Monday, May 10, 2021

Last Call For The Big Lie, Con't

The recount of Maricopa County's votes by Arizona Republicans has now fully devolved into a circus, and Republicans are openly beginning to express regret that the lunatics running the show may not have been the best, most competent people to hire for the job. 

Directly outside the Veterans Memorial Coliseum near downtown Phoenix, the Crazy Times Carnival wraps up an 11-day run on Sunday, a spectacle of thrill rides, games and food stands that headlines the Arizona State Fair this year.

Inside the coliseum, a Republican-ordered exhumation and review of 2.1 million votes in the state’s November election is heading into its third week, an exercise that has risen to become the lodestar of rigged-vote theorists — and shows no sign of ending soon.

Arizona’s Secretary of State Katie Hobbs noted the carnival’s presence outside the coliseum when she challenged the competence and objectivity of the review last week, expressing concern about the security of the ballots inside in an apparent dig at what has become a spectacle of a very different sort.

There is no evidence that former President Donald J. Trump’s narrow loss in Arizona’s presidential election in the fall was fraudulent. Nonetheless, 16 Republicans in the State Senate voted to subpoena ballots in Maricopa County, home to Phoenix and two-thirds of the state’s vote in November, for an audit to show Trump die-hards that their fraud concerns were taken seriously.

As recently as a week ago, officials said the review would be completed by May 14. But with that deadline a week away, only about 250,000 of the county’s 2.1 million ballots have been processed in the hand recount that is a central part of the review, Ken Bennett, a liaison between those conducting the review and the senators, said on Saturday.

At that rate, the hand recount would not be finished until August.

The delay is but the latest snag in an exercise that many critics claim is wrecking voters’ confidence in elections, not restoring it. Since the State Senate first ordered it in December, the review has been dogged by controversy. Republicans dominate the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, which supervised the election in the county. They said it was fair and accurate and opposed the review.

After a week marked by mounting accusations of partisan skulduggery, mismanagement and even potential illegality, at least one Republican supporter of the new count said it could not end soon enough.

“It makes us look like idiots,” State Senator Paul Boyer, a Republican from suburban Phoenix who supported the audit, said on Friday. “Looking back, I didn’t think it would be this ridiculous. It’s embarrassing to be a state senator at this point.”

Civil-rights advocates say political fallout is the least of the concerns. They say the Arizona review is emblematic of a broader effort by pro-Trump Republicans to undermine faith in American democracy and shift control of elections to partisans who share their agenda


As I've said before, I fully expect red states where Democrats win in 2024 to be annulled, especially in the presidential contest. I expect Republicans will simply ignore voters and send a slate of GOP electors instead, regardless of the outcome. It's going to happen in a state like Wisconsin or Arizona or (if things go badly) Virginia.

That's when we find out if we remain a democracy. The Big Lie is all about trashing elections to the point where they don't matter any more.

Russian To Judgment, Con't

So the cyberattack that brought down the Colonial Pipeline on Friday may be part of the Russian mob's revenge on US sanctions, in what should not surprise anyone.

A Russian criminal group may be responsible for a ransomware attack that shut down a major U.S. fuel pipeline, two sources familiar with the matter said Sunday.

The group, known as DarkSide, is relatively new, but it has a sophisticated approach to the business of extortion, the sources said.

Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said Sunday that the White House was working to help Colonial Pipeline, the Georgia-based company that operates the pipeline, to restart its 5,500-mile network.

The system, which runs from Texas to New Jersey, transports 45 percent of the East Coast's fuel supply. In a statement Sunday, the company said that some smaller lateral lines were operational but that the main lines remained down.

"We are in the process of restoring service to other laterals and will bring our full system back online only when we believe it is safe to do so, and in full compliance with the approval of all federal regulations," the company said.

Raimondo said on CBS' "Face the Nation" that the effort to restart the network was "an all-hands-on-deck effort right now."

"We are working closely with the company, state and local officials to make sure that they get back up to normal operations as quickly as possible and there aren't disruptions in supply," she said, adding: "Unfortunately, these sorts of attacks are becoming more frequent. They're here to stay."

A White House official said Sunday that the Energy Department is leading the government's response. Agencies are planning for a number of scenarios in which the region's fuel supply takes a hit, the official said.
The Biden White House is at least taking this seriously as an attack on the country's infrastructure and economy, and "criminal groups acting with state blessing" is the hallmark of Putin's oligarch mafia. Trump of course would have refused to act for weeks until he could have found a way to blame China, and Americans would have suffered in the meantime.

The bigger short-term problem is gasoline futures are rising sharply, and gas prices on the East Coast are soon to follow.

Futures for fuel prices rose Monday, as much of one of the largest pipelines in the U.S. remains closed following a cybersecurity attack.

Gasoline futures rose 0.6% to $2.14 per gallon, pulling back from their highest levels of the overnight session. At one point, gasoline futures jumped as high as $2.216, levels not seen since May 2018.

