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Texas senator's big 'gotcha' moment in DOJ confirmation hearing made him a laughingstock


President Joe Biden’s nominee for U.S. assistant attorney general began going through the very partisan vetting process of a Senate committee hearing Wednesday. Kristen Clarke will become the first woman of color to head the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division in its 46-year existence. It’s an important position, highlighted by the recent national reporting on the continuing epidemic of Black citizen deaths at the hands of our country’s law enforcement apparatus. The NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund (LDF) has lauded the nomination, saying that “Ms. Clarke is precisely the person to restore the original spirit of the Civil Rights Division. She has dedicated her entire career to the enforcement and expansion of civil rights. Her extensive record of civil rights advocacy and enforcement, as well as her deep commitment to justice and professional integrity, makes us confident in her ability to excel as Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights.”

The right wing of the country, having very little to offer but fear when it comes to race and civil rights discourse, has decided that the best way to attack Kristen Clarke’s nomination is to create the impression that she “hates white people.” It’s the old reverse racism argument used by racists, while they stare into the mirror with horror and fear of retribution for their sins. Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, famous for voting against all of the things he tells the electorate he secretly didn’t want to vote for, seems to have been under the impression that he had a real gotcha question and piece of evidence to unveil during the committee hearing. He didn’t. And he looked as pathetic as you might expect.

Sen. Cornyn began by passive aggressively saying, “Well maybe there’s a misprint, but I’m sure you can clear it up for me,” before bringing out evidence that when she was a young student at Harvard, she “argued that African Americans were genetically superior to ah [sic] Caucasians. is that correct?” (I left in the “ah,” because John Cornyn put it in there.) Without knowing what John Cornyn is talking about I can very confidently say that no, that is not correct. But let’s watch Ms. Clarke try not to laugh out loud while giving a serious answer to a clown of a senator.


How people don’t just say “What the f!@#$ are you talking about?” all day long to people like Sen. John Cornyn is beyond me. You can read the article in question, written as a letter to The Harvard Crimson editors. Even if you are a slow reader, the “letter” takes only a couple of minutes to read. Sen. Cornyn and his staff are either too lazy (catastrophically incompetent in their laziness in this case) or they have decided to pretend it isn’t very clearly a baroquely pseudoscientific attack on the unbelievably pseudoscientific dreck written in Murray’s The Bell Curve. In fact, after reading the scientific bullet points laying out why Black people are superior to everyone according to the shiftless criteria of The Bell Curve, Clarke wrote this in her op-ed’s summation.

Attacks on Black people such as those in The Bell Curve are not unique. Black children face this abuse daily through television shows, jokes aired on the radio, textbooks with truncated history, etc. Liberal whites underestimate the damage which racism causes on the minds of Black children, and conservative whites know all too well how to enlarge that damage. No matter how rich or supportive a Black person’s home might be, by the time she is ready to take the SAT or apply to college, she has struggled far more extensively than any white person of the same social and economic background.

In the video it is clear that the hot air really evaporated from Cornyn’s sails. But later on Sen. Cornyn, forever disappointing the Founding Fathers who probably hoped for at least a particle of intelligence from elected leadership, defended his dead-end questioning on social media.


What-about? The problem with Brett Kavanaugh’s pre-professional career was that it is marked with credible accusations of multiple sexual assaults and inappropriate behavior, none of it considered “satire” by anyone, and never has anyone claimed Kavanaugh’s actions to be “satire.” This is not an apple-and-oranges comparison: It is an apples-and-alleged alcoholic sexual assaulter comparison.

Watch 65,000 Milwaukee Bucks Fans Prove That Covid Has Taught Them Nothing.


Edit:  not all Bucks fans were participating in this, obviously, but those that were are asking for Covid to join in the celebration.

Everything has a price.  Everything has an opposite reaction.  If you stick popcorn in a microwave, and tuurn it on, it goes boom, and, well, pops.

If licensed demolition experts put dynamite in a mountain, it goes boom, and well, you build a road.

If you put too much in your closet, the door hinges may snap.

And in you stick 65,000 unmasked, perhaps up to 50 percent unvaccinated persons in a plaza..

And let me just say, as part of the Phoenix metro, I am glad we have no massive parade and gathering to deal with.  That and I grew up a Rocket’s fan anyway.  


The Bucks would then win. Leading to this:


No celebration complete, of course without the obligatory climbing of the flag pole.

So to review, 65,000 persons in a cramped space, screaming and yelling and most likely, at least according to statistics,  50 percent unvaccinated.


But nobody need worry.  The Bucks expanded the plaza to allow quadruple their arena’s capacity only after a lengthy negotiation with the Delta Variant’s representative, thus hammering out an agreement for the variant to take the night off.

And if I had posted that last paragraph on Facebook, some of the readers would have believed it.

We don’t have to worry about aliens.  No.  By now I am sure Fodor’s Universe has been updated to explain that the inhabitants of earth are so low on the intelligence scale, a visit would be a waste of time.

It seems the only shot half of Americans are willing to chance is one by a bullet.


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Congressman: “Donald Trump is a very dumb man. He could not have done this on his own.” EXACTLY!


Congressman Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) did not pull any punches as he pointed out there are forces at work beyond a dumb Donald Trump. Heed his call.

He said it. A dumb Donald Trump could not act alone.

See full episodes here.

The attack on United States Capitol, the insurrection was clearly well organized by many. The New York Times’ well-researched video on the actual event made it very clear. That kind of organization is well beyond Donald Trump’s demonstrated intellect.

It is easy to blame all the bad that has occurred over the last four years on Donald Trump. It is not fair. Donald Trump is just the boss who thinks he is the boss. He is really nothing more than a puppet to the autocratic portion of our plutocracy. And Congressman Ruben Galleco makes it clear.

“The full core of our military is not always going to be our safety net,” Rep. Ruben Gallego said, “Think about this. General Flynn could have ostensibly been back in the Pentagon. He was a Q-Anon nut, as you can get. It is the lawyers; it is civilian people; it is the secretaries of his cabinet that are now serving on corporate boards and treated like they were not part of the insurrection that enabled this feeble man. Trump is a very dumb man. He could not have done this on his own. The fact is that there were active people that were really smart about the operational parts of government that put him in this position and attempted a coup. So we just can’t rely on the military. We also have to make sure that we have civil society and civil servants that are actually going to protect the constitution. And when they don’t, there should be consequences. We shouldn’t just reinvite them into society as if nothing happened.”

