LIFE IMITATES ART Republicans: "Trump was acquitted twice!" Chicago gangster Big Jule in the musical Guys and Dolls: "I used to be bad when I was a kid, but ever since then I've gone straight, as has been proved by my record: Thirty-three arrests and no convictions!"
On this date at Daily Kos in 2012—Orrin Hatch claims abortion is '95 percent' of what Planned Parenthood does:
Sen. Orrin Hatch is a hardcore old-school conservative. For much of recent history he was considered a conservative stalwart in the senate. That's not good enough for modern conservatism, however, which is predicated on being so absolutely batshit regressive that Ronald Reagan looks like a communist by comparison, and so Hatch has had his work cut out for him lately trying to placate a base that considers him a traitor to the cause.
Which might explain statements like this, from Hatch:
Look, we all know that Planned Parenthood does 400,000 abortions a year or more, and yet that's supported by the federal government. They claim that money isn't, uh, they don't use federal funds, well, about 95 percent of all they do, from what I understand, is abortion.
Oh! In the senate playbook we call that "Pulling a Kyl." Last year, on the floor of the Senate, Sen. Jon Kyl famously declared abortion was "well over 90 percent of what Planned Parenthood does." It was an assertion so obviously and profoundly false that his office could do nothing but issue a now-famous press statement that his claim was "not intended to be a factual statement." Then, after becoming a national laughingstock (well, more so, anyway) Kyl "revised his remarks" in the congressional record to erase the claim, which you can do if you are a senator, and which I think senators believe alters the fabric of spacetime in such a way as to make the thing not have ever happened.
No piece of Covid-era filmmaking has been praised quite as much as the 13-minute montage that opened the second impeachment trial of Donald Trump. CNN’s Chris Cillizza argued that it was “unfathomable that any senator—Republican or Democrat—could watch that 13-minute video and not be changed by it.” The Washington Post’s Margaret Sullivan noted that “every second seemed as terrifying as the day it was recorded. More so, in fact.” MSNBC’s Chris Hayes opened his television show by playing it in its entirety.
It is undoubtedly a powerful piece of filmmaking (as was the video, never before seen, that was featured on the second day of the trial). Consisting of footage captured by security cameras, cell phones, and uncharacteristically frightened television cameramen, the video distilled the events of January 6 into a concise and harrowing narrative: A mob, spurred on by the president, attacked the Capitol and came astonishingly close to harming or even killing members of Congress and members of the executive branch. It provided an irrefutable account of the president’s role in an event that left seven dead and threatened the peaceful transition of power.
The video was so damning that it short-circuited political reporters’ hard-wired impulse to equivocate, water down, and, above all, hear both sides. The visual evidence on display—aided, it should be added, by the incompetent performance of Trump’s defense attorneys—made the Republican case irrelevant. How could they compete with such stirring documentary evidence? The video got such rave reviews that it would surely have a 100 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes had it been given a theatrical release. Trump’s own impeachment lawyers praised it during their opening statements. Even Steve Bannon was impressed!
The video was so convincing, however, that it led reporters and analysts into some erroneous historical revisionism. The second impeachment trial is an open-and-shut case, they said; the first one, not so much. The truth was that the first impeachment trial was also open-and-shut, and the fact that it is no longer seen as such reveals the extent to which the Republican narrative continues to dominate coverage of Washington. [...]
I’ve closely studied every impeachment trial in our history. No impeachment has ever been as ably prosecuted in the Senate. In no prior impeachment has a conviction been as overwhelmingly justified. Now the Senate is on trial. To acquit itself, it must convict Donald J. Trump.
“Many social justice activists--many feminists--continue to work against one form of oppression while feeding the flames of another, without noticing that the blow torch behind the flames must be tuned off before we can have any hope of putting out the resultant fires.”~~Lisa Kemmerer, Sister Species: Women, Animals and Social Justice (2011)
On this date at Daily Kos in 2008—Laura Bush: Hillary's Criticism is Out of Bounds:
Mrs. Bush, forgive me if I think Mrs. Clinton faced a bit more personal humiliation and vitriol from the "compassionate conservative" side of the aisle during President Clinton's term of office than your husband faces today (and with a lot more grace and class than he does, I might add). Her intimate life was combed over with glee by opponents during and after the Lewinsky scandal; she was—and remains to this day—the target of some of the most misogynistic, woman-loathing rhetoric on the American scene.
