For me, human rights activist Hervin Khalaf has become the face of Donald Trump’s unspeakable betrayal of the American national interest.
The 35-year-old Kurdish pro-democracy leader had worked to unify Arab and Kurdish groups and fulfill a pluralistic vision for Syria’s future, hoping to replace dictator Bashar al-Assad with a multi-ethnic democracy. But on Saturday, Khalaf was tortured, raped and executed by Turkish paramilitary forces deployed after Trump complied with Turkish strongman Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s request to abandon the longstanding US allies.
While she was being assassinated, Donald Trump was on his Virginia golf course.
Once again, as it was when news of Trump’s amoral family separation policy broke, I’m horrified and heartbroken at the human suffering being wrought in our names. I’m devastated about how our government was complicit in killing the dreams of democracy that Hervin Khalaf had for her children. I’m ashamed at the reports of Kurdish fighters, who fought unflinchingly shoulder to shoulder with our troops, now cursing America’s name.
As WaPo columnist Max Boot says in his piece today, “No previous chief executive has ever sold out the United States’ allies as nonchalantly and unnecessarily as Trump has done with the Syrian Kurds….Now Kurds are being slaughtered, and Islamic State detainees are escaping. With chaos all around, Trump had no choice on Sunday but to order most U.S. troops to scuttle out of Syria in a humiliating defeat. Our forces are leaving so fast they could not take with them, as planned, some 60 “high value” Islamic State detainees — i.e., some of the worst terrorists on the planet.”
The Kurdish hellscape Trump created once again reminds us of our responsibility to fight for our democracy.
Start by poking your finger in Mitch McConnell’s eye. Lend your support to Democratic candidate Andy Beshear who will find out in just 22 days if he’ll be Kentucky’s next governor. Beshear’s top issue is health care. Kate Linker, a bionic New York activist, explains why: "Andy Beshear's father, Gov. Steve Beshear, put in place Kentucky's wildly successful ACA state marketplace, KYnect. Then Republican Matt Bevin ran and won in this deep red, very poor state with a promise not to implement the state's Medicaid expansion and a Trumpian pledge to dismantle KYnect. He has set out to do both, and to cut into Medicaid--a program crucial to state residents--by imposing work requirements harmful to the chronically unemployed and disabled. The Government Accountability Office report just out in the last days estimates that it will cost the state $270 million in 2019 and 2020 to administer those work requirements and dismantle KYnect. That's $270 million not going to providing for people's health, but rather to keeping health care from them."
According to Kate, Matt Bevin is deeply unpopular and Andy has a solid chance of winning. Go to Andy's website to volunteer for remote phone banking and help GOTV (Get Out The Vote) on November 5th.
Prove Trump Wrong in Virginia: Come November 5th, Virginia is on the cusp of flipping both chambers of its State Legislature blue. Donald Trump is on the record as saying he can stop the revival of the blue wave in the Old Dominion State. But the 31st Street Organization, a Swing Left chapter, is fielding a slate of 6 “vigorous Democrats in winnable races against hardline Republicans" to prove Trump wrong. The grassroots group is working to capitalize on its strategy that helped nine out of twelve candidates prevail last November. If you want to chip in to support their efforts, here’s the link.
Finally, give yourself a lift: Lisa Herrick, founder of the 31st Street Organization shares the secret sauce of their success in a 5-minute video that’s a testament to the power of grassroots activism. If you think one “distraught” political rookie can’t make a difference, watch the video on their website.
I’m off to Washington DC for a conference tomorrow. Holding the House and winning back the Senate and the White House top the agenda, which features Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Vice President Joe Biden and dozens of our rock star Congresswomen. I’ll report in on the flip side.