Sunday, September 26, 2021

No one left to fight for democracy.

 Make no mistake field hands, democracy is dying. And if it is in fact dying, why is the democratic party " so complicit in its demise? 

This is the exact question writer Luke Savage asked in a recent piece in The Atlantic. 

"If you’ve followed recent Democratic messaging, you’ll have heard that American democracy is under serious attack by the Republican Party, representing an existential threat to the country. If you’ve followed Democratic lawmaking, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the threat is actually a rather piddling one. The disconnect, in this case, isn’t attributable to Democratic embellishment, but to inexcusable complacency.

In his first address to Congress, last month, President Joe Biden established three basic themes—each one invoked in a language of crisis and political urgency: “The worst pandemic in a century. The worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. The worst attack on our democracy since the Civil War.” When it came to the third, Biden was both pointed and emphatic, tying the events of January 6 and the broader effort to delegitimize November’s election to a wider crisis of democracy. “Congress,” he declared, “should pass H.R. 1 and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act and send them to my desk right away.”

Biden is far from the only Democratic leader to have made the connection. In urging the Senate to pass H.R. 1, which would improve voter access and election security, Senator Chuck Schumer (hardly anyone’s idea of a firebrand) said in March that state voter-restriction laws “smack of Jim Crow rearing its ugly head once again.” He went as far as warning that “if we don’t stop these vicious and often racist actions, Third World autocracy will be on its way.” Schumer hasn’t been shy about naming an antagonist, either, citing a “concerted, nationwide effort to limit the rights of citizens to vote” and even declaring that “we won’t let [Republican-controlled legislatures] create a dictatorship in America.”

Granting some room for hyperbole, these dire pronouncements aren’t entirely misplaced. As of March 24, researchers at the Brennan Center for Justice had logged some 361 bills containing provisions that seek to restrict voting—a 43 percent increase from about the same time in February. Many involve the usual suite of suppression methods introduced under the auspices of fairness and transparency (expanded ID requirements, banning same-day voter registration, limiting the use of mail-in ballots, etc.), and one in Arizona even aspires to give the state legislature the authority to override the certification of future presidential-election results by simple majority vote. A recording recently released by The New Yorker’s Jane Mayer, meanwhile, makes more or less explicit that Republican operatives plan to use every tool at their disposal to defeat the renewed push for expanded voting rights, despite its widespread popularity.

Suffice it to say, a concerted right-wing effort really is under way to limit popular democracy and suppress votes. So what are Democrats doing about it? In a legislative sense at least, a cogent and comprehensive response is already in the works, in the form of the two bills cited by Biden in his congressional address. If realized, the John Lewis Voting Rights Act and H.R. 1 (also known as the For the People Act) would constitute the most sweeping acts of democratic reform undertaken in decades. The latter alone would establish automatic national voter registration, independent redistricting commissions for House seats to prevent gerrymandering, expanded mail-in voting, and a number of new measures to reduce the overbearing influence of organized money.

Neither currently seems likely to become law, however. Rhetoric about autocracy notwithstanding, some liberal lawmakers are quietly threatened by aspects of the legislation. A few Black representatives in the South, for example, worry that independent redistricting commissions may cost them their seat. And some establishment figures reportedly fear that more democratically structured contribution rules will embolden left-wing primary challengers propelled by small donations. Senator Joe Manchin, meanwhile, has reiterated his opposition to H.R 1 on the deeply spurious grounds that any prospective voting-rights legislation ought to pass with bipartisan support—a DOA line of reasoning even when it comes to the watered-down version of the John Lewis Voting Rights Act that Manchin himself is proposing.

The single greatest obstacle, though, has to do with the rules governing the Senate, and whether Democrats are ultimately willing to match their language of urgency with a strategy even remotely proportional to it. Due to the chamber’s filibuster rules, most legislation requires 60 votes to pass—an impediment that effectively empowers lawmakers representing only a tiny sliver of the electorate to block policies they dislike at will, including those designed to make American democracy fairer and more inclusive. (Especially frustrating, as the voting-rights expert Ari Berman has pointed out, is that Republican-controlled legislatures face no such supermajority requirement when passing legislation designed to restrict the vote—a kind of “asymmetric warfare” in which those working to preserve minority rule have a majoritarian advantage.)

