10,000 on ignore, Book 181: The Days of Reckoning, Part 40.....

Ten Thousan Marbles

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GOOD NEWS: Trump Warns That With Mail-In Voting There Will Be No More Republicans
News Corpse

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Ten Thousan Marbles

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Pennsylvania decertifies county voting system following private company audit promoted by pro-Trump state senators​

...Pennsylvania is the second state where officials have decertified election equipment because of questionable audits requested by Republicans. Arizona’s Maricopa County said in June that it will replace voting equipment that was turned over to a private contractor for a Republican-commissioned review of the 2020 election.

Trump backers in multiple states are trying to launch post-election audits in an effort to overturn President Biden’s election victory.

According to a statement from Degraffenreid’s office, Fulton County officials allowed Wake TSI, of West Chester, Pa., “to access certain key components of its certified system, including the county’s election database, results files, and Windows systems logs. The county officials also allowed the company to use a system imaging tool to take complete hard drive images of these computers and other digital equipment.”


The statement called Wake TSI “a company with no knowledge or expertise in election technology.”.....
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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According to current estimates, the Delta variant could be more than twice as transmissible as the original strain of SARS-CoV-2. To find out why, epidemiologist Jing Lu at the Guangdong Provincial Center for Disease Control and Prevention in Guangzhou, China, and his colleagues tracked 62 people who were quarantined after exposure to COVID-19 and who were some of the first people in mainland China to become infected with the Delta strain.

The team tested study participants’ ‘viral load’ — a measure of the density of viral particles in the body — every day throughout the course of infection to see how it changed over time. Researchers then compared participants’ infection patterns with those of 63 people who contracted the original SARS-CoV-2 strain in 2020.

In a preprint posted 12 July1, the researchers report that virus was first detectable in people with the Delta variant four days after exposure, compared with an average of six days among people with the original strain, suggesting that Delta replicates much faster. Individuals infected with Delta also had viral loads up to 1,260 times higher than those in people infected with the original strain.

The combination of a high number of viruses and a short incubation period makes sense as an explanation for Delta’s heightened transmissibility, says epidemiologist Benjamin Cowling at the University of Hong Kong. The sheer amount of virus in the respiratory tract means that superspreading events are likely to infect even more people, and that people might begin spreading the virus earlier after they become infected.....
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Gaetz and Greene's joint fundraising efforts are hemorrhaging money
Hunter

Neither Matt Gaetz nor Marjorie Taylor Greene should be in Congress. Gaetz is still attempting to scurry out from under a likely federal indictment for sex trafficking due to his involvement with a now-indicted Republican ally's Florida crime spree. Gaetz has been an omnipresent purveyor of bizarre conspiracy theories and Greene was stripped of her House committee assignments for a pattern of inciting violence against Democratic House members.

Despite this, Gaetz and Greene have not only enjoyed the continued (though begrudging, these days) support of their fellow House Republicans, they've been engaged on a branded, nationwide fundraising tour to boost cash for their, um, sex-and-violence lifestyle. The "Put America First" tour has been flitting around the country so that enraptured Republican audiences can bask in the glow of the Republican sex trafficking and pro-violent insurrection heroes, at least in the places where they can find venues that will agree to host them. So how's that working out?
............
Not well, it turns out! The Daily Beast now reports that the Put America First tour has been hemorrhaging money, with less than $60,000 in reported contributions raised for events that cost almost $290,000 to put on. Team Creepy has, in other words, lost something approaching a quarter million dollars on this tour. And that's even though Team Creepy was, in the months immediately after the Republican attack on the Capitol building, raking in cash as two of the most prolific Republican fundraisers in the House.

This is not necessarily dire news for the Republican pervert-plus-insurrection duo. A major goal of the Gaetz-Greene appearances is probably just as proof that they can still
make
such appearances without being booed off the stage; while both have been distanced by House Republican colleagues who really, really do not want to appear in new photographs next to someone who might at any moment be led away in handcuffs for raping a minor or who might pipe up yet again with rhetoric comparing vaccinations to the Holocaust, they are teaming up to prove that among the nastiest element of the Republican base, they both remain welcome.

It's a dare, of sorts, to their colleagues: cut us loose if you want, but know that among a good chunk of the Republican base, we are the heroes they want to follow, not you.

Unfortunately for Greene and Gaetz, the sort of Republicans who like Matt Gaetz and Marjorie Taylor Greene do not seem to be the sort of Republicans who have a lot of disposable income. The Daily Beast reports that the Put America First committee has only received four donations that topped $500 ... ever.

