Patterico's Pontifications

1/31/2021

Constitutional Vanguard: Why Does Race Matter?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 3:31 pm



The latest edition of my newsletter seems bound to upset someone.

We appropriately hear a great deal from Big Media about the endless stream of lies that helped foment a riot at the Capitol building. But when does Big Media ever apologize for fomenting riots on the streets due to overhyping police incidents and playing them up as racist?

. . . .

I never hear that kind of introspection by Big Media when a police shooting proves to be justified, after initially being reported to be an indefensible slaughter of a black man.

Even the George Floyd murder — and it was a murder, in my view — is commonly assumed to have been an event that occurred solely because of the color of George Floyd’s skin. Why, police officers would never get on top of a prone, helpless white guy and squeeze the breath out of him until he died! If that happened, surely Big Media would bring it to our attention!

Except . . . they don’t. After all, have you ever heard of Tony Timpa?

Read it all, become righteously outraged by my unacceptable opinions, and sign up for free to get more Pieces Certain to Get Patterico Conceled direct to you inbox, here.

Sunday Music: Bach Cantata BWV 69a

Filed under: Bach Cantatas,General,Music — Patterico @ 9:52 am



It is the fourth Sunday after the Epiphany. The title of today’s cantata is “Lobe den Herrn, meine Seele” (Praise the Lord, my soul):

Today’s Gospel reading is Mark 1:21-28.

And they went into Capernaum; and straightway on the sabbath day he entered into the synagogue, and taught.

And they were astonished at his doctrine: for he taught them as one that had authority, and not as the scribes.

And there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit; and he cried out,

Saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God.

And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of him.

And when the unclean spirit had torn him, and cried with a loud voice, he came out of him.

And they were all amazed, insomuch that they questioned among themselves, saying, What thing is this? what new doctrine is this? for with authority commandeth he even the unclean spirits, and they do obey him.

And immediately his fame spread abroad throughout all the region round about Galilee.

The text of today’s cantata is available here and contains these words:

Praise the Lord, my soul, and do not forget the good He has done for you!

Ah, that I had a thousand tongues!
Ah, if only my mouth
were empty of vain words!
Ah, that I would speak of nothing at all
except that which is justly to God’s praise!
Then I would show forth the goodness of the Highest;
for He has done so much for me all my life,
that in eternity I will not be able to thank Him for it.

Happy listening! Soli Deo gloria.

1/30/2021

Weekend Open Thread

Filed under: General — Dana @ 7:53 am



[guest post by Dana]

Here are a few news items from the week for you to chew over. Please feel free to add anything that you think might interest readers in the comments. Make sure to include links.

First news item

Geez, he’s only been out of office for a week:

A pair of Ohio representatives want to make June 14th a day to honor former President Donald Trump.

Republican Reps. Jon Cross of Kenton and Reggie Stoltzfus of Paris Township sent an email to their House colleagues Friday asking them to cosponsor an upcoming bill “to celebrate one of the greatest presidents in American history.”

“Let’s show the 3,154,834 Ohio voters who cast their ballot to re-elect Donald J. Trump that we as a legislature recognize the accomplishments of his administration,” according to the request for co-sponsors.

Second news item

From the criminal complaint:

On or about January 12, 2021, the FBI received a tip with a video purported to be filmed by BANCROFT. The video was a “selfie” video which depicted BANCROFT and another woman, later identified as SANTOS-SMITH, in the process of attempting to exit the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C. The video further captured a large mob of individuals who had become bottlenecked at a Capitol exit point. During the video, BANCROFT stated, “We broke into the Capitol…we got inside, we did our part.” BANCROFT continued, “We were looking for Nancy to shoot her in the friggin’ brain but we didn’t find her.” Your affiant believes that the “Nancy” BANCROFT was referencing is Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi. BANCROFT was wearing a red “Make America Great Again” ski-cap style hat, and SANTOS-SMITH wore a red “Make America Great Again” baseball hat during the video.

Third news item

Kelli Ward refuses to blink:

Kelli Ward, who was reelected party chair Saturday at a state party meeting, said the Arizona GOP lacked the “structure” to perform an audit, but said she welcomed input to improve elections.

