Aug 19, 2022·edited Aug 19, 2022

Charlie, I don't think that DeSantis cares much about what is actually taught in schools or in corporate DEI sessions. The STOP WOKE Act isn't intended to go into effect--it is intended to be struck down by the courts so that DeSantis can then campaign and fundraise off of stopping the tyranny of the woke judges.

I call this strategy "performative unconstitutionality." It creates a perpetual motion machine of writing a blatantly unconstitutional bill that won't pass even the most cursory legal review, grandstanding to pass said law, a bench slapping from a court that declares the law unconstitutional, fundraising off of the court loss, grandstanding about a different bill, etc. Tim Eyman, a political grifter here in Washington, perfected this particular dark art.

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The Gableman smackdown is rather amazing, but it just reinforces the sad fact that the truth of these election claims is irrelevant, even when scrutiny of elections rises to the level of an OSC investigation. They launch a completely partisan investigation, a former WI Supreme Court Justice runs it thoroughly incompetently and unprofessionally, because what matters is not the truth of the claims being investigated, but that there is an investigation, no matter how farcical, being conducted.

It harkens back to Trump's first Impeachment, when he extorted Zelensky to get him just to announce an investigation, not even necessarily conduct an investigation. Hell, it harkens back to Bengazi. If you make outrageous claims, without proof, that no one should take seriously, but then you launch an official investigation into these claims based on nothing, then the claims get the patina of credibility. This Wisconsin investigation could barely even be called an investigation, it came up with nothing, but it served its purpose, and election deniers will continue to claim without evidence that the election was stolen. Same with the Committee Trump set up to prove that fraud, in an election he won, caused him to lose the popular vote.

Same with Cyber Ninjas in Arizona. It cost a fortune, the firm conducting the audit was completely tied to Trump and committed to demonstrating fraud occurred, it took months longer than originally projected, it was conducted by a firm with no expertise in elections, and it concluded there was no evidence of fraud (though they tried to spin it) and that Biden's margin of victory was wider than originally thought. But none of that stopped Kari Lake from winning the Republican nomination for governor of Arizona on a platform consisting of nothing other than 'Democrats stole the 2020 election from Donald Trump.'

We have a party whose voters are convinced, based on no evidence, that elections are rigged, and who are completely uninterested in all proof to the contrary, because they believe what they believe and they like believing it, since it means the Democrats must be evil. And this is of course a recipe for violence in the streets.

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Senate races are statewide, McConnell points out, meaning they can't be gerrymandered.

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“Right now, we have a 50-50 Senate and a 50-50 country, but I think when all is said and done this fall, we’re likely to have an extremely close Senate, either our side up slightly or their side up slightly.”

Except the country isn't actually 50-50, not when you actually look at the data of population, policy preferences, etc. The politics is only 50-50 because our system gives outsized representation to the minority party.

Congressional district population ranges from around 495k to almost 1 million... so there is an up to 2:1 disadvantage in representation in our system (BTW, the largest pop district is in Montana and the lowest is in Rhode Island).

We have also frozen the number of representatives in Congress at 435. Since a state must have at least 1 Representative, this also has a distorting effect, driving up the number of people represented by a single representative in highly populated districts.

We need to rewrite the Permanent Reapportionment Act of 1929 (I think almost a century w/o change is probably long enough) and raide the number of representatives overall.

We need to take the control of how district boundaries are set out of the hands of politicians. Voters should chose politicians and not vice versa.

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Bump's point about Trump parroting the fringe, reminded me of the many conversations I had with Trump followers in 2015 that said, almost verbatim, "He (Trump) says what I think in my head". I stupidly laughed at the time, but we all now appreciate the innate bond this created between Trump and his mob.

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That last clip, running current right-wing talking points interspersed with KKK remarks, is chilling. I appreciate everyone who consumes Fox, Breitbart, Newsmax, etc. and publicizes this crap so that we don't have to steep in it to be informed.

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We'll never move past MAGA until there are consequences for words, not to mention actions.

How many of us would have a job tomorrow if we said a person of authority should be executed?

How many of us would have a job tomorrow if we openly associated with or condoned racists, bigots, and other Deplorables who make no apologies for their extremist positions?

How many of us would have a job tomorrow if we incited riots, or were known to participate in them?

