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      Are humans good, bad or neutral? It’s an old philosophical debate, and not just in the West. Confucius thought they were born neutral, for example, while the later Confucian Mencius felt they were good, noting that everyone who saw a child fall into a well would be horrified. Others, including many Confucians and the Christian church, with original sin, have […]
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Holy Moley! Britney is freeing herself. #freebritney

We’re about halfway through the hearing today and so far the judge allowed her to pick her own lawyer, legal powerhouse Matthew Rosengart.

She’s thanked her fans for giving her strength. (I’m only a casual fan, not a die hard, but I identify with her in other ways).

“[They are] remarkably strong and talented… it’s because of them I am here today. It’s because of them I have the fucking strength to speak up against my family who have silenced me & my fans for years.”

Now she’s ripping into her dad, saying that she wants him out of her life and she wants to charge him with conservatorship abuse. “I WILL go there” she says.

She started sobbing and the judge told her to take her time.

She’s especially incensed with her father because he shook one of her sons when he was in a drunken rage.

The shoes just continue to drop, drop, drop.

Her lawyer is going to petition the court to end the conservatorship. He’s told the people putting a claim on her money that there will be no discussion about paying lawyers and conservator management until Britney’s well being is dealt with first. Jodi Montgomery’s request for $50,000 in security costs will have to wait until he consults with his client.

Jamie Spears is in so much trouble. The s}#^ is really hitting the fan today and someone just let the lid off of 13 years of Britney’s fury.

Good. She’s not a kid anymore and she’s definitely not acting like one today. She knows everyone’s game and she is going to expose all of it.

More updates:

Lots of family dirt coming out:

Typical narcissist parent making the kid feel crazy.

And then there’s this:

Takes one to know one.

This one is so sad:

This statement by Vivian Thoreen, Jamie Spears’ lawyer, is the smoking gun that should lead to the end of the conservatorship:

Why this is important: the reason why Britney wasn’t able to choose her own lawyer was because the judge was told that she lacked capacity to do so. But what Thoreen was saying her was that was never determined. So, Britney could have challenged the conservatorship arrangement in court with her own lawyer years ago. Why didn’t that happen? I’ll bet we’re going to find out. I hope some very powerful lawyers face a disciplinary process.

#freebritney Bastille Day.

I’m sure the scheduling of the date for Britney Spears next hearing was purely coincidental. But it’s interesting that it falls on the anniversary of the storming of the Bastille, the same event that kicked off the French Revolution.

At the time of the event, there were only 7 inmates in the Bastille, including “James F.X. Whyte, a “lunatic” imprisoned at the request of his family”. The fortress was a symbol of royal power. It was also not very well guarded so it was an easy target. About 1000 rioters went up against about 120 soldiers. They were persistent.

The mob captured the place and released the prisoners. Then it went into feeding frenzy mode. 

It feels like something similar is happening today. Britney’s conservatorship is like a massive and irritating symbol of patriarchy. She’s been coerced to work for her father and his buddies in Las Vegas and in tours. They collect the money and reward themselves handsomely while she’s locked up in her house with a full time baby sitter telling her where she can go and who she can see.

Here’s something I learned in the last day. Britney is not allowed to travel to any destination in the US unless her conservatorship has been recognized and is enforceable in the state of her destination. The states that recognize her captivity are CA, Hawaii and Louisiana. There are probably others. But Wyoming? Nope, she can’t go there. Probably can’t go to Washington, DC either even if she got an invitation to testify before Congress.

Yes, yes, there are things about her case that we don’t know. But there are details leaking out that show how she was set up. For example, her incapacity assessment was never filed in court. Hard to believe the judge missed that but recent documents indicate that she’s aware of it now. Also, her conservatorship is shown to be “voluntary”. And her diagnosis is listed as “dementia”. This is by all accounts inconsistent with her work ethic, dependability, creativity and capabilities. I think the fact that she told her handlers that she was not doing another residency or work for her father under the conservatorship in 2019 speaks volumes about her lucidity, rational thought patterns, self-preservation and righteous indignation.

