Rick Scott revealed a tax plan that is the dream of the Republican Party.
The White House pointed out that it would increase the taxes of over half Americans.
McConnell has distanced himself from the proposal but it is squarely in line with policies the Republicans have supported for decades. The policy direction of the Republican party has always been to structure the tax system to benefit the rich and powerful and to eliminate social programs that help the working and lower classes.
The reason the party elite is objecting to Scott’s proposal is that it makes the policy direction all to clear.
Scott’s “Plan to Rescue America” (for the rich and powerful) is meant to outline his party’s political priorities should the Republicans retake the Senate.
The tax burden would further penalize millions of voters , mostly lower or middle income.
Scott’s plan would end all federal programs after five years requiring congress to continually vote to reauthorize their existence. (Note: Given the amount of time Congress actually spends in Washington, this would never get done.)
This would endanger social Security, Medicare and Medicaid
(Note: McConnell’s objections to Scott’s plan is not that he would not pursue these goals in a heartbeat, it’s just that he doesn’t want everybody to know it.)
Many republicans support cuts in these programs and also privatizing them.
“When tyrants say they are going to do something” you should listen. This is Nikki Haley talking about Putin. Biden is not doing enough, according to the Russian collaborators on Fox News.
Haley advocating harsher sanctions while the leader of her party, Trump, praises Putin.
Note: These Republicans know that their base is filled with morons who can’t even see the hypocrisy of Trump’s, the Republican party’s and the NRA’s collaboration with the Russians and their current statements.
Note: I couldn’t care less about spending hours of coverage in the middle of a war on what Biden MIGHT say in the State of the Union address. Frankly I dread having to listen to this speech. I know it will make me furious.
“What are you going to be watching for?” CNN also is spending time, while Ukraine is under attack, speculating on what Biden may say tonight. Waste of time.
Russia is temporarily banning western companies from exiting Russian investments. Note: I don’t know how this is possible?
“War is stupid” is a slogan not a proposal for action. Ukrainians are begging for help and this is the answer? War is stupid?
If you are a pacifist, I understand, but to just close your eyes to 200,000 troops amassed around a country, military attack on a country whose people by themselves forced a Russian-puppet to flee back to Russia, is not an answer. It’s an abnegation
I have a historical update for those of you who think Russia is a “communist country.” Russia is controlled by an oligarchy put in place by an authoritarian. The economic system is a rabid, Wild West capitalist economy where there are no restraints on stealing and appropriating property that formerly belonged to the people. This is the system that Republicans are trying to establish in this country. If you fight Republicans you must fight the Russian government right now.
“You are supporting people who profit from war.” Yes, people profit from war. I don’t like that, but right now, that’s how it is. Does that mean we throw up our hands and give up and allow the oligarchs to take over the country? Do you expect Zelensky to throw up his hands and allow Putin to take over Ukraine because somebody might profit off the weapons he’s asking for?
Do you seriously think that Zelensky can negotiate his way out of this war? When Zelensky first came to power, he thought he could reason with the Russians, negotiate a resolution to the Donbas. He found out he was unable to do so.
“You are listening to MSM.” This was said by somebody who refuses to believe Trump was connected to Russia. To him, the connection was all invented by the MSM. People, just look at the evidence. Simply because something is said on MSM doesn’t mean it is necessarily false. You have to look at all kinds of sources and make the best judgements you can. Just listening to people like Glen Greenwald is not looking at evidence. It is a refusal to look at evidence.
Serious strikes in Kharkiv (evidently pronounced Har-kiv) directly in front of a government building. Kharkiv is Ukraine’s second largest city. On the eastern side of Ukraine.
The strike killed an estimated 10 people.
Russian troops have reportedly entered the southern city of Kherson (near Odesa on Black sea.
Belarusian troops entered the Chernihiv region in northern Ukraine.
70 Ukrainian soldiers reported killed in Okhtyrka on Sunday.
Lavrov, in front of the UN, maintains that Russian troops are focused on “saving people, demilitarization and denazification.”