Many wives in Mrs. Clinton's circumstances would have dumped their philandering spouses and slunk off to a corner of Montana to float the rest of their lives away in a lake of chardonnay. Instead, she ran for political office and won. She's not a member of some mythical Former First Ladies Club in which you, Mrs. Bush, can call in chits, nor did she ever position herself to be.
She's a working opposition senator, and calling your husband's administration on its lies, deceptions and ineptitude is herjob as part of those quaint checks and balances.
More and more in America, young adults rely on their parents and other relatives for housing and financial support well into their 20s. That trend was already growing, and now the COVID-19 pandemic and dire economic conditions have further increased the need for young adults to lean on their families for resources. With soaring unemployment, stagnant wages, and historic income inequality, the transition from living at home to financial independence is often a long and arduous one, and perhaps impossible without a family safety net.
That transition is even more difficult for children in foster care. Foster children face disadvantage from the start—they are more likely, for example, to become entangled in the criminal legal system, and less likely to graduate from college—and those who age out of the system without placement into a permanent home are abruptly abandoned, left to fend for themselves between the ages of 18 or 21. The government functions as their parent, and then swiftly extinguishes financial support, depriving foster kids of the safety net that so many of their peers increasingly find necessary. This added disparity compounds the systemic disadvantage that foster kids already endure, and puts them at heightened risk for poverty, homelessness, and incarceration.
States and localities can address this crisis by providing a regular stipend to young people as they transition from child welfare systems to life as independent adults. Direct cash payments are immediate and flexible. Recipients can apply payments to their most pressing needs, and the stipends are not, nor should be, encumbered by restrictions like unemployment. A regular income pays for basic needs like education, groceries, rent, or healthcare, depending on the person’s circumstances at the moment. For young people who suddenly find themselves without a meaningful support system, this type of initiative can be a lifeline, with benefits for both the recipients and their communities. [...]
“This is obviously the most serious crime against our country and Constitution of any president in history, and the fact that it took place in the last month doesn't make it less serious.”
~~Rep. Adam Schiff, Jan. 17, 2021
On this date at Daily Kos in 2013—Drug tests for welfare bills come to three more states:
Looking at the range of drug testing-for-benefits bills being pushed in state legislatures across the country, you almost have to suspect Republicans of some kind of urine fetish. In addition to all the states that are debating or have passed bills requiring people applying for unemployment insurance benefits to pee in cups, drug-testing bills aimed at welfare applicants are being introduced in three states. The specifics would be ripe for comedy if we weren't talking about a concerted effort by the powerful to stigmatize vulnerable people as drug addicts, as if that's the only reason a person might need help in an economy in which there are still more than three job-seekers for every job opening:
The Ohio State Senate held a second hearing Thursday night on a proposal to establish pilot drug-testing programs in three counties. Under the proposal, applicants would be required to submit a drug test if they disclose that they have used illegal substances. The proposal was first introduced in the spring, but pressure from opponents led Gov. John Kasich to squash the bill in May.
Virginia Republicans are also reviving a bill that was shelved earlier this year. The 2012 version failed after the state estimated it would cost $1.5 million to implement while only saving $229,000. The bill’s sponsor, Delegate Dickie Bell, has not introduced the updated version yet, but says he’s found more cost effective options.
Those would have to be some pretty damn significant changes to the cost structure to erase a nearly $1.25 million deficit.
Economist Larry Summers raised fears today that the Biden administration’s economic rescue plan might go too far, leading to economic overheating or squandering political and economic space for long-run reforms down the road. Neither of these fears are very compelling.
On the first–the danger of economic overheating–there’s not much more to add to what I and several others have alreadysaid on this: The U.S. economy has run far too-cool for decades, and this has stunted growth and deprived millions of potential job opportunities and tens of millions of potential opportunities for faster pay raises. Frequently, those worried about overheating cite current estimates from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) of the “output gap”—the gap between income generated in today’s economy and what could be generated (or potential output) if there was no downward pressure on spending by households, businesses, and governments (aggregate demand). These current CBO estimates look relatively small compared to the Biden rescue plan’s fiscal support. But, these current estimates are almost certainly too-small. To provide just one piece of evidence—these estimates suggest that the economy was running above potential output in 2019 before COVID-19struck. But there was no evidence of overheating that year—price inflation was tame and wage growth actually decelerated.
