It’s Your Economy, Stupid GOPr

[NB: check the byline, thanks. /~Rayne]

I’ve had it. I’m fed up with the attacks on the Biden administration and Democrats in Congress about the economy when the problem is and has been the GOP.

The same GOP which has steadfastly encouraged Americans to avoid vaccines and boosters, reject wearing masks, ignore the need for social distancing and better ventilation to prevent the ongoing spread of COVID, ultimately weakening the country’s workforce and reducing the number of healthy workers.

The same GOP which has persistently supported Putin’s demoralization and destabilization of this country, even though they knew Trump was an asset — we haven’t forgotten Kevin McCarthy’s blurting it out back in 2016 and the rest of the GOP congressional caucus continuing their omertà — ultimately encouraging Putin to attack Ukraine setting economic sanctions in motion.

Now there are GOP candidates who are running not only on the worst of Trumpism, expressing naked racism, misogyny, other forms of xenophobia, but running on just plain stupidity about the economy.

I swear I could publish a post at least once a week cataloguing so much fresh stupid.

Today’s idiot is a GOP senate candidate, Blake Masters, who has already distinguished himself within the last week with a racist remark aimed at Black Americans.

Masters decided today he wanted it his way:

Sir, this is a McDonald’s.

Masters has no fucking clue why there aren’t enough fast food workers to take orders, as if COVID didn’t kill more than a million Americans causing a cascade of job losses due to long COVID, difficulty finding and keeping safe daycare for children and eldercare, scared off older employees who’d rather tough it out on their Social Security than risk getting sick, made transportation more challenging because the used car market is tight and parts and labor for repairs equally tight, public transport shared with maskless riders, so on.

And last but not least, fast food workers’ wages have not kept up with the increase in rent driven upward by speculation.

That’s why you’re looking at a goddamned self-operated kiosk, Masters.

Not to mention potential employees don’t want to take the risk on an employer which can’t be bothered to post wages or the number of available openings.

Applicants need to know before they even bother to apply because the average rent in Marana, AZ on a 1-bedroom apartment is $1542 a month. A worker needs in excess of $15/hour at 40 hours a week to make the rent — not including any other expenses like food or clothing or water or electricity or health insurance — and fast food jobs aren’t 40 hours a week because the companies want to avoid paying unemployment benefits.

The remaining fast food restaurant workers are moving into other industries because they can’t afford the irregular, too few hours combined with the lack of benefits, the crappy management, and the chronic mistreatment by customers on top of exposure on the regular to COVID.

But go ahead and expose your gross ignorance, Masters, punching down on the people who can least afford the time to rebut your whining.

The people who should rebut Masters’ whining are the Arizona corporations which do business in or rely on automation and robotics — businesses which will replace the crappy jobs fast food workers can’t afford, while improving the Arizona economy with better paid design and manufacturing jobs.

Like these companies, to name a few: Stanley Black & Decker, Nogales AZ; Caterpillar, Tuscon AZ; Lucid Motors and IPE Aerospace, Tempe AZ.

I hope Arizonans are smart enough not to fall for Blake Masters’ ignorant Trumpiness. If he hasn’t already figure out how stupid he is (being a potential victim of Dunning-Kruger), he may inflict some wretched stupidity on Arizona and the rest of the nation.

Seriously, can Arizonans trust him not to lick the kiosk display?

‘This Time Is Going to Be Different’: Confronting the NRA

[NB: Check the byline, thanks. /~Rayne]

I can’t read one more story today about the fathomless horror children, teachers, and parents experienced in Uvalde, Texas on Tuesday. Each new report nauseates me learning that Texas state and local government failed their most vulnerable citizens repeatedly.

Knowing that a child had to play dead after swabbing themselves in their dead friend’s blood is just…I don’t have words for this, only tears and an urge to scream and rail.

If this representative was mine, I’d be screaming at him.


Par for the course with this guy who succeeded NRA’s buddy Will Hurd for Texas’s 23rd congressional district.

Utterly useless and irresponsible, unresponsive to the needs of his constituents while doing little more than lobbying for guns.

Fortunately, the young people of Texas aren’t taking the attack on their futures lying down. We’ve seen protests after mass shootings before but this feels different — they are taking it right to the NRA.

Yeah, this really feels different.

There will be more protests tomorrow against the NRA in Houston outside the organization’s convention when big name doofuses like Ted Cruz and Donald Trump show up.

I hope more protests will occur in Uvalde against this monstrous wretch who is trying to suck up to the NRA and patronize Uvalde’s citizens at the same time. One can only wonder if polling told him to do this.

You’ll recall David Hogg is a survivor of the 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. He continues to fight for the rights of young Americans to live without the terror of gun violence.

