Friday Reads: Mitch McConnell keeps trotting out his Prize Livestock

Karl Schmidt-Rottluff
Still Life, Cactus, 1919

Good Day Sky Dancers!

Louisiana is a little later than most states that I’ve lived in with their State Fair Livestock Shows. It probably has something to do with the heat and peak hurricane season which occurs during the Labor Day Weekend which is when I was used to doing the Iowa State Fair, the Nebraska State Fair, and the Minnesota State Fair.

My favorite part as a kid was the kids from 4H showing off their pet livestock projects. It was always a real range of farm animals and the kids and animals seemed really close when you watched them in their pens together.

The one thing that killed all that for me was knowing that what looked like a loving pet to me was most likely going to wind up at an auction.  I like the Crazy Cajun Pygmy Goat Shows though because I know they’re likely going to live a long life attending yuppy yoga goat classes, or clearing out the bramble in some backyard for a fee, or being the focus of some kid’s birthday party, or providing the basis for some cheese.

Perhaps I read Charlotte’s Web to my kids way too many times.

The point is that both the ranchers-to-be and the meals-to-be love those shows.  The animals have no idea that their purpose is to ensure everyone knows their place in the food chain.  It’s mostly to remind everyone that no matter how much attention they get at one point, they’re simply there to show off enough so everyone will go off and find more of their kind to slaughter.

This is about how I feel about Mitch McConnell trotting out Amy Coney Barrett and now, Clarence Thomas to represent just how much animals will  preen for the camera when they’re about to sell the rights that got them there out.   I wonder if he’ll trot out the white guys too? Nah, it’s all about preserving only their rights.

Saguaro Cactus at Sun Set, Gayle McGinty

The deal with livestock shows is they are always big deals to a few that lead up to mass slaughter for the innocent.

This is from The Washington Post. “McConnell lauds Thomas, says Supreme Court should not heed the ‘rule of polls’” Someone needs to tell Mitch the settled laws are not about the rule of polls. They are about the Rule Of Law.

The conservative think tank was the site of a day-long celebration of Thomas’s three decades on the court, with panels of judges, lawyers and legal analysts celebrating the 73-year-old justice’s record.

McConnell was the keynote speaker, and he urged boldness and independence from the federal judiciary he had a large hand in reconstructing. He pushed through a record number of confirmations of federal judges when Republicans controlled the Senate and President Donald Trump was making nominations.

Included in the list are three Supreme Court justices: Neil M. Gorsuch, Brett M. Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett.

Polls have shown public approval of the Supreme Court is falling — those who say it is too conservative are growing — but McConnell said popularity is not the standard by which judges should be evaluated.

“They’re not tasked with reasoning backwards from abstract impressions about what outcome the nation supposedly needs or the court’s public standing supposedly requires,” McConnell said. “We need the rule of law, not the rule of polls.”

Thomas has provided the example, McConnell said. “For 30 years and counting, you have had the brightest possible North Star illumining the path before you, the courage and fidelity of Justice Clarence Thomas,” the senator from Kentucky said.

Thomas is the second justice to appear with McConnell in the last two months. Barrett accompanied him to the University of Louisville for a speech at the center that bears the senator’s name in September.

“My goal today is to convince you that this court is not comprised of a bunch of partisan hacks,” she said. Critics said it was not a choice setting for such a nonpartisan message.

McConnell is the politician most responsible for the change on the Supreme Court and in the federal judiciary, said Donald McGahn, Trump’s White House counsel. “He’s always had an eye on the long game,” McGahn said in introducing McConnell.

Democrats remain bitter about McConnell’s role. As Senate majority leader, he refused to allow a hearing on President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court choice Merrick Garland in 2016, saying it was inappropriate in an election year. Garland was nominated to replace Justice Antonin Scalia, who died in February of that year.

Landscape with Cacti, Diego Rivera, 1931

It’s always disheartening to see minorities and women welcome their overlords. It’s something I’ve never understood. At least the animals at a livestock show don’t see what’s come but, damn, what person isn’t aware of the results of selling out? We’re seeing Republicans block every attempt to provide access to voting rights.  They’re gerrymandering Texas right now in a manner that over-represents white people and underrepresented Hispanic Americans.  This is from The Dallas NewsTexas’ latest congressional gerrymander wouldn’t pass muster under doomed Freedom to Vote Act. Senate Democrats seem to lack votes needed to push through scaled-down voting rights bill.”  Let’s face it. They want governance by white christianist men period.  

Congress is preparing for a showdown Wednesday on a doomed bill to protect minority voting rights that Democrats view as critical – and that, if it were in place, would derail the gerrymandered redistricting plan just finalized in Austin.

Republicans set aside a scant 14 of 38 U.S. House seats in Texas for Democrats, leaving the rest for themselves.

That’s 37% for Democrats, 63% for Republicans – a gap of 26 points that doesn’t even come close to passing muster under the Freedom to Vote Act, which uses recent federal elections as the benchmark to determine whether a congressional map is even modestly fair.

“There are serious voting rights issues on the map,” said Michael Li, a redistricting expert at the left-leaning Brennan Center for Justice.

He noted how blatantly the Texas congressional map that Gov. Greg Abbott will soon sign violates the proposed ban on partisan gerrymandering.

Republicans carried Texas in the last two races for president and U.S. Senate – but not by anything close to 26 points.

Sahuaro, Tucson, Arizona (1940) by Maynard Dixon

This analysis is from The Texas Observer and Justin Miller. “REPUBLICANS’ GERRYMANDERED MAPS TURN BACK TIME IN TEXAS. Once again, Republicans draw the lines of power to protect their incumbents and amplify their white, conservative, rural base—and deny millions of Texans of color their due political representation.”

With a quick glance at the new redistricting maps that Texas Republicans just rammed into law, you could be forgiven for thinking that the Lone Star State’s population became a whole lot whiter, more Republican, and more rural over the past decade.