If the vaccines take hold and there is a significant relaxation of social distancing measures in the coming year, the economic relief we’ve provided so far through this crisis and the Biden plan could combine to see the economy spring to life and generate a recovery far faster than what we’ve seen in the past few recessions. If this happens, and if the unemployment rate falls far beneath what it was in the pre-COVID period and stays below this for a few years, this will be an affirmatively good thing, not something to fear.
To be really clear about this—the unemployment can fall quite a ways beneath estimates of the so-called “natural rate” (or, the lowest rate of unemployment thought to be consistent with stable inflation in the long-run) for extended periods of time without disaster striking—look at the years before 1979 on this chart—we spent lots of time beneath the natural rate and had substantially faster growth (and more equal growth) than we’ve had since. [...]
On this date at Daily Kos in 2012—Posters, billboards and white privilege:
Though a lot of attention has been focused on the racism and privilege inherent in recent remarks made by Republican presidential candidates, designed to garner support from the party's southern and tea party base, and the actions of elected officials like Republican Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, too often, fingers are unfairly pointed at our warmer climes as being the sole site of racist activity and/or attitudes. Frankly, the history of racism in the U.S. has no regional boundaries; it was embedded in our roots from the moment indigenous occupants were attacked and removed. Hand in hand with systemic racism goes what those engaged in civil rights struggles and the academic study of racial disparity have dubbed "white privilege," which is a cornerstone of the academic discipline of Critical Race Theory.
A northern case in point is Duluth, Minnesota, where there has been controversy over a recently launched campaign designed to confront racism and white privilege.
The $1.1 trillion wealth gain by 660 U.S. billionaires since March 2020 could pay for:
All of the relief for working families contained in President Biden’s proposed $1.9 trillion pandemic rescue package, which includes $1,400 in direct payments to individuals, $400-a-week supplements to unemployment benefits, and an expanded child tax credit. (See table below)
[...] Tax reform that ensures the wealthy pay their fair share—the principle the Biden tax plan is built on—would transform a good chunk of those huge billionaire gains into public revenue to help heal a hurting nation. But getting at that big boost in billionaire fortunes is not as simple as raising tax rates: tax rules let the rich delay, diminish and even ultimately avoid any tax on the growth in their wealth. What’s needed is structural change to how wealth is taxed.
The most direct approach is an annual wealth tax on the biggest fortunes, proposed by Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, among others. Another option is the annual taxation of investment gains on stocks and other tradable assets, an idea advanced by the new Senate Finance Committee chair, Ron Wyden. Even under the current discounted tax rates for investment income, if Wyden’s plan had been in effect in 2020, America’s billionaires would be paying hundreds of billions of dollars in extra taxes this spring thanks to their gargantuan pandemic profits last year.
Some Republicans in Congress seem confused about what “unity” means. They seem to think that if you don’t give them what they want, you’re not for unity. ⁰That’s not unity, that’s my way or the highway. We're in a crisis and Americans need help. Let’s unite around that.
“The same rule of self-destructive financial calculation governs every walk of life. We destroy the beauty of the countryside because the un-appropriated splendors of nature have no economic value. We are capable of shutting off the sun and the stars because they do not pay a dividend.” ~~ John Maynard Keynes, “National Self-Sufficiency,” 1933
On this date at Daily Kos in 2020—John Bolton: Trump explicitly said Ukraine aid freeze was tied to investigations into Democrats:
Former national security adviser John Bolton has refused House demands that he testify on the events surrounding the freezing of military aid to Ukraine and the efforts by Donald Trump’s allies and administration officials to pressure the Ukrainian government into announcing an investigation into potential Trump election opponent Joe Biden. Bolton is instead writing a book on his tenure.
In the now-circulating manuscript for that unreleased book, reports The New York Times, Bolton writes that Donald Trump personally told him he would continue to freeze the nearly $400 million in aid until Ukrainian officials aided his desired investigations into “Democrats” and “the Bidens.”