Hogg’s promoting the next rallies on June 11. By then Congress will be back in session.

It will take more than these rallies to make change happen, though. I hope there’s effort on the ground to encourage voter registration and education about candidates who support gun control.

There’s No Doubt the GOP Now Has Weapons of Mass Destruction [UPDATE-1]

[NB: Check the bylines, thanks. Updates at the bottom of this post. /~Rayne]

I’ve been frozen by anguish and anger, unable to write something about the mass murder in Uvalde, Texas. Whatever I dump here emerges from this, and some of it will be others’ words because they’ve said it better and more succinctly.

~ ~ ~

We’ve had some discussion in one of the threads about Beto O’Rourke’s attempt to question current Texas governor Greg Abbott about Abbott’s response to Uvalde.

Abbott’s minions shouted down O’Rourke, who as a Texan was entitled to know what the state’s top elected official was doing in response to the mass murder.

This encapsulates everything which is wrong with Abbott — he and the people he surrounds himself with don’t give a flying fuck about Texans. The Abbott administration is a goddamned joke.

This careless disregard will affect more than a couple of generations of Texans who’ve already had to deal with Abbott’s general uselessness against Texas’s isolated energy grid which killed a child along with 110 other Texans in 2021.

57.5% of Texas is not white; the largest portion of this non-white population is Hispanic/Latin, making up 39.3% of the state’s citizens according to a badly-run 2020 US Census which undercounted Texas citizens and undocumented residents alike.

Which means Texas is more than 40% Hispanic/Latin and Gov. Greg Abbott could give a flying fuck how they feel about Tuesday’s mass murder he enabled by signing an bill with the loosest open carry regulations in the nation.

He really hasn’t given but lip service after previous mass murders with assault weapons in his state, supporting increasing laxity about gun control in Texas in spite of six mass shootings since he was first elected governor in 2015.

Not just supporting increasing laxity, but doing so in the face of a majority’s support for increased gun controls from banning assault rifles to background checks before sales.

The Texas Tribune does a phenomenal job of laying out how Abbott has consistently ignored Texans’ sentiments while not pointing a finger at him alone. Abbott is doing what the GOP and its foreign-financed sponsor the National Rifle Association have wanted him to do: demoralize Texans and destabilize it so that state and federal government are undermined and lose support of the people.

~ ~ ~

We had quite a few heated discussions here in the wake of George Floyd’s murder-by-cop and subsequent protests against police abuse. The heat focused on “defunding the police” rather than the problem itself: increasing militarization of the police at all levels has not led to fewer murders-by-cop, nor to reducing the number of BIPOC Americans murdered by cop, extrajudicially executed by police who’ve more or less been granted absolute immunity because of the way “qualified immunity” has been applied.

Stop arguing about the effectiveness of the message, “defund the police.” Don’t even try to offer “reform policing” as an alternative. Not when police stood by and let a shooter terrorize and murder a classroom yesterday, restraining parents from going in to help, whisking cops’ kids to safety, coaching potential victims to yell for police help only to have the shooter kill a victim who yelled, “Help!”


These people right here:


called the U.S. Border Patrol to help them unlock a fucking classroom door.

$4 million a year –40% of its annual budget — plus grants the city of Uvalde has spent on policing only to have their police attacking frightened parents in some twisted form of crowd control as they stood there outside a locked classroom waiting for the gunman to do whatever it was he was going to do.

Greg Abbott went to a fundraiser that evening even as the blood of children and their teacher dried on the floor of that once locked classroom, as their parents’ DNA was collected for identifying the victims who had surely be turned into mincemeat by an AR-15. That was his response to the mass shooting: pay me, I’m delivering for you, he is telling his sponsors who are perfectly alright with a demoralized, destabilized Texas.

This is the response of police elsewhere: double down on what hasn’t worked since 1999 in Columbine.

[Tweet deleted by Rochester @News_8 which said police there were looking into more active shooter training]

It’s only a matter of time before we are offered the excuse that the AR-15 armed killer could take out Uvalde’s police the way the AR-15 armed killer took out the armed guard at the grocery store in Buffalo NY during a mass shooting ten days earlier.

Except there’s no comparison between a lone security guard not wearing a plate carrier and a militarized SWAT team which should have had far more training to deal with a lone gunman situation.

We’ve already heard the excuse from that malignant sluggard Abbott that the shooter was mentally ill, an assumption based on little to know evidence. And of course Abbott is responsible for the cutting funding for mental health care in Texas.

Gov. Greg Abbott said Wednesday that the Uvalde school shooter had a “mental health challenge” and the state needed to “do a better job with mental health” — yet in April he slashed $211 million from the department that oversees mental health programs.

