Thursday Reads

David Hockney, Northern Sunset

David Hockney, Northern Sunset

Good Morning!!

It looks like an agreement to keep the government running has been reached at the last minute, but there’s no agreement on raising the debt limit as yet. CBS News: Schumer announces agreement to prevent government shutdown.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced Wednesday night that an agreement to keep the government funded and prevent a government shutdown has been reached.

“We have an agreement on the C.R. — the continuing resolution — to prevent a government shutdown, and we should be voting on that tomorrow morning,” he said on the Senate floor. The majority leader said he hopes to hold a vote on final passage by midday — hours before government funding would have run out, at midnight Thursday.

The short-term government funding bill would keep federal agencies operating through December 3, but it does not address the looming deadline to raise the debt ceiling to avoid U.S. default. The bill includes $6.3 billion for relocation efforts for Afghan refugees, as well as $28.6 billion for disaster assistance following a spate of devastating hurricanes and wildfires. 

Once the bill passes in the Senate, the House will take it up, so it can then be sent to President Biden to sign before government funding expires.

Georgia O’Keeffe, Sunset Long Island

Next on the Congressional agenda: Biden’s infrastructure bills, which are being held hostage by “Democrats” Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema. 

The Washington Post: Waiting for ‘Manchema’: House liberals grow exasperated with two Democratic senators as Biden agenda struggles.

House Democrats facing down tight deadlines and spiraling worries that President Biden’s agenda could soon fall apart are growing increasingly exasperated with a pair of Democratic senators whose votes are key but whose views are unclear when it comes to what they want out of legislation to expand the social safety net.

Sens. Joe Manchin III (W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.) have said Biden’s $3.5 trillion proposal for expanding heath care access, boosting education programs and fighting climate change is too expensive, but they have been reluctant to engage in detailed discussions about how they want it changed.

“We need to know what he’s a skeptic on so that we can have the conversation with him. There has been no clarity in what they actually want, both Sinema and Manchin,” said Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), a member of the House Progressive Caucus.

Until they do, House liberals eager to enact the legislation say they are essentially banging their heads against the wall. House moderates, meanwhile, are wary of signing onto potentially politically fraught policies until they know whether they have the blessing of the senatorial pair and will make it into law.


Claude Monet, Sunset

A vote is scheduled in the House today, but no one knows what would be required for it to pass the Senate.

Late Wednesday, Manchin released the type of statement that has irritated large groups of Democrats in the past with its emphasis on slowing down and scaling back.

“At some point, all of us, regardless of party must ask the simple question — how much is enough?,” he wrote. Manchin didn’t provide more details on his views beyond concern over the package’s size, but he did emphasize that he wanted any new programs to have provisions that would establish limits on who could receive the benefits based on income….

Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Tex.), a moderate Democrat who wants to pass the infrastructure bill regardless of the state of negotiations on the other package, said he has spoken to Manchin, who told him his top line number, but Cuellar would not say what it was. Manchin has floated that something in the range of $1.5 trillion to $2 trillion could potentially work, but Sinema has not given any inclination of what she could support.

While Manchin often talks with reporters, puts out statements and writes op-eds, Sinema prefers to share as little as possible publicly and declines to answer reporters’ questions.


Some voters in Arizona are getting fed up with Sinema’s act. Kyrsten Sinema Is at the Center of It All. Some Arizonans Wish She Weren’t.

Jade Duran once spent her weekends knocking on doors to campaign for Senator Kyrsten Sinema, the stubbornly centrist Democrat whose vote could seal the fate of a vast Democratic effort to remake America’s social safety net. But no more.

When Ms. Sinema famously gave a thumbs down to a $15 minimum wage and refused to eliminate the filibuster to pass new voting rights laws this year, Ms. Duran, a Democrat and biomedical engineer from Phoenix, decided she was fed up. She joined dozens of liberal voters and civil rights activists in a rolling series of protests outside Ms. Sinema’s Phoenix offices, which have been taking place since the summer. Nearly 50 people have been arrested.

