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?


Finally Friday Reads! Trash problems are Everywhere!!!

“East River From the Shelton” (1926), Georgia O’Keeffe

Hi Sky Dancers!

I learned something from the Mayor yesterday.  Every city in the country is having trouble picking up and dumping its trash mostly due to Covid-19.  No one can send excess garbage pick-up capacity to New Orleans because no city has more pick-up ability than trash. It is possible to deliver your trash to the dump if you’re motivated enough to sit in line and mask up as heavily as possible. You can also demonstrate at the Trash Parade tomorrow although I wouldn’t taking any trash to dump at city hall if you go.

With that being said, let’s talk about the big Trash parade in the District and Uncle Clarence Thomas who usually lets the ghost of Antonin Scalia and his wife do all the talking for him.  Oh, and Sarah Palin hasn’t been vaccinated so let’s start the death watch now!  Alaska and Idaho hospitals are so overcrowded they are rationing care!.  Republicans now own Death Panels!

Just like that, the Supreme Court’s judge with the most conflicts of interest pulls an Amy Coney Barret.

Justice Clarence Thomas defended the independence of the Supreme Court on Thursday and warned against “destroying our institutions because they don’t give us what we want, when we want it.”

Thomas, the longest serving justice, acknowledged that the high court has its flaws, comparing it to a “car with three wheels” that somehow still works. But he said the justices are not ruling based on “personal preferences” and suggested that the nation’s leaders should not “allow others to manipulate our institutions when we don’t get the outcome that we like.”

The justice’s remarks came during a lecture at the University of Notre Dame in which he talked about traveling by RV in the mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee with his wife, Ginni. Thomas reflected on his childhood in the segregated South and his religious faith. He also alluded several times to the political polarization in the United States

“We’ve gotten to the point where we’re really good at finding something that separates us,” Thomas told the crowd of more than 800 students and faculty gathered at the school’s performing arts center.

Thomas is the latest justice to add his voice to the mix and publicly come to the court’s defense in the face of growing criticism that the nine justices are merely politicians in robes.

“I think the media makes it sound as though you are just always going right to your personal preference. So if they think you are antiabortion or something personally, they think that’s the way you always will come out. They think you’re for this or for that. They think you become like a politician,” Thomas said in response to a question about public misconceptions of the court.

“That’s a problem. You’re going to jeopardize any faith in the legal institutions.”

New York Street with Moon, 1925, Georgia O’Keefe

Yes, that made me throw up in my mouth a little too.  So let me get back to the Trash Parade on September 18th and this link to VOX and a piece by Aaron Rupar: “The Justice for J6 rally is Trump supporters’ latest attempt at revisionist history. The September 18 event is prompting officials to raise fencing again around the Capitol. Extremism experts are skeptical.

Two days ahead of a Trump-inspired rally outside the Capitol on behalf of people who have been charged with crimes in connection to the January 6 insurrection, former President Donald Trump released a statement supporting the cause of the Justice for J6 movement.

“Our hearts and minds are with the people being persecuted so unfairly relating to the January 6th protest concerning the Rigged Presidential Election,” Trump said, invoking his oft-repeated lies about the 2020 presidential election, which he lost to Joe Biden. “In addition to everything else, it has proven conclusively that we are a two-tiered system of justice. In the end, however, JUSTICE WILL PREVAIL!”

Trump’s statement tosses fuel on a combustible situation. A Monday statement from the US Capitol Police warning about “concerning online chatter about a demonstration planned for September 18” already raised worries that Saturday’s Justice for J6 rally could spiral out of control and result in violent scenes reminiscent of January 6. But extremism experts are skeptical.

Jared Holt, a domestic extremism researcher with the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab, wrote recently on his website that online chatter indicates the event is likely to be a bust.

“I am highly skeptical that [right-wing extremists] would appear in any kind of significant numbers without at least some kind of indication of that appearing in the communities they so often frequent,” Holt wrote. Reached this week via Twitter direct message, Holt said he still isn’t seeing indications September 18 will amount to much. In fact, he is seeing members of far-right groups warning that the event is likely to be swarming with informants.

Holt’s assessment is backed up by Michael Edison Hayden, a spokesperson for the Southern Poverty Law Center, who told Talking Points memo he’s “not witnessed anything that would indicate large numbers of far-right demonstrators, or Proud Boys in particular, will attend this event.”

But Capitol Police’s warning and decision to mobilize extra law enforcement resources illustrates how much of a concern Trump-inspired extremism remains nine months after the insurrection — as well as how focused law enforcement is on preventing another January 6 from happening.

It’s a long read but worth it.

New York: A Painting, “Radiator Building–Night, New York” by Georgia O’Keefe of American Radiator Building, 1927.

There’s a lot of brief information in that Washingtonian link.