It amazes me that so many of those on the far Right act as if there are no restrictions, social or legal, on anything that they choose to say or do in the name of Freedom, Liberty, and Patriotism -- until I think about it and realize that there aren't. There is an increasingly obvious double standard in our midst that those on the Left must play by the rules, including changing ones that the Right adopts in the name of owning the libs, while the right operates with impunity to attack and divide and conquer at will. What to do about it? The instinctive reaction is to resort to their tactics and see who wins the race to the bottom. What could go wrong? So let's look at what these opportunists respect the most: money. I imagine that there are plenty of hungry lawyers who would be eager to make the worst and most obvious abusers legally liable for their extreme positions. Reign them in starting with their wallets where possible, and send a message that there is no automatic free ride for abusive behavior. I suspect they will begin to change their tactics somewhat once they realize that there is a bill attached to their conduct -- aka the Alex Jones precedent.

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I think you have it backwards, Charlie. DeSantis is Brietbart. Trump is Inforwars.

Here's why. DeSantis wants to be official, he wants to appear legitimate, he wants the respect but enact the policies he has in mind. He's entirely focused around erecting a project the same way Bannon was when Bannon ran Brietbart. But DeSantis is afraid of the mob; he wants to use the mob, not join them. He wants their power, but he'll never actually be one of them. There's always a step between them.

Trump doesn't care about any of that. He is the mob, and the mob love him for it. He is one of them. He is everything they see themselves as, despite our rational minds saying that can't be the case. But in the ways that matter, in what he believes, in what he says, he is exactly like them. Through him the mob channels their rage and hate. And he willingly accepts this role, knowing that the more extreme he becomes, the more they'll love him. He's Alex Jones. It's the same dynamic. Trump doesn't care about respectability. He doesn't care about creating a project. He's a creature entirely consumed by his passions, and the mob that follows him knows it. Trump will say anything, from injecting bleach will cure covid to muslims were cheering on 9/11, the same way Jones has said the water turns frogs gay and that school shootings are a hoax.

DeSantis is trying to launder the talking points into a semi-respectable platform. But he doesn't command the mob. No one is going to march for him. No one is going to cause violence for him. He's not their guy. And if Trump said today to destroy him, the mob would. He's Breitbart. Trump is Infowars.

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Aug 19, 2022·edited Aug 19, 2022

I love the comment from Alex Jones -- about how he can see the sincerity in DeSantis's eyes.

To merit a compliment for sincerity from Alex Jones is a mind boggling accomplishment.

It's a master of mendacious bullshittery paying a truly sincere compliment to another.

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Charlie, I thank you and your entire team of writers, pundits, scholars for continuing to sound the alarm about where we are, related to potential civil unrest. I am an Army wife, and a pretty sturdy one at that. From 1995-1999 I worked for Congressman JC Watts as his regional field director. As much as I loved the job, it too was the most dangerous job I have ever held. The explosion of the Murrah Building is an ever present memory for me along with the many former members of the military who came into our office to let me know that militias were building and training all around us. I think we have forgotten the key factors that ushered in that era of domestic violence. Before the republicans took over congress the first time in 40 years, the democrats voted in the assault weapons ban. That was a-okay with me. Then the wave of republicans were voted in - out went a demonized Dave McCurdy in came Inhofe on a platform of Guns, God, and Gays….followed by a cunning Newt Gingrich. Remember Ruby Ridge, Waco, and the insane claims against the Clinton and how they were running drugs and murdering people out of an Arkansas small airport? With JC being the only African American Republican , we did not come into office as the newest jr back bencher from a rural state. We were given an opportunity to shine, to be upfront and to be known, to deliver the response to the President’s SOTU address. We too received in the district countless death threats against JC. Race mattered then - and it still matters now . In the end no one cared he was a former Champion QB and Oklahoma Football star…he is black and that placed him and his family at risk. The memory of some calls against JC still send a chill down my spine because these calls came into the district office with specific knowledge of our schedules. We had no protection and were left vulnerable and open game. I lost a great staff associate due to the fear, quantity, and impact of the threats. We did not have the protections that the offices in DC had. Remember …. the command of Newt - all

