Monday, May 31, 2021

Just Released: Strangely Funny Vol. VIII and The Murder Hornets Story!

 Ahhh yeah, volume VIII is officially released! My story "War of the Murder Hornets" is dedicated to every soul who survived 2020 and those who did not. 


You can purchase a print copy or you can purchase the eBook Kindle version!

MANY THANKS to the editors Sarah and Gwen for choosing a line from "War of the Murder Hornets" story as the quote blurb to help sell the anthology! 

"Just want to let you know, so far we’ve got two of the drafted volunteers reporting sick to the base doctor with severe cases of Aw Hell Naw."

-- Paul Wartenberg, "War of the Murder Hornets"

Squeeeee!!!

PLEASE do get a copy, the stories from this series are worth the read, and PLEASE leave a good review for us, I do hope you enjoy our twisted tales.

Sunday, May 30, 2021

Just Kill The Filibuster

So that bipartisan investigatory commission into the January 6 Insurrection died a partisan death thanks to just enough Republican Senators to say NO and just enough Democratic Senators to not give a f-ck. Via Steve Benen at MSNBC:

It was emblematic of how the process unfolded. Republicans said they were open to the creation of an independent commission, but only if their demands were met. Democrats, willing to pay high prices in the interest of governing, met those demands, only to have House GOP lawmakers balk anyway.

Today, Senate Republicans did the same thing...

I can appreciate why the procedural details may seem boring and unimportant, but it's worth emphasizing that this was technically not the vote to create the Jan. 6 commission. Rather, this was a procedural vote on something called a motion to proceed -- which in practical terms means Republicans blocked a Senate debate over whether to create the Jan. 6 commission.

For those unfamiliar with congressional procedures, it's probably also worth noting that the gap between the opponents and proponents was less important than it might appear: proponents of the bipartisan plan needed 60 votes. Period. Full stop. The fact that most senators supported the proposal is, thanks to the filibuster rules, irrelevant. In fact, if only 60 senators showed up for today's vote, and 59 of them voted "yes," the one "no" vote would prevail...

This procedure basically forms part of what's known as the filibuster, an internal procedural process wherein just one Senator of either party makes clear their intent to delay a vote by talking as long as possible to prevent a bill or an appointment being made (certain votes have deadlines attached to them). The talking itself isn't even necessary: All the Senator has to do nowadays is THREATEN to filibuster, and a Cloture motion has to be voted on it, and that requires that bloody 60 votes.

And this is where I bitch about the Democrats being cowards, because they have the means of rewriting Senate procedures right now and can easily get rid of this debate blocker, to get rid of filibustering altogether and require simple basic majority (51 out of 100) votes on everything so they could end Republican obstructionism here and now... and they won't.

/headdesk

I've been complaining about the filibuster all the way back to 2009, when this was a different blog: 

Worst of all is the filibuster rule. What was once an obscure rule is now an impediment on getting anything passed in the Senate (the House has no filibuster and so can pass laws by majority vote more quickly) because the filibuster can't be stopped (Cloture) unless two-thirds of the Senate votes to, which means you need 60 votes nowadays to ensure Cloture. Problem is where the Republicans are organized to a fault to where their own party is consuming themselves, the Democrats are disorganized to where each Senator can (and does) act like their own party and vote however they want...

And I wrote that back when the Democrats had 59-60 seats and could have overridden every Cloture procedure and forced the Republicans to eat their own failures. Instead, they kept faltering over passing major legislation that could have shortened the economic recession during Obama's tenure, all because enough Democratic Senators wanted their egos as "Centrists" stroked. And not enough Democrats pushed to end the Filibuster/Cloture rule altogether to ensure simple majority votes. Gods, it was frustrating then and it's frustrating now to watch the Democrats shoot themselves in their own cowardly foot rather than get rid of an unwanted and self-damaging rule.

Ezra Klein wrote this at Vox back in 2015

Today's filibusters simply paralyze the Senate until the majority either finds 60 votes to proceed or gives up and moves on to another piece of business.

The filibuster is no longer about ensuring that minorities can make themselves heard on the floor of the Senate; rather, it's about forcing the majority to find 60 votes to pass anything...

Some political scientists argue that the idea of individual filibusters has become outdated; they say the Senate now operates under the filibuster's 60-vote requirement as a norm, and it's anything that requires a simple majority that's the exception. In other words, in the modern Senate, almost everything is filibustered...

This speaks to a crucial fact about the filibuster: though a filibuster can only be broken with 60 votes, the rule that powers the filibuster can be changed, or even eliminated, with 51 votes. The filibuster is a minority protection that exists at the pleasure of the majority.

This is the fundamental tension of the filibuster: it gives the minority the power to obstruct the majority, but if the minority pushes that power too far, the majority can end the filibuster entirely...

That last part is something that the Senate Democrats - clinging to a super-slim majority of 50-50 with VP Harris as the 51st tiebreaker vote - can do, they could vote on eliminating the debate procedure and shut down filibustering as a tactic. They could break the Minority Rule the Republicans have been forcing on the United States for 20-plus years.

The Democrats could vote to end a filibuster process that has routinely been used as a racist override of legislation: The filibuster is a "Jim Crow relic" interfering with Civil Rights and voting bills, and above all blocking anti-lynching bills that we haven't been able to pass as far back as the 1920s. Christ, Rand Paul filibustered against an anti-lynching bill just last year!

We ought to have seen an end to the filibuster the minute the Democrats gained control this February 2021... and they didn't because the likes of Joe Manchin (WV) and Krysten Sinema (AZ) still think there's some personal value to be had in stopping our nation's legislative body from passing meaningful reforms and much-needed budget deals.

Because of that cowardice in the party ranks, the Senate doesn't belong the Democratic majority: It belongs still to that goddamned obstructionist Mitch McConnell. And because of all that, our nation is still screwed.

Just kill the filibuster, Democrats. SAVE THE DEMOCRACY YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO REPRESENT.

Sunday, May 23, 2021

The SNL Cast of the trump Years Did It Their Way

I've written before about Saturday Night Live, a long-running weekly skit / music show and its' impact on our nation's cultural norms and political views.

It's a show that has the occasional bad night, due to a weak guest host - usually a hot marquee name coming off a blockbuster hit movie or TV show that turns out to be too one-note or bad at comedic timing - or just a bad time of current events where there's not much to make mockery of. It's been running for a loooooong time, which has brought up accusations that the show is outdated, out-of-touch, unnecessary... usually by people who wonder why Adam Sandler or Bill Murray still aren't on the show.

