US ‘Independence’ Day: This is not a drill. We have less Freedom Today than in 2016Posted: July 4, 2022 Filed under: 2016 elections, 2021 Insurrection, 2024 Elections, A thread for Ranting, abortion rights, academia, American Gun Fetish, Black Lives Matter, black women's reproductive health, Civil Liberties, Civil Rights, Climate change, Feminists, Hillary Clinton: Her Campaign for All of Us, History, January 6 Committe 29 Comments
Freedom’s Ring is faint and disappearing in the USA!
State after state is signing laws to criminalize abortion under all circumstances making women chattel of the state. Many women with ectopic pregnancies are left to suffer until death’s door is nearly open on the advice of lawyers. Republicans with federal appointments and offices are trying to make that a Total Abortion Ban Federal Law.
Guns have more rights in this country than women and children. The Supreme Court is rewriting law after law with little more justification than they were put there by the Federalist Society to get the job done, they now hold a supermajority and their misguided religious fervor will rule every decision. Police can overlook stating Miranda Rights. The EPA can’t oversee pollution releases in carbon-producing companies This is what the post-2016 election era has brought us. We are living in a Republican dystopia and it’s getting worse.
Every American officeholder should announce that they will never appoint anyone recommended by the extremist group funded by the Koch brothers and others to any judicial appointment. Every candidate needs to announce their intent.
I would suggest you read a compelling book about Germany called The Death of Democracy: Hitler’s Rise to Power and the Downfall of the Weimar Republic published in 2018 and written by Benjamin Carter Hett. As you ask yourselves what Germans in the years of 1933-1934 should’ve, would’ve, could’ve been doing finish by asking yourselves what should we be doing now?
To say that Hitler was elected is too simple. He would never have come to power if Germany’s leading politicians had not responded to a spate of populist insurgencies by trying to co-opt him, a strategy that backed them into a corner from which the only way out was to bring the Nazis in. Hett lays bare the misguided confidence of conservative politicians who believed that Hitler and his followers would willingly support them, not recognizing that their efforts to use the Nazis actually played into Hitler’s hands. They had willingly given him the tools to turn Germany into a vicious dictatorship.
Benjamin Carter Hett is a leading scholar of twentieth-century Germany and a gifted storyteller whose portraits of these feckless politicians show how fragile democracy can be when those in power do not respect it. He offers a powerful lesson for today, when democracy once again finds itself embattled and the siren song of strongmen sounds ever louder.
Realize that Republicans at all levels are using these same techniques. We have “spates” of right-wing insurgencies and they appear only helpless and enabling to stop the rise of White Nationalism. Patriot Front marched around the Freedom Trail in downtown Boston this weekend. The Patriot Front also showed up around Independence day in Philadelphia in 2021. The group was run off by residents. They were arrested in Idaho last month. They are a radical white Christian nationalist group. This is not normal. They’re showing up everywhere.
From Axios: “What we know about the Patriot Front march through Boston.”
Driving the news: Police received a call around 12:30 p.m. that a group of protesters were marching through the city, though their route was unknown, CNN reported.
- Many of the marchers wore khaki pants and dark-colored polo shirts, with cloth coverings over their lower faces, along with sunglasses and caps.
State of play: The group approached a rental truck parked near the Haymarket metro stop and unloaded shields and a number of different flags, according to the Boston Herald.
- Among them were U.S. flags, with some being flown upside down and others showing just the 13 stars of the original U.S. colonies. Other flags displayed versions of the symbol used by Benito Mussolini’s National Fascist Party, per the Herald.
- Patriot Front flags were also flown, per CNN.
- Boston police received a report around 1:25 p.m. of a Black man being injured in a confrontation with Patriot Front marchers.
- The man told police that he was pushed around, knocked to the ground, and assaulted by members of the group, suffering several lacerations. He was later taken to Tufts Medical Center, the Herald reported.
- Around 1:30 p.m. the group left the scene via the metro system after packing their materials into a rental truck, per the Herald.
The big picture: City Council President Ed Flynn wrote in a letter Saturday that members of neo-Nazi groups have “continued to make their presence known” in Boston in recent months.
- In February they targeted doctors working to address racial disparities in healthcare at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital and appeared at the city’s Saint Patrick’s Day parade in March, Flynn wrote.
- In June, 31 members of the Patriot Front were arrested in Idaho after being caught planning to riot at an LGBTQ Pride event.
What to watch: The Boston Police Department is conducting a civil rights investigation into the incident and no arrests have yet been made, per the Herald.
What they’re saying: “The disgusting hate of white supremacists has no place here. [Especially] when so many of our rights are under attack, we will not normalize intimidation by bigots,” Boston Mayor Michelle Wu tweeted on Saturday.
They marched with anti-abortion protestors in the loop in Chicago in January.
I will never go to Florida again. It’s become the fascist cookbook for laws that could be enforced by the White Nationalist Inquisition. They’ve come for me again. Every student and especially professor at any legitimate university or college has what is called Academic Freedom. It no longer exists in Florida
The concept of academic freedom is based on the idea that the free exchange of ideas on campus is essential to good education. Specifically, academic freedom is the right of faculty members, acting both as individuals and as a collective, to determine without outside interference: (1) the college curriculum; (2) course content; (3) teaching; (4) student evaluation; and (5) the conduct of scholarly inquiry. These rights are supported by two institutional practices—shared governance and tenure (see below.) Academic freedom ensures that colleges and universities are “safe havens” for inquiry, places where students and scholars can challenge the conventional wisdom of any field—art, science, politics or others.
From the link above: “Florida Gov signs law requiring students, faculty be asked their political beliefs.”
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) on Tuesday signed legislation mandating public colleges and universities survey students and faculty about their beliefs in an effort to promote intellectual diversity on campuses.
“We obviously want our universities to be focused on critical thinking, academic rigor,” DeSantis said during a news conference Tuesday, according to the Naples Daily News.
