Wednesday, September 02, 2015

An overview of the water challenge

Journalist Charles Fishman is a water optimist in The Big Thirst: the Secret Life and Turbulent Future of Water. This is a fascinating book and, contrary to what one might expect in a season of collapsarian nightmares, an encouraging one. Yes, the ways we have managed water have been naive and wasteful, but in this telling, people and water should be able to arrive at an equilibrium that permits and enhances life.

But before we even can think about how we interact with water, most of us need a better idea what we are talking about.

... for all our intimacy with water, we actually know almost nothing about it -- about water itself. Water is as potent in our daily lives as gravity, but also as mysterious.

For most of us, even the most basic questions about water turn out to be stumpers.

Where did the water on Earth come from?

Is water still being created or added somehow?

How old is the water coming out of the kitchen faucet? ...

His answers are mind expanding:

  • .... all the water on Earth was delivered here when Earth was formed or shortly thereafter. The water around us is original equipment -- it was included with the planet itself, in the first 100 million years or so. There is, in fact, no mechanism on Earth for creating or destroying large quantities of water. What we've got is what's been here, literally, forever.
  • All the water on Earth came from space in exactly the form it's in now. ... Water not only came from space, it was created out in space. It is, in fact cosmic juice, formed hundreds of millions, or even billions, of years before the solar system itself.
  • [Scientists] pointed the ISO telescope at Orion, a constellation that is quite easy to spot with the naked eye on a clear night. ... "What we found was that there is enough water being formed sufficient to fill all the Earth's oceans every twenty-four minutes." As the stars [being formed] coalescence and collapse in on themselves, they send shock waves out through the clouds of gas, which contain lots of loose hydrogen and oxygen. When the shock waves slam the hydrogens and oxygens into each other, they often form water. ...
  • All the water on Earth -- the thunderheads, the snow-covered ski slopes, Old Faithful, and the current of the Mississippi River -- started out as the finest mist, the smallest ice cubes, drifting around inside of an interstellar cloud.

And then this water somehow becomes compressed into rock forming a band within the earth's core, but you'll have to read that explanation yourself.

Having given us a primer on the nature of water, Fishman goes on to provide a series of descriptive discussions of how various cities, regions and countries have managed water, well and poorly. These include Las Vegas, which from a water availability point of view ought not to exist out there in the desert, but which is actually managing relatively competently. (Friends of mine take a different view of that management than Fishman; more here.)

There's such a thing as too much water: in 2008 Hurricane Ike flooded Galveston and knocked out the city's systems. Restoring them provided many lessons.

These days we may think of California as the epicenter of drought experience, but Australia has suffered far more and learned much about how to provide water to a modern, industrial civilization when natural cycles and climate change turn a continent dry.

The Indian subcontinent deals with water distribution in ways that seem both profoundly counterintuitive and inequitable. Fishman provides a frightening description of how a wealthy, modern society can fail to tend and extend a modern water system as a consequence of historical and cultural attitudes.

From there, Fishman moves on to discuss how international capitalism is developing and exploiting water's marketability, costs and potential profits.

To be honest, this story is frightening. Yet I come away understanding why Fishman is an optimist. Providing water to humans and other living beings both adequately and efficiently is a social challenge, both political and moral. But we know a lot about what could be done if we would just create the context in which to do it. This challenge is about moving from understanding to action. Fishman concludes:

Many civilizations have been crippled or destroyed by an inability to understand water or manage it. We have a huge advantage over the generations of people who have come before us, because we can understand water and we can use it smartly.

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Names matter

Oddly, I was raised to feel a tinge of affection toward President William McKinley. His assassination, which took place at a World's Fair a few blocks from where I grew up in Buffalo, sometimes seemed to Buffalonians like the last time the nation attended to our home for a reason aside from blizzards. Not that, on mature reflection, I find much to admire about the man, an aggressive imperialist who launched a war to pick off Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines from the decayed Spanish colonial empire. My regard is not enhanced by the fact that Karl Rove has written a book about our 25th president.

Republicans are flipping out because the Prez changed the official name of the country's highest mountain from McKinley to its native name, Denali. The freak out seems just another silly manifestation of Obama-hate. Alaska has been asking for the change for over 40 years. And for most people who have any awareness of the peak -- climbers, adventure travelers, National Park visitors -- it has long been "Denali." But if Obama changed, it, it must be evidence of his dictatorial aspirations.