Ward praised the party’s election process, saying “we had no complaints from anyone, from any state committeeman” or those carrying proxy votes. The party used paper ballots and machines from Gila County to run the race.

“Everything was above board,” she said. Ward said there was “no procedure, process, rule that allows for it to be done, and you certainly don’t allow a challenger who lost an election to demand something that they don’t have the right to, and we don’t have the responsibility for providing.”

…Ward also slammed media local and national media outlets for publishing stories about the controversy, saying they are “not friends of Republicans.” And she criticized Republicans who talked to the media about their concerns with potential irregularities.

Fourth news item

Maybe be more careful about whom you choose to put in positions of extraordinary power:

In fact, according to sources close to the campaigns, people in and around the White House, including the president’s lawyer former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, put near-constant pressure on the two Georgia Republicans, David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, to shape their runoff campaigns around his demands.

“It was a hostage situation every day,” said one Republican strategist familiar with the campaigns who only agreed to speak on the condition of anonymity.

“We were always trying to guard against the tweet [from Trump],” the strategist said.

“Every week we had some new sort of demand,” said another strategist involved with the campaigns. “Calling for the hand recount. The signature match. A special session. $2,000 [coronavirus relief] checks. Objecting to the electors.”

“It was, ‘If you do not do this, the president will actively work against you and you will lose,’ ” he recalled.

“In the president’s shadow”

“What was happening was obvious,” said Brian Robinson, a Georgia Republican strategist who did not work for either campaign. “It was obvious from the outside, not just the inside.”

“Our Republican candidates have been in this corner for a couple of years, having to run 100% unrelenting, un-independently mindedly supporting Trump,” he said. ” ‘Whatever [Trump] says, that’s my new position. If it contradicts something I said before, that’s fine. It’s my new position.’ “

Fifth news item

Like herding cats:

In the midst of his campaign for president, Joe Biden took his younger brother, Frank, aside to issue a warning.

“For Christ’s sake, watch yourself,” Biden said of his brother’s potential business dealings, according to a person with knowledge of the conversation. “Don’t get sucked into something that would, first of all, hurt you.”

Biden…seemed to know then what is becoming plainly obvious now: His family’s business ties threatened to undermine an administration whose messaging is centered on restoring integrity in the White House.

Relatives’ money-making ventures, most prominently his son Hunter’s overseas dealings, have long dogged Biden. But it’s taking on a new dimension now that he’s in the White House.

Only a week into his presidency, Biden already has had to answer for matters related to his family. A law firm ad promoting Frank Biden’s relationship with the president caused a stir when it ran on Inauguration Day. A federal investigation into Biden’s son, Hunter, has invited scrutiny of just how strict a firewall he’ll keep between the White House and the Justice Department. And another of the president’s brothers, James, has previously come under fire for his business dealings.

Sixth news item

Eh, they’re going to spend it, one way or the other:

With Republican opposition growing to the size of his $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief proposal, President Joe Biden on Friday expressed his clearest support yet for Senate Democrats to use a fast-track budgetary tool that would allow the legislation to pass with a simple majority.

Asked by reporters as he left the White House, “Do you support passing COVID relief through budget reconciliation?,” Biden answered, “I support passing COVID relief with support from Republicans if we can get it. But COVID relief has to pass. There’s no ifs, ands or buts.”

Biden had focused repeatedly on has repeatedly called for a bipartisan approach, reaching across the aisle to try to rally support only to be stonewalled by opposition. A few Republicans have expressed a willingness to consider a far smaller, “targeted” package, but none has come close to supporting the level of spending advocated by Biden and congressional Democrats.

Seventh news item

Nancy Pelosi rails :

“What could they be thinking? Or is thinking too generous of a word for what they might be doing?” Pelosi said Thursday of the GOP’s decision to seat [Marjorie Taylor Greene] on that committee. “It’s absolutely appalling, and I think the focus has to be on the Republican leadership in the House of Representatives for the disregard they have for the deaths of those children.”

