Principled Democrat [sic] Moron Speaks Out in the Washington Post

The filibuster is a critical tool to protecting that input [from small, less populous states] and our democratic form of government. That is why I have said it before and will say it again to remove any shred of doubt: There is no circumstance in which I will vote to eliminate or weaken the filibuster. The time has come to end these political games, and to usher a new era of bipartisanship where we find common ground on the major policy debates facing our nation.

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Thus writes the highly principled Joe Manchin of West Virginia in an op-ed called I will not vote to eliminate or weaken the filibuster. He believes the two parties must work together. Many Americans believe this, of course, probably most of us, although the solid 40% who support Trump no matter what are apparently down for any Big Lie that might help their party maintain power. There are principled members of both parties, Manchin insists. Therefore, it stands to reason that:

There is also bipartisan support for voting reform and many of the initiatives outlined in the For the People Act. Our ultimate goal should be to restore bipartisan faith in our voting process by assuring all Americans that their votes will be counted, secured and protected. Efforts to expand voting hours and access, improve our election security and increase transparency in campaign finance and advertisement rules should and do have broad, bipartisan support and would quickly address the needs facing Americans today. Taking bipartisan action on voting reform would go a long way in restoring the American people’s faith in Congress and our ability to deliver results for them.

Manchin writes this after the GOP majority legislature of the great state of Georgia passed a voter suppression law that would have enabled Trump to overturn the 2020 election, had it been in place last November, a law so transparent in its intent to favor one party that even corporations have denounced it as the Jim Crow artifact it is.

Manchin writes this editorial after 0 Republicans (in either House of Congress) voted for the COVID relief bill that Democrats narrowly passed by reconciliation.

Manchin believes in bipartisan cooperation with a party that speechified, paid to advertise doubt about “election integrity” based on a lie and cast 147 votes in Congress against certifying an election that officials of both parties declared free of widespread fraud.

Manchin can work with a party that is blocking a commission to get the facts on the January 6 riot at the Capitol. That’s what politics is all about.

I hate to revert to type, but the truth matters, even in politics, Joe Manchin, you stupid, posturing motherfucker. Same goes for your colleague Ms. Sinema.

Manchin reminds me of the Dubya Bush that Stephen Colbert skewered at the Correspondents’ Dinner a few years back. “You’re steadfast, sir. You believe the same thing on Wednesday that you did on Monday, no matter what happened on Tuesday!”

There is bipartisan support for keeping assault weapons out of the hands of violent maniacs, has been for decades. The GOP won’t vote for it. There was bipartisan support for Obama’s moderate nominee Merrick Garland for Supreme Court. The GOP Senate leader told the president to go fuck himself, no hearing, no debate. After Trump fomented, organized and incited the riot on January 6, #Stop the Steal, based on the Big Lie, the GOP fell into line to make sure he couldn’t be convicted in his impeachment, using a dubious rationale about having delayed the proceeding until it had no constitutional force.

Manchin ends his op-ed with these high-minded phrases:

We will not solve our nation’s problems in one Congress if we seek only partisan solutions. Instead of fixating on eliminating the filibuster or shortcutting the legislative process through budget reconciliation, it is time we do our jobs.

So, of course, that means not changing the filibuster rules back to requiring the party blocking debate to stand in the well of the Senate talking and talking. It means not changing the rule to put the burden on the minority to maintain a 41 vote quorum, but leaving the burden on the majority party to find 60 votes, ten among Trump dead-ender partisans. It means changing nothing, but the hearts of Manchin’s fellow legislators.

The odds are 50-50 that Manchin simply turns Republican if pressed hard enough by Senate colleagues. If the GOP suddenly got a majority in the Senate with “moderate” “centrist” Joe Manchin joining their caucus officially, they’d immediately end the filibuster, you can take that to the bank. Manchin would probably be OK with that.

The conservative Red State Democrat already shares many of their core beliefs. You don’t need to make a living wage if you’re poor, you can make do with a much smaller raise — it’s all you deserve anyway. If it’s not for endless war we can’t spend trillions fixing roads, bridges, transitioning to a more sustainable economy, training Americans for new jobs, etc. HOW WE GONNA PAY FOR IT? YOU SURE AS HELL CAN’T FORCE THE SUPER-WEALTHY AND CORPORATIONS TO PAY MORE TAXES! The man is a Republican asset, enjoying his moment as principled king maker/kingpin of obstruction. Fuck him and the flea-bitten bipartisan donkey he rode in on.

The idiocy of zero-sum thinking

A modern day Hitler, say Saddam Hussein, defies the world in some terrible way. The response of the united democracies is to pressure him, by harsh economic sanctions (which hurt his victims, kill ailing children and leave him untouched) or war (which kills thousands of his victims, displaces millions, creates a refugee crisis that destabilizes the region for decades into the future). In the war Hussein is eventually captured and, after a short trial with a pre-ordained outcome, hastily strung up in some kind of garage or hangar, in the middle of the night. Democracy declares itself the winner.

What’s wrong with this scenario? It’s like using an atomic bomb to get rid of a single, nasty insect, for one thing.

I didn’t think of this in terms of Major League Baseball pulling $100,000,000 of business out a state where citizens are suffering mightily under the economic devastation caused by COVID-19 (also known as “Kung Flu” or the “Trump virus”) until I heard this very reasonable commentary from Tennessee comedian Trae Crowder:

If Major League Baseball had announced its firm intention to move the all-star game if certain provisions of the Georgia law were not revised, and used removal of a $100M game as a negotiating lever, might a strenuous public debate in Georgia have emerged? Of course, there is no mechanism available to do this kind of thing, though one imagines such a mechanism, with a May 15 deadline, could have been devised to address something of this anti-democratic magnitude.

Stacey Abrams, who the GOP blames for this bleeding of a fortune from the citizens of Georgia, was against the MLB boycott. She applauded the sentiment MLB’s decision expressed, and the giant corporation’s good intentions, but did not support the boycott itself. No matter, we live in a post-truth, alternative fact America.

Mitch McConnell will continue to threaten and lecture corporations about their political speech extending only to massive, unlimited campaign donations. He will block all COVID relief in the senate (as he did, month after month) unless it included blanket corporate immunity from law suits, no matter how egregious the corporate behavior was. He will go to the mat for the rights of corporations to be free of all restraint, to pursue profits as roughly as they see fit, but that doesn’t give the corporations a right to express outrage, no matter how outrageous the provocation they are responding to.

Zero sum. No solution was ever found in a zero sum world, except for one that benefits one side while screwing the other side completely. There’s no idea of any kind of win-win outcome with a party that only believes in victory at any cost.