Note: Chris Sampson (who was until recently in Ukraine) pointing out that Russia has a bigger Nazi problem than does Ukraine.
A few weeks ago, Kharkiv was a “bustling city. Now it is a shell.”
Christiane Amanpour: “Everybody is scared.” The war aim is to create terror of civilians. Reminiscent of the siege of Sarajevo in 1993. NATO is warning that not one square inch of NATO territory will be invaded without a response. It took this attack to unite the world. See “Putin’s War Against Ukraine.” Free read on Kindle.
Note: MSNBC is spending time speculating on what Biden MIGHT talk about tonight. There’s a war going on and corporate media is already starting to move on.
Evidently, Fox News has realized that its support for Putin is unpopular, EVEN ON FOX.
There’s been a lot of psychoanalysis in the past few days about Putin.
Ben Sasse: “He’s an evil man.” “He’s gotten away with it.” (Note: like Putin.)
Republicans are talking on Fox as if Trump wasn’t in Putin’s pocket.
“This guy has not known consequences.” Sasse is talking about Putin. That’s true of Trump.
Nikki Haley joins the “Putin is a madman” narrative.
During the past few weeks the corporate news media has been studiously ignoring the disastrous military and humanitarian crisis shaping up in Afghanistan. They have been doing so, I think, because the crisis makes Biden look feckless, ruthless, and incompetent.
For so long, there was almost nothing on the corporate news, but every day it was possible to read about astonishing advances by the Taliban. Every day estimates of how much of Afghanistan was controlled by the Taliban increased, and estimates of how long it would be until the Taliban took over Kabul decreased.
I am no foreign policy expert, but even I could see that the Biden withdrawal of forces in Afghanistan was accelerating a Taliban takeover of the country.
The negotiated “peace plan” was non-existent. I never understood what was being “negotiated” with the Taliban in the first place either by the Trump or the Biden administration. One reporter late this week said that the “negotiated” peace process was not only on hold, it was in the basement with the door locked.
And who had the bright idea that the Taliban could be negotiated with in the first place? The group is defined by a suicidal religious refusal to compromise or negotiate with the modern world.
Let me be clear, I did not support the invasion of Afghanistan or Iraq but even I acknowledge that once you have invaded and occupied a country you can’t just walk out and leave everyone who has fought with you at the mercy of the enemy. You cannot just withdraw without considering the implications for the population you are leaving behind.
But this is precisely what the Biden administration seems to have done. They either didn’t consider the implications for the population, or they didn’t care. I’m not sure which is worse.
Reports today (Friday) are that members of the Biden administration knew that this disaster was coming. The Joint Chiefs warned them. But the Biden administration decided that the disaster was inevitable (although they have denied this reality). One official was quoted by Peter Baker as saying: It’s a tragedy, but it’s not our tragedy. Who would say something this crass and unfeeling? There is not even much of a pretense of having any empathy with the abandoned population.
And in an effort to make the chaotic, precipitous, and disastrous withdrawal look better, the Biden administration has blamed everyone in sight – except themselves.
Evidently, the defense department that costs us trillions every fifteen minutes, just couldn’t manage to plan a withdrawal from a country they had occupied that didn’t create a humanitarian crisis. How can that be?
Gen. John Kirby, in a painful press conference today, said the Afghanis had every conceivable advantage in the war. A reporter asked Kirby how the Afghanis could have every conceivable advantage and still be losing. Kirby balked at the rudeness of the question, then evaded answering it. He went on to list all the advantages the Afghanis had (airplanes, an air force, more soldiers, etc.). So, according to Kirby, the Afghanis have all these advantages and it’s just a great fucking mystery why they are losing.
The people of this country are told repeatedly that we have the greatest military in the history of the world, but that military just can’t figure out how after twenty years of supplying and training and fighting, to get the Afghanis in a position to hold their own against the opposing force.
Earlier this week I listened to a podcast where the panel was pointing out that supply lines were a problem in Afghanistan. Supply lines? Twenty years and they haven’t figured out how to secure supply lines? Even my cat knows not to go further away from the door than he can safely run back should there be a threat. And they can’t figure out secure supply lines? I just find this preposterous. What the bleeding devil have they been doing for twenty years?
