Saturday Report 11/20/21

The Best of the Rest of the News...

The singlemost ransacked office in the Capitol on January 6th was the office of the Parliamentarian, where the Electoral College ballots were supposed to be stored. This shocking bit of information, courtesy of Johnathan Karl’s new book Betrayal, is proof positive that this wasn’t just a “protest” or a “riot”: it was an actual, naked attempt to blow up the counting of the Electoral College votes. An attempted coup. Treason. The ballots were stored, according to Karl, in “three dark and shiny mahogany boxes brought in by the parliamentarian’s office to be carried along as the senators walked over to the House. The boxes looked like relics from a time long past—each one held shut by wide leather straps with brass clasps and locked with a skeleton key.” And if those ballots, which had literally been transported there from the states under seal and over official signatures, had been destroyed there was no provision in the Constitution for what to do next. Trump would continue as president, the traitors believed, and that would be the end of the Joe Biden presidency that Steve Bannon had proclaimed he and his fellow conspirators would “kill in the crib.” Fortunately for America and the world, the ballots had been spirited away by a quick-thinking young woman who worked for the Parliamentarian and doesn’t want her name known for fear of drawing death threats from Trump’s goons. She may well have saved American democracy.

As Paul Gosar was censured for threatening the life of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a colleague who’s a woman of color, the Washington Post reports that, “About a dozen Republicans stood beside Gosar in a show of support as he was censured.” All were white men. As I noted earlier in the week, this is the newest iteration of the GOP’s “Southern Strategy”: openly using race and the threat of lynching and other violence against nonwhite people, women, and gender identity minorities as a political cudgel. This is why their racist/rapist-in-chief champion, Donald Trump, explicitly endorsed Gosar right after the censure vote.

A key part of the GOP’s new Southern Strategy is to bleach white the history of America taught to our children, particularly white children, making white supremacy more mainstream, normalized, and palatable. Media Matters for America has laid out a shocking history of one of the leading organizations of the public school book-banning movement, Moms For Liberty. “Moms for Liberty recommends The Making of America by W. Cleon Skousen,” Media Matters notes, “as a ‘helpful’ text ‘when discussing the founding documents’ of the United States.” Skousen’s book draws a compassionate view of slave owners, Media Matters points out, “calling them ‘the worst victims’ and writing that ‘in some ways, the economic system of slavery chained the slave owners almost as much as the slaves.’ Skousen himself was a supporter of the John Birch Society, an anti-civil rights organization that claimed the ‘African-American freedom movement was being manipulated from Moscow with the goal of creating a ‘Soviet Negro Republic’ in the Southern United States.’” As grotesque as this is, it should surprise no one. Racism has been at the core of the GOP’s political strategy ever since 1968, when Richard Nixon invited southern white racists into the Party in a big way.

Lose your job in North Dakota for teaching even the smallest details of the history of slavery or the modern Civil Rights movement? That’s what the new law signed by that state’s governor requires, banning any instruction “related” to the fact that “racism is systemically embedded in American society” or plays any part in “the American legal system.” Meanwhile, in Texas these “freedom loving patriots” are banning books with tips on dealing with bullies, teen romance, and penguin parents. Apparently nobody remembers the book-burning orgies that were a hallmark of the Nazis starting on May 10, 1933. Thirty-four university towns and cities hosted book burnings that day, and most of the books banned or burned were written by “liberals” and Jews.

Bogus economic stories in the media are driving down President Biden’s poll numbers. Eric Boehlert writes in his Press Run substack newsletter (which I highly recommend) that the media has been following what appears to be a systematic effort to play up inflation hysteria and play down good economic news. This could reflect a political bias, or simply be the media’s incessant chasing of disaster porn: things are only worth reporting when they’re salacious or tragic. Eric is doing an important and valuable public service by holding our press to account.

Sweden is prosecuting oil executives for their complicity in war crimes. This is the first time since the Nurenberg trials we’ve seen such a thing, and it may well spread to other countries, particularly after the way oil executives sneered at and lied to Congress last month. It couldn’t happen to a more deserving bunch.

Bernie notes, "While we pay the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs and one out of four Americans can't afford the medicine they need, the top 15 pharmaceutical executives pulled in more than $470 million in salaries and bonuses last year.” The big question now is whether the over-one-million-dollars the drug companies have already spent in the past weeks for advertisements in Arizona applauding Senator Sinema will cause her to oppose drug price controls in the Build Back Better bill. As Bernie said, “It is not some radical idea to suggest that Americans should not have to die because we are the only major country that allows drug companies to raise prices to whatever they want, whenever they want.” On the other hand, we’re the only major democracy in the world with rightwingers on its supreme court that has legalized political bribery. Which will win - the bribe or doing the right thing? Watch this space…

Getting Pregnant Shouldn't Up Your Chances Of Getting Killed. Pregnancy increases a woman's chance of being murdered in America by 16% (particularly if they’re between 11 and 20 years old), which is another reason why women should be able to quietly, quickly and safely terminate an unwanted pregnancy.  Hundreds of scientists want to testify.

— How Many Lives Could Have Been Saved If Trump & Cronies Didn't Muzzle Experts? Trump health officials Messonnier and Birx tell Congress that political interference during last year’s coronavirus response led to hundreds of thousands of unnecessary deaths. Will nobody hold Trump accountable?

— In Geeky Science: Coffee and tea consumption reduces risk of both stroke and dementia. There’s also a lower risk of complications to a stroke. Nobody is sure why or what the mechanism of action is here, but the association

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