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Take Your Inspiration Where You Can Get It

Balloon Juice - Tue, 06/22/2021 - 16:26

h/t Quiltingfool

Trae Crowder speaks for me today.  I’m much more of a “Yes We Can” girl than “No We Can’t.”

Where do you find the inspiration to keep going in the face of setbacks, in the face of messaging that’s filled with doom?


The post Take Your Inspiration Where You Can Get It appeared first on Balloon Juice.

Categories: Politics

Republican Senators Filibuster The For The People Act

Crooks and Liars - Tue, 06/22/2021 - 16:15

Arizona activists have gathered at Kyrsten Sinema's office to send her a very strong message: Ditch the filibuster and ditch it now. Because they are outside in the Arizona desert sun marching at the building her office occupies, exercising their First Amendment rights, they are being arrested and taken away.

They could have been doing any number of things today, but what they chose to do was stand up for democracy, even at the risk of being jailed for it.

At the same time this is happening, Senate Republicans are busy filibustering the For The People Act, the legislation passed by the House which would cement voting rights nationwide and make sweeping changes to how dark money is handled and how voting mechanisms are handled nationwide.

read more

Categories: Politics

Youth voters saved Democrats and America in 2020. Can they do the same in 2022?

Daily Kos - Tue, 06/22/2021 - 16:04

When an election is as tight as the one in 2020, from the presidency on down to the Senate runoff elections in Georgia, everyone is the reason we won. In Georgia, the Latino population is small, but their turnout was within the margin of victory. Same with the Asian community. Black voters. Urban voters. Women, including the white ones in the suburbs who used to vote Republican. There’s lots of credit to go around. 

But it also means that we need to do heavy lifting to keep winning and turning out that vote. If one of those groups feels disaffected, or neglected, our thin winning coalition becomes seriously imperiled. 

Today we’re going to look at the youth vote—how important it was in 2020, and how critical it will be in 2022 to have any chance of retaining control of both chambers of Congress, much less increase our majorities so that we can have a pro-ending-the-filibuster majority, one that renders obstructionist Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema irrelevant. Our guest will be Ben Wessel, the former executive director of NextGen America, an organization focused on youth voter turnout. 

x x YouTube Video

If you have any doubt about the importance of the youth vote, check this out: 


You can watch the show live, Tuesdays at 1:30 PM PT/4:30 PM ET, but I realize that’s not always the most convenient. So the podcast is a great alternative. It goes live Wednesday mornings at all the usual places, including Apple Podcasts and Spotify. A full list of places to download the show is available here.

Categories: Politics

#AbbottHatesDogs trends after Texas governor vetoes anti-cruelty bill—because he's cruel

Daily Kos - Tue, 06/22/2021 - 15:45

Last week, the warmblooded vertebrates among us—and a few Republicans, too—shed a tear or three after hearing that the Bidens’ longtime canine companion, Champ, had passed on to the land of eternal treats and belly scratches. (I don’t actually believe in an afterlife, but I carve out an admittedly irrational exception for dogs.)

Most people who have dogs treat them as members of the family in good standing—though, for the most part, we still can’t get them to do chores. Since my dogs’ job is barking at ghosts and begging for treats (I may eventually conscript them into peeing on Donald Trump’s grave, but I’ll never expect them to run the Iditarod), they’ve had no trouble meeting my expectations, and then some.

Unfortunately, not everyone treats dogs like members of the family. Some treat them horribly, with cruelty and neglect. A bill passed by the Texas legislature was supposed to address that—but Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who apparently thinks every conceivable problem, from power outages to animal cruelty, has a free-market solution—has vetoed the legislation. Because he’s fucking awful.

Categories: Politics

Psaki Bombs Dumb Republicans Trying To 'Gum Up' Legislation

Crooks and Liars - Tue, 06/22/2021 - 15:39

During today's briefing, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki blasted Senate Republican attempts to feign bipartisanship in order to muck up the reconciliation process. She went on to suggest that Bernie Sanders could give them a lesson since they seem lost on how the process works.

A White House reporter asked Psaki what she thinks about Republican plans to sign on to bipartisan talks on the jobs plan in order to derail the rest of their policies because of the time factor involved with also using reconciliation..