But that is a political illusion achieved through surgical lines that create donut-hole districts, gnarled fists, and land bridges, drawn by a party desperate to avoid confronting the realities of a transformed state. People of color constituted 95 percent of Texas’ population growth over the past decade, including roughly half from Latinos alone, earning the state two new congressional districts. But Republicans used redistricting to effectively turn back time, locking in the white majoritarian rule that has controlled Texas since Reconstruction.

Democrats, voting rights advocates, and everyday constituents alike protested that the maps carved apart neighborhoods and voters of color in blatantly discriminatory fashion. But Republicans rushed through the legislative process with their fingers in their ears, providing the public with only a perfunctory chance to provide input as the maps advanced at a rapid clip. GOP leaders insisted that the maps were drawn “race-blind” and that their lawyers had assured them they were not running afoul of the federal Voting Rights Act.

By spreading out the electoral power of their white base in the vast expanses of deep-red rural Texas, Republicans shored up their current hold on power. They drew majority-white districts and fewer Hispanic majority districts, making red seats redder and blue seats bluer. This was done by defusing the ascendant political power of Latino, Black, and Asian voters in the cities and suburbs of Texas.

If this all sounds familiar, it should. During the last redistricting cycle in 2010, Republicans similarly maximized their political control with districts that courts repeatedly found were drawn with intent to racially discriminate. Those legal battles lasted through almost the entire decade. Now, more examples of brazen racial gerrymandering have cropped up in the new maps, just as they did 10 years prior. Take State Senate District 10 in Tarrant County. In 2018, a coalition of Black, Hispanic, and white voters flipped the seat by electing Democrat Beverly Powell. She may not have the seat for long; the new map transforms the 10th district into a conservative stronghold that dilutes Black and Hispanic votes by way of Republican voters in several nearby rural counties.

In the Texas House map, the GOP-held 54th district in Bell County had become increasingly competitive as the Black and Hispanic population grew in Killeen, which overwhelmingly voted for Biden in 2020. To protect that seat, Republicans made the 54th into a Bell County donut that completely encircled another Republican district. Each district got a piece of the county’s two Democratic-voting cities, Killeen and Temple.

Districts like the 22nd in Fort Bend County and the 24th in the Dallas-Fort Worth suburbs had finally become political battlegrounds in the last election cycle as multi-racial coalitions banded together. “That was like a glimpse of the future of American politics. Very coalitional, very multi-racial,” says Michael Li, a redistricting lawyer with the Brennan Center for Justice. But Republicans chose to dismantle those seats, packing diversifying areas into new deep-blue Democratic districts or cracking them off into Republican-held seats made whiter and redder by extending out into far-flung rural counties.

“Republicans are really scared of the suburbs because they’re becoming more diverse and because white voters in the suburbs aren’t as reliable for Republicans anymore and they’re not sure they’re getting it back anytime soon,” Li says.

Yellow Cactus, Georgia O’Keefe, 1929

So, hello from the Post Roe v. Wade reality.  This is from NPR. “The Supreme Court keeps Texas abortion law in place, but agrees to review it.”  Mitchell has obviously been the fluffer for this.  Notice he didn’t need to fluff Kavanaugh and Gorsuch.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday agreed to review a controversial Texas abortion law on Nov. 1 but refused to block the law while it examines Texas’ unusual enforcement scheme and whether the Department of Justice has the right to sue to block the law.

The court will not directly consider the constitutionality of the law. Instead, in its order, the court said it would consider the following questions:

  • whether “the state can insulate from federal-court review a law that prohibits the exercise of a constitutional right by delegating to the general public the authority to enforce that prohibition through civil action”;
  • and can “the United States bring suit in federal court and obtain injunctive or declaratory relief against the State, state court judges, state court clerks, other state officials, or all private parties to prohibit S.B. 8 from being enforced.”

Justice Sonia Sotomayor dissented with keeping the law in place.

“The promise of future adjudication offers cold comfort, however, for Texas women seeking abortion care, who are entitled to relief now,” she wrote. “These women will suffer personal harm from delaying their medical care, and as their pregnancies progress, they may even be unable to obtain abortion care altogether.”

She added:

“There are women in Texas who became pregnant on or around the day that S. B. 8 took effect. As I write these words, some of those women do not know they are pregnant. When they find out, should they wish to exercise their constitutional right to seek abortion care, they will be unable to do so anywhere in their home State. Those with sufficient resources may spend thousands of dollars and multiple days anxiously seeking care from out-of-state providers so overwhelmed with Texas patients that they cannot adequately serve their own communities. Those without the ability to make this journey, whether due to lack of money or childcare or employment flexibility or the myriad other constraints that shape people’s day-to-day lives, may be forced to carry to term against their wishes or resort to dangerous methods of self-help.”

We may all have to become flowers that bloom in a democracy desert quite soon. I’m glad BB covered the Republican cover-up of the insurrection yesterday so I can just forget it a bit here. We’re going to have to organize and show up again.  Get ready.  This will be a wild News Day.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


Monday Reads: Plumage and Bloomage

Good Day Sky Dancers!

My body went back to normal time this morning and stole that hour plus another back!  I’m just not adjusting well to this at all but I did enjoy time walking the dog last night under the Full Worm Moon. I’m not sure all the spring breakers holding the neighborhood hostage were gone but they seemed to be holed up somewhere inside because Temple and I had the neutral ground and all our heron buddies to ourselves.

The full Moon names used by The Old Farmer’s Almanac come from a number of places, including Native American, Colonial American, and European sources. Traditionally, each full Moon name was applied to the entire lunar month in which it occurred, not only to the full Moon.

The Worm Moon

March’s full Moon goes by the name Worm Moon, which was originally thought to refer to the earthworms that appear as the soil warms in spring. This invites robins and other birds to feed—a true sign of spring!

An alternative explanation for this name comes from Captain Jonathan Carver, an 18th-century explorer, who wrote that this Moon name refers to a different sort of “worm”—beetle larvae—which begin to emerge from the thawing bark of trees and other winter hideouts at this time.

