Just note the phrases of submission, of deliberate non-threatening language in the opening statement of ACB. The play here is: Look, this is a soft-spoken, non-threatening, non-intellectual mom, home, apple pie person. How could you be afraid of this? But, make no mistake about it, this woman is the handmaiden of oppression.
“I thank the President” “my family” “I thank” “I am especially grateful” “it has been a privilege” “my family” “my husband” “have been married” “he has been a selfless” “marriage” Marriage “is easy.” “far luckier in love than I deserve.” “parents” “wonderful children.” “parents” “her parents’ “love” “liberal arts” “brought him home” “happy-go-lucky” “kind” “our delight” “loves watching movies” “mom” “siblings” “dearest friends” “happy” “so grateful” “my parents” “my parents” “life of service, principle, faith and love.” “grade-school spelling bee” “Dad sang” “devoted teachers” “high school” “literature class” “my first presentation” “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” “feared I had failed” “my professor” “filled me with confidence” “mentor” “degree in English” “passion for words” “legal mentors” “my first job” “continues to teach me” “he is cheering me on” “from his livingroom” “taught me” “devoted to his family” never let the law define my identity” “discussed the issues with my colleagues” “remain mindful” “I read every word from the perspective of the loosing party” “one of my children was the party””I would understand” “fairly reasoned” “deeply honored” “sacrifice, particularly from my family” “believe deeply” “humility” “with appreciation” “I was nine years old” “grace and dignity” “When I was 21 years old” “just beginning my career” “forever grateful” “honor of a lifetime” “valued colleague” “I might bring a few new perspectives” “first mother of school age children” “only sitting justice who didn’t attend law school at Harvard or Yale.” “Maybe I could even teach them a thing or two about football.” “I would like to thank” “reached out with messages of support” “I believe in the power of prayer” “so many people are praying for me.” “I pledge faithfully”
The Supreme Court is a nightmare.
Women, just think about where we are. This statement was not an exposition of brilliant legal reasoning. Instead, it was a woman displaying stories about her children, her husband and how wonderful he is, how she might teach men on the Supreme court something ABOUT FOOTBALL. What a f…ing embarrassment. Disgraceful.
I would like to mourn her. But even Ginsburg herself realized there would be no time for that.
McConnell has already removed the filibuster rule for Supreme Court appointments, which means he needs only 50 votes to confirm a new justice (since the vice president breaks any ties), and he has 53 Republicans.
It’s not hard to see how McConnell will control his caucus. Remember, while some Republicans will occasionally furrow their brows in performative outrage at the latest Trump tweets, almost all of these people are in favor of the hardcore conservative legal policies Ginsburg spent her life opposing.
Republican senators might not like Trump’s handling of the coronavirus, but they love taking health care away from millions of people; they love the deregulation that leads to environmental destruction; and they consider it a moral imperative to reduce a pregnant woman to the legal status of a medical incubator…
Obama either didn’t anticipate McConnell’s unprecedented maneuver to block his nominee or thought that Garland’s moderate stances would cause other Republicans to resist McConnell’s gambit to block him.
These are people who support “…the right to bear shoulder-launched grenades…”
It would now seem like the list of potential Supreme Court nominees Trump produced last week was released with some kind of inside information about Ginsburg’s failing health
McConnell has proven that the composition of the Supreme Court is a function of raw political power.
We must do everything we can to stop McConnell from filling Ginsburg’s seat and, however that turns out, we must retake political power and reform a Supreme Court that has been irrevocably broken by McConnell’s ongoing hypocrisy.
Trump in a news conference (or whatever that things is he does when he comes out and lies for an extended period of time) is preparing the population for a “disaster” on election day. He keeps repeating the scenario and thereby painting the picture for his supporters of total confusion. Today he said that the Republicans are appealing to the courts who he hopes will “see this clearly and stop it.” He called the sending out of ballots to citizens as “the scam of all time.”
The reporter for CNN falls for the head fake and says: Mail in voting is safe. There is no fraud and there are no missing ballots as Trump accused.