“It really feels like she does not care about her voters,” said Ms. Duran, 33, who was arrested in July at a protest. “I will never vote for her again.”

Ms. Sinema, a onetime school social worker and Green Party-aligned activist, vaulted through the ranks of Arizona politics by running as a zealous bipartisan willing to break with her fellow Democrats. She counts John McCain, the Republican senator who died in 2018, as a hero, and has found support from independent voters and moderate suburban women in a state where Maverick is practically its own party.

But now, Ms. Sinema is facing a growing political revolt at home from the voters who once counted themselves among her most devoted supporters. Many of the state’s most fervent Democrats now see her as an obstructionist whose refusal to sign on to a major social policy and climate change bill has helped imperil the party’s agenda.

Little can proceed without the approval of Ms. Sinema, one of two marquee Democratic moderates in an evenly divided Senate. While she has balked at the $3.5 trillion price tag and some of the tax-raising provisions of the bill, which is opposed by all Republicans in Congress, Democrats in Washington and back home in Arizona have grown exasperated.

According to NBC News, Sinema could even face a primary challenge.


And then there are the “progressives.” Sam Brodey at The Daily Beast: Progressives Come to Their Put-Up or Shut-Up Moment.

With a critical vote looming on a pivotal part of President Joe Biden’s domestic agenda, it’s a put-up or shut-up moment for every faction of the Democratic Party, but one particular group especially: the Progressive Caucus.

In recent years, liberal Democrats have often found themselves swallowing much of their discontent as watered-down policies and compromises were the norm in a divided government. But with Democrats now fully in control of Washington, progressives finally seem poised to fight.

There are two bills Biden has said he wants to get done: a bipartisan $1 trillion infrastructure bill for things like roads and bridges, and a $3.5 trillion bill for social programs like childcare, elder care, climate change, and a host of other programs that Democrats would have to pass on their own through a special reconciliation process.

After the $1 trillion infrastructure bill passed the Senate in August, a small group of moderates in the House have been angling for ways to pass that bill and only that bill—the larger reconciliation package be damned. Progressives, realizing that this is the gambit, have sworn they will not support the infrastructure bill unless and until the $3.5 trillion package moves through Congress too.

On Thursday, progressives may finally get their chance to show moderates that they aren’t bluffing.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has promised a vote on the infrastructure bill, and though that plan has been rapidly in flux for days, progressives will get a chance to demonstrate to moderates that it’s all or nothing—either both bills pass, or none of them do.

Fjord in Sunset, Johann Holmstedt

Read more at the link. And at CBS News, see a summary of what’s in the $3.5 Trillion bill. While all this bickering goes on in Congress, Biden is remaining calm for now. The Washington Post: Biden sticks to his dealmaking strategy, as some Democrats want him to do more to bring holdouts on board.

President Biden is navigating the most perilous week for his legislative agenda yet with an approachhe’s honed over his decades in Washington: Hear out the warring factions, determine the realm of the possible and find the point of compromise that satisfies all sides.

That strategy has been clear in meetings with pivotal Democrats in the past week, with Biden speaking and hosting a stream of lawmakers — in particular a pair of moderate Senate Democrats who have wielded outsize influence in shaping the president’s agenda.

But the lack of tangible progress evident from those talks, combined with growing concerns from congressional Democrats, are testing the legislative acumen of a president who prides himself as a consummate creature of Capitol Hill. Particularly in the House, there are growing calls from Democrats for Biden to be more forcefully and personally involved with the domestic policy plans, largely viewed as the party’s one and only shot to enact their top priorities ahead of the 2022 midterms.

“I do think it would be helpful for the president to be more engaged,” said Rep. Daniel Kildee (D-Mich.). “I think his voice matters a lot.”

Kildee added: “He’s been engaged, don’t get me wrong. But I think him becoming more personally engaged would be helpful.”

