Posted: March 8, 2022 Filed under: morning reads | Tags: anti-lynching bill, coronavirus pandemic, invasive species, Joro spider, Morgan Stanley, Russia, Russian default, SCOTUS, Ukraine, voting rights
The war in Ukraine continues to be the top story in the news, but there are plenty of other things happening, so I hope you’ll forgive me if also I highlight non-Ukraine stories today.
The New York Times: As Russia’s Military Stumbles, Its Adversaries Take Note.
CONSTANTA, Romania — When it comes to war, generals say that “mass matters.”
But nearly two weeks into President Vladimir V. Putin’s invasion of Ukraine — Europe’s largest land war since 1945 — the image of a Russian military as one that other countries should fear, let alone emulate, has been shattered.
Ukraine’s military, which is dwarfed by the Russian force in most ways, has somehow managed to stymie its opponent. Ukrainian soldiers have killed more than 3,000 Russian troops, according to conservative estimates by American officials.
Ukraine has shot down military transport planes carrying Russian paratroopers, downed helicopters and blown holes in Russia’s convoys using American anti-tank missiles and armed drones supplied by Turkey, these officials said, citing confidential U.S. intelligence assessments.
The Russian soldiers have been plagued by poor morale as well as fuel and food shortages. Some troops have crossed the border with MREs (meals ready to eat) that expired in 2002, U.S. and other Western officials said, and others have surrendered and sabotaged their own vehicles to avoid fighting.
To be sure, most military experts say that Russia will eventually subdue Ukraine’s army. Russia’s military, at 900,000 active duty troops and two million reservists, is eight times the size of Ukraine’s. Russia has advanced fighter planes, a formidable navy and marines capable of multiple amphibious landings, as they proved early in the invasion when they launched from the Black Sea and headed toward the city of Mariupol.
And the Western governments that have spoken openly about Russia’s military failings are eager to spread the word to help damage Russian morale and bolster the Ukrainians.
But with each day that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky holds out, the scenes of a frustrated Russia pounding, but not managing to finish off, a smaller opponent dominate screens around the world.
The result: Militaries in Europe that once feared Russia say they are not as intimidated by Russian ground forces as they were in the past.
Read all about it at the NYT.
Bloomberg: Morgan Stanley Says Russia’s Set for Venezuela-Style Default.
The odds of Russia making its foreign debt payments are diminishing as bond prices fall, recession in the nation looms and various payment restrictions pile up after the invasion of Ukraine, according to Morgan Stanley & Co.
“We see a default as the most likely scenario,” Simon Waever, the firm’s global head of emerging-market sovereign credit strategy, wrote in a Monday note. “In case of default, it is unlikely to be like a normal one, with Venezuela instead perhaps the most relevant comparison.”
The default may come as soon as April 15, which will mark the end of a 30-day grace period on coupon payments the Russian government owes on dollar bonds due in 2023 and 2043, he said.
Indicative pricing show investors value the 2023 bonds at around 29 cents on the U.S. dollar, the lowest ever, according to data collected by Bloomberg, though there appears to have been no trades at that level. In the days before Russia invaded Ukraine last month, the debt was trading above par.
While it is rare for sovereign debt to tumble to the single digits, Morgan Stanley said Russia’s bonds “could get close.” Lebanon and Venezuela are the only recent examples of a country’s debt slipping so low…..
JPMorgan Chase & Co. said on Monday it will remove Russian bonds from all of its widely-tracked indexes, further isolating the nation’s assets from global investors. Venezuela’s dollar bonds were also removed from the bank’s benchmark indexes in 2019 after sanctions curbed trading.
More stories to check out, links only
The Guardian: Focus on Kyiv deadlock obscures Russia’s success in south Ukraine.
Isabelle Khurshudyan at The Washington Post: I always dreamed of visiting my ancestral home of Odessa. But not like this.
AP: People flee embattled Ukraine city, supplies head to another.
NPR: What the war in Syria tells us about Russia’s use of humanitarian corridors.
Bloomberg: U.S. and U.K. Poised for Ban on Imports of Russian Oil Today.
The Guardian: Ukraine-Russia crisis: ‘I left my husband behind at the border. My heart is broken’
The Guardian: Where in Europe are Ukraine’s refugees going?
US News and Analysis
The Atlantic’s Ed Yong reminds us that we’re still in the midst of a pandemic: How Did This Many Deaths Become Normal?