Today’s hearing is going to deal with many petitions regarding bills that need to be settled, bills that need to be questioned, and whether she has the mental capacity to pick her own lawyer. It looks like she has already picked one. He’s got good credibility and was a former prosecutor. But the judge has to give the go ahead.

If she doesn’t, that means Britney will get another court appointed lawyer who will probably conveniently let the conservatorship go on indefinitely. There’s also the possibility that her father could win Monopoly today and be appointed her sole conservator of her estate AND person. Anything could happen.

The #freebritney movement is watching closely. The proceedings start at 1:30pm PST and are expected to last 3 hours. Since most court proceedings in this case will be sealed, that means we won’t know much until documents are posted to the public late today or tomorrow. Someone will leak though.

In the meantime, the rabble is getting restless.

Vive la Britney

He gets blamed for everything he does.

Ron De Santis is selling merch with the slogan “Don’t Fauci my Florida”. I must be a little slow this week but it’s the second time in as many days that I’ve heard that Fauci is being blamed for the big orange’s (BO) loss last November. So it must be the latest right wing distraction… meme…thing.

As Andy Slavitt said in his conversation with Frank Luntz about the Covid vaccine rollout: “Democrats are held accountable for saying things that Republicans can twist.” Fauci is now the fall guy for saying stupid nannyish things like the truth.

It has something to do with Fauci being foolishly faithful to science instead of making BO look good, like he wasn’t doing his job. But it didn’t have to be that way. I doubt that Fauci ever wanted to become a celebrity, dragged out in front of the press to give reassurances and recommendations on how we prevent death by Covid. He’s more like Bill Nye the Science Guy than Simon Barsinister. Fauci was a very unlikely Democratic secret weapon to bring down BO.

It’s really weird how people like De Santis and BO defiantly double down on the blame game like that’s going to make the virus impotent. I don’t get it. Did they not pay attention to what happened in India? They too thought Covid was no big deal and that their immune systems were more robust. Honestly, some Indians thought they had natural immunity and that they had conquered Covid back in March or something. Then the delta variant that had been simmering in a country of 1 billion people broke out.

By the way, have you seen the latest graph of how well vaccinated the states are? Check this out:

The greener your state, the better the progress towards herd immunity. The more Orange your state… well, it’s interesting they chose that particular color in this graph to convey additional information. It’s a shade of foundation that is universally unflattering. Tufte would be so proud.

Pennsylvania is doing pretty well. We’ve got a kick ass Governor and had a transgender secretary of health who got poached by the Biden administration. Add to that the way the additional Covid relief funds have been allocated and I think we Pennsylvanians have a lot to be proud of. Oh, sure, there are always going to be rebels without a cause but there are a lot more team players in PA than we get credit for.

I don’t know what to make of Florida.

Anyway, back to Fauci. So, he’s getting the blame for BO losing, as if BO was powerless before a diminutive 79 year old biology geek from New Yawk. Is BO saying he got whipped by a guy he didn’t even bother to give a derogatory nickname to?

Ever since the pandemic began, I had this feeling that BO was using it to gain followers. Covid was a gift to his campaign. He could use it to promote high conflict by creating tough guys who defied every bloody epidemic defense mechanism recommended. He used it to bludgeon governors who prioritized saving lives over their own precious economies. He made enemies out of relatives, friends and sweethearts. You were either with him or against him. Covid was a gift for BO. It solidified his base going into the election. For all we know, he did better than he should have last year and Democrats worse specifically because he was able to use it to attack how the elections were run. Let’s face it, Democrats we’re never ever going to vote for him even without Covid. But can we say for sure that Republicans would have turned out for him if he hadn’t activated their inner obnoxious teenagers in defiance of everything sciencey and rational and coastal elitist with its effete tendency towards caution and self preservation?

Anyway, the delta variant is upon us. I checked 1point3acres.com yesterday and noticed that there have been spikes in confirmed cases in the past week or two. But that’s mostly happening in the Orange states shown above. You really don’t want to be living in Arkansas right now.

How is Florida the Anti Fauci state doing?

New coronavirus infection numbers plummeted in Florida after vaccinations became widely available, but they have ticked up in recent weeks. The state is reporting daily cases close to four times the national average — 26 new infections per 100,000 residents, the second-highest number in the country. The state’s latest covid-19 death rate is almost double the national figure, and it ranks fourth for current hospitalizations.

