Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Divert To Race

I went to the YouTube website, entered into the search engine "Christopher Rufo school choice," and up popped twelve videos pertaining to Christopher Rufo and critical race theory. And that's when I realized we, other than one person, were getting it all wrong.

I did so after finding this thread from Rufo on Critical Race Theory, which he criticized as being anti-white and unpopular (even?) among Latino and Asian parents. Then came the tell:

(The video below, with bad closed captioning, is from 2012 but still generally relevant.)

Provide maximum school choice for parents. Not easy, but eminently possible. If you're wondering what charter schools, vouchers, and subsidized home schooling have to do with Critical Race Theory, you're catching on. While Rufo implies that "nonstop racialist ideology, race essentialism, and collective guilt" exists, and can exist, only in public schools, he is being deceptive, inasmuch as

A website that features a database of information on critical race theory (CRT) curricula and training in higher education unveiled a new study Monday focusing on the controversial ideology infiltrating the top 25 most elite K-12 private schools in America.

The project indicated that some schools openly admit to teaching CRT, while others are more subtle. Of the top 25 private schools, the database found that seven had some form of mandatory anti-racism training for students and a staggering 20 of 25 schools had some sort of curricular requirement change based off of anti-racism, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI), or critical race theory.

William Jacobson, the Cornell Law School professor who founded the conservative-leaning site Legal Insurrection, created CriticalRace.org earlier this year to track how the widely debated concept is permeating U.S. institutions. His new initiative covers the same information as the higher education database, with a focus on K-12 learning.

Rufo either is unaware of this or dishonest about his ulterior motive.  After she recently spoke to Rufo, New York Times columnist Michelle Goldberg noted

“We are right now preparing a strategy of laying siege to the institutions,” he said. In practice, this means promoting the traditional Republican school choice agenda: private school vouchers, charter schools and home-schooling. “The public schools are waging war against American children and American families,” he said. Families, in turn, should have “a fundamental right to exit.”

Christopher Rufo, like most people, doesn't like CRT. We now know, with help from Goldberg and Rufo himself, that the campaign against it is about far more than how American history is taught. Obviously, most Democrats don't understand, or won't acknowledge, this and continue to focus on possible racial motivations for the crusade Christopher Rufo launched.  That is either a reflection on the party's current obsession or of an approval of the growing privatization of education and ruination of the public school system. The first is bad, the latter worse.



Monday, November 29, 2021

Shoe Merely On Other Foot

There is more than a little truth in the axioms "what's good for the goose is good for the gander" and "turnabout is fair play." 

At a town hall gathering in Pueblo, Colorado, Representative Boebert had given an account of an alleged encounter in Washington, D.C. with Representative Ilhan Omar, well-known Muslim congresswoman from Minnesota. ending with "well, if she doesn't have a backpack, it should be fine."

After the anticipated outcry, Boebert apologized, thankfully not attempting to rationalize the fictionalized story as a joke, which it obviously was, which would not have excused the remark. It clearly does foster an atmosphere encouraging violence against Muslims and as Move On noted, merits accountability.

So there is an obvious solution, one which will be ignored by Congress. In February, 2019 Omar herself posted tweets (thereafter deleted), in which she "accused Israel of having 'hypnotized the world.' She then sparked more outrage with tweets criticizing the influence of pro-Israel lobbying groups. "

Reacting to the congresswoman accusing American Jews of dual allegiance, House Democrats drafted a resolution steeped in bothsiderism, condemning "anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, racism, "and other forms of bigotry." The resolution was meaningless and therefore passed easily, avoiding mention of the Minnesotan. Worse than meaningless: in response to a resolution addressing anti-Semitism of a Muslim,  two Muslim members of the House joined Omar in a statement boasting "It's the first time we have voted on a resolution condemning Anti-Muslim bigotry in our nation's history."

Coupling the two didn't curtail bigotry, but that never was the point. For Democrats in 2019, it was a willingness to call out anti-Semitism as long as they could do the same with anti-Muslim and anti-black animus. For Republicans now, it could be the reverse: condemning anti-Islamophobia while denouncing anti-Semitism and, for good measure, supporting Israel. 

It wouldn't solve the problem displayed by Omar in 2019 and Boebert in 2021. Many members of Congress, wise enough to keep their preferences to themselves, will continue privately to judge fellow Americans by their religious or racial identity. However, a superficial resolution would offer Representatives an opportunity to make a statement about their values- however twisted- and give them a warm feeling inside.


Sunday, November 28, 2021

Could Happen To Any "D"

On November 13, during her diplomatic visit to France, Vice-President Harris spent $580 at "legendary culinary emporium" E. Dehillerin in Paris. The far-right Free Beacon, citing purchase of a $375 pot, charged  “The vice-presidential shopping spree came as Americans stateside suffer from the worst inflation in three decades, putting strain on both consumers and small businesses.” According to the Republican Party twitter account,  "while Americans are struggling to pay more than EVER for the holidays, Kamala Harris is out buying a $375 pot.”