This is Rob and Laura who live in the Live Oak closest to the River. On the next block there are two pairs. I’ve named them Lucy and Ricky and Ethel and Fred. They live in adjacent trees.

I’ve taken some photos of spring arriving to my street.  I hope you enjoy them!  I’m also highlighting some of the Haute Couture from the New Yorker’s article on Ann Lowe by Judith Thurman.Ann Lowe’s Barrier-Breaking Mid-Century Couture How a Black designer made her way among the white élite.”  Enjoy all the plumage and bloomage!

The issue in most dire need of elucidation is undoubtedly the onslaught of voter suppression measures in state legislatures across Republican States.  It is also the Voting Rights Act headed for the desk of the Senate.  If you read anything today please read Jane Mayer’s article at The New Yorker. Here’s the headline: Inside the Koch-Backed Effort to Block the Largest Election-Reform Bill in Half a Century , On a leaked conference call, leaders of dark-money groups and an aide to Mitch McConnell expressed frustration with the popularity of the legislation—even among Republican voters.”

A recording obtained by The New Yorker of a private conference call on January 8th, between a policy adviser to Senator Mitch McConnell and the leaders of several prominent conservative groups—including one run by the Koch brothers’ network—reveals the participants’ worry that the proposed election reforms garner wide support not just from liberals but from conservative voters, too. The speakers on the call expressed alarm at the broad popularity of the bill’s provision calling for more public disclosure about secret political donors. The participants conceded that the bill, which would stem the flow of dark money from such political donors as the billionaire oil magnate Charles Koch, was so popular that it wasn’t worth trying to mount a public-advocacy campaign to shift opinion. Instead, a senior Koch operative said that opponents would be better off ignoring the will of American voters and trying to kill the bill in Congress.

Kyle McKenzie, the research director for the Koch-run advocacy group Stand Together, told fellow-conservatives and Republican congressional staffers on the call that he had a “spoiler.” “When presented with a very neutral description” of the bill, “people were generally supportive,” McKenzie said, adding that “the most worrisome part . . . is that conservatives were actually as supportive as the general public was when they read the neutral description.” In fact, he warned, “there’s a large, very large, chunk of conservatives who are supportive of these types of efforts.”

As a result, McKenzie conceded, the legislation’s opponents would likely have to rely on Republicans in the Senate, where the bill is now under debate, to use “under-the-dome-type strategies”—meaning legislative maneuvers beneath Congress’s roof, such as the filibuster—to stop the bill, because turning public opinion against it would be “incredibly difficult.” He warned that the worst thing conservatives could do would be to try to “engage with the other side” on the argument that the legislation “stops billionaires from buying elections.” McKenzie admitted, “Unfortunately, we’ve found that that is a winning message, for both the general public and also conservatives.” He said that when his group tested “tons of other” arguments in support of the bill, the one condemning billionaires buying elections was the most persuasive—people “found that to be most convincing, and it riled them up the most.”

McKenzie explained that the Koch-founded group had invested substantial resources “to see if we could find any message that would activate and persuade conservatives on this issue.” He related that “an A.O.C. message we tested”—one claiming that the bill might help Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez achieve her goal of holding “people in the Trump Administration accountable” by identifying big donors—helped somewhat with conservatives. But McKenzie admitted that the link was tenuous, since “what she means by this is unclear.” “Sadly,” he added, not even attaching the phrase “cancel culture” to the bill, by portraying it as silencing conservative voices, had worked. “It really ranked at the bottom,” McKenzie said to the group. “That was definitely a little concerning for us.”

Gretchen Reiter, the senior vice-president of communications for Stand Together, declined to respond to questions about the conference call or the Koch group’s research showing the robust popularity of the proposed election reforms. In an e-mailed statement, she said, “Defending civil liberties requires more than a sound bite,” and added that the group opposes the bill because “a third of it restricts First Amendment rights.” She included a link to an op-ed written by a member of Americans for Prosperity, another Koch-affiliated advocacy group, which argues that the legislation violates donors’ freedom of expression by requiring the disclosure of the names of those who contribute ten thousand dollars or more to nonprofit groups involved in election spending. Such transparency, the op-ed suggests, could subject donors who prefer to remain anonymous to retaliation or harassment.

This evening shift, circa 1924, is the earliest confirmed example of Lowe’s couture. Every bead was attached individually.Dress from collection of the Henry B. Plant Museum / Tampa, Florida

You certainly cannot boycott a Hedge or Capital Venture Fund but we know from Fair Fight that many Georgia Voters are putting pressure  on corporations–like Delta Airlines, Coca-Cola, and Home Depot– to throw their weight behind getting Voting Rights passed and Voter Suppression Tactics stopped.  The effort is called Black Dollars Matter.

Georgia has some of the most organized and mobilized groups of Black voters, thanks to Stacey Abrams, who may be the shrewdest and most tenacious voting rights advocate in the nation.

Many of these Black voters remember when Abrams lost a close race for Georgia governor in 2018, a contest tainted by allegations of voter suppression. Kemp, Abrams’ opponent, ran for governor while also holding onto his position as the state’s chief elections officer — a position many viewed as a conflict of interest.

The perception that the GOP is trying to suppress the Black vote will only make Black voters in Georgia more determined to vote in 2022, when Abrams is widely expected to run against Kemp again, says the Rev. Jamal Byrant, senior pastor of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, Georgia.

“Georgia is frankly becoming browner and more progressive, and the Republicans are having anxiety about the upcoming gubernatorial election and they’re trying to do everything in their power to stop the wave,” Bryant says.

“You’re going to see a whole lot of first-time voters, younger voters and disillusioned and disenfranchised voters heading back to the polls because they realize what’s at stake,” Bryant says.

There is evidence to back up Bryant’s prediction. A growing body of research suggests that the passage of voter ID laws may in some cases motivate Black voters and spark voter organizing efforts.

One study examining the impact of the Supreme Court’s 2013 Shelby decision, which gutted the Voting Rights Act, suggested that voting restrictions may actually increase Black turnout in elections.