In addition, Texas ranked last out of all 50 states and the District of Columbia for overall access to mental health care, according to the 2021 State of Mental Health in America report.

“We as a state, we as a society, need to do a better job with mental health,” Abbott said during a news conference at Robb Elementary School, where a gunman shot and killed 19 children and two teachers on Tuesday. …

Texans, you can do better than this lousy lying hack. You deserve better. Se merecen algo mejor que Abbott, tejanos.

Take it all down and start over. Rethink public safety from the ground up because it’s not working and it only gives the worst kinds opportunities to grift — like Abbott’s fundraising.

~ ~ ~

Even more frustrating than the endless stream of pablum offered by stupid gits like Ted Cruz, or rebellious threats against the president like Florida’s state house rep Randy Fine is the inability to connect dots.

The mass murder by an AR-15 carrying teen and previous mass shootings have been encouraged by the GOP because they are bought and owned by the gun manufacturers’ lobby, the NRA. The NRA doesn’t give a shit about Americans; it only cares that there is a sustained market for its products. It only cares that a minority of Americans are rabid enough about gun rights to act as enforcers for the lobby’s demands.

The lobby itself has been bought and owned by Russia following the 2010 Citizens United decision; a flood of Russian money laundered through the NRA bought GOP elected officials and candidates.

The Senate Finance Committee’s 2019 report based on an 18-month investigation said the NRA was a Russian ‘foreign asset’ before the 2016 election.

Considering who the NRA continues to support with campaign donations — like Senators Mitch McConnell (total $1,267,139 )and Rand Paul (total $104,456) whose state Kentucky has also been courted with Russian oligarch money — it’s likely still a foreign asset.

The NRA continues to buy the GOP; it remains pleased with the results of its lobbying because it hasn’t changed its mode of operation no matter how many mass shootings and deaths there have been.

[Screenshot, distribution of 2020 election cycle donations by NRA to major national political parties (FEC data via OpenSecrets)]

In short, Russia is conducting war on the US through its proxies the NRA and the GOP, ensuring weapons of mass destruction remain in the hands of people who are vulnerable to messaging encouraging violence — messaging which may arise from active measures over social media as a subset of Russia’s hybrid warfare..

The GOP need not worry about Putin escalating his assault on Ukraine into a nuclear war involving the US.

They’re already killing plenty of Americans using American weapons of mass destruction on American soil without a single drop of blood spattered on Putin’s doorstep.

Why would Putin waste a single warhead when the GOP will do all the dirty work for him, sitting on their hands and taking NRA money rather than do what has been proven effective (ban assault weapons) and what is popular (background checks on all gun buyers)?

~ ~ ~

A Twitter thread recap of Uvalde’s preventable disaster:

Do something. Fucking do something constructive to stop this madness, you book-burning child-killing hacks with the R after your name.

For Democrats who were elected to serve this nation, stop enabling both the acquisition of weapons of mass destruction here in our own backyards. Stop enabling lousy policing which clearly isn’t solving the problem of mass shootings in public spaces while it punches down on the public it’s supposed to serve.

For those of us who vote D, help people get IDs to vote, help them register, make sure every voter you know is educated about the ballot in your state/county/city/precinct, and get every voter to polls for the remaining primaries and the mid-term election in November. The life you save may be your own.

~ ~ ~

UPDATE-1 — 11:00 P.M. 26-MAY-2022 —

I called it.

They had gear as well as training and they weren’t willing to use it because they might have been shot. It’s called dereliction of duty.

If they don’t want to police, then fucking defund the police. Use the budget to deal with the root causes like improved local mental health care and services for precarious residents.

The Hard Right Gains Power In Enid Oklahoma

This New York Times article by Sabrina Tavernise shows how the hard right wing is organizing. The star of the story is Melissa Crabtree. The initial controversy is whether the city council of Enid Oklahoma should impose a mask mandate in the Summer of 2020, as Covid raged across the nation.

According to the article, Crabtree is the daughter of very religious parents, and is herself a deeply religious person. We get this anecdote:

Gender is blurred in ways that she said [Crabtree] believes God did not intend. She said a man in her church comes to Sunday services dressed in women’s clothing. When she was shopping this fall, a cashier at T.J. Maxx who checked her out looked like a man but, as she saw it, had feminine mannerisms.

“I wanted to shake him and say, ‘You can be the man you are!’” she said. “‘It’s OK to use your strong voice.’”

She doesn’t like teaching anything about race to kids. She doesn’t like the rising number of immigrants. She thinks these things are “pulling our Republic apart at the seams.” She home schools her four children to protect them from these cultural changes. Her oldest son went with his father to Trump’s January 6 speech. She says they didn’t participate in the insurrection.