And yet, the show can catch a moment - a pitch-perfect skit, or jumping atop a political moment deserving of a sledgehammer blow - and put out amazing nights of comedy AND political commentary. The 2017 show with Kristen Stewart - with Melissa McCarthy cameoing as an enraged Sean Spicer - for example is arguably one of the greatest nights SNL ever had, and I will fight you over that if I have to.

Why I am bringing this up now is that last night with Anya Taylor-Joy was the finale for the 2020-21 season, where a lot of emphasis was placed on the main cast in various stages of saying their farewells... not just for the year but maybe for good as SNL Players:


If you hadn't noticed, SNL goes through a rotation of core cast members - due to most acting contracts set between three to five years - which adds to the uneven nature of the show's history (some cast groups like the original Not-Ready guys from 1975-1979 or the late 80s-early 90s were epic crews that loom large over all the ones who follow them). You might remember them through the actors/actresses who were/are clearly the "glue" character-types keeping up with the A-list caliber types holding everyone's attention (Eddie Murphy in the early 80s, although his fellow castmates of that era weren't slouches and still occasionally annoyed how Eddie sucked up all the attention and glory). 

For the current tenure, the main Players were inarguably Kate McKinnon, Cecily Strong, Aidy Bryant, and Kenan Thompson (who had honestly been there so long he's a core player to three different eras). That the four of them stood together for the Cold Open as seen above on that YouTube clip signals big time that those four are ready to move on.

Granted, this comes up EVERY season finale - the OMG online chatter of who's gonna stay and who's gonna move on to their own TV show or three-movie contract with Paramount - but this year it seems like it might finally happen with the core crew... because in the Real World, things have finally changed.

In that I mean, trump is out of office.

If we go back to the craziness of the 2015-2016 SNL Season (Number 42, oh ye Gods Douglas Adams knew!) the show's mandate to skewer current events went into hyperdrive (no, worse, LUDICROUS SPEED) as the trump campaign hurtled our nation (no, the entire world) down the Darkest Timeline ("Stop me before I subreference again!" - Dennis Miller before he went mad). The SNL cast was game enough to try and document all of the atrocities that the 2016 election year was throwing at us, save for the moment when the show's producers decided to let trump himself host an episode - a moment the show has been apologizing for ever since - but when the Electoral College results meant goddamned donald trump was going to the White House everything suddenly imploded.


McKinnon's Cold Open tribute to Leonard Cohen - who had died earlier that week - wasn't just a memorial to a passing musician, it was a funeral dirge for half of a nation - and for most of the planet - sideswiped by an unwanted and fear-driven "victory" for one of the worst human beings in modern history. McKinnon was doing it dressed as Hillary Clinton - whom she had effectively parodied on the show - but this time was all serious and reflective, realizing that we were all going into at least four years' worth of madness, corruption, and anger. "I'm not giving up, and neither should you," McKinnon said - as herself as much as faux-Hillary - and that's pretty much what she did.

And so for four years, SNL has skewered, mocked, belittled the trump regime with a darker, more strident tone than any previous Presidential era that preceded this. Saturday Night - notoriously Liberal most often, at best Center-Left - had been hard on Presidents - even Liberal-leaning ones like Carter, Clinton, and Obama - from time to time, but often displayed a side of empathy that allowed for pathos to underline their criticisms of the Commander-in-Chiefs. Dana Carvey's turn as Bush the Elder is a perfect example of that empathic display. Not so with trump, Loser of the Popular Vote, whose ignorant, greedy, bullying habits were on full display every time guest-star Alec Baldwin had to put on the wig and fake nose (Baldwin himself was begging by 2017 (!) to stop playing him because even pretending to be trump was soul-draining).

For four years, roughly the same SNL crew had to carry the psyche of a battered United States through this Darkest Timeline, dreading every possibility that somehow trump and the Republicans could make it worse (see the following YouTube clip):


There have been notable departures - Leslie Jones in particular left in 2019 - but it felt as though most of the cast who came in at the turn of the decade were sticking around longer than expected because in some respects the job - Surviving trump - hadn't been finished.

And then the COVID-19 Pandemic hit. All of sudden, everything was put on hold. Oh, the show kept running - using home recordings, Zoom chats, long-distance connections - but as the world went into lockdown so too did SNL, reflecting the anxiety, sorrow, and yearning we all carried with us through 2020 to now.


There were a lot of tears watching this one because it felt like this was a farewell episode for too many of the cast at the end of Season 45:


It was actually a surprise that the entire 2019-2020 cast returned for this season. Again, probably due to the sense of "unfinished business." But now it's Biden in the White House, the vaccination of America has half the nation safe to unwind again, and there's this tiny sliver of relief letting us all know we can go back into the world now. So now, we're finally going to say farewell.

I'm mentioning how emotional a farewell can be to watch SNL cast members go, especially for the eras you can just tell are going to end, mostly because these actors - and often the characters they portray - become beloved during their tenures.

But this one - if this is indeed the farewell for many of the Players who kept us laughing and crying since 2016 - is going to hit harder than before.

These Players were the comedians and performers who did their best to keep most everyone else sane during the craziest years of our lives. The combination of trumpian madness and pandemic anxiety has hit a lot of us hard emotionally. Watching SNL was like trauma therapy, helping us through crisis after crisis as we crawled into 2020-21 and onto the shores of a calmer, happier future... 

(Michael Gaetz does something ridiculous and criminal off-stage)

OH GODDAMMIT, COLIN JOST GET BACK OVER HERE YOU'RE GONNA NEED TO MAKE MORE JOKES ABOUT HOW YOU LOOK LIKE GAETZ.

Alas, he may be gone next year (unless they have him do a cameo Cold Open standing in a jail cell whining "Attica! Attica!" with Kate McKinnon as a jailed Rudy asking "You talking about the prison?" with Jost/Gaetz replying back "Nah, it's this high schooler I was gonna hook up with for the Halloween dance!")

To this crew, I salute you: You did it your way.


Wednesday, May 19, 2021

The Point of Investigating The Insurrection of January 6

It's been a fight for the past few months, but the House finally voted on setting up a "bipartisan" investigative committee into the planning and events of the trump-pushed insurrection back on January 6, 2021 when trump inciting his crowd of followers to storm the Capitol and stop Congress from confirming the Electoral Vote in favor of Joe Biden.