Professor Ben Railton has described the long history of erasure and struggle over preserving indigenous Native names for geographical features. From his essay, I've learned that the state of South Dakota is considering renaming its high point, "Harney Peak" -- which we hiked last summer -- for 19th century native wise man Black Elk. The mountain overlooks Oglala Lakota territory, so that seems appropriate.

Railton concludes about such naming controversies:

The Native names, like the peoples who bestowed them, have never vanished and remain with us today—it’s long past time we remembered and honored them.

Mission District snapshots for a September morning

Some mornings are so beautiful here in this corner of the city that I can hardly bear it.

But a lot of people just aren't here anymore ...

And the anger keeps rising ...

There has be a better way ...

Monday, August 31, 2015

Gotta keep an eye on the powerful and the profiteers

On this anniversary of Katrina, Nick Buxton and Ben Hayes urge us to look not only at past horrors in New Orleans and on the Gulf Coast, but also at what militaries, governments, and big corporations have learned from that tragedy.

Could it happen again today? ...

... the structural inequality and institutional racism that underpinned the Bush administration’s response is still there, a fact that President Obama noted on his visit to New Orleans this week. Moreover, the already bloated military and security complex that reflected these power relations has expanded enormously since Katrina – and is now using the spectre of climate change to grab yet more public resources.

Two years after Katrina, in 2007, the Pentagon released its first major report on climate change, warning in no uncertain terms of an “age of consequences” in which, amongst other things, “altruism and generosity would likely be blunted.” This was followed up a year later by an EU security report that talked of climate change as a “threat multiplier” that “threatens to overburden states and regions which are already fragile and conflict prone.” It warned that this would lead to “political and security risks that directly affect European interests”. ...

... in one sense, the accuracy of the predictions doesn’t really matter. On the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina  we only have to look at how the humanitarian crisis on Europe’s doorstep and in its borderlands is unfolding. In Calais, we see a humanitarian emergency being treated as a security issue as the British government has pledged 22 million Pounds on fences, police and dogs to keep out refugees fleeing war and torture. Both Hungary and Bulgaria announced this week that they were deploying troops, so-called “border hunters”, to prevent refugees entering the country from the former Yugoslavia.

Further afield in Brazil, there were reports this summer of authorities mobilising troops to defend water infrastructure amid an ongoing drought in the megacity of São Paulo. ...

... And we can already see how the national security planners are factoring protests against inequality and social injustice into the new crisis management paradigms: by trying to predict complex emergencies and social unrest. Today, the UK’s National Risk Register, for example, lists “public disorder” and “disruptive industrial action” as among the most severe and likely security threats facing the country.

... Dystopian preparations by the state are reflected in the corporate arena. Where we see a future climate crisis, many companies see only opportunity: oil firms looking forward to melting ice caps delivering new accessible fossil fuels; security firms touting the latest technologies to secure borders from ‘climate refugees’; or investment fund managers speculating on weather-related food prices – to name but a few.

... Hurricane Katrina was a watershed moment and a warning to us all ... We the people have to combine our actions to end worsening climate change with a transformation of the institutions that seek to respond to its impacts. 

What they describe here (and presumably will elaborate on in their forthcoming book The Secure and the Dispossessed) is the line up of institutions and individuals who are counting on enhancing their profits and power through the disruptions of climate change.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina

Ten years ago, I spotted this sign in the window of the neighborhood video store. The rapper Kanye West, at a concert for storm relief, had blurted out some truths:

I hate the way they portray us in the media. You see a black family, it says, 'They're looting.' You see a white family, it says, 'They're looking for food.' And, you know, it's been five days [waiting for federal help] because most of the people are black. ... George Bush doesn't care about black people.

West's outrage felt a relief. What we'd all seen on the TV was so horrifying -- New Orleans drowned and so many of its people still trapped by water and the failure of our systems to provide help.

