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    • Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – September 26, 2021
      Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – September 26, 2021 by Tony Wikrent Strategic Political Economy “Rich People Are Leading the Anti-Vaccine Movement — and Experts Have a Theory Why” [Money, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 9-20-21] From 2019, still germane: “Disease experts say the parents least likely to vaccinate their kids live in some of the most afflu […]
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School children of Florida, Unite!

Your privacy is being violated. According to the Florida department of health, you are required to provide your immunization record, your vaccination “passport”, if you will, in order to learn how to read, write and do math. You are being coerced to accept foreign material into your bodies or vital capabilities necessary to your future money earning capacity will be withheld.

Wait, a person’s shot record is protected with a PIN?? Don’t tell me, it probably falls under a HIPAA regulation too. Imagine that. You’d think Florida was run by yokels by the way they’re reacting to Covid shot passports but now it looks like just another case of passionate intensity.

Nevertheless, this is your moment, Children of Florida! Your governor won’t protect you from being mowed down by an AR-15 during social studies but, by golly, he can stand in the way of the long armed, oppressive tactics of the nanny state that insists that you can’t spread measles to that kid nobody likes.

Hell, why should you be forced to go to school anyway? Why stop with getting rid of shot records? Go after Truant Officers. They’re just a bunch of libtards anyway. You should have the liberty and FREEEEEDOM to learn to read only if you want to.

Now, get out there and March!

Republican Lexicon

This is my attempt at a shorthand guide to quick interpretation of what Republicans really mean when they say something. The key thing to always remember, is that their words are all essentially propagandistic camouflage, meant to sound impressive, and to get people to react in the way that most benefits the speaker, and the Republicans. They have no more inherent meaning than that. I would not be surprised if the Republicans in office were all simulacrums of people, with pre-programmed tapes inside them. The effect is just about the same as if they were robots. Here are some of their words strung together in phrases or sentences, interpreted with their actual meaning.

Let the People Decide: The Republicans don’t want the incumbent Democratic President or Congress to make laws or appoint Supreme Court Justices, they first want another election which they might win.

The Seat Needs to Be Filled: The President is a Republican, so they must strike while they can, before a new President gets to fill the seat.

Original Intent: They have no idea what the original intent was, they have no knowledge of history or context. They just like the particular lines in the Constitution which seem to benefit them, and they argue that you can’t go beyond them. They love the Second Amendment, but skip the first clause, which actually conveys the intent of the Amendment. And never ask them why they think that corporations have any rights, since there is no mention of them in the Constitution, nor of skateboards, television, or two-piece bathing suits.

States’ Rights: The states run by Republicans do not have to follow any laws made by the federal government, if they believe they encroach on the state’s laws. When a state run by a Democrat passes laws that the Republicans don’t like, they immediately file a lawsuit, intending it to go to the Supreme Court, where it will be overturned, because the federal government rules, over Democratic states.

Majority Rule: For states run by Republicans. For states run by Democrats, the rights of the minority must be protected. Also, when they have a majority in Congress, everything goes through, but when the Democrats do, the filibuster is constantly used to keep the majority from ruling.

Activist Judges: Those who overturn state laws passed by Republicans.

Just Following the Law, Not Making the Law.: This is what Republican appointed jurists do, like when they said that corporations are people, or that the Voting Rights Act was no longer necessary,; or that Bush wins over Gore, but that it has no value as precedent, because it would make them look like fools if they tried to make actual precedent out of it.

Mob Violence: Demonstrations by Black people or various White liberals

Mostly Peaceful and Orderly Demonstration with Hugging and Kissing of Police Officers.: What happened at the Capitol on January 6.

Cancel Culture: Liberals trying to get shows taken off the air or movies boycotted.

Protecting People from Pornography or Dangerous Ideas: Republicans trying to ban books, burn albums, or boycott movies.

Freedoms: Those things that matter to you, mostly having all the guns you want, and not having to wear masks during a pandemic.

Anarchy: People not on your side contending that they have the right to demonstrate or protest against what they see as unfair laws which disenfranchise them, or against police officers killing them.

Protecting the Vote: Making sure that no one who will vote against Republicans can vote, without immense travail. Purging the voter rolls every few months, in the hope that poorer people and those without as much free time will not notice, and thus will be banned from voting. Writing state laws which give Republicans the right to overturn any state vote in which Democrats somehow win.

