What Is To Be Done

This has been a rough few weeks. The debate, followed by attacks on Biden’s candidacy are painful and divisive. The partisan hacks on SCOTUS have savaged our democracy and the rule of law, ripped at the foundations of the administrative state, grabbed for power, and humiliated the not-so coequal branches. Corporate media has amplified the first, and ignored the latter. Details of Trump’s Project 2025 continue to arouse fear of fascism and Trump’s lies are treated as equal to Biden’s facts.

The response of the leaders of the Democratic Party, to the extent there is one, is pathetic. The secret donor class is whining publicly enough to be picked up by the corporate media. Democratic politicians are cowering in their offices and texting us with fear-laden demands for money. When they aren’t badgering us for money they offer us nothing to do but vote, as if all this were just part of a reality TV show and we were the online judges.

All of our so-called leaders have failed us. It’s enough to gag a maggot. And it’s time for action. It’s time for us to force these people to live up to their privilege. I’m hardly the only one who thinks this way. Read this (and everything else) by Oliver Willis.

I don’t know what will work. Nobody does. But that’s our big advantage. There are millions of us. We can try all the ideas, and we can dream up new ones. We do not have to comply with phony expectations of propriety from the people who created this problem.

A. We can pound on the cowards and toadies

1. The New York Times and the Washington Post and most cable news networks have forgotten who actually reads or watches, and what their paying audience wants. They act like showering us with the views of the MAGAs and attacking us and our candidates is cool.

Let’s remind them. Cancel all your subscriptions to these Quislings. Use your subscription money to support independent journalism or give it to your favorite candidate. Write them a snotty email with your cancellation. It feels good.

2. If you’re on social media, insult all the corporate media reporters you see or can find. Every dig at Biden, every sly effort at dividing us, and every minimization of Republican treachery should be followed by a stream of outrage. Mention that you’ve cancelled your subscription. They don’t read or report on this, but other people, including their money side and low-information voters, see it and it will make a difference.

3. Are you a member of a group capable of arranging a rally on, say the SCOTUS wrecking ball? Think strategically. Street marches that end in parks are the usual thing. But they don’t draw media coverage. You know what will? A Rally for Reform outside the local TV station. A SCOTUS Sucks protest outside your local radio station. A Save Democracy From Fascism rally outside the local newspaper. A What Are You Doing To Protect Democracy gathering outside city hall, where reporters are usually hanging around. Make sure someone is prepared with talking points and push them at the reporters and cameras.

B. What about the legal situation

We can’t make the following happen, but we can say it online and we can hammer on our politicians demanding it. The organizations we support can file pleadings, even if they’re ignored. And we can make our anger heard in a thousand different ways.

1. Judge Chutkan can recuse herself from the insurrection case. She could file a recusal statement saying she swore to uphold the constitution not the partisan hacks on SCOTUS who refuse to protect democracy (or something more adult).

All the decent judges in that circuit can follow suit, saying that the DC Circuit decision flatly denying immunity was right and they intend to follow that precedent. Eventually a Bork/Cannon agrees to try the case. This will emphasize the reality: the courts won’t protect democracy. It will undermine SCOTUS and pressure Biden to demand immediate action to rein in SCOTUS.

2. Judge Chutkan orders that all pretrial motions will be filed by July 11. Starting July 15 there will be a marathon hearing on all motions. It will run 10 hours a day until complete. Trial starts 15 days later.

The DC Court of Appeals refuses a stay, and sits on the appeal. This forces the decision to SCOTUS whose interference at this point will damage them further and give Democrats more ammunition.

3. Special Counsel Jack Smith announces that the SCOTUS decision has rendered trial impossible. He files a motion to dismiss. Every organization we support files an opposition to the motion to dismiss. They point to all the public evidence. The boldest say that the immunity decision is an abuse of the power of the judiciary. Give those more money.

Chutkan grants the motion over the objections. Our organizations appeal. The case is in the media regularly, none of it relates to Biden, and there is no both-sides beyond defending a palpably partisan SCOTUS.

4. Jack Smith prepares a report laying out all the evidence against Trump that cannot be used at trial. He gives it to Garland. Garland gives it to Biden. Biden releases it in a very public way. He’s immune because this is an official act. He instructs Smith to cooperate with all the state cases against fraudulent electors. He’s immune because SCOTUS said so.

5. Special Counsel Smith indicts all the unindicted co-conspirators using speaking indictments, setting out all the evidence, all of it. This makes the evidence public.

6. Jack Smith supersedes with a treason indictment. Chutkan calls for motions as in 2 and sets immediate trial. That’ll force SCOTUS to show its partisanship.

7. Dana Nessel, the excellent MI AG indicts Trump on the fraudulent electors scheme using the Smith evidence. Same in AZ. Maybe Fani Willis can figure out a way to clean up the mess in Georgia with a new indictment based on the new evidence.

