I was a child in the 70's and 80's. We all regarded with horror how police in the easten bloc could just throw you in the gulag or take you to the courtyard for a firing squad. We were proud of the protections of the American system. Now, the folks who want to make this country "great" want to go beyond the worse abuses of the Soviets. Progress!

Expand full comment

A Democrat being elected mayor of Jacksonville - traditionally a GOP-leaning city, and beating out the DeSantis-endorsed GOP candidate - seems like a pretty big deal, too.

Expand full comment

The pro-life party was never the pro-life party, just pro-birth. And forced birth at that. I gave up on my last shreds of hope that they might actually care about ANYBODY when the South Dakota Right to Life refused, point-blank, to make any changes to South Dakota's absolute ban on abortion, by opposing a bill that would have defined “the life of the mother” as meaning the pregnant female is “at serious risk of death” or “substantial and irreversible physical impairment of one or more major bodily functions”. So, yeah - they've morphed from "we're only protecting that precious baby" to outright saying, the mother's a host body and if she dies, she dies, we don't care. Well, WE CARE. And we're going to vote on it. Over and over and over again.

Expand full comment

"Is the pro-life party, actually pro-life anymore?"

It never actually was. Abortion restrictions were always, just like restrictions on gay marriage and gay sex, and just like the current holy war against dignity and healthcare for trans people, about abolishing the rights of people who are not straight white Christian men to live their lives as they see fit.

Any person still harboring delusions that the institutional "pro-life" movement was EVER about "unborn babies" needs to get a grip.

Expand full comment

The apparent blood lust of the right, backed by the strong arm of the State, reminds me of George W Bush-brand compassionate conservatism. You know, the compassionate conservative who took great pride in his then record number of executions during his tenure as Governor of Texas. Surely that record was a great asset among the compassionate conservatives who voted for him over McCain in those primaries.

Regardless of your view on the justifiability of the death penalty, everyone at least should be able to agree that it's a step that should not be taken lightly, with a robust and effective appeals process in place, and with lots of potential trip wires between the pronouncement of the sentence and its fulfillment. What seems to be popular on the right today is a brand of justice that has been implemented by extreme regimes of present and past, not just Fascist and other right wing regimes, but also communist regimes, from the USSR to China. Apparently, these folks don't hate all of Communism as much as they claim.

Expand full comment

It is chilling to realize how right is the comment about brutality. It is palpably obvious that the Mango Monster takes ferocious glee—like an evil child—in acts of deliberate cruelty, and he has enabled the worst instincts of his cultish followers.

In the instance of Daniel Penny who killed an out of control (but unarmed) homeless man in a chokehold, the question I have is not why he put the choke on him—let us allow that his training and instincts took over when he felt there was a threat to safety, to give the benefit of the doubt.

The question is: why did he not release the chokehold when Neely became unconscious and unresisting, no longer a threat? Why did he maintain the chokehold—cutting off breathing—for FIFTEEN MINUTES—a time that would be guaranteed to kill the victim?


The belief that the life of a troubled and acting out black man doesn’t matter, and he might as well be eliminated to save a lot of bother.

And MAGA republicans are making a hero of him.

Expand full comment

How is anything Republicans are doing any different from the *Sharia Law* boogeyman they've screamed about for years? Oh yeah, because it’s CHRISTIAN. 🙄

Expand full comment
May 18·edited May 18

So many disturbing strains of thought coming from the MAGA base (formerly the Republican Party), but one that we should take note of is the shrugging off of abiding by the rule of law.

We saw this with the election lies, where the process for adjudicating election disputes by state election boards and courts was followed, including recounts, re-recounts, hand counts, forensic audits, investigations, 60+ court cases - all of which found no evidence of fraud to steal the election from Trump, all of which affirmed Biden's win. Now we see it with juror's decisions being denigrated and dismissed and with prosecutors who bring charges against alleged criminals attacked and threatened.

I've been wondering how exactly MAGA's believe disputes should be decided if not by the established legal processes and who gets to decide. We're starting to see the answer. It's a free-for-all where anybody (on the right) can take the law into their own hands to kill the people they don't like and then defend and even elevate & celebrate the killers. And where court rulings or rulings by legal authorities such as state election boards can be trashed, especially in blue states whose citizens apparently aren't real Americans and whose voices don't count.

But yeah, let's elect a Republican because Joe Biden is such an existential threat to democracy.

Expand full comment

Whenever I look at somebody like Matt Walsh, I see a fundamentally weak, indecent person. Guys like him and Trump believe in using state power to punish out groups, but would cry like babies if their standards were applied to them.

Expand full comment

..and the democrat shocked everyone by appealing to voters in Jacksonville Florida! Who knew?

The brutal right is the exact same bunch that sits at the end of the bar spouting off. Trump is on that barstool blathering but if you really notice, he never fired anyone face to face. He's scared to do it and always looks for some wannabee with a black executioner's hood on .

and the republican shocked everyone by losing in Colorado after a 45 year hold on the seat. !!

I think at this point Biden should invoke the 14th amendment and pay some bills. If placating the far right proves anything, now they are preparing the big overreach . They know that playbook well and it has consequences that always seem to surprise them.

Eventually the guy at the end of the bar passes out , or in this case the voters cut him off. I wouldn't go around bragging that I am responsible for the end of Roe V Wade. I recall him cautioning the right about the risks involved in the abortion issue. But that was yesterday...