[Crabtree’s son] graduated from high school last year but did not want to go to college and “pay $100,000 to fight indoctrination.” She said he now works at Chick-fil-A and wants to teach his peers about patriotism.

After states and cities responded to the pandemic with lockdowns, mask mandates, and other public health measures, she began to research.

The more she researched online, the more it seemed that there was something bigger going on. She said she came to the conclusion that the government was misleading Americans. For whose benefit she could not tell. Maybe drug companies. Maybe politicians. Whatever the case, it made her feel like the people in charge saw her — and the whole country of people like her — as easy to take advantage of.

When she found out that Enid was considering a mask mandate, she decided to get involved. She used Facebook.

She felt contempt radiating from the other side, a sense that those who disagreed with her felt superior and wanted to humiliate her. She said she was taken aback at how people were ridiculing her on a pro-mask group on Facebook. She said she remembers one person writing that he hoped she would get Covid and die.

She can’t believe people are mean on the internet. She thinks “fear” is at the root of the meanness. (The articles doesn’t explain what that fear is.) The theme of victimization recurs throughout the article. This is new Council Member Whitney Roberts, a California transplant who runs a photography shop in Enid:

Ms. Roberts, who is 34, said that when she came out as a Trump supporter on Facebook in 2016, “I had a lot of friends delete me, without saying anything,” behavior that she said told her that they thought they were better than her, that she was not worth bothering with. Mr. Ezzell reminded her of that, she said, doodling instead of listening to people, “not even acknowledging that they’re there.”

Crabtree reached out to like-minded friends, and then created a Facebook page for the Enid Freedom Fighters. The first big action of the group was to attend the city Council meeting to speak against the mask mandate. Tavernise gives us a flavor of the meeting:

The meeting was unlike any [Councilman Jonathan Waddel] had ever attended. One woman cried and said wearing a mask made her feel like she did when she was raped at 17. Another read the Lord’s Prayer and said the word “agenda” at the top of the meeting schedule seemed suspicious. A man quoted Patrick Henry and handed out copies of the Constitution.

“The line is being drawn, folks,” said a man in jeans and a red T-shirt. He said the people in the audience “had been shouted down for the last 20 years, and they’re finally here to draw a line, and I think they’re saying, ‘We’ve had enough.’”

The mask mandate failed. Council members who supported it were shunned at Church, lost friends, and faced low-level threats. They lost their reelection bids. Former council member Waddell is thinking about leaving Oklahoma. The Enid Freedom Fighters have elected four people to the School Board, and put four people on the library board after a display of LGBTQ books during Pride Month.

The religious side of this story begins with Crabtree’s faith, but there’s more. She attends a Church led by Wade Burleson. Burleson

… whose church, Emmanuel Enid, is the largest in town. Enid has a substantial upper middle class, with large homes and a gated community near a country club and a golf course, and many of those families are part of the church’s 3,000-strong congregation,

Burleson is a supporter of an anti-vaxx doctor. (This link is amazing.)

Mr. Burleson used apocalyptic language, invoking Nazi doctors as a specter of where mask and vaccine mandates could end up. Mandates, he argues, are the first steps toward complete government control, and he feels called to warn people.

Burleson invited the right-winger Charlie Kirk who is touring churches around the country.

“They want to crush you,” Mr. Kirk said at an evening talk at Emmanuel Enid, referring to an unspecified “metropolitan elite,” and to government leaders, including Republicans. “They call you the smelly Walmart people. They do. You should hear the way your leaders talk about you. They have contempt for you. They want to try to turn Oklahoma into nothing more than a producing colony for the rest of the country.”

Discussion

1. Tavernise frames this story in standard liberal dressing. She quotes social scientists saying thing like: people whose identity is threatened feel threatened and react forcefully. She says this is a story of two groups of people who both want what’s best for Enid.

That’s not what this is. Crabtree and her group follow standard right-wing Republican tactics: they go to meetings and scream at officials. They rile people up leading to low-level but deniable violence aimed at their opponents. It isn’t about being heard. It’s about bludgeoning officials into doing what the screamers want.

Tavernise doesn’t push on obvious questions. If Crabtree feels threatened, what exactly is she afraid of? Is it some kid at a TJ Maxx, or a guy in a dress at her Church? If so, what does she think should be done, exactly? How would she use the government to force that kid to talk like Johnny Cash? What is her vision for Enid? Are the Enid Freedom Fighters fighting for the freedom of anyone besides themselves?

2. The argument that opponents act superior is preached by the likes of the scold David Brooks in The Atlantic. See this post.