8. Protesting is an activity at which young people excel. We can support groups like David Hogg’s March For Our Lives and Leaders We Deserve, and Olivia Julianna’s Voters Of Tomorrow and other groups focused on younger people. They can start showing up at every event featuring a MAGA SCOTUS rogue. Other groups like CREW can help, in part by sussing out good opportunities. These activists can put out public notices and encourage attendance. Same for restaurants, and any private events they and others can find. I’d be happy to show up in Chicago. SCOTUS MAGAts deserve to be shamed and shunned by polite society.

9. Lawyers attending conferences ask hard questions of all the FED SOC people. Law student organizations like The American Constitution Society publicly refuse to enroll in classes taught by people aligned with the conservative legal movement.

C. Off the wall ideas

You can’t get a good idea without some off the wall ideas.

1. Biden announces that he’s told the AG and the FBI to investigate fully and report back in 60 days: a) whether Barrett, Gorsuch, or Kavanaugh committed perjury in connection with their nominations, including specifically the allegations of Christine Blasey Ford; b) the role of Ginni Thomas in the insurrection, the fraudulent electors scheme, and her contacts with former Thomas clerks on those matters; and c) the connections between Trump and Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislane Maxwell. He explains that this is possible because SCOTUS said the President is free to control the investigations done by the Department of Justice, so he’s immune for these official acts, and he’s just being vigorous and energetic.

Outrage erupts from the frothers. Then Biden says ha ha just kidding. You right-wing jackasses need to understand just how terrible you and your rotten SCOTUS and your felonious candidate are.

2. Biden announces that he’s heard the calls for his withdrawal. He points out that if he withdraws, it will help the convicted criminal and hurt the millions of Democrats who support him. Then he says I’ll withdraw after the convicted felon withdraws. He has to go first because no one believes he’ll keeps his promises, and everyone knows Biden will.

D. A personal request

I live in Chicago. My senator, Dick Durbin, is the chair of the Judiciary Committee. He’s one of those old-timey Democrats whose love of senatorial privilege and bipartisanship is greater than his love of our democracy.

Call his office. You will talk to a staffer. Explain your anger about his failure even to hold a hearing on SCOTUS arrogance and corruption. Say you know it must be awful to watch up close as democracy fails and their boss does nothing. Do your best to make them weep.

Thanks.

This Is Why We Vote: Women Are Not Yet Full Citizens

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

Someone I’ve looked up to and followed in social media wrote yesterday, “Don’t Vote.”

That earned an immediate muting and unfollowing from me. No fucking way.

I’m not going to identify them. I don’t even care what detailed explanation they offered for their statement.

Do not discourage people from participation in democracy when that democracy is fighting for its life.

More importantly, do not discourage citizens from voting when their own human rights are being trampled on.

Yesterday was particularly egregious for women, and one of the worst days to tell women not to vote.

Get your asses to the polls. Take friends and family with you. Vote like your life depends on it because it fucking well does.

~ ~ ~

You’ve probably seen news stories about Texas resident Kate Cox and her rather desperate effort to obtain an abortion. You’ve probably seen stories leading up to this week about the legal volleys between her and the state of Texas — no she can’t, yes she can, no she can’t — a state which outlawed abortions in nearly all cases.

What you haven’t seen much discussion about is the reason why she’s been seeking an abortion.

The fetus she is carrying has an autosomal chromosomal disorder which is fatal – trisomy 18, otherwise known as Edwards syndrome.

Read about it:

Most Edwards syndrome cases are diagnosed prenatally, based on antenatal screening with maternal age, maternal serum marker, or by ultrasound findings during the second trimester. Antenatally, Edwards syndrome can reveal intrauterine growth restriction, polyhydramnios, agenesis of the corpus callosum, choroid plexus cyst, nuchal thickening, brachycephaly, clenched hands with overriding index fingers, cardiac defects, omphalocele, and single umbilical artery.[8] Edwards syndrome has a high risk of fetal loss and stillbirth.

Postnatally, Edwards syndrome is characterized by a cluster of phenotypes, as summarized below.

1. Neurologic findings

◦ Neonatal hypotonia followed by hypertonia
◦ Apnea
◦ Seizures
◦ Poor sucking
◦ Delayed psychomotor development and mental retardation

2. Craniofacial findings [9]

◦ Skull: Microcephaly, bitemporal narrowing, and prominent occiput.
◦ Face: Triangular and asymmetric face with facial paralysis
◦ Eyes: Microphthalmia, hypertelorism, epicanthus, short palpebral fissures, coloboma of iris, cataract, corneal clouding, hypoplastic supraorbital ridge, upward or downward slanting palpebral fissures, and abnormal retinal pigmentation.
◦ Nose: Prominent nasal bridge with hypoplastic nasal root, upturned nares, and choanal atresia.
◦ Oral cavity: Micro-retrognathia, microstomia, narrow arched palate, cleft lip, and cleft palate.
◦ Ears: Microtia, preauricular appendages, low-set or retroverted ears, and dysplastic ears.