Congressman Gallego said out loud what many either surmised or knew. As we move forward, we should realize that our Democracy is not a secure and robust as we want.

My Books, “NEW! How to make America Utopia: Take away the economy from those who rigged it,” It’s Worth It: How to Talk To Your Right-Wing Relatives, Friends, and Neighbors” & “As I See It: Class Warfare: The Only Resort To Right Wing Doom support  (1)  communication techniques &  (2) our Progressive message delivery.

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Fox and GOP are losing their minds over their anti-vaxx stance


It started when Surgeon General Vivek Murthy came forward to state false anti-vaxx rhetoric which has been spreading on Social Media and Fox News is a danger to public health.  On the one hand this has produced deniers like Meghan McCain who claim that Fox “hasn’t been anti-vaxx.”

When of course, it clearly has been.

Recently an E.R. doctor made this quite clear.

In many parts of the country, summer looks relatively normal and safe, thanks to wide acceptance of the Covid-19 vaccine. But that’s not the case for areas that have low vaccination coverage. In those areas, cases are rising again. And as an emergency physician still battling Covid-19 in Michigan, I’m often frustrated by the way the news sources my community watches add fuel to these surges.

The high cost of right-wing Covid-19 denialism hit my community hard during the first surge of this crisis. Now, we’re seeing a new, dangerous anti-vaccine push from these media sources, even as the delta variant threatens communities with low vaccination rates.

The high cost of right-wing Covid-19 denialism hit my community hard during the first surge of this crisis. Now, we’re seeing a new, dangerous anti-vaccine push from these media sources, even as the delta variant threatens communities with low vaccination rates.

The fact is that Fox News is a problem.

“It should come as no surprise many COVID cases are people who watch Fox News hosts … who downplayed the pandemic,” Reid said. “According to Media Matters, between June 28th and July 11th, Fox personalities and guests made a total of 216 claims undermining or downplaying vaccines, Reid went on to show a highlight reel of vaccines being discussed on Fox News, which she described as a “steady and unrelenting stream of lies.”

Even in the example of Steve Doocy recent pro-vaxx statements from Fox and Friends you had co-host, Brian Kilmeade, countering that argument in real-time.

Kilmeade revealed to Fox News viewers that he has yet to understand that anyone who is not vaccinated poises a potential threat to not only those who have yet to get vaccinated, but to those who have – as breakthrough cases are being seen given that the vaccine is close to but not 100% effective. They also create a greater likelihood of new and potentially even more deadly coronavirus variants will develop.”99% of the people who are dying from COVID are unvaccinated,” co-host Steve Doocy interjected, as Kilmeade appeared to roll his eyes.
“That’s their choice,” Kilmeade, a 57-year old father of three insisted.
“They don’t want to die,” retorted Doocy, in a rare smack-down of his colleague. “So they are, the administration and the government are saying, we need the mask mandate to protect the unvaccinated.”
Kilmeade, who has written five books on the Founders and American history, almost prayerfully clasped his hands together and declared falsely, “That’s not their job, it’s not their job to protect anybody!”

if it’s not the government’s job to protect anybody we wouldn’t have seatbelts, airbags or speed limits.  The NTSB wouldn’t have a job. Neither would traffic cops.  Most of the government exists to protect people from some of their own bad decisions and choices, particularly when it involves public health.

Doozy also begged for people to get vaccinated.

“The disinformation is online. The vaccine is killing lots and lots of people. Or it changes your DNA. Or their little microchips. None of that is true,” he said. “If you have the chance, get the shot, it will save your life.”
Doocy’s plea was met with outrage from many of Fox News’ regular viewers, with right-wing Twitter accounts viciously going after the “Fox & Friends” host.
But Fox News viewers really weren’t into it.




This week there was a pro-vax stance from Sean Hannity right after Carlson downplayed them.

“Just like we’ve been saying, please take COVID seriously. I can’t say it enough, enough people have died, we don’t need any more deaths,” Hannity said. “Take it seriously.”

He said, “it absolutely makes sense for many Americans to get vaccinated. I believe in science, I believe in the science of vaccinations.”

That was a marked departure from the previous hour, when Fox personality Tucker Carlson continued to lie about vaccines.

Suddenly we’ve had Mitch McConnel and Steve Scalise endorse the vaccine, but on the same day as Doozy’s plea, Kilmead went even further to spread vaccine misinformation.

“What is this to also say the vaccine is not nearly as effective against this delta variant, as they say if you look at what’s happening in Britain, they say 70% of the new cases are fully vaccinated people with the Pfizer vaccine, nobody talks about that,” host Brian Kilmeade said angrily on “Fox & Friends.”
Kilmeade is spreading false information.
The British Government on Monday announced that 60% of coronavirus patients requiring hospitalization were not vaccinated. NCRM could find nothing to support Kilmeade’s claim that “70% of the new cases are fully vaccinated people with the Pfizer vaccine,” which may be why “nobody talks about that.”
“As a higher proportion of the population is double vaccinated, it’s inevitable that those 10% of that very large number remain at risk and will therefore be amongst the people who both catch the infection and end up in hospital.”
In the UK 68% of all adults are fully vaccinated, and 88% have had one shot.

Qanon poster girl Marjorie Taylor Greene got herself temporarily banned on Twitter for spreading similar misinformation.

“Ms. Greene, a Republican of Georgia, has been an outspoken opponent of vaccines and masks as tools to curb the pandemic,” the Times notes. “In tweets on Sunday and Monday, she argued that Covid-19 was not dangerous for people under the age of 65 who are not obese, and said vaccines should not be required… Twitter said Ms. Greene’s tweets were misinformation, and it barred her from the service until Tuesday.”

Former Fox Host Carl Cameron has come out hard-swinging against Carlson on Covid.

The Anti-Vaxx death toll is rising.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation here are five primary myths about the Covid vaccine.

With social media rife with misinformation, large shares of unvaccinated Americans have latched on to misbeliefs about the vaccines.
One big myth with legs is that the vaccines themselves cause COVID. 36% of unvaccinated adults either believe this or are not sure, and 41% of unvaccinated Blacks do.
Another myth is that the vaccines cause infertility. 29% of unvaccinated adults believe that or don’t know, as do 31% of Republicans. 34% of Republicans also say the vaccines contain fetal cells or are not sure if they do.
About the same shares of unvaccinated adults believe the vaccines change your DNA and that you should not get vaccinated if you have had COVID.
All told 67% of unvaccinated adults cling to one of the major myths about vaccines we asked about in our KFF Vaccine Monitor.