How Biden cajoles key moderate holdouts and assuages restive liberals will help determine the fate of his chief domestic priority in Congress — a sweeping package totaling trillions in new spending that aims to remake much of the nation’s social safety net and invest in health and climate priorities by raising taxes on the wealthy and corporations. It will also test his ability to cut deals — a skill he’s proved over the years, from an agreement with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to avert the so-called “fiscal cliff” in 2012 to persuading a handful Republican senators to support the economic stimulus in 2009 — but this time, with his own party and with Biden as the leader.

Fjord in Sunset, Johann Holmstedt

Read the rest at the WaPo.

More important stories to check out:

Fred Kaplan at Slate: We Now Know Why Biden Was in a Hurry to Exit Afghanistan. He made several missteps, but on the big picture, he was right.

Margaret Sullivan at The Washington Post: A Trump lawyer wrote an instruction manual for a coup. Why haven’t you seen it on the news?

CNN: January 6 committee targets organizers of Stop the Steal rally in latest batch of subpoenas.

David Leonhardt at The New York Times: The Right to Health

Ed Yong at The Atlantic: We’re Already Barreling Toward the Next Pandemic.

Have a good day!!!

Wednesday Reads: A brand new flag?

Cartoons are from Cagle:

Just a couple words of interest…

This is an open thread.

Tuesday Reads

Leon Kroll, Nude Woman Reading a Paper

Leon Kroll, Nude Woman Reading a Paper

Good Morning

A quick update: I think I’m beginning to recover from my pain flare-up. I’ve found a good book on dealing with chronic pain along with an chronic pain app that is helping me better understand what is happening in my body and brain. I’ve been working on slowing down my breathing and letting go of my fear of the pain. So I’m working on being proactive.

Here are some stories that have captured my interested this morning:

The ACLU has apologized for it’s offensive editing of a famous quote by Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The New York Times: A.C.L.U. Apologizes for Tweet That Altered Quote by Justice Ginsburg.

Anthony Romero, the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union, said Monday that he regretted that a tweet sent out recently by his organization altered the words of a well-known quote by the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

The A.C.L.U. tweet, which was sent out Sept. 18, changed Justice Ginsburg’s words, replacing each of her references to women with “person,” “people” or a plural pronoun in brackets. Justice Ginsburg, who died last year, is a revered figure in liberal and feminist circles and directed the A.C.L.U.’s Women’s Rights Project from its founding in 1972 until she became a federal judge in 1980.

The tweet by the A.C.L.U. occasioned mockery and some anger on social media from feminists and others.

“We won’t be altering people’s quotes,” Mr. Romero said in an interview on Monday evening. “It was a mistake among the digital team. Changing quotes is not something we ever did.” Mr. Romero first noted his regrets in an interview with Michelle Goldberg, The New York Times columnist, who wrote a column that spoke to the danger of trying to “change the nature of reality through language alone.”

From Michelle Goldberg: The A.C.L.U. Errs on R.B.G.

Recently, on the anniversary of Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death, the American Civil Liberties Union set out to pay tribute to her pro-choice heroism, and ended up making the sort of self-parodic blunder the right salivates over.

One of R.B.G.’s iconic quotes came from her 1993 Senate confirmation hearings, when, instead of shying away from commenting on reproductive rights like most Supreme Court nominees, she made a forthright case for their indispensability to human flourishing.

Interno (1921). Luigi (Gigi) Chessa (Italian, 1895-1935)

Interno (1921). Luigi (Gigi) Chessa (Italian, 1895-1935)

“The decision whether or not to bear a child is central to a woman’s life, to her well-being and dignity. It is a decision she must make for herself. When government controls that decision for her, she is being treated as less than a fully adult human responsible for her own choices,” Ginsburg said.

In a ham-handed attempt to make the quote conform to current progressive norms around gender neutrality, the A.C.L.U. rendered it this way in a tweet: “The decision whether or not to bear a child is central to a [person’s] life, to [their] well-being and dignity … When the government controls that decision for [people], [they are] being treated as less than a fully adult human responsible for [their] own choices.”

This was a mistake for two reasons, one that’s easy to talk about, and one that’s hard.

