Posted: September 19, 2022 | Author: dakinikat | Filed under: just because | Tags: Donald Trump is mentally ill, QAnon |
Good Day Sky Dancers!
Yesterday, JJ put up some video of a Trump Rally highly reminiscent of NAZI rallies. Trump has taken to threatening Americans and Democracy, warning us that ‘problems’ like ‘we’ve never seen before are coming if any court dares to indict him. This is from Politico on September 15: “It’s not the first time Republicans have hinted at potential civil unrest.” Frankly, he and his droogs in Congress have gotten more threatening the closer Trump comes to an indictment. This is from the Hewitt interview.
Former President Donald Trump said Thursday the nation would face “problems … the likes of which perhaps we’ve never seen” if he is indicted over his handling of classified documents after leaving office, an apparent suggestion that such a move by the Justice Department could spark violence from Trump’s supporters.
The former president said an indictment wouldn’t stop him from running for the White House again and repeatedly said Americans “would not stand” for his prosecution.
You may recall Lindsey Graham also linked a threat last month. The threats have gotten so frequent and disturbing that AG Merrick Garland felt the need to give a speech on Ellis Island while welcoming new;y minted American Citizens. This is the New York Times covering the event: “‘As Trump Inquiry Heats Up, Garland Says Divisions Imperil the Rule of Law. Addressing new citizens on Ellis Island, the attorney general emphasized that all Americans are equal under the law.” It seems weird that anyone these days should need to say that since Nixon argued that crimes weren’t crimes if the ‘president did it.’ That argument failed soundly. But after Judge Loose Cannon suggested a former president deserved special consideration, lawyers everywhere are speaking out. A group of Republican Lawyers filed an Amicus brief supporting the DOJ’s appeal of her decision to the 11th District.
An emotional Attorney General Merrick B. Garland addressed new citizens on Saturday at Ellis Island, the site of his family’s American origin story, and warned that the country had become dangerously divided by political factionalism, which has imperiled the democracy and the rule of law.
Mr. Garland was presiding over the oath of allegiance for 250 naturalized citizens at the iconic immigration processing center, on the anniversary of the signing of the Constitution in 1787. As the new Americans rose to recognize their home countries — about 60 of them, with origins from Albania to Yemen — he told them that the United States “wholeheartedly welcomes you.”
During a 10-minute speech in which he repeatedly stopped to collect himself, the attorney general recounted the tale of his grandmother’s flight from antisemitism in what is now Belarus before World War II, and the narrow escape to New York made by his wife’s mother, who fled Austria after Nazis annexed the country in 1938.
“My family story is what motivated me to choose a career in public service,” said the typically stoic attorney general, his voice dropping to a husky whisper. “I wanted to repay my country for taking my family in when they had nowhere else to go. I wanted to repay the debt my family owes this country for our very lives.”
Some of the most vehement reaction to the Trump QAnon rally has come from the Jewish community. Frankly, the reaction from everywhere is pretty astounding. This is from The Independent: “Trump under fire for QAnon display at Ohio rally: ‘He has gone completely insane’. ‘Trump has always been mentally ill, but this is a whole new level’.” This is reported by Gustaf Kilander.
Donald Trump has come under fire for his descent into the QAnon conspiracy theory movement during his Youngstown, Ohio rally in support of Republican Senate candidate JD Vance.
“This is the week when Trump became Qanon. This isn’t a political statement; it just is, however disturbing. Week began with images of Trump on Truth Social wearing a Q pin and promoting their slogans; it ends with Q music and the Q ‘one’ sign by crowd at his rally,” CNN analyst Juliette Kayyem tweeted on Saturday.
Author Kurt Eichenwald added that “this week, Trump posted QAnon memes, played QAnon theme music at his rally, and stood by as the crowd raises their fingers in the QAnon salute. This is the GOP’s supposed leader. Every Republican needs to be asked about it – and don’t let them walk away. ‘Do you support QAnon?’”
“He has gone full QAnon, and that cult knows it. Trump has always been mentally ill, but this is a whole new level. He has gone completely insane,” he tweeted.
The author went on to lay out a lot of the bizarre theories within the movement.
“With Trump now leaning so hard into QAnon, anyone who interviews him *must* ask ‘Do you believe there is a global cabal of elites who are kidnapping children, taking them to underground tunnels, murdering them, eating them and drinking their adrenochrome to stay young forever? Have you secretly been president since 2020, while Biden has actually been a clone? Were Hillary Clinton and Anthony Fauci taken to gitmo and executed? And if you don’t believe these things, why are you posting QAnon memes, playing their music, and encouraging their salutes?’” he tweeted.
Other comments covered by the story are from Robert Costa, including this tweet:
The entire rally was beyond creepy, and that includes the music. So, here’s a bit more about all of that. Vice News offers this primer on Trump’s sudden public conversion to the tome of crazy conspiracy theories and behaviors. “What Is This Eerie Salute People Are Doing at Trump Rallies Now? The signal was immediately compared to the “Sieg Heil” salute.”
On Saturday night, as former President Donald Trump was wrapping up a political rally in Youngstown, Ohio, one section of the crowd all raised their arms in the air and extended one finger.