The vaccine won’t make you magnetic, it won’t change your DNA, it won’t make you infertile, and it’s not an excuse to pump a microchip into your body.

Now as a good Democrat, I should look at the fact that vaccine misinformation seems to be the waters that the right-wing want to swim in and just walk away. If they want to kill and sicken themselves, why should I care?  If say an extra 100,000 of them die in key swing states like Georgia, Arizona, and Michigan, so much the better.  I really shouldn’t care that Trump supporters like this one are ending up dead because of their anti-vaxx mania.

On Tuesday, the Cape Cod Times reported that Linda Zuern, a former member of the Bourne, Massachusetts Board of Selectmen and a Trump-supporting figure in the local Republican Party, had died of COVID-19.
Zuern died at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston of severe complications caused by COVID-19, according to the report. She was 70 years old and had not been vaccinated.
“She was a strong woman who believed in speaking the truth and defending our freedoms in America,” Republican State Committeewoman Deborah Dugan told the Cape Cod Times. Dugan was at Zuern’s bedside when she died. “I would describe her to people as a little woman but a mighty warrior.”
For months, Zuern, a member of the pro-Trump group the United Cape Patriots, had promoted conspiracy theories about the pandemic on Facebook. She has shared articles accusing the World Health Organization of a coverup of the “Wuhan Virus” and claiming COVID-19 is cover for “globalists” to usher in “U.N. Agenda 2030” — a sustainable development initiative right-wing conspiracy theorists assert is a plot to create a one world government.

One less Trumper.  I shouldn’t care. An anti-vaxxer dies from not having the vaccine?  That’s like winning the Gold Medal in Darwin’s Olympics.  It’s karma, it’s justice.

The problem is that this isn’t just a personal choice like a seat belt.  It’s not just a matter of one persons “choice” and personal freedom.  This virus spreads.  More importantly, as it spreads it mutant and changes, it before more infectious and more dangerous.

The Delta Variant doesn’t just infect you more quickly, it grows more rapidly in your body.

After months of data collection, scientists agree: The delta variant is the most contagious version of the coronavirus worldwide. It spreads about two to three times faster than the original version of the virus, and it’s currently dominating the outbreak in the United States.

A new study, published online Wednesday, sheds light on why. It finds that the variant grows more rapidly inside people’s respiratory tracts and to much higher levels, researchers at the Guangdong Provincial Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported.

On average, people infected with the delta variant had about 1,000 times more copies of the virus in their respiratory tracts than those infected with the original strain of the coronavirus, the study reported.

In addition, after someone catches the delta variant, the person likely becomes infectious sooner. On average, it took about four days for the delta variant to reach detectable levels inside a person, compared with six days for the original coronavirus variant.

People that are not taking the vaccine are essentially acting as incubators for the next variant.  And the next.

What we don’t want, what we can’t afford is a breakout variant that is no longer affected by the vaccine, then we’ll all be in trouble and we’ll have more unfortunate incidents like this.

A Georgia sheriff’s deputy lost his 5-year-old son to the coronavirus, and the boy’s family issued a heartbreaking statement.
Wyatt Gibson became ill last week with what his family first thought was salmonella food poisoning, but they became alarmed after his tongue turned white a short time later and took him to a hospital, where he was diagnosed with strep throat, a staph infection and COVID-19, reported WGXA-TV.
A GoFundMe campaign has been set up on behalf of the family “to help with medical bills, funeral costs, and to just get through the worst nightmare of any parent.”
“We’d been so careful this whole time for it to find us now?” his family said in a statement. “He was fighting for his very life.”
His mother and father, Whitfield County sheriff’s Lt. Wes Gibson, also became ill from COVID-19, and their son died Friday from a stroke, leaving behind his parents and a 9-month-old sister.’
“A massive stroke struck the soul of his brain,” the family said in a statement. “As his mother gathered him softly to her chest. Two hearts beating slowly… then one. He suddenly became so heavy as the soul who lit this body departed.”
The boy didn’t have any underlying health conditions before falling ill to the virus.

Majorie Taylor Greene is wrong. You can be far, far younger than 65 without any underlying health conditions and still be devastatingly affected by this virus.

It’s the duty of all of us, to do our part in shutting down the spread of this virus. Literally, the world depends on it.

Most of these posts were generated in my new Activist Facebook Group Army for Truth where we are gathering and sharing the true facts about Covid, the Insurrection, Election 2020 and Critical Race Theory.

Woman runner's outfit deemed too revealing while female team fined for NOT revealing enough


If you are going to get in on this misogynist thing, at least PICK A LANE!

Both of these stories just happened this week.

An extremely talented British Paralympian, Olivia Breen, was told by an official at the English Championships that her shorts were “too short and inappropriate.” The “offensive” shorts are shown in the tweet below:


For the record, those are Adidas official 2021 briefs, the kind that athletes are supposed to wear when competing. Breen, who has cerebral palsy, won a world championship gold medal in 2017. She said she has worn that outfit for nine years without complaint. She said the complaint made her feel self-conscious and left her speechless.


The European Handball Federation just handed out a €1,500 fine due to the Norwegian female team deciding to wear shorts instead of bikini bottoms at the European Beach Handball Championships:


Each team member was fined for “improper clothing.” 

In the rules, women must wear bikini bottoms “with a close fit and cut on an upward angle.” Norwegian Handball Federation President  Kåre Geir Lio was adamant that this be followed for the women because, in his words

“It’s not [appropriate clothing for] the activity when they are playing in the sand!”

Could you imagine playing in the sand … in shorts!!?  Madness!!

By the way, what do the men wear?


Hmmmmmm …

The runner wants to be comfortable while jumping, which is hard to do in shorts. On the other hand, the disparity in outfits with the Norwegian team and the harsh penalty on the women makes it clear that their outfits aren’t for them as much as for the male viewers. 

Women athletes already get a raw deal when getting paid compared to their male counterparts, the very least these organizations could do is not hassle them about the sports attire they want to wear. Let’s try treating women athletes as … you know, athletes. It really is the least they could do. 

Unvaxed Trump supporter who spread coronavirus conspiracy theories dies of COVID-19


We’re going see many more and more MAGAts willingly die of COVID.

The recorded cause of death should include “Stupidity” in addition to COVID-19.

On Tuesday, the Cape Cod Times reported that Linda Zuern, a former member of the Bourne, Massachusetts Board of Selectmen and a Trump-supporting figure in the local Republican Party, had died of COVID-19.