"I don't think that's how the process works fundamentally," Psaki replied.

The reporter tried again. "So it will not stop the White House from enacting--"

"Well, we can just go to our episode of how a bill becomes a law," she said. "There's a budget reconciliation process led by the budget chairman, it's proceeding, it needs a certain number of votes that's different from the number of votes needed for other pieces of legislation. The budget reconciliation process is proceeding."

She went on to acknowledge that there will be discussions and disagreements within the Democratic Party about what should be included in the bill, but reassured the reporter that the process is continuing and proceeding independent of whatever "bipartisan" efforts are underway.

One more time, he came back at it, once again conflating the "bipartisan" effort with the budget reconcilation process, and asking if "it could realistically gum up the works."

read more

Categories: Politics

SCOTUS dismisses ongoing challenge to anti-asylum policy following Biden's move this month to end it

Daily Kos - Tue, 06/22/2021 - 15:37

The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed an ongoing challenge to the previous administration’s inhumane, anti-asylum Remain in Mexico policy—but only because the program is no more. The Biden administration announced on June 1 that it had formally ended the policy, which forced tens of thousands of asylum-seekers to wait out their U.S. immigration court dates in Mexico.

“The dismissal was not a surprise,” SCOTUSblog said. “The court in October 2020 had agreed to weigh in on the policy, but in February the Biden administration had asked the justices to take the case off the February argument calendar.” But what also makes Monday’s decision significant is that it was a loser for right-wing figures who sought to keep the policy alive.

Categories: Politics

Big Democratic super PAC to pour $20 million into counteracting GOP's voting rights assault

Daily Kos - Tue, 06/22/2021 - 15:32

The major Democratic super PAC Priorities USA announced Tuesday substantial funding for an early push to combat the GOP-led assault on voting rights across the country. To that end, the group is pouring $20 million into efforts to organize and educate voters about the new laws while also mounting legal challenges to them, according to the New York Times.

“We’re starting this conversation early because we want to make sure we raise the alarm bells early about how much work needs to be done to respond to these Republican efforts,” said Danielle Butterfield, executive director of Priorities USA.

Categories: Politics

Lunchtime Photo

Kevin Drumm - Tue, 06/22/2021 - 15:30

As I've mentioned before, I've been taking lots of pictures of the flora and fauna in our backyard lately. This means you're going to see a lot of this stuff over the next few months. Just warning you.

Anyway, this one is a picture of a bee. I've taken lots of bee pictures, but for some reason the bee is almost always sideways. This one is the first time I've gotten a nice, sharp picture of a bee facing directly into the camera. As a bonus, the bee is busily doing . . . something with a bunch of gooey looking stuff. I'm not quite sure what it is, but it's sort of disgusting looking, isn't it?

June 11, 2021 — Irvine, California
Categories: Politics

'ItalyGate' Scam Goes Deeper Than One Mere GOP Squatter

Crooks and Liars - Tue, 06/22/2021 - 14:25

'ItalyGate' is just one of the components of The Big Lie, but it's one that made its way to Trump via Mark Meadows via a woman named Maria Zack, and all of it flows right back to Florida, the state Donald Trump has poisoned with lies and bile.

A Washington Post article on Saturday detailed the lie, how it was hatched, and how it made its way up to Donald Trump. But that's just the beginning of the story.

With the assistance of Facebook and the Judicial Crisis Network, a scam was born. A scam funded by the same people who bought Supreme Court justices and who have been working on destroying democracy for years and years.

"ItalyGate," has come to be known as "the crown jewel of conspiracy theories," as TPM describes it.

An Italian defense contractor teamed up with the U.S. Embassy in Rome to use satellite transmissions to switch millions of Trump votes to Biden votes, thus stealing the election.

read more

Categories: Politics

All of the details emerging on the bipartisan infrastructure deal are bad. It's time to move on

Daily Kos - Tue, 06/22/2021 - 14:13

Two of the most powerful groups that helped to get President Joe Biden elected—labor and environmental advocacy organizations—are urging the White House to reject any bipartisan bill that doesn't protect workers and doesn't tackle climate change. The bipartisan group of 21 is meeting again Tuesday with White House staff, and from what we've learned about their efforts thus far, the bill won’t meet either of those goals.