Trump and the two GOP senators narrowly lost elections in Georgia. There was an immediate riot at the Capitol, the very day the two new Georgia senators won their run-offs. Trump wildly accelerated his efforts to loudly change the story from the GOP loss in Georgia to the widespread fraud he’d been fraudulently screaming about for months. The GOP state legislature in Georgia rushed to change the law to make sure this could never happen again, to remove any kind of political independence in the counting and certification of votes in the GOP-controlled 50-50 state of Georgia. The new law ensures the GOP wins any close election in the future.

The Georgia law, which ensures the GOP will have the final say in every county, district and precinct in Georgia (as Trump demanded, unsuccessfully, after the thrice recounted and certified election) is a new Jim Crow. The GOP defenders of this law to combat fraud by non-GOP voters appear on TV to snarl that it is not any kind of voter suppression effort, that the new law is needed to ensure “election integrity” and protect it from (imagined) voter fraud, that Blacks not whites are the actual racists, but the law is (absent the long Southern tradition of physical violence against targeted voters), without question, a new Jim Crow voting restriction. Jim Crow 2.0, yo.

On a related note– Party of the Lie

The GOP, the Party of the Lie, is determined to pass restrictive voting laws to prevent something that never happened from ever happening again. The traumatic specter of a Stolen Election, whether true or false, requires immediate action to prevent another one.

The Brennan Center recently counted the rapidly increasing number of anti-voting “Voter Integrity” laws proposed in virtually every state in the USA. It is no longer 253 proposed laws in 43 states. I will let Amy Goodman, who reported it today, tell it:

A stunning new report from the Brennan Center for Justice finds Republican state lawmakers have now introduced 361 bills to restrict voting rights across 47 states. Restrictive bills are now moving through legislatures in 24 states, and 29 bills have already been passed by at least one chamber of statehouses.

Early on Thursday morning, the Republican-controlled Texas Senate approved a bill to limit early voting hours, ban ballot drop boxes, end drive-thru voting and to allow poll watchers to videotape voters. This is one of just 49 bills to restrict voting being considered in Texas.

This comes just a week after Georgia’s Republican Governor Brian Kemp signed a sweeping elections bill that adds new voter ID requirements, severely limits mail ballot drop boxes and rejects ballots cast in the wrong precinct. One provision would even make it a crime to hand out food or water to voters waiting in line at polling places.

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Recent announcements by Coca-Cola, Delta Airlines and Major League Baseball (the first two motivated by activist pressure) have called out the clear unfairness of the Georgia law and its naked purpose of suppressing non-GOP votes. Coke and Delta CEOs changed their tunes from their first statements that the law was basically a good compromise that had some problems with them to state that the laws is, yes, bad, unacceptable.

It may be left up to corporations, those profit-driven psychopaths, to pressure states like Georgia into back off some of the more draconian, restrictive provisions of what promises to be a raft of these new voter suppression schemes. It is another irony of our corporate democracy that corporations themselves may be the final guarantors of the right to vote, if they can be forced, by organized activism, to exert enough pressure on GOP state lawmakers. Georgia governor Brian Kemp, who angrily denied charges of racism after signing his racist law and called out partisan liberals and out-of-control Blacks, people he accused of racism, immediately shot back at the corporations, who want to remain on the State of Georgia’s corporate tit but who still want to unfairly criticize the State for merely obeying Jesus Christ Himself!

The gutted 1965 Voting Rights Acts, after a 5-4 vivisection by the Supreme Court in 2013, now requires the victims of state discrimination to hire top notch elections lawyers and prove their case in court, rather than as the law intended when putting the burden on states proposing such laws, before they could be signed into law, to demonstrate they had no discriminatory intent in making seemingly one-sided laws.

Lawsuits contesting these laws, if passed (and why wouldn’t they be by a majority Republican state legislature?) will eventually reach a 6-3 Supreme Court for final adjudication. John Roberts, the “balls and strikes umpire,” author of the 2013 decision eviscerating the Voting Rights Act (we post-racial now, y’all) who has never met a voter suppression law he couldn’t find legal grounds to wink at, won’t even be a swing vote this time. Like the famously deadly Tinkers-to Evers-to Chance double play combination of baseball lore the decision will go Thomas to Alito to Gorsuch to Kavanaugh to Coney-Barrett for a Federalist Society consistent outcome.

The Party of the Lie believes in straight 51-49 suck it democracy — no rights for the “minority”. If we have the votes, fuck you. If you have the votes, you’re not being bipartisan if you don’t work with us, you’re tyrants, monsters, Nazis.

Look again at these two maps and see what you think about 51-49 democracy where if we have 51 votes you can go suck it, cuck. The 49 percent or so who voted against the GOP in Georgia (which Biden won 49.47% to 49.24%)? Fuck y’all, we got the gerrymandered state legislature and the governorship, eat it.

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That said, it’s imperative to get rid of both the filibuster and the Electoral College, two anti-democratic institutions falsely claimed to be protectors of democracy. It would also be a very good idea to expand the Supreme Court to 15 or so, and to place term limits on the Justices to ensure a regular opportunity for each party to appoint successors. If those things aren’t done, the Party of the Lie will prevail, wildly successful extremist Charles Koch will continue to smile his “aw shucks” grin during his endless victory lap, and we will have a one party 51-49 suck it state here in the land of the free and the home of the brave.

And, unlike the grounds for voter suppression laws proposed in 47 states, that ain’t no lie.

White Pride

Easy to vote and hard to cheat, secure, fair and accessible, you say. No significant cheating was found, by officials in both parties, in the secure, fair and historically accessible 2020 Georgia elections, but, what the hey. Georgia will fix it, next time millions of unqualified voters sneak their way to the ballot box to subvert the will of the leader– and they won’t leave it up to a “principled” Secretary of State, either.

Kemp, well-known midnight purger of Georgia voting rolls (when he was Secretary of State running for governor), was so proud that he signed this important voter suppression law in his office, behind closed doors, under a painting of a famous slave plantation. Georgia state representative Park Cannon, who knocked on the governor’s door during the secretive signing ceremony, was handcuffed and hustled out of the building by silent Georgia State Troopers. She was later charged with two felonies, court challenges to follow. Oh, yeah, naturally Rep. Park Cannon is a Black woman.

