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Zorro

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Gender: Male
Hometown: America's Finest City
Current location: District 50
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 14,371

Journal Archives

Speeches usually use words to express ideas. Unless you are Kevin McCarthy.

For someone who wants to be speaker of the House, Kevin McCarthy is very bad at speaking.

Usually, when you give a speech (one example would be the Gettysburg Address, which McCarthy invoked several times during his remarks), you try to express ideas using words. Unless you are Kevin McCarthy.

“Lithuania has a long history,” McCarthy (R-Calif.) informed us, almost two hours into his speech, and truly out of nowhere, “with the big controlling countries next to them that try to push them around.”

(This speech, for context, was delivered in the middle of the debate over the Build Back Better bill, in order to delay its passage by what turned to be 8½ hours. It was meant to relate in some way to the Build Back Better bill.)

https://wapo.st/30Ap5KV

The roots of the Republican war on democracy

A decade and a half ago, Republicans took a particular rhetorical style, one characterized by apocalyptic predictions and wild exaggerations of the supposed villainy of their opponents, and moved it from the fringe into the center of their party.

Then, something surprising happened: They came to believe it. And now they’re acting on it.

Let’s begin in Wisconsin, a vivid example of Republicans’ ability to all but eliminate electoral competition. After winning control of state government in the 2010 elections, the party gerrymandered district maps so brutally that their majorities were guaranteed even when Democrats got many more votes. In 2018, for instance, Democrats won 53 percent of votes for the state assembly, but held only 36 percent of the seats.

But you can’t gerrymander a statewide election, so what do you do? As the New York Times reports, Republicans livid that the state’s voters chose Joe Biden in 2020 “are engaged in an all-out assault on the state’s election system.”

https://wapo.st/3HCwn1Q

Report: Eastman Pitched Coup Plan Directly To Arizona GOP Leader

John Eastman, the conservative legal scholar who drew up a full scheme to have then-Vice President Mike Pence throw out certain states’ 2020 electoral votes to steal the election for Donald Trump, reportedly took his ideas straight to at least one Republican leader in a state Trump lost.

According to the Arizona Republic’s latest report in its multi-part series on Trumpworld’s efforts to invalidate Joe Biden’s victory in Arizona, Eastman reached out to state House Speaker Rusty Bowers (R) personally on Jan. 4 to pitch a legal theory on how Arizona’s electors ought to be tossed away before Congress certifies the electoral votes on Jan. 6.

Eastman has claimed he was only ever offering hypotheticals and had no intention of overturning the election. But Jan. 4 — the day he spoke to Bowers — was also the day he presented his election-stealing scheme to Pence.

Both reported examples show Eastman pressing Republicans to subvert the election, not simply offering disinterested legal advice.

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/eastman-pitch-coup-plan-arizona-gop-leader

'It was me': Frank Artiles bragged about spoiling 2020 Florida Senate race, lobbyist says

In the hubbub of a campaign victory celebration at a Sanford bar in November 2020, a Republican operative leaned in and pointed to the results of a political upset securing a key South Florida state Senate seat for the GOP.

"That's me. That's all me," Frank Artiles boasted loudly.

That he was taking credit for Ileana Garcia's narrow victory over incumbent Democrat José Javier Rodríguez astounded the lobbyist whose laptop had delivered Artiles the good news, according to an investigative interview released by the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office on Wednesday.

"Why would he say that out loud?" thought Stephanie Smith, a lobbyist who provided a voluntary statement to state authorities ahead of Artiles' delayed trial.

Artiles faces felony charges he paid an auto-parts salesman more than $44,000 to run as an independent candidate in the Senate District 37 race.

https://www.heraldtribune.com/story/news/local/volusia/2021/11/18/witness-frank-artiles-bragged-using-ghost-candidate-win-florida-senate-seat/8662310002/

Ratfucking seems to be a primary method the party of moral values uses to win elections these days.

Congressional subcommittee investigating UF over free speech, academic freedom concerns

Source: Sarasota Herald-Tribune

A U.S. House of Representatives oversight subcommittee is investigating the University of Florida after several professors were prevented from participating in legislation against the State of Florida, a move many have since said calls into question the university's commitment to academic freedom and free speech.

In a letter sent to UF President Kent Fuchs on Thursday, Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties members wrote they were "concerned that UF is censoring its faculty based on viewpoint, which would set a dangerous precedent that flies in the face of its own commitment to freedom of expression ... As one of the top five public research universities in the nation, UF must ensure that it is not creating the appearance of anticipatory obedience or that it is responding to political pressure in deciding which speech activities it will permit."

The letter continued to say, "The Subcommittee is investigating the extent to which your university’s actions have undermined the integrity of academic freedom and interfered with employees’ constitutional right to speak freely as private citizens on matters of great public concern. In addition, we seek to understand the extent to which federally funded universities use conflicts-of-interest policies to censor employees who oppose the interests of the political party in power."

With a deadline of Dec. 2, the letter to Fuchs also requested a long list of documentation and information from UF, including records like communications from top university officials and the state regarding UF's Conflicts of Commitment and Conflicts of Interest policy and detailed explanations for denials of professors' requests to engage in outside activities.

Read more: https://www.heraldtribune.com/story/news/education/campus/2021/11/18/congressional-subcommittee-looking-into-academic-freedom-uf/8672113002/

Texas and Midwest at risk of winter blackouts if another deep freeze hits, watchdog warns

Still unprepared: Main Texas grid could see a power shortfall of 37% in extreme conditions, NERC report finds

Power grids stretching from Texas to the Midwest are at risk of shutting down if a prolonged deep freeze hits this winter, regulators warned Thursday.