The BlueGreen Alliance of labor and environmental groups wrote to both Biden and congressional leaders to inform them that its members are "troubled by recent proposals" that are "watered down," and said that now is not the time for "small-minded" proposals. "We urge you to ensure that this investment is as bold and transformative as our current moment demands and reject short-sighted proposals that would delay or weaken economic recovery, and that may fracture the broad array of constituencies and organizations that are unified in support of more ambitious proposals," the letter said.

That's as the bipartisan group is coming together around a plan that is most definitely not answering the call. (This is according to a four-page memo that has circulated on Capitol Hill and was reviewed by Politico.) The top-line spending is heavily larded on the side of keeping the fossil fuel industry alive by spending $360 billion on roads and bridges, but just $48.5 billion for public transit. Beth Osborne, director for Transportation for America, an advocacy organization made up of local, regional, and state leaders, points out that this is a sharp deviation from established transportation goals, where the highway-transit split has been 80-20. This one would split that 90-10, "the worst deal for transit since 1982," Osborne says. This is happening exactly when the climate demands solutions to get people out of their cars.

Categories: Politics

There’s a Primal Reason for Our Collective Culture War Madness

Kevin Drumm - Tue, 06/22/2021 - 14:11

Jonah Goldberg writes today that present-day schools teach plenty about diversity and racism, which is why so many parents are skeptical about the whole uproar over structural racism and critical race theory. "When proponents of critical race theory say they are merely proposing a belated corrective to the way American history has been framed, many parents don’t buy it, having seen what their children are taught now."

Maybe, maybe not. But then he finishes with this:

The current battle over critical race theory is a wonderful gift to the Republicans in the short term. The GOP would much rather win back suburban white parents with culture-war issues, now that it has no credibility on fiscal matters. But in the long run, this could be disastrous for the party and the country, because the last thing anyone needs is another culture war.

"Another" culture war? Hell, this precise one has been ongoing since the seventies. It just gets a little more publicity from time to time.

More generally, there's a funny thing about the culture wars that a lot of people seem to have forgotten. It's absolutely conventional wisdom, but for that reason it gets little attention these days and I wonder if a lot of people, especially young people, don't even know about it anymore.

It's this: human beings are primates, and primates are both tribal and hierarchical. We are comfortable with pecking orders, and even if we're not at the top we feel less stressed knowing exactly where we fit in and what's expected of us. We can fight this, since our brains can overcome our instincts, but the instincts are still there.

The flip side of this is that all of us, both those at the top and those at the bottom, feel continual stress if the hierarchy is constantly changing and we're unsure of our status and how we're expected to act. This has been the case for the past 50 years, and over time it has driven both liberals and conservatives into a sort of stress-driven madness. This is why it often seems like things are getting worse even though they're actually getting better. That's what continual stress does.

We may solve differential equations faster than this guy, but his love of hierarchy remains deeply embedded in our psyche.

None of this means we should stop our efforts to gain racial, ethnic, gender, and sexual equality. We need to do it regardless of the cost. Still, we don't have a bunch of separate "culture war issues" that one side or the other locks onto now and again. It's all one thing and it's been a 50-year war so far. And in a country like ours, which is even more dedicated to hierarchies than most of our peers, 50 years of this stuff is enough to drive us all into low-grade hysteria.

This is a generational issue, and it won't fully go away until (a) we get close to equality and (b) the last generation that's been scarred by hierarchy changes finally dies off. At best, that's probably 20 years for the former and 30 or 40 for the latter. In other words, hierarchy-induced madness will continue to consume us for another half century or so.

This was all well understood and discussed routinely a few decades ago. Today it isn't, either because it feels like 2+2=4 or because we've collectively decided to pretend that other forces are at work. And other forces are at work! Still, at the very deepest level, it's our primate minds that have driven us into a fever of resentment and constant tension. And it ain't over yet.

Categories: Politics

Internal emails continue to confirm that ICE knowingly helped spread COVID-19 abroad

Daily Kos - Tue, 06/22/2021 - 14:04

Internal documents obtained by a government watchdog continue to confirm that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) was knowingly worsening the novel coronavirus pandemic. It wasn’t just that the agency refused to release larger numbers of immigrants and worsened this public health crisis here at home. The agency was also knowingly deporting sick immigrants, helping spread and worsen the pandemic abroad.

