We are coming down to the wire for the Senate to pass the Freedom to Vote Act. This bill was hammered out earlier in September by a group of senators trying to find common ground with conservative Democrat Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who objected to the sweeping For the People Act passed by the House. The Freedom to Vote Act pared down that larger bill but retained its most important pieces. It creates a national standard for voting rules and tries to stop voter suppression, modernizes voter registration, and replaces old, paperless voting machines with new ones that have a voter-verified paper trail. It slows the flood of money into our elections and ends partisan gerrymandering. It establishes strict rules for post-election audits.
The Senate is going to vote to keep the government funded till December 3 tomorrow morning.
The political organizing structure of this country no longer works. Why anyone buys Treasuries of a country that has a political party that would even think of questioning the full faith and credit of the public debt, much less fuck around with it for no reason other than they can is beyond me.
The next 24 hours are going to show who's who and what's what. This system cannot work with a political party capable of taking power that is against the country and against governing.
I don't know why I thought reading Heather's letter at 2 something in the Godless morning would be a good idea for my sleeplessness. Oh, well, it's done now.
Seriously, it seems clear that most of the country is, as usual, unaware of what's really going on. We (I), tend to forget the rest of the country isn't as plugged into the socio-political chess game as this group is, which makes it so much more hard to understand. What seems so obvious to most of us is not even on most people's radar. Sad, but true.
I have never been more worried for the fate of this country.
And hey, Joe Manchin. When you find those 10 Republicans, maybe you can find me a unicorn. Always wanted one.
Jennifer Rubin, Washington Post columnist, takes the MSM to task in her column yesterday. I heartily concur:
First, the media can stop enabling Republicans by retiring the pretense that the GOP is a normal, credible and patriotic party. Consider the framing of questions that so many in the White House press corps have adopted. If the president’s plans are so popular, why can’t he get Congress to go along? (Um, because they operate in the right-wing media bubble and fear his plans might deliver for ordinary Americans?) Why has the White House failed to get everyone vaccinated? (Because MAGA leaders are sabotaging vaccine mandates and right-wing media hosts shovel disinformation into their viewers’ laps?) Why is the president incapable of unifying the country? (Because Republicans refuse to put country above party?) The entire assumption that President Biden is a failure because he cannot get unreasonable Republicans to become rational is misguided.
I just feel overwhelmed by the train wreck we are witnessing in real time. I watched a little of the Senate hearings and of course the republicans tried to eviscerate Milley under the guise of "finding the truth" about his call to China and Afghanistan withdrawal. The call to his Chinese counterpart was done after he notified his chain of command and there were 8 people in the room! Pompeo has lied like a rug about his "not knowing".
Hitchcock could not have written a bigger psychological nightmare than what is transpiring in front of our eyes. A former boss told me at the beginning of my career (40 years ago) to keep one thing in mind "the masses are asses" but it still amazes me that evil and ignorance appeals to so many people; and it has throughout history.
I recall years ago watching television reporting from Moscow and was struck by the visual of the streets filled with people just going about their business, the busses and cars were in traffic, there was an air of activity, etc. - a sense of normality-as it would look in any U.S. city. They live in a repressive dictatorship with tremendous inequities (economic and political) but go about with daily life as best they can and "accept" that is the way it is and nothing can be done. And, truth be told, rebellion is often met with punishment or death so at some point self preservation (and what might be seen as complacency) becomes the norm.
I often feel that is where we are now . . . we are shouting into the wind as the bold face lies of those who are evil take us down by cutting to our core and blatantly repressing voting rights. Russia and China never had to fire a single shot.
Apropos Matt G. and the other REPS who berated Gen. Milley and called for his resignation: Liz Cheney called this behavior "despicable" and apologized to the general in the name of the House. Not that her gesture changed any of that outrageous behavior, but it should at least be mentioned.
