as we close out the year

We're heading toward the shortest day of the year — Thursday, December 21 — or the darkest day of the year, if your mind runs that way. Politically speaking, it's been pretty dark for a while. But on December 22, the days will start to grow longer and the nights shorter. In today's newsletter — the last one of 2023 — I'm going to be a bit of a pollyanna, seeing the glass half full, if you will. I hope you will indulge me.

I begin the upbeat with Mr. Optimism himself, Simon Rosenberg, in his recent Hopium Chronicles posting: Three Things I'm Thinking About As We Head Into 2024. He writes that three facts about 2023 buoy his outlook.

  • The Strong Democratic Performance Since Dobbs - It’s The Most Important Electoral Data Out There Now
  • The Remarkably Robust American Economy Gives Biden A Strong Foundation For His Re-Election
  • Trump’s Historic Baggage Is Being Overly Discounted in Current Analysis About 2024

Rosenberg goes on to elaborate each point. On TFG's "Historic Baggage And Ongoing Betrayal of The Country Is Being Overly Discounted in Current Analysis," he points out that "The media is simply not spending enough time war-gaming out what Trump’s unprecedented, Olympian level of baggage will mean for him and the GOP next year. Recent polling suggests it could be a very big problem." He then lists 10 bullet points describing Adolf Twitler's execrable behavior. Rosenberg's post is well worth a read.

The judicial arena is particularly lively right now. So there's a lot to read and to know, starting with the decision of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Mark Meadow's case for removal from a state court in Fulton County, Georgia, to the federal court in the Northern District of Georgia. In a unanimous decision delivered only three days after the court heard oral arguments, the court denied the appeal. In doing so, the court relied on two key arguments. First, the statute in question "applies only to current government officials, not former ones like Meadows" (Politico, December 18, 2023). And second, "the panel of the Atlanta-based 11th Circuit concluded that, even if Meadows were still in office, his argument would still fail because the state’s charges against Meadows are about an alleged criminal agreement to join a conspiracy, not about any actions Meadows took as Trump’s chief of staff."

At her highly respected blog, empty wheel, Marcy Wheeler points out that the ruling is as applicable to Boss Tweet as it is to Mark Meadows: "Meadows (and by extension, Trump) had no authority over state elections and electioneering of Meadows (and by extension, Trump) was not in their official duties." Many major news organizations covered the story: ABCNews, CBS News, and The Hill, to name a few.

Then, of course, there's the Rudy Guiliani humiliation. The defamation trial ended with a jury verdict specifying that Rudy pay Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss a cool $148 million (see Paul Waldman's take at the MSNBC website). Whereupon he held a press conference to repeat the lies: "Giuliani doubled down on the baseless conspiracy theory that Donald Trump won the 2020 presidential election.... He also claimed that his allegations against the two election workers were 'supportable' but that he didn't have the opportunity to present the evidence at trial." (As Rachel Maddow might say: BULLPUCKY!) The two former Georgia election workers are suing again, this time asking that they be allowed to seek the jury award now, before Giuliani can try to hide his assets, and that Guiliani be prohibited from spouting lies about them in the future.

On the judicial front for our antihero, Kate Shaw has an important op-ed in today's New York Times (gifted): Trump Has Always Wanted to Be King. The Supreme Court Should Rid Him of That Delusion. Explaining why the question of presidential immunity is already in front of SCOTUS (as well as before the D.C. Circuit Court), Shaw writes: "To advance the Jan. 6 case against Mr. Trump, the special counsel Jack Smith wants to skip a step at the appellate court and have the Supreme Court rule on that critical question, since a ruling in Mr. Trump’s favor would end the case. A protracted delay could have the same effect, preventing the trial from happening before the election and allowing Mr. Trump to call off the prosecution if he wins." She goes on to explore the legal cases that have addressed this issue and have found the claim of presidential immunity wanting. "In 2020 a 7-to-2 majority in Trump v. Vance rejected Mr. Trump’s argument that he should not have to cooperate with a subpoena in a state criminal case. And the court was unanimous in rejecting Mr. Trump’s arguments for absolute immunity."