Before the fat compulsive liar was banned from Twitter, Mr. Trump tweeted things like this, daily:

The 65 days that led to chaos at the Capitol - BBC News

After forcefully inciting the Stop the Steal riot, and personally leading his army of passionate, credulous totally non-racist peaceful supporters to storm the Capitol on January 6, Trump tweeted this, one of his last:

Donald Trump's Twitter, Facebook video censored during Capitol Hill riots -  Texas News Today

Here is what Mr. Trump said about Brian Kemp during his long rant to his supporters, while exhorting them to go to the Capitol to find the traitorous Mike Pence and Stop the Steal on January 6th. I’ve left the good natured rambling diatribe that follows, as a reminder of the essential incoherence of the compulsively lying malignant narcissist (got to love his winking defense of innocent, righteously outraged conspiracy victim Boof Kavanaugh):

And I had Brian Kemp who weighs 130 pounds. He said he played offensive line in football. I’m trying to figure that out. I’m still trying to figure that out. He said that the other night. “I was an offensive lineman.” I’m saying, “Really? That must have been a very small team.”

(LAUGHTER)

But I look at that and I look at what’s happened and he turned out to be a disaster. This stuff happens. You know, look, I’m not happy with the Supreme Court. They love to rule against me. I picked three people. I fought like hell for them. One in particular I fought.

They all said, “Sir, cut him loose, he’s killing the senators.” You know, very loyal senators. They’re very loyal people.

“Sir, cut him loose. He is killing us, sir. Cut him loose, sir.” I will never — I must have gotten half of these senators. I said no, I can’t do that. It’s unfair to him, and it’s unfair to the family. He didn’t do anything wrong. They made up stories. They were all made-up stories. He didn’t do anything wrong. Cut him loose, sir. I said no, I won’t do that. We got him through, and you know what, they couldn’t give a damn. They couldn’t give a damn. Let him rule the right way, but it almost seems that they are all going out of their way to hurt all of us and to hurt our country, to hurt our country.

You know I read a story in one of the newspapers recently how I control the three Supreme Court justices. I control them. They are puppets. I read it about Bill Barr that he is my personal attorney, that he will do anything for me, and I said you know it really is genius because what they do is that and it makes it really impossible for them to ever give you a victory because all of the sudden Bill Barr changed, if you hadn’t noticed. I like Bill Barr, but he changed because he didn’t want to be considered my personal attorney.

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Kemp has now redeemed himself in the eyes of his former backer, one would think. Redeemed in the sense of the “Redeemers” who restored white rule to the former confederacy after a political compromise (ending the stalemate in the 1876 election) removed federal troops who were enforcing things like the Ku Klux Klan Act in the states that seceded to defend White Supremacy. If the law Kemp signed the other day had been in effect for the 2020 election, Trump wouldn’t have had to make phone calls to Georgia state officials asking for the election results to be thrown out, the GOP state legislature could have easily, and legally, fixed things for him.

As she so often does, historian Heather Cox Richardson captures the essential nature of this struggle, between a small group of powerful white men meeting in secret and the rest of us, whose voices are limited to the ballot:

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp signed his state’s new voter suppression law last night in a carefully staged photo op. As journalist Will Bunch of the Philadelphia Inquirer pointed out, Kemp sat at a polished table, with six white men around him, under a painting of the Callaway Plantation on which more than 100 Black people had been enslaved. As the men bore witness to the signing, Representative Park Cannon, a Black female lawmaker, was arrested and dragged away from the governor’s office.

It was a scene that conjured up a lot of history.

Voting was on the table in March 1858, too. Then, the U.S. Senate fought over how the new territory of Kansas would be admitted to the Union. The majority of voters in the territory wanted it to be free, but a minority of proslavery Democrats had taken control of the territory’s government and written a constitution that would make human enslavement the fundamental law in the state. The fight over whether this minority, or the majority that wanted the territory free, would control Kansas burned back east, to Congress.

In the Senate, South Carolina Senator James Henry Hammond, who rejected “as ridiculously absurd” the idea that “all men are born equal,” rose to speak on the subject. He defended the rule of the proslavery minority in Kansas, and told anti-slavery northerners how the world really worked. Hammond laid out a new vision for the United States of America.

He explained to his Senate colleagues just how wealthy the South’s system of human enslavement had made the region, then explained that the “harmonious… and prosperous” system worked precisely because a few wealthy men ruled over a larger class with “a low order of intellect and but little skill.” Hammond explained that in the South, those workers were Black slaves, but the North had such a class, too: they were “your whole hireling class of manual laborers.”

These distinctions had crucial political importance, he explained, “Our slaves do not vote. We give them no political power. Yours do vote, and, being the majority, they are the depositaries of all your political power. If they knew the tremendous secret, that the ballot-box is stronger than ‘an army with banners,’ and could combine, where would you be? Your society would be reconstructed, your government overthrown, your property divided… by the quiet process of the ballot-box.”

Hammond believed the South’s system must spread to Kansas and the West regardless of what settlers there wanted because it was the only acceptable way to organize society. Two years later, Hammond would be one of those working to establish the Confederate States of America, “founded,” in the words of their vice president, Alexander Stephens, upon the “great physical, philosophical, and moral truth… that the negro is not equal to the white man.”

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Meantime, several propagators of the Big Lie about a stolen election engineered by dead Socialists and Dominion voting machines, (the mother of an equally Big Lie about the harmless intentions of the unarmed peaceful patriots who attacked Capitol Police with Bear Spray, other chemical irritants, tasers, flagpoles, barricades, their own shields, etc. [1]) are being dragged into civil court for defamation. Their defense, the noted FOX defense (used to get entertainer Tucker Carlson off the hook for some of his more incendiary lies) is that it should be obvious to anyone that these were wildly exaggerated statements intended solely to whip up angry, low-information people and that only a moron could believe were actually true, no matter how specific or otherwise plausible they may have sounded.

Like the constantly trumpeted claims of widespread voter fraud that were not backed by any evidence whatsoever in any one of almost four hundred Trump/RNC lawsuits brought before and after the election. As no less an authority than Lyin’ Ted Cruz insisted, in the days before and after the January 6th Stop the Steal Riot, loud and angrily repeated widespread allegations of voter fraud are good enough to support anti-fraud measures [2].

Now, about that filibuster, Mr. Manchin…

[1]

Trump went on FOX the other night to insist again that his riot, in which one police officer was killed by peaceful protesters and 140 more injured by those same law and order patriots, was a love-fest featuring hugging and kissing between his people and the police. What is it with the homoerotic suggestions of this giant orange homophobe? He and the North Korean dictator “fell in love”. Sure did.