Voting Fraud: The Democrats won an election. They are not supposed to, particularly with all of our efforts to suppress, um, protect the vote. So there must be fraud involved.

The Party of Lincoln. He was likely our greatest president, and he was a Republican, before the parties realigned about 140 years ago. So even though Lincoln would unquestionably be a Democrat today, they need to use him for cachet.

Religious People: Republicans

Radicals, Atheists, Anarchists: Democrats

Globalists; People who do not believe in unfettered American capitalism which does not want to ally with any of the rest of the world.

What About the Deficit?: Democrats are in office, passing bills with spending in them

Deficits Don’t Matter: Republicans are in office, passing tax cuts for the wealthy

The Tax Cuts Will Pay for Themselves: They’ve actually stopped staying that, because too many people now realize that it is never true. So now they just pretend that they are also cutting the taxes of the non-rich, which they are not.

Taking Our Country Back: Getting it away from the minorities and the rabble. Going back to a combination of the Antebellum South and the Gilded Age.

Crisis at the Border: A good distraction, plus a chance to attack immigrants.

Elections Have Consequences: We won, so we can do anything we want.

There Are Many Questions About the Validity of the Election: We lost.

The Liberal Media: One of our most effective labels, we use it every chance we get; once things get in people’s heads, they become an easy button to push when we need it. Actually just about all the media is owned by the Far Right, but we don’t have to tell the suckers that.

Indoctrination: What we do, while we tell them the liberals are doing it.

Liberals: Anyone who is not us; people we want to defeat in elections and take power from. You’re either one of us, or you are a liberal. It implies that you allow anything, from hardcore sex films, to philosophy books, to music which criticizes us, to teaching evolution in school.

There You Go Again: Means absolutely nothing, but one of our people told Reagan to keep saying it, and the media loved it.

Thoughts and Prayers: Our only response to mass shootings. We say it the same way every time, same intonation, same phony seriousness. That’s all you are going to get from us, now let’s change the subject.

I’m Not a Scientist: Therefore, I do not have to respond to any questions about climate change, or the pandemic, or anything which involves any aspect of science. You can’t ask me about any of that, and since I am not a scientist I am not responsible for any of it, or doing anything about it.

I Didn’t Have the Opportunity To Read It: Anything that makes the head of our party, or anyone in it, look bad, I’ll just say that I didn’t read it; I was busy, therefore I cannot comment. Now, excuse me, I have a lunch appointment.

I Never Said That: I did, but so what, what are you going to do about it? I’ll just keep denying if. Even if you have a tape or transcript, I’ll just say that you took it out of context. Go bother the Democrats, I am going to get a haircut.

Florida Man has been fudging state’s Covid numbers

No duh. I’ve been saying this for weeks:

WASHINGTON — New research published earlier this month in the American Journal of Public Health argues that Florida is undercounting the number of people who died from COVID-19 by thousands of cases, casting new doubt on claims that Gov. Ron DeSantis navigated the coronavirus pandemic successfully.

A study was just confirmation of what was already obvious on all the coronavirus data reporting sites. DeSantis has wildly underreported.

The issue is how Florida is counting deaths from Covid. They are not counting deaths by virus when the deceased had a pre-existing condition like diabetes or high blood pressure. They’re just putting it down as death by Diabetes or high blood pressure, not elaborating that the patient wouldn’t have died from those comorbidities without the Covid infection.

Well, if we get a new Orlando or Miami variant that not only gets you sick with Covid but makes you stay out all night partying, I guess we’ll call the resulting deaths as caused by alcohol poisoning.

Do you ever get the feeling that Republicans aren’t taking this sh*t seriously or don’t understand cause and effect? Why is that?? They’re not all stupid.

Running Through the Tape

Somebody analogized the pandemic situation in America as akin to being in a house which has a downstairs room on fire, and the fire department is there and ready to put the fire out, but you are tired of waiting, so you jump out the window. Well, it is not a perfect analogy, but it shows the frustration of the new and better CDC Director Rochelle Walensky who said that we are so close, but that she feels a sense of impending doom, because too many people act as if they can relax and stop doing the right things.

