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Time to use the “F” word

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 22/05/2022 - 2:30am in

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If the jackboot fits …

Brian Beutler has some thoughts in his latest Big Tent newsletter about the new, focus grouped, “ultra-MAGA” designation the Democrats are trying out It’s a long piece and I urge you to subscribe so you can read the whole thing. It’s excellent. But I’ll provide some excerpts:

I’ve come to appreciate the (possibly unintentional) cleverness of the strategy on an abstract level. If you assume many Republicans will appropriate the term “ultra-MAGA” for themselves (aside: this is why I suspect the cleverness is unintentional) then it makes some sense to roll it out to them, let them all tattoo “ultra-MAGA” on their foreheads. That’s what Elise Stefanik did. It’s what all the MAGA faithful did or will do. And as the radius widens, it’ll encircle more and more Republicans who will be expected to brand themselves the same way. If you’re a frontline Republican, do you want people to think you’re “ultra-MAGA”? Do you want them to know you’re not? Because now you’ll probably have to choose. 

All of which is to say, if it was intended as psychological trickery, there’s a kind of elegance to it. My main lingering doubt is with the decision to revert to mind games, instead of tackling the challenge of toxifying the Republican brand more frontally. I don’t really understand the instinct—when confronted with viscerally loathsome people—to ask market researchers to fool those people into admitting something they’re completely unashamed of. It’s a plan that’s just as likely to make wavering Republican voters more comfortable with “MAGA” than it is to make those voters decide they can’t abide by MAGA-branded candidates anymore. Between Biden decrying the GOP agenda as Ultra-MAGA, and Trump, in his best Mel Brooks voice, singing ‘don’t be stupid, be a smarty, come and join the MAGA party,’ who are they going to follow?

He goes on to discuss the Fetterman-Lamb race in Pennsylvania with some tart observations about the establishment-backed Lamb’s theory of how to win with “kitchen-table-issues.” (Those of you who read this blog regularly know what I think about “kitchen table issues” in a time of right wing authoritarianism as an election strategy — not much.)

And then we get to the meat of the matter:

Republicans are of course happy to tell all kinds of egregious lies about their opponents, particularly in the Trump era. But the idea isn’t to just turn the tables. It’s to make voters hear accurate warnings about the modern GOP at least as often as they hear GOP agitprop about socialism or “grooming” or whatever the latest slander is.

And this is why I think simple, forceful, resonant messages will serve Democrats much better than over-researched ones or excessively specific ones. Precision is important for getting tenure but it’s often the enemy of solidarity.

Liberals (because they’re liberals) like to parse the fascism question into dust. Perhaps it’s safer, to avoid the wrath of fact-checking gods, or to play it safe with more all-encompassing terms like authoritarianism, or more refined ones like Christian nationalism. But we are by no means playing a Price is Right-style game where the goal is to lay the GOP bare with as much nuance as possible, without going even $0.01 over the perfectly accurate description. For one thing, there is no perfectly accurate description; for another, pinpointing various shades of fasc-ish authoritarianism makes it hard to convey the critical fact, which is danger: racial supremacy, violence, Orwellian lies, dictatorship.

Christian nationalism is not a good thing, when you know what it is—but if you don’t know what it is, the words don’t convey the horrors Republicans would like to impose on the country. Which explains in part why the far-right is so fond of it: There are a lot of Christians in America, and most Americans don’t have uniformly negative associations with the word nationalism. “Since [Charlottesville], there has been a major shift among far-right groups, white nationalists, and militias toward espousing Christian nationalism, much like the Ku Klux Klan did,” Alexander Reid Ross, a scholar of radical-right movements, told the New Yorker last year. “The tactic has been to use Christian nationalism to cool down the idea of fascism without losing the fascism.”

To me the fair distinction to draw is that while the GOP has fused itself with a fascist movement, and will neither expel nor marginalize its members, not every Republican in Congress uses fascistic rhetoric or seeks fascistic power. 

But you don’t have to be particularly silver tongued to say both things. It’s easy to talk about non-ultra-MAGA Republicans without saying they’re all fascists. It’s perfectly fair to observe that almost every Republican in elected office has acted irresponsibly since Donald Trump took over their shop. Some of them, the ones who have gone from Trump-tolerant, to anti-Trump, have even admitted it. To take just one example I think about often, Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) kept a foot in both camps until the insurrection, after which he felt free to admit that his vote against Trump’s first impeachment was a shameful error. There are still many Republicans who may feel caught in a collective-action problem, who nevertheless keep making individual choices they know to be immoral. It’s fair to say of them their irresponsibility—whether driven by fear or ambition or both—has included putting party over country.

Not all of them have fully embraced the ethos of fascist slime like Elise Stefanik and Donald Trump and his supplicants; but the time has come for them to take sides. Do they subscribe to the the same ideology as the Nazi who massacred the grocery store or not? Their colleagues are fascists—what are they going to do about it?