[2]

This very specific sounding, but false, fabricated claim of fraud, an outright lie unsupported by any evidence, made by Trump while urging his supporters to go to the Capitol and Stop the Steal, stands in for the rest:

There were over 205,000 more ballots counted in Pennsylvania. Now think of this, you had 205,000 more ballots than you had voters. That means you had to — where did they come from? Do you know where they came from? Somebody’s imagination, whatever they need it. So in Pennsylvania, you had 205,000 more votes than you had voters, and it’s — the number is actually much greater than that now. That was as of a week ago, and this is a mathematical impossibility unless you want to say it’s a total fraud. So if Pennsylvania was defrauded.

Over 8,000 ballots in Pennsylvania were cast by people whose names and dates of birth match individuals who died in 2020 and prior to the election. Think of that. Dead people, lots of dead people, thousands, and some dead people actually requested an application. That bothers me even more. Not only are they voting, they want an application to vote; one of them was 29 years ago died. It’s incredible.

Incredible, yes, that’s the exact word, sir — too extraordinary and improbable to be believed. In your defense, sir, only a raging imbecile would take you at your word.

$7,400,000 an hour — Bezos!

The world’s most successful greedy man, Jeff Bezos, made over $65,000,000,000 during the pandemic. That comes out to $7,400,000 an hour [1] for the man who heroically insists on paying his 1.3 million sweatshop workers $15 and hour for their hard work — and manfully advocates for that generous living minimum wage to be forced on all his competitors. We should note that from Jeff’s point of view, he is actually losing money since his wealth was calculated as increasing by almost $9,000,000 an hour just two years ago.

While Bezos is raking in this pandemic-driven windfall he’s fighting Amazon workers’ attempts to organize. He ruthlessly put down one such attempt in NY at the start of the pandemic when workers concerned with contracting a deadly virus spoke up about conditions in his crowded, un-sanitized warehouses, where they worked around the clock without PPE to fulfill the increasing orders of tens of millions of locked-down Americans and increase the vast fortune of world’s second richest man. Amazon warehouse workers apparently have a 100% attrition rate during their first year, because the working conditions are so atrocious. Bezos also clawed back their $2/hour hazard pay bonus in May, at the end of the third month of the pandemic.

Bezos has been spending millions in business costs to fight attempts at unionization of his vast Amazon work force. You can read all about his tactics of threatening and intimidating anyone in his work force who seeks a voice in working conditions, collective bargaining and so forth. A guy like this is generally considered a piece of shit, I certainly see him that way.

And, of course, eventually the political — a powerful greedy piece of shit’s unfettered right to do whatever he sees fit because he has an army of lawyers and will generally face no consequences for any of his actions — becomes personal. Here’s my petty personal anecdote about the genius Jeff Bezos.

I have a small collection of one-hand opening folding knives, assembled over decades. I find it handy to have a knife in my pocket, for picnic use or for opening otherwise impossible to open plastic packaging, for example. I rarely spend more than $40 for a knife, but each time I see a new design innovation that is cool (a new style of lock or improved deployment method), lightweight and not close to something I already have, I pick it up. With the excellence of Chinese engineering and manufacturing in recent years, it’s possible to buy a knife for $40 or less that not long ago would have cost well over a hundred dollars. We are living in a golden age of well-made, inexpensive, one-handed opening folding knives.

In New York State, for whatever convoluted reason, a knife that is opened with a flipper, a little tab on the back or front of the blade used to pop the knife open, is illegal. An axis lock knife (like the Benchmade mini Griptilian) that can be flipped open in a milli-second, with a flick of the wrist, is legal, as are assisted opening knives that have a spring that makes them fly open in a similar quick blink of an eye. A thumb stud is fine, and there are many knives that have bearings in them that allow them to be whipped open instantly with a flick of the thumb stud. For whatever twisted reason, NY and Massachusetts do not allow you to order a knife that opens with a flipper.

I saw a video of a cool looking flipper knife, made by the reputable CRKT, that was very inexpensive. The couple doing the video loved this knife, and lovingly demonstrated its smoothness opening and closing one handed. It indeed looked cool and I didn’t have one like it. Plus, the price was a steal, a knife that could easily sell for $50 was selling for about $12.

Apparently it was made by CRKT for a cut-rate gun company called Ruger and that company was selling this model on its website for about $12. I immediately went to the website, found the knife (LCK) and, seeing it was not available for shipping in NYC (the site did specify New York City), called a friend who lives ten miles out of the city and arranged to send them there. I ordered three or four, and with the shipping, they were about $15 each. Two would be gifts, one would live on the kitchen table, the other I’d carry around in my pocket.

A short time after I placed the order I got an email from the company informing me that my order had been cancelled, since it could not be shipped to an address in New York State.

I began arranging to send the knives to a friend in Tennessee, who would keep one and send the others on to me in a postage paid box I’d send him. But I was too slow. Bezos never sleeps.

These knives are presently only available on Amazon, at $49.95, because a good businessman is a sucker to leave money on the table. The worlds’ greediest piece of shit apparently bought out the inventory on this LCK flipper knife and priced it according to what the market would bear. Why would he not? Even assuming he paid full retail for the knives (he surely did not), that’s still a rather nice 300% profit– so, again, why not?

Fair is fair, y’all– you snooze you fucking lose. The greed of the greediest among us never sleeps.

Hopefully Bezos will have to deal with his first unionized shop, after the final votes come in on March 29th from his predominantly Black work force in Bessemer, Alabama.

[1]

This comes as a new study, out today, from Americans for Tax Fairness and the Institute for Policy Studies has found Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has seen his personal wealth increase by $65 billion since the pandemic began a year ago. That means Bezos’s wealth increased on average by over $7.4 million every hour for the past year.

Meanwhile, Amazon workers in Bessemer and other locations are being forced to work 10-hour shifts with just two 15-minute bathroom breaks.

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Politics is personal

Politics is about power, who has it, who gets to hide behind it, who gets to use it for good, who gets to use it to punish people they hate. We have been living through an increasingly naked form of smash-mouth politics the last few decades, worldwide. Its foremost practitioner here threatens to “scorch the earth” he has already burned, salted and sprayed with poison, if the right of the minority to obstruct all legislation favored by the majority is threatened.

I came across an interesting, disturbing idea the other day, from the transcript of a Hidden Brain interview a friend sent me:

00:24:41]
When you refuse to apologize it actually makes you feel more empowered. That power and control seems to translate into greater feelings of self-worth.

[00:24:50]
And in some ways, this sounds to the inner dictator, when we apologize, in some ways we are disarming ourselves. And when we refuse to apologize, in some ways we are mounting a form of emotional self-defense.