So, once again, just as in 2016, the Republicans scream rigging, the Democrats and the media yell, no rigging. The Republicans rig and the Democrats and the media are left stunned.
Election Security: Stealing the Election
Jennifer Cohn is tweeting that the DeVos family company Amway partnered with Russia’s Alfa Bank in 2014. It was Alfa Bank that was pinging both Trump Tower and Spectrum Health thousands of times in the summer of 2016. This has never been explained.
Run, don’t walk to get a copy of Jonathan Simon’s “Code Red” 2020 edition.
Trump is tweeting that the Governor of Virginia (where early voting starts today) “wants to take away your guns,” and “is in favor of executing babies after birth.”
According to Jennifer Cohn, (relying on Woodward), Russians installed malware in the voter registration systems of “at least two” Florida counties. The malware was designed to erase voters. (Twitter)
Precinct ballot scanners in Michigan, Wisconsin and Florida include wireless modems that connect scanners and county central tabulators to the internet. (Twitter, Jennifer Cohn)
Texas, Tennessee, Indiana, Minnesota, Illinois, and Rhode Island also have modems that need to be removed before the election. (Cohn, Twitter)
Information on voting of Interest:
Zetter, Kim (8/8/19) “Critical U.S. ElectionSystems…” Vice
Other Information of Interest
Podcast on 9/11 Blindspot.
102 of 140 inmates at a women’s prison in South Dakota have tested positive for Coronavirus. (AP)
It is tempting to think that authoritarian governments come to power through sudden and dramatic coups, but often they do not. Instead, they come to power through a creeping co-opting of authority. This is the preferred method, the most successful method of taking control.
A sudden, dramatic take-over of a society provokes resistance. Sliding the society into authoritarianism accomplishes the same thing, but doesn’t so dramatically jar everybody’s sensibilities.
The Trump Administration could try to cancel the 2020 elections and stay in power. But, that would draw a backlash, and hopefully a powerful resistance. The Republicans would prefer to to stay in power through a manipulated election, and that is what they are seeking. Republicans want the show and appearance of an election without the actuality of an election, i.e., they want a pre-determined outcome. In other words, they want exactly what Putin has.
It is clear that the Republicans want to remain in power by manipulating the 2020 election process. They do not want to bring troops into polling places and seize ballots, but they are not above doing that if they must. They are clearly planning strategies for both eventualities.
One of the techniques authoritarian governments use to bring about illegal and unconstitutional change that ensures the maintenance of their power is to test out their intentions ahead of time. Test, measure reaction, pull back if necessary, test again or go forward. The history of the Trump/Republican administration is one of using this strategy.
On first consideration, this might seem counter intuitive. Why would they signal in advance their intention to subvert the law? Why alert the opposition so they can prepare?
One very good reason is to inoculate citizens and the media, slowly injecting the idea of electoral intervention a little at the time so that if it becomes necessary, the idea will not be totally new.
First, this means that Republican supporters will be brought along carefully, introducing them to the idea, signaling what may come. Second, the introduction of the idea allows time to lay the foundation of the argument of why this may become “necessary.” Third, the advanced announcement, or threat, causes the opposition to go on alert. As time passes though, and other threats are issued, the heightened sensitivity can’t be maintained, and the opposition relaxes.
The Republicans have turned this threat/reaction circle into a joke, a way of ginning up outrage among their opposition which they then ridicule. The legitimate outrage at the idea of the subversion of democracy becomes an object of mockery. So, Republican supporters know exactly how to react to this moral outrage if and when it actually happens. They jeer, mock and dismiss.
Fourth, the announcement alerts the opposition, but through repeated threats, the opposition wears down and the heightened sensitivity cannot be maintained. The press loses interest in even covering the threats because they aren’t new. The press and the citizenry become desensitized.
The Republicans have used this tactic repeatedly through various surrogates and through Trump. At the moment, they are testing the waters of electoral interference through people like Roger Stone. There are a number of reasons why Roger Stone is not in prison. First, he was paid off so he would not do a deal with prosecutors and tell them about the Republicans’ various corrupt activities. Second, Stone functions as an effective mouthpiece. He publicly says that the Republicans should do this or that. Then, Republicans wait for the reaction. That reaction informs them of just how far they can go.