The vote was mostly partisan (35 Republicans including the co-signer of the deal John Katko (R NY) did vote for it) for obvious reasons: It looks bad for trump and will look bad for the Congressional Republicans caught between defending the guy who nearly got them killed. In particular it could cause problems for Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (via Cameron Peters at Vox): 

On Sunday, a second House Republican suggested that, if a congressional commission examining the January 6 attack on the US Capitol materializes, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) could soon receive a subpoena to testify.

Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) joined former Republican House conference chair Liz Cheney (R-WY), who was ousted from that job Wednesday, in suggesting that a subpoena could be on the table for McCarthy, telling CNN’s Dana Bash on State of the Union that “I would suspect Kevin would be subpoenaed...”

As of Friday, when the leaders of the House Homeland Security Committee announced a bipartisan agreement on its formation, that commission looks closer than ever — much to McCarthy’s potential discomfort, should he be called to testify.

If McCarthy testifies either voluntarily or under subpoena as part of the commission’s investigation, he could face the prospect of bridging the rather large gap between Trump — who has shown no inclination to relinquish his grasp on the Republican Party — and the truth of what happened on January 6.

As CNN and other outlets have reported previously — and pro-impeachment Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA) confirmed in a statement in February — McCarthy spoke with Trump while the riots were still ongoing and pleaded with Trump to call his supporters off.

According to Herrera Beutler, Trump “initially repeated the falsehood that it was antifa (Note: shorthand for "Anti-Fascist / Black Lives Matter" protesters) that had breached the Capitol” on the call with McCarthy.

Subsequently, Herrera Beutler said in her February statement, “McCarthy refuted that and told the president that these were Trump supporters. That’s when, according to McCarthy, the president said: ‘Well, Kevin, I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are...’”

It's that kind of evidence that if confirmed by committee would establish trump's refusal at the very least to take the riot seriously, which could lead to charges of negligence on the then-President Loser of the Popular Vote (especially from Capitol Police who survived that day and the family members of those who died). Any additional evidence confirming how trump egged that mob into action against Congress could lead to charges of insurrection (the Impeachment on that matter should not count as Double Jeopardy as impeaching is a political process not a criminal one).

These are things the Republican leadership do not want happening, because trump still has his mob at his beck and call and if becomes clear he's getting handcuffed over this he will incite that mob again, and again against fellow Republicans who won't bow to him. (For God's sake, that January 6 mob was stoked to kill trump's own Veep!)

As of now, with the vote done in the House it moves to the Senate where the damned Cloture/Filibuster rules are in effect, meaning either 10 Republicans have to agree to the committee (Mitch is opposing it so it's unlikely those ten will be found) or the Democrats have to make a motion to kill the Filibuster rule altogether (which is unlikely because Senators Manchin and Sinema still think the Filibuster is a cool thing). There's a good chance this committee won't get the green light anyway.

As others would note, and I would agree, if the committee does get confirmed it would be mostly for show. The Democrats will take it seriously but the Republicans will block and obstruct any meaningful attempts to present the facts of what happened that January 6. Anything the committee finds will get ignored by the Far Right media and any results - outside of actual arrests of trump and his inner circle -  would be laughed off. Even having Republicans on it to make it seem bipartisan won't help that illusion with anybody on the Far Right: It may even not be enough to convince the so-called arbiters of the Beltway Media of its legitimacy because their grand Narrative may conflict with the finds.

The committee only would have the merit of documenting the atrocities for the public who still need to know what happened... and for future history, as long as it aids rather than blocks the ongoing criminal investigations that have already arrested a sizable number of rioters - a great place to keep track is with Emptywheel - and the committee can add to the already-overwhelming proof that insurrection happened. It all becomes a question of if (sadly not when) the people truly responsible for the violence that day (trump trump and more trump) gets held accountable. 

Either way: Here's hoping the New York criminal investigations in trump - oh, that's another story this week - get the handcuffs on trump and his corrupt kin even faster than this committee.



Monday, May 17, 2021

Revive the Mueller Findings. Charge Barr AND trump with Obstruction

It's been awhile since I wrote about the Mueller Report. It's been enough time for me to look back and kick myself for putting too much hope into what the investigations into trump's ties to Russia during the 2016 campaign would lead to. 

I had hoped by now we'd see harder sanctions against Putin for his meddling, more laws making it harder for foreign powers to intervene in elections, stuff like that. I don't think I've seen much activity from either the Biden administration or from Congress on those fronts.

I had hoped that Congress would have acted on Mueller's recommendations, on the evidence he found that trump obstructed the investigation at least five times, to impeach trump and have that on record. Granted, the Republican-led Senate back then would have given trump a pass like they did on the two Impeachment trials trump DID face, but for some reason Pelosi's Democratic House refused to go there. Instead, they impeached trump on other acts of misconduct he did in office, such as extorting Ukraine to interfere with the 2020 elections using a faked "investigation" into Joe Biden's son Hunter; and impeached trump for inciting insurrection when Congress tried to confirm the Electoral College votes on January 6th.

I understood back in 2019 when the Mueller Report was released that then-Attorney General Barr would redact and underplay the findings as much as possible: That Barr would weaken the impact of Mueller's work to spare his Overlord trump as much as the twisted Justice Department could allow. As a result, whatever value that Report had for America and for our legal system got diminished and buried.

Until earlier this May, when one of the judges still overseeing the legal handlings of Mueller's prosecutions tore Bill Barr a few holes and demanded an accounting (via Michael S Schmidt for the New York Times):

Judge Amy Berman Jackson of the United States District Court in Washington said in a ruling late Monday that the Justice Department's obfuscation appeared to be part of a pattern in which top officials like Mr. Barr were untruthful to Congress and the public about the investigation.

The department had argued that the memo was exempt from public records laws because it consisted of private advice from lawyers whom Mr. Barr had relied on to make the call on prosecuting Mr. Trump. But Judge Jackson, who was appointed by President Barack Obama in 2011, ruled that the memo contained strategic advice, and that Mr. Barr and his aides already understood what his decision would be...

She also singled out Mr. Barr for how he had spun the investigation's findings in a letter summarizing the 448-page report before it was released, which allowed Mr. Trump to claim he had been exonerated.

