Friday Reads: Trumpist Republicans really know how to Ruin a PartyPosted: April 15, 2022
Happy Friday Sky Dancers!
I was a real sucker for the balloon drops at the ends of the Republican and Democratic parties’ National Conventions as a kid. Dad used to pop popcorn for us when we finally got a color TV so we could see the funny hats and all the hoopla. We even got to drink a Coca-Cola!
I think the first presidential debate I remember was between Nixon and Kennedy but it might be because it was shown a lot in history and journalism classes. Nixon was all sweaty and tricky dickyish and Kennedy looked like the dashing newcomer. I also saw the Checkers speech when TV and video reels became a thing in the classrooms. Debates are a staple of American democracy.
I always watch the debates now but not with popcorn and Coke. My friend from Connecticut –a hard-core daughter of labor unions who voted strictly for Democrats–turned me on to a new tradition as we watched the debates in the Carter and Reagan years. I always have a big old pot of New England-Style Crab boil that’s morphed into a big old pot of New Orleans-Style seafood boil and the local brew. I also have started the tradition of throwing out the first nerf ball at the screen for the debate season. It’s saved for the first really, really stupid remark. I ran out of them during the Trump Debates.
I’ll say one thing about today’s Trumpist Republican Party. They sure know how to ruin a party and yes, I meant that as a double entendre.
They’ve announced their withdrawal from the nonpartisan Presidential Debate Commission. You’ll remember Trumperz found the questions too difficult and tough and therefore went around telling everyone the debates were rigged because he did such a piss-poor job. I’ll never forget him stalking Hillary Clinton on the stage too. So, one more democratic norm goes down the tube at the alter of the Orange Golden Bull. This is from The Guardian: “Republican party withdraws from US Commission on Presidential Debates. Republican National Committee accuses organization that has run electoral debates since 1987 of bias”.
The Republican National Committee voted unanimously on Thursday to withdraw from the Commission on Presidential Debates, saying the group that has run the debates for decades was biased and refused to enact reforms.
“We are going to find newer, better debate platforms to ensure that future nominees are not forced to go through the biased CPD in order to make their case to the American people,” the committee’s chairperson, Ronna McDaniel, said in a statement.
The RNC’s action requires Republican candidates to agree in writing to appear only in primary and general election debates sanctioned by the committee.
This is basically straight out of the autocratic bible. Don’t go to anything where you can’t control the message. These thoughts are from Charlie Pierce writing at Esquire Magazine: “The RNC Pulling Out of the Presidential Debates Is the Clearest Sign Yet That Trump Is Running.” Maybe we’ll get lucky and he’ll choke on a Big Mac sometime in the next two years and lose his voicebox or something.
It shouldn’t be a surprise that the entire GOP is apparently behind this embarrassing turn of the tail. After all, the Republicans had no platform in 2020, and they’ll have none in 2024. They have no real policies save shoving the nation’s wealth upwards and ginned-up moral panics for the rubes. Mitch McConnell is already on record saying that he has no intention of talking about what he plans to do with a Senate majority if the country happens to hand it to him next fall. Why should we know? We’re not the people to whom he’s sublet himself for his entire adult life. This is a party that has very few ideas, and the ones they have are massively unpopular and increasingly detached from the reality of the country’s problems. And even if that were not the case, their putative 2024 frontrunner thinks windmills cause cancer. What came first, the chicken or the…chicken?
Oh, before I get ahead of the chickens, let me introduce you to The Egg Artwork of Ukraine. It’s called Pysanky.
But did you know that in Ukraine, Easter egg decorating is an important art form that dates back centuries? Known as pysanky, these Ukrainian Easter eggs are decorated using the wax-resist (batik) method. Covered in stunning motifs often taken from Slavic folk art, you’ll also find these decorated eggs in many parts of eastern Europe.
Creating these precious eggs takes focus and attention to detail, but the results are stunning works of art that are traditionally given as gifts to family members and community leaders. In fact, pysanka is so important to the culture that it’s thought that it was even produced in prehistoric Ukraine. Archaeologists have found decorated ceramic eggs to back up this theory and, according to folklore, pysanky can help ward off evil from overtaking the world. Later, this blended with Christian beliefs, though many people still feel that the decorative eggs work to scare off bad spirits from the home.
One more thing about the debates from MaddowBlog. Steve Benen, has this to say: “Has the RNC effectively ended the era of presidential debates? The Republican Party is targeting institutions that help serve as our democracy’s foundation. Take presidential debates, for example.”
For many Americans, presidential debates are a staple of the political process. Every four years, an independent commission arranges a series of public events for the electorate, giving voters a chance to see those seeking national power field questions and explain their governing visions.
But as regular readers may recall, these quadrennial debates are a relatively modern phenomenon. John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon participated in a historic discussion in 1960, but there were no such events in 1964, 1968, and 1972.
In recent decades, political norms and Americans’ expectations have changed, and many simply assume that presidential hopefuls will take part in debates, but it appears that the Republican National Committee has effectively ended the modern era of debates for national candidates.
CNN has an exclusive that may shake up the January 6 committee and hopefully, the DOJ. “CNN Exclusive: ‘We need ammo. We need fraud examples. We need it this weekend.’ What the Meadows texts reveal about how two Trump congressional allies lobbied the White House to overturn the election.”
In the weeks between the 2020 election and the January 6 attack on the US Capitol, almost 100 text messages from two staunch GOP allies of then-President Donald Trump reveal an aggressive attempt to lobby, encourage and eventually warn the White House over its efforts to overturn the election, according to messages obtained by the House select committee and reviewed by CNN.