The united states reported more deaths from COVID-19 last Friday than deaths from Hurricane Katrina, more on any two recent weekdays than deaths during the 9/11 terrorist attacks, more last month than deaths from flu in a bad season, and more in two years than deaths from HIV during the four decades of the AIDS epidemic. At least 953,000 Americans have died from COVID, and the true toll is likely even higher because many deaths went uncounted. COVID is now the third leading cause of death in the U.S., after only heart disease and cancer, which are both catchall terms for many distinct diseases. The sheer scale of the tragedy strains the moral imagination. On May 24, 2020, as the United States passed 100,000 recorded deaths, The New York Times filled its front page with the names of the dead, describing their loss as “incalculable.” Now the nation hurtles toward a milestone of 1 million. What is 10 times incalculable?
Many countries have been pummeled by the coronavirus, but few have fared as poorly as the U.S. Its death rate surpassed that of any other large, wealthy nation—especially during the recent Omicron surge. The Biden administration placed all its bets on a vaccine-focused strategy, rather than the multilayered protections that many experts called for, even as America lagged behind other wealthy countries in vaccinating (and boosting) its citizens—especially elderly people, who are most vulnerable to the virus. In a study of 29 high-income countries, the U.S. experienced the largest decline in life expectancy in 2020 and, unlike much of Europe, did not bounce back in 2021. It was also the only country whose lowered life span was driven mainly by deaths among people under 60. Dying from COVID robbed each American of, on average, nine years of life at the lowest end of estimates and 17 at the highest. As a whole, U.S. life expectancy fell by two years—the largest such decline in almost a century. Neither World War II nor any of the flu pandemics that followed it dented American longevity so badly.
Every American who died of COVID left an average of nine close relatives bereaved. Roughly 9 million people—3 percent of the population—now have a permanent hole in their world that was once filled by a parent, child, sibling, spouse, or grandparent. An estimated 149,000 children have lost a parent or caregiver. Many people were denied the familiar rituals of mourning—bedside goodbyes, in-person funerals. Others are grieving raw and recent losses, their grief trampled amid the stampede toward normal. “I’ve known multiple people who didn’t get to bury their parents or be with their families, and now are expected to go back to the grind of work,” says Steven Thrasher, a journalist and the author of The Viral Underclass, which looks at the interplay between inequalities and infectious diseases. “We’re not giving people the space individually or societally to mourn this huge thing that’s happened.
Read the rest at The Atlantic.
The Washington Post: Senate unanimously passes anti-lynching bill after century of failure.
The Senate on Monday unanimously passed legislation that would make lynching a federal hate crime, in a historic first that comes after more than a century of failed efforts to pass such a measure.
The Emmett Till Antilynching Act, which was introduced by Rep. Bobby L. Rush (D-Ill.) in the House and Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Tim Scott (R-S.C.) in the Senate, now goes to President Biden for his signature.
It is named for the 14-year-old Black boy whose brutal torture and murder in Mississippi in 1955 sparked the civil rights movement.
Booker said in a tweet Monday night that he was “overjoyed” by the legislation’s passage.
“The time is past due to reckon with this dark chapter in our history and I’m proud of the bipartisan support to pass this important piece of legislation,” he said.
In a statement, Rush called lynching “a long-standing and uniquely American weapon of racial terror that has for decades been used to maintain the white hierarchy.”
“Perpetrators of lynching got away with murder time and time again — in most cases, they were never even brought to trial. … Today, we correct this historic and abhorrent injustice,” he said.
The legislation would amend the U.S. Code to designate lynching a hate crime punishable by up to 30 years in prison. More than 4,000 people, mostly African Americans, were reported lynched in the United States from 1882 to 1968, in all but a handful of states. Ninety-nine percent of perpetrators escaped state or local punishment, according to Rush’s office.
Mark Joseph Stern at Slate: The Supreme Court Just Came Perilously Close to Blowing Up Federal Elections.
The Supreme Court will not overturn a century of pro-democracy precedent and two centuries of historical practice to give state legislatures unlimited power over elections—yet.
That’s the upshot of the court’s orders on Monday in two huge redistricting cases out of Pennsylvania and North Carolina. The court refused to block new congressional maps drawn by the high court of each state, declining—for now—to embrace a radical theory rejecting state courts’ authority over election law. In the process, however, four justices did endorse this theory, and three attempted to blow up North Carolina’s upcoming election in a dissent with terrifying implications for democracy. The court stepped back from the abyss, but the ensuing reprieve may not last for long.