Bolton’s manuscript alleges direct involvement in the scheme to falsely smear and remove U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, reports The Times, and Pompeo both knew the claims to be false and suspected Giuliani was “acting on behalf of other clients.” Bolton also says he personally spoke with Trump Attorney General William Barr to inform Barr that Trump had identified him as part of Rudy Giuliani’s efforts on his now-infamous call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky: Barr’s office had previously denied that he knew about that call until much later.
It has been an ignominious close to a historical moment that will be measured by its impact for years to come. Already long before the 2016 election, many saw Trump’s rise as a turning point of American politics toward authoritarianism, or even fascism. For some, the Trump presidency was an “aspirational autocracy,” while for others, it was an example of tyranny. Many debated the applicability of the fascist label. Yet, for others still, these concerns overlooked the persistent illiberal and antidemocratic tendencies that ran like a thread through all of American history. According to these more skeptical arguments, focusing on Trump’s would-be authoritarianism both mythologized the pre-Trump years and obscured just how ineffective and weak his time in office had been.
Even as these most recent events confirm a political defeat for Trump and the restoration of a shaky centrist-progressive coalition, the United States continues to experience a slow-burning legitimacy crisis that shows no signs of abating. While the 2016 election did not create an immediate political crisis of the state, it exacerbated antidemocratic and authoritarian tendencies that were already ingrained in American society and political institutions.
These tendencies were decades in the making. The American security state, already nurtured on decades of anti-leftist funding and training, had taken on a new gloss with the War on Terror. The lasting fallout from the Great Recession of 2008 played a major role in the 2016 crisis of the political establishment and Trump’s unexpected rise to the top of the Republican Party. This year alone, the mismanagement of Covid-19 has led to the deaths of over 400,000 people, exposing essential workers and the vulnerable to a deadly disease and fraying the country’s already tattered social institutions, at the same time as structural racial violence brought millions of people to the streets in the midst of this pandemic.
These factors have accumulated to create the most serious legitimacy crisis since the late 1960s. We still do not have enough distance to evaluate the long-term effects of the Trump administration. Nevertheless, we should not try to make sense of the Trump years by approaching them as a radical break with what has come before. Instead, they continued broader and preexisting authoritarian tendencies in American politics—a tide that will be only temporarily stemmed by Trump leaving office. [...]
I am honored to be the first male spouse of an American President or Vice President. But I'll always remember generations of women have served in this role before me—often without much accolade or acknowledgment. It’s their legacy of progress I will build on as Second Gentleman.
“They realize that in thirty-four months we have built up new instruments of public power. In the hands of a peoples Government this power is wholesome and proper. But in the hands of political puppets of an economic autocracy such power would provide shackles for the liberties of the people.” ~~Franklin D. Roosevelt, State of the Union, Jan. 3, 1936
On this date at Daily Kos in 2009—Obama Administration Sides with Bush’s DOJ in Spy Case:
A sensitive civil liberties case that has been working its way through the courts for nearly four years is in the news again as the Obama administration "fell in line with the Bush administration Thursday when it urged a federal judge to set aside a ruling in a closely watched spy case weighing whether a U.S. president may bypass Congress and establish a program of eavesdropping on Americans without warrants." The case involves the now-defunct, Oregon-based Saudi charity, the Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation.
According to David Kravets at Wired:
With just hours left in office, President George W. Bush late Monday asked U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker to stay enforcement of an important Jan. 5 ruling admitting key evidence into the case.
Thursday's filing by the Obama administration marked the first time it officially lodged a court document in the lawsuit asking the courts to rule on the constitutionality of the Bush administration's warrantless-eavesdropping program. The former president approved the wiretaps in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.
"The Government's position remains that this case should be stayed," the Obama administration wrote in a filing that for the first time made clear the new president was on board with the Bush administration's reasoning in this case.
Given that it has adopted the Bush administration's position in this case, the question now to be answered is what role "unitary executive" philosophy will play in the Obama administration.
Night Owls is a themed open thread appearing at Daily Kos seven days a week.