“We do not want them as basically hotbeds for stale ideology,” he said.
“It used to be thought that a university campus was a place where you’d be exposed to a lot of different ideas,” DeSantis said. “Unfortunately, now the norm is, these are more intellectually repressive environments,” he added.
Under House Bill 233, surveys would be conducted annually on campuses to assess viewpoint diversity and intellectual freedom, and determine “the extent to which competing ideas and perspectives are presented,” and whether students and faculty “feel free to express beliefs and viewpoints on campus and in the classroom.”
I would hate to hear what DeSantis thinks is “stale ideology”. Academic freedom supports the free exchange of ideas but basically ensuring your faculty has an agenda you approve of is just about as fascist as you can get. Throw out theory and replace it with whatever. Does this mean Med Schools must teach that a clump of vibrating cells is a heartbeat when there are no valves present in a fetus at that point in development? How about me? We all live in mixed market economies. Capitalism, Socialism, Communism, whatever are political ideologies and are discussed just as philosophical takes on how to apply data and theory. They’re abstracts only. There, I just got in trouble because I use market economies and dump the philosophical vantages for the idea of doing what works for each individual market. Capitalism is a Marxist Construct. Are my views stale or is he just plain ignorant?
ESPN is not the place where you’d expect a headline or thought piece like this one by Howard Bryant:“Baseball, barbecue and losing freedom this Fourth of July”.
Last month, Major League Baseball and its partners again released Independence Day-themed baseball hats that each of the 30 teams will wear. This year’s version features a flush of stars across the front against a blue and white backdrop, offset with a shaggy shock of red. The Toronto Blue Jays, located in a country that does not celebrate American independence, were also issued the caps — even though the Canadian flag does not contain stars nor the color blue. Public outrage prompted a redesign of the Toronto caps. Next is the USA-themed socks, the marketing, the freedom-inspired spikes, gloves, wristbands, the inevitable paeans to the armed forces.
By now, we’re all numb to the spectacle. At least publicly, the emphasis on the Fourth of July shifted from family to symbols years ago — Sept. 11 did that. Two decades of paid patriotism has made it ever harder to center the Fourth on reconnecting with your favorite aunts and uncles. No backyard barbecue and badminton game could compete with 20 years of military tributes and unquestioned nationalism. You think back to Righetti. Cosmetically, there was nothing about that July 4, 1983, that said patriotism. All Yankee Stadium said that day 39 years ago was baseball. Ninety-four degrees. Sox-Yankees. The Stadium looked as it did every other day. The crowd came because it was July 4, a Monday day game — a great day for baseball and family — and, along with Bat Day, the biggest giveaway day of the year: Yankee Cap Day. You smile a little at the victory in that, because only a few decades earlier, the Yankees were most resistant to a brilliant piece of marketing. In the 1950s, the Yankees did not want fans wearing Yankees caps. George Weiss, the Yankees’ general manager at the time, thought a million New York kids wearing the team cap cheapened the brand. Yankees hats were a piece of a professional uniform. They were for players, not fans.
Grilling, baseball and fireworks, first replaced by symbols — and now by a country tearing itself completely apart. July 4, 2022, falls in the midst of devastation. It is Independence Day in America with independence under current and relentless assault. From Miranda rights to the environment, to the separation of church and state, to guns — so many guns — people are reeling. The U.S. Supreme Court has run a chain saw through what two generations of Americans had known to be the legal baselines of their lives. Tens of millions of women today do not feel freedom and certainly are not celebrating independence. The people who can become pregnant who feel celebratory toward the Court may do so from the victory of their position, but it nevertheless remains true that the power of choice — and the right to privacy — has been taken from all of them.
There’s not a fine line between honoring and disrespecting the flag, but Trumperz doesn’t appear to know that. If you want to see what a cult look likes take a look at this Guardian piece: “Trump supporters: what they wear – in pictures.” It’s frankly scary and depressing at the same time while being terrifically disrespectful to the flag.
Here’s a video from Ken Burns published at the New York Times. America Is Failing Refugees, and Itself/ For his 1985 documentary about the Statue of Liberty, the filmmaker Ken Burns interviewed two Jewish boys sitting on a bench in New York City. They were twins who had fled Ukraine, then part of the Soviet Union, with their father.”
Also from The New York Times and Peter Baker: “New Insights Into Trump’s State of Mind on Jan. 6 Chip Away at Doubts. Former President Donald J. Trump has weathered scandals by keeping his intentions under wraps, but recent testimony paints a stark portrait of a man willing to do almost anything to hang onto power.”
He was not speaking metaphorically. It was not an offhand comment. President Donald J. Trump had every intention of joining a mob of supporters he knew to be armed and dangerous as it marched to the Capitol. And there had even been talk of marching into the House chamber himself to disrupt Congress from ratifying his election defeat.
For a year and a half, Mr. Trump has been shielded by obfuscations and mischaracterizations, benefiting from uncertainty about what he was thinking on Jan. 6, 2021. If he truly believed the election had been stolen, if he genuinely expected the gathering at the Capitol would be a peaceful protest, the argument went, then could he be held accountable, much less indicted, for the mayhem that ensued?
But for a man who famously avoids leaving emails or other trails of evidence of his unspoken motives, any doubts about what was really going through Mr. Trump’s mind on that day of violence seemed to have been eviscerated by testimony presented in recent weeks by the House committee investigating the Capitol attack — especially the dramatic appearance last week of a 26-year-old former White House aide who offered a chilling portrait of a president willing to do almost anything to hang onto power.
So, this is not a drill. This is real. I think it’s time we dig into a little Weimar Republic History and see where the Germans got it wrong and then vow to get it right.