The vaccines are arriving, more each day. By May 1, everyone who is over 16 should be able to set up a vaccination. Seemingly all we have to do is take another month or so, wear masks, socially distance, and we could be through most of this. But no, too many people refuse to do that.

If anybody wants another analogy, how about, you are are running in a marathon race, you are a few hundred yards from the tape; you will win, but you are tired of running and tired of the effort, and so you stop, and rest on the grass.

There is no ideal analogy, because it is incomprehensible, except perhaps in this country, home to the libertarians, and the Trump supporters, and the anti-vaxxers, that people could not be able to go one more month without acting like sailors on a week furlough after five years at sea. And we just have to open all those businesses before the medical experts say we should. Capitalism, you know. Apparently more important than safety, or public health, stopping a pandemic which has caused 559,000 fatalities in this country.

Well, Trump first told us that fifteen people had it, and it would go down to two or less very soon. Trump of course had no idea whatsoever, but the most important thing to him was keeping people at work, and the stores open, This was because he wanted the GDP to be strong, and the stock market to stay up. If it took one or two million people dying from Covid, he would pay that price–because of course he wasn’t paying it, it was other people He lied every single day about the numbers and the danger. He lied because he always does, about everything, and because his goals were not about the country and its citizens, they were about him and his power and wealth.

Dr Fauci said a few days ago that when Trump tweeted, “Liberate Michigan!,” he was dumbfounded. He is a very good man, and a medical expert. He could not conceive that an American President, many of whom he had previously worked with, would put businesses making money over the health of its citizenry.

Well you and I have been through that, and this is not our fate, most hopefully. We are tired of all of it, but we are in no position to take out our frustration by stopping short of what we need to do, which is to get vaccinated as soon as possible, keep wearing masks when out of our abodes, and stay at least six feet apart. Those restaurants which just opened up, will still be there. I won’t see the Go-Go’s this June, even though I had tickets for last year, the concerts got canceled, and how much longer will they perform? But I don’t think it is safe yet, nor is it safe to go to a movie or sports event. I can wait. We all can, really, at least for those kinds of things.

As to the Americans who for whatever perverse reasons, seem to insist on acting out; almost rioting in Florida, screaming with fury about having to wear masks, there is not much to say, because they are selfish, they are jerks, they delight in trying to show everyone that their idea of freedom is not following health protocols. We can decide who is a worse human being, DeSantis or Abbott, but they are not going to change. Maybe someone will defeat them in a couple of years, if enough people can vote. Meanwhile, we will do the right thing, and we will stay safe, and there should be brighter days before too long, at least if the epidemiologists can stay ahead of the Covid variants.

Scylla and Charybdis

You all know the reference. In Homer’s enduringly great tale, “The Odyssey,” one of the most difficult decisions that Odysseus has to make is when he is told by Circe that to traverse the straits, he is going to have to take his ship either closer to Scylla, the six-headed monster, or Charybdis, who essentially creates a deadly whirlpool. Circe tells him to face Scylla, because the inevitable loss of six men is better than the loss of he entire ship. And that is what he does. It is a gruesome fate for the six men, but he makes what seems to be the best choice given the dire circumstances.

This story is so powerful and visual, that it has remained a virtual metaphor for trying to make the best of two very bad choices. I use it, and then I usually have to explain to the person I am talking to, what I mean. Ah, for the days when virtually everyone knew their Greek mythology!

The metaphor is more powerful than just that of making the best of two bad choices. Scylla is a fearsome monster, but the deadly whirlpool which will suck down your ship to the bottom of the sea, is more mysteriously frightening. Scylla’s physical carnage is immediate; Charybdis’ is longer, and gives no hope of escape for the the entire ship and crew. But both are awful, so Odysseus has to make the choice, for his men, for himself, and for the fate of the voyage.

We all make choices, hopefully never as horrifying as those. Political figures and political bodies do, as well. They likely never see it that way. If Senators Manchin and Sinema decide that it is most important to them to do the immediate thing, save the filibuster from disappearing; they may or may not understand that this will likely lead to Republicans winning the 2022 elections, and taking binding control of state elections for decades Very likely, they do not see it that way, or do not understand it, or are incapable of taking the long view. I would argue that the Democrats have made several crucial mistakes in choices over the recent decades, apparently not wishing to mentally game out the long-term effects of their decisions, or lacking the perceptiveness and imagination to do so.

