Monday, July 26, 2021

Last Call For If You Come At The Queen...

If you want to know just how good House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is at vexing the GOP, assisted in no small part by House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy being a dim bulb among dim bulbs? Well, in the last few days, we've gone from the GOP demanding McCarthy give his rabid cultists a quixotic House vote to dethrone Pelosi to the cultists demanding the blood sacrifice of GOP Reps. Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger for joining the January 6th committee.
A growing group of rank-and-file House Republicans wants House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and GOP leadership to punish Reps. Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger for accepting a position from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to serve on the select committee investigating the January 6 insurrection. 
The push to seek punishment rose to a new level on Sunday, after Pelosi announced that Kinzinger had accepted her invitation to join the committee. Initially, most rank-and-file Republicans were content to let Cheney serve without much of a fight, but Kinzinger's addition has changed the conversation and has put a new level of pressure on McCarthy. 
While the loudest cries have come from members of the hard-right Freedom Caucus, sources say that the sentiment has started to spread beyond the hard-line crew. 
"There's a lot," said one GOP member about the push to have the pair removed from their other committees. "Supporting Pelosi's unprecedented move to reject McCarthy's picks was a bridge too far." 
Pelosi rejected two of McCathy's choices last week -- Reps. Jim Banks of Indiana and Jim Jordan of Ohio -- which prompted the GOP leader to withdraw all five of his picks.
Rep. Scott Perry, a Freedom Caucus member, publicly called on Conference Chair Elise Stefanik to call a special GOP conference meeting to "address appropriate measures" related to Pelosi booting two of McCarthy's chosen picks from the committee. Some members specifically want McCarthy and Stefanik to push for a vote of GOP members to strip Cheney and Kinzinger, who both voted to impeach former President Donald Trump earlier this year, from their other committee assignments. Stefanik's office did not respond to a request for comment on Perry's desire for a conference meeting. 
But kicking them off their committees would be easier said than done. While McCarthy could remove Cheney and Kinzinger from their other committees, Pelosi ultimately controls committee membership. She could theoretically just re-appoint them to their current posts. 
The scuttle demonstrates how difficult McCarthy's leadership role remains. While conservatives applauded his decision to attempt to appoint both Banks and Jordan and his subsequent move to pull back all of his choices, they still believe Cheney and Kinzinger need to be reprimanded for not remaining loyal to the conference. 
McCarthy's office did not respond to questions about Republicans pushing him to punish Kinzinger and Cheney.
McCarthy is now stuck. There's nothing he can do about Pelosi, and he can't really punish Kinzinger and Cheney without Pelosi putting them back on committees. Expulsion is likewise out of the picture. He doesn't have a whole lot of options left at this point, because the cultists will start demanding his blood next.

So what does he do?  Yeah, this is a "devil we know" situation, as long as the massively incompetent McCarthy remains lead Cat Herder in House GOP land, Pelosi can continue to run circles around him and leave him running from his own caucus. The issue is however that McCarthy's situation is growing increasingly untenable. Something will have to shift dramatically, it's just a question of when.

Ask the last couple of GOP House leaders how that goes.

School Of Hard Right Knocks, Con't

We've now entered the "The education funding problem for Democrats is a lot more than just Critical Race Theory!" phase of blaming Joe Biden for Republican state budget cuts to educator staff, school closures, and charter school smoke and mirrors in states around the country. Of course, WIN THE MORNING DOT COM is specifically ignoring the millions being spent to disrupt school board meetings by right-wing corporate donors, treating all this rage as organic. You know, just like the Tea Party ten years ago.


Elina Kaplan is the kind of suburban mom who made Joe Biden president.

An immigrant who came to the United States from the Soviet Union, she is a registered Democrat from San Mateo County, Calif. And she’s alarmed over her state’s new model ethnic studies curriculum, which cites critical race theory as a “key theoretical framework and pedagogy.”

“I firmly believe that if the vast majority of Californians and Americans knew about this, and about the content of this type of curriculum, this would not be happening. We would not be having this conversation,” Kaplan said.

Kaplan, who has launched an email list, set up meetings with state legislators and recruited people to meet with their school boards to discuss ethnic studies, is representative of Democrat-leaning or politically moderate suburbanites interviewed by POLITICO in six states, all but one of which were won by Biden. They are up in arms over their school systems’ new equity initiatives, which they argue are costly and divisive, encouraging students to group themselves by race and take pro-activist stances. Proponents of the initiatives say they are a long-overdue step toward getting rid of systemic racism in the school system.

On the national level, Democrats have insisted that the brush fires over critical race theory — which has become a political punching bag even for unrelated equity initiatives — are largely the work of right-wing activists who willfully misrepresent what it means, and they blame Fox News for fanning parents’ anger.

"That's another right-wing conspiracy. This is totally made up by Donald Trump and [Republican candidate for governor] Glenn Youngkin," Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe said in June.

“I don’t think we would think that educating the youth and next and future leaders of the country on systemic racism is indoctrination,” said White House press secretary Jen Psaki in May.

But those Democrats appear to be underestimating parents’ anger in places where critical race theory is top of mind. Objections to new equity plans are not the sole province of conservatives but extend to many moderate and independent voters, according to POLITICO interviews with school board members, political operatives and activists in Democratic and left-leaning communities including the Northern Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C.; Palm Beach County, Fla.; New York’s Westchester County; Maricopa County covering Phoenix, Ariz.; and suburban Detroit.

Parents who are showing up to school board meetings and have helped launch a spate of recall elections say they are angry about a host of issues, including what they see as a myopic focus on diversity at school boards, ongoing frustration over a year of closed schools and school lesson plans that they say are becoming too progressive, too fast. While those complaints have often been branded in the media as “anti-critical race theory,” the causes of the anger are varied, and are being ignored, parents say.