3. Skeletal [10]

◦ Severe growth retardation
◦ Short neck
◦ Short sternum
◦ Broad chest, with or without widely spaced small nipples.
◦ Incomplete ossification of the clavicle
◦ Hemivertebrae or fused vertebrae, scoliosis
◦ Pectus excavatum
◦ Narrow pelvis and limitation of the hip abduction
◦ Hip dislocation
◦ Arthrogryposis,
◦ Clenched hands with overriding fingers, camptodactyly, syndactyly, single palmar crease and clinodactyly of the fifth fingers, radial or thumb hypoplasia, and hypoplastic nails
◦ Rocker-bottom feet with the prominent calcaneus, talipes equinovarus, dorsiflexed great toes

4. Cardiovascular

◦ Cardiac defects are found in 90% of Edwards syndrome patients.
◦ Ventricular or atrial septal defect, Patent ductus arteriosus, tetralogy of Fallot, overriding of the aorta, coarctation of the aorta, and hypoplastic left heart syndrome
◦ Polyvalvular heart disease (involving two or more valves; the most common aortic and pulmonary valve

5. Pulmonary

◦ Pulmonary hypoplasia
◦ Tracheobronchomalacia, laryngomalacia
◦ Obstructive and central apnea
◦ Early-onset pulmonary hypertension

6. Gastrointestinal:

◦ Omphalocele
◦ Esophageal atresia with Tracheoesophageal fistula
◦ Pyloric stenosis
◦ Ileal atresia
◦ Malrotation
◦ Meckel diverticulum
◦ Diastasis recti
◦ Umbilical hernia

7. Genitourinary

◦ Cryptorchidism, Hypospadias, micropenis,
◦ Clitoral hypertrophy, hypoplasia of the labia majora, ovarian dysgenesis, and bifid uterus
◦ Horseshoe kidney, renal agenesis, hydronephrosis

8. Central nervous system malformations (occur in 30% of cases)

◦ Cerebellar hypoplasia,
◦ Meningoencephalocele, anencephaly
◦ Hydrocephalus
◦ Holoprosencephaly
◦ Arnold-Chiari malformation
◦ Hypoplasia of the corpus callosum

source: Edwards Syndrome

Read more elsewhere into this understanding there are people who will try to persuade you that the extremely small percentage of children born with trisomy 18 will live as long as a year is worth gambling with the mother’s life, or that the quality of life for these severely challenged infants is worth all the torture they will receive in their short lives.

Cox has been in the emergency room several times during this pregnancy. She could have any number of problems like high blood pressure or have been experiencing symptoms indicating miscarriage might be imminent. The reasons why aren’t reported in the media; it’s private personal medical data the media can’t obtain without permission from the patient.

But for some reason the state of Texas – let’s be frank, the bloody Texas GOP – thinks that everything about this pregnancy is its business.

To that end they believe it’s their business Cox must be forced to give birth to a child which will likely suffer a miserable death after all manner of medical interventions.

The Texas GOP at multiple levels of the state’s government, from that corrupt scumbucket AG Ken Paxton to members of the state’s supreme court, believe they know best about this pregnancy.

Never mind the mother and her doctors may already know from testing this fetus has gross deficits incompatible with life outside the womb beyond what a blood test may reveal.

Cox’s plight has fallen under intense public scrutiny while law enforcement and the state judiciary have eaten up days, weeks, months debating the fate of this woman and her pregnancy – all adding to her stress, further hurting the fetus she carries.

This is what the GOP is good at: overt cruelty, without any consideration for the persons it is tormenting as it debates what should never be in their purview.

This is the death panel the GOP wanted Americans to be afraid would be implemented with the Affordable Care Act – except it’s not insurers or hospitals or doctors on this panel.

The death panel is majority white Christian Republican men who will never know what it is to face the body horror of carrying a fetus which isn’t viable, or a fetus which wasn’t wanted, or a pregnancy which poses a mortal threat to the mother.

Welcome to Gilead. Enjoy this enactment of The Handmaid’s Tale where we now wait for the mother to be further persecuted because she took control of her life and left Texas to seek care away from the reach of the Texas GOP death panel.

~ ~ ~

Meanwhile, Michigan’s Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed the last bill yesterday which finalized the codification of the state’s Reproductive Health Act. Voters demanded reproductive rights in November 2022 when they passed the Proposal 3 ballot initiative. The proposal’s passage assured reproductive rights became part of the state’s constitution, which in turned required the repeal of a 91-year-old law banning abortion along with other legislation to ensure access to reproductive health care.

Whitmer is a Democrat; the state legislature has been led by Democrats this term.