''The attorney general's characterization of what he'd hardly had time to skim, much less study closely, prompted an immediate reaction, as politicians and pundits took to their microphones and Twitter feeds to decry what they feared was an attempt to hide the ball,'' Judge Jackson wrote...

Essentially, Jackson's ruling - obstensibly to force the Justice Department to release the internal memos that covered Barr's actions - makes the case that Barr was covering for trump, had already made the legal decision to find in favor of trump, and was going out of his way to ensure justice would not prevail in this matter.

I'm not a lawyer, but to me that sounds a lot like Barr obstructed justice to protect trump from HIS obstruction charges.

We have a new President in Joe Biden. We have a new Attorney General in Merrick Garland.

We should have time on the clock for any and all Obstruction of Justice charges to get issued against William Barr and against donald trump.

This is an Accountability Moment that MUST be answered. Otherwise we risk another round of criminal acts by a corrupt Republican President without any means to stop him.

DAMMIT. Justice demands it. HISTORY requires it.



Friday, May 14, 2021

Let The Rock Cry Out to Gaetz, No Hiding Place

Keeping up with the other Republican scandal that broke open back in March, involving Matt Gaetz and his criminal buddies here in the Sunshine State, today the Orlando Sentinel is reporting that Joel Greenberg will plead out to six charges in federal court this Monday, setting up the case against Gaetz (and possibly others in his circle of local powerbros) covering drugs, payoffs to women, and sex with at least one underaged teen (story by Monivette Corderio, Jeff Weiner, Jason Garcia, Martin E Comas, and Annie Martin):

Days before he was first arrested for stalking a political rival (wait what), Joel Greenberg was in the midst of preparing a fraudulent application for a COVID-19 relief loan (wait what), with the help of a government employee he’d later bribe (you gotta be kidding me). If there was any doubt of his untoward intentions for the aid funds, Greenberg erased it with a text message.

“How quickly can I blow it all on p-ssy?” he asked...

This was the opening lede, people!

Greenberg, Seminole County’s disgraced former tax collector, will plead guilty to six federal crimes — including sex trafficking of a child — in a deal that calls for him to cooperate with federal investigators in the “investigation and prosecution of other persons,” according to an agreement released Friday.

The 86-page document laid bare the remarkable brazenness of Greenberg’s behavior. On his first day in elected office, he sought to cover up a federal crime he’d committed years earlier. He spent hundreds of thousands of tax office dollars on Bitcoin — then borrowed from family to pay it back. He spent thousands on more drugs and sex — including with a 17-year-old girl...

This guy was so bent I doubt he was ever straight.

In addition to trafficking, Greenberg will plead to charges of identity theft, stalking, wire fraud and conspiracy to bribe a public official. Prior to striking a deal, he was facing 33 federal charges. Prosecutors will drop the other 27 counts filed against him...

Just try to remember this, peeps: Greenberg is pleading to the bare minimum the prosecutors wanted to stick to his resume. In most cases to get a plea deal to testify, they'll break it down to one half-decent felony to show the subject will still face some level of accountability, while making sure they show enough mercy to encourage clean testimony. They had so much shit on Greenberg that they HAD to keep these six charges on him and he still had no room to beg for more leniency. The sex offender charge is something that is going to wrap about Greenberg like an albatross for the rest of his days, and this is the lightest they're going to go on him.

All because Greenberg can give the feds even bigger fish to fry. Matt Gaetz as U.S. Representative is a high-profile person, and if even a tenth of the stories coming out about him are provable he's a high-profile hypocritical scuzbucket due to succumb to his karmic fate. And Gaetz is not alone: Greenberg has ties to a lot of other Florida officials involving a number of financial criminal favors on top of the sex trafficking that likely went on within that political clique.

Fellow Floridian Betty Cracker at Balloon Juice is enjoying the schadenfreude ("Let there be perp walks!"):

Greenberg is pleading guilty to some mighty serious charges, and one hopes he does hard time for those crimes regardless of his level of cooperation. He sounds like a psychopath who should be off the streets for public safety reasons. But here’s hoping he’s got tons of evidence that can help the feds nail Gaetz — and who knows, maybe take down some other prominent Republican sleazebags at the same time.

There are two reasons to believe Greenberg does have a ton of dirt on Gaetz and possibly others. Number one, Greenberg seems pretty fucking stupid. Case in point: he left electronic trails and physical evidence all over the place when he was paying “escorts,” attempting to frame political rivals for crimes he himself committed, abusing power, committing fraud, etc.

The dumb motherfucker actually managed to set a county building on fire by overheating servers purchased with public funds to launder bitcoin money from his side hustle. Einstein he is not!

The second reason to believe Greenberg may have the goods is that, like many criminals, Greenberg was apparently super-paranoid about being crossed. The stories about him trying to get a pardon from Trump via Roger Stone included the detail that Greenberg took screenshots of conversations with Stone on an encrypted messaging app Stone used expressly to avoid electronic trails...

We should notice this particular trend of the same scuzbags - Hello again, Roger! - who keep popping up in these Republican scandals. They're all so interlinked with each other they might as well wear matching sports jackets.

If we look at how this will affect Gaetz, it all depends on what Greenberg can bring to the table. As Betty notes, Greenberg left a lot of evidence in his wake, so much so that the federal investigators probably have enough of a case to arrest Gaetz right after his cohort pleads out on Monday. The only reason to have Greenberg testify is due to how legal cases are presented in our system: It helps to have actual eyewitnesses corroborate the documentation and blow down whatever legal defense that Gaetz's lawyers are bound to argue.

How much of this affects the state-level Republicans depends on how much destruction Gaetz will attempt to save his own hide when it's his turn before a judge and jury. It depends on how much he's on the hook for and how willing he'll be to turn state's evidence against his fratbro buddies who were enjoying the same hookers-and-blow parties he threw right up until the damn bill came due.

Popcorn GIFs, anyone?



Monday, May 10, 2021

They're Taking an Awful Big Risk

The Republicans are doubling down on trump, as they push trump's Big Lie of the 2020 election being "stolen" and as they exile any Republican official who dares defy that Narrative.

But is that really a good idea?

Consider:

Any one of these things under normal political conditions would be a death-knell for the political candidate. Then again, trump has made it a habit of defying the norms and the many ways of crashing due to political gravity.

But the odds can't keep favoring him. trump is too toxic and prone to self-destruction: we've seen that already.