That's pretty rich, considering as of 13 months ago President Trump had

visited his own properties more than 280 times since he took office — hosting summits at his Mar-a-Lago Club in Florida, taking summer breaks at his club in Bedminster, N.J., and pausing international trips to visit his golf resorts in Scotland and Ireland.

These visits brought the president to familiar places, full of friends, family and political supporters.

They also brought his company money, from American taxpayers.

The Washington Post has obtained federal spending records showing that — while Trump was visiting his properties — his company was benefiting from payments from the U.S. government.

The total: at least $2.5 million in taxpayer funds. Much of that spending was triggered by Trump’s travel, or the travel of his family and aides.

By contrast, Harris spent only her own money, and $580 is a little less than $2.5 million.  However, this is not a legitimate defense of Harris:

This response to Nance is more like it.


President Obama was viciously attacked by the right. So, too, has been President Biden and the decades long crusade against the Clintons, culminating in a full court press against Hillary Clinton, is unprecedented in American history. For those such as Nance and others who appear not to have noticed: Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton, and Joe Biden are white.

There were several effective retorts to this criticism of the Vice President. Unlike most cookware purchased by Americans, little if any of Le Creuset's cookware is built under the auspices of the Butchers of Beijing. Harris spent her own family's money, and there are worst things- a Badgley Mischka wedding dress, or a Glock, for example- to spend hundreds (or even thousands) of dollars on. And then there is Donald Trump, whose primary objective as President was to rip off American taxpayers.

The worst way defense is to invoke race. And for Nance and others who choose to not to notice, of those three public figures depicted below, two are white men and one a white woman. That's not public service while white- aside from Fauci, that's governing while Democratic.

Friday, November 26, 2021

Indirect, But Real

When Bill Maher recently was interviewed by CNN's Chris Cuomo, the host of Real Time maintained that it is Representative Liz Cheney's

job to go after Biden. That's what Republicans do. They go after the - I mean, we did that forever. Republicans and Democrats were cats and dogs, and they fought. But also, Tip O'Neill and Reagan could have a drink, after work. They could work together.

I don't know how we are ever going to work together. How do you - we have how many QAnon members of Congress now? QAnon!

As seen in the video below, The Yong Turks' Cenk Uygur didn't play that excerpt, but instead others in which Maher lamented the contemporary practice of liberals of obsessing about race and gender, which Maher has been sufficiently indelicate to observe has been politically harmful for Democrats.  Maher, who has been warning of a "slow-moving, right-wing coup" by Donald Trump and allies since before the election of 2016, had told Cuomo "I think everyone recognizes, everyone right- thinking, in my view, that still a lot of work needs to be done. Remedial efforts need to be taken still. Racism is part of America." Yet, an incensed Uygur charged (at 9:44) "I think Bill Maher is worse than a right-winger."

Hyperbolic, fact-deficient claims aside, however, Uygur maintained (beginning at 10:04)

"Remember we all agree the left is wrong and he right wing is right." So he says absurd lies like "they're teaching all across the country that groups are- that the kids should be lined up as the oppressed and the oppressor." Show me one example, Bill, show me all across the country. That's not a thing. You just made it up. You just made it up. Because you probably read right-wing trash and think it's real because "all my friends are right-wing, right."

There is no such thing. If they lined up kids and said "you are the oppressors," I'd hate that. I'd be 100% opposed to that. It's not what they do. You liar. You liar.

Oops. In assessing the election of Republican Glenn Youngkin to the governorship of Virginia, Yascha Mounk of the Council on Foreign Relations, Johns Hopkins University, and The Atlantic linked to examples while explaining

The idea that critical race theory is an academic concept that is taught only at colleges or law schools might be technically accurate, but the reality on the ground is a good deal more complicated. Few middle or high schoolers are poring over academic articles written by Richard Delgado or KimberlΓ© Crenshaw. But across the nation, many teachers have, over the past years, begun to adopt a pedagogical program that owes its inspiration to ideas that are very fashionable on the academic left, and that go well beyond telling students about America’s copious historical sins.

In some elementary and middle schools, students are now being asked to place themselves on a scale of privilege based on such attributes as their skin color. History lessons in some high schools teach that racism is not just a persistent reality but the defining feature of America. And some school systems have even embraced ideas that spread pernicious prejudices about nonwhite people, as when a presentation to principals of New York City public schools denounced virtues such as “perfectionism” or the “worship of the written word” as elements of “white-supremacy culture.”

Mounk argues "It is impossible to win elections by telling voters that their concerns are imaginary. If Democrats keep doing so, they will keep losing." It exists; it's happening. And if liberals and progressives such as Uygur pretend that it isn't, thus failing to heed the warnings the likes of Mounk and Maher, it won't be voters only in Virginia who send the Democratic Party an unpleasant message.


Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Finally, All Lives Matter

Ten days after the murder by a white police officer of George Floyd in Minneapolis, a senor editor of Good Housekeeping argued "responding 'All Lives Matter' to 'Black Lives Matter' is actually more divisive than unifying. That's because it discounts and diminishes the focus on the violence and discrimination Black individuals face every day in this country."