This was intensely personal for Whitmer, who had pleaded with her fellow state legislators a decade ago not to pass restrictions on health care insurance for reproductive health. She had been raped in college and shared that personal trauma in order to make her point – but to no avail given the MIGOP led the state’s legislature at the time. Whitmer understands all too well what the stakes were and are with regard to reproductive rights.

Had Kate Cox lived in Michigan, she would not have been named publicly, not been in the news, simply have gone about seeking necessary health care so that she could heal and take care of her family.

The same goes for the 10-year-old Ohio girl who was raped and left Ohio to seek an abortion in Indiana. The same for the Indiana doctor who treated her so that she could return to being a little girl again. Both of them would not have been subjected to the cruelty media exposure brings, nor the harassment of mostly white GOP men using them to stump for votes from anti-abortion voters.

No woman or health care provider in the U.S. should live in fear the way they do in Texas, Ohio, Indiana, and other states which have banned abortion and reproductive health care to the point that persons endowed with uteruses and their health care providers are denied their fundamental rights of personal autonomy and privacy.

They are denied the right to be secure in their persons against unreasonable searches and seizures, unlike those who never had a uterus and identify as men.

Women are not permitted their full right of citizenship everywhere in this country.

This is why we fucking vote, every election, every race, up and down the ticket.

~ ~ ~

Am I hot about this? Yes, yes I am. I have an adult daughter of childbearing age and her career is now shaped by where she can safely travel and live. We’ve had to have unreasonable, unfair discussions about what to do if she travels to a state with aggressive anti-abortion laws – how will she obtain help, who will provide it, how will she securely notify her spouse and/or parents where she is and what help she needs, and who is at risk of legal liability if they help her.

I have an adult son who doesn’t face those same challenges, simply because he doesn’t have a uterus.

However once he enters a serious relationship with a woman of childbearing age, he’ll have to consider similar issues: should he accept a job where his girlfriend/wife will be at risk if she becomes pregnant?

These should not be issues workers from their teens to their early fifties have to worry about. They should free to look at jobs anywhere, evaluate the work and employer on their own merits, not have to turn down jobs because they don’t have the same rights across the country.

Banning access to reproductive health care isn’t hurting just persons of childbearing age by denying them personal freedom – it’s hurting all of us because it’s a restriction on commerce. The best people for a job may not be going to Texas because they don’t want to be tortured like Kate Cox has been.

But again, this is why we fucking vote, every election, every race, up and down the ticket.

You may dislike a two-party system. Point taken. But do not tell me the two parties are the same because one of the two parties doesn’t believe women are entitled to the same rights as men.

~ ~ ~

This is an open thread.

In Memoriam: Rosalynn Carter

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

Former first lady Rosalynn Carter died this afternoon at age 96, two days after entering hospice. Her husband former president Jimmy Carter remains in hospice care where he has been since February this year.

Born in Plains, Georgia, Rosalynn came from a working class family. She was salutatorian of her high school graduating class and accepted at state public school Georgia Southwestern College. She left college when she married Jimmy which was typical for young women in 1946.

Carter differed from her predecessors Lady Bird Johnson, Pat Nixon, and Betty Ford; she’d sought not to be a typical First Lady. This may in part have been due to her southern working class upbringing, the changing times during which her husband was in the White House, and in part the continued role raising their fourth child Amy while her husband Jimmy was president. While her three older brothers were adults at the time, Amy was only nine when her father was inaugurated.

Rosalynn was a staunch advocate for mental health care during Jimmy’s governorship in Georgia. She remained one as First Lady, serving on the National Association of Mental Health’s board of directors.

While Jimmy was in the White House, the 1972 Equal Rights Amendment faced an initial 1979 deadline for ratification. Rosalynn supported the ERA; honored by the National Organization for Women, she spoke at the 1977 National Women’s Conference. Her advocacy included campaigning for Bob Graham, an ERA proponent who was elected as Florida’s governor in 1978 and eventually as Senator in 1986. She played a direct role in ratification by the 35th state, calling a fence-sitting Democratic Indiana state legislator to ask them to vote for the ERA.

Her humanitarian work didn’t end when her husband left office. Co-founding with Jimmy the Carter Center, her continued mental health care advocacy was folded in with other initiatives including disease prevention, conflict resolution, and advancing peace and democracy. In later years she worked alongside her husband on Habitat for Humanity projects.

The Carter Center published a press release this afternoon which included a statement by Rosalynn’s husband:

“Rosalynn was my equal partner in everything I ever accomplished,” President Carter said. “She gave me wise guidance and encouragement when I needed it. As long as Rosalynn was in the world, I always knew somebody loved and supported me.”

Rosalynn and Jimmy celebrated their 77th wedding anniversary earlier this year; she is survived by her spouse, their four children, 11 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren.

Three Things: Dial M for Michigan

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

It was a big week for the Mitten State which I call home — big ups and equally big downs, like a roller coaster.

Must admit the low points which made the high points possible made me nauseous and sick with dread.