There are other signs that members of the pro-Trump, pro-insurrection, pro-sex-crime Republican base are feeling a bit more sluggish in their support than they were earlier in the year. Ticket sales for an announced tour pairing Donald Trump with fired Fox News sex pest Bill O'Reilly have so far been slow, either indicating that support for Trump is petering out a bit, at least when "supporting Trump" requires paying Ticketmaster money, or that Everybody Hates Bill O'Reilly to such an extent that not even Trump supporters are willing to pay to see Trump if Bill O'Reilly is his scabby warmup act.


Similarly, a new "Freedom Phone" being marketed to paranoid Trump conservatives as being the ultimate answer to your super-secret communications needs is being blasted to hell and back for being a seemingly obvious scam—a cut-rate Chinese-made phone with software that may or may not be secure to begin with.

That somebody's trying to scam conservatives for a quick buck, mind you, is not news. That it might not be working? That's unheard of.

It's too early to say what any of this means for the future. Events can and almost certainly will overtake whatever short-term trends Gaetz and Greene are swimming through at the moment. Matt Gaetz, for example, could be arrested for sex crimes. That might sharply reduce donations to his campaign—or, because Republicanism, might double them. Marjorie Taylor Greene might find new fame with a campaign comparing Tide Pods to the Holocaust; she might also stick a fork into an electrical outlet because she thought she saw a communist inside it. It's anybody's guess.

For the moment, though, we know that Greene and Gaetz have now bled something quickly approaching a quarter million dollars on a national redemption tour that nobody asked for and that will itself not likely survive whatever new scandals the pair jumps into next. So that's something.
 
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Ten Thousan Marbles

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Pelosi likely to appoint Republicans to insurrection probe regardless of McCarthy's obstruction
Hunter

After House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rejected the Republican nominations of Reps. Jim Banks and Jim Jordan to the House select committee tasked with probing the Trump insurrection, minority leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy immediately pulled all five Republican committee picks in a move that was very likely planned from the beginning. That has left some political journalists in a bit of a panic because how will we ever credibly get to the bottom of a Trump-promoted, Republican-backed attempt to topple government if Jim Fking Jordan isn't in the room screaming at all the witnesses and Jim Banks isn't allowed to claim that Actually this is all the fault of Black Lives Matter and da communists.
........
Back on Planet Give A Damn, however, House Democratic leaders still have to decide how best to fill out the committee given the presumption that House Republicans will continue their attempts to sabotage investigations of January 6 no matter what Democrats do. One possibility is just to continue without any Republican-backed members, because screw 'em. Another possibility is for Pelosi to appoint Republican members herself, over Republican Party objections. Pelosi already assigned Republican Rep. Liz Cheney to the committee as one of her own picks; adding new appointments wouldn't be difficult in principle.

Towards that end, Pelosi is reportedly considering adding Rep. Adam Kinzinger, a move that is getting good reviews but which hinges on Kinzinger being willing to withstand what would assuredly soon become a Republican attempt to purge him from the party outright rather than abide by his supposed treachery. Any Republicans named to the committee would find themselves where Rep. Liz Cheney found herself after she condemned House Republican attempts to claim a "stolen" election: They'd be shunned, possibly stripped of other committee assignments, and face stiff primary opposition from pro-Trump true believers who are willing to lie to their base about stolen elections, Italian satellite-launched conspiracies, or whatever else pops up in their Facebook feeds.

Would others in the Republican Party stand up for those appointed Republicans? Anybody at all? Well, Moderate Mitt Romney is pretty much the "boldest" non-insurrectionist you can find among Washington Republicans these days, being particularly pissed off at coming within a few moments of being captured by the rioting crowd, and if you're looking towards the Mitt Romneys of the party for anything but the most milquetoast possible backup you're probably gonna want to keep looking.



The heart of the problem is that we already know most of what there is to know about January 6. Furious about the November election results, Trump and his allies concocted countless false claims as to why he didn't really lose, and Joe Biden didn't really win. It culminated in a Trump-promoted "March" on the Capitol organized to precisely match up with what Trump believed the last chance to overturn the election would be: The counting of the electoral votes by a joint session of Congress. Claims that the election was "stolen" or "rigged" were promoted by a majority of Republican lawmakers, inflaming the crowd of militia members and other violence-minded Trump supporters into the belief that storming the building to halt the count was a patriotic thing to do. It immediately turned violent, both rioters and police officers died, and the same Republicans who raised fists towards the insurrection-minded crowd before the event claimed afterwards that nobody could have foreseen the crowd doing what Trump and his allies had organized the crowd to do in the first place: Overturn his election loss by any means available.