The Shelby decision made it easier for states to pass voter restriction laws after the high court removed the “preclearance” provision from the Voting Rights Act. Under preclearance, a state with a history of racial discrimination in elections had to get permission from the federal government for instituting any changes to how they run elections.

The study, which was cited in the New York Times, said the Shelby decision may have actually increased Black turnout in the 2016 presidential election in some states where preclearance was removed.

“Overall, the removal of preclearance did not decrease Black turnout,” says Kyle Raze, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Oregon, who authored the study. “If anything, the removal of preclearance increased Black turnout in some states during the 2016 election.”

Political scientists have found laws that make voting more difficult don’t always succeed in changing election outcomes, because voters and parties take steps to counteract what’s happening.

I suppose the one great thing we’ve got going for us is that the country’s voters outnumber the country’s wicked rich. But then I read things like this poll from the Pew Research Center. “A partisan chasm in views of Trump’s legacy”.  It still seems many rank and file republicans get their information from alternative reality sites. Democracies don’t work so well when a slice of the electorate likes being deliberately and willfully ignorant.

Two months after President Donald Trump left office, 38% of Americans say he made progress toward solving major problems facing the country during his administration – while a nearly identical share (37%) say he made these problems worse. Another 15% say Trump tried but failed to solve the nation’s problems, while 10% say he did not address them.

Looking back at Trump’s term, just over half of Americans (53%) rate Trump’s presidency as below average – including 41% who say he was a “terrible” president. About a third (35%) rate his presidency as above average, including 17% who say he was a “great” president. Republicans and Democrats offer starkly different assessments of Trump’s presidential legacy, according to a Pew Research Center survey of 12,055 U.S. adults conducted March 1-7, 2021.

Graphic statement: A stately evening ensemble of black lace over aqua silk, for A. F. Chantilly, circa 1966.

I’d really like to know which problems exactly they think he solved.  He certainly created a lot more chaos and shameful policies than anything else he did.  Maybe they like the idea of child separation and children in cages? The huge budget busting and no growth creating tax cuts?  The love letters to Putin and Kim?  Who knows and I’m not about to ask any of them.  Phillip Bump of WAPO writes that “Trump is losing the war over his legacy”  How could someone who led a band of violent white supremacists to insurrection against our country have anything but a rotten legacy?  Added to his mishandling and manipulation of the COVID-19 response–discussed below–and I’d say he’s going down in history as a murderer, a seditionist, and a thief.

On Sunday evening, CNN aired a special featuring interviews with the senior officials involved in the early coronavirus pandemic response under president Donald Trump. No longer operating under the Trump political umbrella, they offered assessments of the past year that lacked any soothing veneer.

Deborah Birx, the coordinator of the White House response under Trump, expressed her belief that the deaths that occurred after the first wave of infections last spring were largely preventable. It’s a sentiment that matches recent research but was at odds with the sanitization practices of the Trump White House to which Birx had so often adhered. Anthony S. Fauci, the country’s top epidemiologist, suggested it was government experts, not Trump, who had decided to push forward quickly on a vaccine to combat the virus in January 2020. That was months before the administration rolled out Operation Warp Speed, its push for vaccine development..

Well, that’s the one thing he was taking credit for that might’ve stuck.  I guess we should’ve known that somebody else’s idea all along.  Also, in the news is the Solar Winds Hack which probably was partially due to the deconstruction all over the National Security front by the Trumpist Regime.  This is breaking  from the AP: “from Alan Suderman.

Suspected Russian hackers gained access to email accounts belonging to the Trump administration’s head of the Department of Homeland Security and members of the department’s cybersecurity staff whose jobs included hunting threats from foreign countries, The Associated Press has learned.

The intelligence value of the hacking of then-acting Secretary Chad Wolf and his staff is not publicly known, but the symbolism is stark. Their accounts were accessed as part of what’s known as the SolarWinds intrusion, and it throws into question how the U.S. government can protect individuals, companies and institutions across the country if it can’t protect itself.

The short answer for many security experts and federal officials is that it can’t — at least not without some significant changes.

“The SolarWinds hack was a victory for our foreign adversaries, and a failure for DHS,” said Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, top Republican on the Senate’s Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. “We are talking about DHS’s crown jewels.”

The Biden administration has tried to keep a tight lid on the scope of the SolarWinds attack as it weighs retaliatory measures against Russia. But an inquiry by the AP found new details about the breach at DHS and other agencies, including the Energy Department, where hackers accessed top officials’ schedules.

Blush pink was a favorite color of Lowe’s. Here she uses it in silk and nylon for an evening dress, from 1962, festooned with trompe-l’oeil flowers.

Well, that’s a little this and that about the previous guy as well as what we’re experiencing now still because of the previous guy.  The Biden/Harris administration sure have their work cut out for them.

Since I now have the Blues I will put this up by Memphis Minnie (Lizzy Douglas) who recorded this song sometime during the peak of the great depression.  Douglas was born in New Orleans in the Algiers neighborhood in 1897 but moved to Tennessee to record.  She was billed as the Queen of the Country Blues. You can learn more about her at the Memphis Music Hall of Fame.

But there were plenty of men who wanted to play guitar like Memphis Minnie. She once even beat the great Big Bill Broonzy in a picking contest. Her title “Queen of the Country Blues” was no hype. Minnie did everything the boys could do, and she did it in a fancy gown with full hair and makeup. She had it all: stellar guitar chops, a powerful voice, a huge repertoire including many original, signature songs and a stage presence simultaneously glamorous, bawdy and tough.