The strange salute came as Trump was once again spreading lies and disinformation about the 2020 election and the FBI search on his Mar-a-Lago home. The signal was immediately compared to the “Sieg Heil” salute used by Nazi party members to greet Hitler. Some also said it was in reference to Trump’s “America First” motto.
However, for QAnon followers, the one-finger salute was taken as yet another signal from Trump that he is in their corner.
Some in the wider QAnon community also claimed the one-finger salute was a reference to the phrase “Where we go one, we go all,” though again with no evidence to back up the claims.
Ben Collins of NBC news has more details on the crazy cult of Q and its batshit crazy leader. “What is Qanon? A guide to the conspiracy theory taking hold among Trump supporters. The Qanon conspiracy started less than a year ago but has taken hold among some Trump supporters — with some followers taking real world action. “
Signs and T-shirts emblazoned with some variation of the letter Q dotted a rally for Donald Trump in Tampa on Tuesday. Paper printouts declaring “We are Q” occupied small sections of the crowd.
One rally-goer named Tyler held out a large coin with Q on it and explained the letter’s sudden prevalence among Trump supporters. “Qanon, the storm, the great awakening,” he told local TV station WPLG.
“What Q stands for is military intelligence, most likely. He’s been talking to all of us. Letting us know the covert battles that are waging between the Deep State and President Trump.”
Tyler, whose last name was not disclosed to WPLG, is one of a growing number of vocal followers of a conspiracy theory, known as Qanon, that has taken hold among some Trump supporters. The theory centers around an anonymous source, Q, who is trying to tell the world about a secret battle being waged by Trump and special counsel Robert Mueller against a pedophile ring filled with celebrities and political elites who have been covertly running the United States government for decades.
Remember the 2016 assault on a pizza restaurant? A guy with a gun wants to see a nonexistent basement? This supposedly involved John Podesta and Hillary and eventually got labeled Pizzagate. You can walk down memory lane by following the NBC link.
If you get anything from a Republican elected official, just send them anything about that rally and ask them what they think.
This is from the link above. It’s from Will Bunch writing for The Philadelphia Inquirer.
If you are a political fanatic, you’ve surely heard the old saying that when fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross. That’s been proven true in this fraught year of 2022 as Christian nationalism rises to our extreme right, but no one predicted this:
That U.S. authoritarianism would also come with a bat-guano crazy musical soundtrack — music that sounds like a Bible Belt altar riff, but is actually tied to the weirdly popular QAnon conspiracy theory whose legion of followers believe there’s an elite global cabal of child-trafficking, baby-blood-drinking liberal politicians and movie stars.
This terrifying crossing of some kind of autocratic Rubicon happened — where else? — at a Donald Trump rally in Youngstown, Ohio, on Saturday night.
Trump rallies are a tricky thing to cover, some 20 months after the 45th president left the White House in seeming disgrace after a failed coup and two impeachments. There’s an understandable desire to want to not give these increasingly hate-drenched rallies any oxygen, in the vain hope the flame will completely flicker out. And his Fidel Castro-length rants increasingly offer little political insight but long flights of narcissistic grievance about his 2020 election loss and an enemies list that grows longer each day.
But even had it been stripped of its creepy musical backing, Trump’s apocalyptic closing diatribe from an arena in the epicenter of Rust Belt industrial decay demands our attention — as the current front-runner for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination continues to steer his followers toward an authoritarian cult of personality, committed more to its warped leader and his perceived slights than any justifiable cause.
That about sums it up.
And this is from the end of the Queen’s commital service today at Windsor Castle. The Piper could actually be playing that dirge for us too.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
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Posted: March 19, 2022 | Author: bostonboomer | Filed under: Afternoon Reads | Tags: caturday, daylight saving time, death penalty, Fat Cat Art, firing squad, GOP smears, Josh Hawley, Ketanji Brown Jackson, Lawrence O'Donnell, MSNBC, no fly zone, OAN, QAnon, Russia Ukraine war, South Carolina |
St.Gertrude herself and cats Zarathustra and David Bowie captured in stained glass
It’s been a long time since I posted Fat Cat Art by Svetlana Petrova & Zarathustra the Cat / FatCatArt.com. Dakinikat posted a comment on Thursday about St. Gertrude, the patron saint of cats, whose feast day is the same as St. Patrick’s day. I was looking for paintings of her when I came across this one at the Fat Cat Art site. The other images in this post are also by Petrova and her late beloved ginger cat Zarathustra.
The Ukraine war rages on, as Putin continues to commit ghastly war crimes by attacking civilians. Reading about what’s happening, let alone watching the images on TV is horrifying. It’s a terribly helpless feeling, and there’s a temptation to want the U.S. to get more actively involved, but that is simply impossible.
Last night on MSNBC, Lawrence O’Donnell gave a powerful explanation of what the U.S. trying to enforce a no fly zone over Ukraine would mean. You can watch it on The Last Word website. It lasts about 7 minutes. Basically, O’Donnell said that the very idea is a fantasy and that a no fly zone has never been enforced against a nuclear power. It would mean U.S. and Russian pilots being shot down and killed and would also involve U.S. planes flying over Russian territory. I recommend watching it if you didn’t see it last night.
For the latest news on Ukraine, I recommend The Guardian’s summary of the latest updates: Russia-Ukraine war: what we know on day 24 of the invasion.
- Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy says the time has come for peace talks, warning that it will otherwise take generations for Russia to recover from losses suffered during the war. He released a video address saying Ukraine wanted meaningful and honest negotiations with Moscow on peace and security without delay, Reuters reported. “The time has come for a meeting – it is time to talk.” Zelenskiy said Russian forces were deliberately blocking humanitarian supplies to cities under attack.
- Ukraine’s position is unchanged in talks with Russia, Ukrainian negotiator Mykhailo Podolyak said. Earlier today, a member of Russia’s negotiating team said Moscow and Kyiv were most aligned on Ukraine’s neutrality and giving up on joining Nato. Podolyak accused Russian statements of attempting “to provoke tension in the media”.
- Russia says it has used a hypersonic weapon for the first time, to destroy an underground military depot in western Ukraine. Hypersonic missiles are fast weapons that can evade detection by missile defence systems. The defence ministry said it had destroyed a large underground depot for missiles and aircraft ammunition in the Ivano-Frankivsk region.
- Ukraine’s interior minster told Associated Press it would take years to find and defuse all of the unexploded ordnance from the country. Denys Monastyrsky said: “A huge number of shells and mines have been fired at Ukraine and a large part haven’t exploded. They remain under the rubble and pose a real threat. It will take years, not months, to defuse them.”
- Sergei Lavrov, Russia’s foreign minister, praised Fox News for its coverage of the war in Ukraine during an in-studio interview with the Russian state-controlled RT network. “We know the manners and the tricks that are being used by the western countries to manipulate media … If you take the United States, only Fox News is trying to present some alternative point of view,” he said.
Click the link for more updates.
Boris Kustodiev. Merchant’s Wife at Cat’s Tea
In other news, Republicans are of course trying to smear Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson and it is sickening.
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Posted: October 9, 2021 | Author: bostonboomer | Filed under: Afternoon Reads | Tags: Chuck Schumer, debt limit, Donald Trump, executive privilege, January 6 Committee, Michael Flynn, Mitch McConnell, QAnon, Senate Judiciary Committee report |
Lightning Cloud, by Chiakiro
Politico “Playbook” has a good brief summary of where things stand right now with the January 6 Committee investigation: The Jan. 6 committee drama gets serious. (I’ve added a few links to longer articles.)
JAN. 6 INVESTIGATION STEAMROLLS FORWARD — Over the last 24 hours, we’ve seen major developments in the ongoing investigation into the pro-Trump Jan. 6 riots that sought to overthrow democracy in America.
1) Executive privilege waived: “President JOE BIDEN will not invoke executive privilege to shield an initial set of records from DONALD TRUMP’s White House that’s being sought by congressional investigators probing the Jan. 6 Capitol attack,” report Nicholas Wu, Kyle Cheney, Betsy Woodruff Swan and Meridith McGraw.
— What comes next: Trump has 30 days to challenge the decision in court, after which time, the National Archives will release the documents to the Jan. 6 panel. The former president is already asserting privilege over 45 specific documents requested from the committee, and indicated in a letter that he wants to bar the release of additional documents “potentially numbering in the millions.”
2) Committee subpoenas hit deadlines: The first wave of high-profile subpoenas from the Jan. 6 committee have been served, and not all of the subjects are cooperating, as Nicholas, Kyle, Betsy and Meridith detail:
- STEVE BANNON claims that Trump’s invocation of executive privilege means that he doesn’t have to participate. (That strikes legal experts as dubious, seeing as at the time of the 2020 election, Bannon hadn’t worked in the White House for several years.)
- MARK MEADOWS is “engaging with the Select Committee,” per a statement from the panel.
- KASH PATEL issued a statement Friday confirming that he “responded to the subpoena in a timely manner” and is engaging with the committee.
- DAN SCAVINO was officially served with his subpoena on Friday.
— What comes next: In a statement from Jan. 6 Committee Chair BENNIE THOMPSON (D-Miss.) and Vice Chair LIZ CHENEY (R-Wyo.), the panel said it “will not allow any witness to defy a lawful subpoena or attempt to run out the clock, and we will swiftly consider advancing a criminal contempt of Congress referral.” If they’re serious, a criminal referral would require a full floor vote in the House.More from NYT’s Maggie Haberman and Luke Broadwater
— Something to watch:“Congress’ Jan. 6 investigators face an inevitable reckoning with their GOP colleagues,”by Kyle Cheney and Olivia Beavers
By Ophelia Redpath, 1965
Also from Politico: Capitol Police whistleblower delivers scathing rebuke to two of its senior leaders on Jan. 6, by Daniel Lippman and Betsy Woodruff Swan.
A former high-ranking Capitol Police official with knowledge of the department’s response to the Jan. 6 attack has sent congressional leaders a scathing letter accusing two of its senior leaders of mishandling intelligence and failing to respond properly during the riot.
The whistleblower, who requested anonymity for privacy reasons and left the force months after the attack, sent the 16-page letter late last month to the top members of both parties in the House and Senate. His missive makes scorching allegations against Sean Gallagher, the Capitol Police’s acting chief of uniformed operations, and Yogananda Pittman, its assistant chief of police for protective and intelligence operations — who also served as its former acting chief.