For the Republicans to keep their faith in such a toxic person highlights their party's own toxic nature. This is how far they've sunk. For the Republican Party since 2015 and well into the 2020s, it's been and it's going to be nothing but trumps all the way down. 


Friday, May 07, 2021

The Big Lie And the One Truth (w/ Update)

(Update: Many thanks again to Batocchio for adding me to Crooks&Liars' Mike's Blog Round Up! As always, you're invited to leave a comment and visit the rest of the blog. Today (Wed. May 12) is looking like it's going to be an insane day...)

So the Republican downward spiral seems to be gaining speed. Via Zach Beauchamp at Vox

Remaining in the GOP’s good graces requires that elected officials either actively embrace lies about 2020 or, at very least, refuse to condemn them. As a result, 2020 conspiracy theories are exerting a dominant influence on the party — shaping both legislation and the base’s worldview...

From top to bottom, the GOP has been conquered by the Big Lie (note: trump claiming the 2020 results were stolen and that he won both the Popular Vote and the Electoral College). Much as North Korean state press proclaims that Kim Jong Il invented the hamburger, Republicans must now proclaim that was something fishy about Joe Biden’s victory...

Trump’s pronouncements, endorsed and spread by a number of prominent Republicans, radicalize the base — undermining faith in democracy itself. Republicans inclined to challenge this view realize they’re out of step with the party and mostly stay quiet; those that do speak up publicly, like Cheney or Raffensperger, get marginalized or stripped of their power. This weakens the constituency to challenge any future lies from Trump and other like-minded Republicans.

It’s a one-way ratchet, where a faction of the GOP elite led by Trump pushes the party further and further down an anti-democratic road. And there’s no obvious way to stop it...

What is happening now is that the Republican Party and all of its apparatus - not just the elected officials but the party handlers and above all their media punditry allies at Fox Not-News and elsewhere - are stuck defending an incredibly Big yet easily-disprovable Lie

They got stuck partly because they got stuck with a Big Lying Bullshitter in trump placing himself at the head of their table. trump came in lying on Day One, proclaiming himself the most popular and most beloved even at the emptiest Inauguration in memory, and forced not only his underlings to shill that lie but got the rest of the GOP to either buy in or stay silent (which re-enforced the lie's power).

I said it before: Once you become trump's Bitch you will ALWAYS be trump's Bitch. Once he gets you lying for him to prove your worth, he will make you lie even more with even flimsier bullshit until your reputation is worthless.

But this isn't entirely trump's fault the Republican Party has caught itself trapped defending an indefensible Big Lie.

The Republicans are stuck with the Big Lie because it happens to fit this One Truth:

The Republican Party cannot and will not share power with a Democratic Party they view as un-American and thus illegitimate.

Somewhere back in time - you can argue happening between the rise of the conservative Southern Strategy in the late 1960s or the rise of Saint Ronnie in the 1980s or the corruption of Newt's Contract On America in the 1990s - the Republican Party bought into the idea that only they were true God-fearing God-chosen Gun-worshiping patriots. (Letting the Far Right Christian forces take control of the Party had a lot to do with that mindset winning out)

The ongoing slander of accusing liberal Democrats of being Socialists or Communists or both from the 1940s grew like a cancer into the belief - even as Socialism faded and Communism collapsed in the 1990s - that Democrats are destructive and anti-American. It doesn't help that a lot of liberalism brought Blacks and Jews (and slowly among more Women) in large numbers into the Democratic ranks to where the Republican paranoia fell even more into racism, sexism, and anti-Semitism.

All of that fuels the fear and anger and paranoia of not only the Republican voting base but also a Republican leadership that has driven out any moderating voices and replaced them with more rabid and aggressive haters. It's gotten harder and harder for the GOP to even reconsider its world-view against Democrats because it keeps adding more members to their ranks who will never change their hatred of the Dreaded Other Democrats.

This Republican Truth - Democrats Should Never Hold Power That Rightfully Belongs To Us - fits easily into trump's Big Lie - Democrats Stole My God-Given Rightful Power - and now those two parts have fused into one.

But the Republicans have a problem. Where their One Truth was merely a world-view that did not expose itself to self-destructive implosion (Republicans could keep believing it and still function rationally in polite society), the Big Lie is a direct attack on the Real World that sooner rather than later is going to hit the Brick Wall of Unbreakable Facts. The Big Lie compels trump's believers into direct action - SEE the January 6th Insurrection - and these actions have legal consequences where the Big Lie has not and cannot prevail.

The Republicans are betting on their Big Lie carrying them forward into the future. But it's a Big Lie stuck in the past of a failed 2020 election, pushed constantly by a Big Liar in trump who cannot avoid his impending fate either in civil or criminal courts.

The Republicans' One Truth has become their Big Lie.

It's just a question now of when they pay for that lie, because it's too big to avoid.

Wednesday, May 05, 2021

Brief Thought About Cinco De Mayo This 2021

Look, I understand it's CINCO DE MAYO, the annual day of EATING ALL THE TACOS and DRINKING ALL THE MARGARITAS.

I understand we're slowly coming out of a year-long pandemic that had kept a lot of us from restaurants and bars that would be serving us those tacos and margaritas.

I know that a lot of us have gotten our vaccinations, that a lot of us can risk going out again to restaurants as long as we maintained some respectable distances and kept wearing the masks.

Sad thing is, when I went to my local Mexican restaurant to pick-up a Carryout - I am NOT going to sit in a restaurant until we are damn certain COVID-19 has been contained/managed - I ran into a full parking lot, with 30 people gathered at the front door ignoring every social-distance rule and most of them not wearing masks, and when I went inside to get my meal it was worse: tables packed back to back with every seat filled. I may have only been inside for less than five minutes to get my meal, but my anxiety levels were through the roof.

What. The. Bleep.

To hell with DeSantis and the other deniers saying it's safe - or worse, the ones who keep claiming COVID is a hoax - they are overlooking the reality that COVID-19 is STILL out there, it's still a risk, and Florida alone is one of the higher-risk states (we're ranked 9th right now) thanks to a less-than-average vaccination effort

I know people want to go back to normal. I know you want to go out to bars and night-life and stuff. I know you want the ambience again of crowded places and happy noises of fellow diners.

But Christ, Florida. We're not there yet.

Are we going to have another spike of COVID by next week?!