She transcended both gender and genre. Her recording career reached from the 1920s heyday of country blues to cutting electric sides in 1950s Chicago studios for the Chess subsidiary Checker. Minnie helped form the roots of electric Chicago blues, as well as R&B and rock ‘n’ roll, long before she plugged in. Her unique storytelling style of songwriting drew such surprising fans as Country Music Hall of Famer Bob Wills, the King of Western Swing, who covered her song about a favorite horse, “Frankie Jean,” right down to copying Minnie’s whistling. Though she inspired as many men as women, her influence was particularly strong on female musicians, her disciples including her niece Lavern Baker, a rock and R&B pioneer in her own right, as well as Maria Muldaur (who released a 2012 tribute CD) Bonnie Raitt (who paid for her headstone), Rory Block, Tracy Nelson, Saffire and virtually every other guitar-slinging woman since.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


Monday Reads: And so it Begins … Fear and Loathing in the US

Good Day Sky Dancers!

This week will probably be one of the strangest we’ve ever had in the country especially during our long cherished democratic and patriotic duty of voting and counting the votes.  Most of us had to wait a long time to get our demographic to the polls but now we got it we gotta use it!

In one of the strangest and unexpected moves of this presidency, we find the Trump building non scalable walls around the White House.  What kind of President has to do that?  Via CNN and Paul LeBlanc: “Federal authorities expected to erect ‘non-scalable’ fence around White House”.  Not even Nixon got that paranoid!

Federal authorities are expected to put back into place a “non-scalable” fence around the entire perimeter of the White House on Monday as law enforcement and other agencies prepare for possible protests surrounding the election, a source with knowledge of the matter confirmed to CNN.

The fence, the same type that was put up during protests this summer, will encompass the Ellipse and Lafayette Square. It will go down 15th Street to Constitution Avenue and then over to 17th Street. The fence will then run up to H Street and across by Lafayette, and then come down 15th Street, the source said.

NBC News was first to report the new fencing. A Secret Service spokeswoman declined to comment to CNN, saying the agency does not comment on security measures.

The extra layer of security marks the most high-profile example to date of authorities preparing for unrest following this year’s election, particularly if there is no clear winner come November 4.

Meanwhile, a Trumpist Rally in Georgia ended in the same clusterfuck as the ones in Omaha, Florida, Pennsylvania, and now Georgia!

Both campaigns seriously have Georgia on their minds! I can’t imagine this is going to make any one very happy even if you’re a part of the death cult.

“The Polling” by William Hogarth (1755), scene 3 in his Humours of an Election series. While Hogarth’s goal is to mercilessly satire English politics, his painting also hints at the festive atmosphere of an actual 18th century Election Day. Credit: Sir John Soane’s Museum / The Yorck Project / Wikipedia.

Any one who has worked campaigns or been a candidate knows that yard signs basically disappear fast for a variety of reasons.  My opponents husband was out daily taking down little yard signs and big road signs as fast as my wonderful team from the Firefighter’s union could put them up.  It’s maddening; but this is the first I’ve heard of this, but I have to consider it’s Topeka, Kansas. “Man thought people were stealing Donald Trump signs; three shot”.  

Three people were shot late Saturday in North Topeka after a man confronted people he thought had committed past thefts of signs promoting the campaign of Republican Presidential incumbent Donald Trump, a Topeka police supervisor said Sunday.

Police weren’t specifying who was thought to have shot whom or revealing the names, ages or genders of those who were wounded.

Officers responded about 11 p.m. to the scene in the 1300 block of N.W. Eugene, from which one person was taken by ambulance to a hospital with gunshot wounds that were considered potentially life-threatening, said police Lt. Joe Perry.

Eugene, which runs north and south, is located about a block west of N.W. Topeka Boulevard in the area involved.

Two other people later sought hospital treatment in Topeka after arriving by private vehicle after suffering from gunshot wounds, Perry said. The seriousness of their injuries wasn’t clear.

The names, ages and genders of those wounded weren’t available Sunday morning.

Close up detail of a mural by Philadelphia artist Nile Livingston entitled “To the Polls”

Meanwhile, armed hooligans in pickup trucks continue to terrorize their neighbors in cities throughout the country.  Yesterday, groups of them stopped traffic on the Andrew Cuomo bridge in both NJ and NYC.  Also, we learn that group in Richmond, Va circled like fucked up hick in hick up fucks around a confederate monument.  This is basically the KKK trying to scare voters off.  This is from the Richmond Times Dispatch: “Witnesses describe clash at Lee Circle between caravan of Trump supporters and a crowd of opponents.”

Tempers flared Sunday as a “Trump train” of cars tried to pass Lee Circle along Monument Avenue and clashed with opposing protesters, drawing a police presence that blocked off the area to traffic.

Witnesses said gunshots were fired during the encounter on Sunday afternoon two days before the presidential election, and one man showed a reporter a bullet hole in his car where it was parked on Monument Avenue near Lee Circle, which has been the site of racial justice protests for several months.

Several other witnesses said one or more of the supporters of President Donald Trump in the train of cars was spraying chemical irritants at an opposing crowd that was trying to block the cars from passing. One man said he narrowly avoided being run over by jumping onto the hood of a car. Another man said he ducked just in time as someone fired a gun at him from a truck, after someone else had pulled a Trump flag off one of the vehicles.

Richmond police said a woman reported at 4:18 p.m. that she had been pepper-sprayed by someone from one of the vehicles. A few minutes later, officers responded to Lee Circle to investigate a report of an unoccupied vehicle that had been struck once by gunfire.

“AMERICA’S WOMEN GET THE VOTE CALENDAR ILLUSTRATION” .Bernie Fuchs
1965 (Estimated)

President Trump has failed the test of leadership. His bid for reelection is foundering. And his only solution has been to launch an all-out, multimillion-dollar effort to disenfranchise voters — first by seeking to block state laws to ease voting during the pandemic, and now, in the final stages of the campaign, by challenging the ballots of individual voters unlikely to support him.

This is as un-American as it gets. It returns the Republican Party to the bad old days of “voter suppression” that landed it under a court order to stop such tactics — an order lifted before this election. It puts the party on the wrong side of demographic changes in this country that threaten to make the GOP a permanent minority.

These are painful words for me to write. I spent four decades in the Republican trenches, representing GOP presidential and congressional campaigns, working on Election Day operations, recounts, redistricting and other issues, including trying to lift the consent decree.

