Sunday, January 24, 2021

Last Call For Retribution Execution, Con't

We don't even get a week of Donald Trump not trying to destroy America and remake it in his image as he's expected to shortly begin his long campaign of revenge against Republicans who failed to help him pull off his coup, targeting them publicly for submission to his rule or to make them face political obliteration and replacing them with those who will submit.

Donald Trump is reportedly moving forward with his plans to create a 'Patriot Party' to put pressure on Republicans who oppose him and attempt to head off conviction in his second Senate impeachment trial.

Trump has told people that the third-party threat gives him leverage to prevent Republican senators from voting to convict him during the Senate trial next month, people in his orbit told the Washington Post.

Since President Joe Biden took office, Trump has been ensconced at Mar-a-Lago, remaining publicly cryptic about his plans except to tell a reporter on Friday: 'We'll do something, but not just yet.'

But behind closed doors, Trump is already drafting an enemies list of Republicans who opposed his baseless claims of election fraud, instructing aids to prepare primary challenges against them, sources told the Post.

The list is said to include the House's number three Republican, Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, who broke party ranks and voted to impeach Trump over his role in the January 6 Capitol riot. Rep. Tom Rice, a South Carolina Republican, is on the list for the same reason.

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp is also reportedly on the list after provoking Trump's fury for refusing to back his challenge to the state's election results, which were certified for Biden.

Senator Lisa Murkowski, an Alaska Republican who has signaled that she is open to voting to convict Trump, is also said to be a Patriot Party primary target. Kemp and Murkowski are both up for re-election in 2022.

Trump advisers say they plan to recruit opposing primary candidates and commission polling as soon as next week in districts of targeted lawmakers.

To fund his splinter party, Trump has more than $70 million in campaign cash on hand, the sources said.

Though the Trump campaign was essentially tapped out on Election Day, the campaign and several allied groups raised $207 million between November 3 and November 23, fundraising on his push to challenged the election results.

The number is certainly higher by now, but hard numbers won't be disclosed to the Federal Election Commission until January 31.

So yes, we're essentially looking at jury tampering in Trump's upcoming Senate trial. No wonder Republican senators are hoping that they have the numbers to dismiss the trial completely with an assist from vulnerable red state Dems facing tough 2022 challenges, something that Chuck Schumer better have already dealt with.

We'll see how it works out, but expect Trump to be back o your TV screen very soon, as the media will go back to covering him more than Joe Biden, because Trump sells.

Rand Paul's Race To The Bottom, Con't

Not for the first time this week, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul took his criticisms of newly inaugurated President Joe Biden to Fox News.

Speaking with conservative personality Sean Hannity Friday night, the Republican congressman repeated his claim that Biden's goal of increasing the national minimum wage to $15 would cause 4 million people to lose their jobs.

"And the people who lose their jobs first when you hike up the minimum wage are Black teenagers," Paul said. "So, you know, 'why does Joe Biden hate Black teenagers' should be the question. Why does Joe Biden want to destroy all these jobs?"

Paul's claim about job loss is a distortion of the Congressional Budget Office's median estimate, according to at the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania.

Paul said Friday "even the government says that nearly 4 million people will lose their jobs" after the minimum wage hike, but the claim is a reference to the high end of the budget office's range of potential outcomes, according to The low end of the range was “about zero” jobs lost.

To support his claims, Paul's office sent the fact checking site a link to a July 2019 report from the budget office that did not say more than doubling the federal minimum wage would definitely result in about 4 million fewer people working.
To recap the spectacularly racist argument:
  1. Black teenagers are primarily minimum wage workers, which is wrong. 42% of all American workers, three out of seven, make less than $15 an hour.
  2. Raising the minimum wage would cost millions of jobs, again, wrong, for the reasons' listed above in the story.
  3. Since one and two are both wrong, three, which is "job loss from raising the minimum wage would disproportionately cost Black folks jobs" is wrong, and even if it was higher, that highlights the problem of racist employers firing their Black workers.
  4. Therefore, "Joe Biden is a racist" is stupid and wrong.
I'm not sure if Paul thinks Black Kentuckians are really stupid enough to fall for this, because if he's actually right, the racism against Black minimum wage employees is a structural racist reality that needs to be torn down immediately.

So in a way, I'm glad that Sen. Paul agrees that capitalism is racist.

Thanks for playing.


Sunday Long Read: Hank Was Hammered

With the passing of legendary home run king Hank Aaron late last week our Sunday Long Read looks back at the 25th anniversary of his historic homer in Fulton County Stadium in a Lee Walburn 1999 story.