Although Biden has mused about the idea of reforming the filibuster, he has ruled out its elimination. Manchin, predictably enough, is resoundingly allergic to the idea of change, while his fellow conservative Democrat Kyrsten Sinema ironically stated her emphatic support for H.R. 1 within days of dismissing filibuster reform in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. Schumer, for his part, says that “everything is on the table” when it comes to passing voting-rights legislation, and he has, like Biden, made some noise about at least modifying the filibuster." [More of article here] 

But "noise" is not action. Schumer and other democrats always seem to make a lot of "noise" (they love the cable news cameras) but there is never any action. Just talk. 

One of the reasons that Joe Biden's poll numbers has been tanking is because a lot of progressive and young democratic voters are getting tired of all the talk.  That, and the so-called spirit of bipartisanship that Biden et al are always talking about. Biden's numbers were way up when he became president because a lot of Americans thought that he was going to correct some of the wrongs of the past four years, and put a leash on Mitch McConnell and his extreme right-wing agenda. 

I'm sad to have to announce that it has not happened. And what has transpired over the past year is more of the same: A radical power move by the minority to control the majority. 

Sadly, with the help of a weakened and delusional democratic party, it seems to be working.   

Sunday, September 19, 2021


 America has a huge testicles problem,  and I mean this in the most respectful way possible. 

You know that you have regressed as a society and a culture, when a semi washed up rapper's clueless words concerning the most serious pandemic of our lifetime is being tossed around and represents perfectly the zeitgeist of our era. 

May heaven help us all. Nicki Minaj was being mentioned more by "serious journalists" and cable and news pundits than the leaders of countries such as North Korea and France. (Both  of these countries, by the way, were in the news for far more serious reasons than those dumb misinformed statements by the rapper.) And she has the nerve to be pissed off. If you ask me this has done wonders for her career. It's PR gold. 

The poor leaders of Trinidad had to issue an official statement about the rapper's cousin's declarations. (No reports of swollen balls.) And the White House had to deny a claim that she was invited to the White House to talk about the vaccine. Nicki, of course, is hitting back. She is saying that they did in fact reach out to her, and it is the White House that is misinforming the public. Folks, trust me, I did not have a Nicki Minaj Joe Biden feud on my 2021 bingo card.  This is just nuts! Pun intended. 

We shouldn't be surprised that this is where we are in America, and that the race to the bottom continues. We elected a washed up game show host with zero shame and serious mental issues to be our president. Why should anything else surprise us?  

Now, incredibly, some folks actually found time out of their daily lives to march on the CDC on behalf of Nicki and her outlandish claims. 

"A group of anti-vaccine protesters recently rallied outside the Centre for Disease Control headquarters in Atlanta, shouting slogans referencing Nicki Minaj‘s recent controversial tweets about the coronavirus vaccine.

“Nicki Minaj told the truth to me. Fauci lied to me,” protesters were filmed chanting outside the CDC. Local television station CBS46 reported one of the protesters saying, “We are here because the CDC has been lying to us for so long”.

Initial coverage of the rally suggested that those protesting were Nicki Minaj fans encouraged by her misinformation-laden comments. But Insider reported earlier today (September 17) that the protesters are part of a fringe political group called the Black Hammer, capitalising on the media attention surrounding Minaj’s tweets. The group is a self-described “anti-colonial organisation that exists to take the land back for all Colonised people”.

Black Hammer also took responsibility for organising the protest on their Twitter, telling followers they would be outside the CDC as they were “fed up with the way the media is portraying Nicki Minaj”.' 

Hold on America, we are almost there. Just brace yourselves for the fall.  



Monday, September 13, 2021

Caption Monday.



This took place on 9/11, when the president and other former presidents were doing more dignified things to acknowledge that solemn day.  

Give me a caption for this picture.  

Monday, September 06, 2021

? of the day

 On this Labor Day, when we put an emphasis on work, my question of the day is this: What do we have to work on the most to build a more perfect union? 

I have some thoughts, but I need yours.