Members travel home every weekend - make no friends with the opposing party. Be out in the district - which meant vulnerability. In my file cabinet here in northern VA I’m pretty sure I can still find some of the micro tapes with recordings of threatening calls that were left on our office answering machine. I still get a horrific sickness in the pit of my stomach when I recall receiving a call from the local FBI and federal Marshall’s office telling me to go to my thermo fax machine, (the most advanced piece of technology I had at the time) where a composite sketch of the alleged OKC bombers were being faxed to me. I recall standing there watching each line burn across the curling page of thermo fax paper to reveal someone who looked like any of the new recruits training at Ft Sill. At the time we too were recovering from the multitude of very angry and deeply suffering Gulf War vets who returned home from Gulf War One w/something that was skeptically named Gulf War Syndrome as well as something we now identify as PTSD. We are whistling past the grave yard to believe it could not happen again… it IS happening again. The warning signs are there - the activities of the militias have been fired up since Obama was elected. In 1999 my husband was notified we were being transferred from Ft Sill to The Pentagon where he would work in the office of Congressional Legislative liaison. In may of 2001 I started a new job working as an executive with the Red Cross and serving on the national disaster response team. I foolishly believed we were done with the stress of the Murrah Building explosion and a Congressional District Office. We were in Washington DC the safest American city to live and work in… until 9/11. As I watched smoke rise above the tree line from the Pentagon as I tried to make my way into my office, I believed I had certainly lost my Michael-my beloved best friend & husband - father to our two teenagers. Me and our two children would wait alone and away from each other for more than 6 hours to learn if Mike would return to us. All I could think of was the victims of the OKC bombing and their lives a few years later…they were still ripped a part. Fortunately Mike was able to get out of the building and when I returned home that night at 11:30 pm there was my family - my two kids with theirs arms and legs all wrapped around my husband while all three had fallen asleep on the sofa watching the 9/11 coverage on TV. My family was in tact … but a new danger had emerged - one more akin to the danger I had felt living in West Germany on a Pershing Missile Installation and targeted by the first threat to my family’s lives…the Bader-Meinhof Gang. The point is, domestic terrorism remains a clear and present danger. Our country is in distress and I’m not sure I have ever not felt a respectable measure of distress since 1971, then 1995, then 2001, then 2021. I have no more answers for my kids other than what I had then on April 19, and Sept 11…yes it will happen again and we will get through. However as I watched the violence taking place at the Capitol on 1/6 with great horror I saw right up front someone waving an Oklahoma State flag as though his life depended upon it. There was nothing more to ask myself than “how can Oklahomans he be here - how can they forget 4/19 “ then I recall that Donald J Trump, the fire starter in chief -the most dangerous inciter of violence won all 77 Oklahoma Counties, the same place where both current top primary candidates campaigning to carry the torch for Inhofe no longer scream just Guns, God, and Gays, they have added an additional weaponized mantra to their rhetorical arsenal and it’s”The Election Was Stolen - Biden is not the real President!”. I try to allow my brain and heart go to a place where I can move past this insanity and disappointment without losing the understanding of the crisis. I too try to live and act presently and with strength and determination to do something about it, as much as a person can. The memory that saves me seems to be that scene in Ghost where Whoopi Goldberg tells Demi Moore, “You in danger girl.”

Fact it, we are all in danger and the enemy is more than just human - it’s the technology that allows rapid dissemination of disinformation and the folks who believe it’s the Gospel and they are being called to fight a holy war right here in America. Yesterday I watched Mitch McConnell whine about the fact that the Republicans may not take the Senate …translation: he’s not getting his plush throne and cool office back. Fact is when he failed to hold Trump accountable twice, and when he allowed the Grifter in a chief no continue the election denial deep into Dec, HE sold the country down the river and HE is the one and only person responsible for giving Schumer his precious office. McConnell may deserve the results of his own failure of vision and leadership however the country does not. We need both a tactical and strategic plan. We need all of those former reasonable republicans to get off their asses and get involved. Where is Tom Ridge, Steve Largent, Young Sununu, members of The Bush Admin, JC Watts? We need you again but this time reach across the aisle and help us make this a better America. To do nothing but clutch our pearls and doom scroll is surrender. We were not created to surrender to fascist authoritarianism, just ask David McCullough … oh yeah right …never mind last week we lost David McCullough. We must remember what got us here. We must act to change the present . Time is our only non-negotiable…..it’s tick tick tick tick tick, NOT tik tok.

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The American conservative movement has sounded like the Second KKK since Reagan. This us nothing new

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Theodore Adorno must be laughing his ass off, looking at the modern Republican Party he pointed out was a breeding ground for fascist morons wayyyy back in 1949. Actually, he's probably thinking, "I didn't make the point strongly enough."

As quoted by Richard Hofstadter in 1954's "The Pseudo Conservative Revolt", this was Adorno's analysis:

Unlike most of the liberal dissent of the past, the new dissent not only has no respect for non-conformism, but is based upon a relentless demand for conformity. It can most accurately be called pseudo-conservative — I borrow the term from the study of The Authoritarian Personality published five years ago by Theodore W. Adorno and his associates — because its exponents, although they believe themselves to be conservatives and usually employ the rhetoric of conservatism, show signs of a serious and restless dissatisfaction with American life, traditions and institutions. They have little in common with the temperate and compromising spirit of true conservatism in the classical sense of the word, and they are far from pleased with the dominant practical conservatism of the moment as it is represented by the Eisenhower Administration. Their political reactions express rather a profound if largely unconscious hatred of our society and its ways — a hatred which one would hesitate to impute to them if one did not have suggestive clinical evidence.