Roger Stone, stated over the weekend on Alex Jones’s Infowars that Trump and the Republicans should seize total power over the society and jail opponents including Bill and Hillary Clinton should he lose to Biden. Stone argued that Trump should consider invoking the Insurrection act. He also recommended arresting Harry Reid.
Stone said: “The ballots in Nevada on election night should be seized by federal marshals and taken from the state. They are completely corrupted. No votes should be counted from the state of Nevada if that turns out to be the provable case. Send federal marshals to the Clark county board of elections, Mr. President!”
Later, attacking the Democratic governor of Nevada, Steve Sisolak, Trump said: “This is the guy we are entrusting with millions of ballots, unsolicited ballots, and we’re supposed to win these states. Who the hell is going to trust him? The only way the Democrats can win the election is if they rig it.”
On Sunday, on ABC’s This Week, senior Trump campaign adviser Jason Miller also attacked mail-in ballots in Nevada. He also called Sisolak a “clubhouse governor … who, by the way, if you go against him politically … politically speaking, you’ll find yourself buried in the desert.”
So, the Republicans are signaling that they may intervene in the election if it becomes necessary, telling their supporters what to expect and providing a rationale for the clearly illegal and unconstitutional action.
Stone, in the interview, advocated “forming an election day operation using the FBI, federal marshals and Republican state officials across the country to be prepared to file legal objections [to results] and if necessary to physically stand in the way of criminal activity.”
In an interview broadcast on Saturday night, Trump told Fox News he would happily “put down” any leftwing protests about the results of the election. “We’ll put them down very quickly if they do that,” he told Jeannine Pirro.
As well as signaling his supporters and threatening his opponents, this move is also a head-fake. In other words, Republicans are shouting from the media mountain tops that they may well physically intervene in the election, seizing ballots, sending in troops. The corporate media spends hours and hours talking about this and pointing out the obvious fact that it is illegal and unconstitutional. But, what the Republicans are hoping for, banking on, is that they can accomplish the same take-over of the election process through more covert means, voter purges, voting machine processes that are impenetrable and therefore subject to manipulation, refusing to count mail-in ballots that come in “late,” closing polling places, etc.
The Republicans are stealing the 2020 election. They are doing so behind our backs and in front of our faces.
This is a good summary of some of the reasons Elliott Abrams should be in prison: Common Dreams, August 6, 2020
Abrams’ resume includes:
In the 1980s, he defended the infamous Guatemalan General Efraín Ríos Montt, whose violent crackdown on the indigenous Ixil Mayan people of Guatemala was so brutal that it was classified as genocide by the United Nations.
He denied that the Salvadoran military was responsible for the devastating El Mozote massacre where, in 1981, a U.S.-trained battalion murdered more than 500 civilians, slitting the throats of children along the way. Not only did Abrams deny the massacre and push for continued US support for the notoriously brutal Salvadoran government, but he even claimed in a 1994 interview that “the U.S. administration’s record in El Salvador is one of fabulous achievement.”
He is vehemently anti-Palestinian and shamelessly supports Israel. As George Bush’s aide on the National Security Council, Abrams did everything he could to thwart peace negotiations. He repeatedly undercut any U.S. pressure on Israel to stop the building of settlements and cited the Holocaust as justification for Israel’s killings of Palestinians (Jews are “a people who had learned from history what happens to Jews without security”). In 2015, he applauded then-Speaker John Boehner’s decision to invite Netanyahu to address Congress without the approval of President Obama. He lauds Evangelical descriptions of Israel such as the belief that “Israel is connected to the idea that God favors and protects Americans.”
In 1991, Abrams pled guilty to withholding information from Congress related to his involvement in the Iran-Contra scandal, the secret and illegal scam in the 1980s to siphon profits from Iranian weapons sales to support the right-wing Contra rebels trying to overthrow the Sandinista government.