Toying around with terms like ultra-MAGA is a way of getting at this same distinction by speaking in code. But after everything we’ve been through, who honestly believes allusion is a more persuasive tactic, a better way to drive narratives, than just shouting screed from the rooftops. 

The good news for Democrats, who aren’t typically comfortable politicking outside the material realm, is breaking the F-ceiling wouldn’t entail confining their campaign rhetoric to the realm of naming and shaming. On the other side of abstraction and subjective criticism, they can note that Doug Mastriano will steal elections from voters, and Joshua Shapiro will not; Mastriano will sign a bill banning abortion; Shapiro will veto it. The Republican wants to crush our freedoms to govern ourselves, our bodies, our families. What does that sound like to you? 

In the spirit of not falling into the trap that swallowed Conor Lamb, Democrats should wage the election in fighting words, and save the clever tricks and sleights of hand for a better day, when we’re not staring collectively down the barrel of an assault rifle. 

Yes.

The word is a hard one to fling around and I’ve been playing with it for six years now, ever since Trump came down the escalator. It’s objectively the right word, but it’s hard to get used to saying it. And I think Beutler doesn’t grapple with the right’s inevitable projection of the term back on the left. They may call us all communists today but fascist will be next, I’m sure. It’s their way.

Still, there is utility in using correct terminology. At least some people will find it easier to understand what you’re talking about! So yes. Why are we pussyfooting around this stuff? It’s happening and it’s very, very threatening.

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Time reversable

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 22/05/2022 - 12:30am in

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It’s hard to tell these days

They weren’t meant to, but these two pictures Michael Beschloss posted got me wondering which direction this country is headed.

Polling too. Had to look at these two or three times so figure out which way numbers are trending.

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Request a copy of For The Win, 4th Edition, my free, countywide get-out-the-vote planning guide for county committees at ForTheWin.us.
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Serendipity?

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 21/05/2022 - 11:00pm in

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Some good ideas come in dreams

Lincoln Memorial. Photo by TJH2018 via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY 4.0).

As a philosophy graduate, I’m a sucker for a discussion of moral philosophy even if it’s from David Brooks. It helps that I woke up too early on Friday with the words solemn, sacred, and defile in my head and rushed to the computer to review Jonathan Haidt and moral foundation theory. Later I found Brooks’ “How Democrats Can Win the Morality Wars.”

Brooks likes to mediate in a somewhat annoying both-sides way. On the left hand, “moral freedom”; on the right hand, “you are not your own.” Why can’t we just get along?

The left, he argues, has its own annoying way of both insisting on its own sense of right while dismissing other people’s as ignorance and bigotry. He’s right about that. Meaning, tolerant progressives are insufficiently sensitive that too-rapid change leaves conservatives feeling that the ground is dissolving under their feet like the traditions that kept Tevye from suffering vertigo. But Brooks also acknowledges that conservatives’ anxiety comes from the perception “that they are losing power as a cultural force.”

Brooks chalks up the tension to differences in moral framing. What it is about, too, is power itself:

This has produced a moral panic. Consumed by the passion of the culture wars, many traditionalists and conservative Christians have adopted a hypermasculine warrior ethos diametrically opposed to the Sermon on the Mount moral order they claim as their guide. Unable to get people to embrace their moral order through suasion, they now seek to impose their moral order through politics. A movement that claims to make God their god now makes politics god. What was once a faith is now mostly a tribe.

This moral panic has divided the traditionalist world, especially the Christian part of it, a division that has, for example, been described in different ways by me, by my Times colleague Ruth Graham and by Tim Alberta in The Atlantic. Millions of Americans who subscribe to the “you are not your own” ethos are appalled by what the Republican Party has become.

So is there room in the Democratic Party for people who don’t subscribe to the progressive moral tradition but are appalled by what conservatism has become?

There should be. That’s how it works in families, doesn’t it?

Plus, can we have a social contract in a “moral freedom” world that rejects broader social standards? Yet the left sees need for a social contract; ours is falling apart like our physical infrastructure. Conservatism, or what it has become under sway from libertarianism, asserts its own version of morality that imposes obligations on others while absolving its own from them: There must be in-groups whom the law protectes but does not bind, alongside out-groups whom the law binds but does not protect.

Brooks concludes:

America needs institutions built on the “you are not your own” ethos to create social bonds that are more permanent than individual choice. It needs that ethos to counter the me-centric, narcissistic tendencies in our culture. It needs that ethos to preserve a sense of the sacred, the idea that there are some truths so transcendentally right that they are absolutely true in all circumstances. It needs that ethos in order to pass along the sort of moral sensibilities that one finds in, say, Abraham Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address — that people and nations have to pay for the wages of sin, that charity toward all is the right posture, that firmness in keeping with the right always has to be accompanied by humility about how much we can ever see of the right.