Some rank-and-file Democrats, however, are taking the matter into their own hands and ratcheting up efforts to ex-communicate Greene. Rep. Jimmy Gomez (D-Calif.) is introducing a privileged resolution to expel Greene from Congress, meaning it will receive a floor vote — potentially as early as next week.

But expulsion would require two-thirds support in the House, making it highly unlikely that it will succeed. Still, it will force every single lawmaker, including members of GOP leadership, to go on the record when it comes to Greene.

Kevin D. Williamson marvels:

“Only today’s Republican party could pull off the public-relations coup of putting the dumbest person in Congress on the education committee.”

Eighth news item

Clearly, the definition of “health” is up for grabs, and if you have no voice because you are yet too small, too bad, so sad:

And it will be our policy to support women’s and girls’ sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights in the United States, as well as globally. To that end, President Biden will be revoking the Mexico City Policy in the coming days, as part of his broader commitment to protect women’s health and advance gender equality at home and around the world.

Ninth news item

May she stay safe, be strong, and never, ever give up:

Related:

Untitled

Tenth news item

There cannot and will not be unity until there is trust. Trust cannot be rebuilt until Trump Republicans in Congress acknowledge and publicly condemn what happened at the Capitol *and* condemn Trump’s incitement of the Jan. 6 events. They also need to acknowledge their own tacit approval-by-association too. (And every Republican who stupidly refused to wear a mask when barricaded in the room with their Democratic colleagues should be publicly named and shamed.) Republican members who continue to enable these colleagues by remaining silent, need to speak up. Until said disapproval reaches Liz Cheney levels, even a normal range of “unity” (standard tension between Congressional Reps. and Dems.) cannot happen. There must first be remorse, regret, and restitution:

Some House lawmakers are privately refusing to work with each other. Others are afraid to be in the same room. Two members almost got into a fist fight on the floor. And the speaker of the House is warning that “the enemy is within.”

Forget Joe Biden’s calls for unity. Members of Congress couldn’t be further divided.

Just weeks into the 117th Congress, the bedrock of relationships hasn’t been on such shaky ground in more than a generation, with a sense of deep distrust and betrayal that lawmakers worry will linger for years. And those strains could carry long-term effects on an institution where relationships — and reputations — matter more than almost anything else.

“This is a real tension,” said Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), who was among the roughly two dozen Democrats barricaded into the chamber during the Jan. 6 riots and later contracted coronavirus after spending hours in a safe room with Republicans who refused to wear masks. “I don’t know if that’s repairable. It is certainly a massive chasm that exists right now between a large majority of the Republican caucus and all of us Democrats across the ideological spectrum.”

The friction is particularly intense in the House, where two-thirds of the GOP conference voted to overturn the election just hours after lawmakers were attacked by a mob that demanded that very action. The position of those 139 members is now threatening to upend decades of relationships in the House, forcing long-time colleagues to work through their raw emotions and palpable anger in the weeks since the attack.

Just for fun

Here is an absolutely brilliant clip from the Royal Ballet’s “Don Quixote”:

Uh-oh:

Untitled

Have a good weekend!

–Dana

1/29/2021

More Aggravating News from the California High-Speed Rail Authority

Filed under: General — JVW @ 7:02 pm



[guest post by JVW]

Well, it’s been almost a year (fifty weeks to be exact) since I last updated everyone on the epic failure that is California’s High-Speed Rail Authority’s project to build a rail line between San Diego and Sacramento — er, make that Anaheim to San Francisco — er, make that Bakersfield to Merced. And to save everyone the suspense, I am not going to be delivering positive news. Two weeks ago a contractor on the project wrote a blistering 36-page letter to the HSRA’s head of contracting, pointing out that HSRA still has yet to provide right-of-way documents on over 500 parcels of privately-held land in the Fresno area which are needed for the route, and the contractor, the Tutor Perini Corporation of Sylmar, cannot continue its work until they are provided. As a consequence it appears highly unlikely that HSRA will meet a key 2022 deadline necessary to unlock further federal funds. The contractor also pointed out that turnover in the HSRA and ongoing negotiations with utility companies and freight railroad carriers will inevitably slow down progress on the line.