Nice. But it would have been nicer if the truth didn’t look so relentlessly partisan.

The doctors say that the refuseniks have an epiphany after they get Covid. Like, they had no idea how badly it could kick their butts. BO made it look easy but he had access to experimental monoclonal antibody treatment that virtually no one else who gets Covid will have access to.

So, here we go into another round of sickness and death with Ron De Santis leading the charge and Anthony Fauci back in the lab, watching from the sidelines, shaking his head and facepalming.

You just can’t learn some people.

Frank Luntz says the refuseniks are holding out because they feel we don’t respect them.

Deflecting Blame onto the Most Convenient Target

I had gotten it down to where the only show I watch on MSNBC, which is the only station on which I watch news shows, was Nicolle Wallace’s two-hour block. I have tried to watch it if I am home, tape it if I am not, and skim through it. But I think I am done with that show, too, at least for a few months.

For two days in a row, she has blasted “Democrats” for not doing enough to save voting rights. It certainly is a major concern, as we always discuss here, so her heart is in the right place in that regard; except that now continually blaming the Democrats for this situation, is beneath someone who was supposed to be a savvy political strategist for various Republicans.

Two days ago, she said that unless the Democrats do something to get rid of the filibuster, at least in terms of voting rights bills, they are as complicit as Republicans. Complicit? Sure enough, Fox ran with her comment in their online headlines. “Nicolle Wallace says that Democrats are complicit…” This is not only not helpful, it is wrong. “The Democrats” as a group, are not complicit with Republicans in anything, certainly not taking away the right to vote.

Yesterday, from the half hour or so I saw, she bore down on this theme, asking journalist Kimberly Atkins, whether, given that (in both their words) Black people had done everything possible to help Biden get elected, if he and the Democrats did not stop the erosion of voting rights, should we expect them to be as enthusiastic in the future? And Atkins said, “No!,” and continued the theme of how Blacks had gone all-out in the election. Wallace said that as a former Republican, Republicans would never have accepted it if they had the Presidency, and both Houses of Congress, and let the Democrats block them.

Well, there is so much wrong with this, that I have to slow down and not get too upset to write. First, “The Democrats” only have 50 Senate seats, which includes Joe Manchin, the only Democrat who could possibly get elected in a state which voted something like 75-25% for Trump;, and Kyrsten Sinema, who does not appear to have any interest in the Democratic Party as a whole, and who has essentially mocked the idea that she would ever vote to eliminate any aspect of the filibuster.

“The Democrats” did not elect Manchin and Sinema, it was the voters in West Virginia and Arizona. How does President Biden somehow get them to change positions on the filibuster? What threat would he have, even if he played that way? Sinema is even more difficult than Manchin, as she seems to glory in her role as a self-styled maverick, who did a pirouette and flounce to accentuate her vote against something that most of the rest of the Democrats were for. I don’t think that Manchin would change parties, but I could see Sinema doing it, or just listing herself as an Independent. I don’t think that she has any loyalty to the Democratic Party; unless I am being unfair to her, and she is just too ignorant to understand why keeping the filibuster while losing voting rights for millions of people, is a terrible trade-off.

And neither Ms. Wallace or Ms. Atkins, or any of the other people who keep blaming Biden or “the Democrats” for this reality, has any suggestion as to how they are going to convince both Manchin and Sinema to now vote to eliminate the filibuster. “Just do it!, or you are complicit,” or “The Black people who worked hard for you, will lose their enthusiasm,” are not arguments, they are just frustration or self-serving blaming, neither of which gets anyone anywhere but off the hook.

The bad situation the Democrats are in, is their own fault in various ways, though certainly not all. We might want to look back to 2016, where Black people simply did not turn out in numbers comparable to 2008 or 2012. Hillary was not as appealing to them as was Obama, is essentially the reason for that. And that is in some sense understandable; electing the first African-American as President, was very important to them. But if you are going to care about politics at least enough to vote, you don’t get to just pick your spots, not when you are combating the Republican totalitarian machine. Getting Obama elected in 2008, then not showing up in 2010 and 2014, had devastating consequences, which we are still desperately fighting against. Where did all those losses of state legislatures come from, allowing Republicans to pass immensely suppressive voting laws?