What’s left to learn is the details that explain how things ended up this way. Why was the Capitol conspicuously unguarded from a mob that included known pro-insurrection militia groups? To what extent did Trump allies orchestrate the “March” in advance, and with who? Did anyone in Congress provide the insurrectionists with intelligence or assistance?

The problem for Republicans is that people like Trump ally and rejected McCarthy pick Jim Jordan might very much want to sabotage probes of January 6, but that is because they gave their support to the insurrectionist crowd. They're not jurors. They're the witnesses, and in some cases, accomplices:





So the sedition-provoking Jim Jordan in particular can pound sand on this one, and if House Republicans can’t find even five members who do not have intimate connections to the criminal acts they’re supposed to be investigating then that inability should be taken as evidence of widespread complicity, rather than a failure of “bipartisanship.” Bipartisanship does not require seating those that goaded violent insurrection next to those that opposed it so that the two sides can half-ass their way to a conclusion as to whether a violent attempt to overthrow the United States government was a bad thing.

It’s likely not possible to find five House Republicans who both opposed the propaganda campaign directly leading to the January 6 violence and who are now willing to stomach the targeted retaliation of their entire party for investigating that violence now. But that’s on House Republicans, not on anyone else. The American public need answers on how a propaganda campaign discrediting the election spiraled into violence bent on overturning that election, and it needs to happen whether the perpetrators agree to participate or not.
 
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House passes bill by 407-16 vote authorizing thousands more special visas for Afghan allies
Gabe Ortiz

The U.S. House of Representatives by an overwhelming vote of 407-16 passed bipartisan legislation that authorizes thousands more special visas for Afghan allies, and speeds up the application process. The ALLIES Act, introduced by the Honoring Our Promises Working Group last month, increases the Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) cap by 8,000 visas, among a number of important provisions.

“When I was in Iraq, I served alongside Iraqi translators who put their lives—and the lives of their families—on the line to help us complete our mission,” U.S. military veteran and Arizona Rep. Ruben Gallego said following the vote. “Our Afghan allies stood by us, and now we must stand by them—it’s that simple.” The Hill reports all 16 votes against this bill aiding Afghan allies and their families came from Republicans.

Provisions in the ALLIES Act remove certain paperwork requirements “so that we can process visas safely and efficiently,” said Colorado Rep. Jason Crow, another U.S. military veteran. Highlighting the constant danger facing our allies for their service, it also strengthens protections for the surviving family members of applicants who die before approval. “Time is running out for us to do the right thing and I am grateful for the support of my colleagues to pass this bill,” Crow said following passage.


The Biden administration issued a statement earlier this month supportive of the legislation, saying the ALLIES Act “supports the President’s goal of ensuring the United States meets our commitments to those who served with us in Afghanistan,” and that it “will assist in our efforts to streamline the application process by removing or revising some statutory requirements the administration has found to be unnecessary and burdensome, while maintaining appropriate security vetting, and by increasing the total number of visas available to help meet the demand.”......

---- NAYS 16 ---

Biggs
Boebert
Brooks
DesJarlais
Duncan
Good (VA)
Gosar
Greene (GA)
Hern
Hice (GA)
Massie
Moore (AL)
Perry
Posey
Rosendale
Roy
 

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Senate Democrats argue FBI failed to fully investigate tips on Brett Kavanaugh
Marissa Higgins

Here at Daily Kos, we all suffered through Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court, recalling his indignant behavior while questioned, especially as juxtaposed with Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s grace and clarity. We, too, likely recall that Donald Trump was relentless in pushing Kavanaugh's confirmation through. Recently, as Daily Kos covered, Michael Wolff revealed a conversation he supposedly had with Trump in his new book, Landslide: The Final Days of the Trump Presidency, in which Trump took credit for essentially “saving” Kavanaugh's life and expressed feeling disappointed in him in the end, saying he hasn’t had the “courage” to be a great justice.