Zuern died at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston of severe complications caused by COVID-19, according to the report. She was 70 years old and had not been vaccinated.

For months, Zuern, a member of the pro-Trump group the United Cape Patriots, had promoted conspiracy theories about the pandemic on Facebook. She has shared articles accusing the World Health Organization of a coverup of the “Wuhan Virus” and claiming COVID-19 is cover for “globalists” to usher in “U.N. Agenda 2030” — a sustainable development initiative right-wing conspiracy theorists assert is a plot to create a one world government.

IMO, at some point insurers should refuse health insurance coverage for COVID to anyone who willingly foregoes COVID-19 vaccination without a sound medical reason.


BTW, I knew this guy (below) and his wife for 25 years.  When the pandemic began, he was on FB every day saying how it was “a hoax to bring down Trump” and “I’m not wearing a g-damned mask!”

He died of COVID after 5 weeks on a ventilator at Vanderbilt Hospital here in Nashville.

Ex-Nashville council member, a coronavirus skeptic, dies from Covid-19

Tony Tenpenny had been in the hospital for more than a month before succumbing to the deadly virus he questioned.


I’m reminded of a line from Dicken’s “A Christmas Carol” when two men seek donations from Scrooge to feed the poor during Christmas …

“Are there no vaccines?  Are there no masks?,” he might have asked today.

“If they would rather die,” said Scrooge, “they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population.”

Courtesy of ProgressivePenguin

The GQP Death Cult:

How did lifesaving vaccines become politicized? As Bloomberg’s Jonathan Bernstein suggests, today’s Republicans are always looking for ways to show that they’re more committed to the cause than their colleagues are — and given how far down the rabbit hole the party has already gone, the only way to do that is “nonsense and nihilism,” advocating crazy and destructive policies, like opposing vaccines.

That is, hostility to vaccines has become a form of loyalty signaling.

If Americans had refused Polio vaccines in droves rather than the ‘we’re all in this together’ mass vaccinations Americans eagerly received in the 50’s, leg brace and iron lung manufacturers would be Fortune 500 companies today.

Colbert cold open (thanks to Observerinvancouver):

"Won't you be my neighbor?" Loser Rand Paul wants to arrest Tony Fauci


More poke in the eye disinformation so you won’t pay attention to the closing in on insurrectionists and other Trumpery. Round Two of the exchange between renowned sharp stick expert and Kentucky eye-hack: Fauci tells Rand Paul during heated testimony: “You do not know what you are talking about, and I want to say that officially”





Wednesday, Jul 21, 2021 · 3:53:25 AM +00:00 · annieli

uh, no….


Zhengzhou subways flood as China experiences the most intense and horrid rainfall in a millennium.


Horrific global heating impacts on humans are undeniable as dramatic and deadly weather events wreak havoc across the Globe. One of the powerful weapons the climate crisis uses against us is changing rainfall patterns. In the United States, we are witnessing the desertification of the western half of the country.

In other areas of the planet, heavy flooding has been killing hundreds (if not thousands) of people from Africa to Europe and many places in between. Oman, Uganda, New York, Germany, Belgium, Arizona, and India have all flooded over the past week,

The most recent and devastating example is industry-heavy central china which is suffering the worst flooding ever in this region of the country. Over eighteen inches of rain fell over 12 hours and raised water levels from the Yellow River valley to catastrophic levels affecting over 94 million people. To date, officials claim 12 people killed (simply not believable-video evidence). Parts of the subway systems have become a tomb.

Graphic videos are coming out of China, some of which I embed below. They contradict the official lines of the Chinese government. Please use discretion and not open the clips if you are disturbed by them. You have been warned.

Accuweather writes that cumulative rainfall totals over several days are mind-boggling:

Torrential rainfall unleashed extreme flooding in multiple provinces of China over the past weekend. Videos showed boats plunging over a waterfall, people clinging to trees, and rescuing others.

AccuWeather meteorologists say an area of low pressure is partially to blame for these dramatic flooding scenes.

“An area of low pressure developed across central China and tracked northeastward across the region over the weekend,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Adam Douty said. “This low helped to enhance rainfall along its path.”

Robust thunderstorms developed rapidly on Sunday in Sichuan Province, located in southwestern China, and quickly let loose 4-6 inches (100-150 mm) in rain, according to Douty.

NASA estimates that as much as 18 inches of rain (457 mm) have fallen in localized parts of China during the last week.


Accuweather gave us a new term that we will come to hear more often.

Training describes a phenomenon when thunderstorms repeatedly build back over the same locations that have already been impacted by storms. It’s akin to multiple cars of a freight train passing over the same section of track, one after the other. Rainfall totals quickly skyrocket for locations trapped under training thunderstorms.

Additional heavy rain is not out of the question this week for locations that have already dealt with flash flooding. However, AccuWeather forecasters say the opportunities for the heaviest rainfall will likely be localized in nature, rather than widespread.

According to the AccuWeather severe weather advisories map, various advisories were issued for Beijing and areas to the northeast on Monday night.

See Fish’s comment regarding a portion of the below tweet.


Henan province builds our iPhones.

Henan is one of China’s biggest wheat-producing areas and a major manufacturer of machinery, while Zhengzhou is home to the largest iPhone-making plant, owned by Taiwan’s Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. The flooding struck just as the company, known also as Foxconn, prepares to ramp up output ahead of the launch of Apple Inc.’s latest devices toward the end of the year.

Hon Hai’s plant in Zhengzhou receives components needed to assemble iPhones from global and domestic Chinese suppliers before shipping out the finished producers. A representative for Hon Hai said it was looking into the situation.

Henan is also China’s second-largest food supplier, accounts for about a quarter of the country’s wheat harvest and is a major center for frozen food production. It is also a key hub for coal and metals.

Don’t believe your lying eyes, everyone. 


People have been caught inside subway cars and subway tunnels, and many understandably panicked as floodwaters were up to their throats. According to reports out of China, the famed Shaolin temple north of the worst flooding located on a mountain was still heavily damaged.

The Shaolin temple…



From the Guardian:

Days of torrential rain and massive flooding have hit China’s Henan province, bursting the banks of rivers, overwhelming dams and the public transport system and forcing thousands of people to evacuate their homes.

At least 12 people have been killed in the provincial capital, Zhengzhou, and another four in the nearby city of Gongyi as 14 reservoirs overflowed, sparking flooding and landslides, state media said. The provincial authorities issued its highest level of weather warning. A year’s worth of rain – 640mm – fell in just three days. The city’s weather bureau said more than 552mm of rain had fallen between 7pm Monday and 7pm Tuesday, including 202mm between 4 and 5pm on Tuesday.