Both of Monday’s orders involve this year’s redrawing of congressional maps. In Pennsylvania, the Republican-controlled legislature drew a GOP gerrymander, which the Democratic governor vetoed. Because of this impasse, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court stepped in to draw new, fairer districts. In North Carolina, the Republican-controlled legislature drew a GOP gerrymander, which the Democratic governor could not veto under state law. Voters challenged the map under the state constitution, and in February, the state Supreme Court struck it down. The legislature drew a new map, which a trial court rejected and replaced with its own, fairer version.
Republicans appealed both court-draw maps to SCOTUS. They claimed that these plans violated the U.S. Constitution’s elections clause, which says that the “manner” of federal elections “shall be prescribed” by the “legislature.” For at least a century, SCOTUS has read this language to give other organs of state government a say in election law. But conservative scholars have devised a theory known as the “independent state legislature doctrine” that would give legislatures complete control over elections, including voting rules and redistricting. Under this theory, state constitutional provisions governing elections would be null and void, and state courts would have no power to intervene in election disputes. The legislature alone would set the rules—and, in extreme versions of the theory, even dictate the outcome of an election.
The Supreme Court has never endorsed this doctrine, and has explicitly rejected it as recently as 2015. There is a good reason why: It contradicts the original meaning of the elections clause as well as historical practice reaching back to the early days of the republic. A mountain of evidence proves that framers never intended to give states lone authority over federal elections, and instead expected state constitutions to impose substantive limits on election law. Exhaustive research demonstrates that—aside from a few opportunistic arguments raised by congressional partisans in the 19th century—state legislatures, state courts, federal courts, and Congress have all rejected the doctrine for more than two centuries.
And yet, for nearly two decades, the conservative legal movement, working alongside Republican politicians, has pushed relentlessly to enshrine this theory into law.
Scientific American: Millions of Palm-Sized, Flying Spiders Could Invade the East Coast.
New research, published Feb. 17 in the journal Physiological Entomology, suggests that the palm-sized Joro spider, which swarmed North Georgia by the millions last September, has a special resilience to the cold.
This has led scientists to suggest that the 3-inch (7.6 centimeters) bright-yellow-striped spiders — whose hatchlings disperse by fashioning web parachutes to fly as far as 100 miles (161 kilometers) — could soon dominate the Eastern Seaboard.
“People should try to learn to live with them,” lead author Andy Davis, a research scientist at the University of Georgia, said in a statement. “If they‘re literally in your way, I can see taking a web down and moving them to the side, but they‘re just going to be back next year.”
Since the spider hitchhiked its way to the northeast of Atlanta, Georgia, inside a shipping container in 2014, its numbers and range have expanded steadily across Georgia, culminating in an astonishing population boom last year that saw millions of the arachnids drape porches, power lines, mailboxes and vegetable patches across more than 25 state counties with webs as thick as 10 feet (3 meters) deep, Live Science previously reported.
Common to China, Taiwan, Japan and Korea, the Joro spider is part of a group of spiders known as “orb weavers” because of their highly symmetrical, circular webs. The spider gets its name from Jorōgumo, a Japanese spirit, or Yōkai, that is said to disguise itself as a beautiful woman to prey upon gullible men.
True to its mythical reputation, the Joro spider is stunning to look at, with a large, round, jet-black body cut across with bright yellow stripes, and flecked on its underside with intense red markings. But despite its threatening appearance and its fearsome standing in folklore, the Joro spider‘s bite is rarely strong enough to break through the skin, and its venom poses no threat to humans, dogs or cats unless they are allergic.
Well, that’s a relief. Read more at Scientific American.
That’s a sampling of today’s news. Have a nice Tuesday, Sky Dancers!
Posted: January 14, 2022 Filed under: just because | Tags: January 6 2021 was an Insurrection!, The Racist Republican Party, The Seditious Conspiracy Act, voting rights
Good Day Sky Dancers!
Yesterday sure brought out the history buff in me. I actually had to do some research on the Seditious Conspiracy Act to find out exactly what it was and how it’s been used in the past. Then, I’ve learned more about the filibuster than I thought there was to know including this tidbit from the late great Vice President Hubert Humphrey. The link goes to his original speech and wow, it was a great one! The link goes to the “Senate Floor, Digest of Humphrey Speeches on Civil Rights, March 14 and 16, 1949.” The date is right about the time that the Dixiecrats were beginning to feel uncomfortable in the Democratic Party.
Meanwhile, we’re discovering just how neo-confederate the Republican party has become. Yesterday, the House voted on the two Democratic plans to ensure voting rights and access. The stark difference in this vote foreshadows the mess that the Senate Faces.