The following day, a sportswriter named Donnovan Bennett generously offered  "a tutorial on why 'All Lives Matter' is somewhere on the spectrum between tone deaf and offensive." A columnist at Cleveland.com labeled it "one of America's most ignorant rallying cries." Joseph Margulies, a professor of law and government at Cornell University, charged "saying that 'all lives matter' is a weapon of racism."

Even John McWhorter, in his naive days, maintained "Black lives matter’ means ‘black lives matter, too.’ The ‘too’ is implied." (It rarely was.)

"What a difference a day makes, 24 little hours," sang Dinah Washington 62 years ago. Twenty-four hours can make a difference, and what a difference 18 months make. Back in those heady days of "black lives matter" and "Black Lives Matter," the slogan "All Lives Matter" was widely considered racist in liberal and progressive circles. 

It seems the worm has turned:

Marcus Arbery should be applauded, and not only for stating "for real, all lives matter, not just blacks. We don't want to see nobody going through this." He said this in the presence of Reverend Al Sharpton, irreverently referred to as "the Rev," by the rude Nicole Wallace and a few others at MSNBC. Sharpton had contended fifteen days after the murder of Floyd "The problem is it has not been equal on the other side, so there’s been no equal need to say white lives matter – that has been a given and the system has worked that way."

Safe prediction: personalities appearing on MSNBC and CNN will either ignore Mr. Arbery's remark or claim the context has changed. The context in the spring/summer of 2020 was racial justice; the context in the autumn of 2021 is.... racial justice.

As Reverend Sharpton knew, virtually no one was saying "white lives matter." Some people were saying "all lives matter." And now the father of Marcus Arbery has said so, also.

                                                HAPPY THANKSGIVING


Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Symbolic And More

Not only descriptive, also prescriptive.

Early in the video below, Bill Maher can be seen lamenting "Democrats have gone from the party that protects people to the party that protects feelings, from 'ask not what your country can do for you' to 'you owe me an apology.'"

That was eight days after Donald J. Trump was inaugurated as President and (at 5:09), Maher is seen noting "what matters is that while you self-involved fools were policing the language at the Kids Choice Awards, a madman talked his way into the White House."

Everyone has an obsession, and his may as well be a healthful one. Lucky for us, Maher is still at it, and thus it was that when recently interviewed by Chris Cuomo, the star of Real Time inevitably went to the theme he has been hammering home for several years.  He commented

I think there's a lot of old-school liberals, like me, who don't like what's going on, on the far of the left. I always keep - I keep saying, when you're doing something that sounds like a headline in "The Onion," that's when you've gone too far, you know? Land of Lincoln cancels Lincoln. That really happened. They tore down Lincoln's.

It's not Illinois, but it'll do. As Cuomo pointed out, roughly 800 miles to the east

A statue of Thomas Jefferson has been removed from city hall in New York, because the founder and third president enslaved people.

A work crew spent several hours on Monday freeing the 884lb, 7ft statue from its pedestal in the council chambers and carefully maneuvering it into a padded wooden crate, for the short journey to the New York Historical Society.

The city public design commission, whose members are appointed by the mayor, Bill de Blasio, voted earlier in the day to exile the statue, sculpted in 1833, to the society on a 10-year loan.

Some members wanted it to remain on public display instead of standing in the lobby of a venue, on Central Park West, that charges $22 admission, the New York Post reported.

Maher stated that most voters are unaware that Democratic officials nationally are united against "defunding the police" but are associated with the harmful slogan, as they are with critical race theory. It is a "disconnect that the Democrats really better address."  Stating "these are 'Onion' headlines," Maher remarked  "and yet, this is where this party is or - I don't think that's where the party is. It's where the faction that gets all the headlines. And again, it goes in the Blue bin. And the average voter sees that and attaches it."

The political impact plays out less in presidential elections, in which the candidates and their views are well known to the average voter, than in elections down-ballot.  Below the presidential level, the effect, though slow-moving and sometimes indirect, could be fatal to many aspiring and incumbent Democrats.  

Monday, November 22, 2021

Exploiting School Closures

Spurred by a discussion with Chris Rufo, founding father of the campaign against critical race theory, Michelle Goldberg in her Nrw York Times column wrote

As many have pointed out, the reason education was such an incendiary issue in the Virginia governor’s race likely had less to do with critical race theory than with parent fury over the drawn-out nightmare of online school. Because America’s response to Covid was so politically polarized, school shutdowns were longest in blue states, and Virginia’s was especially severe; only six states had fewer in-person days last year.

Less, probably; much less, unlikely.  However, notwithstanding the misleading headline "Democrats Desperately Need Schools to Get Back to Normal," Goldberg did not intend to spank Democrats for any short term harm to children by closing schools because of the coronavirus. Instead, she noted "shutdowns have contributed to an exodus from public schools" in the politically kindred Fairfax County, Virginia, New York City, and California and

In an environment like this, Republican proposals to subsidize private school tuition are likely to be received gratefully by many parents. It’s a perilous situation for Democrats, the party of public schools. If they want to stanch the bleeding, they should treat the rollout of the children’s Covid vaccine as an opportunity to make public schools feel lively and joyful again.