West gave us somewhere to direct our rage -- this travesty must be George Bush's fault. In 2005, we were still close in time to the 9/11 attacks, after which for awhile the national need to pull together had made it hard to voice criticisms. Of course many of us had protested the Bush administration's follies and crimes: the Iraq invasion, Abu Ghraib tortures, the absurd security theater at airports, the color-coded alerts. But West's blunt declaration seemed to open the floodgates for all of us who desperately needed to scream at the administration: "you are taking the country in a wrong direction!" Thanks Kanye.
Looking back ten years, I now have to wonder whether Kanye might have spoken more accurately if he'd raged, "America hates black people." Yes, New Orleans got rebuilt ... without many of its poor and black citizens and perhaps much of its uniqueness. Over the last decade despite an administration headed by a black man, shockingly, blacks have ceased to be an absolute majority in Washington DC, now a boom-town for the young, affluent, hip and white. There goes another enclave of black culture and some autonomy. The nation continues to push aside, lock up and sometimes simply shoot poor black people. No wonder there's a broad movement to shout "Black Lives Matter."
I sent this photo to Steve Gilliard at The News Blog and he used it more than once. Steve was a towering presence in progressive blogging in those days. He died in 2007, one more loss along the way.
I was exceptionally lucky during the days after the hurricane to find myself working in what was one of the few usefully responsive institutions in the country. At the California Nurses Association (now National Nurses United) people did know what to do. Within twenty-four hours after the levees broke, CNA staff were on the phones, organizing medical personnel to fly in, hustling resources, and shaming anyone in authority who dragged their feet. For two weeks I listened to these urgent conversations and could feel assured that someone was doing something.
Just one more point, ten years later. Amazingly, despite technological change and finding itself located in the very epicenter of the San Francisco tech-fueled boom, the video store is still alive. That little business seems to have nine lives. It's owners have been nimble, merging with a music distributor and together providing quirky non-commercial offerings. Long may they last.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

The Donald in the 'hood

He's available as a piñata!

The message from Bill Maher at the top of the display reads:

We have this fantasy that our interests and the interests of the super rich are the same -- like somehow the rich will eventually get so full they explode, and the candy will rain down on the rest of us. Like they are some kind of piñata of benevolence. But here's the thing about a piñata, it doesn't open on its own. You have to hit it with a stick.

Saturday scenes and scenery: Mt. Davidson park

Much of the year, the west side of San Francisco is fogged in. A cloud blows in off the ocean and blankets the area we call West of Twin Peaks. But occasionally, especially in the fall, we have clear days on which we can take in the view from our hills. Yes, that brown stuff out there is smog over the East Bay, but nowhere is perfect and this sure isn't bad.

This view is from the flank of the public park that surrounds the 103 foot tall Mt. Davidson cross.

The 40 acre park combines wooded paths with windswept ridges. Most visitors seem to live nearby; it is not exactly a destination to which many people drive.

Many of its entrances seem almost hidden.

The enormous cross was dedicated in 1934 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. I can't help wondering whether the huge concrete structure was a Depression era stimulus project?

In any case, public ownership of this gargantuan religious symbol became controversial in the 1990s. After a legal battle, the city auctioned off .38 acres of land including the cross to the highest bidder. The winner was the Council of Armenian American Organizations of Northern California which installed the plaque commemorating the 1915 genocide shown in my previous post.

Friday, August 28, 2015

The twentieth century's "first genocide"

The current centennial of World War I is also the centennial of the all-too-successful campaign by Ottoman Turkish rulers to exterminate their Armenian minority. I was raised with a vague awareness that there had been an Armenian genocide: whenever my mother, who had been a small child during World War I, wanted to cajole me into eating something I thought looked yucky, she'd tell me how she had been told when she was young to "remember the starving Armenians." It was only as an adult when I made the acquaintance of Armenian-Americans that I began to learn more about this terrible episode.

Oxford historian Eugene Rogan's The Fall of the Ottomans: The Great War in the Middle East is largely a somewhat dry account of the political and military unraveling of the long-enduring (1299-1923!) Ottoman empire and the rise of a Turkish nation state. But his chapter on what happened to the Armenians is very accessible to this contemporary reader.

In Rogan's telling (and modern Turks still dispute much of this, not very plausibly), ethnic animosity between the many peoples of the Ottoman empire had been rising for a century or more as the Muslim state was gradually pushed out of the Balkans. In the late nineteenth century and extending up until the First World War, there were horribly painful, but relatively peaceful, transfers of Muslims out of Greece and the Balkans to what is modern day Turkey and, in turn, Greek Orthodox Christians sent west across the Aegean Sea out of what Europeans call Asia Minor.

