiple tactics to get Raffensberger to go along, including begging and ordering. At one point, he seems to be threatening the SOS.
Also on the call were Mark Meadows, Trump’s chief of staff, and Cleta Mitchell, one of Trump’s lawyers. Neither raised objections to Trump’s requests during the call.
(Editor’s note: This is a huge story, that is generating numerous stories after it, including various lawmakers calling for investigations and even a new impeachment motion. We will have a short story about it up on the site later, but you should check out other sites you trust to keep up with it.)
All living former defense secretaries condemn GOP attempts to overturn election, or involve the military
All of this nation’s living former secretaries of defense, including Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, have released a joint editorial publicly opposing any military involvement in Republicans’ ongoing attempts to overthrow the results of November’s presidential elections. (Forward Kentucky)
1/3 update — Highest Sunday yet for cases, positivity rate sets record – but holiday factors could skew numbers
Kentucky’s pandemic numbers continued to worsen Sunday, as the seven-day average of new cases reached its highest level in two weeks and the positivity rate reached its highest level since testing became widely available in May. (Forward Kentucky)
KYGA21 starts tomorrow; Republicans in control, have two priorities: pass a budget and limit Beshear
The 2021 session of the Kentucky General Assembly begins tomorrow, with Republicans having super majorities in both chambers. As they have made clear in their pre-session comments, they have two priorities: passing a one-year budget to finish out the biennium (since they only passed a 1-year budget last year due to the pandemic), and to limit Governor Beshear’s powers in multiple ways.
Since this is an odd year, this is a “short” session, with only 30 working days. They will meet for four days this week, then adjourn until February to finish writing and filing most of the bills they will consider. The complete calendar is in the Event Calendar on Forward Kentucky.
McConnell, Pelosi homes vandalized by graffiti
The homes of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi were vandalized over the weekend, seemingly in response to the inability of Congress to increase the relief checks to $2,000. (Forward Kentucky)
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Recent Content on Forward Kentucky
[new] indicates item not in a Forward Five before
🔥 high # of reads, social media shares, or both
[New] KY lawmakers push for statewide ban on no-knock search warrants – After the killing of Breonna Taylor by Louisville police, some states have moved to ban no-knock search warrants, and Kentucky could soon do the same. (News)
[New] When Trump leaves, will the GOP swear off Trumpism? – Think again, warns Bill Straub, a Kentucky Journalism Hall-of-Famer. “The Republican Party is the party of Donald Trump. It has transformed entirely from the Reagan profile to the Trump profile.” (Commentary)
[New] 🔥 Massie will not join attempt to overturn election, explains why in statement – Congressman Thomas Massie joined six other Republican representatives in a statement regarding the January 6th attempt to overturn the election, and why they will not be joining in the effort. (News)
[New] Steve Schmidt: “January 6th will be the beginning of the end of the GOP” – Steve Schmidt, the former Republican strategist and newly minted member of the Democratic Party, explains how the January 6th episode will spell doom for the Republican Party. (Commentary)
[New] 🔥 Top Ten open government stories of 2020 — numbers #10, #9, and #8 – From the Kentucky Open Government Coalition, here are the Top Ten open government stories for 2020, starting with numbers 10, 9, and 8 — the courts, misuse of HIPPA, and citizen advocates. (Commentary)
[New] Georgia on my mind – The Georgia runoff election is this coming Tuesday. What do we know about the four candidates? How do they compare? And why is this election SO important? (Commentary)
[New] New Year musings on two veeps and Capo McConnell – Some musings on two different vice-presidents and how they handled their jobs after they lost. And, about Trump’s capo, Mitch McConnell. (Commentary)
[New] My 2021 Anti-Predictions – While all the right-wing pundits (and others) are making their predictions for 2021, _I_ am going to predict which ones they get wrong. “Anti-predictions” – get it? (Commentary)
[New] 🔥 The Beshears say goodbye to 2020 by reading “mean tweets” – As we close out the year, one of the things we can be thankful for is that we have a classy and confident First Family in the governor’s mansion. Enjoy the two of them sharing tweets they received! (Video)
[New] McConnell continues opposition to $2,000 checks – After earlier offering a poison-pill version of a bill to increase relief checks, Senator Mitch McConnell said on Wednesday that there was “no realistic path” to quickly pass any such bill. (News)
[New] State auditor Mike Harmon tests positive for coronavirus – Kentucky State Auditor Mike Harmon has tested positive for COVID-19, along with his wife, one day after receiving the coronavirus vaccine. (News)
🔥 Adams: Kentucky removes 33,696 dead people from voter rolls – SOS Adams gives year-end update on voter roll maintenance. (Press Release)
KY Reproductive Rights Coalition plans Frankfort rally on Jan. 5 – Planned Parenthood Advocates and the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky will host a car rally at the Capitol, along with a 2021 legislative preview. (Press Release)
It’s time for a redistricting commission in Kentucky – It is well past the time when politicians should be allowed to be the people setting electoral districts. Kentucky — and perhaps every state — should set up independent commissions to do the job. (Policy)
🔥 It’s time to celebrate the old, and harvest the new – In the tradition of Janus, I’m going to use this time to look back and find things to celebrate, while also thinking about things I can “harvest” to take with me into the new year. (Commentary)
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