About 200,000 people have been moved to shelters, state media Xinhua reported on Wednesday, citing local government. The rainfall flooded the city’s subway system, collapsed roads, and prompted the suspension of inbound flights.

This woman was pulled to safety. This one was not; she and others drowned (graphic).


Floods are common in China’s rainy season, but their impact has worsened over the decades, due in part to China’s rapid urbanisation and the global climate crisis.

Extreme weather events have occurred in many parts of China this summer. Hundreds of thousands of residents in Sichuan province had to be relocated this month due to floods and landslides.

In June, Hotan city, in the far-west region of Xinjiang, had record-breaking rainfall, causing one resident to comment on social media that “the rainfall [this month] is equivalent to the combined rainfall of the past two years”.

Two Mongolian dams collapse.


China destroyed the below dam with explosives to divert the water from the heavily populated centers in Henan province.


NBC News reports on man’s contribution to urban and human infrastructure from heavy rainfall.

Part of the Yellow River basin in China, Henan has several major river systems running through the province which are prone to flooding.

Zhengzhou, which has a population of 12 million, sits on the banks of the Yellow River itself.

Scientists have warned that widespread dam construction has exacerbated climate change problems in China’s flood zone, says the BBC’s China correspondent Stephen McDonell.

Connections between rivers and lakes have been cut and disrupted flood plains which once absorbed much of the region’s annual summer downpours.






Torrential rainfall unleashed extreme flooding in multiple provinces of China over the past weekend. Videos showed boats plunging over a waterfall, people clinging to trees, and rescuing others.

AccuWeather meteorologists say an area of low pressure is partially to blame for these dramatic flooding scenes.

“An area of low pressure developed across central China and tracked northeastward across the region over the weekend,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Adam Douty said. “This low helped to enhance rainfall along its path.”

Robust thunderstorms developed rapidly on Sunday in Sichuan Province, located in southwestern China, and quickly let loose 4-6 inches (100-150 mm) in rain, according to Douty.

NASA estimates that as much as 18 inches of rain (457 mm) have fallen in localized parts of China during the last week.



Remember, there is no do-over with climate. We are at the beginning of the crisis and have seen nothing yet. The flooding in China shows how vulnerable our urban areas are in particular to devastating flooding. 

Be kind to each other.

Good News Roundup


Good Day, Gnusies! I had one heck of a day yesterday — I mean it was 😱😫😅 — so today’s GNR may be a bit disheveled like its author! Not to worry, though, because once again there’s plenty of good news and who cares how it’s delivered just so long as it is delivered, can I get an AMEN? 😁

President Biden is Great!

Biden’s FDR-size Bet, Jonathan Chait, New York Magazine, July 16, 2021.

The precise contents of the bill have yet to take final form. In general, though, it will include a clean-electricity standard and deployment of green technology, expansions for Medicaid and Medicare, subsidies for child care and community college, and a $300-per-month child tax credit. It will, in other words, be a big climate plan, a big health-care plan, a big education plan, and a big social-policy plan all wrapped in a single package. At first blush, the sheer size of the bill might appear like a political liability — how does Biden get every single Democratic senator, and almost every single House Democrat, to vote for the same thing, especially when the most moderate members are afraid to be seen as too liberal? ✂️

US President Joe Biden tours a childhood development center alongside Senator Tammy Duckworth (L), Democrat of Illinois, at McHenry County College in Crystal Lake, Illinois, on July 7, 2021, as he travels to promote his economic plans. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

Democrats in Congress appear to have learned the lesson. They are not bothering to engage in Potemkin negotiations with Republicans whose only goal is to take up time and gum up the works. Nor will they make the mistake of letting years pass before voters taste the fruits of Congress’s labor. The checks to parents, the first year of which was seeded in Biden’s quickly passed pandemic-rescue bill in March, are already going out the door. The Medicare benefits ought to begin swiftly enough for Democrats to actually have something to run on in the midterm elections. ✂️

Biden campaigned on a plan to raise $4 trillion over the next decade by taxing corporations, heirs, and households earning $400,000 a year or more. Not only do serious center-left economists think he can do this without creating a significant economic drag, so do serious center-right economists. Republican economist Douglas Holtz-Eakin calculates Biden’s tax hikes will shave a minuscule 0.2 percent off GDP over the long run. The American Enterprise Institute pegs the economic cost slightly lower. That is a tiny, almost imperceptible cost to growth when measured against the enormous social and economic benefits of the healthier, better-educated, and less-polluted economy it would finance.


Joe is serious about tackling climate change and protecting the environment:


Biden Picks Ex-Brown Senate Aide for Bank Policy Job at Treasury, Jesse Hamilton, Bloomberg, July 19, 2021.

President Joe Biden picked Capitol Hill veteran Graham Steele for a key Treasury Department post that helps coordinate legislation and regulations affecting the U.S. financial sector.

The White House announced Biden’s intent to nominate Steele as assistant secretary for financial institutions in a Monday statement, setting him up as the administration’s point person on policies for Wall Street banks and mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Working with regulatory agencies such as the Federal Reserve and Securities and Exchange Commission, he’s expected to target issues including wealth inequality and how climate change could threaten financial stability. He previously served as a long-time aide to Senator Sherrod Brown, the Ohio Democrat who now leads the Senate Banking Committee. The Senate would have to confirm Steele’s nomination.


🎶 Music! 🎶

Dems Are Great!

Schumer Lays Out Next Steps If Bipartisan Infrastructure Group Doesn’t Finalize Text Of Bill By Thursday, Summer Concepcion, TPM, July 20, 2021.

Senate Majority Leader, Chuck Schumer (D-NY)

Speaking from the Senate floor, Schumer outlined a roadmap if the bipartisan infrastructure team does not finalize the text of the bill by Thursday, a day after the procedural vote the Senate majority leader set to begin debate on the measure.

“If the bipartisan group can finalize the text of their agreement by Thursday, I will offer it as the pending substitute amendment,” Schumer said. “If, for whatever reason, the bipartisan group isn’t ready with their final text by Thursday, I will offer an amendment consisting only of the bipartisan infrastructure bills that have already gone through our Senate committees and are actually the core of the bipartisan infrastructure framework.”

Schumer pointed to the water bill, highway bill, rail and safety bill, and energy bills that have gone through Senate committees and have received “overwhelming” Republican votes.