A lot of the feedback on Twitter consists of people arguing that the very fact that we have been in Afghanistan for twenty years legitimates the withdrawal. But, nobody is objecting to the withdrawal, it’s the way the withdrawal is carried out.
As Paul Riekhoff said on Nicolle Wallace’s show the other night, this was a “reckless” withdrawal. Riekhoff’s honesty about the situation made me wonder if the producers on MSNBC knew what he was going to say. (The next night I don’t think Wallace even talked about Afghanistan). Riekhoff lambasted the Biden administration’s withdrawal. And Riekhoff, like Kevin Baron from Defense One, stated flatly that the administration was not “leveling” with the American people.
The refusal to “level” was painfully obvious in the Pentagon presser this afternoon with Gen. John Kirby. Kirby couldn’t even bullshit with any talent the obfuscation was so blatant. Kirby stood at the podium and spewed nonsense. He looked like a man experiencing a severe attack of piles as he fielded questions from reporters.
He was fine with questions like that from MSNBC’s Pentagon correspondent. After a day when every conceivable TV pundit repeated like a parrot: “The administration was not surprised with what happened but at the speed with which it happened” she asked if the administration was surprised at the speed with which the take over had happened. Seriously?
Another reporter doggedly tried to get Kirby to say that Kabul was “isolated.” “Would you say Kabul was isolated?” He asked repeatedly. Kirby verbally danced all over the universe refusing to say that Kabul was “isolated.” We all fucking know that Kabul is “isolated.” What is the purpose of a journalist taking up valuable time trying to get Kirby to say the word? Kirby said everything under the sun else except that Kabul was “isolated.” What goddamn difference does it make if he uses the word?
I don’t think I have seen such a blatantly pathetic Pentagon press conference since Vietnam, and even then the brass talked the bullshit with some panache. Kirby just seemed to be desperate to finish, desperately uncomfortable, resentful of meaningful questions. John Kirby is a bad liar and bullshitter. If they are going to try to pass off this level of (do you believe me or your lying eyes) bullshit, they need to get another spokesperson.
And, it seems that we should have learned (with the best military in the history of the world) that the solution to a badly thought-out war is not (or should not be) a badly thought-out withdrawal. Evidently not.
But the thing that keeps sticking in my craw and going through my mind for the past few days is why? How could the Biden administration be so inept as to create this situation? Who was this precipitous withdrawal designed to please? I just can’t think of anybody placated or pleased with this hair-brained withdrawal. Why, after breezing through the deadline in May that the Trump administration had set, did Biden rush headlong into this withdrawal that seems so badly planned.
I will give just one example. On another podcast about Afghanistan the commentators were pointing out that the Taliban ratchets up fighting in the Spring and then makes a big push over the summer. Then, I suppose because of the weather, they retreat to bases in Pakistan in the fall and fighting dies down. The panel members were pointing out that if Biden had just waited over the summer and pulled out most of the troops in the fall, it would have helped immensely. So, what was the problem with that small change?
And there another thing that keeps going through my mind. This is in response to a comment made on the Majority Report (a great podcast). The guest was saying that there are many competing factions represented within the Biden administration – progressives (damn few), conservatives, moderates, hawks. When some policy or appointment comes up that sparks strong opposition among these groups, they fight it out vociferously. Fine. But when all this fighting and debate occurs, when positions are entrenched, Biden evidently does not step in and make a decision so everybody can go on. Biden refuses to take make a decision that might alienate somebody and so everybody retreats to their respective corners. The result is that nothing gets done. The example that was being talked about was an appointment that had remained vacant for months.
I can’t keep from wondering if something like that happened here. There was such strong disagreement about what to do, everybody was fighting and pushing and Biden just walked away (sort of like he’s doing in Afghanistan) and nothing got done. The withdrawal just ticked on without Biden taking control. It was easier to do nothing than to make a decision. Now, the administration is facing not only a humanitarian crisis, but a political disaster.