History shows us how today became the day that the Republican party officially became the party of Jim Crow and White Supremacy. Lincoln would weep.
There were a few left even as the Southern Strategy begin to bear its strange fruit.
But, no more. They realize they can only hold office and the presidency by suppressing the votes of POC and the young.
Mug shot of Leader Elmer Stewart Rhodes III, 56 who shot his eye out in a gun accident. Elemer rates really high on my ewwwww factor scale.
Voter suppression is totally necessary to the success of the soft coup. Yesterday, there was big news on the hard coup.
The news yesterday sent me down a rabbit to learn about The Seditious Conspiracy Act. The first good explanation I heard was on MSNBC. (Ignore Chuckie Todd.) “Former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance breaks down what she calls an “enormously significant step” by the Department of Justice” when they arrested a group of Oath Keepers involved in the January 6 insurrection including the leader of the group.
The Washington Post explains the sedition part of the act at this link.
The charge is defined in the federal criminal code, Section 2384, as an effort by two or more to “conspire to overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force the Government of the United States, or to levy war against them, or to oppose by force the authority thereof, or by force to prevent, hinder, or delay the execution of any law of the United States, or by force to seize, take, or possess any property of the United States contrary to the authority thereof, they shall each be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both.”
The article also elucidates its infrequent, historical use.
Seditious conspiracy has been used successfully in a handful of cases, most notably against the planner of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, Ramzi Yousef. Most recently, it was used in 2010 against nine members of the far-right Hutaree, a self-styled militia group that the FBI prosecuted in federal court for allegedly planning a violent anti-government revolt. In that case, a judge dismissed the seditious conspiracy charges, saying that prosecutors failed to prove that the group planned to carry out specific attacks.
This is an interesting interview with Elmer’s ex from The Daily Beast.
One day after his arrest on charges of seditious conspiracy in the Jan. 6 riots, the estranged wife of Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes went on CNN and called him a “complete sociopath.” Tasha Adams announced joy over his arrest and discussed fears for her family’s safety: “I knew I lived in fear he might show up here. But the… just setting that weight down and knowing we were safe and my kids were safe and my kids’ school doesn’t have to worry, that was a relief I didn’t know existed.” When asked by CNN’s John Berman of what threat she feels Rhodes poses to the country at large, Adams responded “He’s a dangerous man.” She added, “He sees himself as a great leader, he almost has his own mythology of himself and I think he almost made it come true as seeing him self as some sort of figure in history and it sort of happened. He’s a complete sociopath, he does not feel empathy for anyone around him at all.”
Amanda Carpenter at The Bulwark writes this: “Sedition Charges Demolish a Right-Wing Talking Point. Steve Bannon and other Trump defenders had bizarrely contended that Jan. 6th was no big deal because there were no indictments for sedition.” I’m just salivating at the thought that Roger Stone and Steve Bannon might be next up on those sedition charges.
Steve Bannon thought he had a really great point on his podcast last Wednesday—the day before the anniversary of the Jan. 6th insurrection.
The federal government, he noted, led historic investigations against the Communists, the Black Panthers, the Ku Klux Klan, the Weathermen, jihadist terrorists, and others. But the government had failed to bring any major charges against the Jan. 6th rioters:
[Attorney General] Merrick Garland has said . . . this is the largest criminal investigation in the history of the FBI, the largest criminal investigation. . . . I’m talking about the largest criminal investigation. They’ve had big-time investigations before. This is larger than that. They brag about it. I just want to repeat, nobody’s been charged with insurrection. One year after. Nobody’s been charged with sedition.
The takeaway was that the Jan. 6th investigation is just another ginned-up witch hunt, a hoax investigation meant to get Trump, à la impeachment 1.0 and 2.0.
Bannon wasn’t alone in suggesting that the Jan. 6th investigation was a big bust. Also on Wednesday of last week, the Wall Street Journal published a piece by former Assistant Attorney General for the District of Columbia Jeffrey Scott Shapiro titled “Stop Calling It An Insurrection.” He wrote:
The demonstrators who unlawfully entered the Capitol during the Electoral College count were unarmed and had no intention of overthrowing the U.S. constitutional system or engaging in a conspiracy “against the United States, or to defraud the United States.”
Those who violated the law inside the U.S. Capitol should be prosecuted and, if convicted, sentenced accordingly. But dramatizing a riot as an organized, racist, armed insurrection is false reporting and dangerous political gaslighting.