New Bill Aims To Give Paid Time Off To Families Going Through Pregnancy Loss, Alanna Vagianos, HuffPost, July 20, 2021.

Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL)

A woman who has a miscarriage shouldn’t have to go to work the next day. A person who experiences a failed adoption or surrogacy arrangement shouldn’t still need to prepare for that big work presentation. A family that finds out about an unsuccessful fertility treatment shouldn’t have to travel for work that same week.

This is the aim of Sen. Tammy Duckworth’s (D-Ill.) Support Through Loss Act. Duckworth introduced the bill in the Senate, alongside Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) in the House, on Tuesday morning to establish new paid leave benefits for people and couples experiencing loss while trying to grow their families. Under the proposed legislation, workers would be given at least three days of paid leave when going through a miscarriage, an unsuccessful in vitro fertilization treatment, or a medical diagnosis that impacts fertility, among other pregnancy- or fertility-related issues. ✂️

The Support Through Loss Act will allocate $45 million annually to the National Institutes of Health to support research programs around pregnancy loss. Additionally, the legislation encourages the Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to raise awareness about these issues by offering more publicly available information and mental health support.

(You can read the bill at the above link or at this link)

Large Group Of Dems Calls For Civilian Conservation Corps To Be Included In Reconciliation Bill, Summer Concepcion, TPM, July 20, 2021.

The Democratic lawmakers described a climate jobs program that would “put a new generation of Americans to work conserving our public lands and waters.” It would include:

  • A “central entity” in the White House that would coordinate and oversee the program’s work
  • Programs offering apprenticeship opportunities and job placement assistance
  • Investment in natural climate solutions such as conserving public lands and waters, investing in coastal restoration, expanding regenerative agriculture
  • Installing renewable energy infrastructure
  • Climate resilience projects such as flood and wildfire mitigation and preparedness
  • Prioritizing environmental justice through efforts to address “historic inequities” such as improving access to public lands and waters for disenfranchised communities

Senators Whitehouse and Warren are going to keep after the blockbuster reporting about tax avoiding richy rich people! That’s very good news!


Legal News

4 companies on verge of settling US opioid lawsuits, Geoff Mulvihill, AP, July 20, 2021.


Under the New York settlement, the three companies would provide more than $1 billion to be used to abate the epidemic in the state. The money would be delivered in 18 annual payments, with the first one arriving this year.

The companies would also establish a national clearinghouse of data on opioid distribution, and the data would be monitored by an independent body. Johnson & Johnson would also agree not to produce any opioids for the next 10 years. ✂️

Other cases are queued up to start. The only one of its kind to reach a verdict so far was two years ago in Oklahoma. There, a judge ordered Johnson & Johnson, the only company not to settle before that trial, to pay $465 million. The company is appealing the judgment. ✂️

With so many cases approaching trial, there’s been a flurry of proposed or realized settlements over opioids. OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma declared bankruptcy as part of its effort to settle cases. It is proposing a reorganization that would use all future profits to fight the epidemic as part of a deal the company values at about $10 billion over time. That plan will face some opposition at a confirmation hearing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court next month.

TFG’s associate (and inauguration chair) indicted

Thomas Barrack, Trump Fund-Raiser, Indicted on Lobbying Charge, Sharon LaFraniere and William Rashbaum, New York Times, July 20, 2021.

Federal prosecutors and the F.B.I. have been investigating Mr. Barrack for nearly three years, focusing on whether he tried to sway Mr. Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign or his administration on behalf of Persian Gulf nations with huge stakes in United States policy.


The inquiry was overseen by prosecutors in the public integrity section of United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York. In an interview two years ago, a spokesman for Mr. Barrack said he had acted as an independent intermediary between Persian Gulf leaders and the Trump campaign and administration, not on behalf of foreign officials or entities.

The indictment charged Mr. Barrack and two other men with failing to register as agents of the United Arab Emirates government. The other two men charged were Matthew Grimes, a former top executive at Mr. Barrack’s company, and Rashid al-Malik Alshahhi, an Emirati businessman who is close to the U.A.E. rulers.

The seven count indictment also accused Mr. Barrack of obstruction of justice and making multiple false statements during a June 20, 2019, interview with federal agents.


(Reminder, it was the UAE who bailed out Jared Kushner’s 666 5th Ave. And there are numerous other threads and connections between Barrack and Kushner, Trumps and Flynn. The net is tightening).


Great news in Judge Appointments!


💉 Health News 💉

World childhood mortality has been reduced by more than half since 1990. That’s amazing good news!


This is momentum…

Obamacare enrollments have risen by 2 million, reaching a record high, since Biden reopened them in February. Margot Sanger Katz, New York Times, July 14, 2021.

MIAMI, FLORIDA - JANUARY 28: An Obamacare sign is seen outside of the Leading Insurance Agency, which offers plans under the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare) on January 28, 2021 in Miami, Florida. President Joe Biden signed an executive order to reopen the Affordable Care Act’s federal insurance marketplaces from February 15 to May 15. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Since February, when the Biden administration reopened the Affordable Care Act insurance marketplaces, two million Americans have signed up for coverage, health officials announced Wednesday.

Total enrollment in the Obamacare marketplaces is now at a record high, though the final numbers are not yet available, said Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, the administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, in a call with reporters. The previous high was 12.7 million Americans who selected plans in 2016.

Enrollment in Medicaid, the federal-state insurance program for the poor and disabled, has also reached a record high. A total of 81 million Americans were covered by Medicaid in February, the most recent month with complete data.

The increases reflect a growing demand for insurance coverage during the pandemic, when many Americans lost job-based coverage or became more worried about remaining uninsured. But they also reflect major policy changes this year: Congress passed legislation that substantially lowered the price of insurance for nearly all Americans buying their own coverage.

That’s Gotta Burn!

‘Rand just got a Fauci ouchie’: Cheers erupt after doctor unloads on GOP’s Sen. Paul at COVID hearing, Travis Gettys, Raw Story, July 20, 2021.

Viewers cheered as Dr. Anthony Fauci unloaded on Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) during a tense exchange over the coronavirus pandemic.

The Kentucky Republican, who roamed the U.S. Capitol and worked out in its gym last year while awaiting his positive test results, claimed the deadly virus escaped from a Chinese lab and suggested Fauci was responsible for the pandemic due to his association with research there.

“Sen. Paul, you do not know what you’re talking about, quite frankly, and I want to say that officially,” Fauci said. “You do not know what you’re talking about.”