This background lends an interesting light to a new report from The New York Times, in which fresh details on the FBI’s inquiry into Kavanaugh are causing serious—and legitimate—upset among some Senate Democrats. As covered by the Times, Jill Tyson, an assistant director at the FBI, wrote a letter to Democratic Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse and Chris Coons explaining that the most “relevant” of more than 4,000 tips the agency received while investigating Kavanaugh were actually passed on to White House lawyers in the Trump administration. It’s unclear how those tips were handled, and Senate Democrats want answers.
........
For background, the letter from Tyson was actually written in response to a letter sent by Whitehouse and Coons back in 2019, in which they wanted more clarity on how the supplemental background check into Kavanaugh actually went down. Tyson’s letter stressed that the agency did not conduct a criminal investigation, only a background check. To Democrats, the agency failed in its duty to fully investigate the allegations of sexual misconduct—from Ford as well as subsequent allegations from two women who accused him of sexual misconduct—during Kavanaugh’s confirmation process. Kavanaugh has denied all allegations.

On Wednesday, seven Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee replied to the letter asking for more information about how Trump’s White House handled the investigation and those thousand of tips. Democrats who signed on to the letter included Sens. Cory Booker, Dick Durbin, Richard Blumenthal, Patrick Leahy, Mazie Hirono, and, of course, Whitehouse and Coons.

Whitehouse spoke to the Times in an interview about the letter. Whitehouse told the Times Tyson’s response suggested the agency ran a “fake tip line” with responses never being “properly reviewed,” adding he assumed it was not even done in “good faith.”

In a letter the Democratic lawmakers sent on Wednesday, and which was released to the public on Thursday, they argued: “If the FBI was not authorized to or did not follow up on any of the tips that it received from the tip line, it is difficult to understand the point of having a tip line at all.”

As we know, neither Ford nor Kavanaugh were interviewed as part of the investigation. According to the Senate Judiciary Committee, the FBI ultimately interviewed just 10 people before closing its investigation. Democrats have long suggested the investigation into Kavanaugh was incomplete and politically contained.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Here's the REAL Reason FOX News Racist Tucker Carlson is Smearing a January 6th Capitol Police Hero!
News Corpse

On Wednesday afternoon House Speaker Nancy Pelosi responded appropriately to GOP leader Kevin McCarthy's transparent attempt to make a mockery of the House Select Committee on the January 6th Insurrection. McCarthy tried to stack the Committee with a pair of fervent foes of democracy, Jim Jordan and Jim Banks. Both of these extremist Republicans are devoted members of the Cult of Trump who support his "Big Lie" that the 2020 presidential election was "stolen" from him. The very lie that Trump used to incite the riots in Washington, D.C. in the first place.

No rational person could criticize Pelosi's decision not to seat Jordan and Banks. It would be like seating Harvey Weinstein or Bill Cosby (or Donald Trump) on a committee to probe sexual harassment. But Fox News isn't known for their rational people or analyses. And that's especially true with regard to Fox's Senior White Nationalist, Tucker Carlson, who has been on a tear recently with idiocy like his paranoid delusion that the National Security Agency (NSA) is spying on him. Or his dangerously dishonest claim that health authorities know that vaccines don’t work and they aren’t telling you. Or his baseless accusation that the FBI orchestrated the January 6th insurrection.

Consequently, Carlson immediately launched into a predictable condemnation of Pelosi and the Committee's effort to get to the truth of what happened on January 6th, why it happened, and what led up to it. In the course of his knee-jerk jabbering he somehow managed to take a detour toward a racist attack on a Capitol Police officer who courageously defended the seat of America's democracy.

Officer Harry Dunn put his own life at risk to protect members of Congress, their staffs, and the Constitution, whose duties the House was in the progress of undertaking. But Carlson was focused solely on his ultra-partisan obsession with slandering Democrats and any unfortunate who happened to be in line of fire. He said......

"So the Committee will proceed with one party. What will it look like. Well, think MSNBC with subpoena power.

"On Tuesday Pelosi will call a Capitol police officer called Harry Dunn. Dunn will pretend to speak for the country's law enforcement community. But it turns out Dunn has very little in common with your average cop. Dunn is an angry left-wing political activist whose social media feeds are full of praise, not coincidentally, for Nancy Pelosi. Here's a picture of the two of them together.

"'Racism is so American,' Harry wrote in one post, 'that when you protest it, people think you are protesting America.' Hashtag 'Leave it to whites to tell blacks what is racist,' hashtag 'I stand with Ilhan Omar,' hashtag 'Squad.' Harry Dunn, ladies and gentlemen. Just another fact-based witness to the insurrection."