Democracy is founded on the willingness of all of us to listen respectfully to the arguments of others. I’d be delighted to hear how I can politely discuss the claim that Covid is a hoax designed to enable some unknown persons to exert control over other people for some unknown reason, or the claim that vaccines kill people.

3. At the end of the article, Tavernise quotes Crabtree:

““There are a whole bunch of people who are realizing, oh, apathy didn’t serve us well. Look at where we are. I think we better wake up and get involved. I think people are waking up.”

We’d better wake up to what the anti-democracy forces are doing. And by “we” I mean Democratic Party Politicians: their indifference to anyone except consultants and donors, and their happy decades-old memories of a vanishing US democracy, have put them soundly to sleep.

Angry Mom: Thanks, Joe “2022 Will Be an Electoral Bloodbath” Manchin [UPDATE-2]

[NB: Check the byline, thanks. Updates at the bottom of this post. /~Rayne]

I have no choice but to warn you I write this as one hella angry mom. I want to put some people in time out badly.

First, a caveat and an ear-boxing:

The GOP is worthless. They have systematically refused to govern during a time of crisis. What the GOP has done instead has exponentially increased risk to America – Making America Great at Stupidity – and to the rest of the world with its anti-science, anti-vaccine, anti-mask propaganda.

They’ve fought every single damned effort to offer aid to the country. Their congressional voting record documents this for posterity as well as in state legislatures. They resist rational science-based efforts to stem the pandemic because of weak sauce excuses like “muh freedum!” which means protecting the unconstitutional right to increase others’ risk of sickness, disability, death, and loss of business.

They’re not a political party with a reasoned platform based on a sound ideology with which the country can identify. Instead it’s an organization intent on maintaining a grip on power by aggregating Know-Nothings, Do-Nothings, and Stop-Everythings, which includes stopping this country from realizing a more perfect union.

If the GOP was a sane and legitimate political party I wouldn’t have had to write this post.

That said, Senator Chuck Schumer and President Joe Biden have screwed up in a big way, a couple times over. They need to be schooled for this.

~ ~ ~

Joe Manchin appeared on fucking Fox News yesterday to say he wasn’t going to support the Build Back Better Act which has already been passed in the House.

If that wasn’t a deliberate in-your-face “Fuck You!” to Biden, the Senate Democrats, his West Virginia constituents, and the entire country, I don’t know what is.

Not NBC, not CBS, not ABC. Not NPR, not even a local West Virginia news station.

He went to Fox Home of Demoralizatsiya News.

And he was able to do so because Schumer and Biden allowed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (a.k.a. Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework – BIF) to be delinked from passage of the BBB, putting the BIF first and BBB second in order to obtain Manchin’s support.

Except the BIF is the only thing Manchin wanted to the benefit of his corporate overlords. BBB gives money to those people he doesn’t trust, like most of the constituents of his state, the second poorest state in the country.

Can’t have that.

Ask Adam Jentleson about it. He does a better job in this Twitter thread explaining how this negotiation was fucked up all to hell.

Don’t ask the progressive House Dems about this situation; you should already have been able to hear them warning before this all went down that Manchin couldn’t be trusted. Their fury is righteous.

And I absolutely mean righteous because there’s no goddamned way in hell someone like Ady Barkan, who has fought so vigorously for American’s health care, should have to worry about services he needs as he fights a mortal illness.

There’s also no way that the roughly 10% of Americans who are diabetics should have to continue to worry about coming up with $1000 per month to pay for insulin which costs a few bucks to make. They should be rejoicing about a $35 month price instead, but no – Manchin fucked them over, and Chuck and Joe failed to see the fucking coming at us.

Don’t get me started on the other fuck-ups like the Child Tax Credit, about which one tweeter wrote, “2022 will be a Electoral bloodbath” (sic).

Imagine this happening to a household which has had reduced hours, wage cuts, or has been on minimum wage, or dealing with unpaid time off due to COVID over the last year. Just do the simple math of two young parents trying to manage this on 40 hours a week at prevailing local minimum wage.

People have to pay bills NOW, and in January, and in February, in spite of work disruptions and increased cost of daycare and other childcare expenses…they can’t just float everything until this is fixed or the credit is paid out after they file 2022 tax returns.

Also extremely unhelpful is Biden’s persistent refusal to use his executive power to forgive student loans in part or in whole.

Parents of young children with student loans are doubly screwed by the failures of both the White House and the Senate Leader. And yet there’s head scratching about Biden’s weak approval rating going into 2022 especially with younger voters.

Why the hell should Millennials and Gen Z turn out to vote when they can do the math and they know the Democratic Party hasn’t delivered for them – especially as they go into another COVID hurricane thanks to Omicron?