Jen Psaki is so good at her job

Jen Psaki shows how to defang “gotcha” questions and claims:

‘Maybe you have that information to provide?’: Jen Psaki expertly dismantles reporter’s pro-Trump anti-vaxx claim, David Badash, Raw Story, July 20, 2021.


The reporter wanted to know if the White House would “consider highlighting or acknowledging, in a greater way,” Trump’s “role in creating the vaccines,” as a means “to assure the rural voters who still support President Trump and are hesitant to get the vaccine.”

Psaki was not buying the reporter’s claims, which did not appear to be based on any facts.

“Do you have data to suggest that that’s the issue that’s preventing people from getting vaccinated?” she calmly asked.

Hehehe, it only got worse from there. The reporter was hanging on to the stupid, false “gotcha” claim and Jen Psaki verbally dismantled it. She is so good at her job and I am thankful every day for her! Dr. Jill may be our first lady, but Jen Psaki is the queen!

🎶 Music for our WH Queen 🎶

And Finally…Macron says what I’m thinking


Click on the birdie to read the whole thread — it is fantastic! (I think you can read even if you are not a Twitter user).

Good News from the Midwest


Great news from Illinois. Our governor announced today that he is going to run for re-election in 2022. I’m really glad, because J B Pritzker has been an even better governor than I hoped he would be AND that was with the horrors of a pandemic to deal with. Under his stewardship Illinois has finally been upgraded from near junk bond status to a level higher — which means we will get better rates on borrowing and so forth. Gov. Pritzker has delivered on just about all of his campaign promises and even more that progressives were hoping for. I look forward to seeing what he can do without a pandemic!


Evanston Again!

This university town just north of Chicago is again leading the way with a great pilot program. It is so important to make our roadways safer and more bike-friendly.



Wisconsin’s Mandela Barnes Announces Senate Candidacy In Bid For Ron Johnson’s Seat, Tara Goldshan, HuffPost, July 20, 2021.

Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes has officially announced his bid for the U.S. Senate, in the race to turn Republican Ron Johnson’s seat blue.

Barnes confirmed his candidacy after months of speculation that he would be vying for the seat. He plans to make a formal announcement Tuesday in front of Sherman Phoenix, an entrepreneurial hub for Black-owned businesses in his hometown of Milwaukee. ✂️

“Let’s be unabashedly unafraid to work together to change the game,” Barnes said in his announcement video, emphasizing job creation, health care costs, public education and family farms. “Hard work isn’t paying off like it used to.”



No purging voters for you, Indiana Rs!


And no you can’t force the university to let unvaccinated people come infect the whole school!


And that judge was an appointee of TFG’s — which is a good reminder that while some appointees may indeed be rightwing extremist cultists, not ALL of them are and that’s good news!


🎶 Music for Republicans 🎶

😫 Republicans in Disarray 😫

Even at less than 50% support, TFG is still ahead of all the other potential R nominees by a lot. The rest of the field polls in the low teens or single digits. Kind of makes you wonder about their “field” doesn’t it? Rs are in so much disarray.

SHOCK POLL: Majority of Republican Voters Say ‘Fresh Face’ Would Be Stronger Than Trump in 2024 — A 33-pt. Swing Since April, Tommy Christopher, Mediaite, July 20, 2021.

In a new poll of Republican primary voters by former Amb. John Bolton’s Super PAC, respondents were asked “Since former President Trump’s popularity has dropped with voters since the 2020 election, would you agree or disagree that a new republican candidate – a fresh face – would be a stronger candidate to defeat Joe Biden in 2024?”

Just over a third (36 percent) of GOP primary voters say Trump would be the stronger candidate, while 52 percent say a “fresh face” would be stronger. As the Bolton Super PAC press release notes, that’s a massive swing since their last poll in April… ✂️

In the same press release, Bolton said “The significant amount of data in this poll should be of considerable interest to Republican candidates at all levels: presidential, congressional, and state/local,” and that “The data show the fissures in Trump’s base are expanding, and show that GOP voters still prize good policy above anyone’s personality.”

Republicans belatedly realize a covid resurgence is bad for them 🙄

It’s good that they are at least paying some lip service to reality of the pandemic — hopefully a few vaccine-resistant people will heed the advice. The trouble is, after riling up their imbecilic base to refuse vaccines, masks and any other strategies to limit viral spread, it’s a bit hard to stuff that genie back in the bottle. A lot of them are not going to listen. Republicans are just so incompetent.

Growing number of Republicans urge vaccinations amid delta surge, Washington Post, July 20, 2021.

A growing number of top Republicans are urging GOP supporters to get vaccinated as the delta coronavirus variant surges across the United States, marking a notable shift away from the anti-vaccine conspiracy theorizing that has gripped much of the party in opposition to the Biden administration’s efforts to combat the virus.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) was part of the rising chorus on Tuesday, stressing the need for unvaccinated Americans to receive coronavirus shots and warning that the country could reverse its progress in moving on from the pandemic.

“These shots need to get in everybody’s arm as rapidly as possible, or we’re going to be back in a situation in the fall that we don’t yearn for, that we went through last year,” McConnell said during his weekly news conference. “I want to encourage everybody to do that and to ignore all of these other voices that are giving demonstrably bad advice.”


Rightwingers are liars, as well as cheaters (but you knew that)

As this was becoming common knowledge, maybe another reason for the sudden change of message from Fox as well as Rs is that they could not keep a lid on their hypocrisy.


Smoke and mirrors

I’m telling you, the support may be real but it is not as much as their inflated boasting and fans-for-hire suggest: 


People deserve respect 

I’ve been hopeful that one silver lining from this awful pandemic might be that there would be a meaningful shift in our understanding of the value of work, and respect for the people doing the hardest work (and even better — start paying people more!). It seems like some kind of shift is happening!

“It was almost like there was this unplanned, unorganized general strike”

Low Pay, No Benefits, Rude Customers: Restaurant Workers Quit At Record Rate, Alina Selyukh, NPR, July 20, 2021

A 'Help Wanted' sign is posted beside Coronavirus safety guidelines in front of a restaurant in Los Angeles, California on May 28, 2021. - Following over a year of restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic, many jobs at restaurants, retail stores and bars remain unfilled, despite California's high unemployment rate, causing some owners to fear they will not be able to fully reopen by the June 15th date California has given for a full reopening of the economy. (Photo by Frederic J. BROWN / AFP) (Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)

Low wages are the most common reason people cite for leaving food service work. But in one recent survey, more than half of hospitality workers who’ve quit said no amount of pay would get them to return.