Where upon Carlson introduced his guest, Jim Jordan. Carlson's rant presents a dumpster of derp that requires some further exploration. First of all, the Committee will not proceed with one party. Pelosi has already appointed one Republican, Liz Cheney, and there could be more. If Carlson has a problem with the make up of the Committee, he should direct his whining to McCarthy who childishly took his ball and scampered away after Pelosi nixed his two most radical opponents of an honest probe.

Secondly, Carlson's assertion that Dunn would "pretend to speak for the country's law enforcement community," is pure fiction. Dunn never claimed to do so, and he isn't the only member of law enforcement who will be testifying. What's more, Carlson's characterization of Dunn as "an angry left-wing political activist" is wholly inappropriate. He is a police officer who was doing his duty during a violent riot without any of the political posturing that marks everything Carlson does or says. Which means that Dunn actually has much "in common with your average cop," but nothing in common with Carlson.

Thirdly, Dunn is an citizen who has every right to express his opinion outside of his official duties. But Carlson apparently doesn't believe that Dunn is entitled to the freedoms that every other American enjoys. Could it be because he's black and proudly supports his people? Well, it's interesting that Carlson chose to attack Dunn, but not the white officers who are scheduled to testify before the Committee.

Finally, there is another element to this melodrama that needs further attention. Carlson is obviously very upset that Pelosi rejected Banks and Jordan for seats on the Committee. However, he failed to disclose that his son, Buckley Carlson, is Banks' press secretary. So Carlson is enraged that his son's boss was denied the opportunity to dishonestly distort the events of January 6th, but he didn't think it was important to reveal that familial connection, a clear conflict of interest and breach of ethics.

That's the sort of white privilege that is present in much of Tucker Swanson McNear Carlson's elitist life as the son of a diplomat and the heir to a frozen food fortune. Only now he is combining it with a hatred for police officers, African-Americans, Democrats, and patriots who respect the Constitution. And as usual, Fox News is behind him all the way.
 

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Biden town hall shows a president focused on uniting the nation, even if it puts his agenda at risk
Mark Sumner

On Wednesday evening, President Joe Biden took part in a town hall. This wasn’t a screaming rally where T-shirts were sold urging supporters to jail or hang opponents. There were no warm up acts calling for defense of Anglo Saxon culture. There was no rambling two hour rant in which headlines were made based on the number of lies told.

It was a town hall. Questions were asked of the president by ordinary people, as well as CNN host Don Lemon. Those questions were answered reasonably and at length. Sometimes the president went back and forth with citizens, to make sure they had received the information they wanted. It was calm. It was reasonable. It was the kind of open and transparent event that used to happen, before TFG turned each appearance into the sort of side show usually wedged between a fireworks depot and a reptile farm.

If anything, the biggest takeaway from Biden’s visit with the folks at Mount St. Joseph University in
Cincinnati was that he was too reasonable. Too reasonable in the sense that he still has faith in fellow Americans, including Republicans, to do the right thing if given the opportunity. At multiple points, Biden insisted that Republicans would join in the effort to rebuild the nation and recover from the pandemic, especially when it comes to the infrastructure bill. “I come from a tradition in the Senate,” said Biden. “You shake your hand. That's it. You keep your word.”

But President Biden wasn’t afraid to call out Republicans on points where he said they were directly “lying,” and he in what is likely to be the line of the night, Biden insisted that what’s happening now in America is “not a pandemic.” Which is definitely an odd statement, in the midst of what has clearly been a pandemic. But that statement came in the midst of a more nuanced answer, as COVID-19 was the subject on the mind of both CNN Host Don Lemon and many of those who asked questions.

.......
At the start of the evening, Biden was asked if he still “felt the virus is in retreat,” as he had said when he gave a speech announcing that America had passed 200 million doses of vaccine. In response, Biden said, “We have a pandemic for those who haven't gotten a vaccination. It’s that basic, that simple. Ten thousand people have recently died; 9,950 of them, thereabouts, are people who hadn't been vaccinated.” Biden went on to point out that since taking office his administration had vaccinated over 160 million people, including 85% of those over the age of 50. And for those people, “this is not a pandemic.”

“There’s a simple, basic proposition,” said Biden. “If you're vaccinated, you're not going to be hospitalized, you're not going to be in an ICU unit, and you're not going to die.”