Happy Independence Day even though we are less independent today than we were when Hillary told us during her campaign that all of this was bound to happen.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
FFFFFFreezing Friday ReadsPosted: February 4, 2022 Filed under: Afternoon Reads, January 6, January 6 Committe 15 Comments
Good Day Sky Dancers!
The news about the January 6th Insurrection is getting crazier all the time. There’s so much for the Justice Department to move on that impatience spills over into every conversation you hear. The Republican Party has simply become a massive propaganda machine with no actual political agenda other than to find underhanded ways to stay in power.
This New York Times headline just shows how far the radical right rump party has gone. “G.O.P. Declares Jan. 6 Attack ‘Legitimate Political Discourse’” The Republican National Committee voted to censure Representatives Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger for participating in the inquiry into the deadly riot at the Capitol. Can someone please explain to me how a violent insurrection that included killing police officers, destroying public property, theft of public property, pipebombs, and actual lynching threats is not a mob of traitors? Legitimate Political Discourse? WTAF? How far down the DoubleSpeak, DoubleThink, and NewsSpeak road have we traveled?
The Republican Party on Friday officially declared the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol and events that led to it “legitimate political discourse,” formally rebuking two lawmakers in the party who have been most outspoken in condemning the deadly riot and the role of Donald J. Trump in spreading the election lies that fueled it.
The Republican National Committee’s overwhelming voice vote to censure Representatives Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois at its winter meeting in Salt Lake City culminated more than a year of vacillation, which started with party leaders condemning the Capitol attack and Mr. Trump’s conduct, then shifted to downplaying and denying it.
On Friday, the party went further in a resolution slamming Ms. Cheney and Mr. Kinzinger for taking part in the House investigation of the assault, saying they were participating in “persecution of ordinary citizens engaged in legitimate political discourse.”
It was an extraordinary statement about the deadliest attack on the Capitol in 200 years, in which a mob of Mr. Trump’s supporters stormed the complex, brutalizing police officers and sending lawmakers into hiding. Nine people died in connection with the attack, and more than 150 officers were injured. The party passed the resolution without discussion and almost without dissent.
Of course, the issue is that most of the US Republican Congressional members have themselves far up Trump’s ass and their actions and words match the very definition of sedition. This is a CNN Exclusive: “Newly obtained records show Trump and Jim Jordan spoke at length on morning of January 6.”
One entry in the White House records shows a request from Trump to get Jordan on the phone from the White House residence on the morning of January 6. A second entry shows that the length of the call was 10 minutes.
These call logs are among the documents the National Archives turned over to the House select committee investigating the riot after Trump last month lost his bid at the Supreme Court to keep them secret. The records have been crucial for congressional investigators as they try to build a complete narrative of what happened that day, and the call logs help to deepen that understanding.
Records show Trump did not leave the White House until 11:40 a.m. ET on January 6, 2021, to give a speech to thousands of his supporters gathered at the Ellipse. According to footage of House proceedings that day, Jordan spoke on the floor for five minutes starting at 1:32 p.m. ET during the debate over whether to reject Biden’s electors from Arizona.
Jordan later spoke to request a roll call vote on the Arizona challenge at 10:27 p.m. when lawmakers returned to the chamber after being evacuated as rioters interrupted the congressional proceedings.
On Friday, Jordan said, “I don’t recall,” when asked specifically if he spoke with Trump in the morning before the violence started. “I know I talked to him after we left off the floor,” adding that he did not remember how long his calls with the former President lasted that day.
Jordan’s previous recollections of his conversations with Trump on January 6 have been inconsistent.
And, once again, Senator Cassiday actually does a right thing. However, his policies still are completely uniformed for the most part so he made it up by saying stupid about gun laws to make up for it. Oh, well, I have to take what I can get and given Kennedy acts like a certified moran, nothing ever good will come from him.
Analysis at NBC argues that “At RNC gathering, rift emerges between Trump’s interests and the GOP’s. “I think the more you try to look backwards, the less likely you’re going to succeed in this business going forward,” one state GOP chairman said.”
None of the officials assembled here for the Republican National Committee’s winter meetings are writing off former President Donald Trump. They all recognize his singular hold over the party’s electoral base.
But a distinct chasm is emerging between Trump’s obsessions and the issues many GOP operatives consider crucial to winning the midterm elections in November. Republican candidates need to make voters’ concerns a central focus, as opposed to Trump’s day-to-day attacks, RNC members suggested this week.
Few will put it quite so bluntly; they are loath to antagonize Trump and possibly drive off his hard-core followers. Yet in interviews, party officials showed little appetite for organizing the GOP around Trump’s grievances.
A winning message would emphasize inflation and parental rights, they said — not the 2020 election, which Trump falsely insists he won. Strengthening the party would require opening it up to new voters — not punishing Republicans who have disagreed with Trump, they added.
The sentiments echo those of local GOP leaders, who said late last year that they were ready to move beyond the 2020 election, even if Trump wasn’t. They wanted to put issues like border security, the Afghanistan troop withdrawal and education front and center.
A goal of the RNC winter meetings, members said, was for Republicans to project “unity.” Yet Trump remains a source of division that has spilled into the party’s gathering. One of his allies, RNC member David Bossie of Maryland, submitted a symbolic resolution that would call upon congressional Republicans to expel Reps. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., and Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., from the House GOP conference. Both voted last year to impeach Trump.
The resolution was watered down to a censure Thursday amid criticism from some members that it undercut efforts to show the party tolerated dissenting views.
The Guardian–in a piece reported by Hugo Lowell–has more evidence Trump was behind and knew everything about the J6 uprising. “Revealed: Trump reviewed draft order that authorized voting machines to be seized”
Weeks after the 2020 election, Donald Trump reviewed a draft executive order that authorized the national guard to seize voting machines and verbally agreed to appoint Sidney Powell, a campaign lawyer and conspiracy theorist, as special counsel to investigate election fraud.