Finally, we need this ethos, because morality is not only an individual thing; it’s something between people that binds us together. Even individualistic progressives say it takes a village to raise a child, but the village needs to have a shared moral sense of how to raise it.

The problem is both left and right want to have it both ways. How they react when they don ‘t get what they want is different.

Brooks thinks if progressives can acknowledge that both moral traditions need each other — they do — the lion and lamb can learn to coexist. He’s being naive. I lost count of how many moral panics have consumed conservatives before burning out just since the Reagan administration. They are not panics so much as tantrums. As Prince Henry said of Falstaff’s bald-faced lies, “Prithee, let him alone; we shall have more anon.”

It is not just through tantrums and politics that we see the right now acting out. Brooks dodges this. The North won the Civil War but lost the peace to Klan terror and Jim Crow. The left may dominate culturally today, but conservatives have become reactionary and violent, not just at their loss of cultural or moral power, but at having to share power with those they see as lessers. As they did in Wilmington and in Tulsa over a century ago. As they did in Selma on Bloody Sunday. They will dominate the rest of us or people will die. Also see: Christchurch, NZ, Charleston, El Paso, Pittsburgh, Buffalo. No amount of both-sidesing will balance that account.

“Ultimately,” writes Brooks, “the gay rights movement triumphed in the court of public opinion when the nonradicals won and it became attached to the two essential bourgeois institutions — marriage and the military.” Good point. The left must be adapative.

The fight to preserve (if not to restore) abortion rights may require different framing as well. Anat Shenker-Osorio recommends abandoning “choice” as the principle behind abortion rights. It is an essentially libertarian frame that has seeped into liberal thinking. Medical privacy and bodily autonomy are more universal and more progressive hills to fight on. The Irish used other three other “c” words in their fight: care, compassion and change.

As for defending our fragile republic, invoking conservatives’ atrophied sense of what is sacred in America may be something you’ll see more in these pages. That Republicans have defiled the temple erected to Lincoln’s legacy, that their disloyalty disgusts Americans too respectful of and committed to American principles to wrap themselves in Chinese-made flags or to worship false idols as self-proclaimed Real Americans™ do.

It might do no good to remind them. But it will be satisfying.

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Request a copy of For The Win, 4th Edition, my free, countywide get-out-the-vote planning guide for county committees at ForTheWin.us.
If in a position to Play to win in 2022 (see post first), contact tpostsully at gmail dot com.

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Russia and the end of nuclear power

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 21/05/2022 - 12:59pm in

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Of the 50-odd nuclear plants currently under construction, around 1 in 3 are Russian VVER designs, being built by Rosatom. Sanctions on the supply of all kinds of electronics mean that few of these will be completed on time, if ever. in promoting sales, Russia has relied heavily on concessional financing through Sberbank, which is also sanctioned. That’s going to make future sales just about impossible, and create big difficulties in fulfilling existing commitments.

With the exception of the EPR money-pit, the only remaining large reactor design still in the market is China’s Hualong One. Given the experience with Russia, buyers outside China may well be cautious about this option.

So, if there is any chance for new nuclear, it rests with Small Modular Reactors, none of which actually exist (there are small reactors, but they aren’t modular, that is, mass-produced).

Friday Night Soother

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 21/05/2022 - 10:00am in

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Big kitties coming back

Jaguar drinking from a river in Mexico. | GERARDO CEBALLOS

From NowThis News:

The jaguar population in Mexico increased by about 800 animals from 2010 to 2018, according to the first two censuses of the elusive carnivores ever conducted in the country. The news confirms that Mexico’s national strategy to protect jaguars is working, researchers reported recently in the journal PLOS One.

“It was incredible to see jaguars in so many places where there weren’t any before,” said ecologist Gerardo Ceballos of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, founder of Mexico’s National Alliance for Jaguar Conservation and lead author of the paper.

The jaguar (Panthera onca), listed by the IUCN as Near Threatened, ranges from northern Mexico through Central America, the Amazon Basin, and into northern Argentina. Ecologists had never properly counted jaguars in Mexico before, making it difficult to design a conservation program in the iconic cat’s northernmost ranges. The alliance created by Ceballos and his colleagues used the results of the first Mexican jaguar census in 2010 to create a national strategy endorsed by government policy and scientists alike.

“This [paper] is very important,” said jaguar researcher Ronaldo Gonçalves Morato, head of the National Predator Center at the Instituto Chico Mendes de Conservação da Biodiversidade in Brazil. He was not involved in the study. “They are connecting science with conservation plans. It can be a good model for researchers—not only working with jaguars, but all the other big cats or other species that are critically endangered.”