The next night, on the actual anniversary of the Jan. 6th attack, Fox News’s Laura Ingraham made the same point on her broadcast.
How many times have you heard all those buzzwords used in the press just in the last few days? But here’s a question. How many times do words like “insurrection,” “sedition,” or “treason” appear in Biden’s own DOJ indictments against the January 6 rioters? The answer: zero.
Ingraham asked her guest, George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley, a leading question: “The charges stemming from the January 6 riots are actually a big tell, are they not, about what the DOJ actually thinks about this case?” Turley’s reply:
The FBI arrested hundreds. They investigated thousands. And they did not find a conspiracy for insurrection or rebellion. They didn’t charge those crimes. They didn’t charge anything like them. What they found was a protest that had become a riot. And that’s also what the American people see.
The impression here, dear readers, is that because no sedition charges had been brought, there was simply no reason anyone should be worked up about Jan. 6th.
Again, Bannon, the Wall Street Journal, and Fox News all promoted this notion just last week.
But those talking points expired yesterday, when the Department of Justice unsealed an indictment that charged 11 members of the Oath Keepers with seditious conspiracy and other crimes related to the breach of the Capitol. This is the first time seditious conspiracy has been charged in connection to Jan. 6th cases.
Other suggested reads:
All this is history-in-the-making that I would have never thought possible.
Have a good week!
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
Posted: June 1, 2021 Filed under: morning reads, Republican politics, U.S. Politics | Tags: Donald Trump, Filibuster, For the People Act, Joe Manchin, Michael Flynn, Q-Anon, Texas Jim Crow law, Texas legislature, voting rights
Yesterday Joe Biden commemorated Memorial Day with a speech honoring those who served the country in wartime, while cautioning that “democracy…is in peril.”
Politico: Biden on Memorial Day: Democracy is ‘in peril,’ worth dying for.
President Joe Biden marked Memorial Day with an address at Arlington National Cemetery, pledging to never forget or fail to honor fallen veterans’ sacrifice and saying that democracy is “worth fighting for” and “dying for.”
Democracy, which he called the “soul of America,” is in danger, Biden said on Monday.
“Democracy itself is in peril, here at home and around the world,” Biden said, speaking to military officials and people who have lost military loved ones after a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. “What we do now, what we do now, how we honor the memory of the fallen, will determine whether or not democracy will long endure.”
Throughout the speech Monday, Biden praised veterans’ sacrifice for democracy and defended democracy’s aspirations, though he said the U.S. hadn’t always lived up to them. He called empathy “the fuel of democracy.”
The president said that “we all” take democracy “for granted,” saying “the biggest question” is whether the system of democracy can win out over opposing “powerful forces.”
“All that we do in our common life as a nation is part of that struggle,” Biden said. “A struggle for democracy. It’s taking place around the world, democracy and autocracy.”
Democracy is in danger because the Trumpist Republican Party opposes it. Since their cult leader lost the 2020 election, Republicans are focused on making voting more difficult. The latest effort took place in Texas. Fortunately, Democrats in the Texas legislature were able to fend off the new Jim Crow law for now.
The Daily Beast: Democrats Finally Step Up and Smack Down Texas Jim Crow Law.
In a dramatic surprise, Texas Democrats stopped the GOP’s latest and lowest voter suppression effort at the eleventh hour (literally – the session was adjourned at 11pm Monday night). They used tricks, stunts, and gambits. They chased the headlines, and grabbed them. Democrats, this is how you do it.
For months, these outrageous, baseless, anti-democratic, and cravenly self-interested Republican efforts in state after state have been the “sleeper story” of the year. In some ways, Republican voter suppression isn’t new; they’ve been lying about voter fraud for years, even though it has never existed on a widespread level. And some of the concrete measures are familiar: closing voting locations in predominantly Black areas (yes, it really is that brazen), restricting early and absentee voting, and so on….
So far, Democrats have failed to stop this racist and anti-democratic freight train. It’s barreled through Florida, Georgia, and Iowa. It’s rigged the 2022 elections by making it harder for Black voters (and voters who can’t get off of work easily, or need help getting to the polls) to vote. It’s a national disgrace.
But it’s barely made the news….
These efforts should be headline freaking news. The blatantly racist nature of these policies. Their likely effects on the next election. And their foundation in the same conspiracy theory that led to the January 6 insurrection in Washington, D.C. All of these are beyond outrageous, but journalists can’t just make news happen; that’s up to politicians and other public figures who give us something to report.
Which is exactly what Texas Democrats did Sunday night.