The whistleblower accuses Gallagher and Pittman of deliberately choosing not to help officers under attack on Jan. 6 and alleges that Pittman lied to Congress about an intelligence report Capitol Police received before that day’s riot. After a lengthy career in the department, the whistleblower was a senior official on duty on Jan. 6.
The whistleblower’s criticism went beyond Capitol Police leaders to Congress. Without naming specific lawmakers, his letter accuses congressional leaders of having “purposefully failed” to tell the truth about the department’s failures.
POLITICO obtained the letter detailing the allegations, which is circulating among Capitol Police officers, and is publishing portions of it here. To protect the whistleblower’s identity, POLITICO is not publishing the letter in full.
Click the Politico link to read the rest.
By Evelina Oliveira
This morning the Washington Post Editorial Board posted this in response to the Senate Judiciary Committee’s report on Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election at a meeting three days before the January 6 attack on the Capitol: Opinion: Without these changes, U.S. democracy will remain vulnerable to Trump and other bad actors.
The Senate report details how Mr. Trump tried persistently to enlist the Justice Department in his scheme to overturn the 2020 election results. His pressure campaign, after Attorney General William P. Barr resigned in December, featured calls and meetings with Mr. Rosen and other top Justice Department staff. It continued as Mr. Trump sent them a preposterous petition he wanted them to file with the Supreme Court asking the justices to void Joe Biden’s victory. It reached its zenith in a cockamamie plot to force Mr. Rosen to pressure state governments to cook the results or be replaced by Jeffrey Clark, a lower-ranking Justice official who would go along with the scheme.
Mr. Trump failed because Mr. Rosen and other officials in key positions refused to cooperate and threatened to resign. But they could not stop Mr. Trump from forcing the resignation of the U.S. attorney in Atlanta and replacing him with a lawyer the then-president thought would pursue the fraud investigations he wanted to see.
The editors argue:
The seriousness of Mr. Trump’s effort to nullify an election, his continuing lies about the results and the willingness of so many Republicans to indulge those lies call for several responses.
The investigations must continue. The House’s Jan. 6 committee should compel Mr. Clark, who did not cooperate with the Senate Judiciary panel, to testify. The House and the Justice Department must enforce the committee’s subpoenas, which several Trump confidantes appear prepared to flout on the former president’s say-so. The National Archives should turn over documents immediately. If courts are involved, judges must act with urgency….
Most urgently, Congress must reinforce elements of the nation’s democratic infrastructure vulnerable to exploitation by bad actors such as Mr. Trump. It should revamp the ancient Electoral Count Act to limit partisan interference in presidential vote tallying, and it should impose federal election standards that insulate state election officials from political pressure.
The Committee needs to get right to work on enforcing the subpoenas and Steve Bannon should immediately be arrested and jailed. I hope they do something quickly, but I’m not holding my breath.
After he backed down and allowed a vote to avert a U.S. default and a global financial crisis, Mitch McConnell is now threatening to let it happen in December. His excuse is that Chuck Schumer made an
“inappropriate” speech after the vote. Here’s the speech:
Behind Schumer, you can also see Joe Manchin having a hissy fit over the speech. He agrees with his pal McConnell, apparently.
The Guardian: Schumer ‘poisoned well’ over debt limit, McConnell says in insult-laden letter.
Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader in the Senate, sought to fight his way out of a corner on Friday by releasing an angry letter in which he blamed Democrats for the impasse over the debt ceiling he broke by ending a refusal to co-operate he had said was absolute.
In the letter to Joe Biden, McConnell complained about a speech in which the Democratic majority leader, Chuck Schumer, attacked Republicans for their behaviour.
Lamenting Schumer’s lack of civility – which prompted angry scenes in the Senate – McConnell levelled a string of insults at his opposite number.
Paradise Cat, by Hans Ruettimann
“Last night,” the minority leader wrote, late on Friday, “in a bizarre spectacle, Senator Schumer exploded in a rant that was so partisan, angry and corrosive that even Democratic senators were visibly embarrassed by him and for him.
“This tantrum encapsulated and escalated a pattern of angry incompetence from Senator Schumer … this childish behavior only further alienated the Republican members who helped facilitate this short-term patch. It has poisoned the well even further.”
Democrats argue it was McConnell who poisoned the well by refusing to co-operate with raising the debt limit, a step they took repeatedly with Donald Trump in power. Experts say a US default would be catastrophic for the global economy.
McConnell insisted: “In light of Senator Schumer’s hysterics and my grave concerns about the ways that another vast, reckless, partisan spending bill would hurt Americans and help China, I will not be a party to any future effort to mitigate the consequences of Democratic mismanagement.”
Suddenly being partisan is a bad thing because a Democrat did it? Talk about the pot calling the kettle black.
Finally, a little comic relief: it appears that the Q-Anon nuts have turned on Michael Flynn. Will Sommer at The Daily Beast: Michael Flynn to QAnon Believers: I’m Not a Satanist!
Former Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn has been on a relentless media tour since his pardon last year, sitting for interviews with even the most obscure right-wing media outlets to promote the MAGA agenda.
But on Tuesday, Flynn appeared on a little-known YouTube channel called Truth Unveiled TV for a very different reason: rebutting the idea that he led a church congregation in a Satanic ritual borrowed from a nuclear doomsday cult.