“I’ve unlocked a new terrain in the culture war, and demonstrated a successful strategy,” Goldberg quotes Rufo, "a documentary filmmaker-turned-conservative activist." And

With that done, he was getting ready for a new phase of his offensive.

“We are right now preparing a strategy of laying siege to the institutions,” he said. In practice, this means promoting the traditional Republican school choice agenda: private school vouchers, charter schools and home-schooling. “The public schools are waging war against American children and American families,” he said. Families, in turn, should have “a fundamental right to exit.”

"Democrats need to take this onslaught seriously," Goldberg warns, and concludes

Rufo readily admits that school closures prepared the ground for the drive against critical race theory. “You have a multiracial group of parents that felt like the public school bureaucracies were putting their children through a policy regime of chaos, with Covid and shutdowns, and then pumping them full of left-wing racialist ideologies,” he said. He’s right about the first part, even if the second is a fantasy.

Now Democrats have a choice. They can repair the public schools, or watch people like Rufo destroy them.

This is a far broader and comprehensive view of the measures Democratic officials have imposed to respond to the education crisis imposed by Covid-19 than has been taken by the myriad of pundits, journalists, and politicians featured in print and (especially) broadcast media. There is no greater danger to the crucial, and traditionally unifying, institution of public education than the schemes of privatization which undergird and motivate Christopher Rufo and other conservative activists. Finally, someone noticed.


Saturday, November 20, 2021

Miserable Response

It's a mixed up, muddled-up, shook up world....

-Lola, Ray Davies, 1970


Ray Davies was writing about someone who "walked like a woman and talked like a man." In the instant case, it's Will Bunch being wrong and Andrew Cuomo being right. Even saints make mistakes, and even a stopped clock is right twice a day. Also, this: when a politician is forced from office and read out of his party's politics, he may be freed to be blunt and honest.

President Biden stated "Look, I stand by what the jury has concluded, The jury system works, and we have to abide by it." It's unclear whether by "abide" the President meant "to bear patiently" or "to accept without objection."

We must hope it is Door A but, given the naive assertion "the jury system works," it's not likely. The jury system works if the accused a) has the time and money to go to trial; b) can afford a private attorney, given that the public defender system in this country is broken; and c) the jury is wise.

In Kyle Rittenhouse's case, the charges- and potential prison time- were sufficient for the accused to dedicate a month or two to his defense, for which substantial funds were raised.  And the jury fell for his crying jag when he was on the witness stand. The jury system worked for Kyle Rittenhouse. He is among the lucky few.

By contrast, Andrew Cuomo referred to the message sent by the verdict about our values, including an abhorrence of vigilantism. The former governor avoided two common, misguided reactions of liberals to the verdict: ascribing it completely to race or rationalizing it on legal grounds. 

Prior to the verdict, liberal pundits waxed grave concern about Rittenhouse's actions. Once the verdict was rendered, however, some became instant experts on the intricacies of criminal law and refused even to suggest the possibility that the jury might have gotten it wrong.

Such was the reaction of Kamala "the verdict really speaks for itself" Harris. Hers was either a defense of the verdict- or an effort to interject herself into the matter without saying anything of substance.

If the Vice President wanted to skirt the issue altogether, she could have with "no comment" or "I did not follow the trial closely enough to render an opinion."

But she did not. She claimed "As many of you know, I spent a majority of my career working to make the justice system more equitable.  "As you know" is patronizing and "spent a majority of my career working to make the justice system more equitable" is self-serving.

It's also inaccurate. Breitbart News argues

In 2008, Kamala Harris failed to prosecute an illegal alien MS-13 gang member who shot and killed an entire family three months later.

During the 2020 Democrat presidential primaries, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) called attention to the fact that Harris laughed about smoking marijuana after putting over 1,500 people in jail for marijuana violations. Gabbard also highlighted that Harris opposed DNA testing until ordered by the courts in a case that would have exonerated a man on death row.

As California Attorney General, Harris championed a law that could have given jail time to the parents of truant children.

Feel free not to buy that from the right-wing Breitbart or Tulsi Gabbard. Yet, consider that, as Harris was being considered as Joe Biden's running mate, the Prospect described in detail how as Attorney General of California she

repeatedly and openly defied U.S. Supreme Court orders to reduce overcrowding in California prisons while serving as the state’s attorney general, according to legal documents reviewed by the Prospect. Working in tandem with Gov. Jerry Brown, Harris and her legal team filed motions that were condemned by judges and legal experts as obstructionist, bad-faith, and nonsensical, at one point even suggesting that the Supreme Court lacked the jurisdiction to order a reduction in California’s prison population.