From clinical interviews and thematic apperception tests, Adorno and his co-workers found that their pseudo-conservative subjects, although given to a form of political expression that combines a curious mixture of largely conservative with occasional radical notions, succeed in concealing from themselves impulsive tendencies that, if released in action, would be very far from conservative. The pseudo-conservative, Adorno writes, shows “conventionality and authoritarian submissiveness” in his conscious thinking and “violence, anarchic impulses, and chaotic destructiveness in the unconscious sphere. . . . The pseudo conservative is a man who, in the name of upholding traditional American values and institutions and defending them against more or less fictitious dangers, consciously or unconsciously aims at their abolition.”

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Aug 19, 2022·edited Aug 19, 2022

Alex Jones seems to be channeling Dubya Bush in being able to determine the "cut of a man's jib" via one's eyes.

Jones depends on modern technology via HD television to moon over DeSantis's beady little, rat-like eyes to extract sincerity.

This pales in comparison to Dubya, when up close and personal with Putin, could see his soul (this is still being debated at Langley headquarters).

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I believe describing them as " the fringe" is a misnomer equal to that of describing the Russian attack on our democracy as "meddling." Fringe has always been used to describe outliers. They are not outliers. Trump allowed to surface the racism , and it's subsequent resentment, held by majority of the GOP. If that hatefulness wasn't held by the majority, they wouldn't keep winning. We can't even say they are the extremists because, again, that implies that they are at the edge of a group's shared beliefs. Apologies to the minority of conservatives whose values better reflect American aspirations, but we need to simply call them who they are: the Republican party.

The good people at the Bulwark once naively believed they were anti-trumpers. They are anti the GOP.

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I keep trying to absorb all of the attempts at misinformation thrown out there and I think of how successful the GOP was fifteen years back at aiming to take over statehouses to in turn influence post census gerrymandering. It really was effective. In the gerrymandering, which was rejoiced over, we indeed got these weird district maps which did not involve statewide issues at all. They were almost primed for the not ready for prime-time players and pretty much lots of people turned to look away from a sort of family embarrassment.

But the family embarrassment grew up sitting in the front yard throwing tires on the fire. Bump is right that Donald realized that these guys were a force and all of the disapproving adults, like Bush, or Romney, or whoever were not going to get any traction frowning on them. They like throwing tires on the fire while they talk about how the neighborhood is going to Hell.

McConnell is not correct in saying that we're a 50/50 country though. Biden won by 8 million votes. We have a very screwed up system called the electoral college which allowed a big win to create what we call battleground states on the one hand and flyover states with the other. When the Constitution was created, the flyover states got what they had to have in the form of the senate and had two representatives each. The mistake for me is the allowance for Gerrymandering at all which has created the tire burning guys in the House. The house can advance all the crackpots while the senate can't.

The old argument that the senate cools the milk that is heated in the house saucer just fails to work when one can't accept the notion that facts are facts in the real world and Jewish Space Lasers aren't factual.

The tire burning guys aren't showing off PHD's either so, that's OK as long as no Blacks, Asians or Latinos move into the neighborhood. When the fire's out, they'll finally move to the bar and talk revolution in slurred English..

Rather than keep up this scenario, it seems to me that the remaining sane conservatives really need to come to an arrangement with the democratic party to oust the barbarians in a concerted way and that really includes school boards, election judges, sec of state wherever it's possible. That old Arab unity of My cousin is my brother against the infidel or something along that line needs to be happening right now. The party vision needs to go back to the grassroots sane people and there's plenty of them. If that fails, then the far left won't matter at all, and they'll have zero voice. I'm really interested in the center and government that actually helps people. So, independents, find your voices. If Chuck Grassley can start to spout this info shit, it's getting way out there.

The paid professional republicans need to find their man pants and stop cowering from conflict. Liz Chemey so far seems about the only principled republican pro who is willing to lose it all for her principles. The rest are simply put, cowards.

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I get the sense that McConnell knows the end of his career is approaching and is making peace with it. 10 or so years ago I think McConnell would have fought harder for his chosen Senate candidates, and put Rick Scott in his place.

I also think, based on his comments about Trump's loss, that he somewhat understands the Republican Party needs to fail before it succeeds. I don't think he'd enjoy managing a 51-seat majority that included Herschel Walker, Mehmet Oz, and J.D. Vance. He'd rather sh*tpost as Minority Leader another couple years.

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