This naturally was too much for Brian Kelly, the CEO and Head Cheerleader of HSRA, who sniffed that the folks at Tutor Perini were simply trying to blame others for their own delays. But the accusation that HSRA has failed to clear rights on the entire proposed train route didn’t just emerge in recent weeks; we were covering this ongoing failure fifteen months ago. Mr. Kelly (total compensation for 2019: $542,199.27) and members of his staff concocted a rather lame defense which they managed to get some small news outlets, desperate for content, to run:

The California High-Speed Rail Authority’s yearly economic impact analysis underscores the growing value of California’s investment in high-speed rail amid the economic uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since 2006, the Authority has created between 54,300 and 60,400 job years of employment throughout California and invested more than $7.2 billion in planning and construction of the nation’s first high-speed rail system. Approximately 97% of the expenditures are to contractors, consultants and small businesses in California.

“The economic impact of high-speed rail in the Central Valley cannot be overstated,” said Authority Chief Executive Officer Brian Kelly. “Our progress on the construction and planning of clean, fast, reliable electrified high-speed rail continues to provide work and opportunities, despite the pandemic-related challenges of the last 10 months.”

Contra Mr. Kelly, HSRA was not sold to us as a jobs programs for the manufacturing and construction industries (but, like all progressive initiatives, it was a given that the project would entail lots and lots of nicely-paid state bureaucratic positions), it was actually supposed to build a super-fast choo-choo train that would be accessible to about 90% of the population of the Golden State. Since that goal now appears more and more to be a pipe dream, the final few remaining advocates of the project have only the taxpayer-funded employment opportunities to hang their hats on. Of course that same financial sum pissed away by HSRA could have gone to a whole lot of other initiatives which might have even produced something tangible, or perhaps it could have even been left in the pocket of the taxpayers who would have surely put it to far more efficient use. The Los Angeles News Group editorial board gets this, once again calling for the project’s termination:

Now that the Legislature is back in session and the governor’s budget proposal has been unveiled, it’s a good time to ask why the state of California is still proceeding with the doomed boondoggle known as high-speed rail.

[. . .]

The bullet train project is providing generous salaries to bureaucrats, big contracts to consultants and construction companies, and jobs for some construction workers. The one thing it’s in no danger of providing is transportation.

Meanwhile, the money is running out. Federal grants are in jeopardy because of the project’s continuing delays. It’s possible that the incoming Biden administration will be more patient with California than the outgoing Trump administration has been. Trump terminated a $929-million grant and threatened to claw back funds already spent. The federal funds are the subject of a legal dispute.

[. . .]

Voters agreed to the project on the promise that it would be a high-speed train between Los Angeles and San Francisco, built without a tax increase and run without a public subsidy. What they got instead was a high-cost jobs program that specializes in self-congratulation.

It’s time to end this spectacle of wasteful government spending. Cancel the bullet train.

Alas, the LANG editorial board is probably correct that the Biden Administration will be much more forgiving. They could push back the 2022 deadline that looms over the project and they could even reinstate the $929 million grant that the Trump Administration cancelled. One reason the Democrat-dominated state legislature and privileged progressive governor haven’t yet slammed shut the lid on the coffin is undoubtedly because they are wondering if Uncle Sucker might throw them a gold-plated lifeline. There is no shortage of gullible Democrats in Washington who just love these sort of projects, including those in the White House. So, like so many grand initiatives in California, from building a centralized data system to the unproductive stem-cell boondoggle that is the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine to the woeful results of taxpayer-sponsored public housing programs, the HSRA is likely to chug along — wait, that’s exactly the wrong metaphor to use — stand in place for several more years, barring a Congress that comes to its senses and puts an end to this ridiculous project. Given the dysfunction in Washington these days, I’m sure Mr. Kelly’s nice sinecure is secure for some time to come.