They raised every possible technical and procedural objection to the vote. They indulged in long-winded Q&A sessions. They stretched the process out for hours. And then, right before eleven at night on the eve of Memorial Day, they walked out, depriving the Texas State House of Representatives of a quorum.
Even the walkout was dramatic. Texas State Representative Chris Turner texted party members at 10:35, writing, “Members, take your key and leave the chamber discreetly. Do not go to the gallery. Leave the building. ~ Chris”
Gotta love it.
But the bill could still pass. What’s needed is national legislation to protect voting rights.
The Washington Post: After defeating restrictive voting bill, Texas Democrats send loud message: ‘We need Congress to do their part.’
Texas Democrats who defeated a Republican effort to pass a suite of new voting restrictions with a dramatic late-night walkout from the state House chamber on Sunday have a message for President Biden and his allies in Congress: If we can protect voting rights, you can, too.
The surprise move by roughly 60 Democratic lawmakers headed off the expected passage of S.B. 7, a voting measure that would have been one of the most stringent in the nation, by denying Republicans a required quorum and forcing them to abruptly adjourn without taking a vote.
The coordinated walkout just after 10:30 p.m. Central time jolted the national debate on voting rights, putting the spotlight on Democratic-backed federal legislation that has been stalled in the Senate all spring, even as state Republicans move to enact new voting rules.
“We knew today, with the eyes of the nation watching action in Austin, that we needed to send a message,” state Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer, a San Antonio Democrat, said at a news conference held at a historically Black church in Austin early Monday, shortly after he and other lawmakers left the state Capitol. “And that message is very, very clear: Mr. President, we need a national response to federal voting rights.”\Republicans control every branch of Texas government and hold firm majorities in both the House and Senate. While Gov. Greg Abbott (R) vowed late Sunday to bring the voting measure back at a special legislative session for redistricting later this year — and threatened to defund the legislature in a tweet on Monday — the walkout represented an unmistakable and shocking defeat for Republican leaders who had assumed the bill would pass ahead of the House’s midnight deadline to finish its 2021 business.
Unfortunately, Congress is not stepping up so far.
Nicolas Fandos at The Washington Post: Push for Voting Overhaul in Congress Falters.
In the national struggle over voting rights, Democrats have rested their hopes for turning back a wave of new restrictions in Republican-led states and expanding ballot access on their narrow majorities in Congress. Failure, they have repeatedly insisted, “is not an option.”
But as Republican efforts to clamp down on voting prevail across the country, the drive to enact the most sweeping elections overhaul in generations is faltering in the Senate. With a self-imposed Labor Day deadline for action, Democrats are struggling to unite around a strategy to overcome solid Republican opposition and an almost certain filibuster.
Republicans in Congress have dug in against the measure, with even the most moderate dismissing it as bloated and overly prescriptive. That leaves Democrats no option for passing it other than to try to force the bill through by destroying the filibuster rule — which requires 60 votes to put aside any senator’s objection — to pass it on a simple majority, party-line vote.
But Senator Joe Manchin III of West Virginia, the Democrats’ decisive swing vote, has repeatedly pledged to protect the filibuster and is refusing to sign on to the voting rights bill. He calls the legislation “too darn broad” and too partisan, despite endorsing such proposals in past sessions. Other Democrats also remain uneasy about some of its core provisions.
Navigating the 800-page For the People Act, or Senate Bill 1, through an evenly chamber was never going to be an easy task, even after it passed the House with only Democratic votes. But the Democrats’ strategy for moving the measure increasingly hinges on the longest of long shots: persuading Mr. Manchin and the other 49 Democrats to support both the bill and the gutting of the filibuster.
Read the rest at the WaPo.
Meanwhile, extremist Republicans–including the former guy–are openly supporting insurrection. As Dakinikat reported yesterday, disgraced retired General Michael Flynn attended a Q-Anon meeting and called for a military coup in the U.S.
Donnie O’Sullivan at CNN: Echoing QAnon forums, Michael Flynn appears to suggest a Myanmar-style coup should happen in the United States.
Michael Flynn, former President Donald Trump’s first national security adviser, appeared to endorse a Myanmar-style coup in the United States on Sunday.
For months, QAnon and Trump-supporting online forums have celebrated the deadly military coup in Myanmar and suggested the same should happen in the United States so Trump could be reinstated as President.
Flynn made the comments at an event in Dallas on Sunday that was attended by prominent peddlers of the QAnon conspiracy theory and the Big Lie.