The two previously unreported actions of the former president – which is certain to interest the House select committee investigating the Capitol attack and Trump’s efforts to overturn his defeat – came during a contentious White House meeting on 18 December 2020.
Trump never followed through with issuing a formal executive order authorizing the seizure of voting machines or appointing a special counsel. But four sources with detailed knowledge of what transpired during the 18 December meeting described to the Guardian how close he came to doing so.
And, now we have Senator Milquetoast piping up.
Well, I’m not waiting on Susan Collins to say much but a few more Republican Senators should really buy some spine with all those campaign donations.
Jonathan Swan and Lachlan Markay of AXIOS have this to say about “The making of a modern Republican.”
Paths to power and winning electionsinside the GOP are changing rapidly and radically, spawning a new generation of kingmakers while diminishing the clout of many who lorded over the party for years.
Why it matters: Fourteen of the Republican Party’s top consultants and operatives across the country spoke in detail with Axios about how profoundly primary races have changed since 2014 — the last pre-Donald Trump midterm election and the last midterms in which a Democrat occupied the White House.
What we found: Those sources — whose clients range from as Trumpy as they come to establishment Republicans — described a clear shift in the party’s power brokers. They spoke of changes to the ecosystem across four categories: institutional upheaval, endorsements, conservative media and donors.
- Axios granted them anonymity so they could speak with a degree of candor that’s not possible on the record because of personal and business relationships. Here’s what they told us:
Who had the power:
- The U.S. Chamber of Commerce
- The NRA
- The Koch network
- Heritage Action
- The Drudge Report
- National Review
- Conservative movement groups such as Tea Party Express, FreedomWorks, and the Senate Conservatives Fund.
Who has power now:
- Donald Trump
- Tucker Carlson
- Family and former aides to Trump
- Fox News
- Club for Growth
- Daily Wire
- Breitbart News
- Online influencers including Candace Owens, Ben Shapiro, Dan Bongino, Joe Rogan, Jack Posobiec, Charlie Kirk and Marjorie Taylor-Greene.
- Steve Bannon
- Susan B. Anthony List
Between the lines: Most of these changes weren’t gradual. They were triggered by the shockwave of 2016.
It’s that right-wing populism that has the patricians on the run. But, it’s the voter disenfranchment that has American citizens on the run. I want to close with this miscarriage of justice.
It’s obvious that there’s one justice system for white men and another one for the rest of us.
The case caught my attention for a few reasons. First, it is rare to see a prosecutor bring criminal charges against someone for election crimes, and I was curious whether this was a bona fide case of fraud or of someone who had made a mistake. Second, there has been growing awareness of racial disparities in punishments for election-related crimes. Black people such as Crystal Mason and Hervis Rogers have faced years in prison for making mistakes about their voting eligibility. White voters have received much lighter sentences for election-related crimes.
Hope the weather is gives us all a break here. We could sure use it.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
Monday Reads: And the Beat Goes On …Posted: January 10, 2022 Filed under: academia, Black Lives Matter, January 6, January 6 Committe, Joe Biden, Right Wing Angst 7 Comments
Good Day Sky Dancers!
I’ve been staring at this white page on my computer screen for several hours now. I’m going back and forth between Twitter and Memeorandum, sorting out the headlines we’ve lived with for over a year. It’s just a riff on the days and months before.
The news on the Insurrectionists continues to be grim, with yet another Republican refusing to testify before a committee. This time it’s Gym Jordan who swears he knows nothing, nothing! This is from Steve Benen, writing for MSNBC.
It was nearly three weeks ago when the bipartisan panel first reached out to Jordan, not with a subpoena, but with a written request for information. The far-right congressman soon after appeared on Fox News, saying he was unlikely to cooperate. “I got real concerns about any committee that will take a document and alter it and present it to the American people — completely mislead the American people like they did last week,” he argued.
In reality, the committee did not actually mislead anyone and Jordan’s complaint was difficult to take seriously.
Yesterday, Jordan moved on to a new list of concerns, claiming in a written response that the request from investigators “is far outside the bounds of any legitimate inquiry, violates core constitutional principles and would serve to further erode legislative norms.”
So much for “if they call me, I got nothing to hide.”
In case this isn’t obvious, the Republican is in a unique position to help shed light on the events surrounding last year’s political violence. The New York Times recently reported, for example, that Jordan attended crisis meetings at Trump campaign headquarters as early as Nov. 9, just two days after Joe Biden became president-elect.
Nicolas Wu reports this bit of breaking news today in Politico. As we all know, Trump was a very busy boy trying to dump election results. Now, we are beginning to see the extent of it.
The public focus of Congress’ Jan. 6 investigation, so far, is what happened in Washington, D.C. Behind the scenes, the probe’s state-level work is kicking into overdrive.
The House committee investigating the Capitol attack has gathered thousands of records from state officials and interviewed a slate of witnesses as it attempts to retrace former President Donald Trump’s attempts to subvert the 2020 election, particularly in four key states that swung the presidency to Joe Biden. They’re getting ready to take their work public, possibly as soon as the spring.
“We want to let the public see and hear from those individuals who conducted elections in those states,” select panel chair Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) said in an interview. He described those witnesses as particularly important given their mandates to keep elections “fair and impartial” while hailing from one political party.
The voluminous documents state election officials have sent the Jan. 6 committee, obtained by POLITICO through open records requests, underscore the depth of Trump’s pressure campaign directed at the typically lower-level administrators of presidential balloting. The emails, texts and phone recordings also add consequential context to previously reported incidents, such as Trump’s call to Georgia’s top elections investigator and Mark Meadows’ outreach to Georgia election officials.
Trump really mistook all those state public servants as foot soldiers in his campaign to be President-for-Life. It shows how urgent the situation will be if any more Trumpzies get into the office at any level.
The Washington Post has a most exciting database and analysis of ng “Who owned Slaves in Congress.” As a descendent of 6 signers of the Declaration of Independence and two signers of The US Constitution, I continually deal with the idea that my family–at one point–owned people. All of my greats that fought in the Civil War were on the Union side; still, farther back, were everything from prominent plantation families from Virginia and South Carolina to small farmers owning a couple and their children. It’s still something I try to wrap my head around. “More than 1,700 congressmen once enslaved Black people. This is who they were and how they shaped the nation”. The Washington Post has compiled the first database of slaveholding members of Congress by examining thousands of pages of census records and historical documents.” This is also how my mother dug up our family history.
The biggest shock came for me after the murder of Rev. Clementa Pinckney, who I realized was most likely a family member. He was murdered in 2015 by a white supremacist along with other parishioners. Mother always was a little weird when explaining the relationship between the signers of the Constitution from South Carolina. She would always point out that the Governor was just a great Uncle while our “direct” ancestor was the other. I’ve known this since high school but only delved deeper into that history after that horrible massacre in the Mother Emanuel AME church. I found that great Uncle Charles Pinckney helped write the Fugitive Slave Act. This haunts me and the knowledge that every black American with that name has ties to that family plantation. It grounds me in history in a significant way. The interactive database is quite interesting.
The country is still grappling with the legacy of their embrace of slavery. The link between race and political power in early America echoes in complicated ways, from the racial inequities that persist to this day to the polarizing fights over voting rights and the way history is taught in schools.
The Washington Post created a database that shows enslavers in Congressrepresented 37 states, including not just the South but every state in New England, much of the Midwest, and many Western states.
While teachers are now discouraged from teaching actual history including our roots in slavery and the slaughter and displacement of Indigenous peoples, one GOP State Senator from Indiana has a really abhorrent policy suggestion. “An Indiana GOP state senator said teachers’ need to be impartial’ during lessons about Nazism and fascism” I’m thrilled my father didn’t live to see this coming out of the Republican Party.
On Wednesday, during an Indiana state Senate committee hearing about a proposed bill that would ban “divisive concepts” in school classrooms, Republican Sen. Scott Baldwin said teachers’ lessons about fascism and Nazismshould be impartial.
“Marxism, Nazism, fascism … I have no problem with the education system providing instruction on the existence of those ‘isms,’ ” said Baldwin, who co-wrote the bill. “I believe that we’ve gone too far when we take a position. … We need to be impartial.”
Baldwin backtracked those comments Thursday following criticism. In an email to the Indianapolis Star, Baldwin said he was focused on the “big picture” of preventing teachers fromtelling students “what to think about politics.”
“Nazism, Marxism and fascism are a stain on our world history and should be regarded as such, and I failed to adequately articulate that in my comments during the meeting,” Baldwin said. “I believe that kids should learn about these horrible events in history so that we don’t experience them again in humanity.”
These are the same people that insist their take on Christianity be forced on everyone, including other Christians. They’re still continuing to try to kill public education.
Here’s why they hate anyone who teaches critical thinking skills like yours truly. (via Eudhanna). This is from the New Daily of Australia. “Conspiracy theorists lack critical thinking skills: New study.” It was initially published last July by John Elder.
The French researchers ran two studies, where they assessed the critical thinking skills of 338 undergraduate students using a French version of a teaching and testing tool known as the Ennis-Weir Critical Thinking Essay Test.
They then scored the students’ tendencies towards conspiracy beliefs and their personal assessment of their critical thinking skills.
Critical thinking is the objective analysis and evaluation of a situation – and requires a number of cognitive skills.
These include the ability to think systematically, see other perspectives, change your mind when new evidence arises, identify relevant versus irrelevant information, identify and discard logical fallacies, be aware of biases and avoid them, and look beyond the obvious.
None of this is particularly easy.
What the researchers found was a strong association between lower critical thinking skills and an increased tendency toward believing conspiracy theories.
This isn’t a new idea – instead, it persuasively builds on previous research.
Meanwhile, the pandemic continues unabated.
.Caitlin Owens–writing for Axios—believes that “The Biden administration has a COVID credibility crisis.”
A series of messaging missteps is threatening the credibility of federal health agencies, and critics say the White House isn’t doing enough to manage the fallout.
Why it matters: While much of the unvaccinated population is unlikely to be persuaded by any messenger, large swaths of the public are still receptive to expert guidance, but federal health agencies, particularly the CDC, may be squandering their credibility with this population.
- “The administration in general has lost the confidence of people who would be their natural supporters,” said Celine Gounder, an infectious disease expert and former Biden administration advisory board member.
State of play: Months of convoluted guidance hit a breaking point over the winter holiday, when the CDC became a viral internet meme amongst frustrated Americans who could no longer take the agency’s guidance seriously.
- The CDC’s new guidance on how long COVID patients should remain in isolation was mocked by thousands of internet meme-makers. The CDC responded by saying the changing guidelines are motivated by “fast-moving science.”
- “It’s never good to be the butt of jokes,” former CDC director Tom Frieden said in an interview.
Context: The CDC and the FDA also waited months to make booster shots available to all American adults. Those shots have proven especially important against Omicron, and many states, pharmacies and individual patients ignored the CDC’s more limited initial recommendations.
- Recommendations about masking have fallen flat for months.
What they’re saying: “The CDC is facing a real crisis of trust,” said Leana Wen, a physician and professor at George Washington University.
- And some experts say CDC director Rochelle Walensky should shoulder much of the blame for the administration’s messaging mess.
- “The primary problem is the policy and how insular Walensky has been in setting it,” Wen said. “She and the others are great communicators but no one can communicate a bad policy.”
The next part of the piece is basically a rebuttal if you want to read the counterpoints.
So, you can always take the Q-Anon/Anti-Vaxxer’s take on things, including taking horse pills and drinking piss. This is from the Daily Beast. “Anti-Vax Leader Urges Followers to Drink Their Own Urine to Fight COVID.”
