Kevin Brennan Writes About What It's Like

Filibustering reality

• Turns out, according to a new book, that last year Trump wanted to dump covid-infected Americans returning from overseas into Guantanamo Bay prison. The idea was to keep the statistics lower … 

• A federal judge has blocked an ACLU/BLM lawsuit against Trump and Bill Barr for their actions against protesters in Lafayette Square last year. She says there’s no evidence of a conspiracy to deprive the protesters of their civil rights. 

• The Republicans, along with Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, successfully blocked the For the People Act in the Senate on Tuesday. I include the two Democrats because they remained rigid about not changing the rules governing use of the filibuster. Neither of them seems to understand the gravity of this moment in the future of our democracy, pretending that bipartisanship can be revived somehow and that we’ll return to the old SOP one day soon. They’re tragically wrong about that. The GOP is on a campaign to secure permanent power, and the Dems are letting them do it. 

• Florida governor, Ron DeSantis, is taking that state farther down the pike toward one-party rule by signing a bill that requires state-funded colleges and universities to carry out a survey each year that evaluates “viewpoint diversity.” That means, as far as I can tell, that he wants to be able to defund institutions that aren’t conservative enough for his liking. Republicans have long griped about universities being hotbeds of radical left thinking that indoctrinates our kids, so this is nothing new. What’s new about it is that the state will now track students’ ideology and take whatever steps it deems necessary to “correct” the situation. Scary stuff. Chairman Mao … paging Chairman Mao. 

• Fortunately, Nancy Pelosi has announced the formation of a House select committee to investigate the January 6 insurrection. Though Jim Jordan will try to make a mockery of it, the country will get to see serious and sober witnesses testifying about what happened that day. And maybe we’ll start digging below the surface of the conspiracy that planned it, with a goal of overturning the election results. This is a political iceberg. 

• In the schadenfreude department, Rudy Giuliani’s New York law license has been suspended because he’s a dirty rotten no good stinkin’ liar, that’s why.

Finally, I’m sure some of my comments lately about Manchin and Sinema and the filibuster have been sounding like hyperbole to some readers, but do yourself a favor and read Anne Applebaum’s Twilight of Democracy to learn why I’m so adamant. We are now at a moment that other countries passed through a few years ago on their own march toward autocracy or, at least, one-party rule: the moment when a leader or party achieved the ability to destroy the opposition’s competitive effectiveness. 

Applebaum takes us through the process of “de-democratization” that took place in Poland, Hungary, Spain, and even the UK (especially during the Brexit fiasco), and shows us that, in each of them, manipulation of traditional and social media were key. Each of them had their own version of the Big Lie. Usually some degree of capturing the courts was involved (see our own 6-3 Supreme Court slanted in the conservatives’ favor). Government takeover of television, newspapers, and radio gave leaders like Victor Orbán in Hungary an advantage that the opposition parties could not overcome. (Here we have Fox News and OANN spreading lies like so much manure.) Orbán himself said at one conference when asked how he achieved his overwhelming power said (I’m paraphrasing), “It helps if you have no opposition.” 

We used to think of these conditions prevailing only in countries like Iraq. Turns out Saddam Hussein was just ahead of the curve. 

In the U.S., our unique system giving the states control over elections makes possible what is going on right now: the passing of hundreds of voter suppression measures that will make it harder for Blacks and other typically non-Republican groups to vote in the future. The Supreme Court ravaged the Voting Rights Act of 1965 a few years ago by removing the provision that required federal approval of new election laws in states with checkered pasts where race is concerned, so red states are now free to do whatever they like. On a TKO, Republicans just killed the For the People Act that would have standardized elections across the country and protected the right to vote everywhere. Meanwhile, highly manipulative gerrymandering will continue in states with Republican legislatures, and the ability of Democrats to compete in elections there will quickly diminish. 

That’s why I think it’s come down to a pretty simple calculation: You’re either for the filibuster or you’re for democracy as we know it. When you make your choice, you’re deciding how history is going to define you, senators. Will it blame you or praise you?

When a train wreck is happening in slo-mo, like this one, there’s no excuse for not slamming on the brakes. 

2 comments on “Filibustering reality

  1. Gary Trujillo
    June 25, 2021

    The Radical Right claims to hate China, yet ironically wants to instill the same propaganda.

    (in a Southern accent) “Cept we’ll teach ‘Merican shit instead of that Chineeese shit.”

    • Kevin Brennan
      June 26, 2021

      It’s so telling that the right jumped aboard Trump’s pro-Russia shtick without missing a beat too. Hypocrisy reigns.

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This entry was posted on June 25, 2021 by in politics and tagged , , , .
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