Goldberg explains:

The easy one is this: It’s somewhat Orwellian to rewrite historical utterances to conform to modern sensitivities. No one that I’m aware of used gender-neutral language to talk about pregnancy and abortion in 1993; it wasn’t until 2008 that Thomas Beatie became famous as what headlines sometimes called the “First Pregnant Man.” There’s a difference between substituting the phrase “pregnant people” for “pregnant women” now, and pretending that we have always spoken of “pregnant people.”

What’s more difficult to discuss is how making Ginsburg’s words gender-neutral alters their meaning. That requires coming to terms with a contentious shift in how progressives think and talk about sex and reproduction. Changing Ginsburg’s words treats what was once a core feminist insight — that women are oppressed on the basis of their reproductive capacity — as an embarrassing anachronism. The question then becomes: Is it? [….]

A gender-inclusive understanding of reproduction is in keeping with the goal of a society free of sex hierarchies. It is one thing to insist that women shouldn’t be relegated to second-class status because they can bear children. It’s perhaps more radical to define sex and gender so that childbearing is no longer women’s exclusive domain.

Yet I think there’s a difference between acknowledging that there are men who have children or need abortions — and expecting the health care system to treat these men with respect — and speaking as if the burden of reproduction does not overwhelmingly fall on women. You can’t change the nature of reality through language alone. Trying to do so can seem, to employ a horribly overused word, like a form of gaslighting.

“One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman,” Simone de Beauvoir wrote. You can interpret this to support the contemporary notion of sex and gender as largely matters of self-identification. Or you can interpret it as many older feminists have, as a statement about how the world molds you into a woman, of how certain biological experiences reveal your place in the social order, and how your identity develops in response to gender’s constraints.

Seen this way, a gender-neutral version of Ginsburg’s quote is unintelligible, because she was talking not about the right of all people to pursue their own reproductive destiny, but about how male control of women’s reproductive lives makes women part of a subordinate class. The erasure of gendered language can feel like an insult, because it takes away the terms generations of feminists used to articulate their predicament.

Read the whole thing at the NYT.

The Bookseller's Son, by Chad Gowey

The Bookseller’s Son, by Chad Gowey

The Washington Post reports on a “revelation” from the new book by former Trump WH press secretary Stephanie Grisham: Trump played tough with Putin when cameras were around, while Putin toyed with his insecurities, a new book says.

Little is known about what happened in the 90-minute conversation between President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Osaka, Japan, two years ago. But as journalists were quickly ushered out of the room at the 2019 Group of 20 Summit, Stephanie Grisham once again found herself with a close-up view of the action.

She saw Trump lean toward Putin that day and tell him: “Okay, I’m going to act a little tougher with you for a few minutes. But it’s for the cameras, and after they leave, we’ll talk. You understand.” [….]

Raw Story on what happened next: 

Trump then “quickly” and “playfully” told Putin not to meddle in U.S. elections, USA Today reported at the time.

“Don’t meddle in the election, president,” Trump said in a joking manner, wagging his finger at Putin.

“When an interpreter translated Trump’s ‘request,’ Putin laughed,” USA Today reported.

Seriously: was anyone taken in by that? I doubt it. More on the Grisham book from the WaPo article:

Her 352-page book — obtained by The Washington Post — alleges a litany of misdeeds by the 45th president: from ogling a young female staffer, to orchestrating lies for the public, to attempting to ban the news media from the White House compound. It also gives a rare firsthand look at Melania Trump, who craved her privacy, and a blow-by-blow of how she wound up wearing that “I Really Don’t Care, Do U?” jacket.

Grisham even claims to know dirt on Trump’s hair, which she says he cuts himself with “a huge pair of scissors that could probably cut a ribbon at an opening of one of his properties.” [….]

A major theme of the book is the culture of lies that pervaded Trump’s administration. “Casual dishonesty filtered through the White House as if it were in the air conditioning system,” Grisham writes.

For example, in 2019, Trump went to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center without disclosing to the media that he was going, or why.

It was a days-long mystery in the national news, but Grisham’s book strongly hints that the president went for a simple colonoscopy, without actually using the word. (She wrote that it was “a very common procedure” for which “a patient is sometimes put under” and that George W. Bush had one as president, too.)

