Betty Cracker

Houston Hunger Games (Open Thread)

Remember after the El Paso massacre when loathsome Donald Trump and the Third Lady visited the scene of the xenophobic hate crime Trump had inspired and posed for a campaign-style, thumbs-up photo with an orphaned infant? I didn’t think anything could top that stunt for sheer grotesquery.

Reader, I was wrong:

Could the scene get any worse than that — a repulsive buffoon mispronouncing the names of murdered children at a convention glorifying the murder weapons as an electronic bell tolls after Trump finishes mangling each precious child’s name?

Yes, reader. Yes it could:

I’m a professional word-having person, and I have no words.

But I do have a palate cleanser, and even though TaMara posted a version of the same incident here last night, I’m posting it again because I want to watch it on loop several times a day:

When I’m feeling optimistic, this scene is a great metaphor for how I think we’ll win: fed-up moms wrenching a megaphone out of a gun-humping goober’s hands and shooing him away in exactly the same way they’d run off a mangy raccoon that invaded a picnic.

Open thread.

Maybe the “Defund the Police” people are right…

All through this nightmarish week, the timeline authorities in Texas offered for the police response to the school shooting kept falling apart. It’s normal for early accounts of what happened in a chaotic situation to evolve, but the changing story in this case seemed like ass-covering, and this catastrophic press conference basically confirms that:

Earlier, video emerged of frantic parents being treated like criminals for questioning the cops’ strategy of standing around outside the school. One woman, Angeli Rose Gomez, heard about the shooting while at work and drove 40 miles to the school to see about her second- and third-grade children. Here’s more of her story from the anti-cop, commie WSJ:

Ms. Gomez, a farm supervisor, was also waiting outside for her children. She said she was one of numerous parents who began encouraging—first politely, and then with more urgency—police and other law enforcement to enter the school sooner. After a few minutes, she said, U.S. Marshals put her in handcuffs, telling her she was being arrested for intervening in an active investigation.

Ms. Gomez said she convinced local Uvalde police officers whom she knew to persuade the marshals to set her free…

Ms. Gomez described the scene as frantic. She said she saw a father tackled and thrown to the ground by police and a third pepper-sprayed. Once freed from her cuffs, Ms. Gomez made her distance from the crowd, jumped the school fence, and ran inside to grab her two children. She sprinted out of the school with them.

The U.S. Marshals deny cuffing Ms. Gomez, but who’s credible here? The people who keep changing the story? I believe her.

JFC. I know we need law enforcement, but seriously, what the fuck are we doing? Even aside from the atrocity in Texas and the occupying force mentality most cops display toward “civilians,” complete with summary beatings and executions that fall disproportionately on people of color, what are we getting for our massive police investment?

The average “clearance rates” are godawful for all categories of crimes nationwide. Is this true in other countries too? I honestly don’t know. But dumping money and military equipment on police forces here doesn’t seem to be working.

Open thread.

Death Merchants & PR Staff (Open Thread)

A foreign correspondent covering American madness for SkyNews corners Ted Cruz on lax gun laws. Cruz hysterically repeats NRA/GOP talking points, then scurries away:

Well done, Mr. Stone (the journalist).

This weekend’s NRA shindig is still on in Houston. Trump, Cruz, Abbott, et al., are still scheduled to speak. But one of the death merchants who previously reserved a booth has pulled out: Daniel Defense, maker of the battlefield weapon that killed the children and teachers in this week’s carnage. From The Daily Beast:

[I]n the aftermath of Tuesday’s slaughter in Uvalde, Daniel Defense, is no longer slated to join all the other profiteers of violent death at this weekend’s NRA convention in Houston…

The now $100-million-a-year company was founded by 59-year-old Marty Daniel of Georgia. He started out making garage doors after flunking out of Georgia Southern University twice before finally graduating. A company history on its website suggests he might not have gone into guns if he had been a better golfer.

“Daniel Defense got its start because Marty’s golf game sucked. He would spend most of his free time unwinding on the golf course, until the day a friend invited him to shoot his AR,” the story says. “Every shot he fired filled him with a satisfaction he’d never before experienced. Marty would purchase his first AR this same year.”

Emphasis mine. Maybe he should close up shop, get lots of intensive therapy and work on his fucking short game again.

Open thread — any topic.

PS: Anyone else wondering how a barely 18-year-old high school drop out who worked at Wendy’s was able to purchase two guns that cost about $2K each? Daniel Defense has a “buy now, pay later” option. Maybe that’s how.

Thank you, Beto

Beto O’Rourke crashed Governor Abbott’s press conference in Uvalde, Texas today and dropped some truth bombs:

They kicked him out, but he wasn’t done:

Go Beto.

Open thread.

The Monsters Are Here on Maple Street

A young poet sums it up in just two sentences:

The U.S. Senate as currently configured is the obstacle to a solution, as usual. Pick your existential crisis — voting rights, women’s bodily autonomy, police reform, LGBTQ equality, climate change, tax reform, gun safety, whatever: the U.S. Senate is the cracked saucer where desperately needed legislation drains away.

Every Senate Republican will oppose doing anything to stop the next monster who will use a battlefield weapon to mow down schoolchildren, grocery shoppers, concert goers, movie viewers, etc. At least one but probably two Democrats will help them make sure nothing is done.

According to PawPaw Blacklung, letting a simple majority in the Senate pass legislation is “total insanity,” but apparently ongoing intolerable carnage is just the price we have to pay to maintain the glory that is the fucking filibuster.

Goddamn, I hate these people. All of them who refuse to address this, for whatever reason. I despise them jointly and severally.

This guy makes a good point:

Further, he said it’s all about which families are worth protecting, and he’s 100% correct. Brett Kavanaugh’s family is. The families in Uvalde, Texas aren’t. Yours and mine aren’t either.

I don’t know what to do with the anger and sadness anymore. Continue reading…

Another school shooting

Here’s the horrifying news from Jake Tapper’s Twitter feed:

What else is there to say except this is a deeply sick fucking country? That’s all I’ve got anyway.

Open thread.

Why Pence Runs + Primary Races (Open Thread)

Some pundits seem mildly surprised that Mike Pence is stumping for Kemp in the Georgia GOP primary. That race is a proxy for Trump’s grudge match against Kemp, and Trump’s enmity toward Kemp is a proxy for Trump’s grudge match against the reality that he, Trump, is a losing loser who lost.

But is Pence’s defiance of Tangerine Baal in Georgia really surprising? Jonathan Martin in yesterday’s Times:

After four years of service bordering on subservience, the increasingly emboldened Mr. Pence is seeking to reintroduce himself to Republican voters ahead of a potential presidential bid by setting himself apart from what many in the G.O.P. see as the worst impulses of Mr. Trump. He’s among a small group in his party considering a run in 2024 no matter what Mr. Trump decides.

BORDERING on subservience? Pence steamed over that border and occupied the entire country of Subservientstan! He was the most obsequious toady in the history of servility!

And I think that’s why Pence is absolutely compelled to run again, even though Trump Republicans were baying for his blood on January 6 and it’s clear the party prefers loud-mouthed lib-owning authoritarians rather than the prim, Bible-humping variety. For Pence, it’s just too much to have endured that pride-swallowing nightmare for naught.

Pence simply cannot accept the fact that 4.5 years of starting every sentence with “Under President Trump’s exceptional leadership,” that all the ceaseless ass-kissing he lavished on a gross orange pervert was undone by one day’s adherence to the law. The smooth brain beneath the neatly clipped, fly-attracting white hair just cannot compute that fact. Pence is in denial.

Anyway, it couldn’t happen to a more deserving lickspittle, and I hope the forthcoming series of rejections causes severe psychological distress. Fuck that guy.

Also, there are some interesting primary races today. It looks like Georgia Republicans really will put a domestic-violence prone serial liar up against Senator Warnock. Will Hice prevail over Raffensperger, perhaps setting the stage for overturning fair elections in the future? Could be!

Will terrible Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey avoid a runoff? Maybe. Will Mo Brooks overcome Trump’s un-endorsement to prevail for the U.S. Senate race? That would be funny. Will felonious TX AG Ken Paxton finally put the desiccated Bush dynasty out of its misery?

The only race I’m personally invested in is Cuellar vs. Cisneros in the TX 28th. The anti-choice, possibly corrupt as fuck Cuellar is favored to win, but I hope Cisneros kicks his ass.

Which races are you watching? Open thread!

A Friedman Unit from the Abyss

NYT columnist Tom Friedman had an off-the-record lunch with President Biden a week ago today. (Sounds like bad staff work to me.) Friedman damned Biden with faint praise by comparing his ability to pull together international support to GHWB’s. But Friedman came away from lunch fearful that we’re a Friedman Unit away from the abyss because of divisions at home:

Biden didn’t say it in so many words, but he didn’t have to. I could hear it between the lines: He’s worried that while he has reunited the West, he may not be able to reunite America.

It’s a legit fear. But then Friedman says this:

But with every passing day, every mass shooting, every racist dog whistle, every defund-the-police initiative, every nation-sundering Supreme Court ruling, every speaker run off a campus, every bogus claim of election fraud, I wonder if he can bring us back together. I wonder if it’s too late.

Emphasis mine to highlight the stupidity of the both-sides framing. On one side we have the Republican Party, which has morphed into an authoritarian cult whose powerful elected officials openly reject democracy, suppress votes, ban books, persecute vulnerable citizens, censor and/or punish protected speech, etc.

On the other, a party whose leaders explicitly rejected a poorly worded slogan that failed to gain traction beyond a handful of activists and backbenchers two years ago, and speaker controversies on college campuses. Friedman and other unfortunately influential elites are still equating these things, and that’s a big problem!

To defeat Trumpism we need only, say, 10 percent of Republicans to abandon their party and join with a center-left Biden, which is what he was elected to be and still is at heart. But we may not be able to get even 1 percent of Republicans to shift if far-left Democrats are seen as defining the party’s future.

Emphasis mine because that’s where Friedman tells on himself, with that passive language. Whose job is it to inform Americans about their society and government, to let them know what forces are driving and responding to events? A category that includes Friedman.

CPAC is in Hungary this year. Republicans are celebrating the demise of Hungarian democracy with the autocrat who smothered it, Viktor Orbán, and he, their guest of honor, told Republicans how to finish smothering democracy here in the U.S.

But on the other hand, 1) Ilhan Omar, and 2) some Yale students were rude to a Federalist Society speaker.

If the republic is saved, it will be in spite of people like Friedman, who, unfortunately, get invited to the White House for lunch.

Open thread.

Off with her head, he said

Two items caught my attention on Twitter early this morning, and they’re sort of related. First, this truth bomb from Julia Ioffe:

There’s no excuse for how long most MSM outlets kept to the baseball/Broadway model. And I’ll believe they’re treating the ongoing threat to democracy as seriously as it warrants when the danger penetrates the skulls of more of their viewers.

But this NBC News story is a good start:

Jocelyn Benson, Michigan’s top election official, faced an onslaught of threats after the 2020 presidential election for refusing to overturn results that showed Joe Biden had won the state. In those hectic weeks, she says she also received an especially disturbing piece of information: President Donald Trump suggested in a White House meeting that she should be arrested for treason and executed.

Benson, a Democrat, revealed the alleged remark for the first time in an interview with NBC News. She said she learned of it from a source familiar with Trump’s White House meeting.

The article doesn’t say when Benson learned of Trump’s remarks. I wonder if maybe someone saved that tidbit for a book, and Benson found out about it recently when asked to comment? Just speculating, but it doesn’t seem like something you’d keep under your hat.

Anyhoo, Benson is running for secretary of state again this year. Her Republican opponent is a Trump-endorsed delusional liar named Kristina Karamo, who claims the 2020 election was stolen and that Benson should go to jail. Karamo also has the endorsement of the Michigan GOP, so they’re cool with threatening to jail state officials for not stealing elections.

To NBC’s credit, the reporters call Trump’s lies about the 2020 election what they are — lies:

Since leaving office, Trump has continued to spread lies about the 2020 election despite audits in 39 states and more than 60 courts confirming the results. The messaging appears to be having an effect on the American public. NBC News’ most recent polling suggests that about 38 percent of voters across the country still believe the election was stolen.

The article also notes that Big Lie promoters who are running for key election posts “are on the ballot in 14 states, including the key battlegrounds of Arizona, Georgia, Michigan and Nevada.”

More reporting like this, please.

Also, did y’all know that Madison Cawthorn lost his primary race? Bring on the “Dark MAGA!”

Open thread.

ETA: Breaking from The Post:

Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, the conservative activist and wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, pressed Arizona lawmakers after the 2020 election to set aside Joe Biden’s popular-vote victory and choose “a clean slate of Electors,” according to emails obtained by The Washington Post…

The messages show that Thomas, a staunch supporter of Donald Trump, was more deeply involved in the effort to overturn Biden’s win than has been previously reported. In sending the emails, Thomas played a role in the extraordinary scheme to keep Trump in office by substituting the will of legislatures for the will of voters.

Thomas’s actions also underline concerns about potential conflicts of interest that her husband has already faced — and may face in the future — in deciding cases related to attempts to overturn the 2020 election. Those questions intensified in March, when The Post and CBS News obtained text messages that Thomas sent in late 2020 to Trump’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows, pressing him to help reverse the election.

The coup-plotter’s husband should resign or be impeached.