Friday, February 26, 2021

Last Call For Trumpy The Golden Calf

The Republican Mammon Machine is beyond self-parody now, literally with a graven golden image of Trump to worship at CPAC this weekend.
The Golden Calf is one of the most famous stories in the Old Testament. The Israelites, newly freed from Egyptian slavery, have a crisis of faith while God is speaking with Moses on Mount Sinai. They melt down the golden jewelry to construct a physical god — a statue in the shape of a calf — to worship in place of their abstract, invisible deity. It’s a story about the allure of idolatry, how easy it is to abandon one’s commitments to principle in favor of shiny, easy falsehoods.

This biblical tale trended on Twitter in the US Friday morning because of the following video, filmed on the first day of the 2021 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). Someone involved in the conference constructed a golden statue — not of a calf, but of Trump — and wheeled it out to cheers from conference attendees. “That is so cool,” one of the onlookers says.

There are so many reasons why this is a perfect metaphor for the state of the GOP after the Trump presidency.

The party sacrificed its commitment to political principles, including previously cherished ideals like free trade, on the altar of Trumpism. White evangelicals abandoned their alleged commitments to godliness in public servants and embraced a man accused of serial sexual assault who had an affair with a porn star and paid her hush money to cover it up. Conservatism, once seen as a high-minded intellectual tradition, became undeniably base and degraded in the Trump years.

But above all else, the statue points to the way in which the GOP remains the party of Trump even after his presidency — gaudy golden aesthetic and all. The party’s base is so committed to the former president that they construct idols of him, literally, to stand up at their premier political conference.

The party leadership understands that, of course. It’s why the vast bulk of the GOP Senate caucus embraced flimsy constitutional rationales for acquitting Trump in the most recent impeachment trial, despite clear evidence that he incited the January 6 riot at the US Capitol that threatened their lives. They are too afraid of their own voters to turn on Trump, and so have no choice but to embrace him — despite knowing how much of a threat he poses to their party and American democracy.

Trump’s hold is so powerful, in fact, that even his children are now considered leading possibilities for the 2024 GOP nomination — despite the complete lack of relevant qualifications.

This is the GOP, the cultist worship of Trump party.

Our Little White Supremacist Domestic Terrorism Problem, Con't

Hundreds, if not thousands of GOP elected officials at the local and state level continue to confess the public delusion that Democrats "stole" the election from Trump, and that this "theft" justifies any and every possible future activity that Trump cultists want to take against Democrats and the people who voted for them.

A faction of local, county and state Republican officials is pushing lies, misinformation and conspiracy theories that echo those that helped inspire the violent U.S. Capitol siege, online messaging that is spreading quickly through GOP ranks fueled by algorithms that boost extreme content.

The Associated Press reviewed public and private social media accounts of nearly 1,000 federal, state, and local elected and appointed Republican officials nationwide, many of whom have voiced support for the Jan. 6 insurrection or demanded that the 2020 presidential election be overturned, sometimes in deleted posts or now-removed online forums.

“Sham-peachment,” they say, and warn that “corporate America helped rig the election.” They call former president Donald Trump a “savior” who was robbed of a second term — despite no evidence — and President Joe Biden, a “thief.” “Patriots want answers,” they declare.

The bitter, combative rhetoric is helping the officials grow their constituencies on social media and gain outsized influence in their communities, city councils, county boards and state assemblies. And it exposes the GOP’s internal struggle over whether the party can include traditional conservative politicians, conspiracy theorists and militias as it builds its base for 2022.

Earlier this month, the FBI knocked on the door of the Republican Women’s Federation of Michigan vice president Londa Gatt to ask where she was on the day of the Capitol attack.

Gatt, a Bikers for Trump coordinator who roars, leather-vested, alongside political rallies on her Harley-Davidson, had helped organize busloads of Trump supporters to join her in Washington on Jan. 6. She says she climbed the scaffolding outside the Capitol building that day “to take a picture of the whole view.” And she said she gladly told FBI agents that she did nothing wrong, and left the scene right away as things turned violent.

Since then, Gatt has shared hashtags tied to QAnon conspiracy theories online and posted that she has Trump’s personal email. She recently asked her Facebook friends who participated in Capitol intrusions to send messages directly to Trump explaining that he didn’t incite them, but instead they acted of their own volition. “The lawyers need our help,” she posted.

Gatt is among many conservatives organizing on Twitter, Facebook, Parler, Gab and Telegram, and is working on a digital strategy going forward under different monikers.

