We Deserve A Vote To End The Filibuster

Senate Majority Leader Schumer should call a vote on ending the filibuster. We deserve to know which Democrats vote for democracy and which oppose it.

This is especially important when the filibuster is being used block bills that prevent states from suppressing non-white voters.

We need to know which Democrats are helping Republicans block democracy. Every elected Democrat needs to take a public stand on this.

Until this happens, until most Democrats are demanding a public vote on this, until they force a vote on this, all Democrats should be held accountable for keeping these anti-democracy rules in place.

I Quit Twitter. Is Trump In Jail Yet?

I got off Twitter, for a while at least, and it’s wonderful. My concentration is returning. I’m able to go to the bathroom without my phone. And I’m even writing a blog post! (For better or worse.)

But I have a few questions:

– Has Trump or anyone at the top of things been held accountable for anything yet? I mean actually indicted for their crimes — not “stern letters” from Democratic senators. (Remember that report that detailed how Trump committed Obstruction but couldn’t be indicted because he was resident? Tell the Justice Dept. he’s not president anymore.) (PS His lawyer went to jail for a crime he committed with Trump but Trump couldn’t be indicted because he was president. Tell the Justice Dept. he’s not president anymore.)

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We Need a Department of Democracy

This post first appeared at Imagine Democracy.

This post expands on 2019’s , a “Department of Democracy,” to protect and promote democracy.

Democracy doesn’t have an advertising agency, and our discourse is swamped by well-funded anti-democracy efforts — done by self-interested parties like the tobacco and fossil-fuel companies. For obvious reasons such interests want to get government and its rules that protect the public from harms (a.k.a. regulations) “off their backs.”

Our elections have become a game in which secretly-funded disinformation, spread by secretly-funded propaganda outlets, in rigged districts, with voter suppression and apathy deciding who rules. Those minority-selected elected officials perpetuate these barriers in a “doom loop” that is ending democracy.

If what’s left of self-rule survives we need a government agency to take on the role of protecting and promoting democracy. Perhaps we could call it a Department of Democracy.

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Infrastructure “Deal”

So there’s a “bipartisan deal” on infrastructure that cuts out much of the original infrastructure plan, which was supposed to be urgently needed for the country. They say it can’t pass without an accompanying guarantee of a Reconciliation bill to pass the rest of what was proposed.

So in other words, we’ll get the entire original proposal (or maybe nothing) through reconciliation except months later than we would have if we had just passed it using Reconciliation in the first place, but leaving little time for much of the rest of Biden’s agenda, never mind all the bills the House has been passing.

This “deal” is because Biden, who was going to convince Republicans to work with him, couldn’t convince Democrats like Manchin to work with him. And Biden caved on taxing the rich.

Also you have to “pay for” something that will bring us trillions in future economic gains? But one way they are going to “pay for” it is by selling public infrastructure to private interests who can then charge US a fee to use OUR infrastructure.

PS For those who mistakenly think the US govt “borrows,” the interest rate is close to below zero when inflation is added in, so we actually “make money” if we “borrow.” But we absolutely can’t issue T-Bills to “pay for” the infrastructure that will bring us trillions of benefit.

PSS The US govt MAKES dollars. It doesn’t borrow them. It also chooses to sell T-Bills, for different reasons.

PASS Also, Republicans can now take credit for the infrastructure spending the public wants, even after cutting it by 2/3. Or is that 3/4?

We Are In Pre-WWII Germany

I was thinking about the emotional desire for normal times we see in so many of our elites. It’s dangerous right now. It leads to a blindness about what is really happening.

A lot of our Dem Representatives want to legislate, going through all the motions of passing bills even though pretty much nothing that passed the House has gotten through the Senate since Obama was elected. And they demand austerity even though austerity breeds fascism. People in the media cover the horse race as if several states aren’t going to overturn election results when Dems win.

I want to see my Representative recognize what is going on and put her body in front of the Senate Chamber doors to make a point to the public. Instead she attends mark-ups, and holds town halls to talk about the bills the House is passing. I want to see the media cover the (international) fascist movement as a fascist movement.

I think that people who write about/are in politics, etc these days should look at what they are saying and doing and ask themselves, “How would this look if I were writing/doing it in pre-WWII Germany?”

Looking at pre-war Germany, who do we remember?

Blog Hero Award — Atrios

I used to give a Blog Hero Award. Now “Atrios” has written one of the best blog posts ever so I’m reviving the award.