I get frustrated that only on rare occasions do commentators mention the dark money men who are giving the orders. Does anyone really believe that McConnell -- or any of the GOP--would do anything without marching orders from Charlie Koch or any of his ilk? I so much want to say to myself and others, "Cool down, take a breath, it's just politics.". The problem is, for all it's flaws, I love this country and what it represents to mankind. Never has a country represented freedom in the way the U. S. has done. It really has given hope to millions of people around the world that life could get better, that there is a reason to hope. I want that to continue. And it appears the billionaires, in conjunction with their GOP minions, want it to end. Ii is hard to wrap my mind around the fact that this is happening in the same lifetime that saw JFK, RFK, and Dr. King inspire us as a people. We still have so much potential as a people. And yet, we appear to be readying ourselves to slip into the deep oceans of historical memory. To become a place of myth and in myth, like Atlantis or Camelot. Who says there's no such thing as satan? Satan is the voice of greed and lust for power and the belief that "We are great" and "The people who disagree and oppose us are not great because it's their fault we aren't greater still. They are the enemies of our greatness.". Satan, in other words, is the voice of arrogance, the voice of evil, the voice of disunity. God, on the other hand, us the Voice of conscience and compassion, the Voice of wisdom and unity. Just when many people think we have transcended religion, we ourselves have become the embodiments of religious principles, light and dark, good and evil, wisdom and ignorance. I'm still praying that the Good will prove "wiser than the serpent "
Our government is careening toward one party rule… In a breathtakingly short amount of time will we will be Poland and our democracy will be dead. Reviving it will be too difficult because by then the power will all be in the hands of a few megalomaniacs who could care less about their people. We are following a well worn path: ignore the flashing red all around us because we’re busy trying to work and live, then suddenly one day we’ll wake up and all that we have taken for granted and held as a fundamental right is gone. Think of every single country that has fallen to a dictator, even the Nazis ruse to power—citizens kept thinking “This can’t get any worse!“ And yet it did, inexorably, until it was too late. Extreme times call for bold responses; the Democrats need to kill the first filibuster today.
"They demanded that Milley resign. Gaetz repeatedly interrupted and berated the general, who has served the United States in uniform for more than 40 years".
Dr. Richardson, first, I have no idea how you are so able to keep up with all the happenings you write down each day. I read much of the NY Times every day, and, would not know 80% of what is going on without your writings. Thank you.
Second, "They demanded that Milley resign. Gaetz repeatedly interrupted and berated the general, who has served the United States in uniform for more than 40 years."
Matt Gaetz knows that Republicans, like moths to a light at night, are attracted to:
1) Men who abuse and berate women.
2) Men who abuse and berate men.
Hence, the rise of Trump, who treats everyone poorly.
Just like Gaetz.
Like moths to a big, bright, security light up on a hill.
I have no idea what evolutionary process occurred to select for people like this and throw organize them into "Republicans".
I just can see that it has happened.
Hence, in my language with some Republicans, I insult them and berate them.
They respect this. Amazing, really.
Isn't the game that McConnell and his tidy band of followers are playing clear to everyone? The Democrats will be responsible and give Republicans what they want at the last minute to prevent an irresponsible shut down. Republicans will assert their power and dominance to show they have it, that they "own the libs" -- rather that they own the government and the American people -- and revel in their ability to call all the shots, because that -- not running the country -- is all that matters now. So rather than have a functioning government, they play around with serious matters lightly, as bullies will, and can stand proudly and crow about winning the game.
I may be too depressed and pessimistic anymore to read the news. Just as I was when Trump got elected and reignited with flame throwers the slide into authoritarianism. The constant reminders of the 10 year rise to power of Hitler are absolutely chilling.
travesty or charade?
Get the business done or we are lost.
Resolution of the apparent disarray...who are we in this season of strife?
A nation gerrymandered or righted by the rule of our laws?
Blessings upon us all.
So no good news and possible disaster and failure on the horizon. The rest of the country is worried about Britney Spears or whether Tom Brady and belichek will hug before Sunday’s game.
Personally, I am praying 🙏 that the good guys win and our nation is saved, everyday it seems as if the deck is stacked against us.
Play hardball with the republicans, democrats!!!
I’m not sure if any *actual* legislators read your Letters, Heather.
IF THEY DO, then I hope they pay attention or their handlers do and they go back to their people and kick their ass.
What a joke that Biden and his agenda can be bitch-slapped around and get nothing done.
