More than 1.5 million Florida residents are without power as Hurricane Ian is pounding the southwestern coast and moving inland. The hurricane was close to a Category 5 storm when it made landfall about 3 this afternoon, with the predicted 12-foot storm surge materializing near Fort Myers. It has been slowing since it hit land, but the damage, including to this year’s orange crop, is already considerable.
If I could ask DeSantis one question: When has a Democratic president or Congress balked at providing swift and extensive aid in a natural disaster in a Republican-dominated state?
I'll answer in case he doesn't know: Never.
Both Florida Senators are climate change deniers. I went to view videos of Ft. Meyers where I have family hunkered down in the storm but could not watch until Rubio's campaign ad played. I hope voters in Florida hold these clowns accountable.
Very good and informative letter tonight...thank you, Heather!
Well, there’s one Judge Amy we can be thankful for.
I am horrified that Putin is holding fake referendums with soldiers forcing Ukrainian citizens at gunpoint to vote to join Russia, and forcing Russian citizens to fight in the war with Ukraine. Will he then conscript Ukrainians to fight for Russia against Ukraine? The man is evil incarnate.
Desantis only wants to be president. I am in the hard-hit area of sw Florida-in North Port-just north of Fort Myers and port Charlotte. We have been hit like never-before, so I ask your prayers as we wake today to assess where we are.
Desantis is a terrible governor whose education policy is designed, as assessed by educators, to raise a next generation of ignorant racists by denying history, limiting teachers in what they are allowed to teach, banning books, persecuting trans-gender and lgbtq children, and more. His ridiculous mask-shaming of children at a news conference (without knowing the chijsrens’ own health status or that of their families’) and lack of adequate and truthful Covid information caused the needless deaths of countless of our citizens. His limitation of voting access and calls for a private police force to monitor voting sites is a fascist move designed to intimidate. His treatment of immigrants, as we have all recently witnessed, is that they are less-than -all while he touts a “pro-life” moniker. He is simply pro-self.
He will claim all moves forward in the days ahead as his own. He will claim all electricity restored as his own. He will claim all clean ups generated as his own. He has no conscience and no thought other than self-promotion and self-aggrandizement. If you were horrified by Trump, you ain’t seen nothing yet-he’s trump 2.0-smarter, more calculating, and INTENTIONALLY cruel. He will use this hurricane disaster to further his own political aspirations. It will be the Ron show -please see this and name it.
Please hear me-Desantis cannot be elected President. He cannot. He will destroy our democracy for his own fascist agenda with himself as complete authoritarian. Please help me spread the truth about Governor Ron Desantis among folks in other states so that he might be seen for who and what he actually is. And please, pray for the people of my state as we seek to figure out next steps.
"As a newly elected congress member in 2013, now-governor of Florida Ron DeSantis was one of the 67 House Republicans who voted against a $9.7 billion federal flood insurance assistance package for the victims of Hurricane Sandy in New York and New Jersey. Now, with Florida on the ropes, DeSantis asked President Joe Biden for an emergency declaration to free up federal money and federal help even before the storm hit, and said Tuesday, “We all need to work together, regardless of party lines.”"
Today, on live coverage of Hurricane Ian from Agenda Free on YouTube, There was a clip of DeSantis saying federal support could help, but still would not be as good as a private insurance policy ... pitching for the Home Team ....
What a newsletter tonight! The thread running through it, the strong men, the wealthy, the power, worldwide. And here in our wealthy country, This: “The share of total wealth held by families in the top 1% increased from 27% to 34% in the same period. In 2019, families in the bottom half of the economy held only 2% of the national wealth, and those in the bottom quarter owed about $11,000 more than they owned.” Can we say EVERY repub administration rolls back social safety nets and stops progress for the people, and rewards the wealthy? Should we generalize? Will repubs ever care about income inequality, hungry children, guns in the context of school shootings and open carry intimidation, accidental deaths of children, degrading environment, fires and storms, within the climate crisis that are also destroying shorelines and oceanic environments. It’s so sad I know to focus on the negative. But we are watching a train wreck. As Historian Howard Zinn wrote, “ You can’t be neutral on a moving train.” https://www.democracynow.org/2022/9/5/you_cant_be_neutral_on_a
Thank you, Heather. You put a lot of work into this letter and I appreciate all that you are doing. I attended a Third Act call-in this evening and they are coordinating effective efforts by groups all over the country to join the fights for democracy and climate action. Inspiring!
Thank you, Dr Heather, for noting the hypocrisy of despicable DeSantis. Republican hypocrisy needs to be called out and shouted from the rooftops.