In a video entitled “Some Have Said That General Flynn Prayed to Satan in a Recent Prayer,” host Paul Oebel gave Flynn a chance to rebut the growing right-wing controversy alleging he’s signed on with Lucifer.
Steampunk cat lady, by Jeff Haynie
“I even saw a show the other day saying ‘Michael’s flipped on the side of the devil,’” Oebel said. “Can you please explain what happened there?”
“All of these people that talk about turning to whatever…” Flynn said. “People need to stop overthinking what everybody is saying.”
The bizarre YouTube interview marked Flynn’s latest attempt in a weeks-long campaign to convince his one-time fans in the QAnon conspiracy theory movement that he isn’t a Satanist.
Prior to the unusual controversy, Flynn had embraced his position as a hero to supporters of QAnon, taking a QAnon oath, raising money from QAnon believers, and selling QAnon T-shirts. In May, Flynn even appeared at a QAnon conference and endorsed the idea of a military coup.
But QAnon fame is a fickle thing. After promoting QAnon for more than a year, Flynn now finds himself on the business end of the conspiracy theory. Like QAnon targets before him, Flynn is now struggling to persuade angry QAnon believers that he isn’t a secret Satan-worshipper.
Read the rest at The Daily Beast.
That’s all I have for you today. Have a great weekend!
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Posted: February 4, 2021 | Author: bostonboomer | Filed under: Afternoon Reads, Republican politics, U.S. Politics | Tags: Biden stimulus plan, Joe Biden, Kevin McCarthy, Liz Cheney, Marjorie Taylor Greene, QAnon |
z;o Vittorio Matteo Corcos, Dreams / Sogni, 1896
I’ve never been a Joe Biden fan. Early on in the 2020 primaries, I even thought I might refuse to vote for him if he were the Democratic nominee. But as time went on, he grew on me. Now I think he probably is exactly what we needed. He’s a “normal” Democratic politician, he’s extremely knowledgeable and experienced in the ways of the Senate, and he comes across as a decent person. He’s the perfect antidote to Trump’s psychotic behavior, ignorance, and incompetence. And it turns out that most Americans support what Biden is doing as president.
AP: AP-NORC Poll: Americans open to Biden’s approach to crises.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Two weeks into a new administration, a majority of Americans say they have at least some confidence in President Joe Biden and his ability to manage the myriad crises facing the nation, including the raging coronavirus pandemic.
Overall, 61% approve of Biden’s handling of his job in his first days in office, according to a new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. Though the bulk of Biden’s support is from fellow Democrats, about a quarter of Republicans say they approve of his early days in office.
Even at a moment of deep national divisions, those numbers suggest Biden, as with most of his recent predecessors, may enjoy something of a honeymoon period. Nearly all modern presidents have had approval ratings averaging 55% or higher over their first three months in office, according to Gallup polling. There was one exception: Donald Trump, whose approval rating never surpassed 50% in Gallup polls, even at the start of his presidency.
The Travelling Companions by Augustus Egg
Obviously Biden faces serious challenges, but so far the public as a whole is supportive.
Biden’s standing with the public will quickly face significant tests. He inherited from Trump a pandemic spiraling out of control, a sluggish rollout of crucial vaccines, deep economic uncertainty and the jarring fallout of the Jan. 6 riot on Capitol Hill. It’s a historic confluence of crises that historians have compared to what faced Abraham Lincoln on the eve of the Civil War or Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the depths of the Great Depression.
Biden’s advisers know that the new president will be quickly judged by Americans on his handling of the pandemic, which has killed more than 450,000 people in the U.S. He’s urgently pressing Congress to pass a $1.9 trillion relief package that would include funds for vaccine distribution, school reopening and state and local governments buckling under the strain of the pandemic.
“We have to go big, not small,” Biden told House Democrats on Tuesday. He’s signaled that he’s open to trimming his $1.9 trillion proposal but not as far as some Republicans are hoping. A group of GOP senators has put forward their own $618 billion package.
Lady on a Sofa, Harold Gilman, c 1910
At Axios, Mike Allen explains why Biden’s stimulus plan is probably going to get through Congress one way or another: Biden’s grand plan
President Biden toldRepublican senators he has “an open door and an open mind” on his $1.9 trillion coronavirus plan. But he already has the votes, and overwhelming support in the country.
Why it matters: Well, power matters. And Biden holds all of it.
Get used to this. Democrats are gleeful as they watch the media fixate on family feuds inside the GOP, while Biden pushes out executive orders and pushes through this bill on his terms.
- Biden embraces the reality that the two numbers that matter most to his presidency are coronavirus cases falling and economic growth rising.
Steve Ricchetti, counselor to the president and longtime Biden confidant, was in the Oval this week for meetings with Republican and Democratic senators, and told me that the president “reaffirmed and deepened his explanation and commitment on the numbers and the substance” of the full package.
- Ricchetti said Biden made it clear that he welcomes “fine-tuning or amendments or recommendations,” but “underscored that he’s committed to his plan and to the elements he outlined” — and to moving quickly.
What we’re watching: Ricchetti said the president wants to have “a bipartisan and unifying dialogue in the country,” including conversations he’s already had with mayors and local elected officials, “so that this isn’t just about a dialogue with senators and members of Congress. It is a dialogue with the country.”
- Ricchetti said Biden treated a GOP counterproposal “with an open mind and with respect. He was also honest … in underscoring why he proposed what he did — that he was committed to every one of the elements in his package.”