I have watched Fox News, OANN, and that other channel of Steve Bannon’s in the past two days. You can bet they are making hay over this situation. And, to my great discomfort and consternation, I agree with some of the commentary.
A final thing that makes me uncomfortable about this situation is how similar it is to the way Democrats are handling the serious threat Republicans pose to the continuation of democracy.
Democrats are so engorged with hubris, so convinced that the world is the way they want it to be, they are leading us into disaster at every turn.
I fear that they are going to do with Republicans exactly what they are doing with the Taliban – negotiate without reason, rely on the good intentions of murderous men determined to assume power at all costs and then when these men pull off a religious based authoritarian take over, wring their hands and say it was not the outcome they had anticipated.
In the past two days I have listened to three interviews with Indian journalist Barkha Dutt about the stunning second wave of COVID deaths in India. Dutt lost her own father to COVID within the past week. She comes from what she describes as a privileged family in India, but even so, she was not able to get the medical attention that could have kept her father alive. The desperation in her reporting and in her voice are inescapable.
After it became apparent that a second wave of COVID was out of control in India, a number of journalists posted photographs of vastly overburdened crematoriums operating all over the country. There was also video footage of hospitals that are so over run patients are laying on the ground, or on flattened paper boxes with IV feeds hanging from the limbs of trees. Family members are desperately running from hospital to hospital seeking medical attention for loved ones, and individually searching for oxygen and taking it to those lucky enough to be in hospitals.
According to Dutta, India was incredibly complacent after the first wave of COVID. Most people thought the worst was behind them. The Indian government failed to buy adequate supplies of vaccines to cope with a possible second wave, rejected the idea of buying vaccines that weren’t completely made in India and even gave vaccine away after the first wave. Politicians continued to have enormous rallies without any social distancing or masking and the government allowed masses to gather for religious services.
Now, a second wave has hit India and even the official statistics of deaths are stunning. And, as Dutt reports, the official statistics, alarming as they are, are grossly underreporting the number of deaths. Dutt has talked to crematorium workers who report burning over 120 bodies a day. This is one crematorium in one location. Government statistics for that region, report something like 47 deaths for the entire city.
Dutt has said that she can’t even estimate how extensive the underreporting is. She said that she has seen instances where there is as much as a four-fold difference between the official statistics and those she estimates for a city.
To add to the problem, some testing facilities have been asked to decrease the amount of testing so that there will not be so many cases reported. This is reminiscent of actions taken by the Trump administration when COVID case counts became politically embarrassing.
Dutt argues that the Indian government was outrageously complacent and did not adequately prepare for the possibility of a second wave of COVID. She also reports that people in India while initially forgiving of the mistakes of the government, are now angry.
Some people are blaming health care workers for the lack of vaccines and infrastructure, but in fact, it is the fault of the government. Citizens, she says, have been left to fend for themselves. Whether you survive this pandemic depends on who you know and how strong you are. It is survival of the richest and the most connected. People feel that they are out there all alone, she says. There is no state apparatus to turn to for help at the hospitals or the crematoriums. It is just every person on their own fighting for resources. You can hear the fear and desperation and anger in her voice.
This is what the social configuration looks like when the state breaks down in a complex society. This is exactly what the Republicans have in mind for this country. They have worked for decades to destroy the faith people had in the government. They have worked tirelessly to block any policy that would have allowed government to improve their lives of the citizenry. They have blocked any policies which would have even allowed the government to function. Republicans are against effective programs to deal with COVID because successful state intervention in a crisis might have caused people to start understanding and valuing the role of government in a complex society. An effective government response to COVID might cause people to question whether the state is the enemy.
Numerous corporate journalists (who are like parrots) are now having a field day talking about how the Republicans have ceased to be ideological. Nothing could be further from the truth. They have been and are now conducting an ideological fight for a world where life is each against all, where the wealthy and the powerful can secure access to health and clean food and clean water and the rest of us fight it out on the street as did Dutt’s family when they went to have her father cremated.