Again, it’s about public perceptions and getting out there. The debt-ceiling is totally-tied to Trump and his Republicans raising our debt by nearly 20% by himself!
Raising the debt ceiling to pay for it should be a slam-dunk if properly presented, but I hear nothing. Where are the spin-doctors for the reality of the world?
Maybe the public is numb, but if that is the case, why is a 3.5T deal any worse that the 7.8 in tax breaks? Oh yea, messaging! Figure it out, Dems.
I can't shake the sinking feeling that we will end up similar to Turkey. It didn't take long for them to backslide. Manchin knows there aren't 10 Republicans that would vote to make elections fairer. I have no idea why he pretends otherwise. I had no hope after Jan 6 and it's becoming more obvious to people by the day. When someone like HCR asks "Once installed in power, will this particular incarnation of the Republican Party ever again permit a Democratic victory?" all is lost.
Senator Sinema has been bought by the lobbyists from her fundraiser last week. She is immature and is letting power and money go to her head. As one commentator put, she is a free radical and who knows what she'll do. Senator Manchem is a known quantity from a very Trumpian state and will come around. This is convincing me that the culprit here is dark money and we need to get rid of money in politics starting with Citizens United. Money is not free speech. Money is legalized bribery. Senators like McConnell and Sinema can and are being bought.
Seems the US will learn that "9/11" was not first in the US, it was in Chile. And that a 60% majority cannot do what it wants, if the 40% minority has the right friends.
For all of us, these next two weeks are going to require nerves of steel. It's obvious that the votes are not there for everything that the Progressive wing of the Democratic Party have their heart set on accomplishing because they don't have the votes. The hard part of being in a democracy that utilizes representative government to express the popular will is having to accept the fact that there are times that the vote you need just are there. We live in a constitutional republic that has essentially live with the same set of rules that were adopted 234 years ago, a governmental system that served us well until about the year 2000, when things started to go off the rails. If we lived in a parliamentary democracy like Great Britain or Israel, we would be having snap elections every six weeks. We have two houses of the legislature, the lower house, the House of Representatives, which is directly elected by the people in single-member districts based upon population apportionments determined by the decennial census. The upper house, the Senate, represents the States, which, until 1916, was populated with senators who were appointed by their respective state legislatures. After 1916, senators were popularly elected, with each state becoming a single election district. Representatives have two-year terms of office, the intent being that Representatives would be closest to the popular will as evidenced by public opinion during each election cycle. Senators serve six-year terms, on the notion that the Senate would be the ultimate repository of learned experience, institutional stability, and continuity. One-third of the Senate's membership stands for election during each two-year election cycle. The bottom line is that we have to live with what we have wrought over the past several decades a process that will take almost as many election cycles in the future to undo the damage that has been done to the institutions of Government by a rogue Republican Party, in concert with Dark Money interests, and fueled by its current leadership that has rejected democracy itself as the fulcrum on which both Government, and Governance has turned so far.
Progressives are apoplectic that now they are in nominal control of Congress, they cannot exert their will to right the ship of State. I sympathize. But, given that the odds of success against them, betting the whole of our future on trying to get President Biden's legislative program enacted this year, doubling down on their bet on succeeding this year would seem to be, in the language of statisticians and prognosticators, a Six Sigma Event, meeting six standard deviations to the right of the zero point on any probability distribution. In the language of Nassim Nicholas Taleb, this would be the blackest of 'Black Swans'. It was bound to happen that someone like Senators Joe Manchin and Kyristen Sinema would stand up to object to the president's plan, modest as it is when compared to the actual need for public spending and improvements over the next decade if United States is to remain competitive in the world, and we can slow down and ameliorate climate change.