Senate Majority Leader Mitchell, the model of probity, refused to allow his caucus to filibuster the nomination of Clarence Thomas, who was utterly unqualified, and had no interest in jurisprudence. At the time, the Supreme Court was pretty well balanced. But did Mitchell and other leading Democrats not see that he Thomas was the beginning of the Federalist Society’s plan to make sure that every judge which a Republican President appointed to the Court, was going to be an absolute rubber stamp for Far Right policies?

Justice Souter, also appointed by GHW Bush, voted not to overturn the decision of the Florida Supreme Court to recount the votes in 2000, but Thomas voted the other way, going against a history of precedent that the state courts can rule on their own state’s election laws. He did that, as did the other four who voted that way, simply so that GW Bush would win. Now, he is going to vote that Georgia has the right to make up any voting laws it wants, in direct contradiction of his other ruling. This is not jurisprudence or the principle of res judicata, it is pure naked politics, which is what the Federalist Society demanded from people they recommended to Republican presidents.

So Mitchell didn’t like the idea of filibustering that particular nominee, and so he got through, and is still there. Twenty years or so before that, liberals in the Senate blocked Haynsworth and Carswell, and the Court ended up with Blackmun, who turned into an excellent Justice.

And Mitchell is not the only one to blame, of course. Harry Reid, certainly a decent person, would not get rid of the filibuster for lower court judges Obama was nominating, and whom McConnell would not put up for a vote.. Finally, Reid did, but by that time, too many had been blocked, and those seats were never filled, until Trump got to put in hundreds of them, now filling up the courts with young, stupid, and relentlessly Far Right judges. This could have been anticipated, but Reid waited too long, and he and others in the Democratic Party did not want to invoke the wrath of the New York Times and the other mainstream media which will attack the Democrats immediately if they do anything which is in the least bit partisan or political. They only let Republicans do that.

I could give more examples. I remember the L.A. Times, which was thought to be fairly liberal, but turned away from that with Chicago Tribune ownership, writing an editorial about how it would be disgraceful if Democrats did not vote for Roberts to be on the Court. Now we have seen Roberts gut the Voting Rights Act, and he will undoubtedly vote to uphold the most draconian state election laws.

Decisions have consequences, not only for the political figures who make them, but also for the hundreds of millions of people whom they are supposed to represent. Comity is lovely when it means that you go to lunch or work out with your “colleagues across the aisle.” But that doesn’t do your constituents any good. Abortion rights, civil rights, union rights, separation of church and state, defendants’ rights, are all under attack from a Radical Right Supreme Court, which Democrats did not appoint or cause, but which they did not fight hard enough against when they had the chance.

And let us never forget those voters in 2016, who loved to tell everyone how they just couldn’t vote for Hillary; because “Bernie was cheated,” “She is a neoliberal,” “I just don’t like her,” “I want to cast a conscience vote,” “I won’t vote at all,” “She is the devil we know” (Eddie Glaude, whom I turn off every time he is on TV). She was an admirable First Lady, a very popular Senator from New York, a highly respected Secretary of State; but these people just couldn’t vote for her, as if they were wealthy restaurant patrons who just didn’t quite like the way the filet was cooked, so walked out, to go somewhere else. But here, there was nowhere else, except Trump being elected. And they were so wrapped up in their own egoism, their own belief in themselves as oh-so-perceptive people who do not want to vote for someone unless they were madly in political love with them, like Obama, apparently, that they got Trump elected. And virtually none of them will ever admit it to themselves or anyone else.

Oh, and let us not forget those Nader voters in 2000, who were so proud of voting for someone who said exactly what they wanted to hear; even though they were told time and again that their votes could cost Gore the election, and get Bush elected. Which is of course what happened, with the aid of the Supreme Court. Then they, or some other people, did the exact same thing in 2016, and there went the Supreme Court, perhaps for 50 years. They would probably do it again, too, if they could, because it made them feel good for the immediate moment. History does not very often give you the chance to make wrong choice after wrong choice, and then get to fix it all, by finally making the right choice.