– JVW

Republican Group Works To Hold Accountable Party Members Who Bought (And Sold) The Big Lie

Filed under: General — Dana @ 10:13 am



[guest post by Dana]

In a topper to this week’s posts looking at the dismal status of today’s Republican party, the Republican Accountability Project remains committed to the GOP. Members are working to restore the party’s reputation and credibility by lending support to Republicans who voted to impeach Trump and to hold accountable elected officials who bought (and sold) the Big Lie:

It is because of this lie—the lie that the election was stolen and fraudulent—that a pro-Trump mob sacked the Capitol and beat police officers attempting to protect the elected officials inside, leaving five people dead and many more injured. Even after the attack, 147 Republicans still voted against certifying the election results. Even today, GOP Senators like Rand Paul will not say that the election was fair and that President Joe Biden was the clear winner.

We cannot allow this lie to persist. It erodes Americans’ faith in the integrity of our electoral system. It creates more opportunity for violence from radical actors who have been told by elected officials that the election was stolen from them. And it threatens the very democracy we all cherish.

We will also defend those who are willing to defend our democracy. When President Trump was impeached by the House, 10 Republicans joined their Democratic colleagues and voted in favor, and five Republican Senators voted to proceed with Trump’s trial in the Senate. We believe that these Senators will do the right thing and vote to convict and disqualify Trump. Many of these principled, courageous Republicans are already facing primary challenges from the Trump wing of the party. We have their backs.

Republicans would like to simply move on. But without accountability there is no clear path forward. That is why we’ve launched the Republican Accountability Project.

With that goal in mind, here is the group’s just-released ad:

And while Rep. Matt Gaetz was in Wyoming trolling Rep. Elizabeth Cheney, fellow Trump-cronies who also pushed the Big Lie were targeted by the the group with billboards demanding their resignations:

Untitled

Other lawmakers targeted by the campaign include House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), who this week has been criticized by Republicans and Democrats alike for a series of controversies, including past comments calling for violence against Democratic politicians.

The Republican Accountability Project is also going up on the air in each of their targets’ congressional districts and states with television ads tying the lawmakers’ rhetoric with the actions of the pro-Trump rioters behind the breach at the Capitol.

Those ads will air during Fox News’s “Fox & Friends” and “Hannity,” two favorite news programs of conservatives, the group said.

“These representatives and senators helped incite the attack on the Capitol by spreading lies about the election,” said Sarah Longwell, the executive director of the Republican Accountability Project. “They have proved that they are unfit to hold office. They should be nowhere near power.”

If the combined efforts of the Republican Accountability Project and newly-elected members, who stood by their convictions and voted their conscience despite the political risk, can make inroads into a now Trump-dominated GOP, the Republican party may actually locate its missing soul*. Thus, sane members of the party who refuse to be bound to Trump and readily acknowledged the legitimate win of Joe Biden, need not be compelled to form a new political party of their own.

(*h/t Appalled)

–Dana

Poll: Most Republicans Want to See a New Trump Party

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:29 am



This is going to be a sort of twin post to what Dana is publishing this morning, about the Republican party. The hyper-Trumpy American Greatness reports:

A majority of GOP voters support former President Trump forming a new party, according to a Rasmussen Reports survey.

Breitbart reported a telephone and online survey taken January 21 and 24, 2021, asked 1,000 likely U.S. voters, “Former President Trump has suggested he may start a third party. Is this a good idea or a bad idea?”

“While a plurality of likely voters, or 45 percent, believe it is a bad idea, a majority of GOP voters, or 53 percent, consider it a good idea, as do 41 percent of those surveyed overall. The survey coincides with rumors of the former president considering forging a new political party outside of the current Republican Party — a rumor which Republican National Committee (RNC) chair Ronna McDaniel has vehemently denied,” Breitbart reported.

There already are two parties. The schism was there in 2008; you were either capable of hoping the new president succeeded or you hoped he failed. Trump has made the schism more and more clear over time. Either you voted Trump in the primaries or you voted for someone else. Either you supported impeachment (the first time) or you didn’t. Either you thought the election had been stolen or you didn’t. Either you support disqualifying Trump or you don’t. Now, either you want to join a new Trump party or you don’t.