Now I am certainly not blaming only Black people for this; the overall Democratic turnout in those two off-year elections was very poor. But Black turnout was 60.8% in 2008, 62% in 2012, and then dropped to 55.9% in 2016. Was some of that a result of the systematic targeting of Black voters via false Facebook ads? Very likely. But were people like Eddie Glaude, who said that Hillary was “the devil you know,” and that he would not vote for anyone for President, also the victims of being fooled by ridiculous ads? I doubt it; Glaude obviously doesn’t know much about governing, and even less about Hillary, to have made such a ridiculous statement, which of course did help discourage the voter turnout. Well, there were White Democrats who chose not to vote for Hillary, either, although she got 66 million votes. The key point is that had Hillary been elected then, this assault on voting rights would not have been successful, if for no other reason than there would have been a 6-3 liberal majority.

Think of that. All they had to do was to vote for someone who was immensely popular in New York as a senator, was very highly regarded as Secretary of State, until the Republicans weaponized Benghazi, which something like eleven separate House hearings found not one shred of blame to affix to her. And yet she, and the policies she stood for, were simply not sufficient for various people to vote for her, so they allowed Trump to win instead. And such things always have consequences, in this case major and horrifying consequences, which Hillary warned over and over about, but they did not want to listen. One thing that many people supposedly on our side, do not learn, is that each election is not a tabula rasa, you don’t get to indulge yourself in one election, and then come back and vote for someone whom you like more for whatever reason, or just because you are more desperate; and then all of the bad effects of the other election disappear. It is not like skipping a meal because you disdain the entree. but far too many Democrats insist on looking at it that way.

Beyond that, why is it that people who are now criticizing Biden for not doing enough, never attacked Obama for being probably the most conciliatory President in the last 120 years? What exactly did Obama fight for? Whom did he campaign for in mid-year elections? Wasn’t he striving for a “grand bargain” which would cut Social Security and Medicare? What did he do when McConnell refused tor nine months to hold hearings on his Supreme Court nominee? How did he fight that? Well, he did not at all, which makes it more ridiculous that some of the people who absolutely adored Obama, and would never say one word to criticize him for eight years, now are eager to go after Biden for not being able to somehow make Manchin and Sinema change their positions about the filibuster.

You can’t just pop up once in a while to vote, when someone you really like is the candidate. You can’t be a Republican for most of your life, then intelligently leave that party, and call yourself a Never-Trumper, though never be willing to state that you are now a Democrat, and then have the standing to start attacking “the Democrats” for not being as single-mindedly ruthless and lock-step as Republicans. Where were these people when Reagan was going after the middle class; and piling up a trillion dollar deficit? Why didn’t they speak up about Iran-Contra, or the collapse of the economy in 2008? What did they do during the rise of the Tea Party and their even worse derivatives, when surely they could see how horrible and evil they were? Mostly, they did nothing–until some of them spoke up against Trump, and now go after Biden and “the Democrats” for not purging the evil, so as to absolve them for any role they might have had in it.

We can use all the help we can get. Democrats in general have been too timid, too cautious about offending the other side, or the media. We need more fight, and a determination to win crucial battles, not just play the role of the virtuous, hard-trying loser. But anyone who does not see what a difficult position we are trying to fight our way out of, does not comprehend the fortress that the Republicans have built, with the state legislature control, and the gerrymandering, and the relentless takeover of the Supreme Court with doctrinaire Radical Right Justices. And of course the filibuster.

Now some who did not vote for many Democrats before, are apparently expecting and demanding a masterstroke which will turn all of this around. Would that it were that easy. It might still be done; but blaming the current President or Democrats in general for it, is very unhelpful, not very insightful, and indulgently self-serving. Which is one of the greatest problems Democrats have had over the decades. The only time the party came together was as a result of the desperation during Trump’s tenure. After six months of Biden, are they eager to fracture again, just to try to prove that everyone should listen to their faction or group, which was right all along?