~ 3 ~

High point: Michigan state senator Mallory McMorrow had a breakout week with a kick-ass-and-take-names speech on the senate floor this past Tuesday.

The wretched low point: state senator Lana Theis’ hateful fundraising email which I won’t share; the 22nd state senate district which includes Livingston County and smaller portions of Genesee, Shiawasee, and Ingham counties have a lot to answer for having elected this hater.

McMorrow how every Democrat should do it: cede not one inch to the right-wing and its unrestrained hate when Democrats are doing everything which makes our cities, states, nation livable. Push back hard against the corrupting, toxic hate.

GOP voters in Michigan need to snap the hell out of their hate spiral and take a good look around them — as the motto says, Si quaeris peninsulam amoenam circumspice. These peninsulas aren’t just theirs alone and they’re pleasant because we occupy it together, cooperatively and collaboratively. Hate did not make this state great.

~ 2 ~

Another high point: Michigan state senator Erika Geiss also blew the doors out of the state senate chambers with her heartbreaking appeal on Wednesday:

The sickening low point: yet another Black person’s life was lost to excessive police force on April 4, when a routine traffic stop ended with a Grand Rapids officer shooting a 26-year-old driver at point blank range in the head. It is absolutely unacceptable that a traffic stop results in a driver’s death, even when the driver attempts to grab an officer’s taser. If the officer could manage to pull his gun and shoot he had enough control of the situation to restrain the driver.

This abuse by police cannot continue. Citizens deserve far better public safety. How many times do we have to demand this before change happens?

Senator Geiss and every BIPOC resident in this state and nation should not have to fear for their family members’ safety in public or private from the very people they employ to keep the public safe.

~ 1 ~

Sickened by Senator Lana Theis’ hateful rhetoric against people who don’t fit her personal model, sickened further by the shooting death of an unarmed driver, the Michigan GOP served up another dose of noxiousness with its convention this weekend.

You may already have seen Rudy Giuliani sliming his way out of the Grand Rapids airport via retweet by Marcy, but in case you haven’t:

The MIGOP convention was an event important enough to warrant Giuliani sliding into Michigan, perhaps to network with his fellow co-conspirators about the attempt to fraudulently foist different electors on the state, or a future attempt to do so. They would have been easy to meet in one location considering their respective roles in the MIGOP apparatus.

Perhaps it was important for Giuliani to see how other efforts to enable an illegitimate GOP stranglehold on power — like the selection of Big Lie

A loop-de-loop: it’d be nice to know if former MIGOP Randy Bishop attended the MIGOP convention. He’s suddenly flipped parties and is now running as a Democrat for the state’s 37th senate district. He’d run in 2010 as a Republican in the same district, which includes Antrim County now as it did before redistricting. The Detroit News ran an article about Bishop’s filing to run (paywalled); unlike most of the state legislature candidate filings, Bishop’s was noteworthy because he’d said on his “Trucker Randy” radio show last month that “A family should be a white mom, white dad and white kids.

Why he thinks that will win over even the few Democrats in his majority white district isn’t obvious; it’s not just overt racism but a rejection of cities down state like Detroit, Flint, Saginaw, Benton Harbor, and Muskegon which have larger percentages of BIPOC residents and provide substantial amounts of state tax revenues. The 37th district, while 88% white, is home to a substantive number of Michigan’s Native Americans including Bay Mills Indian Community (Chippewa), Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, and Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa/Chippewa Indians. The tribes bring in a lot of tourism dollars to a very rural district.

Bishop’s rhetoric is just plain hateful and has no place in the Democratic Party in any state, and certainly not in Michigan’s 37th senate district. He must surely know this, which makes his candidacy look like a ratfucking operation of some sort.

Remember that Antrim County, home to roughly 23,000 Michigan residents, was at the center of the attempted election fraud in November 2020, when human error led to false claims the voting tabulators counted votes incorrectly. A judge dismissed claims of fraud by the GOP last May.

MIGOP’s canvasser Aaron Van Langevelde certified the election for Biden, refusing to cooperate with the conspiracy theory that the Dominion tabulators flipped votes. In January 2021 when Langevelde’s term expired, he was not re-nominated as canvasser by his party.

During the lawsuit filed by Antrim County resident Bill Bailey over the alleged ballot tabulation fraud, his attorney Matthew DePerno questioned the legitimacy of all future elections.

Which makes DePerno’s Trump-supported nomination as MIGOP’s candidate for Michigan’s secretary of state quite the joke: if the elections can’t be trusted, could this election be trusted if he should win?

Such ridiculously bad faith by MIGOP to nominate a Big Lie proponent who would have supported the fraudulent electors’ conspiracy to overturn Michigan’s election.

~ 0 ~

Finally, a high point — some of the diversity which makes Michigan great.

Treat this as an open thread.

This Is Bullshit: Are You Seriously Evicting Voters, Democrats? [UPDATE-1]

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

Swear to gods “This Is Bullshit” will become a post category — stuff that is just outrageous bullshit which shouldn’t go unnoted without pushback.