But Christian Armenians seemed to nationalist Turks to present a special danger.
... a distinct ethnic group with its own language and Christian liturgy, and centuries of communal organization under the Ottomans as a distinct millet, or faith community, the Armenians had all the prerequisites for a nineteenth century nationalist movement bar one: they were not concentrated in one geographic area.
Spread out between the capital at Istanbul, Mediterranean coastal regions just north of what is now the Syrian border, and in far eastern Anatolia, Armenians seemed a foreign virus in their midst -- a foreign population that might appeal to their co-religionists among the time's Great Powers to extract concessions from the declining Ottoman state. There were large, but localized, massacres of Armenians in 1896. And Armenians did look to imperial Russia to perhaps carve out a Christian enclave for them in eastern Anatolia.

A military junta, called the Young Turks, took control of the Ottoman State in the first decade of the 20th century, fought inconclusive wars in the Balkans and against Russia, and sought military assistance from the Kaiser's Germany. With the outbreak of the 1914 Europe-wide war, the Ottomans join in on the side of the Central Powers, Germany and Austro-Hungary. Armenians seemed a threat to national unity in that war and some gave open support to the Allies (Britain, France and Russia.)
With the onset of the Allied attack on the Dardanelles, the Armenians [of nearby Istanbul] made no effort to hide their celebration of immanent delivery from Turkish rule.
The Turkish rulers struck against Armenians in the capital on April 24, 1915, a date since designated as Armenian Genocide Memorial Day. Meanwhile Armenians in the Anatolian town of Van, a place relatively evenly divided between about 16,000 Muslims and 13,500 Armenians, had risen up against the Ottomans, seeking to draw in a Russian army that was slowly advancing toward the town.
By facilitating the Russian occupation of Van in return for the right to govern the Van region, the Armenians had confirmed the Young Turks suspicion that they ... posed a threat to the territorial integrity of the Ottoman Empire.
And so, the Turkish rulers made unwritten, but clearly conveyed, plans for the mass murder of all Armenians. And they proceeded to achieve something very close to extermination of every Armenian man, woman and child they could lay hands on. This was not an industrial tour de force like the Nazi genocide in the next European war. Males over 12 were rounded up and shot or bayoneted by Turkish troops where they were taken, while the women, children and old people were sent to march across the Anatolian desert without food or shelter. Stragglers were picked off as they fell. Muslim villagers and gangs along the way were encouraged to fall upon the long columns, robbing, raping and murdering. An Armenian Orthodox priest, Grigoris Balakian, recorded what he heard on the death march.
... [he] engaged the officers accompanying his caravan in conversation. The Ottoman gendarmes were willing to answer any questions, as they did not believe the Armenians they were "guarding" had long to live. One of the most forthcoming was Captain Shukri, who by his own admission had overseen the killing of 42,000 Armenians.

"Bey, where have all these human bones along this road come from?" Balakian asked the captain disingenuously.

"These are the bones of the Armenians who were killed in August and September. The order came from Constantinople. Even though the minister of the interior ... had huge ditches dug for the corpses, the winter floods washed the dirt away, and now the bones are everywhere, as you see," Captain Shukri replied.
Historians estimate that no more than 5 percent of Armenians sent on these death marches survived; somewhere between 600,000 and 1.5 million Armenians perished as a result of "wartime measures."

After the war, the victorious Allies forced the Turks to hold trials of military leaders responsible for the killings. The Turks let most of the defendants escape, but the proceedings established a record.
Witness testimony revealed how the mass murder was organized: the official printed orders calling for deportation were followed by oral instructions to massacre deportees. Evidence was presented of convicted murderers released from prison and mobilized in gangs to serve as "butchers of men."
Most of the officers convicted by this tribunal evaded punishment in the moment -- but nearly all were hunted down in Europe by Armenian nationalists and executed in the following decade.