Kamala Harris strenuously resisted releasing from prison non-violent offenders because performing her job properly and serving the people of California were inconsequential to someone whose only interest was (is) ascending to higher office. When now asked about a controversial criminal charge(s) and verdict, her objective is to curry favor with the left by claiming to be dedicated to equity in the criminal justice system, while refusing to question even the possibility that the jury might have erred. Skepticism about the latter would not have been welcome on CNN or MSNBC, let alone Fox News.

In fairness, the Vice President added "clearly there is a lot more work to do." Intentionally vague, this statement means nothing. Nothing.

"In God we trust; all others pay cash,"  quipped the late Jean Shepherd some 55 years ago. If there is a God, there was a Jesus, a divinity or mere prophet. An updated, albeit less catchy, expression could be: "Only Jesus is perfect. Juries make mistakes." Andrew Cuomo appears to understand that juries are not infallible; Kamala Harris appears not to understand. If she is the heir apparent to President Biden, for Democrats, clearly there is a lot more work to do.

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Same Old GOP Tune

While Project Lincoln- "racist, pure and simple"- is wrong, thee is probably even more wisdom in the tweet than even PSU Blaze himself realizes:

Saule Omarova is President Biden's nominee to be head of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. As noted here, "Originally from Kazakhstan, Omarova was educated in Moscow before coming to the United States in 1991 on a student exchange program in the Political Science Department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison."

Kazakhstan is a small, sparsely populated nation in central Asia and was the last jurisdiction to declare its independence from the Soviet Union, in the same year that Omarova left to study in the USA.

Omarova earned a doctorate at Wisconsin and a law degree from Northwestern University, later serving as a senior advisor in the United States Treasury under Bush 43.  According to Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs chairperson Sherrod Brown, Omarova has "published dozens of works" pertaining to finance and "more than 70 financial regulatory experts from across the political spectrum, including bankers, have endorsed her nomination."

That, and Omarova's expertise as a staunch critic of concentration in the financial services industry, earned Senator Kennedy's cheap shot. He never did call Melania Trump "comrade," because she is the wife of the president to whom John Kennedy has pledged his allegiance. 

Bigotry is selective. Republicans even have their own black senator, South Carolina's Tim Scott, who vehemently opposes Omarova because, well, let Matthew Stoller explain:

I've read Omarova's work for about a decade. It's very clear that she is a foe of too big to fail banks, reckless bailouts, and speculative excess. The right, as usual, simply cannot see policy alignment when it's a Democrat making the case.

But she poses an even bigger threat than that for Republican donors.

Omarova is being opposed for just one reason. She understands banking.

The first tweet indicates why champagne corks were popped by the financial services industry when Bernie Sanders was eliminated in the stretch round for the Democratic presidential nomination. But it's why the bigger celebration probably occurred earlier when Elizabeth Warren was effectively eliminated in the race. And it leads us to factors aside from race or national background to the recognition that when push comes to shove, Republican legislators will always side with capital over consumer, with profits over people.

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

More Than Trump

Chris Christie, former governor and presidential candidate and (still) Donald Trump sycophant, has been on a charm offensive with major news outlets, Nicole Wallace's credible interview notwithstanding.  He believes Trump did a lot of swell things as President and was a far better choice for the office than Hillary Clinton. And he condemns Joe Biden as President but acknowledges the latter was duly elected. So everything is forgiven.

Christie's perspective might be a little credible were Donald Trump the only problem facing the country. However, the latter is not the sole problem and may not be the primary one.

On Wednesday, 207 of 210 Republicans, 98.6%, voted against censuring and removing from committee assignments Representative Paul Gosar for having threatened the life of one of his colleagues, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. In voting "present," David Joyce of Ohio refused, along with the two Republicans ( Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger) who oppose the violent overthrow of the government, to defend a man so odious he's hated by his own family.

Then there is Steve Bannon, who unlike Trump has never been President and never will be, a man so odious that he has called for the beheading of Dr. Anthony Fauci and FBI director Robert Wray. (I don't like either myself, but really.) Now

Republicans are rallying around former White House adviser Stephen K. Bannon after his indictment on charges of contempt of Congress on Friday, warning that Democrats’ efforts to force Bannon to comply with what they say is an unfair subpoena paves the way for them to do the same if they take back the House in 2022.

Bannon, like former president Donald Trump, has refused to comply with an order from the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection to turn over records and testify about his actions leading up to the attack, when a pro-Trump mob stormed the U.S. Capitol trying to stop the certification of President Biden’s electoral college win....

Many GOP leaders, however, are seizing on Bannon’s indictment to contend that Democrats are “weaponizing” the Justice Department, warning Democrats that they will go after Biden’s aides for unspecified reasons if they take back the House majority in next year’s midterm elections, as most political analysts expect.

“For years, Democrats baselessly accused President Trump of ‘weaponizing’ the DOJ. In reality, it is the Left that has been weaponizing the DOJ the ENTIRE TIME — from the false Russia Hoax to the Soviet-style prosecution of political opponents,” Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), the third-ranking House Republican, tweeted Saturday.