Today’s bullshit comes to us via the Democratic Congressional Caucus and the Biden White House.

Do you recall the margin of votes between Joe Biden’s win and Trump’s loss?

Roughly seven million votes.

Do you know how many American households are at risk of eviction as of midnight tonight?

Roughly seven million.

Do you know why those seven million Americans are at risk of losing their homes AND THEIR VOTING ADDRESS?

Because the Democratic Congressional Caucus left for their summer break without passing a bill to stop this debacle.

And Joe Biden did next to nothing to encourage the caucus to make this a priority and to whip the votes.

Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO) slept outside the Capitol Building last night to make the point that Americans who have already suffered so much during the pandemic have been left out in the cold again by their elected representatives.

While the Centers for Disease Control has implemented a moratorium on evictions until tonight on top of $46 billion in funding provided under the American Rescue Plan passed last December, states have only distributed $3 billion in rent assistance so far.

You can almost guess which states are the worst for handing out aid.

NBC found 26 states had distributed less than 10% of the funds they received for housing assistance (1:20 in this video report).

Wrap your head around who is mostly likely at risk; these are the same people most of these same states are trying to disenfranchise with prohibitive voting law changes. They’re going to be forced out of their homes at a time when many of these voters will be forced to obtain new IDs and jump through more hoops to vote in 16 months time.

Some of the aid money already set aside by Congress hasn’t been requested because the states made the process difficult — these same states are applying the same suppressive tactics they use on voting. Congressional Democrats failed to take GOP’s hostility toward economically disadvantaged Americans into consideration when they wrote the housing aid component of the American Rescue Plan. It’s a failure mirrored by their inability to solve the voting rights problem.

Is it possible Democrats blew this off because the folks affected are more likely to live in red states? Did they forget their own seats and their majority in Congress rely on the same margins obtained by these same voters?

Did they think a magic fairy would drop down with a magic wand and make this go away though the White House has already said the Supreme Court won’t let the executive branch issue another moratorium?

Did Biden trust Pelosi and her chief minion Steny Hoyer to do too much of the whipping when they may have conflicts due to real estate donors? Hoyer received $815,086.30 in campaign donations from Finance, Insurance & Real Estate businesses in 2018, for example; Pelosi received $216,214.68 the same year.

What’s particularly galling is that we’re still in a pandemic, and the states with the worst COVID numbers due to the Delta variant are also the ones which have done the least to help at-risk renters. These folks will end up crammed into shelters and other family and friend’s homes amplifying the risk of a surge which will affect even more Americans.

It’s just plain bullshit.

May I suggest you contact your representative and senators and tell them they’ve failed to protect at-risk Americans, which is one of the jobs they were elected to do?

Congressional switchboard: (202) 224-3121 or look up your representative’s/senators’ local office number and leave a voicemail.

You can also fax them or use Resist.bot to text them.

UPDATE-1 — 9:20 PM ET — 31-JUL-2021 —

Rep. Cori Bush continues the fight tonight for Americans who are facing immediate housing precarity:

If you’re in DC and you attend tonight’s rally, let us know in comments. Thanks.

Merrick Garland Is Killing It

The SJC hearing is on the major cable channels and CSPAN. Streaming everywhere too I assume. It is really good viewing, as these things go. Yes, Ted Cruz came across as applicant to replace Sean Hannity. Yes Chris Coons preened for the cameras.

I generally have a fair amount of criticism for Ben Sasse, but he did extremely well today. Surprisingly so. Pat Leahy, despite a bit of rambling pontificating, did as well.

I would love to have a cross-examiner with a killer instinct like Katie Porter in the SJC.

Bottom line is that Merrick Garland is absolutely slaying this hearing.

Trump Impeachment II – The Beginning

And so it begins any minute now. Don’t fret, it will not take long, because Pelosi, Schumer and the Dems have so decreed out of political cowardice. Is that politically expedient at the start of the nascent Biden Administration? Maybe! But they all took an oath to protect and defend the Constitution, not their political expediency.

So where are we at the onset of proceedings?

The tentative schedule is this:

First, there will be a debate over the “Constitutionality” of even holding and impeachment trial at all. This is a ridiculous argument, and will fail, but with much cowardly GOP Senate support.

There will be up to four hours equally divided between the impeachment managers and the president’s counsel to debate the constitutionality of the trial. Again, that will fail as to Trump. Then there will be sixteen hours per side to argue their case. It will be predictable baloney from both sides, with no actual evidence submitted and admitted. And, no, “video presentations” do not count, that is simply argument by propaganda. Each party’s arguments are delimited by not being able to go over two days, and cannot exceed eight hours each.

“After the presentations are done, senators will have a total of four hours to question both sides. Then there will be four hours divided equally between the parties for arguments on whether the Senate will consider motions to subpoena witnesses and documents, if requested by the managers.