All this killing did nothing to save the Ottoman empire. Defeated by the Allies, the French and British empires divided up most of the Ottoman territories, drawing borders of Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Palestine that have persisted until quite recently. Modern Turkey was consolidated after the war as an authoritarian and (temporarily?) secular quasi-democratic state and seems to still be struggling with the vestiges of its multi-ethnic, multi-religious character. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Armenians who had been part of that other rotting empire have carved out a small state of their own between Georgia, Turkey, Iran and Azerbaijan.
Weirdly, the Armenian genocide is a perennial issue in U.S. presidential politics. In general, candidates for the office, Republicans or Democrats, affirm that they'll use the G-word once elected. But, since naming the massacres "genocide" amounts to a challenge to the official Turkish narrative that Armenian deaths were just accidents of war, they back off once elected. George W. Bush followed this pattern as has Barack Obama. Hillary Clinton loudly proclaimed her awareness of the Armenian genocide in the 2008 campaign, but since then she has been Secretary of State and apparently internalized the rule that "serious" U.S. officials don't say such things about the past behavior of an ally that lends bases for our military adventures.
This commemorative plaque sits below the Mt. Davidson cross in San Francisco. Click to read.

Friday cat blogging

While walking San Francisco the other day, I found myself in a precinct where cats were unusually accommodating to a stranger with a camera. Nothing shy about this beauty. It wanted to be scratched and admired. I complied.

For this one, I was an interesting curiosity.

This leashed prize was the most suspicious of the three. Wouldn't you be if someone held you in a harness?

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Marin Democrat hasn't declared on the Iran agreement

Most California Democrats in Congress have thrown down for diplomacy not war and have promised to vote to uphold the deal. Both our Senators are on board. Minority leader Nancy Pelosi is rounding up support in the House. But the Congressman who represents Marin County and parts north is not yet among them. Some of Jared Huffman's constituents turned out Wednesday in San Anselmo to suggest he needs some phone calls.

This micro-demonstration was one of hundreds around the country stimulated by the coalition of peace advocacy groups working together to support the agreement. I must have heard about it from 5 or 6 email lists. Among these I remember Peace Action and Move-On.

It is up to us to demand better training and more treatment

When they don't know what to do ... when our cities and towns don't provide treatment facilities ... police too often shoot. There are remedies.

More than half of all suspects shot and killed by police were suffering from mental illness.

And there are over 300,000 American in prison today that have a mental illness diagnosis – this is crazy.

There is a critical and immediate need for treatment of mental health through a public health system, not the barbaric criminalization of it mental illness we currently see happening all over the United States.

Learn more.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Taking notice

That Latinos don't like Donald Trump is no great surprise. He's a blustering insult. But it's interesting that the next least popular Republican in this list is Ted Cruz. Apparently Cuban ancestry doesn't inoculate him among Latinos against disapproval of his fractious arrogance, insofar as these voters have noticed he exists.

Gallup describes its findings:

In terms of familiarity, only Trump and Bush are recognized by a majority of Hispanics. Eight in 10 have formed an opinion of Trump and about six in 10 of Bush. Familiarity dwindles to roughly 40% for Rubio and Cruz, both Cuban-Americans, as well as for Perry and Chris Christie, but drops well below that for all the others.

That +11 percent positive score for Jeb! derives from 34 percent positive ratings versus 23 percent negative. That is, a lot of people are withholding judgement on the guy. If he keeps talking, he can probably manage to lower this as more Latino voters become aware of him.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Lots to do to end police violence

Activists who are part of the movement against violence inflicted on Black individuals and communities have offered a list of remedies they call Campaign Zero. This effort is wider, more of a coalition effort than Black Lives Matter, which leads a vibrant cri de coeur that inspires Black people to come together and assert their simple right to be. Campaign Zero gives everyone who will listen lots of specific campaign objectives that might help.

An easy deflecting response to demands for change is always "what do you people want, anyway?" We've been given an extremely comprehensive list. I'll crib a summary from Molly Weasley at Daily Kos as she's done a good job of catching some details of a program that has multiple local, state and federal components.

End broken windows policing. This calls for an end to the decades-long focus on policing minor crimes and activities, especially in neighborhoods with people of color. Also addressed are the need for different approaches to those with mental health issues and an end to racial profiling.

Community oversight. This calls for an all-civilian oversight structure with discipline power that includes a Police Commission and Civilian Complaints Office. Both offices would have specific responsibilities and across-the-board power.