~ ~ ~

Look, the BBB is an economic stimulus package. Every single household saddled with burdens BBB could alleviate would be able to participate more fully in the economy.

Some of that “economic anxiety” the media hyped up as one reason behind Trump’s election in 2016 could be partially relieved.

Forgiving student loans is likewise an economic stimulus targeted at a segment of the population which is most likely to spend income immediately, locally, and on goods and services which propel our economy.

This is what Joe Manchin failed to recognize and couldn’t explain to his constituents AND his corporate overlords because he’s a selfish dumb ass.

The BBB is economic stimulus — this is the justification for Schumer and Biden to approach moderate GOP members like Lisa Murkowski (AK) and Susan Collins (ME) to obtain their votes (Collins owes women this, big time).

Other people have been explaining it quite capably:

Yet Manchin refuses to accept the assist.

Meanwhile, Goldman Sachs downgraded its estimates of U.S. economic growth yesterday.

Which leads me to ask one rather important question, given Manchin’s announcement on goddamned Fox News and Goldman Sachs’ downgrade on a Sunday.

Who knew about Manchin’s decision and shorted the market?

Heaven help you if you did, Manchin.

~ ~ ~

UPDATE-1 — 2:50 PM 20-DEC-2021 —

Thanks to Kendall Brown for saving us a click so we didn’t have to read all the revolting Manchin-sympathetic journalism to get to this bit:

I’m even more convinced something shady happened than I was before if Manchin is going to blame incivility by the White House as a reason to walk away from the BBB.

Who didn’t know Manchin was the hold up? We all of us knew it, it wasn’t a surprise. The White House naming him as the lone Democratic holdout only confirmed what we’d known and what the House progressive caucus was worried about — that a single Democrat would be the sole reason the bill would fail, and look, it was one of the two senators most-likely-to-DINO-tank-a-bill.

Doesn’t he make enough from his other investments to take care of his family if he’s so worried about them being included in harassment because he’d rather tank the entire BBB and hurt Americans in the process? Maybe sell your Maserati, Manchin, and buy a couple security people.

Jesus Christ, what a whiny baby he is.

Rep. Jayapal is now looking at executive action as a Plan B to realizing key components in the BBB.

What a pity Manchin didn’t take a hint from all the feedback he got from average Americans to simply agree to pass the bill and be a hero instead of self owning by appearing to flip flop on his demands throughout the course of the negotiations in full sight of the public who could see he was the bottlenecking gatekeeper.

He looks even more weak and pathetic having to go to yet another sympathetic outlet to make his non-existent case.

UPDATE-2 — 11:50 AM 21-DEC-2021 —

There have been rumbles over the last 24 hours about the BBB possibly being revamped if not revived or resuscitated. But Manchin’s homies have also taken issue with his position on BBB:

The West Virginia Dems had done a fair amount of organizing recently which showed up in polling about the BBB:


Hard to get around these numbers which show bipartisan support among constituents for BBB.

Three Things: Waves of Stupidity

[NB: Check the byline, thanks. /~Rayne]

Scrolling through my social media feed Wednesday I noticed wave after wave of incredible stupidity. Of course there’s a lot of stupid out on the internet, so much wrongness there’s an xkcd cartoon for those of us who can’t help but point at the trash fires burning online.

But Wednesday’s exceptionally bad piles of idiocy are worth noting because they’re indicative of trends.

~ 3 ~

Jesus Christ, this woman is a moron AND she’s a doctor. Proves not everyone who earns a doctorate should be trusted with sharp objects or your life.

Magnetism, I has it. Now that I’m vaccinated all the metal in my house is clinging to me — even brass keys which aren’t conductive. ~eye roll~

Watch as this nurse — a health care professional who must have attended secondary education and passed a state licensing exam — demonstrates before the same state legislative hearing how COVID has increased her magnetism.

Lady, take a fucking shower. It’s sweat and skin oils causing small objects to stick to you.

What an incredible waste of government personnel hours. Expect more of this kind of idiocy as long as it’s profitable for these hacks to monetize their wretchedness while spreading this ignorant disinformation.

~ 2 ~

Two words should tell just how bad this next bit of stupid is: Louie Gohmert.

Rep. Gohmert has become a synonym for brain-sucking vapidity if you aren’t already familiar with this elected representative’s cred. But he really outdid himself today.

Bet he also believes Superman could stop or reverse time by flying fast enough around the earth in the opposite direction of its rotation.

Gohmert tried to correct what he felt was a misunderstanding, but…

We knew what you meant the first time, Gohmert. Voters in TX-01 need to catch the clue train in 2022 and elect someone with a few more watts upstairs.

