Lingering Dishonor

Tonight I say this to my Republican colleagues who are defending the indefensible: There will come a day when Donald Trump is gone, but your dishonor will remain.

Rep. Liz Cheney

This week’s featured posts are “Will the Great Salt Lake stay great?” and “The hearings, week two“.

This week everybody was talking about the continuing 1-6 hearings

This was covered in the second featured post.

This week we saw that the Big Lie is alive and well, and screwing up current elections. New Mexico held a primary on June 7, but Otero County refused to certify results for the state to total up.

The all-Republican [county] commission had refused on Monday to certify the results — citing concerns about Dominion voting machines and questions about a handful of individual votes in this month’s primary.

Friday, the commission voted 2-1 to submit to a court order that they certify results. The one dissenting vote was from a commissioner who has been sentenced to 14 days jail time for trespassing on the Capitol grounds during the 1-6 riot.

Controversies over Dominion voting machines are perhaps the most thoroughly debunked of all Trump’s election-fraud lies. Not even Fox News and Newsmax make the claim any more. Hand recounts in numerous states have failed to find higher-than-normal discrepancies in final vote totals, ending the controversy for all people who live in the real world.

Republican Rep. James Comer promised an OAN interviewer that when Republicans get control of the House in 2023, they will take revenge by holding “Hunter Biden hearings“. The idea here seems to be that this will make Democrats sorry they investigated 1-6 and demonstrated Trump’s criminality.

Here’s what he doesn’t get: Democrats aren’t a personality cult the way Republicans are.

In particular, we aren’t dedicated to protecting each other from learning the truth about Joe Biden or his family. If it turns out that Hunter Biden really did commit crimes (which I don’t think has been established yet), by all means he should be investigated, prosecuted, convicted, and go to jail. I believe that would make his father sad, but keeping Joe Biden happy is not a high priority for me or for most Democrats, certainly not the way that keeping Donald Trump happy is a priority for Republicans.

and “both sides do it” distractions

Right-wing media and politicians like Marco Rubio have started calling for the Justice Department to take action against a pro-choice “terrorist” group, Jane’s Revenge. You can expect JR to become the new antifa. Night after night, Fox News will cast it as a violent left-wing conspiracy that the authorities supposedly ignore while targeting “patriotic” right-wing groups like the Proud Boys.

The problem with this framing is simple: So far there’s little indication that Jane’s Revenge is much more than a viral meme. (Similarly, antifa is much less than right-wing media makes it out to be. It appears to be a handful of local groups with no national coordination.) So if you graffiti some anti-choice institution (“You Do Not Have the Right to Determine How Others Live” painted on a Catholic Church, for example), your action will become part of a 50-incident list of “Attacks on Churches, Pro-Life Organizations, Property, and People Since the Dobbs Leak” that Rubio will tie to Jane’s Revenge. And as the meme catches on, you may even decide to sign your graffiti as “Jane’s Revenge”, or attach that name to a threatening letter you post online. But that doesn’t mean you belong to any group — or even that there is a group to belong to.

A small percentage of the “attacks” on Rubio’s list do involve real or attempted property damage, and those are crimes that should be investigated and punished like comparable property crimes, most of which never get federal attention. But I doubt that his list would impress anybody who has worked at an abortion clinic, where hostile graffiti is just another Tuesday, and people occasionally get killed. (My church suffered an “attack” a few years ago: Our “Black Lives Matter” sign was defaced, as were the signs of at least 50 other churches. We never heard from Rubio.)

None of this “left-wing terrorism” bears any resemblance to right-wing terrorism, which regularly kills people, or to the Proud Boys’ or Oath Keepers’ participation in Trump’s coup attempt.

Just last weekend, 31 members of Patriot Front were arrested on their way to violently disrupt a Pride event in Idaho. Reportedly, the 31 came from 11 states and only one was from Idaho. That’s what an interstate terrorist group looks like.

So far, Senator Rubio hasn’t written to Merrick Garland to complain about them.

and the Senate gun compromise

Last week a bipartisan group of senators announced they had compromised on a framework for legislation. But it started to come undone this week when they got down to writing a bill.

The major sticking points? Funding for red flag laws and what to do about the “boyfriend loophole.” Both issues present a number of thorny challenges for negotiators, but the “boyfriend loophole” specifically has been cited as a considerable roadblock.

Currently, you can’t buy guns if you’ve been convicted of domestic violence against a spouse, a live-in partner, or the mother of your child. Democrats want to extend that prohibition to less well defined dating relationships. Republicans agreed in principle, but defining the exact bounds of “boyfriend” is giving them heartburn. After all, violent men who like guns are pretty much the core of the Republican Party.

It’s had to argue, though, that extending the loophole wouldn’t have a big effect on mass shootings. Men who commit such crimes usually start out smaller, by abusing either animals or women who are in their power.

Mass killings of children get the most media attention, but apparently no one of any age is safe from the epidemic of gun violence. Thursday evening, a 70-year-old man went to a potluck dinner at an Episcopal church in Alabama and killed three even older diners before being hit with a chair by another man in his 70s.

If I had to choose the American denomination least likely to be either the victims or perpetrators of violence, I might well have picked the Episcopalians. Historically upscale and stereotypically “nice people” (sometimes to a fault), Episcopalians tend to be theologically and politically liberal but ritually conservative. They are closely related to the Church of England, whose niceness comedian Eddie Izzard lampooned in her “Cake or Death” routine, which seems a bit less funny today.

and Juneteenth

By the calendar it was yesterday (June 19); the federal day-off-work is today.

Juneteenth marks the day in 1865 when a Union general announced that the slaves of Texas were free. That makes it a bittersweet holiday, because the Emancipation Proclamation had taken effect on January 1, 1863, more than two years earlier. General Lee had surrendered at Appomattox more than two months before. And even after Juneteenth, the proclaimed “absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves” was a long time in coming. Some would say it still hasn’t arrived.

In short, Juneteenth reminds us that there’s a big difference between having rights on paper and having rights that the ruling institutions can or will enforce in practice.

but we’re not paying enough attention to environmental disasters in progress

That’s the topic of the first featured post, about the shrinking of the Great Salt Lake.

The other big recent environmental news story is about too much water rather than too little: the flooding of Yellowstone.

and you also might be interested in …

The Texas Republican Party went off the deep end this week, approving a platform

declaring that President Joe Biden “was not legitimately elected” and rebuking Sen. John Cornyn for taking part in bipartisan gun talks. They also voted on a platform that declares homosexuality “an abnormal lifestyle choice” and calls for Texas schoolchildren “to learn about the humanity of the preborn child.”

It also calls for repealing the 16th Amendment (which allows a national income tax), abolishing the Federal Reserve, and holding a referendum on whether Texas should secede from the Union.

Here’s hoping Governor Abbott doesn’t duck a debate with Beto O’Rourke, so Beto can ask him about his party’s platform point by point.

If you’re in my generation and want to feel old, meditate on this: Paul McCartney turned 80 this week. “When I’m 64” is but a distant memory for him now. Two days before the big day, he performed at Met Life Stadium in New Jersey, and was joined on stage by New Jersey icons Bruce Springsteen (a mere 72), and young whippersnapper Jon Bon Jovi (60).

French President Macron’s party lost its majority in the lower house of Parliament. It’s still the largest party, but will have to find allies to accomplish anything. France’s government may become as logjammed as the US.

and let’s close with something over the top

Apparently in Denmark, the only thing cooler than riding the bus is driving one.

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