Heating oil futures rose 0.6% to $2.02, also off the highest levels of the session.

West Texas Intermediate crude futures, the U.S. oil benchmark, turned lower, giving up earlier gains. It was last down 0.2% to $64.78 per barrel. International benchmark Brent crude traded at $68.69 per barrel, for a gain of 40 cents. Natural gas futures declined 0.5% to $2.91 per million British thermal units.

Colonial Pipeline said Sunday evening that some of its smaller lateral lines between terminals and delivery points are once again online but that its main lines are still shut down.

In an attempt to maintain fuel supplies along the Eastern Seaboard, the U.S. declared a state of emergency in 17 states and the District of Columbia on Sunday evening.

It is not yet clear whether the shutdown will raise prices consumers pay at the pump, but analysts say a prolonged shutdown beyond five days could translate to higher prices.

The markets are expecting this to be over with shortly. If it's not, it's going to get bad, and fast.

Black Lives Still Matter

Remember, it's the people screaming about cancel culture and free speech who are doing everything they can to criminalize even saying that Black lives matter.

Two brothers, 8 and 5, were removed from their Oklahoma elementary school classrooms this past week and made to wait out the school day in a front office for wearing T-shirts that read “Black Lives Matter,” according to the boys’ mother.

The superintendent of the Ardmore, Okla., school district where the brothers, Bentlee and Rodney Herbert, attend different schools had previously told their mother, Jordan Herbert, that politics would “not be allowed at school,” Ms. Herbert recalled on Friday.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma has called the incident a violation of the students’ First Amendment rights.

On April 30, Bentlee, who is in the third grade, went to class at Charles Evans Elementary in a Black Lives Matter shirt, which Ms. Herbert said he had picked out himself to wear.

That evening, Ms. Herbert learned that the school’s principal, Denise Brunk, had told Bentlee that he was not allowed to wear the T-shirt. At Ms. Brunk’s direction, he turned the shirt inside out and finished out the school day.

On Monday, Ms. Herbert went to the school to ask the principal what dress-code policy her son had violated, Ms. Herbert said. Ms. Brunk referred her to the Ardmore City Schools superintendent, Kim Holland.

“He told me when the George Floyd case blew up that politics will not be allowed at school,” Ms. Herbert said on Friday, referring to Mr. Holland. “I told him, once again, a ‘Black Lives Matter’ T-shirt is not politics.”

Neither Ms. Brunk nor Mr. Holland responded to emails or phone calls seeking comment on Friday.

On Tuesday, Ms. Herbert’s three sons — Bentlee; Rodney, who is in kindergarten; and Jaelon, a sixth grader, all of whom are Black — went to their schools in matching T-shirts with the words “Black Lives Matter” and an image of a clenched fist on the front.

Later that morning, Ms. Herbert received a call from Rodney’s school, Will Rogers Elementary, telling her that she needed to either bring Rodney a different shirt or let the school provide one for him, or Rodney would be forced to sit in the front office for the rest of the school day. Rodney did not change shirts, and he sat in the office until school was over
Ms. Herbert learned later that day that Bentlee had also been made to sit in his school’s front office, where he missed recess, and did not eat lunch in the cafeteria with his classmates.

Jaelon, 12, encountered no issues at Ardmore Middle School because of his T-shirt, his mother said.

In an interview with The Daily Ardmoreite, Mr. Holland suggested that the T-shirts were disruptive.

“It’s our interpretation of not creating a disturbance in school,” Mr. Holland told the newspaper. “I don’t want my kids wearing MAGA hats or Trump shirts to school either because it just creates, in this emotionally charged environment, anxiety and issues that I don’t want our kids to deal with.”
So ask yourself why a kindergartener is being told by the school that Black lives mattering is "creating a disruption". Meanwhile, how many active shooter drills have kids in these schools gone through?

Pretty sad when you decide to take out revenge, and this is what it is, revenge, mind you, on a five-year-old. What's the district's policy on Confederate flag t-shirts, something that is actually disruptive and hurtful? If those are banned, why are Black lives matter t-shirts treated the same way?
Of course, we know the answer to that rhetorical question, and that's why Republicans are doing everything they can to banish everything but the most anodyne interpretation of American history in the name of making white folk feel better about slavery, colonization, and genocide. We have to rewrite history and gaslight our kids to keep them from learning the truth about this country's history for the last 400 years.

I got a crash course on this nearly 30 years ago in high school during the Rodney King riots. I thank my lucky stars that the student and faculty where I went to school actually confronted that and brought the entire school body together to discuss what went on, and yeah, there were people who said nothing bad happened.

But the vast majority of us were pissed off, and we all learned about out own experiences involving race from one another, white, Black, Asian, Indigenous, all of us that April and May. That shaped my life to this day.

And three decades later, a generation later, we're still having this discussion.

Black Lives Still Matter.


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