7 days until JOE BIDEN AND KAMALA HARRIS TAKE THE OATH OF OFFICE
Erin Kissane is the co-founder of the The COVID Tracking Project, and Alice Goldfarb leadsthe COVID Racial Data Tracker and is a 2021 Nieman Visiting Fellow. At The Atlantic, they write—We Need to Know Who Is Getting Vaccinated. The federal government must release demographic data about vaccine recipients:
A year into the coronavirus pandemic in the United States, we still lack a complete understanding of who is getting sick, and where, and when. Demographic data from many states are astonishingly incomplete, and even widely collected information, such as the age of patients at the time of diagnosis or death, is so inconsistently presented that it has been impossible to assemble into a clear national picture. The federal government is now making more demographic data available, but the information continues to emerge at a snail’s pace.
This has left government outsiders to try to assemble the data—groups like us, the COVID Tracking Project, which is housed at The Atlantic. For more than nine months, we’ve compiled data from states to create a composite national picture of the pandemic. Time and again, we have seen that a lack of federal support has left overburdened state public-health authorities to fend for themselves, resulting in incomplete reporting, incompatible data definitions, and inconsistent data pipelines.
With vaccine data, the United States has the opportunity for a do-over. The national vaccination effort itself is fragmented and inconsistent, guided by state and county policies in the absence of a comprehensive federal system of support—but the data about vaccinations need not mirror this incoherence. Tracking the distribution of vaccines and the pace of vaccination can provide meaningful insights into the volume of future cases, hospitalizations, and deaths. And particularly given the well-established racial and ethnic disparities we see in COVID-19 cases and deaths, we must have access to data that would reveal whether these disparities are being remediated—or intensified—by our national vaccination effort. [...]
The Constitution’s Option for Impeachment After a President Leaves Office, by Michael J. Gerhardt. It would make no sense for former officials, or ones who step down just in time, to escape that remedial mechanism. It should accordingly go without saying that if an impeachment begins when an individual is in office, the process may surely continue after they resign or otherwise depart.
“The main problem in any democracy is that crowd-pleasers are generally brainless swine who can go out on a stage & whup their supporters into an orgiastic frenzy—then go back to the office & sell every one of the poor bastards down the tube for a nickel apiece.”~~Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ‘72 (1973)
On this date at Daily Kos in 2007—The Real Maverick in the Presidential Race:
By now, John McCain’s identity as a "maverick" has been pretty well demolished among thinking people, though it retains a tenacious grip on certain sectors of the media. In light of McCain’s support for overturning Roe v. Wade, his cave on torture, his hiring of significant numbers of Bush-Cheney staffers, his turn to Bush’s big donors, and, of course, the McCain doctrine of Iraq war escalation, you’d think that it would be the joke among journalists it is among bloggers, but what can I say? I guess they’re slow.
Those journalists so desperate for a maverick presidential candidate, though, should take a look at former Alaska Senator Mike Gravel (pronounced Gra-VEL), a long-shot Democratic candidate for president. Like McCain, if elected, Gravel would be the oldest president. Like McCain, Gravel’s major political experience is in the US Senate (1969-1981). Gravel also is a veteran, having served in the Army in the Counter Intelligence Corps in the early 1950s.
And just as McCain's initial reputation was made on an act of Vietnam-era courage—refusing to be released from POW status early—in his past, so was Gravel's—entering the Pentagon Papers into the public record via his Senate subcommittee on Buildings and Grounds, and filibustering the renewal of the draft. But unlike McCain, Gravel is genuinely a maverick, with the good and the bad that comes with that status.
Hearing ominous echoes of the post-9/11 crackdown on civil liberties, progressives are warning of the serious dangers posed by the renewed push for fresh laws targeting "domestic terrorism" in the wake of the deadly assault on the U.S. Capitol last week by a mob of President Donald Trump's fanatical supporters.
While acknowledging the threat posed by right-wing extremists across the nation and affirming the need for forceful action in response to last week's attack, observers noted that existing federal laws are more than sufficient to hold the insurrectionists to account for invading the halls of Congress with possible intent to hold lawmakers hostage, attempting to topple the U.S. government, and potentially committing murder.
"There are already plenty of tools at the government's disposal to crack down on far-right insurrection," The Week's Ryan Cooper wrote in a column on Sunday.
The problem, Cooper argued, is not a lack of laws but rather a deficiency of will from "police departments and security agencies [that] are composed largely of conservative Republicans, and not a few open fascists." Putting new laws in place would only hand law enforcement agencies additional weapons to wield against the left, Cooper wrote.