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) suggested that Republicans would seek payback if the GOP regained control of the House, signaling that in challenging the doctrine of executive privilege, Democrats were making it easier for Republicans to force Biden’s top advisers to testify before a future GOP Congress.

This claim is suspect because it comes from a Trump flunkie, but is stunning if true:

Former White House communications director Alyssa Farah riled up former President Donald Trump by telling CNN that he admitted his election defeat to Joe Biden was legitimate.

“He told me shortly after that he knew he lost, but then folks got around him,” she told CNN’s Pamela Brown on Saturday. “They got information in front of him, and I think his mind genuinely might have been changed about that, and that’s scary because he did lose.”

Donald Trump may have been less radical, less intent on allowing Joe Biden to assume the presidency, than were people around him. Chew on that awhile.

House Republicans and GOP bureaucrats are different in degree but not in kind from Chris Christie, who excuses the January 6 insurrectionists with "I don't think they would've gone there if they thought the election had been fair."  (Most of the media has interpreted this as Christie criticizing Trump's role in the insurrection. They were born yesterday.)  Donald Trump, Republicans in state legislatures curbing the right to vote, the former New Jersey governor, and GOP politicians from the Atlantic to the Pacific and from the Canadian border to the Gulf of Mexico, are sending a clear message:  representative democracy must have no home in the United States of America. 


Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Won't Work

When President Biden in May concluded a speech, delivered at a Ford plant in Dearborn, Michigan, touting manufacture in the USA of electric vehicles, he concluded with "May God bless you.  And may God protect our troops.  Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you."

This was not atypical. President Obama would conclude his speeches with the likes of "God bless you and God bless the United Statesof America;"' "Thank you and God Bless you;"  "Thank you, Illinois. God bless. God bless this country we love. Thank you." Still, birtherism- which makes this notion a little odd:


One tweeter responded "Wasn't that basically what the Clinton campaign was in 2016? If If you go back and rewatch the speeches from the convention, it's wall-to-wall patriotism. For that matter, it's not too different from the Kerry 2004 playbook.Another noted "Aren't both parties constantly appealing to patriotism? This premise makes no sense," and still another that both Biden and Hillary Clinton won a greater share of the two-party presidential vote than did John F. Kennedy

The premise not make sense. If looking for a patriotic President, look no further than

But I also wanted to put the world on notice: America is back.  America is back.  In the competition for the 21st century, the future will be built right here in America.

Look at this plant.  We’re moving.  We’re working again.  We’re dreaming again.  We’re discovering again.  We’re leading the world again.

We have shown each other and the world that there’s no quit in America.  There’s simply no quit in America. And that’s never, ever — it’s — every time I have these, sometimes knock-down, drag-them-outs with heads of state in private — they’ll say something, and I’ll say, “Look, it’s never been a good bet to bet against America.  Never, never, never.”

This patriotic rhetoric in Dearborn was linked to a policy objective:

Bottom line: The American Jobs Plan is a blue-collar blueprint to rebuild America — a blue-collar blueprint to build America.  (Applause.)  And we need automakers and other companies to keep investing here in America and not take the benefits of our public investments and expand electric vehicles and battery manufacturing production abroad.

Whether genuine or contrived, the image the "middle class Joe" (maybe his own characterization, but still) of "Scranton values" has cultivated is one of old-fashioned, can-do patriotism. It hasn't done much good.

On May 12, 2001, six days before Joe Biden vowed "there's no quit in America" and proposed a "blue-collar blueprint to rebuild America," 56% of respondents were reported as approving of President Biden and only38% disapproving. Nine months later, 45% disapprove of the President while merely 49% approve of him.

Nevertheless, "someone needs to try patriotism soon," argues Noah Smith, who is "on the progressive side of things myself."

But Democrats are associated with tolerance of racial and sexual minorities, immigrants, and (somewhat less) the underprivileged. They are not associated with nationalistic fervor, which Americans often misinterpret as patriotism. If a "patriotism first" Democratic Party arose, voters probably would not recognize and acknowledge it, let alone find it authentic.


Monday, November 15, 2021

Successful Policy

It was not incompetence. It was not malfeasance. The Administration's policies worked as expected Last week we learned

The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis released to CNN on Friday new evidence showing how US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials were pressured by Trump administration officials to alter scientific guidance and prevented from communicating directly with the public.

In new excerpts of transcribed interviews, Dr. Nancy Messonnier, the former director of the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said she was made aware that then-President Donald Trump was angered by a February 25, 2020, briefing during which she warned the public about the dangers of the coronavirus. Messonnier says in the transcript she had calls with former CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield and former US Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar after the briefing, and that she was "upset" after her conversation with Azar.

In the transcripts, other CDC officials described how requests to hold briefings about mask guidance and pediatric Covid-19 cases and deaths were denied. When asked about a CNN report that CDC officials felt "muzzled," Dr. Anne Schuchat, CDC's former principal deputy director, said, "That is the feeling that we had, many of us had."

