Thursday Reads: Oy, the Headlines!

Spring Lupine by Laurie Kersey

Good Day Sky Dancers!

BB is going to her doctor’s to get things sorted out so I’m doing the Thursday post this week instead of the Friday.  She’ll return tomorrow and hopefully, with a good pain management plan!

The headlines today are the usual mish-mash of both-siderisms of the Biden Economy and Biden judicial and Fed appointments. The bottom line on those is basically Republicans lie and obstruct and the New York Times finds that responsible governing tactics somehow. The other set of headlines reminds me that everyone around Trump is basically a criminal and under some kind of investigation.  There are two funny things in the headlines regarding the Trump response to losing his long-time accountants.  (He trashed his defense)  Then there’s the whacko Pillow Guy.  The rest is still pretty depressing because Trump acolytes are running for offices at all levels with the crazy out on display.

So, here are some things to read and consider. At least, I’m spotting my first azaleas and magnolias of the season as I await next week’s State of the Union and the wail of the pundits.

Children with spring flowers by Henri Lebasque

Let’s start with the antics of the My Pillow guy that got him banned from Canada. This is from The Daily Beast as reported by Zachary Petrizzo. “The MyPillow Guy Is Seriously Planning to Drop Pillows From the Sky Over Canada. PREPARE THE TEENY TINY PARACHUTES!”  This so reminds me of the WKRP Turkey Drop that I can’t stop laughing.

After his initial Tuesday shipment of MyPillow products was denied entry into Canada, Mike Lindell now has a backup plan to get free pillows to Canadian truckers: drop them from the sky via a helicopter. The pillow maven told The Daily Beast late Wednesday night that he intends to drop his pillows into Canada from a helicopter “with little parachutes” attached. “We need to get the MyPillows to the people!” he continued. The 2020 election dead-ender further made it a point to ensure The Daily Beast noted in this report that the pillows will have “little parachutes,” adding, “make sure you put that part in, or it could be dangerous.” Asked where exactly he intended to drop the pillows, he said, “I can not give the location out, and it is no joke! I just confirmed with them [the helicopter company], and yes, this is the plan. We have the helicopter confirmed, but we are moving the time up to 11 am.” The Daily Beast could not reach the Canada Border Services Agency for comment late Wednesday night.

Flowers by Gustav Klimt

I certainly hope those Brave Canadian mounties can rope him and put him in in the hoosgow with a saggy mattress and feather pillows.

Republicans are trying to tie inflation worries to President Biden while White House economist are pointing to price gouging due to monopoly/oligopoly status of many US Businesses. This is from The Washington Post: “White House economists push back against pressure to blame corporate power for inflation. Administration officials engage in ‘the war of the track changes’ as aides differ on corporate responsibility for high prices.”

The White House has faced substantial political head winds from the pressures caused by inflation, with the president’s economic approval rating declining amid the biggest price increases in roughly four decades.

As price hikes have hurt many Americans, large corporations are seeing their most profitable quarters in years, with corporate profits up by as much as 27 percent from 2019 to 2021, according to Dean Baker, a liberal economist. The share of corporate income going to profits rose from 24.1 percent to 26.7 percent from the fourth quarter of 2019 to the third quarter of last year.

To this point, Biden has mostly limited his remarks on corporate greed and inflation to specific sectors in which a few firms hold massive amounts of market power — stopping short of embracing either the rhetoric or the policy response called for by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.). Biden said at the end of January: “This isn’t a new issue. It’s not been the reason we’ve have high inflation today. It’s not the only reason. But, over time, it has reduced competition; squeezed out small businesses and farmers, ranchers; and increased the price for consumers.”

Part of his hesitance reflects the trepidation among his economic team about whether inflation actually is tied to corporate consolidation. Officials at CEA believe that monopoly power is a major economic problem and support the White House’s broader antitrust agenda. But these economists do not believe consolidation explains the 7.5 percent surge in prices over the last year that has created the worst inflation in four decades.

The differences among the president’s advisers are also broadly described as collegial and a difference of degree, rather than the kind of internal warfare that characterized much of the Trump administration’s economic team. Some economists have praised the White House for resisting the political temptation to make a bigger deal out of monopoly’s role in inflation.

“I think they’ve tried to be honest about the economic situation, and I, for one, appreciate that,” Baker said. “They have to make a political call about whether that’s the right decision, but I think it’s best for them to be honest and I think they’ve done that.”