This is not what General Zaragoza fought for, people. /sigh

Tuesday, May 04, 2021

Republican Party Won't Truly Die. It'll Just Keep Purging

So in the moment right now, the Republican Party has a bit of drama with Liz Cheney - Dick's kid who bought her way into a Congressional seat in Wyoming - trying to carve out a spot as The Voice Of Reason in a party that's long gone batshit insane. Per Mistermix at Balloon Juice

I’ve said it before, but Cheney is in a weak position at home and in Congress. She didn’t have the political backing to run for the Senate seat vacated by Mike Enzi — instead, the absolutely terrible Cynthia Lummis won it. The fact that Cheney didn’t even try shows how little pull she has in Wyoming, despite her name. Her dad has been out of the state for 30 years, and she’s a carpetbagger herself in a state where almost every pickup has a “native” bumper sticker. My guess is that another Republican like Lummis, who voted against impeachment and against certifying the election, will give Liz a run for her money in the 2022 primary. Losing her job as conference chair is just the beginning...

Cheney's leadership position with the House Republicans is pretty much taken from her, even with all the whispered rumors that a sizable number of fellow Republicans agree with her that trump's Big Lie of a stolen election will wreck the Republican Party's reputation (if not their party's ability to gerrymander and suppress votes to stay in power anyway).

But to anyone (like Beltway pundit Jennifer Rubin) thinking that Liz Cheney - or Mitt Romney, or Joe "What Child Support" Walsh, or David Jolly - can become a beacon of a Third Party to rise up and save True Conservatism from themselves, forget it. I've said it before: There is no GOP Savior coming to rescue a party that's been consumed by rage and lies for the last three decades.

What we're getting is this ongoing fantasy, this wish fulfillment, among the Far Right pols and pundits desirous for The Return Of The Reagan Heir: the Prince That Was Promised. We're talking about a set of people pining for the days when it was 1985: when Reagan stomped the hell out of Mondale and his dirty hippie librul army of Electoral College no-shows, Bipartisanship meant Democrats paid for the bar tabs, Capitalism was ascendant, Soviets were getting blown up in Afghanistan, Wall Street was peaking, Grenada was pacified, MTV gave us endless loops of "Money For Nothing", and it was safe for decent honest hard-working folk to openly declare they were proud to be Republicans Americans.

These pundits and pols still don't get it: that was all an illusion...

When the modern Republican Party is pining for a Savior, they're really pining for a candidate who can be this Passive-Positive person, someone likable and pleasing to the audience. Which was why a lot of pundits kept falling in love with these photogenic types like Marco Rubio or Scott Walker. But that person doesn't exist anymore. And for one very good reason.

The Republican Party doesn't HAVE anyone anymore who is genuinely likable or congenial. The Far Right has driven everyone out who can be open-minded and receptive and appealing on a personal level. They've created an environment within their party ranks that every member HAS to support a dogmatic agenda - restrict or kill a federal government they view as "bad" - that can only be backed by Active-Negative types of dour and sour politicians. That type of agenda can only attract that type of candidate, no matter how hard they try to fake empathy.

This is it, Republicans. This is it, Bill Kristol and Erick Erickson and David Brooks and others raging against the oncoming storm that is Trump. No more lies, no more illusions. The reason you're getting Trump as your banner-carrier is because all your efforts the last 30 years to build a new Reagan has instead built a toxic stew of racism, sexism, anti-Establishment anarchy, and failure of leadership within your own ranks...

I am not seeing anything now that changes my mind. The current party leadership still kowtows and worships at the foot of the man who staged an insurrection that almost got themselves killed. Minority Leader McCarthy isn't leading anything but a mob of wingnuts who spew every QAnon conspiracy at the TV cameras any chance they get.

This is not a Republican Party that is in the mood to change its mind. They have spent the last thirty years shilling a Narrative that Democrats are Socialist-Commie criminals worse than child molesters (even when those molesters are other Republicans), and they're so dug into that world-view they dare not admit how much of a lie that is. They've become so calcified in their political ideology that they don't even need to post a party platform to campaign on anymore.

There is no GOP Savior coming to save them because there's nothing left of the Republican Party to save.

If there is any real, honest way for the Republican Party to regroup and rethink itself, it has to happen through straight-up implosion: Enough of the Party elected officials across the board giving up on the madness and walking away. Much in the same way the Whigs of the 1850s fell apart when their party collapsed over their failures to combat the slavery issues made worse by the passage of the Fugitive Slave Act.

Problem with that scenario is that any disaffected Republican leaders in this situation will have nowhere else TO go. There is no standing Third Party of repute - sorry, Libertarians, you don't count - where these ex-GOP apostates can regroup. These ex-Republicans would have to form a new party by scratch, and I've blogged before about how hard that can be

The biggest issue would be money: the Sensible GOP Faction - they'll need to come up with a name if they do split off - are going to need a massive bankroll to get on state-level ballots and set up campaigns. While these ex-parrots ex-Republicans can reach out to corporations and rich folk to help out, there's no guarantee enough of them will abandon the existing Republican Party and risk it all on a brand-new Third Party. How many deep-pocket SuperPACs support the fearmongering against minorities, feminists, and immigrants? Too many, alas...

A lot also depends on how this anti-trump GOP Savior Party identifies itself: Are they going to dismiss a lot of the Culture War hysteria, the racism and sexism that has been the meat-and-potatoes of the modern Republican Party? They could form themselves as a pro-business faction and denounce the wingnuttia that has consumed the Republican base... but would enough voters swing away from that madness? When you have 70 percent of the existing GOP base believing trump's Big Lie that the 2020 election was stolen, there's a good bet your new anti-trump party isn't getting that 70 percent bloc and you'd be damn lucky even to get the 30 percent that still live in the Real World.

In the end, like I keep saying, there IS NO Savior coming to rescue the Republican Party from itself.

All we're going to get is a fresh new cycle of purges, similar to the RINO hunts of the 1990s that began the party's descent into the madness we see today.

It will only be a purge of any elected officials who oppose the Far Right Narrative. The Republican voters themselves won't get purged, with every sign the base will gleefully stay with a party that plays to their fears and nothing else.

Gods help us. Always. 

Sunday, May 02, 2021

Telling Me I Got to Beware

What a field day for the Heat/
A thousand people in the street/
Singing songs and a-carryin' signs/
Mostly say "Hooray for our side"...