Abrams was a key supporter of the disastrous invasion of Iraq. In 1998, he submitted a letter to President Clinton encouraging him to depose Saddam Hussein. As Deputy National Security Advisor for Global Democracy Strategy during George W. Bush’s second term, Abrams was in charge of promoting Bush’s strategy of “advancing democracy abroad.”
Abrams championed the U.S. overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi in Libya, echoing the tactics used by the neocons for intervention in Iraq.
Abrams’ opposition to the Iran Nuclear Deal is epitomized by his attempts to encourage Israel to bomb Iran’s nuclear sites before negotiations became too serious. He expressed concern that Israel’s capacity to impede the deal was “already being narrowed considerably by the diplomatic thaw, because it is one thing to bomb Iran when it appears hopelessly recalcitrant and isolated and quite another to bomb it when much of the world — especially the United States — is optimistic about the prospect of talks.”
In January 2019, Abrams was appointed to be the U.S. Special Representative for Venezuela, and used his position to support an attempted coup, quash diplomatic talks, and increase brutal sanctions, even during the pandemic.
Abrams has now been appointed as the U.S. envoy for Iran, managing a situation that is already a tinderbox, with the Iranian people suffering immensely from U.S. sanctions. Rather than receiving this new position, Elliott Abrams should be barred for life from government positions and recognized as the war criminal that he is.
As the corporate media becomes more and more useless in covering the Trump/Republican administration and the coronavirus crisis, we must seek alternative sources of news.
Try the “Trump Watch” Podcast.
In the April 16 episode, they do an interview with John Nichols from the Nation Magazine about the attempt by the Republicans to control voting in Wisconsin in order to assure the election of their hand-picked Supreme Court Judge. They failed, but only because people came out with home-made masks and stood in lines for hours to vote against the Republicans.
Wouldn’t it be nice if the corporate media had covered this win for regular people in Wisconsin? Wouldn’t it be nice if the corporate media actually talked about the attempt by Republicans, in Wisconsin and elsewhere, to thwart democracy and manipulate the voting process?
They won’t do it and we have to go elsewhere for our news. The corporate media has ceased to cover any international news at all. They are obsessed with interviewing everybody in the country about the minutiae of the Coronavirus issue. They are obsessed with covering every minute of Trump’s propaganda sessions every afternoon and then talking endlessly about what he says. They are obsessed with providing us inspirational stories about the “heroes” of the crisis and informing us of how we can entertain ourselves while staying at home as if we were children.
The Trump Watch podcast, starts every episode by saying that they cover what Trump DOES not just what he TWEETS.
The Republicans are using the Coronavirus to install a Christo-fascist one-party authoritarian state. While the press is asking Trump is it is a good idea for Americans to congregate on the mall in Washington, D.C., the Republicans are stealing us blind. After this is over, they will tell us we can’t afford Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Food Stamps, Head Start…because of the pandemic, not because they robbed us blind and gave the money to their buddies.
I would love to hear of other podcasts you find useful and any comments you might have.
THE BIGGEST CLASS THEFT IN THE HISTORY OF THE COUNTRY
The New York Times is reporting today that a doctor, Dr. Rick Bright , who was Director of the Department of Health and Human Services Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, was removed from his position because he insisted on rigorous vetting of treatments for the Coronavirus, specifically those touted by the Trump administration.
Bright led a federal agency involved in developing a vaccine for the Coronavirus. He was abruptly dismissed. He commented in a statement to the NYT:
“I believe this transfer was in response to my insistence that the government invest the billions of dollars allocated by Congress to address the Covid-19 pandemic into safe and scientifically vetted solutions, and not in drugs, vaccines and other technologies that lack scientific merit.”
Bright maintains that doing his job responsibly caused clashes with “HHS political leadership.” He was, according to his statements, criticized for his “proactive efforts to invest early into vaccines and supplies critical to saving American lives.” He also, “…resisted efforts to fund potentially dangerous drugs promoted by those with political connections.”
Bright was talking about efforts to make chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, which, he said “clearly lack scientific merit.”
One of the risks, Bright pointed out of these drugs in clinical trials, was “increased mortality.” That means the drugs are likely to kill you.