He is easier to love as a legend than he was as Henry Louis Aaron, No. 44. Or so it seems. He’s just as black as he ever was. He still speaks his mind, unafraid to jar someone’s consciousness, even stoke the fires of anger. But even when, as a result, he receives a letter of disagreement, most of them don’t open with Dear Nigger, anymore.

Yes, definitely. He must be easier to love now. Or so it seems. Back then, back even on the night he hit his 715th home run in 1974, the night he broke Babe Ruth’s sacrosanct record for home runs, why, the lordly commissioner of baseball attended a dinner in Cleveland as if nothing special was happening in Atlanta. The year before, when he slammed his 3,000th hit and donated the ball to the Hall of Fame, the shrine just stored it in a back room instead of putting it on display.

It’s easier—let’s say acceptable—to adore him now. In the early days of the Braves in Atlanta, he wasn’t even the most popular player on his own team. But just a few years ago a poll of young people revealed him to be second in popularity only to Michael Jordan as an American athlete. The 715th homer has been voted the greatest moment in baseball history. Hank Aaron Drive runs past the Braves’ stadium, past the statue of Henry Louis Aaron in the plaza. Just two months ago, it cost the rich and famous a $500-a-plate charitable donation to eat dinner in honor of Aaron’s 65th birthday. President Clinton was there. This year Major League Baseball is dedicating the entire season, the 25th anniversary of The Homer, to Hank Aaron. And on his birthday, Major League Baseball announced the creation of the Hank Aaron Award, to be presented each year to baseball’s best hitter.

Ah, all that feels so good. Anniversary tributes and monuments are such nice ways to salve our consciences. These latter-day love fests are like giant erasers. Just erase the bad stuff from your memories, Hank, and we’ll do the same. Come on, Hank. Think about it.

Think about it. Think about it. Think about it …

The kid was carrying a little duffel bag and wearing a leather jacket when he knocked on the clubhouse door at the Milwaukee Braves spring training camp in Bradenton, Fla., in 1953. Joe Taylor, the clubhouse attendant, opened the door and after telling the kid to stay right where he was, went looking for the manager, Charlie Grimm. “There’s a black boy out there who wants in,” Taylor said to Grimm. “Says his name is Aaron.” Grimm ran his finger down a list and said, “He’s on the roster, let him in.” Grimm took an immediate liking to the kid. He nicknamed him “Stepin Fetchit,” the stage name of a shuffling, grinning Negro comedian, and the press obligingly quoted the boss man in the newspapers. Stepin Fetchit! Whoa, slap yo’ knee!

Twenty-one years later, at 9:03 p.m. on a Monday in April of 1974, I look at my watch, as I had each time Henry Aaron came to bat that year, having the idea of benchmarking the exact moment of sports history. After checking my watch, I look back at the field as Henry Aaron leaves the on-deck circle at Atlanta Stadium and approaches home plate in a routine that seemed never to vary: two bats in his left hand, the blue batting helmet with the swoop of white from bill to crest in his right. Dropping one bat to the ground for the batboy to retrieve, he balances the 34-ounce Louisville Slugger against a thigh and uses both hands to place the helmet on his head. With characteristic economy of motion that some critics have consistently, maddeningly mistaken for nonchalance, he settles comfortably in the batter’s box, hands held high and away from his body.

The Dodgers’ pitcher, Al Downing, has already walked Aaron once without a swing. This time the first pitch bounces in the dirt. There are two Braves on base and the Dodgers lead 3-1, so Downing decides to gamble with a fastball rather than risk loading the bases with another base on balls. A split second after the decision there is a cracking sound as sharp as a rifle report and stunningly, in a moment to be recollected years later as a blurred mosaic in my mind, Henry Aaron becomes the greatest home run hitter in major league history.

As he circles the bases with the same casual gait he’s used 714 times before, nearly 54,000 of us rise from our seats like a giant ocean wave churned by a sudden gust of wind. But in that muzzy mosaic of memory I cannot honestly rid myself of the feeling that we were cheering the event more than the man.

I did not know—we did not know—then, that we admired him but did not love him, and just how much he needed—no, deserved—that love. Another 24 years passed before I, at last, understood. On September 8 of last year I was watching television when Mark McGwire hit his 62nd home run, breaking Roger Maris’ single-season record. Oh, how America loved McGwire that night. He blew kisses to heaven and you could almost sense that God was blowing one back. McGwire leapt into the stands to hug the family of the man whose record he had broken. They wept and embraced him. The pudgy, cherubic son of Mark McGwire was enveloped by his father’s blacksmith arms, and on television, with all the country dabbing moisture from their eyes, they shared a scene for the ages.