This should not have been surprising.  In April of 2020 the federal government was

accused of intercepting shipments of vital medical equipment ordered by state authorities to shore up their supplies in the face of the coronavirus crisis.

In March, President Donald Trump had told states to seek their own supplies and minimize their requests from the national stockpile, which has resulted in local authorities scrambling to place large orders of ventilators, masks, and other personal protective equipment.

Trump has put the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in charge of deciding which states are in most need of equipment from the national stockpile, replacing the Department of Health and Human Services, according to The New York Times.

Since then, there have been multiple reports of FEMA or the wider federal government diverting thousands of pieces of equipment from the states that ordered them, without explanation.

Recognizing a public health emergency was insufficient.   The President himself knew at least as of March 19, 2020 that the coronavirus attacked "not just old, older, young people, too, plenty of young people" but he "wanted to always play it down."  He did urge development of a vaccine because he knew it was his ticket to re-election, but it was approved a few weeks too late for him to salvage a victory. Until then, hundreds of thousands of preventable deaths would ensue, an outcome he favored and encouraged.

The guy who told a group of British businessmen in 2018 "you've all got such good bloodlines in this room (and) such amazing DNA" has believed in eugenics for a long time. Trump biographer Michael D'Antonio has explained

The racehorse theory of human development explains Trump's belief in his suitability for political leadership, despite the fact that he has never held office. He's absolutely convinced that America's problems will be solved by his God-given management skills, bankruptcies notwithstanding. You are either born with superior qualities — the right DNA — or you are not. And people get what they deserve. In his case, that includes the White House.

President Trump was convinced they got what they deserved, and it's likely he believes that the hundreds of thousands of Americans who died as he expected from  Covid-19 got what they deserved, too. And it's why Donald Trump's Covid-19 policy merely masqueraded as malpractice and malfeasance while it covered up a deep well of evil.

Sunday, November 14, 2021

Another Case Of MIsplaced Cynicism

 Tell us, Big Bird, what’s the real difference between these two things? pic.twitter.com/xhM4Wf9v1P

Actually, the difference is less significant than the similarity.

In 2014, thirteen-year old Tamir Rice was shot and killed by two police officers in a playground while the youngster was brandishing a toy pistol.  A grand jury declined to indict the cops, the city of Cleveland settled a civil rights lawsuit brought by the family, and five years after the incident the Department of Justice chose not to charge the officers.

As of this writing, Kyle Rittenhouse faces five felony, and one misdemeanor charges resulting from his decision to travel from Illinois to a black lives matter protest with an illegally-possessed AR-15. He may be convicted of everything, nothing, or- more likely- one or two offenses.

Although we don't know what the outcome of this trial will be, we do know that all three victims- two shot dead, one only wounded- are white. We know also that Judge Bruce Schroeder has barely concealed contempt for these victims.

Prior to the  start of the trial, Schroeder ruled that the prosecution must refer to these three individuals not as victims but by their names, and to the two killed as "decedents." Although he barred use of the term "victim(s)," he ruled against the prosecution's motion that the defense be prohibited from referring to the men as "looters, rioters, arsonists or any other pejorative term."

Whether Mr.  Rosenbaum, Mr. Grosskeutz, and Mr. Huber were "looters, rioters, or arsonists" was not yet determined. But these three individuals became victims once they were shot, even while Rittenhouse's culpability is yet to be determined. Two in death, one in life, they remain victims.

The white judge's barely concealed attempt for these three (white) men is ostensibly unrelated to their race.  Presumably, the Justice Department believed the police officers in Cleveland, Ohio did not believe that the police officers in Cleveland, Ohio were motivated in part because their victim- Tamir Rice- was black. However, skepticism was common at the time, and Johnston remains more than skeptical.

Your mileage may vary, and the role that race played in one or the other incident is debatable.  Not debatable, however, is that between the two, there are four victims. Three of them are deceased, two of them white and one dead.  And unless Kyle Rittenhouse is convicted of the most serious charges, no one will pay a penalty even remotely proportionate to the one paid by the individuals gunned down.


Friday, November 12, 2021

The League of Color?

As Mediaite notes, President Biden "was wishing Amb. Donald Blinken a happy birthday during his Veterans Day speech, and injected one of his favorite stories: a roundabout way of saying that you’re only as old as you feel."

He then stated

I’ve adopted the attitude of the great Negro — at the time, pitcher in the Negro Leagues — went on to become a great pitcher in the pros — in the Major League Baseball after Jackie Robinson. His name was Satchel Paige.

Mediaite remarks

While blue-check conservatives continued to falsely insist that Biden was referring to Paige — despite their own video clips belying that notion — Fox News walked a thin line between noting the outrage and not amplifying the falsehood.

On Thursday night’s edition of Hannity, host Sean Hannity expressed outrage, called the comments “one of [Biden’s] most disturbing, troubling moments to date,” and even displayed Mediaite’s headline as an example of the “media mob” giving Biden a “pass,” but when it came to the remarks themselves, Hannity let the video do all the talking.