Thank you for pointing out supply side or trickle down economics have been redistributing wealth upwards to the wealthiest for the past 30 years. Thank you also for pointing out how Republicans feel Biden's economic policies are Socialist and redistributing wealth downwards. For 30 years the rich have gotten richer, the middle class working and those less fortunate have paid for it.
How often is it that 40 and some odd years are distilled in a few paragraphs? And when those years have brought a country, a mighty experiment with Democracy, innovative beyond our dreams...the American Dream down the road to autocracy, cruelty and fear, why add more words than the one's Heather Cox Richardson wrote in Letter from an American today?
'Since the 1980s, the argument for dismantling the government has been that federal regulations hamper the operation of the free market, thus slowing economic growth, while the taxes required to maintain a bureaucratic system take money away from those who otherwise would invest in businesses. The avowed theory is that a freely operating market will free up money on the “supply side” of the economy. Flush with cash, investors will theoretically pump that money into new enterprises that will hire workers, and everyone will prosper together.'
'Yesterday the Congressional Budget Office released a study of trends in the distribution of family wealth between 1989—immediately after President Ronald Reagan began the antiregulation and antitax push—and 2019. In those thirty years, total real wealth held by families tripled from $38 trillion to $115 trillion. But the distribution of that growth was not even.'
'Money moved toward the families in the top 10%, and especially in the top 1%, shifting from families with less income and education toward those with more wealth and education. In the 30 years examined, the share of wealth belonging to families in the top 10% increased from 63% in 1989 to 72% in 2019, from $24.3 trillion to $82.4 trillion (an increase of 240%). The share of total wealth held by families in the top 1% increased from 27% to 34% in the same period. In 2019, families in the bottom half of the economy held only 2% of the national wealth, and those in the bottom quarter owed about $11,000 more than they owned.'
'The relative invisibility of these statistics after forty years under Republican ideology has enabled today’s Republicans to insist the Democrats are “socialists” who are trying to redistribute wealth downward even as our laws are clearly redistributing it upward.'
'Last night, California governor Gavin Newsom, who is running for reelection, insisted on MSNBC’s Alex Wagner Tonight that Democrats must push back against the Republican domination of culture wars. Newsom pointed out that 8 of the 10 states with the highest murder rates are Republican states and that the gun death rate in Texas is 67% higher than that in California. Newsom expressed dismay that Democrats aren’t better at advocating their policies.'
'That omission is likely a result of the fact that after World War II, it never occurred to most Americans that anyone here would need to defend democracy. And yet we are now facing the rise of “illiberal democracy” or “Christian democracy,” which argues that democracy’s protection of equal rights weakens societies by destroying their moral core and by splitting the people internally. Its adherents call for limiting the vote; privileging white, heterosexual Christian citizens; and standing behind an authoritarian leader who will stamp out opposition—that is, a system that is not a democracy at all.'
'There is a direct correlation between growing economic inequality and the growing popularity of authoritarianism. Scholars of authoritarian systems note that a population that feels economically, religiously, or culturally dispossessed is an easy target for an authoritarian who promises to bring back a mythological world in which its members were powerful.'
'But, having lifted strongmen into power, they learn that they were only tools to put in place someone whose decisions are absolute and who is no longer bound by the law.'
After suffering through the Amiable Dunce, Governor Moonbeam (twice), Gray "It's my turn!" Davis, several idiot Republicans (thanks, Pete Wilson, for finally turning California decisively blue with prop 187), and Arnold Schwarzenegger (who was actually better than people will admit - among other things he was the one who led the fight to depoliticize redistricting, which has made the GOP illegal here), it's a real privilege to have someone like Gavin Newsom, who knows how to take the fight to the enemy (when he was mayor of San Francisco, he approved and officiated at gay marriages while they were illegal under prop 8, thus pushing the legal fight that got Prop 8 overturned). I think he just might be the party's future.
