MAGA: Amnesty – It’s Not a Border or an Immigration Problem.

More than two million people tried to cross the US-Mexoco border in 2022, according to officials. They want to make this sound like a large number. It would be a large number, if these people were migrants and expected to go back and forth across the border each year.

These people are not migrants though, no matter how many talking heads call them migrants. They don’t want to be here, they were forced to come here out of fear of where they were.

They are not immigrants beyond the fact that they want American protection from persecution (as foolish as that belief may be) and so want to become American citizens, with all the baggage that comes with being brown-skinned people in the original home of White Supremacy.

These people are refugees. That’s how you get two million people crossing a border into another country in a year. They are not invaders, drug runners or any other kind of criminal. They are poor, desperate people and we are using them as pawns in our political battles. We should be ashamed of ourselves.

texasstandard.org

Americans are outraged about the influx of refugees at the Southern border; at least, that is what Greg Abbott and the Texas GOP would like you to believe. They are betting on you being willing to torture poor refugee families in the name of your own security. That is the bet they are making in 2022. Will you do it? Will you go down to the border and use a cattle prod on these poor people in order to drive them back to their countries of origin, or will you be happy to allow the Texas and Mexican governments do your dirty work for you?

What needs to be done is to fix our amnesty rules, fix the injustices in Venezuela and Brazil and half a dozen other countries South of our border here in the United States. Injustices that we helped to create with decades of money to banana republics that we helped to create in the first place. South America is the way it is now largely because we made it that way, because it suited our corporations commodity-extracting needs. Now that these refugees from our policies show up on our door, we need to torture them some more? I think we’ve seen enough depravity now.

Featured image: https://graphics.reuters.com/USA-IMMIGRATION/MEXICO/mopankddwva/

Maddow on Pat Buchanan & Racism

Buchanan is a paleoconservative, he is a white nationalist, he is an artist of white racial grievance as a driver of white working class votes and white middle class votes, honestly; and he has been calling for revolutionary white nationalist politics on the right consistently and in the same way without evolving at all himself from the sixties until now, through his most recent books.

The far right has figured that out. His books are required reading in the pro-Trump right wing paramilitary groups, some of which are facing sedition charges now; but he’s the most consistent, lyrical Republican racist of the mid-twentieth century and the start of the twenty-first and that will be important for us understanding what happened to the right and to the Republican party in this century.

I think it helps to look at it from a broad historical perspective and just to realize that these impulses and these arguments and these ideas of racial grievance and racial reorganization, and racial oppression, they don’t go away and they don’t change very much. They get articulated with more or less flowery language over time but, when you build the Nixon-Agnew administration on the idea that the civil rights movement is a bunch of communists and it’s American patriotism to oppose communists and therefore to oppose civil rights; and that’s why anyone who calls you a racist is really a commie…

When that’s the politics of the sixties and seventies and there is no corrective for it, you just evolve through it. When the Reagan politics around race and welfare queens and this idea again of exploiting racial grievance, but with a smile, persists through those times. When the deep racial radicalism on the right is sort of kept alive, is continually stoked, those guys are continually fomenting what they foment and they fall in and out of favor depending on what the media environment and the electoral environment can tolerate.

Rachel Maddow
spotifyEzra Klein – What Rachel Maddow Has Been Thinking About Offscreen – Oct 14, 2022

What she is driving at there is the thing that put me off on Pat Buchanan from the very beginning:

The problem that I had with Pat Buchanan was always that the thing he was talking about wasn’t the thing he was talking about. What I expressed to Dan Carlin as bad actor or bad faith in relation to his interview of Pat Buchanan in episode 71 of his Common Sense podcast. Buchanan would never come right out and say that brown-skinned people were keeping white people from achieving their white nirvana, but it was behind every single thing he thought and said and it bled through in every thought that he tried to express. He always was a bad liar. Not nearly the confidence man that Caudito Trump is. Trump, who took the racist subtext behind politics in the US and made it the text again. Pat Buchanan helped make a Trump presidency inevitable.

This racial thinking comes out in his belief that Slavic countries belong to Russia, for example.

The title of that article? That is the framing that Pat Buchanan would use when talking about the war in Ukraine. Talking about it as if all Slavs must be under the same government. Racial framing. Just in case you think that Rachel Maddow is making all that shit up. She knows him, which is more than I can say about him.

Midterm Trumpism

Trump says its about Trump so lets make it about Trump.

We are about to be in election season here in the United States. The midterm elections, so named because they come in the middle of a presidential term, are about to be held. The primary elections, which most citizens have gleefully missed out on, have occurred over the last eight months and the candidates for every house seat in the US House and one-third of the seats in the Senate have been selected. Now we go to the general election and pick which one of the candidates will be the one to represent us in the various elected bodies and offices across the country.

