Saturday Report 11/13/21
The Best of the Rest of the News
— Violence has become normalized in the GOP. The New York Times has an alarming article this week about how common and normalized threats of violence and a lust for murder and blood have become among members of the base of the Republican Party. Here’s a quick excerpt from the first four paragraphs:
At a conservative rally in western Idaho last month, a young man stepped up to a microphone to ask when he could start killing Democrats.
“When do we get to use the guns?” he said as the audience applauded. “How many elections are they going to steal before we kill these people?” The local state representative, a Republican, later called it a “fair” question.
In Ohio, the leading candidate in the Republican primary for Senate blasted out a video urging Republicans to resist the “tyranny” of a federal government that pushed them to wear masks and take F.D.A.-authorized vaccines.
“When the Gestapo show up at your front door,” the candidate, Josh Mandel, a grandson of Holocaust survivors, said in the video in September, “you know what to do.”
This is an example of how the Republican Party is becoming gradually acclimated to the idea of murdering fellow Americans, a death fantasy that the hard-right white supremacist movement, the Klan, fringe rightwing militias, and psychopaths like Donald Trump have long nurtured. The most recent and glaring example is Arizona Republican Congressman Paul Gosar putting a video out that shows, in cartoon form, him murdering progressive Democratic Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. It’s also another warning of how nations flip from democracy to oligarchy and then tyranny: gradually, then suddenly.
— Trump says murdering Vice President Pence was just “common sense” after Pence failed to reject the electoral vote and proclaim Trump president for a second term. At the very least, this should support a criminal charge of conspiracy to commit sedition and possibly even conspiracy to commit murder. It also shows us that we were governed for four years by a man who thinks of himself as organized crime boss, as has been often alleged in the past by, among others, Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen. And it again demonstrates how fragile our republic is, since so many of our “traditions” (like the peaceful transfer of power) are just that: traditions…without the force of law. Congress should have convened by now a committee devoted to legislation to “psychopath-proof” the office of the presidency, particularly now that leading GOP presidential figures like Hawley, Cotton, DeSantis and Scott seem to be showing the same authoritarian tendencies as Trump.
— McCarthyism reappears in Wisconsin. Republicans in the legislature have spent over a half-million taxpayer dollars to hire a rightwinger to “audit” the 2020 election in that state, and he’s now telling those same legislators that if they want to know how he’s using the money or who he’s hiring they can just take a flying leap. The effort to sow doubts about the integrity of our election systems, encouraged by multiple foreign governments who want to see democracy fail in the US, rolls on apace in the GOP as they’re trying take their faith-in-democracy-destroying “audits” to all 50 states. They don’t care about the citizens of Wisconsin or America overall: it’s all about the power and the money that comes with it. Gradually democracy is eroded, then suddenly.
— Republicans in Florida want to force employers — with a $50,000 fine — to keep people on the job and in the workforce who refuse to get vaccinated or wear a mask. Additionally, if a company still fires a worker for being a maskhole with no consideration for his or her fellow employees, their families or the public, that person will now be eligible for instant unemployment benefits, courtesy of the state. Republican Governor Ron DeSantis thinks that encouraging more death and disability in his state will lever him into the White House in 2024, and the entire Florida GOP appears to be with him. If it weren’t so tragic and over 60,000 Floridians hadn’t already died, it would be funny. Instead, it’s tragic and alarming. This is how political parties turn into fascist movements: gradually, then suddenly.
— While the FBI and police across the country, according to Reuters, are refusing to even investigate serious death threats against election officials, the issue got considerable publicity this week on my program and Rachel Maddow’s show…and now a man in New York has been arrested for threatening a GOP lawmaker. That’s the good news. The bad news is that so far the only people arrested for making death threats to public officials are those who have threatened Republicans. Something is going on here, and the national press needs to get to the bottom of it. If this is like the way Pinochet set up his 9/11/1973 coup in Chile — by infiltrating and corrupting the nation’s police — and it could be a very, very ominous sign. Click here for the Reuters story for the whole shocking mess. Gradually, then suddenly.
— Media Matters for America is reporting how Fox “News” has been spreading vaccine and Covid lies, myths and misinformation on a daily basis ever since Biden was elected. This appears to be part of a larger effort to keep the pandemic going so the economy remains in crisis…making it harder for Democrats and Biden to win in the