This became even more clear to me yesterday watching Matt Gaetz’s speech to a cheering Wyoming crowd.

It was all about how awful Liz Cheney is. The focus wasn’t even primarily on her vote on the second impeachment. If any theme came up again and again, it was that Cheney is for wars and Gaetz isn’t. But what was crystal clear is that Gaetz hates Liz Cheney with the fire of a thousand Fox News camera lights. It sounded like a stump speech by someone running against her in a general election — not even a primary, where punches can sometimes be pulled or common ground sought, but a nasty, personal general election.

These people are not from the same party.

As the poll shows, increasingly there is no room for a Liz Cheney or an Adam Kinzinger or a Justin Amash in the Republican party. Part of me wants to stand in the well of the Senate and address the GOP members and say: fellas. He lost. Maybe you shouldn’t tie your party to him like this.

But the effect of their rhetoric — their steadfast refusal to admit that Trump lost — is that most GOP voters still believe Trump won. Meaning they are going to continue to cling to the loser, and he will continue to be a wedge issue, for as long as they continue to maintain the fiction.

Trump doesn’t need to form a new party. Through the force of the continuing “stolen election” lie, he has only strengthened his hold on this party. If anyone has to form a new party, it’s the people no longer welcome in the old one.

1/28/2021

Former Fox News Political Editor Who Was First To Call Arizona For Biden Speaks Out

Filed under: General — Dana @ 11:27 am



[guest post by Dana]

A refresher:

[Chris] Stirewalt, who was laid off…had become a controversial figure among fans of the network after he defended its early projection that Joe Biden would win Arizona based on an analysis by Fox News’ Decision Desk.

President Donald Trump was angered by the Arizona call, and his officials desperately urged Fox to retract it.

Stirewalt refused to reverse his support for the call, despite other Fox hosts’ criticism of it. He has also turned his nose up at Trump’s claims of election fraud.

In the aftermath of Stirewalt’s termination (which the network claimed to have been part of an ongoing restructuring plan but insiders say actual journalists and not just blind followers were laid off), he provides a candid look at today’s media and the consumers that news outlets seek to satisfy:

Whatever the platform, the competitive advantage belongs to those who can best habituate consumers, which in the stunted, data-obsessed thinking of our time, means avoiding at almost any cost impinging on the reality so painstakingly built around them. As outlets have increasingly prioritized habituation over information, consumers have unsurprisingly become ever more sensitive to any interruption of their daily diet.

The rebellion on the populist right against the results of the 2020 election was partly a cynical, knowing effort by political operators and their hype men in the media to steal an election or at least get rich trying. But it was also the tragic consequence of the informational malnourishment so badly afflicting the nation.

When I defended the call for Biden in the Arizona election, I became a target of murderous rage from consumers who were furious at not having their views confirmed.

Having been cosseted by self-validating coverage for so long, many Americans now consider any news that might suggest that they are in error or that their side has been defeated as an attack on them personally. The lie that Trump won the 2020 election wasn’t nearly as much aimed at the opposing party as it was at the news outlets that stated the obvious, incontrovertible fact.

While there is still a lucrative market for a balanced offering of news and opinion at high-end outlets, much of the mainstream is increasingly bent toward flattery and fluff. Most stories are morally complicated and don’t have white hats and black hats. Defeats have many causes and victories are never complete. Reporting these stories requires skill and dispassion. But hearing them requires something of consumers, too: Enough humility to be open to learning something new.

Read the whole thing.

–Dana

GameStop Open Thread

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:29 am



I’m not smart enough on the topic to opine. I’m sure some of you are.

1/27/2021

Republican Party Courts Another Problem, and Her Name is Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene

Filed under: General — Dana @ 11:49 am



[guest post by Dana]

Piggybacking on yesterday’s post here, and asking, just how much of a problem does the GOP have? Well, look no further than newly-elected Trump-supporter Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, whom Trump referred to as “a future Republican star”:

Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene repeatedly indicated support for executing prominent Democratic politicians in 2018 and 2019 before being elected to Congress, a CNN KFile review of hundreds of posts and comments from Greene’s Facebook page shows.