The main Texas grid, which is unique in its state-run, and not regional, format, could see a power shortfall of 37% in extreme conditions, the North American Electric Reliability Corp. (NERC) said in a report Thursday.

NERC’s outlook suggests the state that left 40% of its residents freezing and in the dark during a cold snap last winter isn’t prepared for a repeat.

Widespread outages in Texas remain a “valid” concern, John Moura, director of reliability assessment and performance analysis at NERC, said in a media briefing Thursday.

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/texas-and-midwest-at-risk-of-winter-blackouts-if-another-deep-freeze-hits-watchdog-warns-11637291194

Tax Deduction That Benefits the Rich Divides Democrats Before Vote

House Democrats are poised to lift a cap on the state and local tax deduction, a gift to wealthy homeowners in some blue states.

WASHINGTON — A plan by House Democrats to reduce taxes for high earners in states like New Jersey, New York and California in their $1.85 trillion social policy spending package is becoming an early political albatross for the party, with Republicans already mobilizing to accuse Democrats of defying their populist principles in favor of cutting taxes for the rich.

The criticism offers a preview of the emerging battle lines ahead of next year’s midterm elections and underscores the challenge that Democrats face when local politics collide with the party’s national ambitions to promote economic equity. For Republicans who have defended their 2017 tax cuts, which overwhelmingly benefited the wealthy, the proposal by Democrats to raise the limit on the state and local tax deduction is an opportunity to flip the script and cast Democrats as the party of plutocrats.

“I think they’re struggling to maintain their professed support for taxing the wealthy, yet they are providing a huge tax windfall under the SALT cap,” said Representative Kevin Brady of Texas, the top Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee, referring to the acronym for state and local taxes. “If your priorities are working families, make that the priority, not the wealthy.”

Republicans, looking for ways to finance their own tax cuts in 2017, capped the amount of state and local taxes that households could deduct from their federal tax bills at $10,000. Democrats from high-tax states like New York, New Jersey and California have spent years promising to repeal the cap and are poised to lift it to $80,000 through 2030, before reducing it back to $10,000 in 2031. The cap, which is currently set to disappear in 2025, would then expire permanently in 2032.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/11/18/us/politics/salt-tax-deduction-democrats.html

The SALT cap was a great big FUCK YOU by Republicans to California, New Jersey, and New York voters. The NYT is again misrepresenting lifting the cap as a "gift to wealthy homeowners".

Former D.C. Guard commander demands Pentagon inspector general retract Jan. 6 report

Source: Washington Post

The former commanding general of the D.C. National Guard is demanding the retraction of an inspector general report that says Army leaders had to tell him twice to send troops to the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6 insurrection, saying Thursday that the allegation is false and must be corrected.

William J. Walker, now retired from the military and serving at the Capitol as House sergeant-at-arms, said in an interview that he never received a call from Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy at 4:35 p.m., as alleged in a report by the Defense Department’s acting inspector general, Sean O’Donnell. Walker, repeating comments he made during sworn Senate testimony in March, said that he received authorization to deploy troops at 5:08 p.m. and immediately dispatched those forces, already loaded onto several buses to depart the D.C. Armory.

“Every minute mattered. You have to understand: These are my friends here,” Walker said, referring to his close relationship with former Capitol Police chief Steven Sund, who was forced to resign following the attack, and other law enforcement officials. He called the report “incomplete,” “inaccurate” and “sloppy work.”

Walker’s objection to the published details in the report injects fresh tension into the ongoing political turmoil and finger-pointing stemming from the assault, in which supporters of President Donald Trump smashed their way into Congress in a violent attempt to halt certification of the electoral college count affirming his defeat. The Capitol was breached at 1:50 p.m., but National Guard members were not sworn in to assist police until 5:40 p.m., after senior Army officials settled on a plan.

Read more: https://wapo.st/3Hy6Mad

Disney Acquires All Of America's Children For $52 Billion

BURBANK, CA—In a landmark deal that had reportedly been in the works for months, The Walt Disney Company acquired all of America’s children Wednesday for $52 billion.

“We’ve been fans of America’s youth for a long time now, and we’re excited to finally have them join our robust portfolio of properties,” said Disney CEO Bob Chapek, explaining how the nation’s 73 million adolescents would be under the complete and total control of the company as part of the historic agreement.

“All of your little boys and girls will play a key role in our strategy going forward into Q1 of next year. Of course, they’re still the kids you know and love, but they will now function as assets managed under the Disney umbrella.”

Chapek also informed the nation’s parents that they would have an opportunity to come forward and surrender their children before the company begins taking them by force.

https://www.theonion.com/disney-acquires-all-of-america-s-children-for-52-billi-1848076101

DeSantis signs bills blocking Biden administration COVID vaccine mandates in Florida

Source: Sarasota Herald-Tribune

TALLAHASSEE – Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law Thursday measures countering the Biden administration’s vaccine-or-test requirement for larger businesses, which he drove Florida's Republican-led Legislature to endorse.

“Nobody in Florida should be losing their jobs over these jabs,” DeSantis said at a signing ceremony in the Hillsborough County community of Brandon.

Florida Democrats had derided DeSantis' call for a special session this week, saying it was largely a political stage for the governor to enhance his national image with conservative voters.

But the laws enacted Thursday are designed to blunt any vaccine mandate from taking effect in Florida, whether coming from the federal government or cities and counties. They also bolster DeSantis' position in his long-running opposition to mask requirements in schools.

Read more: https://www.heraldtribune.com/story/news/politics/state/2021/11/18/desantis-signs-bills-blocking-biden-administration-covid-vaccine-mandate/8664181002/



The Mouse will not be pleased.
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