"If you just charge the existing agencies with breaking up domestic insurgent networks, at best they will shirk, delay, and drag their feet, and at worst they will completely ignore the fascists while turning any new tools against Black Lives Matter and other left-wing protesters," said Cooper. "Indeed, this is already happening—so far, the charges against the fascist mob have been trespassing or other minor crimes, rather than the felony riot charges the leftist J20 defendants faced for simply being near minor property destruction in downtown D.C. on the day of Trump's inauguration."
DOMESTIC TERRORIST LAW
As the Wall StreetJournal reported last Thursday, President-elect Joe Biden "has said he plans to make a priority of passing a law against domestic terrorism, and he has been urged to create a White House post overseeing the fight against ideologically inspired violent extremists and increasing funding to combat them."
Biden made a point of identifying members of the Trump mob as "domestic terrorists" in remarks following last week's attack, which he condemned as an "all-out assault on our institutions of democracy" led by the incumbent president.
Not long after the mob stormed Capitol Hill, some commentators began calling on Congress to begin work on a specific statute targeting "domestic terrorism"; as ProPublicaexplained last week, "while federal statutes provide a definition of domestic terrorism, there is not a specific law outlawing it."
The call drew swift pushback from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), who tweeted Saturday that "as the vice chair of the Oversight subcommittee who ran investigations into domestic terror laws, I respectfully disagree.”
"Our problems on Wednesday weren't that there weren't enough laws, resources, or intelligence," said the New York Democrat. "We had them, and they were not used. It's time to find out why."
Diala Shamas, a staff attorney with the Center for Constitutional Rights, echoed that point, tellingThe Intercept Sunday that "anyone familiar with the scope of surveillance and targeting of Black political dissents, or Muslim communities, knows that law enforcement has all the tools it needs to aggressively disrupt and hold accountable those who planned and participated in the storming of the Capitol."
"Why they didn't raises serious questions, but it was not because their hands were tied," said Shamas. "We don't need new terrorism designations."
The notorious 2001 Patriot Act, passed in the wake of the 9/11 attacks with Biden's support, provides an expansive definition of "domestic terrorism" that—as the ACLU warned—was "broad enough to encompass the activities of several prominent activist campaigns and organizations," including "Greenpeace, Operation Rescue, Vieques Island, and [World Trade Organization] protesters and the Environmental Liberation Front."
The fears of civil liberties advocates were realized when, as predicted, law enforcement agencies proceeded to surveil and pursue animal rights advocates and environmentalists as well as Muslim Americans.
Warning Biden against enacting additional draconian measures in response to last week's mob attack, New York magazine's Sarah Jones wrote that the "state does not lack teeth" but "has too many at its disposal already." What's really missing in the way law enforcement and prosecutors handle protest—or violent uprisings—is lack of "discretion, and all sense of proportion" when they respond, Jones argued.
"Whatever powers Biden creates today can be used by the enemies of democracy tomorrow," warned Jones. "Our civil liberties are simply too fragile, and the risk is much too great."
Guantánamo’s Unhappy Birthday, by Benjamin R. Farley. Today, the detention facility at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, turned 19. Two of the 40 remaining detainees incarcerated there arrived on the inaugural flight to the U.S. military prison on Jan. 11, 2002.
“They shouldnt teach their immigrants' kids all about democracy unless they mean to let them have a little bit of it, it ony makes for trouble. Me and the United States is dissociating our alliance as of right now, until the United States can find time to read its own textbooks a little.” ~~James Jones, From Here to Eternity (1951)
Does anyone else see the irony in Lauren Boebert bragging about “bringing her glock” to Congress, but instead of protecting anyone while under attack, she just tweeted Nancy Pelosi’s position to the mob?
At Daily Kos on this date in 2007—Science Friday: There is No Controversy:
Ever since the terms "Climate Change" and "Global Warming" first made the news, the right has been engaged in an effort to ridicule the whole notion. Man could have an effect on the atmosphere? Pshaw! Okay, so Rush Limbaugh and the Fox airheads don't actually say pshaw. Instead, they've said that the idea of a human-caused climate change is "ridiculous," and "malarkey" and a "farce." (I'd give you links for those, but adding a link to Limbaugh and friends would give me a rash).