The bottom line: Democrats will dismiss any whining about Biden’s stimulus as D.C. noise or Republican hypocrisy. They’ll be right on both fronts.
The Railway, Edouard Manet, 1873
Meanwhile, Republicans are mired in a conflict over Q Anon Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Gree Kevin McCarthy has to be the most pathetic GOP leader ever–even worse than Paul Ryan or John Boehner. Yesterday, Republicans met to discuss the futures of Greene, a complete crackpot, and Liz Cheney, a relatively normal mainstream Republican who had the guts to vote for Trump’s impeachment. Both women have survived so far.
CBS News: Liz Cheney survives vote to remove her from GOP leadership.
House Republicans voted by a large margin Wednesday to allow Wyoming Representative Liz Cheney to stay on as the GOP conference chairwoman following an hours-long meeting where members aired their grievances over her vote to impeach former President Trump last month. Just 61 Republicans voted to remove Cheney from her post, while 145 voted for her to stay in a vote by secret ballot.
The vote came after Cheney told her Republican colleagues she would not apologize for her decision, according to a source familiar with the meeting. She later praised the result as a “terrific vote.”
“We’re not going to be in a situation where people can pick off any member of leadership,” she said after the meeting. “It was very resounding acknowledgment that we need to go forward together and then we need to go forward in a way that helps us beat back the really dangerous and negative Democrat policies.”
歌川国芳 by Utagawa Kuniyoshi
Greene’s situation is still somewhat up in the air, but she got a standing ovation after apologizing the her colleagues in a private meeting. From The New York Times: The G.O.P. Walks a Tightrope.
The extremist wing of the Republican Party has lived to fight another day. But G.O.P. leaders are in knots trying to prove that the party’s factions can all live in harmony.
Representative Kevin McCarthy, the minority leader, refused to strip Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene of her committee appointments yesterday, instead issuing a long statement that condemned her history of making extreme and violent statements but also threw a jab back at Democrats, accusing them of a “partisan power grab.”
But at a closed-door meeting yesterday, the party’s House delegation also voted overwhelmingly to keep Representative Liz Cheney — an anti-Trump, establishment figure who has drawn fire from the party’s right wing — in her spot as the No. 3 Republican in the chamber.
At the meeting, many House Republicans expressed dismay with Cheney for her vote to impeach Trump and her condemnation of his role in the Capitol riot on Jan. 6. Members of the far-right Freedom Caucus accused Cheney of “aiding the enemy” when she joined just nine other Republicans in voting to impeach Trump, according to people familiar with the discussion. But ultimately she held on to her leadership role easily.
McCarthy’s unwillingness to strip Greene of her appointments, as Democrats and many Republicans have called on him to do, indicates that the G.O.P. plans to address the division in its ranks through messaging more than disciplinary action, at least for now.
In his statement, McCarthy used strong and direct language to reject the conspiracy-minded views promulgated by Greene, but he effectively defended her right to have held them.
“Past comments from and endorsed by Marjorie Taylor Greene on school shootings, political violence, and anti-Semitic conspiracy theories do not represent the values or beliefs of the House Republican Conference,” McCarthy said. “I condemn those comments unequivocally.”
He said that he had met with her privately and explained “that as a member of Congress,” she would be held “to a higher standard than how she presented herself as a private citizen.”
Just a Couple of Girls by Harry Wilson Watrous, 1915
At Axios, Margaret Talev reports: Exclusive poll: Republicans favor Greene over Cheney.
Conspiracist Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene is far more popular than Rep. Liz Cheney among Americans who align with the Republican Party, according to a new Axios-SurveyMonkey poll.
Why it matters: As the House GOP caucus is being torn over calls to yank Cheney from congressional leadership for backing Donald Trump’s second impeachment, and strip Greene from committee assignments for her baseless conspiracy theories and violent rhetoric, these findings show how strongly Trumpism continues to define most Republicans.
- House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is much more popular with Republicans than Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, the survey finds.
By the numbers: McCarthy enjoys the highest favorable versus unfavorable ratings (net favorability) of the four among Republicans, at 38%-16% (+22); followed by Greene, at 28%-18% (+10); McConnell, at 31%-46% (-15); and Cheney, at 14%-42% (-28).
- Greene is the least well known of the four, with 51% of Republicans and Republican leaners saying they don’t know enough to say whether their impression is favorable or not. Respondents have the most fully formed views of McConnell.
- Republican respondents are three times as likely to say their views align with Greene than with Cheney, but nearly one-third say they don’t align with either, and half say they don’t know enough to say.
- Republican respondents who voted for Trump in November gave McCarthy a high net favorable rating (+31) and McConnell a high net unfavorable rating (-18).
The intrigue: People who identify with Greene are disproportionately likely to have lost faith in democracy or believe despite evidence that voter fraud is rampant in their state.
How scary is that?
Democrats are moving forward on a plan to take away Greene’s committee assignments. CNN: House to vote on removing Marjorie Taylor Greene from committee assignments.