Nearly every Election Day since 1984 I’ve worked with Republican poll watchers, observers and lawyers to record and litigate any fraud or election irregularities discovered.

The truth is that over all those years Republicans found only isolated incidents of fraud. Proof of systematic fraud has become the Loch Ness Monster of the Republican Party. People have spent a lot of time looking for it, but it doesn’t exist.

As he confronts losing, Trump has devoted his campaign and the Republican Party to this myth of voter fraud. Absent being able to articulate a cogent plan for a second term or find an attack against Joe Biden that will stick, disenfranchising enough voters has become key to his reelection strategy.

Here’s something new from the Plum Line and Greg Sargent: “Trump just revealed his plot to steal the election. Here’s a way to stop him.”

President Trump has revealed his endgame in all its corrupt glory. If Trump is on track to losing once all the votes are counted, he will seek to invalidate as many ballots as possible, while asserting that counting outstanding ballots constitutes an effort to steal the election from him.

In reality, of course, it’s that very act — trying to thwart the full counting of ballots — which would actually constitute an effort to steal the election.

To be clear: Trump will declare that the election is being stolen from him to justify trying to steal it himself.

But this plot constitutes a bet on massive institutional failure by the news media to render that basic situation with total clarity. So I’d like to suggest how the media might avoid such a disastrous outcome.

One way entails flipping the script so great emphasis in election-night coverage is placed on the percentages of uncounted votes, as opposed to the percentages of counted ones.

First, an aside: Saying Trump has a plot to steal the election doesn’t mean he can’t win. Trump still can win, if there’s a very large polling error, or if he hangs on in Pennsylvania, where Joe Biden’s lead is not overwhelmingly solid, which opens up an inside path.

However, Trump himself has a contingency plan to steal the election if he is set to lose once all the votes are counted. It’s to prevent all the votes from getting counted.

I’m just glad there are some very clever lawyers watching what this snake in the grass does.  I only hope that state level law enforcement does the same.

So, I will get up to vote tomorrow.  Wait for my farmer’s box to be delivered from the Farmer’s Market.  Teach four hours.  Then,  I’m headed across the street to watch the returns with my neighbor Nancy.  We will run a blog in the evening.  Hopefully, my internet will hold because it’s been very dicey the last 5 or 6 days.  I guess all cell phone towers here are being powered by generators and the local cable company has a lot of infrastructure damage.  I think they got the city up and running and that voting places are up except for 3 which the city will power on generators.  I vote at the fire station on the corner and its proximity is basically why I got my power back so quickly even though everything else is still hinky.

We can get through this.  I want us to do it together.  We are a community who cares and we are kind.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?

Georgia Please go blue!!!!!  Get out there and vote my Georgia brothers and sisters and neighbors!!!  Also a shout out to North Carolina!  Texas and Arizona!  Get us all out of this mess!!!


Wednesday Reads: Tank Girl Says It…Dems Got The House

We can turn this shit around!

 

Hey, I know…that is a little too positive, coming from someone like me…but even I have to grasp at some rays of hope. Yesterday, on my way to practice I took a picture of the sunset. It made me think of the future, in this way:

I said a little prayer, may this setting sun be the last of “tRumpian unaccountability”…and will tomorrow’s morning sun bring hope for our democracy.

That image of Tank Girl, it is morning…she is having tea and putting on her boots…preparing herself for the day’s ass kicking. We can turn this shit around! Let’s see what comes from winning the House?

 

Meanwhile, in Georgia:

As of 8:45 this morning, only 75,386 votes separate Kemp and Abrams…

Brian Kemp’s Lead in Georgia Needs an Asterisk – The Atlantic

The Democrat Stacey Abrams, a black woman, made a valiant effort to win the governor’s race in Georgia, one of the original 13 states, whose commitment to human bondage ensured that the U.S. Constitution would treat slavery with kid gloves. A state that was part of the Confederacy. A state scorched by Union General William Tecumseh Sherman in the Civil War. A state that refused to accept the outcome of that war, treating its black residents as second-class citizens—if that—until the federal government forced its hand, a century later, with the Voting Rights Act. She tried to write a new narrative for this state.

Although Abrams has not yet conceded, citing uncounted ballots, it looks as though the other side has won, and the narrative is the same as ever. Abrams didn’t have to fight just an electoral campaign; she had to fight a civil-rights campaign against the forces of voter suppression.

Indeed, I can’t quite bring myself to say that Abrams “lost,” because there’s an asterisk next to her Republican opponent’s victory.

Brian Kemp, who billed himself as a “Trump conservative,” refused to step aside as Georgia’s secretary of state; he ran for governor of a state while overseeing the elections in that state. Former President Jimmy Carter, a Georgian with much experience monitoring elections abroad, stressed that this conflict of interest ran “counter to the most fundamental principle of democratic elections—that the electoral process be managed by an independent and impartial election authority.”
Kemp had no intention of relinquishing a post he has held since 2010, and often wields as a weapon to cull Georgia’s electorate. He understood that he would need every trick in the book because he was up against a woman who, in addition to serving as the minority leader of the state’s House of Representatives from 2011 to 2017, founded a formidable voter-registration organization, the New Georgia Project.[…]Under Kemp, Georgia purged more than 1.5 million voters from the rolls, eliminating 10.6 percent of voters from the state’s registered electorate from 2016 to 2018 alone. The state shut down 214 polling places, the bulk of them in minority and poor neighborhoods. From 2013 to 2016 it blocked the registration of nearly 35,000 Georgians, including newly naturalized citizens. Georgia accomplished this feat of disfranchisement based on a screening process called “exact match,” meaning the state accepted new registrations only if they matched the information in state databases precisely, including hyphens in names, accents, and even typos.[…]Days before the deadline to register for the November election, the Associated Press reported that Kemp had put 53,000 applicants on hold due to exact-match problems. An analysis of Kemp’s records found that 70 percent of those applicants were black. (Georgia is roughly 32 percent black.) Separately, the Georgia chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union found that some 700 absentee-ballot applications and almost 200 absentee ballots were rejected by county officials due to a law mandating that the signatures on absentee applications and ballots visually match the signatures on file. Thus, poor penmanship was added to the list of crimes that can lead to disenfranchisement in Georgia.[…]

In the end, it looks like Kemp won. It’s impossible to know if his attempts to restrict the franchise are what pushed him over the line. But if the Georgia race had taken place in another country—say, the Republic of Georgia—U.S. media and the U.S. State Department would not have hesitated to question its legitimacy, if for no other reason than Kemp’s dual roles as candidate and election overseer. Of course, there were other reasons. As of this morning, he led by about 75,000 votes; more than 85,000 registrations were canceled through August 1 of this year alone.

