The Forward Five – Tuesday, 1/19/21

Five Things to Know Today

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— Publisher’s Note —

Good morning! There’s a shaking-out happening across the country. It’s too soon to tell how it will turn out … but the Republican Party, and conservatives in general, are choosing sides.

Usually, of course, it’s the Democrats who are fractured and splintered, usually among various degrees of policy. The most famous example, of course, was the fight between Clinton and Sanders and their supporters.

But in the face of Trump, Dems (for the most part) have come together to support Biden/Harris and to get Trump out. And it’s the Republicans who are dividing.

In Arizona, the GOP leadership is sticking with Trump and Trumpism, even though rank-and-file Repubs are ready to move on. In Wyoming, the state GOP chair says they are “paying attention” to the movement in Texas to secede. And here in Kentucky, 30 county chairs have called for a special meeting of RPK leadership to draft a resolution calling on McConnell to support Trump and oppose the motion to impeach and convict.

As I said, it’s too soon to tell how it all shakes out. But it appears that the right now has at least two factions: those who are conservative but support democracy and the rule of law, and those whose only loyalty is to Trump, Trumpism, and the Big Lie that the election was stolen.

As much as it is a nice moment of schadenfreude to watch (“Republicans in disarray!”), we need to remember: This is a serious problem. If some large portion of your population believes a lie, and believes it enough to attack the nation’s capitol and to show up armed at government functions like a legislature, it is a threat to democracy.

What do we do about it? At this point, I have no idea. Teri Kanefield says that when you have an anti-democracy group, the only thing you can do is out-vote them. You can’t reason with them if you and they inhabit different realities.

So, even as we celebrate the inauguration of Biden and Harris, and the new balance of power in the Senate, we need to acknowledge this threat to our democracy, and begin trying to solve it. If we don’t, at some point we will deal with another Trump.

Bruce Maples, publisher
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Today’s Five Things to Know

1/18 update — A mixed bag of metrics: positivity up, deaths high, but cases and hospital numbers down

While several of the metrics used to measure the impact of the novel coronavirus in Kentucky are on the decline, indicating that the post-holiday surge is waning, the number of Kentuckians dying from the disease remains high and the positive-test rate has inched up again. (Forward Kentucky)

Records: Trump allies behind rally that ignited Capitol riot

Members of President Donald Trump’s failed presidential campaign played key roles in orchestrating the Washington rally that spawned a deadly assault on the U.S. Capitol, according to an Associated Press review of records, undercutting claims the event was the brainchild of the president’s grassroots supporters.

A pro-Trump nonprofit group called Women for America First hosted the “Save America Rally” on Jan. 6 at the Ellipse, an oval-shaped, federally owned patch of land near the White House. But an attachment to the National Park Service public gathering permit granted to the group lists more than half a dozen people in staff positions for the event who just weeks earlier had been paid thousands of dollars by Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign. Other staff scheduled to be “on site” during the demonstration have close ties to the White House.

Since the siege, several of them have scrambled to distance themselves from the rally. (NextStar)

Bill to raise felony theft threshold could make a big difference in both lives and in prison costs

Kentucky’s felony theft threshold has remained unchanged for more than a decade, and critics say it’s contributing to a rise in incarceration and prison overcrowding. Surrounding states set their threshold at $1,000 or $1,500, but Kentucky’s is at $500, which means stealing a cell phone makes you a felon for life. (Forward Kentucky)

Body camera footage from night of Breonna Taylor raid has not been released, attorney says

An attorney for Breonna Taylor’s family says body camera footage exists from the night of her death that has never been released to the legal team, despite a June subpoena for the records in the now-settled civil lawsuit against the city.

The footage is not expected to show the raid at Taylor’s apartment on Springfield Drive but, rather, could include recordings from simultaneous raids that night on Elliott Avenue connected to the overall narcotics investigation that brought police to her door.

But, Taylor family attorney Sam Aguiar says, the city is now refusing to release the records. (Courier-Journal)

Poll: Majority of Kentuckians support banning conversion therapy

A new poll says 57 percent of Kentuckians support banning conversion therapy for people under 18-years-old — a discredited practice that attempts to change people’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

The survey of 810 people — commissioned by Ban Conversion Therapy Kentucky and conducted online through Change Research between January 5 and January 7 — also found that 74 percent of Kentuckians opposed sending someone who was lesbian, gay or bisexual to therapy in order to turn them straight. It did not ask where Kentuckians stood on gender orientation.

Ninety-four percent of respondents said they personally knew someone who was gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. (Herald-Leader)

Recent Content on Forward Kentucky

[new] indicates item not in a Forward Five before
🔥 indicates high # of reads, social media shares, or both

Recent Content on Forward Kentucky
[new] indicates item not in a Forward Five before

🔥 indicates high # of reads, social media shares, or both[New] A Munich Moment – In 1923, a young authoritarian tried to overthrow a government, and failed. Ten years later, he succeeded. In 2021, another authoritarian tried to throw out an election. Was this a Munich Moment? (Commentary)

[New] Our forgotten source of strength – We have to deal with the immediate task of holding people accountable, including leaders. But beyond this immediate need, we also need to take seriously the admonitions of our founders, and begin rebuilding democracy by re-teaching democracy. (Commentary)

[New] Misusing Martin Luther King’s message – Leading Republicans who have not condemned the racist rhetoric need to leave MLK out of their platitudes and pronouncements. (Commentary)

🔥 Stivers says legislature could negotiate with Beshear on emergency bills; governor still says ‘changing the rules in the midst of a worldwide health pandemic seems like a bad idea’ – Senate President Robert Stivers said there could be negotiations instead of overrides on bills limiting governor’s powers – if Beshear is willing to discuss. (News)

🔥 Trump can issue secret pardons. Can Beshear do the same? – Legal experts seem to agree that Donald Trump can secretly pardon whomever he wants. Does Governor Andy Beshear have the same power? (Analysis)

Is impeaching President Trump ‘pointless revenge’? Not if it sends a message to future presidents – The impeachment of President Trump is an indication that there is a need to mark out, through a definitive statement, what no president ought to do. It will also set the moral limits of the presidency – and, thereby, send a message to future presidents who might be tempted to follow in President Trump’s footsteps. (Commentary)

Blood on his hands – Deaths from the terrorist attack. Deaths of children in cages. Deaths from COVID. And yet … Donald Trump says he takes no responsibility. (Cartoon)

🔥 How self-proclaimed ‘prophets’ from a growing Christian movement provided religious motivation for the Jan. 6 events at the US Capitol – A particular segment of white evangelicalism has played a unique role in providing a spiritual justification for the movement to overturn the election which resulted in the storming of the Capitol. (News)

Attack, Impeachment – Now What? – It’s been a traumatic and historic time in our history. On this week’s The State of Kentucky, we talk with Cong. John Yarmuth and Prof. Josh Douglas about the attack on the Capitol, the vote to impeach, the strains on our democracy, and what comes next. Watch the video recording of the show, or listen to the podcast version. (Video/Audio)

🔥 Impeachment committee meetings must be fully transparent – After observing the first meeting of the impeachment committee, any lingering hope that the committee would adhere to the requirements of the Open Meetings Act vanished. (Commentary)

Unity – Nick Anderson sees the current calls for “unity” very clearly. (Cartoon)

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Forward Kentucky is an independent media organization focused on progressive news and issues in Kentucky. Our objectives are to provide journalism that is objective, policies that are effective, and commentary that is progressive. Our goal is to help Kentucky become all that it can be through government that works, for all. We are "the progressive voice for Kentucky politics."

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