Anti-COVID-19 “Vaccine Police” leader Christopher Key has a new quarter-baked conspiracy theory for his anti-vax followers to use to cure themselves of COVID-19: Drink their own urine. “The antidote that we have seen now, and we have tons and tons of research, is urine therapy. OK, and I know to a lot of you this sounds crazy, but guys, God’s given us everything we need,” Key said in a video posted over the weekend on his Telegram account after being released from jail over a trespassing charge. “This has been around for centuries,” he added. “When I tell you this, please take it with a grain of salt,” the anti-vaccine advocate warned while saying people might now think he is “cray cray.” “Now drink urine!” he continued. “This vaccine is the worst bioweapon I have ever seen,” he concluded. “I drink my own urine!” Reached for comment by The Daily Beast on Sunday night, Key doubled down on what he calls “urine therapy” and railed against “foolish” people who took the COVID-19 vaccine, which is safe and effective.
No critical thinking skills here at all, I’d say!
So, the last thing I want to mention is the Bronx fire that has killed 17 people, including children.
And with that, I leave you.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
Friday Reads: To Sir, with LovePosted: January 7, 2022 Filed under: January 6 Committe, Joe Biden, Senate, SOTU, The filibuster, U.S. Economy 9 Comments
Good Day Sky Dancers!
In the last few years, we’ve seen the loss of the cultural and historical icons of the twentieth century. I’m pretty convinced that we’ve seen the end of American dominance since the World Wars, so this just seals the deal. We’re losing the last of heroes of the American Century. Sidney Poitier was a fixture in the Civil Rights Movement and one of the stars of the Golden Age of Cinema and TV. He passed quietly yesterday at the age of 94.
I loved many of his movies, but my most vivid memory of him was watching ‘In the Heat of the Night’ in a small downtown theatre in Estes Park, Colorado, with my parents and sister. It was probably the first serious adult movie I’d ever seen with its themes of violence and racism. Here is an excerpt from his New York Times Obit.
In 1967 Mr. Poitier appeared in three of Hollywood’s top-grossing films, elevating him to the peak of his popularity. “In the Heat of Night” placed him opposite Rod Steiger, as an indolent, bigoted sheriff, with whom Virgil Tibbs, the Philadelphia detective played by Mr. Poitier, must work on a murder investigation in Mississippi. (In an indelible line, the detective insists on the sheriff’s respect when he declares, “They call me Mr. Tibbs!”) In “To Sir, With Love,” he was a concerned teacher in a tough London high school, and in “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner,” a taboo-breaking film about an interracial couple, he played a doctor whose race tests the liberal principles of his prospective in-laws, played by Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn.
Throughout his career, a heavyweight of racial significance bore down on Mr. Poitier and the characters he played. “I felt very much as if I were representing 15, 18 million people with every move I made,” he once wrote.
Mr. Poitier grew up in the Bahamas, but he was born on Feb. 20, 1927, in Miami, where his parents regularly traveled to sell their tomato crop. The youngest of nine children, he wore clothes made from flour sacks and never saw a car, looked in a mirror, or tasted ice cream until his father, Reginald, moved the family from Cat Island to Nassau in 1937 after Florida banned the import of Bahamian tomatoes.
When he was 12, Mr. Poitier quit school and became a water boy for a crew of pick-and-shovel laborers. He also began getting into mischief, and his parents, worried that he was becoming a juvenile delinquent, sent him to Miami when he was 14 to live with a married brother, Cyril.
Mr. Poitier had known nothing of segregation growing up on Cat Island, so the rules governing American Black people in the South came as a shock. “It was all over the place like barbed wire,” he later said of American racism. “And I kept running into it and lacerating myself.”
In less than a year he fled Miami for New York, arriving with $3 and change in his pocket. He took jobs washing dishes and working as a ditch digger, waterfront laborer and delivery man in the garment district. Life was grim. During a race riot in Harlem, he was shot in the leg. He saved his nickels so that on cold nights he could sleep in pay toilets.
Sir Sidney was a leading figure in the Civil Rights Movement. He holds a place in the International Civil Rights: Walk of Fame.
Born February 20, 1927, Sidney Poitier’s pioneering career has had a tremendous impact on American culture. In the early ’50s, he was the top and virtually sole African-American film star—the first black actor to become a hero to both black and white audiences. Poitier was also the first black actor to win a prestigious international film award. With his unique career, Sidney Poitier helped change many stubborn racial attitudes that had persisted in this country for centuries. He has built the bridges and opened the doors for countless artists in succeeding generations. He is an actor who stood for hope, for excellence, and who has given happiness to millions of people around the world. Paying tribute to Sidney Poitier in 1967, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “He is a man of great depth, a man of great social concern, a man who is dedicated to human rights and freedom.”
Many things are going on in our country’s governance today. There are discussions about expanding the number of judges on the Supreme Court, reforming the filibuster, the economic boom with the accompanying price increases, and the incredible amount of information the January 6 Committee has received from a variety of former staffers to all levels of Republican Insurrectionists. Let me highlight some of them.
There are many big lies told by Trumperz and Trumpists.
Meadows lied on Fox’s Hannity about Trump’s dealings with troops to secure the capitol on January 6.:
Just one month after the attack, Meadows appeared on Fox News’s “Sunday Morning Futures” and made this claim: “As many as 10,000 National Guard troops were told to be on the ready by the secretary of defense. That was a direct order from President Trump.”
Fact Checkers at the Washington Post fact checked reporting by a Vanity Fair reporter who was there at the time of the discussion. Fox and Meadows are caught in another big lie. It never went anywhere.
It’s always dismaying when false claims that were previously debunked turn up as accepted facts months later. Yet, increasingly, Fox News hosts and their guests appear to live in a world untethered by the truth.