Stacy Abrams is vowing not to concede until all votes are counted. I think she should demand a recount…as well.

 

 

 

This is a good thread to round up the tRump effect:

From down along this thread:

Other observations:

This piece of shit is gone:

And…

On that note, here are a few cartoons:

Blue Shadow: 11/07/2018 Cartoon by Steve Artley

Cartoon by Steve Artley - Blue Shadow

I think Boston Boomer had this in one of her post, but it is so good I have to repeat it:

Election Sticker: 11/07/2018 Cartoon by Rob Rogers

Cartoon by Rob Rogers - Election Sticker

11/06/2018 Cartoon by Signe Wilkinson

Cartoon by Signe Wilkinson -

 

 

 

I wonder what the rest of today will bring?

See you in the comments…this is an open thread.

 


Sunday Reads: Guess Who?

Actor Max Schreck, of Nosferatu fame….

Yeah…this guy:


Today’s post is complemented with images of famous people when they were young…some may surprise you…others will not. I hope you enjoy the show.

Earlier this week, Pence came to Georgia. One of my fellow Roller Girls showed up to protest:

I am so proud of Pixie! It takes guts to stand there, by yourself…and she did get harassed by tRump supporters. Video clip of her interview with the local news station at this link.

Channel 9 Lone Protestor Outside Rally

One thing about the WFTDA (Women’s Flat Track Derby Association), they are proactive when it comes to issues and politics that strike out at causes and the culture Roller Derby stands up for…for instance:

The Women’s Flat Track Derby Association Condemns Discriminatory Policy in the US – WFTDA

In recent days, the United States executive branch has suggested federal policy changes may be coming that would significantly harm transgender, nonbinary, genderqueer, intersex, and other gender nonconforming members of our communities. As the governing body for the sport of roller derby, the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) denounces these proposed changes, which would be in direct opposition to the inclusive spirit of our roller derby community. We ask other sports governing bodies, amateur and professional, as well as organizations and individuals who recognize the value of inclusivity in sport to join us in pushing back on these discriminatory policies.

As a nonprofit proudly based in Austin, Texas, the WFTDA is saddened to hear of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ interest in defining gender as a biological condition. In the eyes of the WFTDA, this is an attack on our core values as an organization.

In 1972, Title IX was introduced as part of the U.S. Education Amendments, to end “discrimination on the basis of sex.” Title IX specifically offered protections and space for women in amateur sports, addressing the collegiate system directly. In recent years, the NCAA has taken steps to begin extending these protections to transgender athletes wishing to compete at the highest level in their chosen sports, pushing Title IX to end discrimination not just on the basis of assigned sex, but also on the basis of gender expression and transgender status.

The WFTDA has also worked throughout its existence to re-evaluate its own gender policies and create its current gender statement, at the encouragement of the WFTDA community as well as our colleagues in the Junior Roller Derby Association, the Men’s Roller Derby Association, and other organizations that have contributed significantly to gender-expansive competition. Together, we recognize that a commitment to inclusivity makes our sport brighter and more competitive. Diversity adds complexity and nuance that would not otherwise exist on eight wheels. It’s our collective obligation to advocate for the human rights of our membership — especially those who have historically faced disproportionately larger barriers to inclusion.

Please, go to the link to read the rest of the statement. There is a lot more there to chew on.

As you can also see, they encourage their teams to participate in the political discussion:

Arizona Roller Derby Announces the New Names of its International Travel Teams – Arizona Roller Derby

In 2004, AZRD agreed to play the Texas Rollergirls (TXRG) in the first interstate-bout of the modern era. As part of creating its first All-Star team, AZRD members selected the name Tent City Terrors, a satirical political statement in reference to Arizona’s notorious outdoor jail. Many of the skaters on the original team selected a second identity separate from that of their home team, such as “Sheriff Shutyerpaio”. When it was formed, it was unclear when or how many more games the team would play; at the time, there was no flat track organization nor rule set. Still, the name and uniform stuck through the first national tournament held in 2006, and has been used by the team since.

Yeah, a team name…plus derby player’s names to make a political statement. Check out a few other examples below:

Here are a few more links on politics and WFTDA and Roller Derby this:

A few articles on gender issues and concentrating on Derby as an LGBTQ inclusive sport.

WFTDA Gender Statement – WFTDA

Making Inclusivity Happen in Roller Derby – The Apex

The WFTDA Challenges ESPN to Improve Their Relationship with Non – NBC2 News

Roller derby is mashing up gender norms in sport – here’s how

Roller Derby and promoting the Indigenous Community:

Celebrating Indigenous Culture and Community in Roller Derby – WFTDA

Team Indigenous Talks Politics – WiSP Sports | conversations from the world of women’s sports-‘MICK SWAGGER’ AND ‘JUMPY MCGEE’ DISCUSS HOT TOPICS AND THE POLITICS OF TEAM INDIGENOUS AND THE WFTDA

Here is a statement back when tRump issued the fucking Muslim travel ban:

WFTDA Issues Statement Against US Travel Ban – WFTDA

It really makes me proud to be a part of the North Georgia Roller Girls ….which is a WFTDA team associated with Peach State Roller Derby; with the WFTDA backing us, we should stand up for the causes that are a part of the movement that is Women’s Flat Track Roller Derby…it is wonderful to see women like Abby/Pixie embracing the Culture of WFTDA. I applaud her efforts. Brava!