In a coincidence of scheduling, McGwire’s St. Louis Cardinals were playing the Chicago Cubs. Sammy Sosa, the Cub right fielder, was almost lock step with McGwire in a dual quest to break Maris’ record. He rushed in from right field to embrace his opponent and to blow his own kisses and to thump his heart in a symbol of unity—Sammy Sosa, dark as midnight, and Mark McGwire, red hair and freckles dotting the landscape of his pale white skin. Sociologically, it had everything that America wants to believe about itself.

Hank Aaron was also watching television that night. One day not long ago he and I sat in his office overlooking: Turner Field, a stadium many think should bear his name. We talked about our feelings as we sat in separate living rooms watching the same event. As public relations director of the Braves from 1966 to 1972, I had seen hundreds of Hank’s homers, including historically significant numbers 500, 700, 714 and 715, his first all-star homer in Detroit and even his landmark 3,000th hit. As I watched McGwire almost explode with joy, I understood the difference between then and now, and I thought, What a shame it couldn’t have been that way for Hank.

As we sat in his office, Hank took a deep breath and his eyes rolled back in memory. He almost echoed my own thoughts. “You know, as I watched, I was really excited for the fans, for baseball and for McGwire. And I said to myself, if just a little bit of that had happened for me, how glorifying that would have been.” But what really got to him as he watched was the boy hugging his father. He averted his eyes for a moment, as if some spectral memory was dragging heavy chains past the plate glass windows overlooking left field. “It’s too bad my kids couldn’t have enjoyed it like that,” he said.
I remember McGwire getting all the love for 62 that day, watching with my dad at my parents' home. But Hank Aaron was hated, and America has failed him for decades. Even now, racists are denigrating his life saying Joe Biden killed him with the Covid-19 vaccine.

I'm glad he got to see Obama and Biden elected at least. He deserved far better.

Giving Mitch Some Cover

Kentucky Republicans spared GOP Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell an embarrassing defeat on Saturday that would have called for him to ensure Donald Trump was not convicted in his Senate trial. Even Donald Trump isn't more powerful than the Turtle is his own backyard.

The Republican Party of Kentucky's State Central Committee rejected a resolution Saturday that would have urged Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to fully support former President Donald Trump and condemn his second impeachment.

The committee met Saturday to consider the proposal after the Republican Party of Nelson County announced more than 30 GOP county chairs and vice chairs had called for a meeting to consider the resolution aimed at the commonwealth's longtime senator.

Republican Party of Kentucky Chairman Mac Brown called the resolution out of order, and the majority of the committee agreed, a member told The Courier Journal after the meeting. The final vote agreeing the resolution should be deemed out of order was 134-49, the member said.

The party released a statement following the meeting, which it said had been called for by 28 members of the body.

"As a political party, we're in a unique position to bring all sides of our organization together to have conversations about the direction we are going in and what we expect from our elected officials," the statement said. The central committee "met in a special meeting called by a small group of individuals. In the end it is our intention to return our focus to bringing civility to the party and continue having larger conversations about how we can attract more voters and grow our party."
But Mitch isn't out of the woods quite yet.

Republican Party of Nelson County Chair Don Thrasher, who led the resolution effort, said the chairs who supported it will now bring a motion asking for McConnell's resignation, which he said is in the purview of the rules.

The committee has over 350 members, including the chairs and vice chairs of county-level Republican parties as well as elected officials who are part of the GOP (including McConnell himself), according to an RPK employee.

McConnell — who is widely credited with helping transform the commonwealth into a Republican stronghold over the past 30 years — still has stalwart supporters among the state GOP who trust his judgment, as the committee's decision Saturday made clear.

Trump has been accused of inciting an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 that led to the deaths of a police officer and four other people.

It also forced McConnell and other members of Congress to evacuate and temporarily halt their certification of President Joe Biden's electoral win — a victory Trump repeatedly and falsely claimed was illegitimate and should not be accepted, including in a speech he gave to supporters in Washington not long before the riot began.

McConnell was one of Trump's chief defenders during the former president's first impeachment and the ensuing trial, but this time he has taken a different approach. That upset some Kentucky Republicans, prompting Saturday's meeting.
I don't expect that resolution to pass either, but it's going to take some smoothing over to fix. Mitch may be able to survive for now, but if Trump actually is convicted, McConnell will get the blame.
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