Most of all, they've pushed the idea that our increasing thirst for flammable hydrocarbons might just cause an eensy change in the environment is controversial. Sure, sure, we might be having a hot year -- or two, or ten -- but that doesn't mean people had anything to do with it. After all, we're so smalland the atmosphere is just so big. How could a little old us possibly have more effect than volcanoes, or cyclical changes, or the bad old carbon fairy, or whatever cause the right wants to put forward this week? We changed the air? Huh, that's just controversial.
They've depended on paid shills to generate pop-science FUD, and like the mercenaries of ignorance who constantly try to make it seem as if there's some scientific debate around evolution, they've created smoke in the hopes of making people believe there's a fire. They've created fake organizations dedicated to spreading misinformation (current headline "Earth's plants tell us they're loving the CO2 increase!") They've even made a hero out of Michael Crichton (the one man whose ego might be larger than Bush and Rush combined) and his account of a Global Warming "conspiracy," frequently citing his poorly-researched fictional tome as proof of the evil left wing environmentalist attempt to strip away your Hummer.
The trouble with this notion is that the folks who stole the "it's only a theory" page from the whacko creationists are lying. There is no controversy. There's been none in scientific journals, and no, scientists did not think we were going to freeze just a decade ago, no matter how many times the shills say they did. With every passing day, the evidence becomes more compelling.
BuzzFeed News spoke to two Black officers who described a harrowing day in which they were forced to endure racist abuse — including repeatedly being called the n-word — as they tried to do their job of protecting the Capitol building, and by extension the very functioning of American democracy. The officers said they were wrong footed, fighting off an invading force that their managers had downplayed, and not prepared them for. They had all been issued gas masks, for example, but management didn’t tell them to bring them in on the day. Capitol Police did not respond to BuzzFeed News’s request for comment about the allegations made by officers. [...]
“That was a heavily trained group of militia terrorists that attacked us,” said [one of the officers], who has been with the department for more than a decade. “They had radios, we found them, they had two-way communicators and earpieces. They had bear spray. They had flash bangs ... They were prepared. They strategically put two IEDs, pipe bombs in two different locations. These guys were military trained. A lot of them were former military,” the veteran said, referring to two suspected pipe bombs that were found outside the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee and the Republican National Committee.
The officer even described coming face to face with police officers from across the country in the mob. He said some of them flashed the badges, telling him to let them through, and trying to explain that this was all part of a movement that was supposed to help.
“You have the nerve to be holding a blue lives matter flag, and you are out there fucking us up,” he told one group of protestors he encountered inside the Capitol. “[One guy] pulled out his badge and he said, ‘we’re doing this for you.’ Another guy had his badge. So I was like, ‘well, you gotta be kidding.’” [...]
In the seven years since Black Lives Matter has become a rallying cry, the image of a white cop, deciding how and when to enforce law and order, has become ubiquitous. On Wednesday, Americans saw something different, as Black officers tried to do the same, as they attempted to protect the very heart of American democracy. And instead of being honored by the supporters of a man who likes to call himself the “law and order” president, Black Capitol officers found themselves under attack.
“I got called a nigger 15 times today,” the veteran officer shouted in the rotunda to no one in particular. “Trump did this and we got all of these fucking people in our department that voted for him. How the fuck can you support him?”
“I cried for about 15 minutes and I just let it out.”
THREE OTHER ARTICLES WORTH READING
American Grotesque, by John Jeremiah Sullivan. Insane birthers and Glenn Beck-worshipping tea-partiers, proud racists and gun-toting antigovernment loons—they're all here, and they're all angry about something. John Jeremiah Sullivan goes deep into the bowels of the great American Rage Machine on a patriotic quest for common ground with his countrymen.
The Day the Great Apes Died, by Sandy Hingston. Twenty-five years ago, the tragedy at the World of Primates building broke the city’s heart and raised a loaded question: What, exactly, do we owe the animals in our care?
This President is a clear and present danger to our country. While I have pushed other remedies for his criminal conduct, impeachment is the tool before us and warranted for his seditious acts. I will be voting yes on impeachment when brought to the House floor. (1/4)
At Daily Kos on this date in 2004—Bush sweats “inside” books:
The Bush White House is nervous about two forthcoming books by former insiders. Ex-Bush Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill assails the president for a lack of interest in substantive policy in a book written by journalist Ron Suskind that will be trotted out with great fanfare on CBS's "60 Minutes" this weekend.