The texts, which have not been previously reported, were sent by Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah and GOP Rep. Chip Roy of Texas to then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows. The text exchanges show that both members of Congress initially supported legal challenges to the election but ultimately came to sour on the effort and the tactics deployed by Trump and his team.
“We’re driving a stake in the heart of the federal republic,” Roy texted Meadows on January 1. That text was first released in December by the House select committee and described as being written by a House Freedom Caucus member. Roy’s authorship has not been previously reported.
When situated in the overall timeline of events between the election and January 6, the series of texts from Lee and Roy provide new details about how two Trump allies went from fierce advocates of the former President’s push to overturn Joe Biden’s win to disheartened bystanders. By January 3, Lee was texting Meadows that the effort “could all backfire badly.”
But shortly after the election, both men were encouraging Trump to keep fighting.
Read Mark Meadows’ texts with Mike Lee and Chip Roy at this link to the actual texts at CNN.
The board voted unanimously to adopt the plan.
Under the new structure, if any person or group acquires beneficial ownership of at least 15% of Twitter’s outstanding common stock without the board’s approval, other shareholders will be allowed to purchase additional shares at a discount.
The plan is set to expire on April 14, 2023.
Such a move is a common way to fend off a potential hostile takeover by diluting the stake of the entity eying the takeover.
“The Rights Plan will reduce the likelihood that any entity, person or group gains control of Twitter through open market accumulation without paying all shareholders an appropriate control premium or without providing the Board sufficient time to make informed judgments and take actions that are in the best interests of shareholders,” the company said in a press release.
Twitter noted that the rights plan would not prevent the board from accepting an acquisition offer if the board deems it in the best interests of the company and its shareholders.
I’m still trying to make sense of the Texas Governor’s truck stoppage at the Mexico/Texas border. It doesn’t do anything to check trucks for anything else but bad tires and other safety features. And, it’s screwing the state’s economy royally. This is from the Washington Post: “Economic toll in Texas worsens as trucks remain stopped at Mexico border. Gov. Greg Abbott has kept many of his new inspection policies in place despite pleas from businesses for relief.” You have to be pretty stupid to think this is about immigration but then, the republican base is primed and willing to take its daily propaganda.
Economic fallout worsened Thursday evenas Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) moved incrementally to roll back newinspection rules for commercial trucks entering from Mexico, with some companies saying they aren’t able to fulfill orders because trucks are stuck in multi-mile backups at a number of entry points.
Little Bear Produce is a Texas-based grower-packer-shipper, farming 6,000 acres in Texas and supplementing its inventory with Mexican-grown produce so it can be a year-round supplier to major grocery chains such as Wegmans, H-E-B, Publix, Albertsons and Kroger.
Bret Erickson, senior vice president of business affairs for Little Bear, says the added inspections have cost it “hundreds of thousands of dollars” already, not to mention the reduced paychecks for many loaders who have had no work as trucks fail to show up.
“This has directly impacted our business since late last week. We would typically be receiving 10 to 12 loads of watermelon per day from Mexico, as well as different kinds of herbs and greens. Since the middle of last week, we have received zero of those shipments of watermelon,” Erickson said. That means the company did not meet its business obligations with major retailers, which have in turn had to find Mexican melons from farther away, such as from Arizona. Added distance means added fuel costs.
And don’t even get me started with Kentucky. They’re gearing up to ensure women die from pregnancies and backstreet abortions. This is from VOX: “It’s now practically impossible to get an abortion in Kentucky. A new law is forcing the state’s last remaining abortion providers to shut down.”
Kentucky ended virtually all in-state abortions on Wednesday, enacting a sweeping law that bans abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, restricts minors’ access to the procedure, and cracks down on medication abortions. It’s now the state with the harshest abortion restrictions in the United States.
The new law, which goes into effect immediately, will force the state’s two remaining abortion clinics in Louisville to close due to onerous new requirements on doctors, forcing Kentuckians to look elsewhere for abortion care.
And it comes as Republican-led legislatures across the country are passing seemingly unconstitutional, draconian anti-abortion laws in anticipation of a coming Supreme Court decision widely expected to eliminate Americans’ right to an abortion. Oklahoma, for example, recently passed a law similar to Kentucky’s that imposes a near-total ban on abortions except in cases where the pregnant person’s life is in danger — though it isn’t slated to go into effect for another few months.
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear, a Democrat, vetoed the bill last week, arguing that it’s likely unconstitutional, due to the Supreme Court’s 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade, which recognized a pregnant person’s fundamental right to seek an abortion. The Court also found, however, that states could still impose restrictions on the procedure in the service of protecting the pregnant person’s health and the potential life of a fetus once it can survive outside the womb.
Beshear also argued that Kentucky’s bill should have included exclusions for victims of rape and incest, and that the law can’t be enforced without additional state-allocated funding. But the state House and Senate, which are both controlled by Republicans, overrode his veto on Wednesday evening.
“The Kentucky legislature was emboldened by a similar 15-week ban pending before the Supreme Court and other states passing abortion bans, including in Florida and Oklahoma, but this law and others like it remain unconstitutional,” Brigitte Amiri, deputy director of the ACLU’s Reproductive Freedom Project, said in a statement.
That’s it for me! “Chag Pesach Sameach!” (Happy Passover Holiday) to our Jewish Sky Dancers! Blessed Good Friday and Easter! to our Christian Sky Dancers!
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?