“We were cheated out of our legit president and we have no voice because our vote didn’t count,” she told The Associated Press. “I’m getting ready to start opening up some new pages, focus on getting out people who voted against Trump and replace those with conservative Republicans
We have already seen this rhetoric lead to an armed terrorist insurrection attack on the US Capitol.
Republicans simply do not care. The party of weaponized white grievance is gearing up for wave after wave of assaults on Democrats and their voters, armed violence, and worse, and the party is openly fomenting the lies that lead to January 6th.

It's not just Trump spewing these lies, it's all of them.

How do you find unity with that?

Minimum Waging War, Con't

The Democrats are headed for stupid, prideful, self-inflicted disaster again, and it could destroy the entire American Relief Plan bill. WaPo's Jacqueline Almany:
The Democratic Party's liberal wing is mounting a pressure campaign to overrule a decision from the Senate parliamentarian after their hopes to include a $15-an-hour minimum-wage increase in the coronavirus relief bill were dealt a major blow.

Liberals are furious with the late-breaking — but not entirely unexpected — ruling from the nonpartisan Senate umpire last night that the provision cannot remain in President Biden's $1.9 trillion relief package as written. Elizabeth MacDonough sided against Democrats, determining that the push to increase the federal minimum wage from $7.25 an hour does not meet the criteria to be considered under fast-track budget rules they're using to pass the bill with a simple majority.

The progressive base understands that Vice President Harris can disregard the parliamentarian,” Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) told Power Up. “[Vice President Nelson] Rockefeller did it in 1975 and according to parliamentarian Robert Dove, Vice President [Hubert] Humphrey did routinely. There is no way any senator would sink the final [coronavirus] bill, despite what they may say now. This simply comes down to whether the VP will choose to include the $15 or not.”

A long shot: The White House has publicly ruled out overruling the parliamentarian — and it's unlikely that all 50 Senate Democrats would stand united on this even if it got on board. It's hard to imagine Harris would be the tiebreaking vote “since at least one Senate Democrat — Joe Manchin III (W.Va.) — has said he would not vote to overrule the parliamentarian,” per our colleague Erica Werner.

But that's not stopping the members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus from reaching out to White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain seeking support to overturn the decision, according to a Democratic lawmaker.

“We cannot allow the advisory opinion of an unelected parliamentarian and Republican obstructionism stop us from delivering on our promise to voters,” the CPC tweeted last night. 
The package that will be voted on by the House today will include the minimum wage hike. “House Democrats believe that the minimum-wage hike is necessary,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said in a statement. “Therefore this provision will remain in the American Rescue Plan on the floor [Friday]. Democrats in the House are determined to pursue every possible path in the Fight for 15.”  
This sets up Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) for a tricky decision, per Erica. “He could take out the minimum-wage language before putting the bill on the Senate floor, or try to keep it in the bill — whether by challenging the parliamentarian’s ruling or trying to rewrite the provision in such a way that it could pass muster under the Senate’s complicated rules.” Democrats are pressing the bill forward without GOP support by using the budget reconciliation process that bypasses the 60 votes normally required for significant legislation — but has strict rules limiting what can be included.  
Schumer vowed to fight but didn't specify how: “We are deeply disappointed in this decision. We are not going to give up the fight to raise the minimum wage to $15 to help millions of struggling American workers and their families,” Schumer (D-N.Y.) said in a statement, without specifying how they could fight. “The American people deserve it, and we are committed to making it a reality.”

Remember: The minimum wage increase was always a long shot, parliamentarian ruling aside. “Manchin and a second Senate Democrat, Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.), had indicated opposition to including the minimum-wage increase in Biden’s covid relief bill anyway, so even if the parliamentarian had allowed it, it’s not clear the provision would have been able to advance,” Erica notes. “Nevertheless, liberals had been holding out hope of being able to keep all Democrats onboard to approve the overall bill with the minimum wage included.”


The House and Nancy Pelosi say "Raise the minimum wage".  There's not 50 Senate votes for it. Manchin and Sinema are against it, and they effectively have veto power. The worst-case scenario, which in my opinion is somewhat likely, is that Schumer miscalculates and the bill vote fails in the Senate for lack of votes from the Dems, and the whole package comes crashing down.

Republicans are licking their chops at the prospect, and they will assuredly run commercials about how Biden ran on the stimulus checks that Trump was able to deliver, and Biden wasn't, even though Republicans will have voted against it.

If Harry Reid was still in charge, I'd know he'd get Manchin and Sinema in line. But we have Chuck Schumer, and well, let's just say his track record has been untested for a long, long time.

We'll see what happens in the senate next week, but Pelosi and the House are going to lay down their marker big time later today. The most likely option is that the minimum wage hike is removed in the senate, and then the Dems have to fight it out back behind the Capitol building next to the flagpole after school.

Like the children they apparently are.
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