News Dump

If the current big and predictably evanescent story is the “Pandora Papers,” which confirmed — surprise! — corruption among many world leaders and other wealthies, and how states like South Dakota, governed by one of Trump’s biggest sycophants, are welcoming tax cheats, there are other indicators, too, of how close to collapse we are.

Anyone remember that “forensic” audit of votes in Arizona’s Maricopa County? By a group headed by another Trump-fluffing faker? Which would prove Trump won and sell lots of pillows? Well, months and millions later, it released its findings: Biden still won. By more votes than previous recounts had found. Which might surprise Fox “news” viewers; after pre-hyping it incessantly, Fox made nearly zero mention of the final report.

But that’s not the story. The story is that, after the results became public, Trump stood before an enraptured crowd and, preceded by his usual hallucinatory word-salad, uncorked the following grotesquetude: “We won on the Arizona audit yesterday at a level you wouldn’t believe.”

They would, though. In a functioning democracy, having borne witness to real-time, living proof he’s a liar or insane, everyone in attendance would have flown the coup. They didn’t. Didn’t even blink. Which underscores the success of perpetual Trumpic election fraud claims: suborning rejection of elections past, present, and future in which Republicans lose. To that end, despite multiple audits showing no fraud, more are underway in other red states, the outcomes of which don’t matter. To the pre-softened, it’s show, not substance.

Like the debt ceiling charade. Per usual, Republican tax cuts broke the budget. Then, predictable as Trump’s next confabulation, when the bill comes due, they threaten default, dishonestly blaming Democrats’ future plans, which include pay-for.

Speaking of duplicity, a member of the right-wing, white-supremacist group known as Boogaloo Bois just admitted posing as a BLM member while shooting up a police station in Minneapolis. It’s not the only instance; the FBI has said so. In fact, it’s a solid bet that nearly all violence at BLM demonstrations was by racist poseurs. Another instance of convincing the eagerly susceptible. “BLM is a terrorist group” is ubiquitous Foxotrumpian fake news. And believed.

In another threat to the Republic, we’ve now passed 700,000 deaths from Covid-19; even as red-state governors do all they can to keep the pandemic alive. Even as deaths are now nearly exclusively among the unvaccinated. Doesn’t matter. If Trumpists believe he “won” the Arizona audit, they’ll believe anything, literally to their dying day.

And they’ll believe, for another democracy-killing example, that Texas’ egregious anti-abortion law, based on lies, religious hypocrisy, false promises, and bad science, represents no threat to anyone other than young women and their doctors; because who cares? Monday, in a New Yorker interview, Attorney General Garland warned of disturbing possibilities.

The law, for technicalities that challenge comprehension, avoids judicial review of its blatant unconstitutionality by having “deputized” citizens, not state agencies, to become watchdogs and bringers of lawsuits against anyone exercising what remains, for now, a constitutional right. That’s as cynical as it gets.

The same approach could be legislated against any other right, avoiding judicial review, Garland stated. Not worried? What if it were guns? Or religion? No worries: it’d only be Islam, right? Judaism, maybe. Sikhs. Heads covered by anything but white sheets. Hyperbole? Texas is the latest red state proposing to make the Bible its “state book.”

Speaking of head-coverings, we learned last week that the anti-masks-in-schools movement gets funding from Koch-related money. Same with groups pushing the lie that Critical Race Theory is taught in our K-12 public schools. So virulent is that duo of disinformation that school boards around the country need federal protection. But, hey, it’s okay with Republicans.

Clearly, Koch and other involved billionaires believe the way to keep their money safe from taxes that help average people, is continual, manufactured outrage. Truth being unprofitable, they opt for lying to reliably gullible Trumpists.

But there’s no more sickening example of manufactured outrage than Fox “news” latest attack on Tammy Duckworth. What horrible people they are.

Finally, there’s President Biden’s $3.5 trillion “Build Back Better” bill. An unimaginable amount of money, causing predictable splits within the perennially suicidal Democratic Party, and fainting-couch hypocrisy from Republicans. How unimaginable? Well, it’d be spent over ten years. Meaning $350 billion per year, on programs that’d make millions of Americans safer, healthier, more secure, less impoverished, better prepared for employment. How much is that, in context? Less than half of what’s spent, annually, on the military. Makes you think. Or would, if thinking were still a thing.

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Sid Schwab

Retired surgeon. Published author. Blogger. Columnist. Losing hope that American democracy can survive Republican attempts to end it.