“I want to know why what happened in Minamar (sic)can’t happen here?” a member of the audience, who identified himself as a Marine, asked Flynn.
“No reason, I mean, it should happen here. No reason. That’s right,” Flynn responded….
Some QAnon followers are obsessed with the idea that the US military will somehow put Trump back into office. Some believed and hoped Trump would declare martial law on Inauguration Day to stop Joe Biden from entering the White House.
Speaking at the same event in Dallas, Flynn earlier in the weekend falsely claimed, “Trump won. He won the popular vote, and he won the Electoral College vote.”
Trump himself claims he will be “reinstated” as president, according to Maggie Haberman.
Raw Story: Trump expects to be ‘reinstated’ as president by August: reporter.
Former President Donald Trump reportedly believes he’s going to be “reinstated” as president within the next two months.
According to New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman, “Trump has been telling a number of people he’s in contact with that he expects he will get reinstated by August” because the widely criticized “audit” he’s backing in Arizona will show he actually won the 2020 presidential election.
“He is not putting out statements about the ‘audits’ in states just for the sake of it,” Haberman reports. “He’s been laser focused on them, according to several people who’ve spoken with him.”
Haberman notes that Trump’s obsession with retaking the White House this year comes as he’s staring at the possibility of being indicted by the New York Attorney General’s Office, which is conducting a criminal probe of the Trump Organization for potential tax fraud.
If you want to know more about the conference of Q-Anon crazies that took place over the weekend, check out this article at Vice: QAnon’s Wildest Moments From Their Massively Disturbing Conference.
QAnon’s biggest celebrities threw a three-day conference in Dallas over the weekend—and it did not disappoint.
Whether you wanted to hear a former US Army general calling for a military coup or Roger Stone’s social media advisor calling for Hillary Clinton’s execution, there was something for everyone.
There were auctions selling $1,000-blankets and $8,000 baseball bats. A sitting Congressman appeared on stage and literally embraced QAnon influencers. Dozens of members of a shadowy militia provided protection—some with their own pugs in tow. And then there was Kraken-lawyer Sidney Powell trying to sing the national anthem….
The “For God and Country: Patriot Roundup” event took place over Friday, Saturday and Sunday in downtown Dallas with thousands of QAnon supporters paying at least $500 for a ticket to the event.
The event took place in the city-owned Omni Hotel despite opposition from local residents whose petition was signed by more than 20,000 people.
The organizer of the event, John Sabal (known online as QAnon John) claimed prior to the event that it was not a QAnon conference, despite multiple high profile QAnon figures speaking there.
The event was a coming-out party for many well-known figures in the QAnon world, but also highlighted just how far the conspiracy movement is bleeding into mainstream Republican politics, with one sitting Congressman, Rep. Louie Gohmert, speaking on stage, along with the chairman of the Texas GOP, Allen West.
Read more highlights at the Vice link.
That’s all I have for you today. What stories are you following? As always, this is an open thread.
Posted: November 7, 2016 Filed under: 2016 elections | Tags: "stand your ground" laws, misogyny, voting rights
Suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst in a Polling Booth circa 1910. She was one of the leaders of the movement to secure votes for women.
There are some interesting reads out there as America head to the polls tomorrow. I’ve got two bits of analysis from our Brit cousins’ media to share. I’m particularly fond of Barbara Kingsolver’s contribution yesterday at The Guardian. Let me share the headline with you. “End this misogynistic horror show. Put Hillary Clinton in the White House”.
I’m horrified to watch the bizarre pageant of my nation pretending these two contenders are equivalent. No one really imagines Donald Trump applying himself to the disciplines of the presidency, staying up late reading reams of legislation, instead of firing off juvenile tweets. It’s even harder to imagine Clinton indulging in the boorish self-aggrandisement, intellectual laziness, racism and vulgar contempt for the opposite gender that characterise her opponent. If anyone still doubts that the inexperienced man gets promoted ahead of the qualified woman, you can wake up now.
This race is close. Polls tell us most Americans believe Trump has sexually assaulted women (to name just one potential disqualifier). A majority also believe Clinton “can’t be trusted”, for unspecified reasons. We’re back to the ancient conundrum: a woman can’t be that smart and commanding, so either her womanliness or her smartness must be counterfeit. To set that hazy discomfort next to a sexual assaulter and call these defects “equivalent” is causing my ears to ring as I write.
Read it. All of it.
Lexington–at The Economist–has an a good explanation for Trump voters. This one makes sense to me. He compares the motives of voters to those folks that love the Stand Your Ground laws. They want to shoot at anything that frightens at them with no consequences to protect them and theirs.