This is the world Republicans are ushering in. The reality is staring us in the face every day, with every news report, but the reality is so disturbing Americans cannot and will not look at it. They would prefer to watch corporate news hosts make celebrities out of the hundreds of thousands of people who needlessly died because of a refusal to allow the government to act. They would rather watch hosts quote rap lyrics as if they were great literature, follow the soap opera of the royal family, or interview each other about their books (which all say that the institutions are holding and everything’s fine). The American people would, in other words, prefer to do anything, anything but look at the stark reality of the world the Republicans are preparing us for.
And, we should remember that many of these Republicans have no investment in this world. They truly believe that this is the “end times,” and that in a very short time they are going to be leaving the rest of us behind while they ascend to heaven. So, far from being free of ideology, they have the most destructive ideology on the planet. They believe that the worse things get the better because that brings us nearer to the end of the world.
If you want to know what that world is going to look like, just take a look close look at India.
Dutt was interviewed on Christine Amanpour’s nightly news program and by Ian Bremmer on his podcast, Gzero World (5/8/21)
On the internet: Video after video of police officers behaving abusively, escalating situations, cursing at people, threatening them, intimidating them, killing them, all over the country. CNN has an expert on to explain that our brains work differently when we’re under stress.
The “stress professor” and the Vanderbilt guy both agreed that we need more training for police.
I’ve been involved in criminology in one way or another for fifty years. I did research on female police partners and male use of deadly force in the 70s. Training is not the problem. Minneapolis, for example, spent a small fortune on training.
Police culture will win out over all the training and policy in the world.
If you look at the Derek Chauvin case as an example, Chauvin didn’t take the stand because basically his defense is that he didn’t do anything wrong and that he would do it again if he had the chance.
It appears that Alexander Navalny is dangerously close to dying. In the past, he told colleagues he couldn’t understand people using hunger strikes to advance their cases. It seemed, to him, merely a way to hand the state a tool. But, evidently the situation for him in prison was so bad, he resorted to using his own body as a tool to try to get help. It’s unlikely to work. The world stands by and watches.
Gary Kasperov, former Russian chess player and current activist, pointed out on Twitter that the West continues to deal with Putin as if he were some quasi-democratic head of state. Kasperov noted that Biden’s decision to turn around a ship to try to appease Putin was the wrong tactic. Autocrats, kleptocrats, authoritarians view offers of compromise as weakness.
Biden deals with Putin the way the Democrats deal with the Republicans. When will they learn that authoritarians cannot be compromised with or appealed to?
Joe Scarborough, who helped elect Trump, is now back to his rabid Republican heckling. It is difficult for me to understand how anybody could think that Scarborough was an ally. He and the dreadful Mika were up Trump’s ass until Trump threatened to reveal their adulterous affair. People need to remember we have Mika on tape asking Trump’s permission to ask him a “hard” question. Morning Joe as outlived its usefulness if it ever had any. It belongs in the Chris Matthews trash bag of programming. MSNBC needs to do better.
While I’m on MSNBC, the nightly news programs continue to use Jason “island of misfit black girls” Johnson as a commentator. He lost his job at the Root for his nasty, racist comment about the women who worked for Bernie Sanders, and MSNBC punished him with a few weeks off air. But, he’s back now with a vengeance. Joy Reid loves him because she actively worked to destroy Sanders’ campaign. The lesson here? You can say anything and get away with it if it’s about Bernie Sanders or his campaign.
The new feral cat we are socializing woke me up at 3:30 in the morning because his food bowls were empty. I’m wide awake, but he’s back asleep, stretched out at the foot of the bed on a quilt. They learn so quickly. Cats are the masters of psychological manipulation. His name is Oliver Wendell Holmes.
The Republicans are turning a massive failure of infrastructure and privatization in Texas into a condemnation of renewable energy. Even the Governor of the State is on national television spewing lies and disinformation.
Gov. Greg Abbott, on Fox News, said that the problem was caused by renewable energy systems.
Officials were told in 2011 that they needed to winterize the Texas system. But, the State of Texas didn’t make that winterization and other changes obligatory. Because the grid is operated by private companies, allowed to make as much profit as they can, the State failed to winterize and now we are watching people lose their lives.