There will be up to four hours equally divided for closing arguments, along with deliberation time if requested by the senators before the vote takes place.”

Much of the above, though not all, came from an excellent report by Barbara Sprunt and Diedre Walsh at NPR.

Is this year another stupid and truncated show trial by Pelosi, Schumer and the Dems, in order to look like they are doing something while they are cowering? Of course it is. Same as it ever was.

There will also be discussion of an “organizing resolution”. Don’t fall for that, the parameters have already been agreed to behind the scenes.

Lastly, while joint stipulations may always be made, otherwise the general parameters are controlled by the extant Senate Rules on Impeachment. They are here for your reference.

And here is Leahy’s feckless “Dear Colleagues” letter.

Where’s The Anger? Where Are The Consequences?

On January 6 a mob attacked the Capitol. Legislators were rushed out of their chambers and into safe rooms barely ahead of thousands of seditionists. Staff people, Senators and Representatives cowered under desks and behind barricaded doors. People died. Dozens of police were injured, many hospitalized.

Then the legislators resumed business as if nothing horrible and terrifying had happened. The newly-created Insurrection Party shouted about the theft of an election and lied about their concerns. Democrats responded with facts and logic. In the middle of the proceedings, Sen. Amy Klobuchar appeared on A Late Show with Stephen Colbert. In response to Colbert’s increasingly agitated questions, she said that the important thing was that they went back to the floor and did their job. Like Colbert, I’m stunned by the normalcy she displayed. There isn’t a hint of anger, hostility, or outrage in her face, even when she claimed to be angry about it.

Colbert asks if it upsets her at all that six Senators only changed their votes after they were physically attacked, even though they knew they were stirring up trouble around the country by repeating Trump’s big lie about election fraud. She says (my transcription):

Of course it does. But I figured my job today was to bring as many people with me and with our side as we could and to do it in a way that would give them that space. And the reason I did it is because, I made this case to our caucus, is that I want Joe and Kamala to come in with bipartisan support. I want to leave the what Joe Biden calls the grim era of demonization behind us and actually get things done. … I think what they did was atrocious, but at the same time we have to move forward as a nation.

[1] Colbert, his voice rising with emotion, asks if there shouldn’t be consequences for people who promulgated the lie that the election was stolen, consequences “… so severe that no one will ever think to foment an insurrection against this government again without shuddering at the prospect of what will happen to them.” She moves straight to “I’m a former prosecutor”, and starts talking about jailing the invaders. Colbert tries to focus her on the Senators, but she won’t answer whether they should face consequences. She launches into what a toad Trump is, and never responds about the co-toads. Colbert surrenders.

Nothing changed among Democratic politicians after that. On January 15, for example, I saw Jason Crow, D CO-6, on CNN discussing the revelation that some Representatives or their staffers might have led invaders on a reconnaissance tour of the Capitol the day before the attack, even though tours were banned. The oily flow from Crow could be used to lubricate a Mack Truck.

Where’s the demand for accountability for those shits who repeated Trump’s lies with their own imprimatur? [2] Are there no consequences for lies that undermine our democracy? Are elites just utterly free from any duties? Cruz, Hawley, Blackburn, Hyde-Smith, Marshall, Tuberville, and Kennedy are not stupid. Well, Tuberville is a couple of hundred million neurons short of a human brain. But the rest are pretty close to average in intelligence and a couple of them might pass for bright normal.

There are two who simply should be expelled immediately: Mo Brooks, R AL-05, [3] and Madison Cawthorn, R NC-11. These bastards spoke at Trump’s incitement rally and encouraged the assembled mob to action. There’s video. We know what they said, we know what they meant, and we know what happened. If Speaker Pelosi can ask the House to impeach Trump for his incitement based solely on what he said, what he meant and what happened, why can’t she summon the anger and grief we all feel and throw those anti-democratic shits out of the House?

======
[1] I’ve got a mental draft of remarks in response to objections to certification, starting with “I ask the Gentleman from Texas who told him there was fraud in the election? Was it the loser, the guy who lied about his own election in 2016, and has lied continuously about rigging ever since? Or was it @JohnnyFeathers39873858 Flag Flag? Or one of the witnesses dug out of internet swamps by the Loser’s elite legal team of crack lawyers? Were they vetted by the Gentleman’s brilliant staff?”

[2] I salute Freshman Representative Cori Bush, who introduced a resolution, co-sponsored by Freshman Representative Marie Newman;

St. Louis representative Cori Bush is calling for the investigation and expulsion of any representatives who objected to election certification, saying their actions lead to the Capitol riots that cost five people their lives.

Compare the aggressive action of the Freshman Congresswomen with elderly Senator Ben Carden D-MD. On January 16 on CNN Carden said expelling these seditionists was up to the voters in their states.