The stakes aren’t lost on Amanda Litman, founder of the Democratic organization Run for Something, which works to elect school board members and other local officials: “This is a perfect storm of something that can appeal to, or draw back in, some of the suburban parents that might have voted Republican in 2016, Democrat in 2018 and 2020, but could be drawn back to the Republican Party in 2022.”

“We’re trying to argue ‘No, you’re mis-defining critical race theory,’ and that’s not the point,” Litman added. “The point is that people are scared about what their kids are learning.”
Critical race theory is an academic discipline that evolved at law schools and universities in the 1980s to examine institutional racism and challenge existing approaches to racial justice. This year, opposing activists started using the term as shorthand to describe a wave of newly adopted efforts to combat systemic racism in schools.

Polling suggests that the majority of voters still aren’t aware of critical race theory. But as the current debate escalates, activists and Republican officeholders are succeeding in giving voters a negative impression of it. As of mid-June, fully a third of voters told pollsters from the firm YouGov they hadn’t heard of critical race theory, and only a third of voters said they’d both heard of it and had a good idea of its meaning. But opinions among those who’d heard of it were sharply negative. Fifty-three percent said they were “very unfavorable” of it while only 23 percent said they were “very favorable.”

People who identified as Republican and had heard of critical race theory were especially negative: 85 percent termed their views “very unfavorable.” But the same was true of 71 percent of independents, the group that was key to Biden’s victory over former President Donald Trump, favoring the Democrat by 9 points, according to the Pew Research Center, after Trump had narrowly won the group over Hillary Clinton in 2016. Among Democrats who had heard of critical race theory, most (58 percent) were “very favorable,” while a smaller but still significant 7 percent were “very unfavorable.”
This would somehow be novel if it wasn't constant, I guess. "I'm scared about what my kids are learning in school" has, in my lifetime, been applied to pretty much everything, from "the new math" to American history to sex education to D.A.R.E. to computers to foreign languages. Now the wheel is back on US history again and it always, always is a "problem" for liberals who are "moving too fast".
Meanwhile, Democrats and President Biden are on the verge of a major infrastructure bill that will add pre-K schooling for millions of kids, and Republicans are doing everything in their power to block the bill, but sure, the problem is liberals.
It's tiring nonsense, but it always works.

Minority Report, Florida Edition

This one pretty much hits all of my buttons: police clearly misusing power, technology being abused to spy on citizens, racism in criminal justice, racism in tech, and the state of Florida being an awful place in general. Congratulations Black and brown people of Pasco County, your local sherriff would like to schedule you for a precrime hearing.

It starts like an offer of admission from a prestigious university.

“We are pleased to inform you that you have been selected…” it says.

But the four-page letter from the Pasco Sheriff’s Office goes on to tell recipients they will be facing enhanced police scrutiny under the agency’s controversial intelligence program.

“You may wonder why you were enrolled in this program,” the letter continues. “You were selected as a result of an evaluation of your recent criminal behavior using an unbiased, evidence-based risk assessment designed to identify prolific offenders in our community. As a result of this designation, we will go to great efforts to encourage change in your life through enhanced support and increased accountability.”

Last year, a Tampa Bay Times investigation revealed that the Sheriff’s Office creates lists of people it considers likely to break the law based on criminal histories, social networks and other unspecified intelligence. The agency sends deputies to their homes repeatedly, often without a search warrant or probable cause for an arrest.

Targets and their relatives, including four who are now suing the Sheriff’s Office in federal court, described the tactics as harassment and a violation of their constitutional rights. National policing experts drew comparisons to child abuse and surveillance that could be expected under an authoritarian regime.

The Times also found that the agency has a separate program that uses schoolchildren’s grades, attendance records and abuse histories to label them potential future criminals.

Earlier this year, Sheriff Chris Nocco and the Pasco County school district announced they would scale back some features of the school-data program. But the letter signals a broadening of the core program.

The Sheriff’s Office said the letter is part of a new intelligence effort aimed specifically at people whose criminal histories include drug offenses and violent crimes.

It was supposed to launch in mid-2020, but was delayed until December because of the pandemic, Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Amanda Hunter said.

It includes several new features, including that people can be dropped from the program after two years without “criminal activity” and a phone number they can call with questions.

In an online video, Sheriff’s Office Captain Toni Roach says being selected is “good news” because participants will “have the opportunity to receive assistance from the Pasco Sheriff’s Office and several community partners.”

But critics of the agency’s intelligence efforts, including an alliance of local, state and national organizations known as People Against the Surveillance of Children and Overpolicing, or the PASCO Coalition, said the latest communication raises even more concerns.

“The letter is basically threatening and promising a certain level of harassment and oversight that is in line with the stories we are hearing from the community,” said Raniah Elgendi, of the Council of American-Islamic Relations-Florida.

“We know that is not what makes people or communities more safe, this heightened level of surveillance,” said Lauren Johnson, an assistant counsel at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund
Now I understand the need for community outreach programs in general. If this was being coordinated through the county's social services department, that would be one thing. Getting people help that they are eligible for, and that exists, is a real struggle and doing that is noble.
What this is on the other hand, is outright police intimidation and harassment. This is Pasco COunty telling you "you're on a database of criminals and known criminal associates, we're going to be paying special attention to you, we're letting you know about it, and there's not a damn thing you can do, be seeing you real soon."

I mean, police do that anyway, but disguising it as a community outreach program is vile and disgusting. The bigger issue is, as I said above, social services, religious charities, community activists and non-profits should be coming to people and asking them what their needs are. The police doing it like this only gets people hurt.

We need to stop using police as a replacement for social services, period.
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