He then played video of some of Biden’s past remarks, some of which have generated genuine controversy, and held a panel segment in which guests accused Biden of racism, but Hannity never made the specific charge, and guest Leo Terrell did so only obliquely.

And on Friday morning, the comments were part of headline roundups on Fox & Friends First. Again, the news copy included references to backlash online and a clip of the comments that included the full reference, with no claim that Biden was referring to Paige rather than the league that was formed in the face of segregation.

Mediaite concludes "Although Fox did not elaborate on the true context of Biden’s remarks, there do appear to have been factual guardrails in place that prevented them from running with a false claim."

Well, not really, as Chris Hayes points out:

But it shouldn't have gotten this far. If Biden was referring to Satchel Paige as a "Negro," he was not using a racial epithet, insulting the late pitcher, or saying anything derogatory. At the time of Paige's baseball career, blacks were referred to as "Negroes" or with the n-word. The word "Negroes" was never, ever considered as the "n-word," not by whites, blacks, or anyone. It was the term preferred by people who recognized that the pejorative terms and offensive terms at the time were the n-word- and, to a lesser extent, "colored people."

(Contrast that with today's "people of color." Can't? Your junior high grammar teacher would be proud.)

It was not showing a lack of respect for Satchel Paige to call him at the time a "Negro." Now, it would make no more sense to call him a "Negro" than to call some of us "Caucasian," part of a generally discredited typology.  Were he alive now- which he most assuredly is not- Paige would be "black" or "African-American."

Moreover, Satchel Paige did not participate in the "Colored league," the "Black league," or the "African-American league."  He participated in the Negro league, which would have made him- well, now, the answer is fairly obvious.

Thursday, November 11, 2021

Tweet Of The Day- Death Weapons

Chris Hayes has posted a series of tweets prompted by the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse and the segment (beginning at 5:29 of the video below) from his All In of the previous night.

Credit Hayes not only for his support of gun safety but also for recognizing and emphasizing the role of the NRA in promoting the culture in which Rittenhouse's behavior can be considered acceptable.

After a mass shooting at a school, there is attention paid for a few days to the ease with which firearms can be obtained in much of the country. When the mass shooting occurs elsewhere, there is concern for a news cycle or two. The right is beholden to firearm lobbyists and to the companies that benefit from the proliferation of firearms and the focus of the left and center is elsewhere. So credit Hayes not only for his support of gun safety but also for recognizing and emphasizing the role of the NRA in promoting the culture in which Rittenhouse's behavior can be considered acceptable.

As this Washington Post article explained in detail, in June, 2017 Officer Geronimo Yanez stopped a vehicle driven in Falcon Heights, Minnesota because the driver, Philandro Castile, allegedly appeared to resemble the suspect in a recent robbery. . Castile, accompanied by his girlfriend and the latter's toddler, told the Officer that he had a firearm in the automobile, then reached for what his girlfriend would later maintain was his identification. However, Yanez, who stated he had smelled marijuana in the car, evidently feared that Castile was reaching for the gun and shot him dead.

A .40 caliber semiautomatic handgun, with a loaded magazine but no round chambered, and a permit to carry later were found in Castile's pocket.  The officer, the Post noted, "was acquitted of two counts of endangering Reynolds and her 4-year-old daughter. The same day, St. Anthony officials said Yanez would not return to their police force."

The victim was black, as subjects of over-policing disproportionately are, and the narrative in the mainstream media at the time was: yet another black man shot by police.  Typical of the response, and typically for the man, then-President Barack Obama wrote in Facebook

What’s clear is that these fatal shootings are not isolated incidents. They are symptomatic of the broader challenges within our criminal justice system […], and the resulting lack of trust that exists between law enforcement and too many of the communities they serve.

Notwithstanding helpfully noting the "lack of trust that exists between law enforcement and too many of the communities they serve" (translation: black communities), Obama's remark was symptomatic of the broader problem of ignoring the proliferation of firearms in American society.

A police officer panicked and unjustifiably shot and killed Philandro Castile. But the unwillingness of the left to question- even if in passing- why the victim was possessing a firearm while he was traveling with his girlfriend and a child was telling.   Officer Yanez would maintain that, according to the Post, "he didn’t know whether Castile had the gun 'for protection' from a drug dealer or people trying to rob him."

It was an issue left unaddressed. . Enamored of the merchants of death, conservatives were silent. The NRA was silent, presumably because it was conflicted between condemning the killing and realizing that the innocent man was not a typical firearm owner. But no one on the left (as far as I could tell) would ask, either

It may be irrelevant whether that was because the deceased was black or because there is in actuality a dearth of interest in measures intended to protect the public against people who should not possess a firearm. (But I repeat myself.) The slaughter in American streets will continue long after Kyle Rittenhouse is convicted or acquitted.  We must not forget the guns and, at least in this case, Chris Hayes has not.


The Ignominious Thirteen

Say their names. There are fifteen members of the United Nations Security Council , of which five are permanent: China, France, Russia Fe...