Message #1: Don’t elect people to run government that don’t believe in government.
The federal government has executed the first woman in almost 70 years. The woman had a history of mental illness and sexual abuse and sex trafficking in her childhood. The ACLU had appealed to the federal government to halt scheduled executions.
Liz Cheney has said yes to impeachment.
Trump, yesterday called for unity and calm while also threatening the nation and the President-Elect.
Kevin McCarthy is saying that Trump shouldn’t be impeached.
Geraldo has joined the group of people trying to save what is left of their reputations repudiating Trump. He also advanced a line used by Toomy used, saying that losing the election made Trump crazy. “After the election, he (Trump) took this to an entirely different place, orders of magnitude different,” Toomey said to NBC.
On the “trying to salvage what little is left of his reputation,” subject, Brian Kemp of Georgia is reviving an image he used in a former campaign saying he will drive around Georgia in his pick up truck to distribute vaccine. For some reason, Kemp feels this casts him in a positive light. Since he finds himself incapable of managing the state’s distribution network even though he is governor, he hopes to salvage his image by making people believe that delivering vaccine personally in a pick up truck is better.
Also in Georgia, a man charged in the capitol siege, Christopher Stanton, has committed suicide. This is the second suicide reported among those involved in the insurrection. A capitol hill police officer was also reported as having committed suicide.
Right-wing activist Ali Alexander (who has gone into hiding and raised $20,000 on a Christian crowdfunding site) says that Reps. Gosar and Biggs worked with him in planning the rally that led to the attack on the Capitol.
Rep Lauren Boebert has been arrested four times, including for resisting arrest. She cheered the Capitol rioters and live-tweeted her colleagues’ locations. Last night, she refused to go through a metal detector to get to the House floor. Why she is adamant about taking a weapon into the House chamber nobody knows.
Rep. Mikie Sherrill has said that members of Congress gave tours to people through the Capitol on a “reconnaissance” mission one day before the riot. She says that she is going to see that they are “held accountable, and if necessary ensure they don’t serve in Congress.”
The Rule of Law Defense Fund (RLDF), funded robocalls directing people to the rally in Washington, told them they would be marching to the Capitol and used the “Stop the Steal” rallying cry invented by Roger Stone.
The RLDF is closely associated with the Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA).
Florida’s AG, Ashley Moody, was on the board of directors for the RLDF, the group that on the day of the Capitol attack sent out robocalls urging attendance. After the attack, Moody’s office scrubbed references to the group (Tampa Bay Times).
RAGA donated more than $1million to Moody’s political committee in 2018.
Moody has been prominent in the legal fight to overturn the 2020 election in favor of Trump. She also after taking office, joined 14 other Republican state attorneys general in urging the federal government to drop its case against Michael Flynn.
Alabama AG, Steve Marshall, blamed “staff” for the robocall that urged people to go to the Trump rally in Washington.
The executive director of the RAGA resigned on Monday.
The website for March to Save America, the Trump rally, listed the RLDF as one of the participating organizations. The graphic which listed the participating organizations has since been deleted (Atlanta Journal Constitution).
Diane Feinstein had filed the paperwork to run for reelection.
In this episode, Bharara interviews Rachael Maddow about her book “Bagman.”
Agnew was on the take in Maryland before he was chosen Vice President by Nixon.
Nixon liked Agnew partly because he talked aggressively about race in his speeches and public appearances.
Agnew was essentially getting a cut of every construction contract in Maryland. He wanted to try to establish that relationship with federal contracts.
George HW Bush tried to squelch the investigation into Agnew’s criminal behavior. These Bushes have a lot to answer for. They are a crime family just like the Trumps only better behaved in public and more circumscribed.
When Agnew started to be aware of the fact that he was being seriously investigated, he invented a story that he was the target of assassination plots. He talked publicly about buying a gun to protect himself against government agents.
Angew engaged in “grievance politics.” He was always the victim being pursued by bad men. After he left office he established a career for himself as an “anti-Semite” for hire.