Partisanship explains some of this gigantic folly, as does widespread distrust of the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton. But another cause lies in something harder to criticise: the desire of most people to think of themselves as good and useful citizens, capable of providing for and keeping safe those people and values dear to them. After more than a year of meeting Republican voters and Trump supporters at rallies and campaign events and twice interviewing the candidate himself, Lexington is unexpectedly struck on election eve by echoes from America’s stand-your-ground movement. That movement has led dozens of states to pass laws which allow gun-owners to use lethal force when they reasonably believe that their safety is threatened, with no duty to retreat when they are in their home or other lawful place. Vitally, this defence can be invoked even if householders misjudge the perils that they face, in the heat of the moment.
Critics call such laws vigilante justice. They cite horrible mistakes, as when stranded motorists are shot dead for knocking on a door in search of directions or a telephone. Some see racial bias at work when courts absolve white householders of killing black men who alarmed them. But once passed, such laws are difficult to repeal. For that would involve convincing supporters that they are wrong to believe that they are the last and best line of defence for their family and property—a hard task.
Quite a few Republicans, including those who initially backed more mainstream rivals in their party’s presidential primaries, sound strikingly like stand-your-ground advocates when defending a vote for Mr Trump. Even if not every Trump voter takes all his promises literally, they feel heeded and respected when someone of his stature—a very rich man who could be a member of the elite, but instead chooses to side with them—agrees that their home, America, is under assault, whether from foreign governments scheming to “rape” the economy or by Muslim terrorists allowed in as refugees. At rallies in swing states from Arizona to North Carolina, this reporter has heard the cheers when Mr Trump roars that America has every right to fight back, even if that involves rough justice or being “so tough”, as he puts it.
Our first woman Attorney General has died after suffering with Parkinson’s disease. Janet Reno passed at the age of 78.
Janet Reno, the strong-minded Florida prosecutor tapped by Bill Clinton to become the country’s first female U.S. attorney general, and who shaped the U.S. government’s responses to the largest legal crises of the 1990s, died Nov. 7 at her home in Miami. She was 78.
The cause was complications from Parkinson’s disease, her goddaughter, Gabrielle D’Alemberte, told the Associated Press. Ms. Reno was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 1995, while she was attorney general.
Ms. Reno brought a fierce independence to her job. From the FBI siege of the Branch Davidian compound in Texas to the investigation into Clinton’s sexual relationship with intern Monica Lewinsky, she was adamant that her prosecutors and agents work outside the influence of politics, media or popular opinion.
Her supporters believed she brought a heightened level of integrity and professionalism to the attorney general’s office. They admired her insistence on legal exactitude from her employees and praised her caution in prosecutions.
Sam Wang of Princeton Consortium has spoken. We’re going to see Madam President.
Three sets of data point in the same direction:
- The state poll-based Meta-Margin is Clinton +2.6%.
- National polls give a median of Clinton +3.0 +/- 0.9% (10 polls with a start date of November 1st or later).
- Early voting patterns approximately match 2012, a year when the popular vote was Obama +3.9%.
Based on this evidence, if Hillary Clinton does not win on Tuesday it will be a giant surprise.
There’s been buzz about the Princeton Election Consortium’s win probability for Clinton, which for some time has been in the 98-99% range. Tonight let me walk everyone through how we arrive at this level of confidence. I will also give a caveat on how it is difficult to estimate win probabilities above 90% – and why fine adjustments at this level do not matter for my goals in running this site.
Here’s Hillary’s Closer.
“I think we can all agree it’s been a long campaign. But tomorrow, you get to pick our next president,” Clinton says, dressed in white, looking into the camera as the ad opens.
The choice on Tuesday, the Democratic nominee says, is a simple one: “Is America dark and divisive, or hopeful and inclusive?”
The ad was billed by a campaign official on Monday morning as a “personal and positive closing message,” following what has been a long slog of an election, some 18 months after two polarizing figures began their rise to the nomination — one a distrusted figure and mainstay of American politics, the other a divisive outsider defined by a campaign of offensive remarks.
Many of us have recent history in our backgrounds where voting has been illegal or close to impossible. Even today, many of us may wait in long lines to exercise our duty and our right as a citizen because a small group of people do not want to hear our voices.
This is our day. It’s the day we vote for all of the folks who couldn’t and we vote for all of the children who can’t vote right now but will in the future.
Let’s vote for hope. Let’s vote for people. Let’s vote for Hillary.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?