-- Buffalo Springfield, "For What It's Worth"


Let me throw up a couple of links here, first from Evan Donovan with WFLA back in April:

Gov. Ron DeSantis signed HB 1 at a 10 a.m. press conference with Florida lawmakers and law enforcement officials at the Polk County Sheriff’s Office’s headquarters in Winter Haven. He did not take questions after the signing.

The law went into effect immediately.

The legislation, nicknamed the “anti-riot bill,” was first filed in the Florida House of Representatives in early January, and passed the Senate on Thursday evening.

The bill, which covers 61 pages, makes several changes to Florida criminal and administrative law, and will:

Make it more difficult for cities and counties to reduce funding for law enforcement, allowing local elected officials to challenge those budget decisions, and giving the state power to approve or amend the local budget

Allow those local governments to be sued if they fail to stop a riot

Define “riot” as a violent public disturbance involving 3 or more people acting with common intent resulting in injury to others, damage to property, or the imminent danger of injury or damage

Enhance penalties for people who commit crimes during a riot

Create a new second-degree felony called an “aggravated riot,” which occurs when the riot has more than 25 participants, causes great bodily harm or more than $5,000 in property damage, uses or threatens to use a deadly weapon, or blocks roadways by force or threat of force...

If you don't see the horror of any of that, try to imagine for example hanging out in a group of three people walking down the street minding your own business until a cop car pulls up and the officers accuse your little group of "acting with imminent intent to cause injury or damage." It'd be your word against the cops, which is too bad for you because you're getting tasered, handcuffed, jailed, and/or shot for it.

Imagine you're a city manager who suddenly has to deal with a street protest because a local cop shot an unarmed Black kid. Now you fear your city getting sued by your business owners even if a window gets busted, so you're pushing your law enforcement to crack down harder than ever to show you've done your job. There's no carrot here, only the stick swung by state Republicans to make sure no city takes the "soft power" approach of resolving a protest.

This isn't even the worst of it. Here's additional details from Steven LeMongello and Gray Rohrer with the Orlando Sentinel:

But opponents say it would make it easier for law enforcement to charge organizers and anyone involved in a protest, even if they had not engaged in any violence.

“The problem with this bill is that the language is so overbroad and vague ... that it captures anybody who is peacefully protesting at a protest that turns violent through no fault of their own,” said Kara Gross, the legislative director at ACLU Florida. “Those individuals who do not engage in any violent conduct under this bill can be arrested and charged with a third-degree felony and face up to five years in prison and loss of voting rights. The whole point of this is to instill fear in Floridians...”

The law, which goes into effect immediately, grants civil legal immunity to people who drive through protesters blocking a road, which Democrats argued might have protected the white nationalist who ran over and killed counter-protester Heather Heyer during the Charlottesville tumult in 2017. It also makes blocking a highway a felony offense...

Hitting protesters with cars is a common tactic for the White Power wingnuts who show up to counter-protest and get their scalps. Florida just gave them all a goddamn hunting license.

So not only are DeSantis and Florida Republicans making it easier to arrest any group of minorities under any circumstances even when there's no riot actually happening, the sadists are going to make it easier for trump-worshipping wingnuts to commit Vehicular Manslaughter if they "fear" three people walking across the street intersection are rioting. This is akin to Stand Your Ground, which is still a terrible law. Only now you can use your goddamned coal roller truck to do so.

/headdesk

None of this is about the safety of the general public. ALL of this is geared towards stomping on the powerless who have only public protests as a means to address problems and demands that our governments do something to fix things.

This is a straight-up attack on the First AmendmentCongress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

DeSantis claims this is about shutting down violent riots. It's not. This is about turning every protest especially the peaceful ones into a riot so he and his law enforcement buddies can throw everybody into jail.

Republicans don't want to hear from you if you got a problem. Florida Republicans don't think any protest is a peaceful assembly (unless it's their own side staging an insurrection in trump's unholy name). These godless wingnuts want to shut down the freedom of speech of those who have every reason to speak out against injustice.

There is nothing legal in these anti-riot laws. Because these laws turn everything into a riot in the Police State's point of view.

Gods help us.

Saturday, May 01, 2021

Biden Going Big

As we go past the official "First 100 Days" of a Biden Presidency, the common refrain in the Beltway media is how "Biden is going big" in terms of pushing an aggressive economic agenda rivalling the New Deal for ambition and scope.

To Elia Nilsen at Vox.com

The Biden administration’s theory of policy so far is to go big. The same goes for its politics.

Taken together, President Joe Biden’s $2.25 trillion American Jobs Plan and newly introduced $1.8 trillion American Families Plan come out to slightly over $4 trillion in proposed new spending. It’s an enormous investment in American job creation; the last bipartisan infrastructure bill Congress passed in 2015 clocked in at about $305 billion — about one-thirteenth the size of Biden’s proposed plan. And Obama’s $800 billion stimulus plan of 2009 was about one-fifth of Biden’s plan, not even taking into account the $1.9 trillion in Covid-19 relief that has already been signed into law.

That sheer amount of proposed federal funding is meant to do a lot of things, but the main goal is to get as many jobs to as many people in as many voter constituencies as possible. Under Biden’s plan, infrastructure no longer calls to mind images of white men in hard hats; it includes working mothers, home health aides who care for the nation’s elderly, and workers of color across the nation. Women and people of color were crucial to Biden’s presidential win, and they are also crucial elements in his jobs plan...

To EJ Dionne at the Washington Post (watch out for paywall) Biden is harking back to the Democratic glory days of FDR and LBJ:

President Biden on Wednesday night went big, populist, folksy, hopeful, urgent — and bipartisan and partisan at the same time.

Addressing a pandemic-reduced gathering of lawmakers at the Capitol, Biden proposed a sweeping program of change that would create four more years of free schooling, expand child care and family leave, and attempt to beat back climate change through large infrastructure investments...

Biden welcomed the help of Republicans again and again, but he took clear aim at their favored economic doctrines. “My fellow Americans, trickle-down economics has never worked,” he declared. “It’s time to grow the economy from the bottom up and middle-out.”

And he took a victory lap on progress against covid-19, proclaiming that widespread vaccinations were offering “a dose of hope.”

This address wasn’t exactly the New Deal or the Great Society, but it was equally ambitious. Biden, reassuringly unradical with his plain, avuncular demeanor, is bidding to create a new common sense rooted in political lessons that Democrats have learned the hard way...