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Some sick shit, sure, this zero sum unapologetic win/lose worldview, but it does explain a lot about how political power works. You can start a war to preserve the right of your richest citizens to have slaves, a war you will eventually lose militarily, a loss you will then transform into a glorious Lost Cause, one that never had a thing to do with slavery, only rights, a moral position that allows you to loudly assert the very thing you went to war to defend: the right to treat our own precious n-words however way we goddamned please, thank you!

You lose an election decisively, but you do not accept the loss, you refuse to bow to the bipartisan consensus of every expert that you lost a fair election. It feels good, and empowering, never to apologize or admit you could ever be wrong, or, God forbid, lose. The Jews stole it from us, or millions of Mexican rapists, or Muslims, aided by powerful pedophiles, the Blacks, the Browns, the Yellows! The demonstrably false story about massive voting fraud that you keep telling, a story thrown out of countless courts for lack of evidence, is good enough to enrage your followers. More than good enough, after a $50,000,000 ad campaign and many incendiary speeches and tweets, some are willing to get violent to defend “their country” against the threat of hoards of lying, fraudulent, ignorant, smelly, disgusting, immoral people who are nothing like us.

Politics is always personal when it comes to reflexive reactions towards certain kinds of murderers. You have a young maniac the press calls “very religious” get a gun in Georgia the other day. To get the gun in Georgia all he had to do was show ID and say “kill… those whores make me want to f-f-f-f … have sex with ’em… Second Amendment!” and the gun was in his hands. A few hours later he made the rounds of a few massage parlors and shot eight people to death, a ninth person he shot escaped death by luck. Most of the people he murdered were Asian women. The authorities are still trying to “figure out” if this murder spree was a “hate crime” directed at the women because they were Asian. America wants to know, and the jury is still out — what was the intent of this enraged, “religious” white man in killing the women? What was actually in his twisted mind as he was spraying the bullets at these women will make a difference, for some reason, at his trial.

We argue over hate crimes, the definition of “hate” of “crime” of what actually makes a crime a hate crime, partisans focusing it within one frame or another. Can we really say that a police officer just doing his job, who handcuffs a suspect and kneels on his windpipe until the suspect is unable to keep pleading for his life “killed” the suspect? Kill implies an intent that the officer, well…

Let’s take a much simpler one: how about those brave Capitol Police officers who stood up to a violent, armed crowd that outnumbered them ten to one (injuring 134 of them)? The House voted almost unanimously yesterday to give them Congressional medals for their courage. Who were the twelve who voted against it? Trumpist all-stars like Louie Gohmert and Matt Gaetz, new Q-Anon it-girl Marjorie Taylor Green, provocative extremists only electable because they ran in partisan gerrymandered districts where their extremist views, supported by “dark money,” could not be challenged in a fair election. These twelve were apparently indignant that the bill to honor the cops with medals infuriatingly referred to the peaceful January 6 protest by white Christian patriots inside the Capitol, to gently but firmly disrupt the final certification of the stolen election by the traitor Mike Pence, as an “insurrection.” Making partisan sport with a tragedy, trying to score political points on the back of a dead police officer, as the goddamned divisive, racist n-word Democrats always do!

Not one Republican senator (or House member, for that matter), not the moderate Mitt Romney, not the despised Liz Cheney, not a single one of them, voted last week to give relief to struggling Americans in a nation devastated by a deadly, super-infectious pandemic, a hands-off federal response and the economic tsunami it caused. Not a single vote, for aid to hungry children, for mental health care, for medical care, for food, for vaccines, by the party whose base, and several of its rising stars in Congress, insist that powerful Democrats are child-molesting cannibals.

I say politics is personal and I will try to illustrate that idea with a personal example. My former friend Paul, is a very bright guy, a proficient maker of compelling legal arguments in federal court, a well-read man with a subtle mind. His oldest friend tells him that he has been hurt by him. Paul goes to work. Now watch the actual work, it is exactly how Republican/right-wing politics works today, particularly the irrefutable, indignant, absurd closing position that clinches the deal.

Did any of this really happen the way you said? What did I specifically do, I still don’t understand? I was trying to help, are you faulting me for that, for trying to help? I appreciate that you took hours to try to explain yourself, and I thank you for not attacking me, it was generous of you, but, if you wouldn’t mind, and I’m not going to go into any of what you said now, or ever, but can you explain it again, please, since I still don’t get exactly what I did that hurt you. I know I may seem obtuse, and perhaps shrieking like an angry schoolgirl, hanging up the phone and texting that I’m done being reamed by you may be something you’d expect an apology for, particularly from a grown man and old friend — but why? Is my waiting weeks to make any apology at all part of the reason you might be clinging to your anger so petulantly? Isn’t it possible that your anger is distorting your view of what actually happened? Who can ever really know what is in another person’s mind, even someone you’ve known for decades? We are all mysteries, even to ourselves… etc.

This is all standard stuff for a certain type trying to defend itself. But here is where the shit turns personal/political — how you stick the landing. When I finally reduce our conflict to one issue: you asked me what was wrong, I told you, you kept saying you didn’t understand, I explained again, when I directed your attention to how intolerable it is to me to have no response to things I directly raise in reply to your own questions, not only don’t you respond, you dispose of the entire controversy and perfectly stick the landing by saying “I’ve read and considered everything you said, searching in vain for a single clue what the fuck you are so fucking upset about.”

Anyone who has read even one of these posts knows what a provocatively insulting statement the assertion that I give no clue is. And, like the provocative Republican insistence that racism is non-existent, except in the minds of enraged, irrational, radical, violent, thuggish n-words, there can be only one reason to make this kind of reductive, zero sum statement — to win.

I don’t care about your supposed good will, the strength of the facts you put together, appeals to our better natures, our long friendship, your generosity in not making me feel like the ruthlessly bitter asshole I’ve arguably been, your constant attempts at reconciliation — you lose and I WIN. That’s how this story ends, asshole. You could not provide a single clue, not even a clue, about why you harbor this irrational rage toward me.

Paul’s pessimistic belief is that people cannot change, they obey their darker natures in the end. To believe otherwise makes you pathetically deluded. By finally getting me to step back from my vow of mildness to tell him to go fuck himself, he proves his point. I try to be mild, but at bottom, I am the same vicious fuck I always was. People cannot change, or learn to be less of an asshole. Game and match. Zero sum, I win.