Here in Texas every major state office is also up for election. The Democrats are doing quite well given Texas history. Democrats haven’t been this close to holding a statewide public office since Ann Richards left the governor’s mansion (I really miss her) Republicans have to be sweating bullets right now, but they sure do try to pretend that they aren’t.

The various political pundits who are talking about the midterm elections would like you to believe that this election is about inflation or the economy or abortion. They say this quite openly on programs that promote the horserace narrative of election:

The Takeaway – Do Debates Help Candidates in Midterm Elections? – October 11, 2022

(I would be happy for there to be normalcy enough that debating between sane parties could be conducted. We aren’t in those kinds of times now.)

But the elections aren’t about any of those things. I wouldn’t mind if the elections were about abortion, that is a winning issue for Democrats. I do mind that Republicans try to make this election about immigration or about the economy because they don’t present the truth when they promote these troubling issues. The immigration issue is actually an amnesty issue and they won’t fix that (Biden and the Democrats might) The economy issue isn’t anything that Biden can fix and the Republican candidates can’t fix it, either. They might try to fix it though, and that scares me more than the inflation does.

However, the midterm election isn’t about any of those normal-type things. The elections are about the failed presidency of Donald Trump and his desire to see the certified results of the 2020 election reversed. All across the country there are candidates running for office that were handpicked by Trump to either overturn the 2020 election or at least rig the 2024 election in his favor. They are running in every state all across the country.

Don’t believe me? The January 6th committee hearings continued today:

PBS NewsHour – Jan. 6 Committee hearings – Day 9 – Oct. 13, 2022

Make no mistake here, we are in a battle for the future of our country; and if we want our country to be based on principles of a representative democracy then we have to get out and vote against anyone that Trump has endorsed and that proposes that there was anything wrong with the certified results of the 2020 election. There is no room for equivocation on this issue. If the candidate will not state on the record that Donald Trump lost the 2020 election and that the election was not marked by huge amounts of fraud, then that candidate can not be trusted with the authority of any office within the United States.

Remember what happened two years ago. Remember being trapped in your house because the President of the United States allowed the coronavirus to run rampant across the country and even encouraged its spread by deluding his followers about how bad it was. Remember that more than eighty-one million of us voted specifically to remove Donald Trump from office so that we could finally turn the corner on the pandemic. Remember how Donald Trump encouraged a mob to attack the capitol and attempt to overthrow the government that we had voted into power. Remember that he hand picked this group of candidates to run for him in 2022.

Remember all of this and vote to confirm that, painful as the present is, this is better than what we had two years ago. Better than it has been since at least 2007. Vote to put an end to Trumpism so that we don’t have to physically act to put an end to the Trumpists who will take power if we don’t consciously vote against them now. Vote like your country depends on it because it probably does and probably will for the rest of our natural lives.

A Bubbling Stew of Batshit Crazy

That is what Charlie Sykes deemed Trump’s response to the entirety of the January 6th committee findings and subpoena. You Trumpists remember Charlie Sykes right? He was one of you before you went batshit crazy with your now dethroned and soon to be indicted God-Emperor.

THE BULWARK PODCAST – Denver Riggleman: Why I Wrote It by CHARLIE SYKES – OCTOBER 14, 2022

Continuing to paraphrase Charlie Sykes, we can’t afford to wait for the sweet meteor of death (SMOD) or for the Orange bastard to choke on his last Big Mac. We need him to face justice, and it needs to be soon. The sooner the better. The only way this happens successfully is if we stick with the Democrats and hold their feet to the fire on the subjects that we think are important. Secure the democracy first, prosecute the criminals second, worry about the economy and abortion access after that. It’s important to keep your dumpster fires in the proper extinguishing order. The one that can destroy our way of government has to be extinguished first.

Postscript

It seems that the vast majority of Americans that bothered to vote in the midterms felt the same way I did. Trump was handed defeats across the nation, wining almost none of the races that he put his weight behind outside of the nutjob state of Texas that I am forced to call home. Did Texas stay red because Trump didn’t directly endorse Greg Abbott, or did it stay red in spite of that oversight? Who knows.

Texas is a Tossup

Marist is out with a new poll today. They put this headline on the news:

Abbott Edges O’Rourke in Texas Governor’s Race

In any other state, at any other time, this poll would have deemed the race a toss-up. The spread between candidates is less than the undecideds in the race and that is the definition of a toss-up. The sad part of this poll is that there are such low numbers of undecideds and/or that there isn’t a double-digit lead for the Democrats in all races.

