Saturday Report 4/16/22 - Are Human Sacrifices the Logical Conclusion of Deflated Tires?
The Best of the Rest of the News
— Have "The Birchers" Won? I was twelve or thirteen years old when my Dad introduced me to the John Birch Society. They were, he said, “the nuts” who were hanging onto “weird” theories like if they could just change the Supreme Court by impeaching Chief Justice Earl Warren, they could then roll back the 1954 Brown v Board decision that ended racial segregation in public schools. Dad also, though, thought they were onto something when they warned about communists infiltrating our government: he gave me a copy of John Stormer’s book None Dare Call It Treason that laid out how extensively the communist conspiracists had inserted themselves into the State Department. It was my first contact with genuinely whacko conspiracy theories of the type that today run rampant throughout the GOP and on social media. Nelson Rockefeller tried to marginalize the Birchers and their guy, Barry Goldwater, at the 1964 Republican Convention, but was booed off the stage. It was Reagan, though, who brought them into his administration. He hired a young lawyer, John Roberts, and put him in charge of a section in the Justice Department committed to finding ways to overturn the Supreme Court’s Brown v Board and Roe v Wade decisions. Roberts came back with a mind-boggling 27-page report that I wrote about at length both in my book The Hidden History of the Supreme Court and the Betrayal of America and in a Daily Take on these pages on September 21 of last year. Roberts argued that Congress, indeed, has the power to overturn Supreme Court decisions, a power found in Article 3, Section 2 of the Constitution that puts the Court under the “regulation” of Congress. Reagan ultimately decided not to take the political risk, but 40 years of court packing since then has left us with a Court that is more than willing to engage in the sort of radical actions Reagan and his JBS buddies could only dream about. The Birch Society, in fact, is making quite a comeback now. The question now is if, as they unroll voting rights and abortion rights trying to drag us back to the 1950s, there will be a big enough backlash to stop them. Red state politics suggest this new authoritarianism will become the new normal; Blue states, building abortion and voting rights into their constitutions, argue that this is just a moment in time that will pass. The flash-point to keep an eye on, IMHO, is how politics change in Red states that have clamped down on voting and abortion rights; if there’s a strong backlash, egalitarian and progressive American ideals have a chance. If they go the way of Orbán’s Hungary or Putin’s Russia, full-in on “culture wars” and voter suppression, get ready for a rough ride here in America and among democracies around the world. We truly are living at one of those hinge-points of history.
— Their’s a debate dividing the Jan 6 committee - Should Trump be referred to the DOJ for prosecution? Or would that backfire? Multiple news sites are reporting a debate among members of the January 6th Committee in the US House of Representatives. On one side, people are arguing that they’ve discovered and vetted enough proof of criminal behavior by Trump to refer him for prosecution to the Department of Justice. The other side points out that such referrals are non-binding, the DOJ is already doing its own investigation, and for an elected (and thus political) body like the House to push for imprisoning a former president would produce such a political backlash that it would be counterproductive. There’s also a middle-ground option of the Committee turning over to the DOJ the results of their investigation with all the background information so it could be used for prosecution, without making a specific recommendation. In either case, the Committee’s public hearings are now tentatively scheduled for May or June (presumably they are trying to wait until the Ukraine war is no longer taking all the headlines) and a referral to the DOJ would not come until after the public hearings. The Committee’s choice among these three options will tell us a lot about the political climate in Congress this summer, as Trump’s power with the GOP continues to wane. Keep an eye on this.
— How the corporate media whittles away at democracy. Writers at Media Matters for America and Daily Kos are committed to carrying on the tradition and work of Eric Boehlert, a regular guest on my radio/TV program, who died last week in a tragic accident. Boehlert frequently pointed out how the network Sunday shows have, for decades, leaned heavily toward Republican guests and, even when they do put on a Democrat, rarely pick a progressive. When Bush was president, for example, he and others documented how the programs always skewed toward Republicans guests, and when the network was asked about it they said it was because Republicans were in power and so people were interested in what they had to say. During the Obama administration, the networks continued to skew their panels on their Sunday shows toward Republicans. When they were asked why this was, they said it was because Democrats were in power, and therefore most people wanted to hear the voice of the opposition. The New York Times continues this tradition using an article about Judge Jackson’s nomination to interview several Black Trump voters and Republicans, implying that the Black vote is rapidly trending toward the GOP, as Bethesda calls out on Kos. Fewer than a third of Americans even know that the Biden administration has produced more jobs — and quality jobs — than any president since FDR; the only stories the media seems interested in promoting are Republican talking points blaming Biden for an inflation that is worldwide and the result of bouncing back from two years of Covid lock-downs. This has become a legitimate crisis for democracy in America, particularly given how the GOP has abandoned any pretense of loyalty to the political system our Founders created, instead embracing the types of voter suppression, election rigging, and lie-based propaganda that is characteristic of strongman autocracies like Hungary and Russia. Boehlert’s last column, “Why is the press rooting against Biden?” is a must-read.
— Why isn't the media asking if the Saudi sweetheart deal is really just a payout or bribe to Kushner for his services during the Trump presidency? The world recently learned that about a year ago the Saudi Government gave a sweetheart $2 billion gift to Jared Kushner, probably because of a leak about how the Saudi’s fund’s advisors had unanimously voted against giving Kushner even one dime presumably because of his terrible track record (losing a fortune with his 666 5th Avenue building, etc.), the grifter background of his family (his father went to prison for financial fraud), and his utter lack of experience running a large investment fund. While the media and the courts continue to pursue the Hunter Biden story (kicked off by Trump when he tried to blackmail Ukrainian President Zelensky into making up dirt on Hunter), the possibility that the Trump family betrayed America in exchange for billions of dollars has barely surfaced. While The New York Times did a reasonable in-depth article about the scandal, US media is broadly ignoring the story. Inquiring minds want to know.
— Why the GOP refuses to do debates with Commission of Presidential Debates. Taking a cue from Richard Nixon, who simply refused to debate either Hubert Humphrey in 1968 or George McGovern in 1972, the Republican Party has cut ties with the bipartisan Commission on Presidential Debates. The Commission itself grew out of the 1988 refusal of the George HW Bush campaign to debate Michael Dukakis in the entirely nonpartisan venue provided by the League of Women Voters, which had organized and moderated presidential and vice-presidential debates for decades. Bush wanted the GOP to have a voice and a veto on choosing the debate moderators, so after dumping the League the two parties came up with the bipartisan Commission. Nixon won both the elections where he refused to debate, and Republicans are re-embracing his most-corrupt-in-history techniques to obtain, hold, and wield political power.
— Why Is It not OK to be a unicorn if you are a child? Conformity is apparently the only value Fox News and other hate media in America will promote: