Monday, August 2, 2021

Last Call For Hungary? Tucker In!

I've talked about Hungarian PM Viktor Orban before and his authoritarian government, but apparently not only is FOX News Professional White Supremacist Tucker Carlson a big enough fan to go speak at Orban's International House Of Paincakes conference, he's hosting his White Supremacist Power Hour from Budapest itself.

Tucker Carlson is on the bill to deliver a speech, appropriately titled “The World According to Tucker Carlson,” this coming Saturday at MCC Feszt, a far-right conference in Budapest that is backed by Hungary’s authoritarian prime minister, Viktor Orban.

The news of Carlson’s apparent appearance follows a reported meeting between the Fox News star and Orban, as a friendly photo posted to the leader’s Facebook page revealed on Monday that Carlson had hosted Orban on his online show for Fox Nation.

Carlson appeared on his show from Budapest on Monday evening and announced his show would be broadcast from the Hungarian capital all week.

Earlier this year, The New York Times reported that Orban granted $1.7 billion—or about one percent of Hungary’s GDP—to Mathias Corvinus Collegium, or MCC, with the aim of training a new generation of conservative elite across Europe.

According to Open Secrets investigative researcher Anna Massoglia, Hungary paid a D.C. lobbying firm $265,000 in 2019, in part to arrange an interview on Carlson’s Fox News show.

In turn, Carlson has publicly praised Orban’s government on Fox News, including in July of that year, when he lauded the prime minister’s anti-immigration policies in the face of declining birth rates.

“Instead of helping the native population to have more children, the Hungarian government, they say, should import a replacement population from the Third World,” Carlson said at the time of the “neoliberals who run” the European Union. “That’s the George Soros solution. But Hungary’s prime minister, Viktor Orban, has a different idea. Instead of abandoning Hungary’s young people to the hard-edge libertarianism of Soros and the Clinton Foundation, Orban has decided to affirmatively help Hungarian families grow.”
Folks, this is Carlson straight-up doling out pro-Orban white supremacist propaganda, uncut and raw, and speedballing it on world TV. This is not Carlson's usual footsie with facists here, this is a make-out session at Lovers' Lane.
Orban is an unrepentant proto-fascist. Carlson is sucking up to him, giving him free airtime in the US on his super-popular show. 

That should be a problem, but...well...we all know Carlson will be rewarded for this, and so will Orban.

The GOP's Race To The Bottom, Con't

Republicans really can't help themselves with disgusting, anti-Semitic comparisons of vaccine mandates to the Holocaust, because they know they can get away with it.

On Friday, John Bennett, the chairman of the Oklahoma Republican Party, made a striking comparison on the group’s Facebook page: Private companies requiring employees to get the coronavirus vaccine, he said, are just as bad as the Nazis forcing Jews to wear the yellow Star of David on their clothes.

“Those who don’t KNOW history, are DOOMED to repeat it,” read the caption, below an image of a Star of David patch with “Unvaccinated” written across the top.

The post triggered swift condemnations from top state Republicans and Jewish organizations in Oklahoma. But on Sunday, Bennett doubled down on his comments in a nearly seven-minute video he shared to the party’s Facebook page.

The Nazis “gave [Jews] a star to put on, and they couldn’t go to the grocery store, they couldn’t go out in public, they couldn’t do anything without having that star on their shirt,” Bennett said. “Take away the star and add a vaccine passport.”

Bennett, a Marine Corps veteran who served three combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, was elected chairman of the Oklahoma GOP in April. The former state lawmaker has a history of making hateful comments, specifically about Muslims, according to the Oklahoman.

In a town hall meeting in 2014, Bennett said Islam “is a cancer in our nation that needs to be cut out.” In 2017, he drafted an 18-question survey for Muslims in Oklahoma to fill out before he agreed to meet with them in his legislative office. One of the questions asked was “Do you beat your wife?” A senior imam of the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City told the Oklahoman that Bennett threatened to demolish all the mosques in town.

Bennett is the latest GOP official to equate the persecution of the Jewish people during the Holocaust to mandates related to the coronavirus. In March, Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-N.C.) compared vaccine passports to Nazis forcing Jews to wear the yellow Star of David. In June, Washington state Rep. Jim Walsh (R) wore a yellow Star of David during a live stream, stating that it conveyed how “denying people their rights … can lead to terrible outcomes.”

Also in June, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) apologized after she repeatedly compared mask mandates to the Star of David. But she evoked the Holocaust again in July, this time calling those leading a vaccine push from the Biden administration “brownshirts.” The term refers to a paramilitary group that helped Hitler and the Nazis gain power in Germany.

The image of the yellow Star of David patch that Bennett posted on the Oklahoma Republican Party’s Facebook page on Friday included what appeared to be identification numbers and a chip.

The post also said: “Limited access to travel within their State, Province or Territory. The bearer may not fly, cannot enter a pub, restaurant, club or theatre. … WAKE UP PEOPLE — Is this sounding familiar?”
It won't end, because Republican voters will continue to elect anti-Semite jackasses like Bennett and Greene and Cawthorn, who will have lifetime terms in Congress as performative hate junkies. Take from a guy in KY-4 with clown Thomas Massie, who still has yet to get a single piece of legislation out of committee.

And voters are fine with this. They will send these jackasses back to Congress for decades just to pick fights, because "Congress is useless anyway".

So these are the electeds we get.

The Good Package, Con't

The Senate has wrapped up the infrastructure bill, which means it's actually Infrastructure Week™ for once and unironically so.

Senate Democrats and Republicans unveiled on Sunday a roughly $1 trillion proposal to improve the country’s roads, bridges, pipes, ports and Internet connections, setting in motion a long-awaited debate in the chamber to enact one of President Biden’s economic policy priorities.

The package arrives after weeks of haggling among a bipartisan bloc of lawmakers, who muscled through late-night fights and near-collapses to transform their initial blueprint into a roughly 2,700-page piece of legislation. The fate of their labors now rests in the Senate, where proponents of infrastructure reform have little margin for error as they race to adopt the sort of bill that has eluded them for years.

Virtually no part of the U.S. economy is untouched by the plan chiefly put together by Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.). Roughly half of its $1 trillion overall price tag constitutes new federal spending, with the rest coming from existing, planned investments in the country’s roads, highways and bridges, according to details released in recent days by lawmakers and the White House, which supports the proposal.

Those thoroughfares would see major expansions and repairs under the bill, which has additional investments in the nation’s transit system as well. Senators also said the measure calls for $66 billion targeting passenger railways, which the White House says is the largest such investment since the creation of Amtrak nearly a half-century ago.

Lawmakers plan to set aside $55 billion to improve the country’s drinking water, including a program that seeks to replace every lead pipe in America. There’s an additional $65 billion to expand broadband Internet access nationwide and ensure those who do have connectivity can afford their monthly payments. And Senate lawmakers are pursuing additional sums to upgrade key commercial hubs, including potentially $25 billion for repairs at major airports.

The proposal, called the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, further seeks a significant tranche of funding to combat the threat of climate change, aiming to reduce emissions and respond to the deadly consequences of a fast-warming planet. Lawmakers have called for $73 billion to modernize the nation’s energy grid and $21 billion to respond to environmental concerns, including pollution. And they propose allocating new sums to advance clean-energy technologies, including a $7.5 billion initiative for a first-ever national network of electric vehicle charging stations, they announced last week.

“It takes our aging and outdated infrastructure in this country and modernizes it, and that’s good for everybody,” Portman said in a Sunday night speech, one of many from the deal’s chief architects heralding their work.

As I said before, this really is a good package, and this will pass the Senate.

Moderate Democrats held a press conference Friday calling for a speedy vote in the House. But progressives, along with a key committee chair, are insisting that they won't support it until the Senate passes a separate multitrillion-dollar bill to advance Biden's other priorities.

"First, we've got to get it out of the Senate. Then we'll get it here. There's a thousand permutations of how this could go," Rep. Josh Gottheimer, D-N.J., told reporters. "When it gets here we should have a standalone vote."

Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-Va., said the House should vote on it "as soon as possible."

But Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., the chair of the Transportation Committee, said in an interview that the Senate deal was "an imaginary bill" written by senators "who know nothing about transportation."

He said that based on the outlines he has seen, the water provisions were "not good" and that the bill entrenches highway-centric policies that "will not deal with climate change." He added that it should only be considered in the House alongside a separate bill that includes policies to combat climate change.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi has insisted that the House won't consider the bipartisan infrastructure deal until the Senate also passes the so-called budget reconciliation bill.

Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., the leader of the progressive caucus, repeated demands that both bills must be sent to the House before a vote is taken.

And Democrats are battling over the parameters of the larger bill.

Sinema said Wednesday she doesn't support the $3.5 trillion price tag that party leaders are targeting, which drew a fierce rebuke from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y.

"She is threatening to nuke everything — bipartisan deal, reconciliation, all of this — by reneging on an agreement that was already settled several weeks ago," Ocasio-Cortez said in an interview, calling the $3.5 trillion price tag "already too low" and a product of compromise.

It's possible that some Republicans in the House will vote for the Senate infrastructure bill, but a grand total of zero Republicans will vote for the reconciliation Even Better Package™ .

The hard reality is that the reconciliation bill isn't going to pass, and that Mitch McConnell has quietly won again, getting a bipartisan deal that's a fraction of what Biden and the Dems were talking about in reconciliation. Sinema will absolutely blow up the reconciliation bill trhe moment the Senate Bill gets passed, saving McConnell the trouble. He doesn't have to be the bad guy here.

Dems will do it for him. Ideally for McConnell, when Sinema kills the reconciliation bill, The Squad will turn around and kill the Senate Bill, and Mitch will get a complete victory without lifting a finger.

Maybe I'm fatalist, I mean Dems did get the ACA done (at great and terrible political cost), but 2010 is going to look like a picnic if Dems blow this now.

We'll see if they fall into the pit, or cross the ravine on a tightrope vote.

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