As for the NGRG…we start playing our official first games in March of 2019, so I will definitely keep you all up to date with that nugget of derby news from time to time.

Oh, yeah…more young celebrity pictures:

Milton Berle

Kate Winslet

So back to the shit storm that is tRump.

This little Nazi Youth is none other than tRump himself.

Trump’s attack on birthright citizenship betrays his ignorance – and his weakness | Corey Brettschneider | Opinion | The Guardian

The 14th amendment to the constitution confirms that all Americans are born equal. One immigrant-hating lover of dictators cannot change that with a simple stroke of his pen

In an interview that will air in full on Sunday, Donald Trump reveals that he wants to end birthright citizenship through executive order. But he doesn’t have that power. An executive order cannot reverse the guarantee of citizenship to anyone born in the United States that is enshrined in the constitution.

After the civil war, Congress sought to grant full citizenship to African Americans, who had been denied it under the Dred Scottsupreme court decision. Yet when it passed the 14th amendment in 1868, Congress went further. It wrote a rule making it clear that any person, regardless of ethnicity or national origin, had a right to citizenship upon being born in the US.

The relevant portion of the 14th amendment reads: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.” The phrase about jurisdiction was meant to exclude the children of ambassadors and tribal Native Americans, who until 1924 were regarded as citizens of separate sovereign nations.

These words about birthright citizenship reflect the wider values of the 14th amendment, which also guarantees “equal protection of the laws” for all persons. Together with the constitution’s ban on royal titles in Article I, Section 9, the document stands for the idea that the US does not condone hereditary hierarchy – or any legal distinction based on birth or parentage, ideas associated with aristocratic societies. In the US, everyone starts on the same plane.

I also think this is yet another form of tRumpian white nationalist intimidation. Considering the past 2013 Scalia Supreme Court decision which removed the Voting Rights portion of Civil Rights Act of 1964. (Remember the Civil Rights Act will again be revisited soon enough.)

This way of sending these outright threats goes far to back the claims of fascism that Boston Boomer discuss in her post from yesterday.

But back to the the op/ed up top. It goes on to discuss the first case that came before the SCOTUS, in 1898… United States v Wong Kim Ark. Please read the rest to learn more…

I’m going to stick with the Guardian for the next few links, I think it will give us a good look from a different perspective.

Julia Roberts

‘This is Georgia’: hate, hope and history in election that shows the clash of two Americas | US news | The Guardian

Hey, what a fucking surprise. Georgia’s election shit is making news over in the UK!

“The consequences of any of us staying home really are profound because America’s at a crossroads,” he warned. “The healthcare of millions of people is on the ballot. Making sure working families get a fair shake is on the ballot. But maybe most of all, the character of our country is on the ballot.”

It was not meant to be like this. America’s first black president hoped to steer the nation on an upward trajectory. Then came Donald Trump, a man endorsed by white supremacists and the breathing embodiment of everything Obama is not. On Tuesday, these two radically opposing visions of “the character of our country” will collide at the ballot box. Georgia is ground zero.

I live in ground zero. I know the crap first hand. Ugh.

From Seinfeld to bagels, it was always easy to be a Jew in America. What changed? | Hadley Freeman | News | The Guardian by Hadley Freeman.

Recently a clutch of American relatives came to visit me in London. I don’t get to see my extended family so much these days, but thanks to the internet they see me all the time, reading my articles and sending messages so supportive they occasionally reject English as insufficiently adoring and opt for Yiddish (“I’m kvelling!”). They ask me about the different things I’ve been writing about: celebrities, feminism, and so on. But when they made the transatlantic trip this time there was a rare consensus: they all wanted to talk about the rise of antisemitism in Europe.

What is going on? It’s just crazy!” one uncle said to me after I wrote about protesting against antisemitism in British politics. We discussed the rise in verbal and physical attacks on Jews in the UK, the election of Viktor Orbán in Hungary, the Law and Justice party in Poland. He was especially horrified by the murder of 85-year-old Holocaust survivor Mireille Knoll in Paris. “It is just unimaginable,” my cousin said.

Marlene Dietrich

Dietrich was one of many German born actors/entertainers who spoke out and actively campaigned against Hitler during WWII.

‘Vaya con Dios:’ the impossible life of an immigration judge at the US border | US news | The Guardian

Robert Brack, who at one point had the heaviest caseload of any federal judge in the US, pleads for justice for the immigrants he sees every day

One more link for today’s post…

Jon Stewart is right: How long will the media continue to play Trump’s game?

A fleeting moment within the teaser for Axios’s interview with Donald Trump, the centerpiece of Sunday’s “Axios on HBO,” tells all you need to know about how the president truly feels about his relationship to the media.

Moments after Jim VandeHei admits to Trump that his “enemy of the people” rhetoric scares the hell out of him, the reporter (and co-founder of the media site) tells the president, “You are, like, the most powerful man in the world.”

Reflexively Trump looks off-camera and grins, briefly, his face flush with what appears to be self-satisfaction. There was concentrated smugness in that expression, tinged with a pugilist’s cruelty.

In that scene, VandeHei points out the extreme irresponsibility of any leader of the free world using his position and platform to vilify an entire class of people, and using that rhetoric to stoke the emotions of the people who constitute his base.

Ever the attention-hungry reality show star, Trump softly replies, “They like me more because of it,” calling his dangerous hyperbolic term the only way he can fight back. That satisfied grin says he knows he’s winning.

Axios on HBO,” premiering Sunday at 6:30 p.m., is one of many specials the news site will run on the premium cable channel as part of a partnership. HBO has been steadily expanding its news and information footprint. And that in itself indicates how malleable our concept of news has become under Trump’s administration.

This is the interview where tRump announces he is going to snap his fingers…click his heels and poof, no more “14th Amendment.”

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So what are you finding today as we count down to Tuesday’s election?

This is an open thread.