The Republican governor of Texas, our governor, has wasted a billion dollars pretending that there is an invasion from Mexico for the better part of a decade now. There is no invasion from Mexico. There are economic upheavals all over the world and the US remains a beacon of hope, and, the Southern border is where everyone thinks they should go to get in. I remain mystified why you wouldn’t go to Canada instead and just stroll across the border there. Avoid the crowds, go to Canada. That is, if you aren’t just walking North until you hit the United States. If you are, you have my sympathies.

The explanation for why this ineffective milksop of a man, Greg Abbott, is popular in Texas is easy to understand. Republicans have been brainwashed for forty years now and their insanity has reached the new low of declaring everyone that opposes them a child molester. Remember Pizzagate? That sort of shit still goes on all over the Republican sphere. Accusing people of being groomers. Targeting trans children and their caregivers. How do you reason with people like that? How do you take them seriously?

Marist is well respected, but who commissioned this particular poll and who released it? Those factors play into what we are shown as news. I’ve been floored by the amount of news in this election cycle that insists on treating these midterms as normal or acting as if there is no downside in projecting Republican strength at this juncture in time.

There is no Republican strength. This needs to be stated bluntly. Republicans are actively at war with themselves, even in Texas. They can’t see a way forward from the trap they’ve made for themselves other than to hold on tight to Trumpism, which is a losing bet to make for everyone concerned.

The news media should be making this very, very clear, but they don’t do it. They don’t do it out of fear of Republican reprisals or they don’t do it out of fear of violent reactions from the Republican base. Maybe it is misunderstanding what objective reporting means. In any case, they are doing us all a disservice. The Republican party is not a serious opponent in the here and now. They are an active threat to the American experiment and should be treated as such until their criminal leaders are brought to justice (yes, I’m looking at you Ken Paxton) This fact needs to be made explicitly clear to the American people so that they can adjust their expectations accordingly.

Reddit

Postscript

Greg Abbott won by about 10 points. Pandering and grandstanding still works well in Texas. The most unfortunate result was the Texas AG office being retained by the indicted Ken Paxton. He’s going to be doing the AG’s business from prison, I guess.

Disabled by Disability Red Tape

I can relate to the lamentations of the disabled person in this podcast:

The Indicator from Planet Money – Jobs Friday: The problem with disability support – October 7, 2022

I spent nearly five years trying to get disability myself:

1 in four people will have to go on disability support before retirement. That means of the four or five people who might be reading this right now, one or two of you will need to be on disability in the near future. As this blog is read more frequently by disabled persons, that number is probably even higher and many of the complaints aired in the above episode probably echo with their own experiences.

I quite literally could have died during the five year process it took to get disability and it would have done nothing to demonstrate the need for support that my family and I needed at the time. The amount of fraud in the system is miniscule and yet the harm that is caused to disabled people and their families by delaying disability payments can be demonstrated time and time again. It is a black mark on our country’s moral ledger that this harm continues.

Once you have qualified for disability it then becomes a constant irritant, this need to demonstrate a need for continued support as if chronic illness is a thing that you recover from, or that the lasting effects of years of illness would not in themselves merit some level of support from the government. Rather than being something that you had to demonstrate a need for, disability payments should be a benefit that is granted automatically to every person who is not working. Granted automatically so that loss of housing, food and security isn’t a thing that the newly unemployed person suffers from.

If there are shirkers living off those easy benefits then it’s a simple matter of getting those people the mental help they need to get back out of their houses and get back to work doing something. You won’t live long sitting around your house doing nothing. Twenty years of disability has proven this to me. The only thing that keeps me alive now is getting out and engaging with the world on a near-daily basis. Something that I’m not allowed to charge anything for if I want to keep my disability payments.

Universal basic income would solve this problem, but I don’t expect we’ll be seeing that anytime soon no matter how feasible it might seem to the economists who support it. In the meantime if you aren’t working, can’t work, then you shouldn’t be facing eviction and eventual starvation because of it. It just shouldn’t happen anywhere that calls itself civilized.

Demonization

The headline screamed:

The Pagan roots of Democrats’ abortion extremism

Democrats, including President Biden, are quickly moving toward the extreme position that a woman alone can, in consultation with her doctor, make any decision at any time on abortion.

thehill.com

…and then the article behind the headline went on to equate Roman infanticide with modern medical abortion practices. Went on to equate the Jewish tradition of life beginning with the first breath with the Christianist demand that we treat every fertilized egg as equivalent to a fully grown human being. Worse than equating apples and oranges, this is more like equating fruit and fish.