As we have documented before, President Donald Trump never requested 10,000 National Guard troops to secure the Capitol that day. He threw out a number, in casual conversation, that is now regarded by his supporters as a lifeline to excuse his inaction when a mob inspired by his rhetoric invaded the Capitol.
This is an exciting read. I’ve never completely understood the filibuster other than it’s basically a relic of the old south its ongoing problems with slavery and racism.
People often overestimate the depth of the filibuster’s roots. When the Senate voted in 2013 to invoke the “nuclear option” to approve presidential nominees, then-Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) wrote in The Washington Post that sidestepping the filibuster was “the most dangerous restructuring of Senate rules since Thomas Jefferson wrote them.” More recently, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) defended the filibuster in the Charleston Gazette-Mail by saying, “Our founders were wise to see the temptation of absolute power and built in specific checks and balances to force compromise that serves to preserve our fragile democracy.”
True — but the filibuster was not one of these checks and balances. The Senate did not have any provision for a supermajority on legislation for its first 17 years. Like the House, its rules allowed a “motion for the previous question,” where a majority could move directly to vote. That provision was taken out in 1806, when Vice President Aaron Burr cleaned up what he regarded as extraneous provisions in the Senate’s cluttered rule book. For decades after the change, the status quo largely prevailed — until the 1840s, when John C. Calhoun exploited the motion’s absence to stall anti-slavery action by talking at length on the floor, joined by allies. His adversaries had no ability to stop the talk. From the 20th century on, the rules changed multiple times, always to make it easier for the majority to overcome a filibuster and move to action.
Biden will have some great information on the economy to share but will it really convince those of us that are experiences the challenges of the Covid-19 economy? Economist Noah Smith calls this the “Biden Boom”.
The official numbers aren’t in yet, but In the 4th quarter of 2021, the United States economy is believed to have grown by about 5.5% or 6% (annualized rate). That’s a pretty incredible number, when you consider that the consensus forecast for China is only 3.5% in the same quarter. But things get even more impressive when you look at the employment numbers. The unemployment rate probably fell to 4.1% in December — a number below what we used to think to think of as the “natural rate” of unemployment.
If you told me in April 2020 that unemployment would be 4.1% by December 2021, I’d have laughed in your face. And yet here we are.
Of course, after the Great Recession, we all got very used to looking past headline unemployment numbers, to see who is actually working. But now when we do that, we see that all the other numbers tell the same story. U6, the broadest measure of unemployment plus underemployment, is down to the level of 2018 or 2006. And my personal favorite labor market indicator, the prime-age employment-to-population ratio, is back to the level of late 2017.
Other indicators also show an extremely healthy labor market. While some have interpreted rising quits as a sign of a “Great Resignation”, the truth is that this mostly just reflects job churn; people are quitting in order to get better jobs, because the opportunities are so good. To see that, check out this graph from the Economic Policy Institute, showing that hires are greater than quits pretty much everywhere:
He’s got some wonky FRED graphs to back up the analysis. And, this folks explains why we see some inflation. But, that’s not a problem; the Fed needs to bump the interest rates up to more normal levels and out of historical lows. This is an economy we haven’t seen for a long time, and it’s kind’ve exciting!
The hearing to sentencing for the three murderers of Ahmaud Arbery is in court right now. Read more at the ABC link.
Well, I think that’s enough for me today. Happy Carnival Season!
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
Oh, it’s so on this year! There are sights to see and
this song to sing!
Finally Friday Reads: Lock the Big Lie Enablers Up!Posted: October 8, 2021 Filed under: Afternoon Reads, Insurection, January 6, January 6 Committe, Right Wing Angst 13 Comments
Good Afternoon Sky Dancers!
We’re six months past a soft coup d’etat that investigations show was way worse than we thought. It came after months of careful, planning, changes in staffing at DOJ and the Pentagon, and many attempts to manipulate state officials. The brutality to Capitol Hill Officers during the insurrection was terrifying. However, there was a clear, cynical lead-up for planners in the White House–clearly led and encouraged by Trump–as shown by a Senate Committee investigation. This post follows up on BB’s post yesterday as more information becomes available.
From CNN: “Senate Judiciary Committee issues sweeping report detailing how Trump and a top DOJ lawyer attempted to overturn 2020 election”. Trump “relentlessly” sought to overturn the election.
The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday released a sweeping report about how former President Donald Trump and a top lawyer in the Justice Department attempted to overturn the 2020 presidential election.
Trump directly asked the Justice Department nine times to undermine the election result, and his chief of staff Mark Meadows broke administration policy by pressuring a Justice Department lawyer to investigate claims of election fraud, according to the report, which is based on witness interviews of top former Justice Department officials.
The Democratic-led committee also revealed that White House counsel Pat Cipollone threatened to quit in early January as Trump considered replacing then-acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen with Jeffrey Clark, a DOJ lawyer who supported election fraud conspiracies.
After the eight-month investigation, the findings highlight the relentlessness of Trump and some of his top advisers as they fixated on using the Justice Department to prop up false conspiracies of election fraud. The committee report, the most comprehensive account so far of Trump’s efforts to overturn the election, described his conduct as an abuse of presidential power.
The massive plot to overturn the election that eventually led to the January 6 soft coup is laid out bare at the CNN link. You may watch the coverage and continue reading there. This intersects nicely with the 1/6 Commission’s work. They’ve issued subpoenas and Donald Trump has asked four big players to ignore them. From The Independent: “Four of Mr Trump’s associates were sent subpoenas by House select committee investigating 6 January”
Confirming that Mr would not be cooperating, The Washington Post reported the text of a letter from Mr Bannon’s lawyer to the committee citing the former president’s executive privilege.
“It is therefore clear to us that since the executive privileges belong to President Trump and he has, through his counsel, announced his intention to assert those privileges … we must accept his direction and honour his invocation of executive privilege,” attorney Robert Costello wrote.