Going big - pushing for ambitious national programs on scale the United States hasn't seen since the 1960s - is more than just pushing back against the economic malaise we find ourselves in thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic: This is basically pushback against the last 40 years of the Far Right's "glorious" Pax Reaganica, where Big Government was "evil", deficits from massive tax cuts starved our public sector into a broken mess, and the rich got richer while the rest of us suffered.

This is Biden playing not only to the national audience - offering them a way out of low wages and little hope - but playing to a liberal and Progressive base eager to change the direction of the nation away from massive inequality the Far Right has been creating.  

The good news for Biden and the Democrats is how well the public is responding to these proposals. Back to Nilsen at Vox:

A range of polling shows that Biden’s expansive view of what counts as infrastructure has fairly broad support among the American public.

A recent NBC News poll found that 59 percent of respondents supported Biden’s American Jobs Plan. A recent Vox and Data for Progress poll found that 68 percent of likely voters support the plan. And a Monmouth University poll released Monday found 68 percent of respondents supported Biden’s infrastructure bill, with another 64 percent supportive of the ideas in Biden’s American Families Plan, which aims to make child care, higher education, and health care more affordable.

As Republicans and Democrats argue over the semantics of what constitutes “infrastructure,” Monmouth polling director Patrick Murray told Vox that Biden’s broad brush does not appear to be turning off voters so far.

For instance, Vox and Data for Progress polling found that a majority of likely voters of all parties supported Biden’s proposal of putting $400 billion into bringing down the costs of long-term care: 88 percent of Democrats, 72 percent of independents, and 55 percent of Republicans support the idea. And recent polling from Politico and Morning Consult shows that a large majority of Black voters support Biden’s pledge to increase housing options for low-income Americans; 80 percent of Black voters support that measure, and 58 percent “strongly” support it.

In other words, voters seem to care more about things that directly impact their lives than they do about whether these things meet a strict definition of “infrastructure...”

In short: People are back into believing that government can be a positive force in their lives, generating better jobs and better wages and better lives. The "Government is the Problem" meme is dying off, much to the horror of the Far Right clinging to the strands of political power.

But why exactly is this happening?

Isn't Biden supposed to be a Centrist, a post-LBJ pro-business Democrat who wasn't so great on issues of race and women's rights or on liberal issues in general, who tacked to the middle in order to push bipartisan deals through a Congress that is no longer the bipartisan haven he knew?

Well, kind of. This is all due to Biden's Presidential Character of being a Congenial Passive-Positive at the head of a Big Tent political party.

This isn't from my 2019 review of Biden's Character - where I worried Biden's easy-going nature made him vulnerable to Republican treachery - but from my 2020 followup that found Biden was doing a good job of building "the Big Tent" coalition of Democratic Moderates and Progressives. In fact, let's go to the direct quote from Aubrey Immelman about Biden's skills in forging that Big Tent:

Leaders with Biden’s personality profile are likely to exhibit an interpersonal leadership style, characterized by flexibility, compromise, and an emphasis on teamwork. The general tenor of a Biden presidency likely will be conciliatory, which could render a prospective President Biden vulnerable to manipulation by pressure groups and handicap him in negotiations or conflicts with foreign adversaries...

In short: Biden is someone willing to dance with those that brung him (got this from Molly Ivins). But where Immelman - and myself - might view that openness as a vulnerability to manipulation, there IS another way to view it as Biden building his teamwork between the various factions of his own party. To make that Big Tent work and push a broad, Big-Fucking-Deal agenda in a successful fashion.

Biden is pushing a big Progressive/Liberal agenda in the mold of FDR's New Deal because it's what his own Democratic ranks want. He will be more congenial and flexible with them, even as he tries to reach out to obstructionist Republicans, because he is a Democrat and they are Democrats and this is their Big Tent and that's how he'll roll, son. As long as Republicans refuse to barter or deal with Biden in any sane fashion, Biden's agenda won't reflect their interests, doubling down on their obstruction but also their obsolescence as Biden happily bulldozes forward.

Edit: I just found this article on MSNBC by Medhi Hasan and need to include it here as emphasis:

This was definitely how Biden behaved, at times, during the Democratic primaries. He never pretended to be at the head of a transformational movement, a la his former boss, Barack Obama. He didn’t enter office backed by a loyal cult, as his predecessor, Donald Trump, did.

Yet he and his administration have spent these first 100 days embracing the progressive wing of his party, along with labor unions, youth groups, climate campaigners and sundry activists. “Progressives say they’re being included, heard and respected by the Biden White House,” Politico reported in February.

Compare and contrast this outreach with the Obama era, in which White House press secretary Robert Gibbs dismissed people on the “professional left” who “ought to be drug-tested,” and White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel denounced liberal activists as "f---ing retarded.”

Biden, on the other hand, proudly invoked Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ support for the American Rescue Plan in the immediate aftermath of its passage through the Senate. His chief of staff, Ronald Klain, has been dubbed the “left whisperer,” having become “a point of rapid response for many on the left who are angling to get within earshot of the president,” The Daily Beast wrote.

Real access has been matched by real impact. Does anyone really believe the Biden who launched his presidential campaign in 2019 looking for a “middle ground” on climate issues would have committed to cutting U.S. carbon emissions in half by 2030 without pressure from groups like the Sunrise Movement...?

Here's the thing: Biden is listening. It's what Congenial characters do. And it's how he builds his world around him.

This IS what I wrote before about Biden: He's the Democratic Party answer to Ronald Reagan. Not Reagan the hard-core Conservative, but Reagan the Uniter, Reagan the Big Tent builder. Reagan was able to pull together divided Republican factions into a cohesive whole, dominating the electoral cycle of the 1980s in a way that only a Passive-Positive Congenial figure could. For all the damage Reagan did as President to the liberal foundations of 20th Century America, you have to admit his administration oversaw a massive, active period of policy changes and formation you wouldn't expect from a "passive" leader.

Biden can be the same way as President overseeing a massive wave of policy changes, only in favor of that liberal foundation that can be re-forged for the 21st Century America.

All Biden has to do is break loose the remaining obstructionist logjams - sadly enough, from Democratic Senator Centrists unwilling to see this moment in history for what it can be - and get his American Families Plan working.

This can be a big moment. Biden knows it. He knows it'll be good for his Democrats and it'll be good for his fellow Americans.

Any day now. All he has to do is get a few more Democrats to join this Big Tent moment and let it roll forth.