[3] There is a resolution calling for censure of Brooks, sponsored by Debbie Wasserman-Schultz and Tom Malinowski. That’s bullshit. He’ll frame it and use it in the next election.

Three Things: Good, Better, Best News

Let’s mix things up a bit and roll around in some good news for a change, hmm?

~ 3 ~

Arrests continue in wake of January 6 Capitol insurrection and they are both pleasurable and comic.

Mothertrucking racist who waved an enemy flag inside the capitol has been arrested.

Goddamned firefighter arrested for throwing a fire extinguisher at a Capitol Police officer’s head.

Chicago man stupid enough to think he wouldn’t be caught, was caught.

Gratifying to see they are chasing all of these perps to ground. These are only a few I’ve seen in my timeline, but among some of the more egregious insurrectionists. The firefighter is only lucky he didn’t throw that extinguisher hard enough to kill the Capitol Police Officer.

~ 2 ~

Flint may get some justice; former Michigan governor Rick Snyder was charged with two misdemeanor counts of willful neglect of duty in his handling of Flint’s water crisis. Six others were charged as well; the former director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and the state’s former chief medical executive were both charged with involuntary manslaughter related to the known dozen deaths of Michiganders who died from Legionnaire’s disease acquired from the city’s contaminated water.

Personally, I think Snyder’s charge is both too light and won’t stick; an entire city’s children were poisoned because he failed to execute his job faithfully, not to mention an increase in fetal deaths. Lead poisoning isn’t like getting the flu — the brain damage it causes may be permanent though the brain can be trained to compensate for some of the damage. Chances are good Snyder will weasel out of the charges because he relied on experts like the director of MDHHS and the chief medical executive.

One of my adult kids was poisoned during the period when Flint’s water was contaminated. They were fortunate their exposure was limited, but it took nearly five years to recover their health and we’re still not certain there won’t be sequelae which haven’t yet emerged. An entire city faces the same challenge, at a minimum; not all those who died of Legionnaire’s were Flint city residents, getting sick in Flint because they had to be in Flint for work or some other reason. There’s a possibility there were more Flint-related deaths which were masked by other chronic illness, but we may never know for sure.

At least these charges are the beginning of the end to the Flint water crisis. I do hope during the course of prosecution that all communications before and immediately following the cutover from Detroit’s water supply to the Flint River will be disclosed. I still suspect something happened the night of the cutover when Detroit made a last pitch to keep Flint on their water system.

~ 1 ~

A new day dawns at Democratic National Committee as Joe Biden gave Jaime Harrison the nod for DNC Chair. His experience will help change the party’s approach to southern states, complimenting the work Stacey Abrams did in Georgia.

There will be grousing from the far left about Harrison’s experience working for Podesta Group and the types of clients served. But Harrison has done what others with similar experience haven’t — organizing and getting out the vote in marginalized communities, zip code by zip code. Will he be more moderate as many Black Americans are across the south? Sure, but leave the policy and legislation to the Democratic majority in Congress; if they can pull off greater successes felt at home and in American’s wallets, the entire base will move more to the left.

We may have a chance to keep the majority and win more seats if Harrison can keep the energy high across the party. We don’t want another 2010 during which we lost an extremely narrow majority in the Senate, ushering in Mitch McConnell’s nightmarish decade of obstruction and social destruction.

~ 0 ~

What other good news is there? Apart from the fact we are now six days away from Biden’s inauguration. Share in comments.

Semi-Open Thread: Biden’s Vice President Will Be… [UPDATE-4]

Incoming. Duck and cover, people.

Let’s keep all the commentary about the Democratic Party’s VP nominee here in this thread alone though other topics are welcome.

Updates will appear at the bottom of this post.

~ ~ ~

UPDATE-1 — 3:06 P.M. ET —

NYT’s Jonathan Martin tweets:

No actual VP event today, per a Biden official.

doesn’t mean there won’t be a reveal of who it is, leaked or planned. just no plans for an in-person event.

As usual, assholes show up to joke about missing a rose ceremony a la The Bachelor.

~ ~ ~

UPDATE-2 — 3:53 P.M. ET —

According to CNN’s Dana Bash:

The Biden campaign has informed some of the women the former Vice President’s team vetted about his choice of running mate, three sources familiar with the matter tell CNN. Karen Bass was told by Biden himself that she was not the pick, a source familiar tells CNN.

Wonder if each prospective nominee will simply announce they’ve not been chosen leaving us to assume the nominee by process of elimination.

Only seven more to go, I think…could be a long evening.

Washington Post’s Jonathan Capehart interviewed all eight known candidates; you can listen to a podcast available at this link.

~ ~ ~

UPDATE-3 — 4:20 P.M. ET —

And there it is, the pyroclastic flow trigger…

Okay, bring it. Get all the snarky takes out of your systems now.

Come dawn tomorrow it will be time to get behind these two to boot Trump and Pence out of office and take back our country.

Lock and load, people, let’s roll.

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