Pressed over the topic of whether people should be concerned about a new round of mask mandates, social distancing requirements, and business restrictions, Biden responded by saying, that he had a simple response to people with those concerns, “Get vaccinated.”
........
The first question up to Biden from a member of the audience was about the restrictions that children will face when going back to school. The president said that he expected the CDC to warn that everyone under 12 — who are currently not eligible for vaccines — should wear masks when school begins in August. Biden said that “the vast majority of teachers are vaccinated” and anyone not vaccinated should be wearing a mask. But he did not state, as the American Association of Pediatrics did on Tuesday, that everyone should wear a mask in schools.

Following this, Biden was asked two important questions concerning vaccine available. The first was when children under 12 would have access to vaccines. Biden’s answer was “soon,” but when Lemon tried to secure a more specific response, Biden gave one of the key statements of the evening. After reminding the audience that the vaccines produced “so quickly” were actually the result of over two decades of work, Biden directly addressed the concerns of those who keep saying that the vaccines are somehow “experimental” or “only temporarily approved.”

The vaccines, said Biden, will be available “’Soon’ in the sense that I do not tell any scientists what they should do. I do not interfere.”

A follow-up question from a Republican pediatrician spoke to her own concerns about the misinformation being spread about vaccines. “What,” the pediatrician asked, “is the White House doing to combat medical misinformation and to restore America's faith in science?”

Biden’s response was straightforward. First he said that the White House would “literally listen to the scientists, and not interfere, not rush anything. Just make -- let the scientists proceed, because they desperately want to get this right.” And then he spoke to the issue of false information on social media. “There was a report out saying that for that -- something like 45% of the overwhelming disinformation on Facebook comes from 12 individuals. I said: They're killing people -- those 12 individuals; that misinformation is going to kill people. Not a joke. Not a joke.” (Note: #2 on that list of 12 propagandists spreading false information about vaccines is Robert Kennedy Jr.)

The president also noted that many of those who had been speaking against the vaccine have recently had “an altar call” as they’ve watched the Delta variant drive up numbers in red states. “All of a sudden, they're out there saying, ‘Let's get vaccinated. Let's get vaccinated.’”

Following more questions about the pandemic, Lemon again questioned President Biden about the need for getting full FDA approval for the vaccines.

What the scientists are saying, said Biden, is “Let us decide, based on scientific data, in how we proceed. Do it the way we would ordinarily do it.” But Biden did put a rough date on when he thinks the FDA will finally remove the “emergency use” from the vaccine authorization. “They're not promising me any specific date, ”said the President, “but my expectation, talking to the group of scientists we put together—over 20 of them, plus others in the field—is that sometime maybe in the beginning of the school year, at the end of August, beginning of September, October, they’ll get a final approval.”

When it came to the infrastructure plan, Biden expressed that he was still having to “haggle” with both Republicans and with some Democrats, making real compromises to find a deal. That included, said Biden, compromises within the Democratic Party "between the far left and the center and some of the folks who are more conservative." Since they were in Ohio, Biden didn’t miss the opportunity to say that he expects Sen. Rob Portman, who is part of the bipartisan group negotiating the final details, to keep his word about the infrastructure deal.
......
Asked by a Republican member of the audience about concerns over inflation, Biden responded that of course there was inflation — because demand is so much higher now that vaccinations are helping the nation recover from the pandemic. “There will be near-term inflation because everything is now trying to be picked back up." Biden also warned that employers might be fighting over employees for some months. But Biden said that economic forecasts didn’t predict that either the inflation or the employee shortage would last for long.
.......
When it came to a question on voting rights, Biden stuck by the blunt terms he had used in earlier appearances. “Never before has there been an attempt by state legislatures to take over the ability to determine who won. Not count the votes -- determine who won.” Even so, Biden continued to be just as stubborn in his refusal to call for an end to the filibuster. Despite saying that “the abuse of the filibuster is pretty overwhelming,” when directly challenged over whether it was more important to protect the filibuster than voting rights, Biden replied, “No. It’s not. I want to see the United States Congress, the United States Senate, pass S.1 and S.4, the John Lewis Act, and get it on my desk so I can sign it. But here's the deal: What I also want to do—I want to make sure we bring along not just all the Democrats; we bring along Republicans, who I know know better. They know better than this.”

And that seems to be a wall that no amount of evidence can shatter. Biden insisted that his effort was all about bringing the country together. He bluntly admitted that the filibuster is a remnant of the Jim Crow era, but insisted that attempts to remove the filibuster would “throw the entire Congress into chaos and nothing will get done.”