As for the elaborate concealment — Grisham writes that Trump was resistant to having Vice President Mike Pence in power even for a short period of time, and he didn’t want to be “the butt of a joke” on late-night TV.

Alice, by Sir John Lavery 1856-1941

Alice, by Sir John Lavery 1856-1941

Grisham on Jared and Ivanka:

She is particularly negative about the president’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, and her husband Jared Kushner — both of whom held senior White House positions. She wrote that the first lady and White House staff called Ivanka “the Princess” who regularly invoked “my father” in work meetings, and Grisham dubbed Kushner “the Slim Reaper” for his habit of inserting himself into other people’s projects, making a mess and leaving them to take the blame.

Tellingly, Grisham writes that Ivanka and Jared tried to push their way into meeting Queen Elizabeth II alongside the president and first lady, a wild breach of protocol on a state visit, but were thwarted when they couldn’t fit into the helicopter. “I finally figured out what was going on,” Grisham writes. “Jared and Ivanka thought they were the royal family of the United States.”

On Melania’s I don’t care jacket:

The first lady had been upset by the situation her husband’s immigration policies had caused and wanted to see it for herself. For reasons that still remain a mystery, she’d ordered a $39 jacket online from Zara. Grisham said she was on her phone ironing out details for the trip and missed the chance to stop Melania Trump from wearing it.

It was just a jacket, Melania said, as she huddled with Grisham for a damage-control session on the plane. As they arrived back at the White House, an aide told them the president wanted to see his wife in the Oval Office. It was the first time he’d ever summoned her in such a way in front of staff. He yelled and asked “what the [expletive]” they thought they were doing. Then just as quickly he came up with a solution. He would tweet out that the jacket was a message to the Fake News Media.

So that’s your daily dose of gossip.

More stories to check out today:

The New York Times: As Sinema resists the budget bill, she is set to raise money from business groups that oppose it.

Insider: The former Fox News editor who called Arizona for Biden says the Cyber Ninjas audit was meant to undermine trust in elections.

CNN Politics: ‘We won’: Trump and his allies barrel ahead with election lies despite Arizona review confirming his loss.

Steve Benen at MSNBC: When Trump says the U.S. ‘will not survive,’ don’t look away.

Adam Serwer at The Atlantic: The Lie About the Supreme Court Everyone Pretends to Believe.

The vaccine misinformation is happening in Canada too. Global News: Edmonton family with father in ICU for surgery complications witnessed ‘surreal,’ horrific scenes.

Fiona Hill at Foreign Affairs: The Kremlin’s Strange Victory. How Putin Exploits American Dysfunction and Fuels American Decline.

What stories are you following today?


Monday Reads: Right Wing America always thinks it’s All about them!

Good Afternoon Sky Dancers! 

The Big Easy isn’t so easy at the moment.  I lost my cable and internet again on Saturday.  Right now, I have no water and probably won’t for a few hours.  We’re a case study in aging infrastructure combined with Climate Change disasters and the Republicans aren’t interested in either.  Plus, here we are still watching the neighboring states work really hard to kill people in the cause of crank science and white privilege masked as liberty.  Right-wing grievance basted in white nationalist hatred has always been a problem in our country and always has a terrible cost in both life and liberty for others.

Here’s Michael Beschloss reminding us that it always hangs out in some of our key institutions.  It’s been over 100 years since the communist scare struck their blessed little hearts with fear.  Here’s a reminder of what it looked like around 60 years ago.

We’re well known for basically thinking everyone but a White Christianist male is subservient and not fully human. These white nationalist movements–egged on by the Trumpist regime today–are really frightened of losing the hegemony they’ve enforced for years. They’ve always used over-the-top rhetoric and boogymen.  In those same years, communism was in charge of the fluoridation of water. Remember this scene from Dr. Stranglove?