The political people have “politicized the work of BARDA” he says and pressured him to “fund companies with political connections and efforts that lack scientific merit.”
This is where we are folks. This Coronavirus effort on the part of the Republican Party and the Trump administration is just one huge feeding frenzy, a free-for-all of profiteering. This is one point of corruption among countless others across the system where the con artists and grifters Trump and the Republicans have put in place are having the time of their financial lives.
The real question is whether we are going to let them get away with it.
The corporate media is a complete waste of time. They failed us in 2016 and they are spectacularly failing us now. We must turn to other news sources. These are excerpts from The Nation Magazine.
Grey, Rohan, Nation Manazine, April 20/27 2020).
Biden indicated that as president, he would veto Medicare for All legislation because of concern over the price tag. “Biden has been a deficit hawk his entire career. As a Senator, he broke with his party to support a Repubican-sponsored balanced budget amendment, and as vice president he spearheaded efforts to achieve a bipartisan deficit reduction deal that included cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.”
“In the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, the Obama administration allowed millions to lose their homes in order to “foam the runways” for the banking system, while the Republicans cynically weaponized deficit and debt hysteria in order to deny the Democrats the political credit of a more successful recovery.”
“…much of the suffering attributable to this pandemic will not come from people directly contracting the virus, but from our collective failure to provide adequate care and support to the elderly, the physically vulnerable, the poor, and people in less fortunate countries during their hour of need. The virus itself may be a novel twist, but the broader story is regrettably all too familiar.”
Biden, in the debates, “…acknowledged that upon entering office in 2009, he and President Obama were informed by the Department of Defense that climate change was the single greatest threat to American national security—a point Sanders has been making for years. However, when the moderators pointed out that his climate plan was $14 trillion less than Bernie’s, he retreated into defensive bluster and nostalgic promises to restore the 2016 Paris Agreement. Gone was the sense of existential urgency and ambition that had animated his earlier remarks about the coronavirus.
“…whatever it takes means embracing the inevitability of a head-on conflict with the self-interest of concentrated private capital. A few months ago, it would have sounded extreme to propose placing Amazon, Walmart, Netflix, Uber, and American Airlines under public ownership. But today the socially contingent nature of these corporate behemoths—from their financial engine, to their workforce, to the goods and services they provide—has been laid bare. If luxury perfume companies like Christian Dior and Givenchy can be repurposed to make hand sanitizer to save lives, surely we can consider the same for the companies responsible for essential basic staples such as food, ventilators, and toilet paper. We want clean hands. But we also want bread, roses, and the means to wipe our asses.”
This crisis brings into focus the damage of forty years of neo-liberal politics. These policies have been corrosive.
The effect of a crisis reveals how well the society was prepared in the first place. If, when a hurricane is coming, the society lived in houses that were already built to withstand a hurricane and have good plumbing, the effect of the hurricane is not so disastrous. For us, it’s like we have been living in tin huts.
Decades of wage suppression have left people living on the edge of financial survival.
If you cannot survive a $400 emergency, if you don’t have the reserves to last over a $400 emergency, you are going to have to go back to work, no matter what the risks. If people go back to work, they are going to destroy the social distancing measure effect.
Over the past 40 years, the richest 1% got richer. The poorer got poorer.
By Mid-March 18% of the workforce will lose their jobs or suffer reduced hours due to the epidemic. We could see 20% unemployment.
Even on the Democratic side, politicians are steeped in neoliberalism.
As the Republicans have been saying, they want a government so small it could be drowned in a bathtub. Well, that’s what we now have, a government that is unprepared to deal with a crisis like this. We have underfunded all the collective capacity of the government to deal with a situation like this. We have done so to maintain a society whose entire organizational structure is designed to make rich people richer.
One example of this that is particularly pertinent at the moment is massive hospital consolidation which has left us without the adequate health care capacity to deal with a pandemic. While this consolidation has made private equity guys rich, it has not benefited the rest of us..
The U.S. has one of the lowest per capita percentages of hospital beds in the developed world. In Italy, where there is an unmitigated disaster, they have significantly more capacity in their hospital system.