Expand full comment

The fringe of the right wing used to see big government as its enemy, now it sees it as a tool to pardon right wing violence while over-prosecuting other things it doesn't like. Just wait until Abbott actually goes through with that pardon. Just wait until the next armed militia group who commits violence against left wing protestors are pardoned. Just wait until they declare abortions equivalent to murder and sentence doctors and women to execution for doing abortion. Just wait until they push for fast-track executions of drug dealers Rodrigo Duterte-style. It's coming to a red state near you.

Expand full comment

The irony of Trump's tough guy stance is that he's basically a coward. Avoided military service, never really stood up to foreign leaders (Mexico will pay!) etc. There must be a psychological term for this?

Expand full comment

Oh, Charlie, the Republicans were NEVER pro-life. I know many of you genuinely feel that abortion is a tragedy and that by overturning Roe, you were "saving babies" and "protecting the sanctity of life." But pregnancy IS a medical condition, and things go wrong ALL THE TIME. As we've now seen, all these bans are doing is harming women and their families. For the Rs in power, making abortion illegal has ALWAYS been about misogyny, has ALWAYS been about controlling women, and keeping power to themselves. It IS brutal and always has been, though I will say the Rs have gotten progressively worse and more violent in recent years.

Expand full comment

So pedophiles should be tried and promptly executed. And according to the far rights recent rhetoric democrats are groomers and pedophiles. See where this is going?

Expand full comment

I've always been against the death penalty - even for the worst murderers, even with DNA evidence. These people who claim that life is so sacred that a killing a glob of cells with human DNA is murder, yet they are fully behind killing adult humans tells me they don't understand the value of life at all. Life that isn't aware it is being killed has great value to them, but a life that's fully aware they're to die has no value at all.

My mother was a devout Christian and she took the attitude that it was God's business to decide life and death. When men take that decision to themselves, they're setting themselves in His place. Even taking a life in self-defense, to her, was murder - especially if your own choices put you in the situation where it was kill or be killed (as a volunteer soldier in a war, for instance - or Kyle Rittenhouse).

Expand full comment

There's an old expression about how a conservative is just a liberal who's been mugged.

Sometimes I hear "mugged by reality" so that it serves as a generally applicable metaphor. But even if interpreted literally, it makes for a relevant observation of a real cultural phenomenon – the naive progressive who lives in relative safety and looks down their nose at people who fear urban crime, only to quickly adjust their perspective once they experience the terror of having one's life threatened. The kind of person who once talked seriously about disbanding police departments only to wise up and realize what a sheltered fantasy world they inhabited.

Well. This progressive grew up on the suburban outskirts of Baltimore. I lived much of my life in fear of urban crime, and yes, I've been mugged. Twice. Once with only an explicit threat of violence (dude threatened to cut my throat with a knife, though I doubt he was serious). The other time I got jumped by two guys and ended up in the hospital getting stitches around my eye, which swelled to the size of a golf ball the next day.

So nobody can tell me I don't know what it's like. I am, and always have been, supportive of police, and disgusted by the way hardcore progressives often categorically impugn their integrity. On the other hand, I was appalled by the Rodney King verdict as a college student, and getting mugged didn't change my mind. As for the issue of self defense, I have usually been sympathetic to stand-your-ground laws, because *when they are properly applied* they are reasonable allowances for the right to self defense, even though I think they ultimately encourage what is not the best and most effective way of defending one's self (which is to run).

The point is, I am capable of holding two thoughts in my head at the same time: that cops are necessary and for the most part should be appreciated, even while ones who abuse their power should be held accountable. That people who are attacked should be given reasonable allowances for self defense without allowing for full-on vigilante justice.

So what to make of the Jordan Neely case? Firstly, I am glad to hear that Penny is being charged with manslaughter, because that's precisely what this is. I get really sick of people always clamoring for someone to be charged with murder in situations which clearly weren't premeditated or intentional. On the other hand, I am disgusted by the likes of Walsh, Crowder, and Jones, who regard this case with all the thoughtfulness and humanity of feral chimpanzees.

As for whether I think Penny is guilty, I don't want to jump to judgement without all of the facts. In fact I will probably not get too animated regardless of what the jury decides – I'm willing to trust that they fairly evaluated the evidence. Much of this hinges on precisely what actions Neely took and whether or not they really constituted a threat to someone's life. From what I understand, he did nothing more than yell and create a disturbance – which was nonetheless apparently frightening enough to elicit a 911 call. So I get that some people wanted to restrain him.

However, if you are unable to restrain someone without choking them to death, you shouldn't be doing it. I have a tough time buying the idea that specifically applying pressure to someone's windpipe was in any way necessary or unavoidable. Choking someone to death doesn't happen instantaneously – there would have been ample time to relax his hold enough for the guy to breathe without releasing him. To me, this wasn't intentional murder, but it shouldn't have happened purely by accident. This seems like a situation where Penny simply didn't care whether or not Neely lived or died, so long as he got him to shut up.

And that's not acceptable. If you're going to jump into a situation like this, where you aren't directly defending yourself or preventing an imminent threat to someone else, you take on some responsibility. You don't just get to do whatever you want because you think you're a hero and then abdicate any responsibility to act with any regard for a person's life. If it turns out that Neely really was acting in a way where a reasonable person would have assumed he intended to harm them in a life-threatening manner, that's one thing. Otherwise, the law is right to hold Penny responsible for Neely's death, no matter how many people may have been happy to see him in a chokehold at the time and inclined to think Penny some kind of hero – *understandable as that may be*.

Because we can hold two conflicting thoughts at once. Namely, we can be sympathetic to the anxieties of the passengers without being blithely tolerant of a total disregard for human life.

Expand full comment