Despite this seemingly inexorable progression, a vocal opposition has persisted—perhaps most famously embodied in the grizzled and gruff cigar-chomping and gun-toting General Jack Ripper of Dr. Strangelove. In that 1964 film Ripper explains his rationale for inciting nuclear war: “Have you ever heard of a thing called fluoridation? Fluoridation of water? Do you realize that fluoridation is the most monstrously conceived and dangerous Communist plot we have ever had to face?

Though General Ripper’s speech caricatured anti-Red paranoia, right-wing groups like the John Birch Society have long implied dark motives behind fluoridation. But more common are groups raising safety questions. Anti-fluoridation literature goes back over half a century, with titles like Robotry and Water: A Critique of Fluoridation (1959)

We suddenly see communism again in arguing that a past president should still have executive privilege among tons of other things. The Ghost of Roy Cohen should be pleased. Indicting Trump’s crime syndicate is communist too!  Why do we keep coming back to this?

The soldier bath or Artillerymen, 1915, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner

Now, see how David Leonhardt–writing for the New York Times–studies the patterns of death by thinking communism is in charge of a privately-developed set of vaccines. “Red Covid. Covid’s partisan pattern is growing more extreme.”

During the early months of Covid-19 vaccinations, several major demographic groups lagged in receiving shots, including Black Americans, Latino Americans and Republican voters.

More recently, the racial gaps — while still existing — have narrowed. The partisan gap, however, continues to be enormous. A Pew Research Center poll last month found that 86 percent of Democratic voters had received at least one shot, compared with 60 percent of Republican voters.

The political divide over vaccinations is so large that almost every reliably blue state now has a higher vaccination rate than almost every reliably red state …

How is it that every public health issue still shakes a few little people into thinking their superior genes protect them and jump straight to the communist plot rationale?  Mask mandates are communistic too right?

Since Delta began circulating widely in the U.S., Covid has exacted a horrific death toll on red America: In counties where Donald Trump received at least 70 percent of the vote, the virus has killed about 47 out of every 100,000 people since the end of June, according to Charles Gaba, a health care analyst. In counties where Trump won less than 32 percent of the vote, the number is about 10 out of 100,000.

And the gap will probably keep growing…

I guess we’re not really joking when we say the Republican Party is killing its base.

It’s also trying to kill our democracy and economy.  Senate Republics are full-on crazy-go-nuts if they think blocking the debt ceiling will do anything but cause chaos in the global economy.  Maybe that is what they want.  Joe Biden must fail for them to replace our democracy with some Trumpy autocrat.  This is from The Washington Post and Tony Romm: “Senate Republicans prepare to block measure to fund government, stave off U.S. default. The expected vote Monday sets up a last-minute scramble ahead of two critical fiscal deadlines.

Senate Republicans on Monday prepared to block a bill that would fund the government, provide billions of dollars in hurricane relief and stave off a default in U.S. debts, part of the party’s renewed campaign to undermine President Biden’s broader economic agenda.

The GOP’s expected opposition is sure to deal a death blow to the measure, which had passed the House last week, and threatens to add to the pressure on Democrats to devise their own path forward ahead of a series of urgent fiscal deadlines. A failure to address the issues could cause severe financial calamity, the White House has warned, potentially plunging the United States into another recession.

They want a recession. Their political goals for the mid-terms demands everything be more awful than they and Trump left us.

Kathe Kollwitz, “Never Again War!”, 1924

Lee Brutman writes this for FiveThirtyEight: “Why Bipartisanship In The Senate Is Dying.”

-So, what changed? Well, pretty much the entire nature of American electoral party politics.

One way to clearly see this change is to map American partisan competition. From the 1960s through the early 2000s, both Democrats and Republicans were genuinely national parties in the Senate. That is, Senate Democrats and Republicans used to hail from all parts of the country.

This was important because it kept both parties politically diverse and thus moderate overall. Moreover, because Senate elections were more about local issues, both parties were able to compete nationally. Voters didn’t care as much whether they sent a Democrat or a Republican to Washington. What mattered was whether they sent somebody who could represent their state well. And senators could prove their worth by bringing home federal funding for roads and bridges — just the kind of issue that used to facilitate bipartisan dealmaking.