You make decisions, and some of them are harder than others. The choice of Hillary was such an easy one, but too many could not make it, because they did not get the tingle down their leg which they so much wanted again. The choices of various Democratic leaders to not fight the Radical Right takeover of the Supreme Court, was largely a case of trying to avoid media criticism, and attacks of being partisan; so they let the Republicans be completely partisan and deceitful, somehow thinking that this would redound to their detriment, but it did not. sufficiently.

You make your choice. Sometimes it involves an immediate negative result of some sort, but the chance for an immeasurably important long-term gain. The outcomes are often not as obvious as they were set out to Odysseus, but sometimes they are, as with Hillary vs. Trump. To me, one of the most powerful meanings evoked by the legend of Scylla and Charybdis , is that Odysseus could not be certain what would happen, but he had to not only listen to Circe, but imagine the ultimate results of his choice. You have to have the ability to try to foresee various futures, when you try to make your choices, rather than just do “what feels right at the time,” and then see how it turns out. You cannot be like Hamlet, who simply could not make choices unless it was in the heat of emotion, or too late. But you must try to envision the longer-term results of what you choose to do, or not do, particularly when the decisions are significant, so that you do not end up being sucked into the abyss.

Canceling out KCals burned

Walking this morning. It is really nice in Pittsburgh today. Sunny, clear, about 70°F.

I went for a walk around the ellipse in Oakmont:

I’m waiting in line. For my sugar free skim latte. Yeah, that’s the ticket. 🙄

As you can see, Pittsburghers are mask breathers.

The entrance is metered. The inside is big enuf for people to stand 6 ft apart but if you haven’t had a shot yet and you’re worried about crowds with sugar addiction, you can order ahead and pick up in the parking lot outside, around the corner. Just follow the line.

I do have a mental list. I’m on a mission for onion bagels. (Excellent) But the length of the list is directly proportional to the amount of time I spend in this place.

I should probably leave.

Just kidding.

Oakmont Bakery.

I’m not supposed to lift anything heavier than 5 lbs. I might be slightly over that.

The South, Its Political Past and Present

A little history:. In the aftermath of the 1876 presidential election, when the electoral vote between the Democrat, William J. Tilden of New York, and the Republican, Rutherford B. Hayes of Ohio, was tied, and thus was to be decided by Congress, the Republicans made a deal with sufficient Congressional Southern Democrats. In exchange for them voting for Hayes, and making him president, Hayes would pull all of the federal troops out of the South, thus ending Reconstruction.

The incumbent president, Ulysses S. Grant, began to enforce the unwritten deal, and pull out troops. Hayes continued it, and all the troops were gone. Freed from federal regulation of their state laws and voting systems, the Jim Crow era in the South began. So “the party of Lincoln” ultimately became the party which betrayed his legacy, in order to win a presidential election.

Various devices were used to disenfranchise Black people in the South. There was the poll tax, which required payment of up to $200 in some cases, to be allowed to vote. Most Black people, newly freed from slavery, many working as underpaid sharecroppers, could not afford them. To get rid of the rest of the Black voters, they instituted literacy tests, which most of the uneducated could not pass. And then, the grandfather clauses, where you were exempt from a property requirement or poll tax, if you or your ancestors here had voted before 1865. But Black people were only given the right to vote in 1870, so they were obviously all banned by these “clever’ provisions cooked up by Southerners.

Imagine this: it took until 1915 for the Supreme Court to declare grandfather clauses unconstitutional, as violating the 15th Amendment right to vote. As to the poll taxes, it took the 24th Amendment; and even then, Southern states looked for ways to get around that; until a 1965 Supreme Court decision completely invalidated them. Ah the days of a fair and judicial Supreme Court.

As to the literacy tests, since many White Southerners were also illiterate, some states adopted “reasonable interpretation” rules, where voting registrars could decide what constituted passing such a test. Of course, most Whites were decided to have passed the tests, while most Blacks were decided to have failed them.

By 1905, virtually not one single Black person in the South was able to vote. That is the history and legacy of the post-Civil War South.

As we know, in the era of 1790-1865, the Democrats were essentially the party of the South and of slavery. The Republicans were the party of big business, and the abolitionists. After the Civil War, the South remained staunchly Democratic, because Lincoln had been a Republican, and Republicans in Congress had implemented Reconstruction.