Greene, who represents Georgia’s 14th Congressional District, frequently posted far-right extremist and debunked conspiracy theories on her page, including the baseless QAnon conspiracy which casts former President Donald Trump in an imagined battle against a sinister cabal of Democrats and celebrities who abuse children.

In one post, from January 2019, Greene liked a comment that said “a bullet to the head would be quicker” to remove House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. In other posts, Greene liked comments about executing FBI agents who, in her eyes, were part of the “deep state” working against Trump.

In one Facebook post from April 2018, Greene wrote conspiratorially about the Iran Deal, one of former President Barack Obama’s signature foreign policy achievements. A commenter asked Greene, “Now do we get to hang them ?? Meaning H & O ???,” referring to Obama and Hillary Clinton.

Greene replied, “Stage is being set. Players are being put in place. We must be patient. This must be done perfectly or liberal judges would let them off.”

Rep. Greene’s response to inquiries about the report? Well, she didn’t exactly deny them. Rather she accused other people who apparently had access to her social media accounts of posting any number of these posts, and claimed that some of the posts didn’t represent her views. Finally, she suggested that CNN (Fake News) is attempting to cancel her. But of course. This ought to be part of the MAGA pledge: Never assume any responsibility for your own actions:

Rep. Greene is even a disgrace too far for Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy:

These comments are deeply disturbing and Leader McCarthy plans to have a conversation with the Congresswoman about them.

But is a “conversation” enough? Will Leader McCarthy make it plainly clear to her that her views are completely unacceptable and not welcome in the Republican Party?

When McCarthy stripped [Steve] King, then a Republican congressman from Iowa, of his committee assignments in 2019, he signaled he was setting a threshold for the public comments of his caucus members.

King had wondered publicly why terms like “white nationalism” and “white supremacy” had suddenly “become offensive.” [Ed. Who are these people??!!]

Whether Greene’s comments cross the same line remains to be seen.

If they don’t cross the same line, then we will know all we need to know about today’s Republican Party, and the immense influence Trump has had on it. Given there is no chance she will be expelled, without swift and public denouncement of Greene’s comments and even a public rebuke, the GOP will be signaling a lack of seriousness in cleaning their house. At the very least:

Which isn’t to say that Greene should be removed from Congress. While her views are noxious, they were plenty well-known by the voters of Georgia’s 14th district when they chose her as the Republican nominee.

But that doesn’t mean that the Republican Party should actively welcome Greene in their conference by providing her with committee assignments and the other benefits of being affiliated with the Republican Party. Because in so doing, they are condoning these sorts of views as somehow part of the broad spectrum of thought within the GOP.

And that is a very dangerous thing to do — if McCarthy and the rest of Republican leadership wants to have an actual national party going forward. Because a party that allows views like Greene’s to have a seat at the table isn’t one that should be taken seriously.

Meanwhile, Rep. Greene has otherwise been busy doing the people’s um, business:

Greene’s reputation as chief engineer on the Crazy Train was most firmly secured by her hustle in filing an article of impeachment against Joe Biden the day after his inauguration, in which she claimed that he had “abused the power of the Office of the Vice President, enabling bribery and other high crimes and misdemeanors, by allowing his son to influence the domestic policy of a foreign nation and accept various benefits — including financial compensation — from foreign nationals in exchange for certain favors.”

Convince me that, as it currently stands, the Republican Party is in good health.

–Dana

Pandemic Priorities: San Francisco Board of Education Votes To Rename Schools

Filed under: General — Dana @ 9:33 am



[guest post by Dana]

Well, it doesn’t have a lick to do with reopening the schools for in-person learning or improving distance-learning in the city, but hey, they’re doing something, right?

San Francisco will rename 44 schools, including campuses named after former presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln and Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein.

The near-unanimous Monday vote by the San Francisco Board of Education, with only one dissenter, comes after years of debate — and some scorn — over the reckoning of historical figures and their contentious, flawed legacies.

“It’s a message to our families, our students and our community,” board member Mark Sanchez said in the meeting, per the San Francisco Chronicle. “It’s not just symbolic.”