The fact is that the Republican Party has been waging war against American democracy since the administrations of Jimmy Carter and those that followed him. Their long game has paid off in ways that we now see, like compound interest accruing on a long-term debt. We may be in for a long rough ride before this is over; what is going to take the unwavering commitment of American patriots in order to turn things around. In the words of Winston Churchill, commenting upon the entry into World War II by the Roosevelt administration, that was not the beginning of the end of fascism and totalitarianism in the world; rather, Churchill referred to that infusion of hope and resolution in December and January 1941 into 1942, as 'The End of the Beginning'. These are not easy words to write, and our times are parlous. An aroused citizenry is the best hope that we have for getting through this thing with any semblance of what we had before. But the forces of nihilism are strong, and holding things together and putting faith back into our institutions is something that we need to relearn. The two years that followed the Pearl Harbor attack were exceptionally difficult for people who are used to success. We wanted to believe the patriotic-themed Hollywood productions — 'Casablanca', and all the other sugarcoated nonsense that the public wanted to believe was happening, because America believes in advertising and marketing, instead of the 'blood, toil, tears, and sweat' that Winston Churchill promise the British public on that day in May, 1940, when he became Prime Minister of the British War Cabinet. We like to think of those who fought in that war as the Greatest Generation. The parents of my generation didn't call it that: war was a bitter and excruciatingly painful enterprise, so much so, that many combat veterans refuse to talk about their experiences in the years immediately following the war, and only afterward when they tell their stories when the numbness and the pain in their hearts and brains had subsided. What they had though, was a faith in America, and her example to the world, despite racial segregation and unremitting poverty and destitution that the War Years after the depression had not yet alleviated.
Today we have a different America, a much more vibrant and diverse one; but one that is chained itself to social media and the opportunity to bicker and criticize everything and everyone inside who doesn't agree with our particular opinions. Our response to the coronavirus is probably far worse than we had a right to expect of ourselves, given our prowess in medical science and epidemiology. Instead, we find ourselves hamstrung by willful and ignorant minority whose rejection of reality and science borders on the ludicrous. We had the selfsame people in World War II, but they were stuck in the Ozarks, or wherever they happen to be, and they didn't have the megaphone and access to worldwide communication that the followers of Donald Trump enjoyed today. In World War II, Fox news would've been shut down in a minute, given the treasonous and seditious poison that their followers feed on constantly. The idea, that just now, we are coming around to the notion that coronavirus immunizations should be made mandatory in the workplace and in the public square would have been fully in place in the World War II era not later than June 1942, had the coronavirus appeared then. Those of us who follow the histories of the war will remember that London was under constant aerial bombardment from November 1940 through March and into April, 1941, just-in-time for the military defeats that they suffered in the eastern Mediterranean and North Africa. In the first six months of 1942, Japan overran all of Southeast Asia, and allied military leaders at the time believed that we would still be at war as late as 1948 to get back to where we were in 1941. Regardless, however, the American people did not waver, and we saw our way through those difficulties, even in the states of the former Confederacy, where the Civil War was still living memory. What we have instead, are the politics of resentment on the part of EVERYBODY, with the leadership of the Republican Party being the high priests of high dudgeon and indignation that the American people would want back much of the wealth that they had stolen since the election of George W. Bush. Yes, that happened; and it continues to happen. But we need to find a way to pull together and put aside our differences, and renew our commitment to the common good, because that is the only way were going to pull ourselves out of the ditch that we're in. It's time to stop being crybabies over stuff that we can't do anything about, at least right now, and start mending fences with people of goodwill whose accents may be different, who may like pickup trucks and beer instead of brie cheese and Chardonnay, who wear cowboy boots and big floppy hats, and who have fun displaying a whole lot of attitude. I'm not partial to one side of the other, and I enjoy both. I have lived or traveled in 38 of the 50 states, including five years in our nation's capital; I live in California, which may also be the most diverse state in the Union, entirely apart from epitomizing the liberal agenda. I'm sick of the know nothing-ism of the liberal Left, just as much is the myopia of the rural Right, but I can live with it, and make friends where I find them, and allies where I can do so. These people didn't go off the rails on their own initiative; they had a lot of help from the moneyed people who hide their wealth overseas, and pander to willing sycophants, whether at Fox News, or elsewhere. They're hurting; and they don't know why. They are enduring death and disease of unparalleled numbers that have not been seen since the middle of the 19th Century, when great cities grew up without sanitation or clean water. We need to learn to trust one another again, as I say earlier, because without trust the whole enterprise is lost.