Here are some key dates to watch in the two cases for presidential immunity. SCOTUS has set the due date for TFG's response to special counsel Jack Smith's appeal for Wednesday, December 20 (like tomorrow!) Meanwhile the Appellate Court has set the following schedule:

  • Dec. 23, 2023: Trump brief due
  • Dec. 30, 2023: Smith brief due
  • Jan. 2, 2024: Trump reply brief due
  • Jan. 9, 2024: Oral arguments

Also, Judge Engoron isn't having what our Butternut Berlusconi is dishing. Not only does he deny TFG's motion to dismiss the NY state fraud trial, he lights into the so-called expert witness that was supposed to undercut the government's case: "Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Arthur Engoron slammed Bartov in a Monday evening ruling denying the defendants’ latest request for a directed verdict in the $250 million case" (Daily Kos, December 19, 2023).

On the local scene, the League of Progressive Seniors held a compelling seminar on the "Threats to Your Vote in Wisconsin" last Friday. State Senator Chris Larson gave an insightful talk on the history of legislative action on voting rights in Wisconsin over the last decade. Claire Woodall, Executive Director of the Wisconsin Election Commission, followed up with an empirically-supported view of where the ease of voting in Wisconsin is now compared to where it was in the past. You can and should watch the video.

Farewell 2023. I'm going to be visiting family and friends on the east coast for the next two weeks. So the next newsletter won't appear until January 9, 2024. And hello 2024. The Events list is especially sparse right now. But it will not stay that way. Savor the next couple of quiet weeks, at least on the Grassroots North Shore front. And then suit up for action!


Saturday, December 16

Stand for Peace, 12:00 - 1:00pm
76th St and Layton Ave, Milwaukee

Stand for Peace demonstrates for peace at a different intersection in Milwaukee County every Saturday.

Monday, December 18

Join Us for a Rally and Fundraiser for Evan Goyke for City Attorney!5:00 - 7:00pm
Best Place at the Historic Pabst, 917 W Juneau Ave, Milwaukee

Join Host Senator LaTonya Johnson for a special event for Evan Goyke. This is a time to sign nomination papers, get yard signs, raise money, sign up to endorse, support, and volunteer! Donate and/or sign up.

Wednesday, December 20

Oz Dems Monthly Meeting, 7:00 - 8:00pm
1930 Wisconsin Ave., Grafton

Join us at our Grafton Office as we gather to hear speakers and catch up on the local and state politics influencing Ozaukee County – while spending time with like-minded people. All interested people are encouraged to attend.


Tuesday, January 16

LWVMC Lunch and Learn, 12:00 - 1:00pm

Invite Your Friends and LWV Members to Join Our Monthly Lunch and Learn! We listen, reflect, and follow the lead of community changemakers on important issues impacting our lives. Sign up.

Wednesday, January 17

Oz Dems Monthly Meeting, 7:00 - 8:00pm
1930 Wisconsin Ave., Grafton

Join us at our Grafton Office as we gather to hear speakers and catch up on the local and state politics influencing Ozaukee County – while spending time with like-minded people. All interested people are encouraged to attend.

Saturday, January 20

LWV Voter Registration Training, 10:00am - 12:00pm
League of Women Voters Office, 6737 W. Washington Street Atrium Conference Room, Milwaukee

2024 is going to be a very busy election year. Have you thought about helping the League with voter registration? If so, this is your opportunity to get trained in all of the twists and turns of online voter registration. Prepare yourself to help people register to vote! Learn how to register people to vote using Learn what is acceptable photo ID for voting in Wisconsin and how to acquire it. Registration required. Questions regarding this announcement? Please email [email protected].

Multiple Dates and Times

Registration at Urban League Drivers Training Classes, Various
Milwaukee Urban League, 435 W North Ave, Milwaukee

Supermarket Legends have a new opportunity to answer questions about voting and to help with voter registration on the last days of the spring drivers training classes at the Milwaukee Urban League, 435 West North Avenue. We need volunteers to be available on the following dates and times:

  • January 9, February 22, March 28 — 11:00am
  • February 1 — 1:30pm
  • January 11, February 8, March 14 — 6:45pm

If you can help, contact Linea Sundstrom.

other important links

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Milwaukee County Democratic Party

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Ozaukee County Democratic Party

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If you missed some newsletters and want to catch up, you'll find them archived on our website.


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