These delusional people simply cannot grasp the fact that there is no good reason to believe that a clump of cells inside another person is itself a person that is more important than the person it is inside of.

Rather than being an “extreme belief” any other opinion on a woman’s right choose, aside from her deciding for herself, represents the denial to women of the same rights that men possess. It really is that simple. If women are people equal to men, abortion is their choice to make.

If there are other, greater, concerns that should take precedence over the woman’s rights, it falls to the believer to prove that these concerns actually exist. Every attempt to prove that these concerns are real have historically failed.

Which is why Alito was forced to fall back on his false history of abortion always being illegal as a basis for overturning Roe. Make no mistake here, Alito lied throughout that opinion. Nearly every conclusion he reaches is false because it is based on that lie.

Women, through the tireless work of midwives down through the centuries, have managed the knotty problem of unwanted pregnancy all on their own. That is the real tradition here, not the illegality of abortion (or the delusion of Roman infanticide conducted by the men of their time being the same as abortion, the laughable comparison made in the Hill opinion piece. -ed.)

The extreme position is the one that Christianists have forced on American women with the reversal of Roe. Women will continue to do what they have always done, decide for themselves whether they will have a child or not.

The extremity will be measured in how many women’s lives will be lost because of the delusional beliefs about life in the uterus.

If this opinion makes me a pagan then your definition of pagan is as delusional as your definition of life is.

twitter

The author of that Hill opinion piece is accusing everyone who doesn’t think life begins at conception of murder. That is the unstated subtext of the article. This is demonization. The author is setting up the readers that agree with him to see their opponents as less than human. Is trying to make it easier to kill US when the violent insurrection that they are fomenting comes into being. This isn’t about the sacredness of human life, this is about the rightness of their beliefs and their willingness to kill for them.


No, if we truly value LIFE, if we truly believe it to be SACRED, then before it even begins we as a people and as a nation must bend every effort to ensure not only its survival, but that it thrives to reach its full potential.

Twitter – Stonekettle

Lady Justice and Charlottesville Nazis

It will surprise you not at all to hear this comes up in almost every chapter, but some woman says “it just needed to be done” and I didn’t sit around workshopping it for three months, I just did it.

Dahlia Lithwick

Call me weird, but that put a lump in my throat.

Amicus – Listen to Lady Justice – SEPT 26, 2022

I went ahead and sprang for the book. I’ll get back to you on listening to the book through my podcast app. Not sure how I’m going to like that.

The Cruelty is the Point

If you are an ambitious Republican, the way to win a primary, the way to win office, is to be seen being ritualistically cruel in some way to one of these communities that conservatives are fixated on and to have that covered by FOX News who will then rave about what a true conservative you are.

This act of public cruelty is something that draws lines of community around one group of people and excludes another group of people in a way that really forms a relationship between a leader and the people he’s seeking to represent.

This is something primal in human nature. You think back to adolescence when there’s a kid who, he’s a little nerdy or he gets left out of the group and gets made fun of, and there are other kids who will pick on that kid just to show they are one of the other kids, one of the cool kids, one of the group.

This is something that’s in human nature that Trump elevated to a level of political virtue or a political principle.

Adam Serwer (wnycstudios.org/takeaway)

Constitutional Reverence

Some men look at constitutions with sanctimonious reverence, and deem them like the ark of the covenant, too sacred to be touched. They ascribe to the men of the preceding age a wisdom more than human, and suppose what they did to be beyond amendment. I knew that age well; I belonged to it, and labored with it. It deserved well of its country. It was very like the present, but without the experience of the present; and forty years of experience in government is worth a century of book-reading; and this they would say themselves, were they to rise from the dead. I am certainly not an advocate for frequent and untried changes in laws and constitutions. I think moderate imperfections had better be borne with; because, when once known, we accommodate ourselves to them, and find practical means of correcting their ill effects.

…But I know also, that laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths disclosed, and manners and opinions change with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also, and keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy, as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors.

Thomas Jefferson, 3rd US President (1743-1826)

h/t to Eric Buck

The reverence for the founders is at once misplaced and well earned. Any number of people could produce a better document now than they could then; what is a shame is that most of those people are not to be found in government.

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Choosing Leaders

Choose your leaders with wisdom and forethought.
To be led by a coward is to be controlled by all that the coward fears.
To be led by a fool is to be led by the opportunists who control the fool.
To be led by a thief is to offer up your most precious treasures to be stolen.
To be led by a liar is to ask to be told lies.
To be led by a tyrant is to sell yourself and those you love into slavery.

Octavia E. Butler, Parable of the Talents (Earthseed, #2)