For contrast to this style of point-scoring and power plays, and a look at the best of political persuasion, watch Senator Raphael Warnock’s magnificent speech in support of HR 1, the For the People Act, a bill that would make voting easier, more universal and less corruptible in our great experiment in democracy. The GOP has already announced they will filibuster it, try to prevent floor debate on the bill, as the 6-3 rightwing Supreme Court seems poised to uphold Arizona’s voter suppression laws that were twice found illegally discriminatory by the lower federal courts. I can only picture the response of the outraged patriots, it will be very similar, in its essential enraged incoherence, to my buddy Paul’s provocative conclusion that I can’t put a few thoughts together coherently.

Watch Warnock’s powerful moving, speech and see if you can find a single flaw in it:

Suggested talking points for Tucker and the outraged right:

It is not that we are racists, or that America has ever been racist, in any way, it’s just that if we don’t stop [n-words] and their ilk from voting in huge numbers, like they did recently in Georgia to steal the Senate, we would find ourselves out of power, living in a country where a majority, not our own, decides what rights and privileges WE have. If the shoe was on the other foot, if we got real political power after centuries of being as murderously fucked by you as you claim to have been by us, we’d be vindictive as hell, as you would have every right to be, if we’d done anything at all bad to you. We’d put our knees on your necks so hard you’d never even be able to say, “I can’t breathe.”

More proof of the already conclusively proved

The New York Times released this, eh, surprising news yesterday:

WASHINGTON — President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia authorized extensive efforts to hurt the candidacy of Joseph R. Biden Jr. during the election last year, including by mounting covert operations to influence people close to President Donald J. Trump, according to a declassified intelligence report released on Tuesday…

The reports, compiled by career officials, amounted to a repudiation of Mr. Trump, his allies and some of his top administration officials. They reaffirmed the intelligence agencies’ conclusions about Russia’s interference in 2016 on behalf of Mr. Trump and said that the Kremlin favored his re-election. And they categorically dismissed allegations of foreign-fed voter fraud, cast doubt on Republican accusations of Chinese intervention on behalf of Democrats and undermined claims that Mr. Trump and his allies had spread about the Biden family’s work in Ukraine.

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The line we often hear, about shady things done by powerful people, is that it’s not the crime itself, it’s the cover-up that gets you. Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller wasn’t appointed because of well-founded suspicions that the Trump campaign had had strategic help from and over a hundred contacts with Putin’s agents during the lead-up to the 2016 election — he was appointed when Trump fired Jim Comey for not dropping the investigation into Trump’s former National Security Director Mike “Lock Her up” Flynn. Flynn had been reluctantly fired by Trump for lying about his own contacts with Russia, then Trump attempted to squash the investigation and gloated by immediately celebrating Comey’s firing with a bunch of Russians in the Oval Office. It all looked so openly corrupt that Robert Mueller had to be appointed.

Mueller, of course, wound up having to write an entire second volume on Trump’s repeated attempts to interfere with his investigation, cover up his attempts to cover up widespread contacts with Trump’s benefactor Vladimir Putin, instruct his people to stay strong and say nothing, his obstruction of justice. Mueller was forced to do this because Trump’s people lied to him over and over, people like Paul Manafort who Trump later pardoned for not “singing” like a “rat”. Mueller’s short summary of the Obstruction of Justice volume would have made an excellent article of impeachment, but Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic braintrust did not have the stomach for that fight, banking instead on American outrage about Trump’s attempt to shake down the new president of a country few had ever heard of.

One star of the new revelations about Putin’s attempts to sow discord and secure another four years as American president for his pliable friend is slippery Russian intel officer/spy Konstantin Kilimnik:

The report also named Konstantin V. Kilimnik, a former colleague of Mr. Trump’s onetime campaign manager Paul Manafort, as a Russian influence agent. Mr. Kilimnik took steps throughout the 2020 election cycle to hurt Mr. Biden and his candidacy, the report said, helping pushed a false narrative that Ukraine, not Russia, was responsible for interfering in American politics.

During the 2016 campaign, Mr. Manafort shared inside information about the presidential race with Mr. Kilimnik and the Russian and Ukrainian oligarchs whom he served, according to a bipartisan report last year by the Senate Intelligence Committee.

“Kilimnik was back at it again, along with others like Derkach,” Mr. Schiff said. “And they had other conduits for their laundered misinformation, including people like Rudy Giuliani.”

Neither Mr. Giuliani nor his representatives returned a request for comment.

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You know, this guy:

Kilimnik was mentioned hundreds of times in the bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee report about massive Russian interference in the 2016 election that came out in five volumes, the last of them well after Mueller’s discarded work was done. The Republican led committee documented meetings and constant communications between then Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort (Roger Stone’s former partner in political dirty tricks) and Kilimnik, the man the FBI is now seeking for Obstruction of Justice and Conspiracy to Obstruct Justice. They documented how Manafort had shared detailed polling data with Kilimnik, information that might have come into play when Trump’s surgically precise Electoral College victory was engineered. Though he lost he popular vote, he won every district he needed to win for his 78,000 vote Electoral College mandate.

The Republican led committee got much more detailed information on Trump’s collusion/coordination/close work with Russia than Mueller was able to find. And, because Americans are not sophisticated consumers of information, the Republicans on the committee publicly distanced themselves from their own findings, repeating the mantra that it was all a big nothing fabricated by vicious partisans who hated Trump, no matter how much so called evidence of this collusion they themselves had turned up.

Can anyone really be surprised about this “news” that Putin wanted his guy reelected in 2020? During the 2020 campaign Trump and Barr constantly echoed the incendiary and baseless Putin talking point about mail in voting fraud. Evidence? “It’s common sense,” snorted Barr on national TV, more than once. Draw a straight line from that lie about massive potential fraud by those who voted against Trump, through Trump’s constant carping about a rigged election, to his open attempts to sabotage the US mail system by having his megadonor dismantle hundreds of urban high speed mail sorting machines, remove mailboxes and slow down mail delivery by other shenanigans, through literally hundreds of baseless lawsuits to prevent voting or contest electoral losses, to the well-funded months’ long Stop the Steal publicity blitz, to the riot organized and launched to prevent the certification of the election results, to the screaming about the cancellation of Dr. Seuss and the snarling threats of “scorched earth” in the Senate — and… well, Putin’s laughing, anyway.

Maybe he’s right, comrades. This nation may be too fucking stupid and weak to remain a democracy.

NY Times: reeking pile of toxic excrement angrily threatens to stink even more

Or as the Grey Lady much more elegantly stated it:

McConnell Threatens Retaliation for Filibuster Change as Idea Gains Strength

To be a bit more blunt than the genteel journal of record, which reported the story, if a piece of shit could speak, it would say something pretty much like this:

In his comments, Mr. McConnell threatened that Republicans would turn the rules against Democrats and try to make it virtually impossible to do anything in the Senate if they proceeded with the change. He referred to the fact that the chamber operates under arcane rules often bypassed through what is known as a unanimous consent agreement where no senator objects. If Democrats plunged ahead to gut the filibuster, he warned, Republicans would deny consent even on the most mundane of matters, effectively bogging down the Senate.