The 2022 primary season is upon us.  Texas is already voting and wow, do they have some whackadoodles running.  Trumpist are everywhere it seems at all levels.  The definition of RINO has moved far beyond any normal Overton Windown concept. Trumpist Republicans have authoritarian, theocratic, and conspiracy-ridden, anti-factual takes on US governance. Be prepared for the race to the bottom.

This report from Politico was filed by David Siders.

Republicans are embarking on a primary season that is poised to reshape the GOP for a generation, and that journey begins in Texas.

In less than two weeks, the first primary election of 2022 will take place in the nation’s second-most populous state, and it’s a blockbuster: The state’s Republican governor, attorney general and agriculture commissioner all face spirited challenges, as do several GOP House incumbents.

From there, fractious primaries will unfold across the electoral map in the coming months, cementing a more populist orientation for the GOP and Donald Trump’s status as the party’s lodestar, or setting a more traditionally conservative course.

These aren’t simple match-ups between Trump and anti-Trump forces, or isolated intraparty feuds. Safely ensconced Republican officeholders are being bombarded by challengers from coast to coast, in many cases spurred on by Trump directly. Redistricting and retirements have further scrambled the established order in many places, opening up seats and drawing fields filled with combative candidates eager to move the party in a different direction. Combine that with high levels of energy — and anger — in the party base, and it’s a recipe to remake the party from the ground up.

“Primaries are always fucked up to some degree, but it’s different now,” said John Thomas, a Republican strategist who works on House campaigns across the country. “There’s more self-hate than there was before. Ten years ago, we’d argue about who was more pro-gun, who was more pro-life. Now, my clients are going RINO hunting, which is a level of disdain that was not there before in our party.”

Much of the churn is due to forces unleashed by Trump. The defeated president’s iron grip on the party and level of involvement in midterm primaries is unprecedented in modern history, and he continues to advance his lie that the 2020 election was stolen.

The Artist’s Garden at Giverny by Claude Monet ,1900

And with that we get this AP headline to discourage Democrats at all levels “‘The brand is so toxic’: Dems fear extinction in rural US” written by Steve Peoples about Pennsylvania.

The party’s brand is so toxic in the small towns 100 miles northeast of Pittsburgh that some liberals have removed bumper stickers and yard signs and refuse to acknowledge publicly their party affiliation. These Democrats are used to being outnumbered by the local Republican majority, but as their numbers continue to dwindle, those who remain are feeling increasingly isolated and unwelcome in their own communities.

“The hatred for Democrats is just unbelievable,” said Tim Holohan, an accountant based in rural McKean County who recently encouraged his daughter to get rid of a pro-Joe Biden bumper sticker. “I feel like we’re on the run.”

The climate across rural Pennsylvania is symptomatic of a larger political problem threatening the Democratic Party heading into the November elections. Beyond losing votes in virtually every election since 2008, Democrats have been effectively ostracized from the overwhelmingly white parts of rural America, leaving party leaders with few options to reverse a cultural trend that is redefining the political landscape.

The shifting climate helped Republicans limit Democratic inroads in 2020 — the GOP actually gained House seats despite Donald Trump’s presidential loss. A year later, surging rural support enabled Republicans to claim the Virginia governorship. A small but vocal group of Democratic officials now fears the same trends will undermine their atic candidates in Ohio, Wisconsin, Georgia, North Carolina and Pennsylvania, states that will help decide the Senate majority in November, and the White House two years after that.

Meanwhile, the Democratic Party continues to devote the vast majority of its energy, messaging and resources to voters in more populated urban and suburban areas.

In Pennsylvania, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, a leading candidate in the Senate contest, insists his party can no longer afford to ignore rural voters. The former small-town mayor drove his black Dodge Ram pickup truck across five rural counties last weekend to face voters who almost never see statewide Democratic candidates.

Fetterman, wearing his signature hooded sweatshirt and gym shorts despite the freezing temperatures, described himself as a champion for “the forgotten, the marginalized and the left-behind places” as he addressed roughly 100 people inside a bingo hall in McKean County, a place Trump carried with 72% of the vote in 2020.

“These are the kind of places that matter just as much as any other place,” Fetterman said as the crowd cheered.

The Democratic Party’s struggle in rural America has been building for years. And it’s getting worse.

So, there are some stories from two swing states.  Here’s one of the Texas candidates vying for the Governor primary win to run against Beto O’Rourke or another Democratic Primary winner.  Try not to spit up in your mouth.

So, there are a lot of other headlines. Go find some and try not to be too depressed.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?