While it’s more “efficient” when 70% – 80% of your hospital beds are filled at any one time. In a crisis, you need more beds. When you don’t have them you are in a situation like we are in now, where we’re choosing who gets health care and who doesn’t. We are forced to choose who will live and who will die with people who would otherwise survive.
Grover Norquist said that his goal (and the goal of the Republican Party) was to establish a government that was small enough to be drowned in a bathtub.
But, there is no alternative to collective capacity. You can’t buy own ventilators. You can’t prepare for pandemic on your own. You can’t establish your own CDC, develop your own vaccines.
(Note: Quote from Mario Cuomo saying that government is like family, sharing resources between those who have and those who have not).
China was able to respond quickly to the crisis because they have a well established collective capacity. We, on the other hand, are still struggling just to establish social distancing.
We are still not testing. Only way to control this pandemics is to test and isolate those infected, but we are not doing this.
(Note: The notion of American exceptionalism is one of the things that blocks us from taking effective action. The assumption is that we are Americans, we won’t be affected like the rest of the world, we can go back to work in the middle of a pandemic and not be hurt.)
McConnell and the whole gang of libertarian idiots, at least said that they believed we would all be better off on our own, without government.
But, the airlines asking for a $60 billion bailout. During the past decade the airlines have had high profits, but they didn’t use those profits to prepare. They did CEO raises and share buy backs. And now they are waiting, demanding that the government bail them out.
The airline industry spent $800 billion on share buy backs last year. That’s one year. They could have chosen to pay their workers more. But, they have established no cushion for disaster. This is an economy where corporations assume that any upturn is going to last forever. “They thought it was going to go on forever.”
Boeing is a good example of corporate irresponsibility. Their 737 max has been grounded for a year due to incompetence. But, during that time last year Boeing was borrowing money to buy back stock. Going into debt, borrowing money to return “value” to shareholders. This at a time when they were facing biggest internal management crisis in their history.
“The shareholders should be wiped out.” They allowed an incompetent company to run itself into the ground. But, rather than the investors absorbing the hit, the government is going to bail them out.
It should be part of the bill that no company gets a bail out without giving citizens preferred stock. The government could create a joint stock company, and everyone with a social security card, would be a co-equal share holder. This would be like a Sovereign Wealth Fund. Citizens would own the stock, not the government. Preferred stock means that the holders are given preference over all other stock holders. They get paid first if there’s a liquidation.
Individuals would own stock in any company accepting a bailout.
Vast majority of these companies are going to thrive, and instead of old shareholders being bailed out, middle class citizens would own shares along with the old shareholders.
This is a fair way to recapitalize these companies.
When you retire, you get your share.
And, by doing it this way, we would have seats on the board.
This is one way of turning lemons into lemonade
The vast majority of wealth in this country is owned by a minority. We could make this the new disaster capitalism. For the past 40 years economic and other types of disasters have been used to disempower regular people, to disenfranchise and impoverish them. We can re-empower regular people by making new rules in this crisis.
We can change the rules. We can set rules for those companies that are requiring bail outs. We could require, for example, that labor be on boards of these companies. Other countries do this.
We can make rules that these bailout companies have to keep their employees employed. We are not bailing you out so you can downsizes lay off people.
We could require that companies have to offer $15 minimum wage, paid sick leave. If these companies need the money they will have to take the rules. Otherwise they don’t have to take the money.
Crises like these make vivid past policy failures – the fact that there is no national policy on paid sick leave.
Make the tax structure make more progressive, raise the taxes on capital gains and dividend, to same level as ordinary income. I
Increase highest tax level for those making above $1 million to 50%
There is an insane amount of money available to meet the challenges of society if we just make the tax system fair.
Have a national health care system that disintermediates private insurers – from health care transactions.
Implement common sense labor reforms, national paid sick leave, raise minimum wage, increase wages for bottom 60%.
Establish expanded unemployment programs. The length and the amount of unemployment should be increased.
A discussion of politics, law, justice, and crime.