“Let me say this very clearly for all 99 of my colleagues,” Mr. McConnell said. “Nobody serving in this chamber can even begin — can even begin — to imagine what a completely scorched earth Senate would look like — none. None of us have served one minute in a Senate that was completely drained of comity, and this is an institution that requires unanimous consent to turn the lights on before noon.”

Mr. McConnell, who noted that he had resisted aggressive demands by President Donald J. Trump to get rid of the filibuster and ram through Republicans’ agenda, said eliminating it would represent a transformative change in government and go far beyond what voters intended in electing Mr. Biden and the evenly divided Senate.

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If you read the article you will see that Dick Durbin, number two Democrat in the Senate, made a very coherent argument for changing the filibuster rules to prevent further McConnell/GOP obstruction. He pointed out that McConnell has used it more (and effortlessly, now that it requires only an emailed threat to filibuster rather than standing and speaking for hours to block debate) in recent years than it had ever been used. McConnell is a more prodigious filibusterer and debate killer than his forebear obstructionists, even at the height of the anti-Civil Rights, pro-lynching (and before that pro-slavery) filibusters.

Mr. Durbin noted that it was Mr. McConnell who institutionalized the use of the filibuster, which historically had been used rarely before the Kentuckian was in charge. Mr. Durbin said the procedural weapon was a particularly sore point for him, since it is has for two decades prevented Democrats from enacting the so-called Dream Act, a popular bipartisan bill that he wrote that would create a path to legal status for undocumented immigrants brought into the United States as children. Though it has majority support, it has never been able to clear the 60-vote threshold.

“I brought it to the Senate floor on five different occasions, and on five different occasions, it was stopped by the filibuster,” Mr. Durbin said on Tuesday.

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McConnell also changed the filibuster rule under Trump so that it no longer applies to Supreme Court nominees, bringing us the unstoppable 50-48 Supreme Court vote for the immature and hostile Boof Kavanaugh (after a quick, sham background investigation by the FBI) and the historically hurried last minute appointment of ultra-conservative Christian cultist Amy Coney-Barrett 52-48.

In fairness to him, all Mitch has left (as he tries to get Kentucky law changed so a Republican can be appointed when he steps down) was a threat of rage like nobody has yet seen in America, even under the raging idiot who just left office after organizing and inciting a riot to prevent the peaceful transfer of power.

Whatever you say, Mitch. Now somebody, please flush, would you? It stinks in there.

A Nazi’s Best Hope

A Nazi’s best hope is the same as a Ku Klux Klansman’s best hope. Finding individuals so moved by terror and rage that they will neither question nor shrink from doing whatever you convince them must be done, and rallying millions, if possible, around this righteous work. Not everyone can tie a man to a tree, bullwhip him, break his fingers and then take a blow torch to him. You have to be a certain kind of person to do that kind of work. There are many, however, who will stand by enthusiastically watching the torturer do his job, yelling encouragement, if they truly believe the person catching hell is some kind of devil. Some in the crowd might have to laugh a giddy, drunken laugh to choke down the inner revulsion it would be natural for them to feel, but they’ll be part of the mob that drags the man to the tree, they’ll talk about it with their buddies afterwards, the great thing that was done.

A Nazi’s best hope is convincing enough people, hearing about this lighting up of the night with the burnt flesh of another human, to feel the dead man “had it coming because he was evil.” That’s what propaganda is for. You need to convince enough people, usually not the best or the brightest, doesn’t matter, really, just make enough people willing to act believe, deep down, that they are the instrument of justice, the people singled out for torture deserve it. Once you have enough people on board, more respectable people will finance it, begin signing on for leadership positions, you’ll have all the funding and legitimacy you need. History proves that unscrupulous wealthy people who want unlimited power can always use a violent mob, as long as its violence can be directed toward the right enemies.

Who were the killers of my great-aunts and great-uncles, my mother’s many cousins? Neither Nazis nor klansman as such. They were a members of persecuted nationality who had the misfortune to live in the fertile breadbasket of Europe. They were fucked generation after generation, slaughtered and enslaved for hundreds of years by the Mongols, the Poles, the Russians, whoever had the more powerful military. Stalin, between 1932 and 1933, starved millions of them to death, in the Holodomor, the deadliest man-made famine in history. As many as four million Ukrainians were deliberately starved to death, by a totalitarian Communist madman, while their grain sat in huge piles, guarded by Stalin’s soldiers, waiting for Soviet authorities to take the grain back to the motherland to feed to their citizens [1]. Any hungry Ukrainian who moved toward these mountains of Ukrainian wheat was shot on the spot.

The Ukrainians who scrambled over the corpses of my people, after shooting them, had been arguably driven to their depravity by recent history (the mass starvation had been a decade earlier). The murderous Ukrainians who killed my family don’t get off the hook because so many of them had been murdered, of course (you know what they say about two wrongs…), but you can understand how the despised of the earth might feel like taking it out on a group even more despised, while getting pats on the back from those with the power to exterminate everybody in their path. Ukrainians who opposed the sort of thing that was done to my family, who took what history would regard as a more heroic stance, often found themselves hanging from trees, disemboweled, their children butchered. Makes you think.

Makes me think how often the party that is willing to employ ruthless terror, to lie, threaten, sponsor gruesome violence, often has the final word, at least for a time.

I think of this as I watch the increasingly dangerous American dance of division that has been escalating now for decades, the one funded by our most unscrupulous and well-born right-wing citizens, enlisting a vast, angry army of the easily duped. You can watch it playing out in real time, more and more insanely violent rhetoric and behavior increasingly normalized. You wonder, as a humanist, what is it with the the ubiquity of these Nazi/klan motherfuckers?

Good, constant advertising is the key. Keep the message simple, first of all. Liberty and freedom are the most important American values, everything else comes after that. Americans do not tolerate being coerced, ever, we fought a revolution and countless wars against tyranny of all forms. Tell me to do something I don’t want to, I’ll tell you about my freedom to tell you to shut the fuck up, and if you don’t shut up, I have my freedom to shoot you in your big mouth if you look like you pose any kind of threat to me, my family or my property. You see, that’s freedom and if you want to take it, come on and try. Want to try to make me wear a face mask during an infectious worldwide plague? We’ll see what the Second Amendment has to say about that!