The two main speakers are Joe Kent, who’s challenging GOP Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler in Washington state, and Mike Collins, a Republican running for Congress in Georgia. Braynard will host alongside Cara Castronuova, a pro-Trump boxer who appeared on season 11 of The Biggest Loser and founded a group called Citizens Against Political Persecution. Family members of people held on January 6 charges will likely speak, Braynard says.

Members of Congress including Matt Gaetz, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Paul Gosar, and Louie Gohmert attended Look Ahead America’s DC events in July. Greene and North Carolina Representative Madison Cawthorn have said they don’t plan to attend, and neither do Gohmert and Colorado Representative Lauren Boebert; none of the other members’ offices have yet responded to queries from Washingtonian about whether they plan to attend or speak. What about Trumpworld? The Daily Beast reported late last month the former President’s circle has been silent about the event so far. Braynard says “we’ve had some mighty allies” but wouldn’t say whether he’s been in touch with anyone in Trump’s ambit: “We will never disclose our conversations we’ve had.”

More extremist Republican figures who refused the vaccine are now severely ill with Covid-19.  As the links above show, they are basically overcrowding hospitals causing people with other emerging issues to be sent home to die or flown to hospitals miles away.  Washington State hospitals are filling up due to Covidiots from Idaho.  The Daily Beast is reveling in every one of them.  “Laura Loomer, Who Once Said ‘Bad Fajitas’ Were Worse Than COVID, Says She’s Tested Positive. The far-right activist said in a Gettr post that she’s experiencing severe coronavirus symptoms.? ”  The Death Watch is real for these kooks.

The far-right, anti-Muslim, anti-vaccine conspiracy theorist Laura Loomer says she’s tested positive for the coronavirus, after suffering from severe symptoms that she wrote left her feeling like she “got hit by a bus.”

In a post on the Trumpist social network Gettr, Loomer complained that she started suffering from “fever, chills, a runny nose, sore throat, nausea and severe body aches” on Wednesday that she said felt like “a bad case of the flu… So I took a COVID test and it came back POSITIVE.”

She added: “I have not taken the COVID-19 vaccine, and I don’t plan on ever taking it because it is unsafe and ineffective. Today, I immediately started a treatment of Azithromyacin and Hydroxychloroquine. I’m also taking the OrthoMune dietary supplement.” She said she’s also received the Regeneron antibody treatment used by ex-President Donald Trump.

Yeah, all the rich nuts get the Monoclonal Antibodies developed by Regeneron.  The poorer folks just get to die.

The Shelton with Sunspots, N.Y.Date:
1926,Georgia O’Keeffe

Reuters reports that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis still hasn’t found the bottom of the moral depravity pit. Hassan Kanu writes that  “Florida governor conflated ‘black joy’ with protest, judge says”. Florida clearly has trash issues. Maybe the Courts can deal with it.

A federal judge on Thursday blocked part of a sweeping anti-protest bill enacted by Florida Republicans and Governor Ron DeSantis, writing that officials’ reaction to peaceful protests in the summer of 2020 is akin to the unlawful racist backlash seen during 1960s protests against Jim Crow laws.

Chief U.S. District Judge Mark Walker in Tallahassee said that the governor made an embarrassing mistake – or worse – when his offices “conflated a community celebration of a federal holiday commemorating the end of slavery with a protest.”

He issued a preliminary injunction blocking enforcement of the new definition of rioting under the Combating Public Disorder Act.

DeSantis’ lawyers in defending the law had submitted to the court a Facebook post as evidence that Black Floridians continue to freely exercise their protest rights – except the flyer actually announced a “Black Joy” event celebrating America’s first official Juneteenth holiday.

And when Texans cross their borders, it appears it’s not their very best.  This is from NBC News: “Carmine’s hostess attacked after asking diners for proof of vaccination. Cellphone footage obtained by NBC New York shows a brawl outside Carmine’s on the Upper West Side.”

Three people were arrested for allegedly assaulting a New York City restaurant hostess on Thursday after she asked a group of diners visiting from Texas to show proof they had been vaccinated before seating them.

Cellphone footage obtained by NBC New York shows a brawl involving several people outside Carmine’s Italian restaurant on the Upper West Side. Staff and bystanders intervened to break up the melee after it broke out around 5 p.m. ET, the station added.

Oddly, enough, the first time I ever saw New York City was on the way to Madrid and smack in the middle of a garbage strike.  People that deal with garbage really need to be paid better.  It was my first but not the last trip to Europe.  There, I learned that the last thing I ever wanted to be identified as was an American. I actually found myself in England at one point explaining that not every one of us is like that couple that just left that table who hailed from Stockton, California.

The ugly Americans are even identifiable down here in New Orleans as they behave rudely everywhere it seems. The only problem is, we have an excess of trash at the moment and not enough of those saintly men who take out the trash.  I’m definitely glad they’re making $20 an hour down here now and that I can still gift them six packs whenever I can.

Have a safe and happy weekend!

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?