“The newly obtained documents contain a number of emails regarding symptoms exhibited by deportees, sent by officials whose names are for the most part fully redacted,” watchdog American Oversight said. In one email dated April 8, 2020, the State Department confirmed that three people from a March 26 deportation flight to Guatemala had tested positive. An April 13 email said the Guatemalan government confirmed that the three had then infected a combined total of 80 people in Guatemala.

Categories: Politics

It’s Somebody’s Birthday Today!

Balloon Juice - Tue, 06/22/2021 - 13:52
These are the photos I put together for John’s birthday last year.  They are still my favorites, so here they are again. They all love you, John and so do we! Cole, Annie, Seth & Devon

Wish John a happy 90th Birthday!

P.S. This video of Dad Cole never gets old. :-)

The post It’s Somebody’s Birthday Today! appeared first on Balloon Juice.

Categories: Politics

U.S. falls short of vaccine goals, South America in trouble, COVID patients face 'black fungus'

Daily Kos - Tue, 06/22/2021 - 13:47

America is going to come this close to hitting President Biden’s goal of having 70% of the nation vaccinated by July 4. But as that date crowds closer, it seems like we’re just going to miss.

Biden originally set a goal of delivering 100 million vaccinations in his first 100 days in office — a goal that was far from certain, since he came into a system where deliveries of vaccine were uncertain and chaotic. But Biden’s team quickly professionalized the movement of vaccine out to the states, blowing away that original milestone. As a follow-up, Biden upped that goal to 200 million doses. Biden also put in a goal of doubling the number of pharmacies administering doses. And he set out to double the number of federal vaccination sites. All those goals were met and exceeded. In early April, the U.S. actually administered 4.5 million vaccinations in a single day.

But since that time, the rate of vaccination has steadily declined. Over the last 7 days, the average was only about 750,000 vaccinations a day. Despite the recent opening up of some vaccines to those ages 12 and older, and incentives from states ranging from free beer to million dollar lotteries, vaccination rates continue to fall.

That would be fine if the reason was that we were simply running out of Americans to vaccinate. But the current number of Americans over age 18 who have received at least one dose of vaccine is 65.4%. That means that, at the current rate, it’s likely America will hit July 4 with somewhere around 67% of American adults at least partially vaccinated. That’s about 55% of the total population. Barring a last minute miracle (or a tide of rising fear generated by the very scary Delta variant), we’re not going to meet the 70% by July 4 goal. But that is not going to stop President Biden from gathering people to celebrate, or prevent him from setting new, and even more ambitious goals.

Categories: Politics

Somebody tell Tucker: Yet another video shows just who was behind insurrection violence

Daily Kos - Tue, 06/22/2021 - 13:41

The Justice Department has released a few more videos from the Jan. 6 insurrection, and once again the clips support prosecutor allegations that at least among certain sets of Capitol attackers, the violence was indeed planned and intended to be an insurrection against the government. It wasn't a good plan, mind you, but the violent far-right fringe of this country has never been a group that troubles itself with plans more detailed than, “If we just start killing people, won't the rest just work itself out?"

Categories: Politics

Activist asks why city honors man who praised Hitler for work ‘to stamp out mental inferiority'

Daily Kos - Tue, 06/22/2021 - 13:37

The city of Minneapolis has an opportunity to right a shameful wrong in the city’s history, and that is the decision to name one of its avenues after Charles Dight, a racist, ableist, eugenics touter and follower of Nazi leader Adolf Hitler. Eugenics is the practice of selectively breeding people with traits deemed more favorable, and Dight was “the chief advocate of a law regarding forced sterilization that was passed by the Minnesota Legislature in 1925 (and not repealed until 1975),” former Minnesota Rep. Phyllis Kahn wrote in the Star Tribune in July of 2015.