The new namesakes for the schools must adhere to a new set of guidelines, including that individuals honored by a renaming are not slave owners or abetted in slavery or genocide, attached to human rights abuses, or are “known racists and/or white supremacists.”

Why the noted schools missed the mark:

Washington and Jefferson, for instance, were slaveowners, while former San Francisco mayor Feinstein was listed after reportedly reinstating Confederate flags by City Hall in the ’80s. Lincoln, widely revered for his issuing of the Emancipation Proclamation, was chosen based on “his treatment of First Nation peoples,” first-grader Jeremiah Jeffries told the Chronicle in a widely circulated December quote.

Some other namesakes’ legacies, such as Junipero Serra, Jose Ortega and Vasco Nunez de Balboa, were based on colonization and abuses of indigenous people.

Meanwhile, last month Bay Area parents rallied to get their schools reopened. Their complaints were focused on the need to get kids back into school because remote learning was not effective and they were falling behind:

“Remote learning doesn’t work at all,” said parent Daniel Kotzin.

Kotzin says his 5-year-old is falling behind.

“I’m a stay-at-home parent. We have reliable WIFI. My son still doesn’t know how to read. He’s in kindergarten. Remote learning, it’s cruel joke,” said Kotzin.

These parents say they want to see the district open schools for in-person learning.

“I’m here in support of all the parents in San Francisco who would like to have their children go back to school, get a safe education and resume normal life,” said parent Erica Sandberg.

In Berkeley, parents echoed the same complaint, distance learning has been a failure.

“We’re all frustrated with our school district,” said parent Lei Levy.

…8th grader Ella Hainsworth talked about her struggles.

“It’s hard for a lot of people, my mental health has not been great during Zoom school, it’s all been chaotic,” she said.

“We really believe guided by science, our schools could be reopened,” Levy added.

San Francisco Unified School District’s website charts out their in-person readiness goals:

Below are the major areas of work SFUSD is undertaking to prepare for a phased-in approach to in-person learning. This includes modifying learning plans and bell schedules, developing and deploying appropriate protocols and training for staff, providing sufficient cleaning and PPE supplies for all sites, and instituting prevention measures and changes to facilities. We will update this information bi-weekly to share the current status of each area.

Here is the current progress chart:

SFUSD

dashboard

Although the SFUSD had planned to reopen schools on January 25, they announced last month that union bargaining was not going to be wrapped up in time as the union believed that current health and safety measures were insufficient. The union insisted that the measures needed to exceed even those of the Department of Public Health’s Guidance. In response, Mayor London Breed issued the following statement:

“It is infuriating that our schools are not going to reopen for in-person learning in January. I can’t imagine how hard this is for our families and for our young people who haven’t been in the classroom since March and are falling further behind every single day. We should not be creating a false choice between education and a safe return to classrooms. As a society, we have a responsibility to educate our children, and safety is embedded in that responsibility. We can do both. We must do both.

Right now we are in a surge that requires us to stay home and stop the spread, but when we get through this difficult moment, we need to be ready to get our students in the classroom the moment our public health officials say we can. We can’t create unrealistic standards for in-person learning that aren’t even recommended by the Department of Public Health. I understand the concerns of some of our teachers who are in the vulnerable population, and we should listen to them. But let’s be honest: San Francisco’s public health officials have been among the most conservative in the country in terms of reopening. When they say our schools can start opening again, our kids should be in the classroom the next day.

And we have data that shows our kids and teachers can return to the classroom. Under the guidance of the Department of Public Health, our City’s 78 Community Hubs and 91 private and parochial schools across the City have been open for in-person learning for months and have not experienced any outbreaks. Even now, during this latest surge, the worst we’ve had, there have been no outbreaks. None of this is easy, but by following health protocols we can create safe environments that help us mitigate the spread of this virus and give our kids the learning environment they so badly need.

Meanwhile, the CDC has made the case for the safe reopening of public schools as they have found “little evidence that schools contributed meaningfully to the spread of COVID-19″.

–Dana

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