Ceballos and a team of 20 ecologists spanning the country gathered data from photo capture traps to determine where jaguars lived and how many roamed in each of the country’s protected conservation regions. Then, they created a plan to tackle the most critical issues affecting Mexico’s jaguars: preserving wildlife corridors and sanctuaries; advocating for helpful laws and public policy; and avoiding or resolving conflicts with livestock owners.

For example, the government paid people living near protected areas to not deforest sanctuaries, compensated them for cattle losses from jaguar predation, and provided electric fences to prevent jaguars from killing livestock. The on-the-ground efforts paid off.

“Local people have been critical,” Ceballos told Mongabay. “When they have the funding and incentives to protect the forest, they become the most important ally.”

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The horror

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 21/05/2022 - 8:30am in

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Ukraine is living a nightmare

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This story by Danny Gold in Vanity Fair is absolutely terrifying. Imagine yourself in this situation. In 2022. In a city where you just go about our business, uninvolved in politics beyond reading a newspaper once in a while.

Anyone who makes excuses for this or says it’s all propaganda has something wrong with them. These stories are real, told by legit journalists who are relaying the truth back to us.

This is just the beginning of the nightmare odyssey of one woman:

When the Russian soldier placed the bag over Olena’s head and started to tape it around her neck, her training as a doctor told her she only had 40 seconds before she would start to lose consciousness as asphyxiation set in. All she could think to do was start counting the seconds. Her son, sitting next to her, whispered that he was running out of air. She counted to 10. Her husband, Oleh, was locked in a nearby walk-in refrigerator, bleeding from multiple gunshot wounds. She counted to 15.

Russian soldiers had snatched the family that morning as they went block to block through Hostomel, a suburb of Kyiv, 24 days after the war began. “For me, I thought, This is the end,” Olena said. When her count reached 20, a soldier started cutting tiny slits in the bag, and she was able to regain her breath. But that was just the beginning. What followed were nearly two days of detention and interrogations, separated from her family. Olena would only be released so she could return to her home and keep treating patients.

While Russia occupied this city for 35 days, on its failed warpath to Kyiv, Olena ran a one-woman clinic treating all manner of her war-wounded neighbors—gunshots and shrapnel wounds, contusions and concussions from explosions, and sick children—under constant gunfire and shelling. That morning of March 20 would prove a horrific turning point for Olena and her family. It would be weeks before she would see her husband again, as he was taken first to a filtration camp in Belarus and then held in a Russian prison for weeks before being freed during a prisoner exchange. Her son, last seen in the filtration camp, is still missing.

Hostomel is a small city north of Kyiv, the kind of place where city dwellers keep summer homes. It forms a trio of satellite suburbs along with Bucha and Irpin, places now synonymous with an array of war crimes perpetrated by Russia on Ukrainian civilians, from executions to torture. Their names will go down in history with the likes of Srebrenica and Babi Yar.

Today, Hostomel’s buildings still lay destroyed, with the occasional burned-out tank tucked away in an alley. But the roads have been cleared, the demining teams have worked through the area, and the bodies have been removed. Spring is in full bloom. The dog walkers and bicycle riders have returned.

It’s almost impossible to imagine that for five weeks, this same city was hell on earth, that war came here in the most needlessly cruel fashion, that the people here were terrorized in ways those lucky enough to survive will be left processing for the rest of their lives. Many are still asking how this could happen. And why. How could their perfectly normal lives be upended in such a brutal way, so quickly, from one day to the next? But for Olena and Oleh, only one question haunts every minute of every day: What has happened to their son?

When the bombing and occupations started in her town there was no civil authority doing anything so, as a doctor, she started treating the wounded and organizing food drives. It got worse and worse day after day. Russian soldiers started coming to their doors and rousting them out under threat of death.

On the morning of March 20, Olena was in the backyard cooking food over the woodfire stove when she heard screaming coming from the front yard. She ran through the house to the front porch and saw Oleh lying on the ground. He had been shot in the hip and knee. There were 15 fully armed soldiers. One held a gun to his head, screaming, “Traitor! Traitor!”

Dima, who had been in the house, ran to the front yard and dropped to his knees, begging the men not to kill his father. “Dima, my son, was hysterical,” Oleh said.

Oleh yelled for Olena, hoping her arrival would distract the soldiers and calm tensions. Russian soldiers had visited their house a couple of times before, but never like this. “I was not afraid for my life, I was not scared that they would kill me, but I understood that we need to calm everybody down somehow,” said Oleh.

Olena came out of the house with her hands up. She told the soldiers that she was a doctor, that they had no weapons. The soldiers ran into the house and started searching, demanding to know where the phones and weapons were hidden. They found some of Oleh’s medals and awards from his time as a police officer. They yelled again that he was a traitor. Then they took Olena, Oleh, and Dima as prisoners, bringing them to the ad hoc Russian base at the Hostomel airport. Each of them was interrogated by whom they believe to have been intelligence officers, their answers filmed. Oleh was accused of communicating with Ukrainian artillery forces, alerting them to Russian positions.

Olena and Dima were led through a different hallway. That is when the plastic bags were taped over their heads.

“I thought that Olena was with me all the time, but they took her somewhere separately,” Oleh said. “Olena has her story, and Dima and I have separate stories. And all this time, all the days when I was taken away, I thought that she was taken with me and she was somewhere nearby, in the cell near me,” he said.

Olena spent two days being questioned by Russian forces—who was her husband communicating with? How many other doctors were there in Hostomel? She told them she was the only one. What would happen, they asked, if she were no longer there? She said that her patients would likely die.

The Russians decided to test her, getting a military doctor to show her medications and ask her about each one. She passed, and the next day was loaded into a military vehicle and dropped off near the local administration building. The soldiers told her that if she didn’t leave her house, her husband and son would also be released.

Meanwhile, Oleh was still in the ad hoc cell, ignorant to the whereabouts of his son and wife. At 9 p.m. the day he was taken, military doctors placed a hood over his head, led him down a hallway, and laid him down on the floor. It was so dark that they had to use flashlights to examine his wounds. They gave him painkillers, and then asked him to look up and pray. Then they removed the bullets and sterilized and bandaged his wounds, telling him they would stitch him up the following day.

There were a number of other walk-in refrigerators being used as cells in the area, and the men in his cell were able to communicate with those being held next door. He received word that his son was there, and the men told him not to worry, that they would take care of him. “I felt much worse after that because I thought they would let him go,” he said.

Instead, Oleh and other captives were marched, blindfolded with their hands bound behind their backs, into military transport trucks, and delivered to a base in Naroulia, Belarus, which the Russian military was using as a filtration camp to interrogate and divide its prisoners. Once the blindfolds were removed, Oleh was able to see that his son was among the prisoners and felt a wave of relief, but it would not last.

The next day the separations began—Oleh was called to join 13 other men on a large Ilyushin-76 transport plane; Dima was not. He had a brief chance to say goodbye—worried about Dima’s state of mind, he checked to make sure his son remembered his name, address, and phone number—and asked some of the other prisoners to look out for him.

Oleh was blindfolded and bound on his flight, kicked and beaten by Russian soldiers. It was only days later, when he happened upon a library book in his cell, that he realized they had been brought to a prison in the Russian city of Kursk.

Oleh spent the next four weeks there, never going outside. Prisoners were treated awfully. The beatings were so severe that one prisoner later died in the cell. Oleh’s bullet wounds soon grew infected, his leg ballooning to three times its normal size and his temperature reaching nearly 106. Oleh took to urinating on his wounds in the hopes of sterilizing them. When he could no longer stand up at the morning check-ins, they finally took him to receive some treatment, including multiple shots of antibiotics.

He was summoned twice for questioning by Russia’s Federal Security Service and Investigative Committee. They asked if he was a member of far-right Ukrainian organizations, if he was a Nazi, if he knew details of Ukraine’s air defense systems, and if he was in contact with Ukrainian intelligence and the military. Eventually, they realized he was old and not in contact, and mostly left him alone, focusing their ire instead on the Ukrainian soldiers detained alongside him. “They were very cruel to them,” said Oleh.

Read the whole thing if you can. It’s so harrowing it will take your breath away. And it’s just one story out of tens of thousands.

I can’t help but think about the 57 House Republicans and 11 Senate Republicans who voted against aid for Ukraine this week. Do you think they would have balked at some tax cuts for their rich friends? No, I don’t either. They are nihilists and I truly think that considering their history, they are now affirmatively pro-Russia. Sadistic white nationalists gotta stick together, I guess.

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Ministério das Comunicações escondeu encontro de Bolsonaro com Elon Musk

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 21/05/2022 - 7:57am in

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O presidente Jair Bolsonaro e o ministro das Comunicações Fábio Faria se reuniram nesta sexta-feira com o empresário Elon Musk, dono da Tesla e da SpaceX, em um hotel de luxo em São Paulo. Na visita, o governo brasileiro divulgou que usará satélites da empresa do bilionário para monitorar a Amazônia – os valores da transação não foram divulgados, nem nenhum contrato.

Há apenas quatro dias, no entanto, a pasta de Faria afirmou de forma taxativa que não havia nenhum encontro agendado entre qualquer um de seus membros e o homem mais rico do mundo, nem acordos com Musk. A tentativa de esconder a reunião e a parceria se deu na última segunda-feira, quando o ministério respondeu a um questionamento feito pela Coding Rights via Lei de Acesso à Informação.