But today’s political campaigns and voters care far less about roads and bridges. They care far more about national culture-war issues — and which party controls the majority in Congress. As a result, Democrats can’t win in much of the Southeast and the Mountain West, and Republicans are now perpetual losers in the West and the Northeast. Only the Southwest and the Midwest remain competitive, and that’s only because state populations are currently balanced between liberal cities and conservative exurbs.

It’s also why bipartisanship in the Senate is waning. Republican senators in solidly Republican states do not have to worry about winning over some Democrats; the senators’ general election win is all but assured. Rather, the most likely way they could lose is if they face a primary challenge to their right. And the most likely way they could draw such a challenger is if they were to publicly work with Democrats.

In other words, a bipartisan record has become a liability in today’s electoral environment.

There are a lot of charts and numbers there showing the trends.

FRANZ MARC The Wolves (Balkan War), 1913

So let’s go back to the idea of a Constitutional Crisis as elucidated by The Washington Post Op-Ed Cited in that above tweet.  This is ‘conservative’ Robert Kagan and has been hashed about for days.

The United States is heading into its greatest political and constitutional crisis since the Civil War, with a reasonable chance over the next three to four years of incidents of mass violence, a breakdown of federal authority, and the division of the country into warring red and blue enclaves. The warning signs may be obscured by the distractions of politics, the pandemic, the economy and global crises, and by wishful thinking and denial. But about these things there should be no doubt:

First, Donald Trump will be the Republican candidate for president in 2024. The hope and expectation that he would fade in visibility and influence have been delusional. He enjoys mammoth leads in the polls; he is building a massive campaign war chest; and at this moment the Democratic ticket looks vulnerable. Barring health problems, he is running.

Second, Trump and his Republican allies are actively preparing to ensure his victory by whatever means necessary. Trump’s charges of fraud in the 2020 election are now primarily aimed at establishing the predicate to challenge future election results that do not go his way. Some Republican candidates have already begun preparing to declare fraud in 2022, just as Larry Elder tried meekly to do in the California recall contest.

Meanwhile, the amateurish “stop the steal” efforts of 2020 have given way to an organized nationwide campaign to ensure that Trump and his supporters will have the control over state and local election officials that they lacked in 2020. Those recalcitrant Republican state officials who effectively saved the country from calamity by refusing to falsely declare fraud or to “find” more votes for Trump are being systematically removed or hounded from office. Republican legislatures are giving themselves greater control over the election certification process. As of this spring, Republicans have proposed or passed measures in at least 16 states that would shift certain election authorities from the purview of the governor, secretary of state or other executive-branch officers to the legislature. An Arizona bill flatly states that the legislature may “revoke the secretary of state’s issuance or certification of a presidential elector’s certificate of election” by a simple majority vote. Some state legislatures seek to impose criminal penalties on local election officials alleged to have committed “technical infractions,” including obstructing the view of poll watchers.

The stage is thus being set for chaos

I see that word chaos a lot these days and Republican obfuscation of every important issue of the day is at the root. Getting a vaccine should not be this big of a deal. Getting the debt ceiling raised or getting rid of that obscure law that demands it should not be that big of a deal.  Free and Fair elections with expansive access to the vote should not be this big of a deal.  Passing laws that protect women and children from Violence should not be that big of a deal. Passing gun safety laws that get weapons of war off the street should not be that big of all deal.  All of these things have been done before but recently it’s been impossible to renew any of them.  The only policy Mitch McConnell has is to ensure a train wreck every time a Democratic candidate gets the Presidency. This is an anti-democratic position and should be intolerable to any American.

So, that’s my Ted Talk for the day.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?

Sunday Reads: Truth

Cartoons via Cagle:

Some tweets starting with an article from The Guardian that tells us something we already know:

According to analysis of FBI data, of all female homicides accounted for in 2018 where the relationship between perpetrator and victim could be identified, 92% of cases involved women or girls killed by a man they knew, 63% of whom were killed by current husbands, ex-husbands or current boyfriends.

I feel like pulling my hair, but then I think why bother.

These people are dangerous:

This is an open thread.