Atrios is hereby awarded a coveted (and rare) Blog Hero Award for his post, The Sensibles:

Start with a proposal that does 80% of the job, whittle it down to 60% to make it cheaper just because, cut that in half to please Republicans who won’t vote for it anyway, throw in some additional complication and means testing to please random “moderate” Democrats, and you’re left with something that is complicated and confusing that you’re unable (or justifiably unwilling) to take credit for. Then spend another 3 months “debating” it just to give time for people all over the spectrum to point out why it’s shit.

This is what the supposedly sensible, moderate, grown up politicians do. Then they can blame The Left because twitter user TrotskyChavez420 tweeted, “fuck the pigs.”

Is Biden Another Carter?

The Carter admin was a short interim between bad and much worse, and enabled the much worse to get into power. I am fearing Biden is failing to see the urgency of the moment, thereby enabling the very worst.

Previously I was surprised and enthusiastic about how the Biden admin started out. Big programs, etc. Lately not so much. The guy who promised he could work with Republicans can’t even get Democratic senators to support democracy.

I do not see administrative efforts to uphold democracy. Democracy requires accountability. No one has been held accountable for anything from the prior admin. Example: Trump was a co-conspirator in a case that put his lawyer Cohen in jail. That indictment could have come the minute he was not in office. So far, nothing. Never mind the obstruction of justice outlined in the Mueller Report.

It is looking like Biden has backed off several very important policies. Not cancelling student debt, not giving climate the urgency required. This is not just bad coverage, these are things he could just do himself and hasn’t. (Carter took on the oil companies and spoke to the public about the energy crisis all the time.)

Also, politically, the admin is not effectively getting the word out to the public about the good things they have already done.

There is a serious clock ticking. At any moment a Dem senator could fall ill or worse, Republicans gain the majority, and that is the end of the last hope. But they’re letting Republicans “negotiate” to run that clock out.

Update

So much is at stake. So much. I’d like to see some things happen that make me less pessimistic: Indict Trump on that charge Cohen went to jail for. Or for obstruction. Tell the public about the good things that have been done for them so far in the Biden admin. Put the hammer on Dem senators who are risking killing the Biden presidency and democracy — they might be playing out a strategy but the Senate is one vacancy away from Republican control. Stop the ridiculous “negotiating” with Lucy as she runs out the clock before pulling away the football. Give speeches about the urgency of the climate crisis. Get the Justice Dept moving.

Innocence

Arkansas really wanted someone dead, their supply of death drugs was running out.

I was hiking in Muir Woods this week, ran into a guy with an Innocence Project t-shirt. They do great, important work. Send them money here.

Then today I read a story about Ledell Lee and how the Innocence Project tried to save him.

In 1993 Debra Reese, 26, was murdered in Jacksonville, Ark. Ledell Lee was accused. But there were problems. Lee was prosecuted but the jury hung. Then, a few days after OJ Simpson was found not guilty and white people were pissed off, Lee was prosecuted again. The judge was having an affair with the prosecutor and later married her. Fingerprints at the scene did not match Lee. Lee did not have good representation. Etc. Etc.

Lee was convicted and sentenced to death.

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How Do You Argue With This?

I mean it as a question. How do you argue with this?

From a trumper I know:

Your friends seem to have all of this “information” at their fingertips, don’t they. So what! What is that information but leftist tropes designed to influence the masses and to gain power. They seize the territory of common belief, speaking earliest, loudest and most often. They employ a sprinkling of objective facts that may be easily confirmed, well-mixed with a carefully groomed, generous selection of friendly inventions that cannot. They tell a story calculated to most tickle sordid fancy and to invoke emotion, conclusion, and judgment. They leave no uncomfortable loose ends that encourage open-ended thought or provisional conclusion – the result of such is entirely unpredictable. They do these things so that they will be nearly impossible to contradict no matter how outrageous, grand, or comprehensive their departure from the truth. And they do this for what…a feeling of accomplishment…perhaps to be part of the regime, once the grand revolution has been accomplished?

… Frankly, most people don’t have the time to respond to each and every misdeed, lie or slanderous canard put out by the press, the left or you and your friends. You and they, on the other hand, seem to have unlimited time to wear down and slander the opposition. Again, what is your end game? On second thought, I already know and won’t waste my time with the bark, bark, barking of the dogs of war. I have learned the futility of speaking civilly and factually with you and the others.

Disproving their nonsense proves there is a conspiracy to manipulate information, leading to the “grand revolution.”

Literally, how do you argue with this?