A ONG, que trabalha na defesa dos direitos humanos na área tecnológica, perguntou se havia “uma data e local de realização” para o que vinha sendo noticiado pela imprensa como uma visita de Musk com a expectativa de parcerias ou acordos “em diálogo com o Ministério das Comunicações”. A organização perguntou ainda se havia “algum acordo e/ou termo de parceria em negociação ou já firmado” com as empresas de Musk.

As respostas vieram sem rodeios. “Não há qualquer acordo ou termo de parceria firmado ou em negociação entre o grupo Space Exploration Holdings, LLC. e este Ministério”, declarou a pasta de Faria. “Não há quaisquer reuniões ou visitas agendadas para tratar de qualquer tema entre este Ministério e representantes do Grupo Space Exploration Holdings”.

O ministro Fábio Faria no encontro Conecta Amazônia ao lado de Elon Musk e Jair Bolsonaro.

O ministro Fábio Faria no encontro Conecta Amazônia ao lado de Elon Musk e Jair Bolsonaro.

Foto: Reprodução/YouTube

Poucas horas depois de fotos de Bolsonaro e Faria juntos a Musk estamparem os portais de notícias brasileiros, a Coding Rights divulgou a negativa do governo no Twitter, acrescentando que “esse episódio põe em xeque nossa confiança no sistema de transparência instituído pela Lei de Acesso à Informação”. A ONG ainda questionou: “Será que organizaram um evento com o presidente e o cara mais rico do mundo em menos de uma semana?” – ou melhor, em meros três dias?

“Possíveis acordos, ou facilidades por parte do governo brasileiro para as ambições de Musk são de interesse de todos. No mínimo é preciso que haja total transparência sobre qualquer reunião e agenda do bilionário com gestores públicos”, disse ao Intercept Joana Varon, diretora da ONG. “Se um evento desta dimensão, que junta presidente, ministro e um dos homens mais ricos do mundo, acontece numa sexta e a resposta negando que haveria qualquer encontro ou reunião aconteceu na segunda-feira da mesma semana, tem algo estranho acontecendo”.

The post Ministério das Comunicações escondeu encontro de Bolsonaro com Elon Musk appeared first on The Intercept.

“It’s a hell of a thing when you hear that”

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 21/05/2022 - 7:00am in

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No, he wasn’t talking about the insurrection

Trump called up a golf reporter yesterday to chew the fat about the sport and other things. Some excerpts.

And then came the Jan. 6 Capitol riots. To say they impacted the professional golf schedule is beyond trite — but they did. Trump said he heard about the PGA’s decision from his son Eric, who runs the golf business of the Trump Organization. “My son, who’s a great guy, called,” Trump said. “My son said, ‘Dad, they’re canceling the PGA Championship [at Trump Bedminster]. I said, ‘That’s terrible. Really? Are you serious?’ He said, ‘Yeah, they’re canceling it. Can you believe it?’ I said, ‘Not really. Let me think about that. That’s something.’

“And then I had to get back to work and China and all this stuff, Russia, the country. But it’s a hell of a thing when you hear that.

Right. He was working on China and Russia after January 6th. He hadn’t been working on anything but trying to overturn the election since election day.

And, by the way, he wasn’t supposed to be doing anything with his business while he was in the White House. Of course, we already know that wasn’t true. He tried to book the G8 into his Doral golf resort!

“I’ll tell you this,” Trump said. “If you took a poll inside the PGA, the 28,000 members of the PGA of America, I’d be 97 percent, I believe. I’d be way up there. And people are really angry at what the PGA did to me by taking that tournament away. And I had nothing to do with January 6th. They’d be very angry at what they did.

“I — meaning my people — told Nancy Pelosi on January 3rd that I think there’s a big crowd coming. I think you should have 10,000 soldiers wrapped around the Capitol or in the Capitol. And she said, ‘No, it won’t be a good look.’

“And that was up to her because she’s in charge of the security. So if you had had a thousand soldiers, Michael, you wouldn’t have had January 6th. And she’s the one that turned it down because she’s in charge of security. I had nothing to do with January 6th, but [the PGA of America] used that.”

This is going to be the defense. And the Trump’s minions in the House have already said they plan to do a January 6th Committee of their own to “investigate” Pelosi’s failure to secure the Capitol to prevent Trump’s supporters from trying to kill his Vice President. They don’t have have to even try to make sense anymore.

And you have to love this one:

Some of Trump’s comments have been lightly edited for clarity. “Clean it up a little bit because sometimes when I’m discussing things with a reporter, I speak differently than if I’m making a speech. Then I speak perfectly,” Trump said

I wonder how many reporters he asks that of? How many agree?

And I will never get over the incessant dishonest bragging. It still makes me feel crazy that half the country thinks this guy is a great leader.