Biden built on this theme, saying that Republicans would “love to have a debate about the filibuster instead of passing the recovery act.” Or would love to debate the filibuster rather than making child care payments permanent. But Biden wouldn’t seem to acknowledge that the focus on attempts to pass his legislative packages while leaving the filibuster in place meant that much of that agenda — including protections of voting rights being eroded at the state level — would never pass.
........
When it came to the Floyd Act, named for police murder victim George Floyd, Biden insisted that the Senate needed to work toward its passage, but he had a sharp answer Republicans who claimed that he was anti-police. “They’re lying,” said Biden. However, “The point is that they -- it doesn’t justify maltreating the public. You have no right to do that. None.“ Biden insisted this was because, in many localities, police were called on to do too much, and that there were situations that really demanded “a psychologist or a social worker.”
.........
Biden finished up by answering a question about the opioid crisis in which he both said that drug companies should be held to account for their role and called out China for “sending fentanyl to Mexico, in large part, that's being mixed with opioids and/or heroin and other drugs.” Biden also took this opportunity to talk about addition in general, to empathize with families that have suffered from drug addition, and to express his pride in his son Hunter for how he was fighting his own additions.

Finally, President Biden ended the night talking about how odd it was to first hear “Hail to the chief” and realize it was being played for him. When he heard the music, Biden said, “I wondered, ‘Where is he? No, you think I'm kidding. I'm not kidding.”

Being president, said Biden, required that every action he takes require deliberate and careful thought beyond his role as a senator or vice-president. “Is the decision I'm about to make, will that cause war? Will that cause conflict? The decision I'm about to make, is that going to hurt people? Is it going to help people?” That's the part that is different.”
 
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.....There is, however, a way to make Republicans provide input that doesn’t involve nuking the legislative filibuster. Instead of abolishing the filibuster, Democrats should embrace the talking filibuster. That’s what the filibuster is supposed to be all about, right? Let’s bring on all the Jimmy Stewart Mr. Smith Goes to Washington nostalgia and filibuster in the traditional, conservative sense. Let Republicans partake in a robust back-and-forth as they debate the issues once again.....
 

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Republicans are discovering that they've done too good a job in separating their base from reality
Mark Sumner

The idea that the right can be motivated by driving a wedge between them and scientific or medical experts isn’t new. See George Wallace sneering about “pointy-head college professors” or Richard Nixon calling Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau “a pompous egghead” or Spiro Agnew making more than one reference to “an effete corps of impudent snobs who characterize themselves as intellectuals.” There is an unbroken bridge from the John Birch Society shouting about fluorine in the water as a Communist plot to QAnon supporters looking for the tunnels connecting pizza parlors and Hollow Earth.

Whole generations of Republicans have been raised in a proud anti-learning tradition, one that is bolstered by an even longer history of fostering racist and antisemitic conspiracy theories. That Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene was seriously spreading the idea of “Jewish space lasers” wasn’t some momentary collision of random neurons wandering in the dark. It was actually Greene repeating a long and elaborate theory that involved former California Gov. Jerry Brown, PG & E, a solar energy company, secret space launches, and, of course, and financial firm Rothschild & Co. that had been kicking around in right-wing land for some time.

For decades, Republicans have favored the mushroom philosophy: keep their base in the dark and feed them bullshit. But with the coming of Trump, the brain blender dial got turned up to “”puree. The guy who “loves the poorly educated” rediscovered the Goebbels principle: Big lies are better. “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.” That principle turns out to be so effective that the right has even used it to spread lies about the COVID-19 vaccine by attributing fake quotes to Hermann Goering.

But there is a conundrum. When you’ve taught your base to believe nothing but the crankiest of crank conspiracies, how do you get them to listen when you need them?

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Most “slippery slope” arguments are just another example of right-wing mushroom farming used to push back against even the most modest proposals. As in Rep. Madison Cawthorn suggesting that asking volunteers to go door-to-door offering COVID-19 vaccine is the first step into “constructing a mechanism” that will reach into every home in America to “take your Bibles.”

But what Republicans built in their anti-reason agenda wasn’t so much a slope as the pathway to the top of a cliff. All along the tattered rightward edge of what was the “alt right” just a period of months ago, people from high school drop-out bar owners to college drop-out real estate scammers have discovered that all they had to do to pocket millions from a party already tumbling through the void was to do exactly what Vladimir Putin had taught them: Get on social media and confirm every racist, xenophobic, anti-intellectual position that had been minted from the Know Nothings to date.

Why hasn’t Q spoken in months? Why should he? Who would even notice in a party where a senator is waging a daily battle to charge a doctor with a felony for trying to protect the country?