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Posted: December 29, 2020 | Author: bostonboomer | Filed under: morning reads, U.S. Politics | Tags: 5G conspiracy theory, Anthony Quinn Warner, Bernie Sanders, coronavirus pandemic, Covid-19, defense bill, Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell, Nashville bombing, post-holiday surge, QAnon, stimulus checks, veto override |
Just 22 more days until Biden’s inauguration, and one more week until Congress counts the electoral votes on January 6. There’s still plenty of time for Trump to throw tantrums and pardon more war criminals, but his time in the White House is almost over. Unfortunately, it looks like January will be nightmarish.
Justin Hendrix at Substack: January will be one of the worst months in American history.
Simply put, the COVID-19 pandemic is raging across the country, and the record number of new cases since Thanksgiving is about to produce tens of thousands of additional hospitalizations, pushing health systems beyond the limit and likely driving daily death counts well beyond where they are today. Consider just a few data points:
- The IHME model now predicts more than 100,000 Americans will die in January alone, taking the total known pandemic death toll over 450,000.
- Hospitalizations, now at record highs, will likely explode. Last night the Covid Tracking Project reported a record number of hospitalized Americans, at 118,720, despite a number of states not reporting new figures due to the holiday. If that number seems enormous, consider that California’s model suggests that the state, which just crested 20,000 current hospitalizations, may itself reach 100,000 in January.
Imagine- nearly double the American death toll of the Vietnam War- across its nine years- in a single month. A quarter the number of all American losses in the roughly four years it fought in World War II- in a single month. In the face of this mounting disaster, the President is golfing in Florida. The Vice President and Head of the White House Coronavirus Task Force is vacationing in Vail, Colorado. The nation is effectively without leadership as we approach an event horizon of a black hole of death and anguish more acute than anything we’ve seen for generations.
Click the link to read the whole thing.
December was already bad enough. Eyewitness News Los Angeles: December deadliest month in US since COVID-19 pandemic began; January projections ‘nightmarish,’ expert says.
December has been the nation’s deadliest month since the COVID-19 pandemic’s start — with more than 63,000 Americans lost to the virus in the past 26 days.
In comparison, the entire month of November saw about 36,964 deaths, CNN reported.
The grim death toll comes on the heels of several brutal months for the US, with COVID-19 ravaging communities from coast to coast, crippling hospital systems and prompting new widespread restrictions.
The authorization of two COVID-19 vaccines earlier in December offered some hope of a light at the end of the tunnel. But experts continue to warn that while the end is in sight, the pandemic is not over and another surge stemming from the Christmas holiday could be on its way.
“We very well might see a post-seasonal — in the sense of Christmas, New Years — surge,” Dr. Anthony Fauci said on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday morning, pointing to holiday travel and private gatherings taking place despite the advice of health experts.
The nation’s top infectious disease expert described the potential rise in cases as a “surge upon a surge,” telling CNN’s Dana Bash, “If you look at the slope, the incline of cases that we’ve experienced as we’ve gone into the late fall and soon to be early winter, it is really quite troubling.”
NBC News: Biden adviser warns of ‘worst’ January ever from post-Christmas Covid surge.
Despite the rollout of two new vaccines, the pandemic is accelerating and the United States should brace itself for “one of the worst months in this nation’s history in January,” one of President-elect Joe Biden’s top Covid-19 advisers warned Monday.
“There is no doubt about that,” the expert, Dr. Celine Gounder, said on CNBC. “That cake is in the oven already, with the travel that has happened over the holidays.”
That dire warning came as the number of Covid-19 infections rose past 19.2 million after Christmas and the number of deaths from coronavirus neared 334,000, the latest NBC News data showed.
Gounder, a member of the Biden’s Covid-19 advisory board, described a nightmarish scenario in which local health officials are forced to erect field hospitals because hallways and even some parking lots are already packed with sick patients.
And an even bigger crisis, Gounder said, will be finding enough doctors and nurses to treat everybody.
“You can’t stand up new doctors and nurses the way you can field hospitals,” Gounder said. “You can’t just create them out of thin air.”
Yesterday the House voted to increase the stimulus checks from $600 to $2,000, as Trump demanded. The Washington Post reports: House votes to boost stimulus checks to $2,000 with bipartisan support.
The House on Monday voted to beef up stimulus checks set to go out to American households in the coming weeks from $600 to $2,000. The chamber acted swiftly after President Trump demanded the larger payments last week, but passage of the measure is uncertain because Senate Republicans have not unified behind the idea.
On Sunday, Trump signed into law a $900 billion emergency relief package that included $600 checks. His advisers had advocated for those payments, but Trump later called the check size “measly” and demanded it be increased. After he signed the law, he pledged to continue pushing for the larger payments, something many Democrats also support.
Forty-four Republicans joined the vast majority of Democrats on Monday in approving the bill on a 275-to-134 vote — narrowly clearing the two-thirds threshold it needed to pass. The measure’s fate is much less certain in the Senate, which is controlled by Republicans.
According to Axios, GOP Senators are beginning to waver: Senate tide begins to shift toward $2,000 checks after Trump’s push.
A couple of days ago,it looked impossible that $2,000 COVID relief checks — up from the $600 checks for individuals in the package President Trump signed Sunday — could pass the Senate. That has changed with Trump’s final-hours advocacy for bigger checks, Republican sources tell Axios.
The state of play: It’s still an uphill battle. But Republican senators are feeling more pressure from constituents — pumped by Trump — to do more.
- It could be too politically risky for some Republican senators to vote “no.”