Limit use of force. This solution seeks to establish standards monitor how force is used.

Independently investigate and prosecute. Among other recommendations, this point seeks a permanent Special Prosecutor’s Office at the state level to investigate any police shooting.

Community representation. This calls for officers to be a more accurate representation of the communities they serve.

Body cams/film the police. This would require and fund body cameras as well as dashboard cameras. All citizens would have the right to record police interactions on a cell phone, and police would not have the right to confiscate that phone, as is the case in some states.

Training. This calls for rigorous and sustained training, especially about racial bias.

End for-profit policing. This calls for an end to quota systems and limits fines for low-income people.

Demilitarization. This seeks the end of the sale of military weapons to the nation’s police forces.

Fair police union contracts.
This seeks to rewrite police union contracts that create a different set of rules for police, and asks that disciplinary records be open and accessible.

Different pieces of this will take center stage in different localities, depending in part on who lives where and what the power relations are between various communities. Where Black people and other people of color are numerous and are able to exercise political influence (usually but not always by voting), it might be realistic to focus on police recruitment, training and community oversight issues. Where Black people have little power (almost all state level decisions), the core issues are likely to be for-profit policing, demilitarization (police don't have to acquire all that armament) and "police rights" deals that negate their duty to serve the people by protecting individual officers rights as employees.

Getting and keeping the Justice Department on the side of widespread oversight is unequivocally a political issue. Minimally, we can't afford a Republican president or an indifferent Democratic one.

Police have been substituted for a mental health system in most of our urban areas. A huge fraction of police violence happens when a mentally disturbed person confronts insecure officers with a military mindset equipped with badges, tasers and guns. Police also kill disabled personsdisproportionately. This is worst in communities of color, but our failure to fund services to the mentally ill happens everywhere.

As a fix, body cams are tricky. As police have usually done with requirements they display their badges at all times so we at least can know who did the bad deed, officers will figure out how to avoid the scrutiny they create. They will also fight to ensure that review of film is limited to their peers and it is never released to the public. Yet having the political fights over these issues seems a good way to build the struggle. It matters when majorities say "Hey -- that's not right!"

There's so much more. None of us lack for something to do.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Indicted murderer to visit

Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court from 2003 to 2012, says the U.S. should arrest Omar Hassan al-Bashir, president of Sudan, when he comes to New York to the United Nations in September. After all, there's a warrant out from the International Criminal Court (ICC) for the guy for mass killings in Darfur.

Yeah, and pigs should fly.

Under Clinton, the U.S. signed the treaty creating the ICC -- but that treaty never went to Senate for ratification. George W. Bush said no way we were going to submit to the jurisdiction of a court currently recognized by 123 nations. We're exceptional ... then he proved it.

We have company in our stance. When we withdrew our ratification, we joined two other countries that had signed the treaty but then pulled out: Sudan and Israel.

George W., Dick Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice and their underlings should watch where they travel, as I am sure that they do.

Divided Democrats but good news for anti-nuke deal with Iran

Democratic Senate Minority leader Harry Reid (NV) has come out for the agreement. This certainly increases the likelihood that enough Democrats will stick with the President's initiative to ensure that it survives, even though Obama will have to veto a Republican vote to disapprove it. There was never any great reason to think Reid would not go along, but still the signal is a good one.

This picture of the members of the Democratic Senate leadership points to the back story. Reid is wearing his sunglasses subsequent to an eye injury. At Reid's left is Illinois Senator Dick Durbin. Durbin is the Senate point man rounding up votes for the Iran deal. He is also Reid's Assistant Leader, number two in the Democratic Caucus. On the left looking over his glasses is Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, number three in the present leadership. He is one of only two Democratic Senators so far who has come out against the Iran deal.

Reid is retiring after this term. He has endorsed Schumer over Durbin to succeed him in leading the caucus. Why should a guy who won't play with the team get to leap frog over the guy who is organizing for one of the greater accomplishments of a Democrat in power?

These guys, and Washington State Senator Patti Murray who is number four, will be jockeying for position through the 2016 election. Whoever the Democratic Senators are in 2017 will vote for which leadership they want. I'm sure constituents will remind them who was there when it counted.
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