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Yes, they’re coming for LGBTQ rights

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 21/05/2022 - 5:30am in

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Don’t think for a moment they aren’t

It will likely come one case at a time, like this one. They will whittle away and whittle away until the right everyone takes for granted is no longer assumed to be legitimate.

For the first two years of her son’s life, Kris Williams read him the book “Love You Forever” before bedtime most nights. She took him to the park every Saturday. 

In the middle of the pandemic, Williams cut out the cardboard babies on the front of diaper boxes and set them around the house — imaginary friends for W. when he couldn’t safely socialize. (The 19th has used only his first initial to protect his privacy.)

Two years after their son’s birth, Williams and her wife, Rebekah Wilson, had started to split. 

The split was nasty, Williams said, but she wasn’t prepped for the news she would receive at the couple’s divorce hearing in Oklahoma City last January. 

Williams and Wilson are legally married and decided to have W. together, according to Williams, with Wilson carrying the baby. But within 15 minutes of the hearing starting, Oklahoma County District Court Judge Lynne McGuire declared that because Williams had not adopted her son, she was not his legal parent. McGuire ordered that Williams be struck from W.’s birth certificate. In her place would go the couple’s sperm donor, who was now petitioning for custody. 

“My body instantly started shaking,” Williams said. “I mean pure terror, as a queer person, to be erased.” 

Williams has filed a motion to reconsider her case that is set to be heard on June 1. If the case makes its way to the appellate court, the ACLU of Oklahoma plans to step in, said Williams’ attorney Hanna Roberts. Wilson and her lawyer declined multiple requests for an interview.

Williams’ case represents a nightmare scenario for many LGBTQ+ parents, who still lack the same rights granted to their heterosexual peers through marriage. 

“The concern is if Kris loses, that’s going to set some pretty bad precedent in the state of Oklahoma, and possibly beyond,” Roberts said. “I think that this is just the first time that there has been such an adverse ruling that is so contrary to equal protection. It’s gotten the attention because same sex-couples get divorced all the time.”

Read my earlier piece today about CPAC and the great replacement. One of Viktor Orban’s finer points in support of the theory is that LGBTQ rights are hostile to traditional family arrangements which are necessary to produce many babies to populate the country with more white people. It seems counter-intuitive that they would be against LGBTQ people who raise families but I don’t think they believe those families are legitimate in the first place.

This stuff is ugly and it’s going to get uglier.

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No good deeds in Trumpworld

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 21/05/2022 - 4:00am in

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Loyalty only goes one way

I love this story about Trump and Mastriano. There could not be a more loyal lieutenant than the former colonel. But Trump didn’t think he tried hard enough so he refused to endorse him until it was clear he was going to win. In the process he seems to have upset nearly everyone.

Not that they won’t vote for him in 2024, of course …

Donald Trump and some of his top lieutenants spent the last year privately disparaging Pennsylvania state Sen. Doug Mastriano.

The far-right lawmaker played an instrumental role pushing forward Trump’s conspiracies about the 2020 election results in Pennsylvania. There was no soldier more loyal to the cause. And like almost every aspiring Republican candidate in the state, Mastriano was eager to win Trump’s endorsement.

Yet Trump — who scrutinizes candidates for their presentation and star power — remained unconvinced. Mastriano’s loyalty alone wasn’t enough to earn his support. Trump wanted more concrete action.

Trump was skeptical of Mastriano, according to a source familiar with his thinking, because he had “done nothing on the audit promises in a year,” a reference to an investigation of the 2020 election that he pushed in the state.

The former president’s last-minute decision to publicly back Mastriano gave him another win to boast of on primary night, but at some cost. The endorsement stung not only some of his own aides and allies — who warned him about Mastriano’s electability issues — it also roiled a large swath of influential lawmakers and party officials in the state who now say Trump’s endorsement could end up damaging his own 2024 prospects in Pennsylvania, in the event he runs again.

“He’s alienated a lot of people on these endorsements. I guess the old saying in politics is that it’s better to be kingmaker than king. He just looks at who’s ahead in the polls and goes with that,” said former Pennsylvania GOP Rep. Tom Marino. “I’m very disappointed. Pissed off, to tell the truth.”

Marino supported Lou Barletta, the runner-up in the governor’s race, who has been among Trump’s most loyal allies in Pennsylvania. In 2016, Barletta was one of the first members of Congress to endorse Trump. But in the end, none of that mattered. Trump wanted to burnish his win-loss record and appease his base, which was frustrated by his endorsement of Dr. Mehmet Oz in the Senate primary, according to interviews with more than a dozen Trump aides, allies and Pennsylvania Republicans.

But by backing both Oz and Mastriano, Trump managed to upset nearly everyone — rank-and-file Republican voters who disliked the celebrity doctor, as well as state GOP insiders worried their gubernatorial nominee can’t win in November.