As to "Republican economics" as practiced by congressman DeSantis in 2013, allow Alexander Stevens, VP of the confederate States of America, to explain modern Republican economics, from his 1861 "cornerstone speech":
Again, the subject of internal improvements, under the power of Congress to regulate commerce, is put at rest under our system. The power, claimed by construction under the old constitution, was at least a doubtful one; it rested solely upon construction. We of the South, generally apart from considerations of constitutional principles, opposed its exercise upon grounds of its inexpediency and injustice. Notwithstanding this opposition, millions of money, from the common treasury had been drawn for such purposes. Our opposition sprang from no hostility to commerce, or to all necessary aids for facilitating it. With us it was simply a question upon whom the burden should fall. In Georgia, for instance, we have done as much for the cause of internal improvements as any other portion of the country, according to population and means. We have stretched out lines of railroads from the seaboard to the mountains; dug down the hills, and filled up the valleys at a cost of not less than $25,000,000. All this was done to open an outlet for our products of the interior, and those to the west of us, to reach the marts of the world. No State was in greater need of such facilities than Georgia, but we did not ask that these works should be made by appropriations out of the common treasury. The cost of the grading, the superstructure, and the equipment of our roads was borne by those who had entered into the enterprise. Nay, more not only the cost of the iron no small item in the aggregate cost was borne in the same way, but we were compelled to pay into the common treasury several millions of dollars for the privilege of importing the iron, after the price was paid for it abroad. What justice was there in taking this money, which our people paid into the common treasury on the importation of our iron, and applying it to the improvement of rivers and harbors elsewhere? The true principle is to subject the commerce of every locality, to whatever burdens may be necessary to facilitate it. If Charleston harbor needs improvement, let the commerce of Charleston bear the burden. If the mouth of the Savannah river has to be cleared out, let the sea-going navigation which is benefited by it, bear the burden. So with the mouths of the Alabama and Mississippi river. Just as the products of the interior, our cotton, wheat, corn, and other articles, have to bear the necessary rates of freight over our railroads to reach the seas. This is again the broad principle of perfect equality and justice, and it is especially set forth and established in our new constitution.
As with every other evil thing in the modern Republican party, "Republican Economics" are Southernomics."
"Since the 1980s, the argument for dismantling the government has been that federal regulations hamper the operation of the free market, thus slowing economic growth,
The so-called "free market" given the way Republicans use the term. It needs to be distinguished from legitimate uses of of the word"free", which in the context of human societies denotes "freedom" only when it is broadly based. Where choice and agency is concentrated in few hands, but where choice, influence and opportunity are broadly shared by all, a free society.
The "few hands" version is what tyranny is. In commerce, we call it "monopoly" or "oligarchy", which Republicans unabashedly promote, but in such societies the capture of power bleeds over into other realms as well, as we saw in the "Gilded Age".
We spent decades trying to make the deal more even handed. What has been the attraction and what has been the reward of giving that up? And as for the Holy Grail of Growth, would it not make sense to ask of what and for what, for whom, and at what cost?
I listened to Gov. Newsom’s comments on Democrats needing to take a more assertive confrontational stand and I agree wholeheartedly. It might move some undecideds and galvanize Democrats to turn out in higher numbers in November. And perhaps, over time, such a posture might begin to chip away at the Right.
But many of the people Professor Richardson refers to in today’s Letter who are being lied to by the Radical Right, believe the lies - they are long-held truths, cauterized into their sense of self.
‘’Scholars of authoritarian systems note that a population that feels economically, religiously, or culturally dispossessed is an easy target for an authoritarian who promises to bring back a mythological world in which its members were powerful.’’
The push back against the RR’s hypocrisy and lies, the reeducation if you will of the MAGA electorate, is an overwhelmingly difficult lift. If those folks wanted to listen, they would have by now – they don’t. Many have been voting against their own economic interests for decades, and those who benefit from the economic policies of the Right have long since stopped caring about the fate of their fellow citizens.
It appears to me that the cultural issues are what bind the devoted cohort of MAGAs to the Trumpist cause. He is their bullhorn – with equal measures of ‘’bull’’ and ‘’horn’’- and they are unlikely to distance themselves from tfg and his acolytes no matter the strength of the arguments.
Our victory will be won on the margins; Newsom’s quest will succeed if Democrats organize themselves, recruit new voters, get them to the polls, and convince them to be engaged in local, State and national elections. He is getting the word out to those who might listen, but more importantly, he is inspiring the choir to action.
Thank you Heather.
There is so much news unfolding it is difficult to keep up. I appreciate you keeping us between the guard rails.
I was listening to NPR the other day when the Roger Stone story broke regarding his true distain for Democrats. It's one thing to read about his hatred, yet another level to hear him talk about it first hand.
As I lay here in bed fighting the new "Covid clone virus", I cannot wrap my head around what makes a person blanket their hate around an entire group of people just because of their Party affiliation.
Yet, people cheer Roger Stone on.....
Different and frankly more important subject to me. Have we heard from our community friend Christine from Florida?
Can we get a shout out from all of our Florida friends to know you are all okay and out of harms way from Hurricane Ian?
Be safe. Be well.