Mr Bannon’s response was also confirmed by another source who told CNN that a second of Mr Trump’s inner circle asked to cooperate with the investigation, former chief of staff Mark Meadows, has responded, but it is as yet unknown whether he will or will not cooperate.
Four of Mr Trump’s associates were sent subpoenas by the House select committee. It is not yet known if the other two, Karsh Patel and Dan Scavino, have responded.
Lawyers working for the former president sent letters to the four men on Wednesday saying that Mr Trump viewed the subpoenas as an infringement of executive privilege and that they should not cooperate.
Trump continues to push the false narrative that he has some kind of blanket executive privilege after office. He clearly does not as witnessed by the flurry of documents released to both committees by the real President.
Susan B Glasser has penned this for The New Yorker: “The Battle of January 6th Has Just Begun. Nine months after the storming of the Capitol, Trump is more popular with the G.O.P. and his Big Lie is more widely believed.”
But look at where our politics are, nine months after the insurrection, and they tell a radically different story. Trump is, per Pew and other recent polls, both the overwhelming favorite among Republicans for 2024 and their continuing spiritual leader. (Two-thirds of the Republicans and Republican-leaning independents that Pew surveyed wanted Trump to continue to be a major national figure, a total that’s gone up by ten points since January. Yes, that’s not a typo—it’s gone up.) Just as important, he has succeeded in selling his party on his Big Lie about the 2020 election, on January 6th revisionism, and on taking a series of specific actions—from changing how states certify elections to purging state Republican officials who did not go along with his 2020 coup attempt—that will affect American democracy for years to come, whether or not Trump runs again.
Consider one metric I’ve been obsessed with: the increase in the percentage of Republicans who believe Trump’s falsehoods about the election. In January, a CNN poll found that seventy-five per cent of Republicans said that Biden was not legitimately elected President. In April, that number declined to seventy per cent, but now, according to the most recent CNN survey, it has risen to seventy-eight per cent. Yes, more Republicans believe that the 2020 election was stolen now than did when the pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol.
On January 7th, it was still possible to anticipate a different outcome. But, on October 7th, we have to acknowledge that this didn’t happen. Nine months ago, in the immediate aftermath of the insurrection, enough Republican leaders and Trump White House officials viewed the Trump-inspired attack on the democratic transition of power as an event of such horrifying excess that it was difficult to imagine them normalizing, justifying, and rationalizing it as they had the Trumpian excesses of the previous four years. Yet that is exactly what has taken place in the intervening months. “Republicans initially started down the road to a post-Trump party, as opposed to a Trump party . . . and they backed up in record time,” Larry Sabato, the director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics, told me, on Thursday. “They have missed the historic opportunity to put Trump in the past.” The result is that the political crisis today is worse than it was, not better. The unacceptable has been accepted by a shockingly large part of the population and its political leadership.
This long form analysis is shocking, indeed! But this viewpoint is very on point!
The survey, which is worth reading in its entirety, shows that this is not a problem of ideology or policy or the other markers of conventional American politics. It is something much deeper and more intractable: two parties whose members now hate one another with a fierce, anti-democratic, Constitution-threatening passion. Eighty-four per cent of Trump voters said that Democratic officials are a “clear and present danger” to society; seventy-eight per cent of Trump voters also said that Americans who strongly support Democrats are a “clear and present danger.” This level of antipathy is fully reciprocated by Democrats; eighty per cent of Biden voters surveyed said that Republican officials represent a “clear and present danger,” and seventy-five per cent of them said the same about Americans who strongly support Republicans. Things are so bad that fifty-two per cent of Trump voters and forty-one per cent of Biden voters said that they would favor seceding from America. January 6th may not have been the end of Trump so much as the beginning of something even worse.
Which is time to discuss today’s events.
Let’s dive deeper into that. From HuffPo and Sara Boboltz: “Trump Told 4 Officials To Ignore Jan. 6 Committee Subpoena: Report. The House committee investigating the attack on the U.S. Capitol wants to hear from Mark Meadows, Steve Bannon, Dan Scavino, and Kash Patel.”
Select Committee Chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) wrote in each of his Sept. 23 letters to the witnesses that the panel is “investigating the facts, circumstances, and causes of the January 6th attack and issues relating to the peaceful transfer of power, in order to identify and evaluate lessons learned and to recommend to the House and its relevant committees corrective laws, policies, procedures, rules, or regulations.”
Thompson’s committee has already taken steps to get its hands on communications from the Trump White House relating to the attack. In August, it sent a sweeping records request to the National Archives, which handles presidential records, and to several federal agencies asking for documentation.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki indicated last month that President Joe Biden was unlikely to block any Trump-era records from making their way onto committee members’ desks, but the administration later issued a clarification saying it would evaluate such requests individually.
Thompson additionally made comments to press on this matter and has indicated that all options are on the table. He did say that Criminal Referrals will be issued on October 1st. Today is basically the first day that contempt of congress charges are applicable. Newsweek reports this information.
Patel issued a statement to The Washington Post on Thursday before the deadline, pointing to his website where he is seeking to raise $250,000 “to fund a top-notch legal team.”
“I will continue to tell the American people the truth about January 6, and I am putting our country and freedoms first through my Fight with Kash initiative,” he told the newspaper.
The committee had been unable to physically locate Scavino in order to serve him with a subpoena as of Thursday.
It’s not entirely clear what steps the select committee will take if the four former aides refuse to cooperate, but Democratic Representative Jamie Raskin, who sits on the committee, suggested on Thursday that they could face contempt charges.
“I believe this is a matter of the utmost seriousness and we need to consider the full panoply of enforcement sanctions available to us, and that means criminal contempt citations, civil contempt citations and the use of Congress‘s own inherent contempt powers,” Raskin said.
I’m willing to give the Congressman the benefit of the weekend. And, do have a good weekend!!!
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?