You hear right wing blowhards echoing this very point daily, even after the violent right-wing assault on the Capitol. A defiant Madison Cawthorn stands up in Congress, after being elected in his carefully gerrymandered district, and trumpets this heroic rightwing trope, weeks after a violent, armed mob (arrested insurrectionists in the “peaceful” mob had enough ammunition to kill everyone in the Capitol several times over) took over the Capitol building disrupting the final certification of an election that wasn’t close, or, in their phrase, “stop the steal”. Bellicose, unrepentant, violent rhetoric, tough talk, is a proven winner for fundraising: Cawthorn, Taylor Greene, Hawley, Cruz, and other GOP tough guys are raking it in these days, based on their proud defense of violent extremism, even armed sedition, in defense of liberty, which is no vice, to some.

The so-called decisive victory of Joe Biden, and the narrow Senate majority by Democrats when they got that Black preacher and the Jewish journalist “elected” in the Georgia runoff? Obviously the result of stolen elections, it’s common sense. Besides, all those patriots were doing on January 6th when they overran the Capitol was spontaneously fighting this sickening injustice, in the name of freedom. They paraded through the halls of the Capitol because their freedom and liberty had been stolen from them. They didn’t do anything Jesus Christ Himself didn’t do when He finally had enough and threw the corrupt moneychangers out of the Temple.

This accursed pandemic has provided a kind of high octane fuel to this crazy upping the ante on anything that will up the stakes. We are socially disoriented, frightened, thrown out of normal social and recreational routines, our interactions limited, interpersonal skills frayed, we are all isolated and connected more and more to disembodied voices on the devices we carry with us all the time. Every few minutes we get a notification beep from some opinionated source we may have recently consulted.

Here’s a hot question for your favorite pundit: in light of increased vaccinations, is it reasonable for states to ban all scientific precautions proven to halt community spread? Well, that would depend on who y’all trust, wouldn’t it? Is it crazy or smart politics to weaponize prudent easy to follow precautions to slow the spread of a deadly disease before we actually achieve herd immunity? That would depend on who y’all trust, wouldn’t it?

Depending on what we prefer to hear, we may eagerly learn about more evidence that the former president and an organized group planned, funded, advertised for and incited the January 6th riot, while ordering federal troops to stand down for 3 hours and 19 minutes during the riot, imagining a kind of Alamo (nothing glorious about the original one staged by a bunch of violent American slavery advocates, go google that shit show…) that would galvanize their faithful to obey a higher law, perhaps creating a glorious pantheon of martyrs to rally around. Or, in the alternative, that the patriots who took the corrupt bull by the horns on January 6 were merely spontaneous heroes, acting courageously to prevent the fraud of millions of irrationally angry N-words.

Is there middle ground here? Not really. It was either a riot, an insurrection desperately launched by a powerful madman and his associates to retain power after losing an election by an indisputable margin or an outpouring of spontaneous American devotion to liberty proving that Jesus Christ and the White Race really are the masters of the greatest country in history and cucks who don’t believe that can just suck it.

A study came out Tuesday that concludes that while early in the pandemic the infection and death rates were much higher in Democratically run states (being on the coasts, more densely populated, more tourism, larger airports, more international travelers, etc.) than in less populous Republican ones, by July 4 (neat irony) Blue states had started to control the spread of the disease, while Red states took the lead in infections and death and have surpassed those infection and death rates since [2].

Or, depending on your source of trusted news, the “study” was fake and partisan, paid for by wealthy pedophile blood drinkers like Michael Bloomberg (it was by the “Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Medical University of South Carolina” — duh!) intent on destroying our freedom by convincing us to keep our distance from others, wash our hands and wear masks, depriving us of our God-given freedom to spread whatever invisible so-called disease we want to whoever we want. Who are goddamned child-raping, blood-swilling pedophiles to tell us what to do?

Or, as the governor of Texas might say: y’all hate our freedom. After he reopened the state for business, parties and everything else, no strings attached, his attorney general (the one who brought the Supreme Court lawsuit attempting to throw out millions of votes in states Trump “lost”– the deranged suit signed on to by other Republican attorneys general and members of Congress) is now threatening to sue the city of Austin for trying to mandate reasonable COVID safety precautions like mask wearing and social distancing.

A Nazi’s best bet? That a lie will prove more powerful than any fact anybody can prove with other facts. Once you’ve got that, the sky’s the limit, dream big, any horrible problem in the world, real or simply perceived, will suddenly have a final solution, inspired by the intoxicating liberty of absolute power.

Our best bet? Working together, paying close attention, using the tools we have to organize, make our voices heard, to make sure these autocratic anti-science, alternative reality trumpeting minoritarian motherfucker’s stay in their holes.

At the very least by putting the burden back on the 40 minority party members trying to block debate by making them actively hold the floor continuously in a traditional filibuster rather than forcing the majority to get to 60 by finding 10 votes among a solid block of craven conformists who will not even vote to condemn a president for organizing, funding and inciting a violent riot in their own house — a riot that saw chants to hang their Vice President, suddenly an enemy of their party leader.

That is, you return to the old filibuster rules if you can’t finally get two conservative “moderate” “centrists” in your own party to go along with killing that relic of slavery and white supremacy in the Senate. The filibuster was created by Senators and put into the Senate rules. It takes a 1 vote majority to change the prime tool of obstruction into something that allows legislative debate to take place and laws to be passed and sent to the president for his or her signature.

The anti-fascist party is likely to have only one shot at this preservation of democracy business. It’s going to be a short window. Then we get massive voter suppression in a majority of states, gerrymandered voting for state court judges, to guarantee party loyalists get elected in state as well as federal courts, and, The Thousand Year Reich.

[1]

The Ukrainian famine—known as the Holodomor, a combination of the Ukrainian words for “starvation” and “to inflict death”—by one estimate claimed the lives of 3.9 million people, about 13 percent of the population. And, unlike other famines in history caused by blight or drought, this was caused when a dictator wanted both to replace Ukraine’s small farms with state-run collectives and punish independence-minded Ukrainians who posed a threat to his totalitarian authority.

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[2]

States with Democratic governors had the highest incidence and death rates from Covid-19 in the first months of the coronavirus pandemic, but states with Republican governors surpassed those rates as the crisis dragged on, a study released Tuesday found.

“From March to early June, Republican-led states had lower Covid-19 incidence rates compared with Democratic-led states. On June 3, the association reversed, and Republican-led states had higher incidence,” the study by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Medical University of South Carolina showed.

“For death rates, Republican-led states had lower rates early in the pandemic, but higher rates from July 4 through mid-December,” the study found.

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