The South always voted Democratic, even when the national Democratic Party had evolved into a party of the working class, which championed liberal reforms in all areas. It was President Kennedy who sent in federal troops to enforce integration. It was President Johnson who got the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts passed. Finally, Republicans figured out that their “law and order” slogans, and their opposition to Democratic presidents, would fit perfectly in the South, so they adopted a “Southern Strategy,” designed to make what had been previously been called the “Democratic Solid South,” completely Republican. This was building upon what the “Dixiecrats” of 1948 had done, walking out of the Democratic Convention because President Truman supported a strong civil rights plank.

And the Southern Strategy worked, as all of those states eventually overwhelmingly became Republican. The few exceptions were when the Democrats ran a Southerner such as Carter or Clinton; and then Georgia in 2020, which so shocked them, that they immediately sought to make sure that a Democrat could never win an election in that state again.

Now, Southern states like Georgia and Texas are not the only ones run by Republicans which are passing draconian voter suppression laws. But Southern states originally provided the template.

It was the Supreme Court, filled with the choices of Republican Presidents, who were largely elected by Southern states and Southern voters, which tossed out a key provision of the Voting Rights Act in 2013, and is ready to find that the vote suppression being passed now, is legitimately the province of the states to run their own elections. If they indeed decide that way, we will likely see various states finding other insidious means to keep Democrats, and particularly Black Democrats, from voting.

Can anything be done? Yes, passage of the HR1 and the new Voting Rights Act, would go a long way, though do not be surprised if the states tried to ignore them, get around them, dare themselves to be sued. Remember, all they need to do is to win back the Senate in 2022 (and suppressing votes in Georgia and Arizona, where there will be full term Senate elections would most likely get them there), and then they take over the Senate. If they can use it to win the presidency in 2024, they can install their full fascist state. If they cannot, they can still use the Senate to block any Democratic legislation, of course including voter rights laws; and they will still dare the Democrats to send federal troops in to enforce them. But they are figuring that the Supreme Court will obviate any of that.

And passing these current bills is contingent upon abolishing the filibuster, even just for these particular bills.. And that is a major task, but we have to hope that somehow Senators Manchin and Sinema have to be convinced that permanently losing voting rights for tens of millions of Americans is not worth maintaining the filibuster.

Past that, there needs to be a major mobilization of Democrats. Somehow getting people prepared to vote even with the strictures; finding IDs for those who have moved and lost them. etc. Filing as many lawsuits as possible against these laws and those state officials. Boycotting companies which are quartered in those states. Calling for boycotts of sporting events which are played by teams from those states. I do realize that doing this could cost innocent people money and jobs, but what is the alternative? To just complain and express outrage, while the Republicans sweep up all the chips, put them in their pockets, and walk away from the table with their riches?

The South did that, for at least fifty years following the the Civil War which was said to have been fought for the soul of our nation. The South honed this craft to a science, over the decades, and their descendants well understand how to do it. And I would say that people like Brian Kemp and the Republican legislators in Georgia are in a direct historical line from their forebears in the 1870’s who got all the Jim Crow laws and rules enacted.

They are very bad people. They are racists. They are authoritarians. They will do anything to get their way, They must be stopped by any non-violent means possible. They are not just going to go away. They didn’t go away after 1865, or 1915, or 1965. They will never relent or soften or see reason. The ghosts of the Confederacy, of John Wilkes Booth, the KKK, Lester Maddox and Bull Connor and Jesse Helms and Strom Thurmond, are urging them on.

Republican voters in all Republican states are screwed after Georgia

What the Georgia legislature and executive branch did last night was made it impossible to vote them out of office. Even massive turnout won’t help because the legislature can overturn the results in any county and make the voters revote until they get the correct result.

I thought Georgia Republican voters had more of a fascist streak in them but much to my surprise, something like 70+% of all Georgia voters are opposed to the new law. That means that only the other 22-25% of voters in Georgia really count because what can that majority do now? They can’t vote the legislature out now. Having second thoughts about Brian Kemp? Maybe Stacey Abrams would have been better? Too bad. You’ll never have a governor Stacey as long as the state legislature is in Republican hands.

We’re pretty lucky here in PA. We have a Republican legislature, mostly because voters were caught off guard last year and didn’t realize that that legislature would be more than happy to nullify all their votes for Biden. But as long as Tom Wolf is governor and John Fetterman is Lt Governor and Josh Shapiro is AG, any Georgia-esque voter suppression bills will never be signed into law.