Best analysis of Gohmert’s question in this thread:

The last tweet in the thread is perfection.

Until voters get fed up with this kind of moron representing them, we can expect more Gohmert-ish output from the likes of Representatives Boebert, Cawthorn, Gaetz, Gosar, Greene, so on. What a pity they all belong to the same political entity which has apparently abandoned science.

~ 1 ~

Remember all the posts this site has written in praise of investment firm BlackRock? That would be zero if you’re a newbie here which is in line with most sites on the left.

The firm may have begun to clue in that climate change and a lack of diversity are eating into their investment performance, but that’s not a shift to the left — it’s an acknowledgment of facts and science.

For some reason this Ohio GOP senate candidate believes The Left — just say it, Vance, the Democratic Party — in particular are big supporters of BlackRock:

Vance, the author of Hillbilly Elegy, attacks Democrats instead of focusing on the problem which is plaguing Ohio homebuyers. No doubt he’ll do the same thing if he’s elected — avoid confronting the financial investment sector from which he’ll expect campaign donations while crabbing about the political party which has swept up problem after problem created by lousy GOP tax policy.

As I’ve noted before, lower wage workers can’t afford housing when prices skyrocket due to investment bankers buying single family and other residential housing. Don’t like increasing wages? Get the investment banks out of single family housing and revisit policy toward investment banking in multi-family housing.

Businesses are still going to have to respond to the suppression of wages over the last couple decades; some of the wage increases are merely catch-up. Food service, hard hit by the pandemic, may respond earliest and pass the cost immediately onto their customers.

But at some point shareholders need to ask themselves why they are paying so much for executives when they aren’t the frontline facing customers. With Standard & Poor index members’ median CEO compensation reaching $13.7 million this past year in spite of the pandemic, executives have raked in the cash during the pandemic; they can afford to yield a few million in compensation in order to assure worker retention through pay increases to living wage level.

Betting Vance won’t say anything about the inequity of executives’ compensation being too busy trashing Democrats to expend any wattage on systemic problems and solutions. He’s still unable to grasp the true root causes of poverty just as his hillbilly memoir revealed.

I can hardly wait for another year and a half of this crap while he runs for Ohio’s open senate seat.

~ 0 ~

There was plenty more stupid where that came from, but the stuff is toxic and one can easily overdose. Let’s hope Thursday is a little smarter.

Three Things: Eff These Effing Effers

That mealy-mouthed compromised weasel Lindsey Graham spent a lot of time whining on the Sunday talk show circuit this weekend.

Somebody out there has the dirt on Graham. Just. Spill. It. Find a vehicle to do the job, get yourself clear, and let it rip because all of us, Democrats and Republicans alike, are going to spend too much time mopping up Lindsey’s alligator tears if his personal problem isn’t addressed out in the open.

He wouldn’t be doing all this whining about Democrats and backstabbing his own party if he was hidey-holed trying to lick his wounds. It’s not like he’s got anything to lose in 2022 or 2024 because he was just re-elected, goddamn it all.

Just. Spill. The. Dirt. Lance the festering boil animating Graham. Back up the truck, press DUMP, and run like hell.

~ 3 ~

Until somebody gets smart and dumps the dirt on Graham, we need to regroup and get in gear for 2022. We can’t lose the Senate or we’ll end up with two years of stagnation and worse. If the last two years were bad, an economic depression making the 1930s look like a piece of cake could result from the GOP taking the Senate again.

Here’s the targets of our offense:

State Class III Cook PVI Age Now Open ‘2018 Moscow Convict Trump
Pennsylvania Pat Toomey (R) Even 59 Open N Y
Wisconsin Ron Johnson (R) Even 65   Y N
Florida Marco Rubio (R) R+02 49   N N
Iowa Chuck Grassley (R) R+03 87   N N
North Carolina Richard Burr (R) R+03 65 Open N Y
Ohio Rob Portman (R) R+03 65 Open N N
           
Arizona Mark Kelly (D) R+05 56   N Y
Georgia Raphael Warnock (D) R+05 51   N Y
           
South Carolina Tim Scott (R) R+08 55   N N
Alaska Lisa Murkowski (R) R+09 63   N Y
Missouri Roy Blunt (R) R+09 71   N N
Indiana Todd Young (R) R+09 48   N N
Louisiana John Kennedy (R) R+11 69   Y N
Kansas Jerry Moran (R) R+13 66   Y N
Alabama Richard Shelby (R) R+13 86 Open Y N
South Dakota John Thune (R) R+14 60   Y N
Arkansas John Boozman (R) R+15 70   N N
Kentucky Rand Paul (R) R+15 58   N N
North Dakota John Hoeven (R) R+17 63   Y N
Idaho Mike Crapo (R) R+19 69   N N
Oklahoma James Lankford (R) R+20 52   N N
Utah Mike Lee (R) R+20 49   N N

These are all the GOP seats up for re-election or open in 2022, sorted by their Cook Partisan Voting Index rating. The strongest rated GOP are at the bottom, the weakest at the top.