The weaponization of social media against the Republican base has been amazing, and absolutely predictable. What Russia did in 2016 was nothing more than putting a modest military budget behind a digital crowbar that could open the nation along lines of weakness. It knew where to find those lines because Republicans drew big circles around them every election cycle. Russia didn’t create a million bots to spread a ridiculous message that the system was unfair to white people and overly generous to Black people by coincidence. They just took the script Republicans had been selling for years. Once you can believe six impossible things before breakfast, there really is no limit.

Of course, none of this means that the Republican Party is doomed to fade away. Republicans have made a blatant and so far successful effort to cripple the election system in America. They’ve demonstrated that they can turn out record numbers in support of an agenda that left a million people dead. And they’ve turned mumble-mumble racism into an overt, out-and-proud bigotry that has touched the hearts of millions of America’s most downtrodden: middle class white people.
So what have they got to worry about?

Well … in the last week, Republicans have noticed that the up = down machine has put them in a position where 90% of the people dying from COVID-19 are their people. That’s because 90% of Democrats are already vaccinated and 99.5% of those dying are unvaccinated. Who are those unvaccinated? Oh, right, the Republican base that’s been taught scientists, doctors, and experts can’t be trusted.


Over the course of that week, Republicans who still think of themselves as party leaders have begun to get louder about suggesting to their followers that maybe, just maybe, taking five minutes out of their day to not die would be a good thing. And this is the kind of response they’re getting.



You know what they say: How are you going to get them back in the land of boring old reason once they’ve seen all the glittery lights and spectacular claims of Bigfoot driving UFOs land?

But it’s worse than that. For Republicans who ever actually cared about the traditional Republican agenda, eh. That’s all gone. For those who care about nothing but their own personal power, they’re out of luck as well. Just ask former Rep. Scott Tipton. Tipton was a conservative Republican who checked all the boxes. He voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act. He frequently angered environmental groups with a push to privatize public lands. He was solidly against reproductive rights as well as gay marriage, supported by wads of cash from the oil and gas industry, and he easily won election for 10 years. Then Tipton was knocked out of his primary by a woman who claimed to have inside knowledge about Hillary Clinton’s upcoming arrest as well as secret documents that would reveal the QAnon truth about the pizza-ordering cannibals in Congress.

Marjorie Taylor Greene didn’t step into a seat that was formerly held by a Democrat. She ousted Rep. Tom Graves, who had one of the most conservative ratings in the House. Cawthorn took over Mark Meadows’ former seat in a district freshly gerrymandered to make it super Republican safe, but in doing so Cawthorn actually defeated well-funded conservative businesswoman Lynda Bennett, who was the choice of not just Republicans in the state party but also endorsed by Donald Trump. It’s easy to say that Cawthron won
in spite of posting an Instagram photo celebrating his visit to Adolf Hitler’s vacation residence while explaining that a visit to see “the Führer’s” home was on “my bucket list.” But a more truthful framing would be that Cawthron won because of his unabashed adoption of white supremacist positions.

What most Republicans in leadership positions today are just beginning to discover is that
they are the alt-right. The white nationalist agenda that was cautiously courted along the fringe a decade ago is now the mainstream. If there is still a pro-business agenda, it exists only so much as it locks in racism. If there’s still a social conservative agenda, it survives only as a means of tacking a halo onto actions of hate. And the media outlets that Republicans were counting on to keep the base in line have discovered that it’s even more lucrative to feed them to the volcano god who pays Tucker Carlson’s bills.

The new Republican Party demands that America explicitly cover up slavery, Jim Crow, and every expression of racism. Why teach kids about the Civil Rights era when obviously Black people have
always had the edge over poor, struggling, mistreated whites? In the last few years, Republicans have already tried to revive the idea that Joseph McCarthy was a hero. Don’t worry—they’re also holding pedestals open for George Wallace and Strom Thurmond.

Republicans have thought they might cut the bleeding off with a Justin Amash here and a Jeff Flake there. But those who see just signing onto “yes, Donald” as a solution to their electoral ills are missing the big picture. If there was anyone who still cared about “traditional conservative values,” they can forget it. And if all they care about is their personal power, they won’t have that either.


There’s always another Boebert in the weeds.
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'Breakthrough' infections are not—that's not—driving the new surge in the United States
Mark Sumner
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When they say it's a 'pandemic of the unvaccinated,' remember that means every child under 12
Laura Clawson
 
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Ten Thousan Marbles

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