I’m not so sure about West Virginia though. Let’s take a look at its state legislature, shall we?

Well, that’s not good. It looks like Republicans have the upper hand so to speak.

But that’s ok as long as the governor isn’t going to sign any voter suppression laws. Oh wait, Jim Justice is governor there and he’s a Republican.

Now, I’m going to guess that West Virginia, the state that did such an amazing job vaccinating it’s people against Covid is full of similarly smart voters as the 70+% voters in Georgia who are not on board with the new law.

You know why?

Because you can’t be a belligerent asshole and rebel against authority in a free country if you haven’t got a choice and a minority of voters dictates how you’re going to live.

It’s not productive to be oppositionally defiant (R) or righteously indignant (D) if the battle is over and the fascists who used to run your state Republican Party have declared victory because they can never be voted out.

Heck, even Trumpy business owners will quickly understand what that means when they try to bid for government contracts and are expected to pony up some kickback for them. Where there are no choices, corruption is sure to follow.

Write that down and put it in your pocket. Pull it out and read it two years from now.

Anyway, Joe Manchin seems bound and determined to find 10 good Republicans in the Senate who will join him so Democrats won’t have to set aside the filibuster for HR1-S1. The ancient texts are full of men on a search for good men to save their lands from destruction by angry gods. So Joe M will be going on an expedition to find those 10 men and women because heaven knows, you don’t want to be the single hero of this story.

Good luck with that, Senator. You might get Romney, Sasse and Murkowski onboard but count on Collins to look back.

And what happens then?

Jason Stanley tweets:

Why did Georgia legislators think it was necessary to put this in their voter “integrity” law?

Let’s backup and talk about the 2020 election. For some strange reason, Republicans were freaking out about mail in voting. I heard more than once, “Why can’t you go to the polls in person on Election Day??” It was posed as to suggest that going to the polls was the officially blessed method that had been enshrined in the constitution since time immemorial. It implied that voting in person was the only legitimate voting method.

(It’s not and it never was even from the beginning of the US but they’ll never believe it)

Now why was that so important? Well, it’s not so important to me because I don’t usually have an issue voting in a non-pandemic year. I can just walk down the hill to the Methodist church and in generally less than 10 minutes, I’m done.

But there are places in the US, like Georgia, where voters are squeezed into one polling place and the machines sometimes malfunction and the chances of some goon of a poll watcher checking your ID and generally being very menacing are pretty high.

The lines to vote there are outrageously long. That’s not to say that people won’t go to vote and won’t wait all day if necessary. Offering a voter water is a humane gesture.

But no, Georgians are not allowed to do that anymore. Not allowed to give someone a drink, even if they’re 85 years old and have been waiting for four hours.

Yes, it will disproportionately affect voters of color and elderly people.

What surprises me is they stopped at preventing others from giving voters water. What about if you bring your own water? Is that allowed? Can you bring a portable stool to sit on if you get tired? What about if you need to use the bathroom? Can someone hold your place for you? Is this what we can expect from Georgia next?

Why stop with free water?

Today in Middle Earth History

On March 25, 3019, the One Ring was destroyed in Mount Doom and the Third Age ended. It was a team effort lead by the hobbits, the most unassuming people in Middle Earth. It was a culmination of solidarity, perseverance, hope and mercy.

Hope is the light that shines when all other lights have gone out.

But the whole enterprise was doomed from the start.

What were the chances that a small band of friends could surreptitiously sneak past the badass lord of Mordor to throw his favorite piece of jewelry away?

If you haven’t read the book, dispel the notion that it’s just a fantasy about elves, rangers and wizards. It’s a book about hope and that hope in spite of the long odds against success. It’s about suspecting very strongly that you’re going to lose and will probably die and there’s no reason for you to take this quest on except that there are so many people depending on you. You will never be the same. You may not come out of it alive. And yet, in spite of all that, you do it anyway.

It’s like voting a tyrant out of office in spite of his orcs threatening to kill democracy as we know it.

It’s like riding your horse Chemo into battle to destroy the Nazgul of cancer.

Tattoo possibilities?

It’s like leading your voters in the fight against senseless gun violence by supporting background checks.

Joe Manchin could use a bit of Tolkien today.

Climb that mountain, Senator.