There are three columns identifying which seats are open, which of these GOP senators went to Moscow on July 4 in 2018, and which ones voted to convict.

Sen. Shelby, one of those who went to Moscow, is 86 years old. He’s likely retiring due to age; it’s not clear why Putin would have ensured he was invited unless he knew something about Shelby not obvious to us. But Shelby is the likely ceiling on Cook PVI at R+13.

I’ve inserted two of the newest Democratic senators in the table, noting their state is rated R+5. This should tell us that every single seat at R+5 to Even is highly gettable with solid organizing on the ground. If you live in one of these states, you should be looking into helping as soon as possible. Those two Democrats, Kelly and Warnock, also need help; they won a special election, but must now fight for the Class III seat for the full six-year term.

Every one of the GOP senators who went to Moscow is vulnerable. Moscow wouldn’t have invited them if they weren’t either compromised, soft and could be compromised, or whatever psychographic and demographic data Putin’s data trolls had pulled together indicated these seats would trend left long before the pandemic.

Louisiana, for example, is increasingly non-white, its population become less white and more non-white at a rate of 1/4% per year. In 2018, the state was 58.4% non-Hispanic white. COVID may have stemmed some of that shift by way of Team Trump’s passive genocide by neglect, but that still means 41.6% of the population is non-white. Strong, effective organizing like that in Georgia this last election season could make Louisiana gettable, and it could explain why Moscow reached out to Sen. Kennedy.

Iowa is gettable for other reasons — the damage Trump did to farmers with his unnecessary trade war, Chuck Grassley’s decrepitude, a strong Democratic candidate pipeline, to name a few. What Iowa will need, though, is to get its act together with regard to its primary process. DNC’s new chair Jaime Harrison may be looking into this early rather than later to assure smooth sailing into 2022.

Speaking of Harrison, all those other less-gettable seats shouldn’t be ignored. Harrison appears ready to reinstitute a 50-state strategy leaving no seat uncontested. Kentucky, for example, shouldn’t be ceded because it’s rated R+15 and McConnell just won re-election there; if Charles Booker was interested in running against Rand Paul, he could stand a decent chance of winning, let alone make Paul work hard for his seat.

Pick a race or two. Get engaged early. Figure out how to help. Do not let the fascist GOP believe it has a chance at continued minority rule.

~ 2 ~

A new conservative party may soon emerge, consisting of more traditional conservatives who identified as Republican and are not Trump supporters.

This is a good move; I hope these folks do all the right things, getting their party formally established and organized in all 50 states. Could these folks peel away a few centrist Democrats? Possibly. But they’re more likely to fragment the power of the existing GOP.

We’d also be closer to a multi-party model than we have been, preventing a far more fascist entity like the Party of Trumpism from taking control of any branch of government.

Many Democrats have been upset about House Speaker Pelosi’s remarks saying this country needs a strong Republican Party:


But I wonder if what she really meant was a the country needs a strong party which believes in a republic — a democratic republic — giving a subtle nod to McMullin and the other breakaway Republicans who are interested in a pro-democracy conservative party.

Consider the timing of her remarks made on Saturday, while McMullin discussed the potential new party on Friday.

~ 1 ~

Of all the whining that pasty, soft-handed, slack-assed Graham did this weekend, this pissed me off the most.

Right, asshole. You want to impeach the first Black-Asian woman VP because she supported First Amendment-protected peaceful protests against racist police brutality while she was a senator? Or are you really just eager to impeach Harris because she’s Black-Asian, woman, and a VP like you will never be?

Go ahead and try it, whiner. You’re only giving every American who is non-white and/or woman impetus to organize even harder to get out the mothertrucking vote.

I really do hope there’s a new pro-democracy conservative party ready to run for Lindsey Graham’s seat in six years. I’d even donate money to them to see them make him whine even harder.

~ 0 ~

If you’re inside the polar vortex, I hope you’re able to stay warm. Reduce your electricity consumption as much as you can tolerate it to keep the load on the grid down. This web site is cheesy looking but it has some decent pointers about keeping warm. If you’re not in the vortex, do some emergency preparedness work because we don’t know with certainty how this or the next vortex will pan out.

And for dogs’ sake, stay off the road if at all possible if you live where snow and ice are rarities.

Oh, and double mask to protect against the newer highly-transmissible UK version of COVID.

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