One Bush insider, however, ventures that no one really cares what a former Treasury secretary says. But, a book due out later by Richard Clarke, the White House's top terror expert under both President Clinton and President Bush, is another matter. Mr. Clarke is known to feel the Bush administration largely ignored the threat of terrorism and Osama bin Laden before 9-11, even after al Qaeda in June 2001 claimed responsibility for the bombing of the USS Cole, which killed 17 American soldiers.
A new poll released in the aftermath of Wednesday's violent coup attempt—incited by President Donald Trump and enabled by Republican lawmakers who questioned the legitimacy of President-elect Joe Biden's victory—shows that nearly half of GOP voters approve of the pro-Trump mob's storming of the U.S. Capitol, findings that observers say are inseparable from how right-wing media outlets are lying about the insurrection.
YouGov Direct conducted the survey on Wednesday night between 5:17 pm and 5:42 pm. A majority (62%) of the 1,397 registered voters who had heard about the day's events told pollsters that they consider the pro-Trump mob's actions a threat to democracy. But while 93% of Democrats and 55% of Independents perceive what happened as a threat to democracy, only 27% of Republicans see it that way.
In fact, a greater percentage of Republicans (45%) actively support the storming of the Capitol than oppose it (43%). Overall, 71% of registered voters are opposed to the coup attempt, including 96% of Democrats and 67% of Independents.
Among voters who erroneously believe that the presidential election was fraudulent enough to affect the outcome, 56% say the invasion of the halls of Congress was justified.
A majority of registered voters (55%), including 90% of Democrats and 51% of Independents, believe "a great deal of the blame" lies with Trump. Yet, in the eyes of GOP voters, President-elect Joe Biden is the biggest culprit, with 52% assigning some degree of blame to Biden compared to 28% attributing the debacle to Trump.
When it comes to removing Trump from office as a result of what happened at the Capitol—an option that is gaining support among federal lawmakers—50% of registered voters, including 83% of Democrats and 47% of Independents, are in favor. Conversely, 85% of Republicans consider immediate removal inappropriate. [...]
“The age of warrior kings and of warrior presidents has passed. The nuclear age calls for a different kind of leadership.... a leadership of intellect, judgment, tolerance and rationality, a leadership committed to human values, to world peace, and to the improvement of the human condition. The attributes upon which we must draw are the human attributes of compassion and common sense, of intellect and creative imagination, and of empathy and understanding between cultures.”~~J. William Fulbright,
At Daily Kos on this date in 2010—Economic Outrage du Jour: Emails Exposed:
Hugh Son at Bloomberg reports that e-mails forced into the light show that Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, as president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, parts of whose job is supposedly to be curtailing bankers' riskiest impulses, told American International Group to conceal information about its payments to banks while the financial crisis was unfolding:
AIG said in a draft of a regulatory filing that the insurer paid banks, which included Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Societe Generale SA, 100 cents on the dollar for credit-default swaps they bought from the firm. The New York Fed crossed out the reference, according to the e-mails, and AIG excluded the language when the filing was made public on Dec. 24, 2008. The e-mails were obtained by Representative Darrell Issa, ranking member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. ...
"It appears that the New York Fed deliberately pressured AIG to restrict and delay the disclosure of important information," said Issa, a California Republican. Taxpayers "deserve full and complete disclosure under our nation’s securities laws, not the withholding of politically inconvenient information.”
You won't hear any applause in this corner for the obstructionist, ultra-wealthy Darrell Issa. His self-funded recall petition encumbered us Californians with Arnold Schwarzenegger in the governorship, a position Issa himself hoped to capture. His support for English-Only laws, right-wing attacks on ACORN, dissing of the 9/11 widows and other antics since his self-funded campaign put him in Congress epitomize the politics progressives are duty-bound to grind into dust.
But, frankly, if the disclosures in those emails are what Bloomberg and Reuters and others are saying, congressional Democrats ought to be on top of this issue. Must we depend on the richest man in Congress to engage in an oligarch vs. oligarch battle to give us the skinny about what's going on?