- If Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell “brings it to the floor, it might get 60. Then Trump can claim victory,” said a Republican source who provided a breakdown of how the vote could go.
Driving the news: “I am concerned about the debt, but working families have been hurt badly by the pandemic,” Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) tweeted Monday. “This is why I supported $600 direct payments to working families & if given the chance will vote to increase the amount.”
Senators to watch: Rand Paul of Kentucky and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin — with one or two other spending hardliners needed.
I’ll believe it when I see it. Besides, Bernie Sanders is doing his best to keep it from happening. He wants to put a hold on the NDAA bill, which could shift the argument from “Republicans want people to starve” to Democrats want to block pay raises for the troops.”
Politico: Bernie Sanders to delay defense veto override in bid for $2,000 checks.
Sen. Bernie Sanders will filibuster an override of President Donald Trump’s defense bill veto unless the Senate holds a vote on providing $2,000 direct payments to Americans.
“McConnell and the Senate want to expedite the override vote and I understand that. But I’m not going to allow that to happen unless there is a vote, no matter how long that takes, on the $2,000 direct payment,” Sanders said in an interview on Monday night. The Vermont independent can’t ultimately stop the veto override vote, but he can delay it until New Year’s Day and make things more difficult for the GOP.
IMHO, this will make it more difficult for Democrats in the long run.
More information is coming out about the Nashville bomber Anthony Warner.
Here’s some ancient history from The Daily Beast: Alleged Nashville Bomber Anthony Quinn Warner ‘Hated Cops’ and Loved Weed: Former Co-Worker.
Tom Lundborg was a teenager in the late 1970s when he worked under accused Nashville bomber Anthony Quinn Warner, who was a technician for an alarm company.
Back then, Lundborg’s father owned A.C.E. Alarms, a firm providing commercial and residential burglar systems, but was incapacitated in a car wreck. That left a young Lundborg and 20-something “Tony” Warner to run the business, and they drove to different sites to do burglar alarm installations and service calls.
The FBI released this photo of Anthony Q. Warner.
“I worked with Tony as his helper. I kind of looked up to him. He was kind of a hippie. Had long hair, a Magnum, P.I. mustache,” Lundborg told The Daily Beast. “He was a smart cocky kind of guy. I rode around with him all day every day—during the summers, at least for a couple years.”
Lundborg said Warner disliked authority, loved smoking weed and claimed he’d just gotten out of the Navy. (It’s unclear whether Warner was ever in the U.S. Armed Forces, but records show he was arrested for marijuana possession in 1978.)
They drove around listening to 103 KDF, previously Nashville’s main rock station, and if Warner spotted a police officer, he’d break his silence to lecture the teenage Lundborg.
“I hate cops. They’re all corrupt,” Warner would say. “Never trust a cop.”
Lundborg said he spoke to the FBI about Warner, as authorities try to piece together a motive for the Christmas Day explosion which injured eight people and destroyed multiple buildings.
From the AP: Bomber to neighbor: The world is ‘never going to forget me.’
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — It seemed like a friendly chat between neighbors. Only after a bomb exploded in downtown Nashville on Christmas morning could Rick Laude grasp the sinister meaning behind his neighbor’s smiling remark that the city and the rest of the world would never forget him.
Laude told The Associated Press on Monday that he was speechless when he learned that authorities identified his 63-year-old neighbor, Anthony Quinn Warner, as the man suspected of detonating a bomb that killed himself, injured three other people and damaged dozens of buildings.
Laude said he saw Warner standing at his mailbox less than a week before Christmas and pulled over in his car to talk. After asking how Warner’s elderly mother was doing, Laude said he casually asked, “Is Santa going to bring you anything good for Christmas?”
Warner smiled and said, “Oh, yeah, Nashville and the world is never going to forget me,” Laude recalled.
Laude said he didn’t think much of the remark and thought Warner only meant that “something good” was going to happen for him financially.
“First the gloves, then the masks, now the tinfoil hats.”
From The Daily Mail, so take it with a grain of salt: REVEALED: Nashville bomber Anthony Warner ‘targeted AT&T after his father who worked for subsidiary died of dementia – fueling his conspiracy theory that 5G is killing people.’
Nashville bomber Anthony Quinn Warner hoped he would be ‘hailed a hero’ for targeting AT&T because he believed 5G cellular technology was killing people, DailyMail.com can exclusively reveal.
The 63-year-old computer tech – who died in the suspected suicide blast but was identified Sunday from DNA found in his mangled RV – was ‘heavily into conspiracy theories’, according to a source close to the investigation.
Various baseless theories have circulated since the lightning-fast 5G network was introduced, some claiming it’s a tool to spy on Americans, others speculating that it has fueled the spread of COVID-19….
Electronic devices seized from Warner’s former home in Antioch, a suburb of Nashville, have been sent to a digital forensics laboratory to unlock his online activity and find out where he discussed his warped views.
‘We are waiting on the digital footprint that should finally provide us with some answers,’ the source explained.
‘The unofficial motive thus far is the suspect believed 5G was the root of all deaths in the region and he’d be hailed a hero.’
I hope all you Sky Dancers are doing well and staying safe. I hope you’ll stop by here today if you have the time and inclination. We will get through the next 22 days together and then sane people take charge again.
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