“I’m not very happy with his involvement in local races and endorsements,” said Rob Gleason, former chair of the Pennsylvania GOP, who endorsed former U.S. Attorney Bill McSwain for governor. “He doesn’t live in Pennsylvania. His name isn’t on the ballot. He might be wearing out his welcome.”

Mastriano’s campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

Mastriano, a retired Army colonel who supports expanding gun rights, sponsored a bill to ban abortion once a heartbeat is detected, and was a leading voice against Covid-19 restrictions, has used those criticisms as a battle cry for his supporters. At his election night party, he said his movement is “under siege.”

“Our biggest problem,” said Mastriano on Steve Bannon’s “War Room: Pandemic” podcast on Tuesday, “is going to be these feckless RINO-type Republicans here that will not allow us to have a fighter as governor. But we’re going to beat them and they’re going to lose power, and they’re going to be put to shame.”

Down at Mar-a-Lago, prior to the endorsement, Trump was visited by a steady stream of Mastriano’s competitors who vied for his support. Barletta, businessman Dave White, and state Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman, who had become a golf partner with Trump, all courted him. But Trump didn’t want to back Barletta, who had lost a Senate run in 2018, wasn’t impressed by White’s polling, and, despite some chemistry, didn’t see a pathway to victory for Corman, who trailed in polls.

After Corman eventually dropped out last week, he and Trump spoke on the phone to discuss the race and Corman shared that he was supporting Barletta. At the time, Trump gave no indication of what he was going to do.

But according to multiple people, it was unlikely he would support Barletta, whom Trump had referred to at times as a “loser” because of his failed 2018 Senate campaign.

Asked for comment for this story, Barletta said: “At least I’m not a sore one.”

Oooh. Deep cut. Is it possible that some Republican officials are seeing the truth about their Dear Leader?

Sure. They always did. It’s their voters who don’t and they won’t say otherwise.

With only a few days remaining until the Republican primary, a number of people in Trumpworld told the ex-president not to endorse at all. And with far-right Senate candidate Kathy Barnette’s numbers surging as she campaigned in the state with Mastriano, others actively lobbied Trump against endorsing Mastriano, if only to curb Barnette’s rise.

One person particularly concerned with Barnette’s momentum was Fox News host Sean Hannity, who slammed the Senate candidate as “unelectable” on his show. In a sign of just how involved Hannity was in primary machinations, Oz thanked him in his election night speech for his “behind the scenes” work.

Donald Trump Jr. was another who voiced concerns internally to Trump’s staff about Mastriano’s electability in November, according to a person familiar with the conversations.

“The question here is, was the juice worth the squeeze? I think no,” said one prominent Republican involved in the governor’s race. “His standing and reputation — it took a big, big hit with both Oz and Mastriano [endorsements]. There is a third of the electorate that loves the endorsements, but there’s a great number of Republicans that don’t.”

Local party leaders were also frustrated by Trump’s eleventh-hour decision to wade into the governor’s race.

Asked if she was upset with Trump for endorsing Mastriano, Jackie Kulback, chair of the Cambria County Republican Party, said, “Yes. Absolutely.”

“We had our ground game in place,” said Kulback, whose county party backed Barletta and White. “We cannot ignore our countless hours of research and be swayed by the last-minute endorsement of former President Trump.”

All along, Mastriano had some key Trumpworld figures in his corner — and in Trump’s ear. Trump’s former personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, former New York City police commissioner Bernard Kerik, attorney Jenna Ellis, former OAN anchor Christina Bobb and Trump spokesperson Liz Harrington were all supportive of the Pennsylvania lawmaker. Michael Glassner, Trump’s former campaign chief operating officer, was also a consultant for Mastriano.

One person close to Trump said that in the end, the biggest factor in his decision to endorse Mastriano was his commitment to “election integrity” in the key swing state.

“The biggest reason why he did it was he said, ‘Mastriano was there for me and I need to be there for him,’” the person said, making comparisons to Trump and the criticisms he faced over electability when he ran for president in 2016.

Oh bullshit. He waiting until the Friday before the election! He waited until he saw that Mastriano was unbeatable!

“He endorsed someone who is going to be very difficult to elect. I’ve heard from so many people who’ve said to me, ‘He obviously isn’t running for president,’” said former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, who had backed Corman. “And their rationale is, ‘If he actually cared about winning the presidency, he would not want a Democratic governor or Democratic secretary of state to do what they did two years ago.’”

Lol! Uhm, no. Trump is trying to put in place people who will steal the 21024 election for him and nobody is more committed to doing that than Mastriano. The only surprise is that he didn’t do it earlier.

And think about what Santorum just said: “he would not want a Democratic governor or Democratic secretary of state to do what they did two years ago.” What they did was conduct a free and fair election and refuse to overturn it. They just casually blurt out that Big Lie as if it’s the most banal truth in the world. Very depressing.

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