“In August 1933, Dight even communicated his views to Adolf Hitler, praising the German chancellor’s efforts ‘to stamp out mental inferiority among the German people,’” Kahn added. “Dight’s letter to Hitler enclosed a copy of a published letter that Dight had written to the editor of the Minneapolis Journal, praising Hitler’s eugenics plans and saying: ‘If carried out effectively, it will make him the leader in the greatest national movement for human betterment the world has ever seen.’” Years later, Noah McCourt, an autistic disability rights advocate, posted a petition to change the name of Dight Avenue, and as of Tuesday afternoon, 785 people had signed it.

Categories: Politics

Sen. Warnock gives speech of our democracy’s life on Senate floor

Daily Kos - Tue, 06/22/2021 - 13:34

On Tuesday, the U.S. Senate was set to vote on whether or not to debate the For the People Act. It’s a piece of voting rights legislation that would help to protect our constitutional right to vote will be filibustered by the minority Republican Party. They will do this at a time when conservative officials around the country have been working diligently to suppress the votes of millions of Americans. The legislation comes less than six months after our democracy was militantly challenged by MAGA-inspired claims of election fraud, and a violent occupation of the Capitol building in Washington, D.C. was attempted by domestic terrorist groups.

While more moderate, centrist, and conservative Democratic officials have tried to pay lip service to the idea that there are GOP officials willing to work on compromises, the Senate minority leader and other Republicans have made it clear that a working legislative branch is not in their best interests for maintaining and wielding power. On Tuesday, Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock of Georgia—a man who was able to get elected through the sheer will of hundreds of thousands of (predominantly) Black Georgians to overcome Jim Crow-era racism and institutional obstacles to be elected as the first Black senator from his state—took to the Senate floor to offer up a reasoned plea to those across the aisle.

Categories: Politics

Dollar’s Recent Rise Is Good News For Legitimate American Business

Kevin Drumm - Tue, 06/22/2021 - 13:15

The economic news just keeps getting better. Take a look at this:

After a year of steady weakening against Bitcoin—plummeting from 100 microBTC down to 20—the dollar has finally started strengthening again in recent weeks.

There are some who have welcomed the dollar's slide, since it makes exports from the US ransomware industry more competitive. However, it's been disastrous for US consumers and companies who do their accounting in dollars and have seen the cost of imported ransomware demands increase by 5x. Making up even a bit of that is good news for them.

Can the dollar keep up its recent rise? Some experts say that the era of old school "money" is over and Americans need to get used to it. Others say this is overblown, and the underlying strength of the US criminal sector remains vibrant enough to keep the dollar strong in the long run. Time will tell.

Categories: Politics

Georgia's Senator Reverend Brings Fire Over Voting Rights

Crooks and Liars - Tue, 06/22/2021 - 13:12

Senators will vote today at 5:30pm ET on whether to debate essential election and voting reform legislation.

Meanwhile, Republican state legislators all across this country are implementing vicious voter suppression laws to keep their grip on power.

Reports are that Mitch McConnell and his cronies will filibuster any attempt to protect the right to vote for millions of Americans.

Earlier today Sen. Raphael Warnock of Georgia gave a blistering speech in which he demanded Republicans at least debate the merits of voting rights instead of just blocking it.

"We're just talking about talking about it and they don't even want to do that," he said.

Warnock said, "I believe in democracy, government of the people, by the people, and for the people. I believe that the blind spots in our public policy and the wrongs in our history are made right through the power of democracy."

read more

Categories: Politics

'It’s a much smaller party': How Trumpism crushed the GOP's big tent and governing capacity alike

Daily Kos - Tue, 06/22/2021 - 13:10

In the realm of governing, large metro areas serve as a petri dish for democracy—sorting out what ideas sell best to a diversity of voters and which policies actually deliver the desired results.

In the early aughts, the Republican Party was still competing in that marketplace of ideas in big cities and states like California and New York, where the metros can dominate a statewide election. As The New York Times points out, Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger secured the California governorship in a 2003 recall election, defeating Democrat Gray Davis by winning 45% of the vote in Los Angeles County and three-fifths of the vote in San Diego County. In New York City, GOP Mayor Rudy Giuliani passed the baton in 2001 to then-Republican Michael Bloomberg, who ultimately shed his GOP party affiliation in 2007 and registered as a Democrat in 2018.

Categories: Politics