That’s because for many, leaving food service had a lot to do also with its high-stress culture: exhausting work, unreliable hours, no benefits and so many rude customers. ✂️

He was planning to hang up his apron and began looking at jobs at warehouses and factories when he got an offer he couldn’t turn down — from someone who could afford to be in business while paying him better. He’s now a chef at a new brewery in Louisville.

“This is the first time I’ve ever been on a salary,” Cornett said. “This is the first time I’ve been able to depend on getting a specific amount of money every pay period.”

That amount is $30,000 a year — which isn’t a lot, he admits. But it’s “life-changing” compared with his long career earning $22,000 or $23,000 a year.

It’s also the first time he’s had only one boss, whom he likes. And the first time — finally — that he’s had a job that offers health insurance.

🎶 Music Break 🎶

⚡️ Lightning RoundUp ⚡️

⚡️ Yer Wonkette: Hannity Spends 30 Seconds Saying COVID Vaccines Good, Fox News Can Have Cookie Now? Evan Hurst, Wonkette, July 20, 2021.

⚡️ 10 Things To Watch For When The Tokyo Olympics Begin, Merrit Kennedy, NPR, July 20, 2021.

⚡️ Opinion: The two numbers that could get people to take the vaccine, Kate Cohen, Washington Post, July 20, 2021.

⚡️ How to stay safe as covid-19 cases from the delta variant are on the rise, Kim Bellware, Washington Post, July 17, 2021.

⚡️ Enough with Persuasion, Josh Marshall, TPM, July 20, 2021.

⚡️ This was too long to excerpt: The USDA Wants to Make Farms Climate-Friendly. Will It Work? Leah Douglas, MotherJones, July 19, 2021.

⚡️ Living in the moment with our kids is so important, now more than ever, Maggie Smith, Washington Post, July 20, 2021.

⚡️ Shorter work weeks make sense! 8 Hours a Day, 5 Days a Week Is Not Working for Us, Bryce Covert, New York Times, July 20, 2021.

⚡️ A fascinating perspective on why people are drawn to TFG cultism: Loneliness Is Breaking America, Michelle Goldberg, New York Times, July 20, 2021.

(We need to build society back better, stronger and healthier)

⚡️ Savage and true: Certified Loser Donald Trump Is Rebranding MAGA as a Full-On Cult, Molly Jong-Fast, Daily Beast, July 20, 2021.

“Now that he’s a certified loser, a twice-impeached, one-term historical freak show of a president, his only hope as a political leader is to turn his movement into a cult, worshipping himself of course. It’s the Trump Steaks of religion.”

💗 How Can You Help Build Our Democracy Back Better? 💗

Put your beautiful bleeding liberal heart into it!

Democratic litigation hero, Marc Elias was the legal eagle behind the 60 Big Lie losses after the election. Here’s his website, Democracy Docket. You can find information about current cases he is fighting to defend voting rights around the country, as well as actions you can take to help fight voter suppression at the link!

Write to voters around the country with Postcards to Voters. Progressive Muse usually posts an update on current campaigns in the comments and you can also check out the website. It’s easy, fun and it really works to GOTV!


🎩 Also, Goody posted a great list of links and I am going to borrow it because it’s great! 🎩

The only way they can win is by keeping people from voting.  They are working like heck to make that happen and we need to do all we can to keep 2022 from being a year when they grab the Senate and House back from us.

How do we do that?  Fight voter suppression!   

What can you do?

  • Contact your local representative NOW to encourage them to pass the For the People Act.  This link makes it easy to do!
  • The ACLU plays a key role in filing lawsuits that often stop voter suppression.  Get involved with them at this link.  
  • The League of Women Voters work year-round to combat voter suppression through advocacy, grassroots organizing, legal action and public education.   You can get involved with them at this link
  • Volunteer with Black Votes Matter at this link.   They have on the ground work in 10 states and people from other states can write postcards, phone bank, fundraise, and text.
  • Spread The Vote works to get voters IDs before voting begins.  You can volunteer with them at this link.  
  • CALL YOUR SENATORS and let them know that voting rights are at the top of your agenda!
  • Most important: DON’T LOSE HOPE.  This is a giant and important fight for us but, win or lose, we keep fighting and voting and organizing and spreading truth and light.  We never give up.


U.S. House of Representatives:* Telephone:  202-225-3121
* Website:  http://www.house.gov/ 

U.S. Senate:* Telephone:  202-224-3121
* Website:  http://www.senate.gov/

Find your member of Congress and contact him or her:
Contact your Representative
Contact your Senator


And remember, all politics is local and personal! Let’s work to flip state and local elected positions Democratic!

Sister District Project — organization that is working to help Dems win state legislature races.

💙 RoundUp WindDown 💙

Well, that’s it from me and CG for another Wednesday. 

Can you spot a very good girl?

We had a most tiring day today — but boy was this girly well-behaved! Strange people were trooping in and out of the apartment all day long, banging stuff and moving stuff around, and filling the kitchen and living room with every stick of furniture they were moving around to work, and then trying to shove much too big pieces out through a much too small doorway and deucedly narrow hallway, and then… well, more stuff happened and more stuff went wrong, and eventually they were gone and we could go for a walk, but both of us were almost too tired to walk!

What a day, and now I am going to do what I always ask you to do, dear Gnusies: take good care of yourself, get some rest, eat nutritious food and try to get outdoors every day. These simple things are sometimes not so simple to accomplish every day, especially when we are anxious about the state of the world. Remember that you are part of the solution and you matter — a LOT. So make your health and well-being a priority, please! 🥰

Happy Wednesday!

Rep. Eric Swalwell on GOP: 'Many of my colleagues are better suited to work at the WWE'


Ted Cruz’s favorite movie is The Princess Bride. I bring it up mostly because I enjoy reminding people that everyone in the film’s cast hates him. Sure, that could be because they oppose his politics, but I prefer to think it’s more that they’re warmblooded vertebrates. 

The other reason I bring it up is that the movie stars wrestling legend Andre the Giant, my one, only, and eternal answer to the question, “What celebrity, living or dead, would you most like to go out drinking with?” I’d like to think that if Andre had ever gotten in the ring (the wrestling ring, not the basketball ring) with Ted, Ted would have learned some manners. Or at least learned the difference between entertainment and real life. 

If you ever wondered—as I often have myself—how much of the perpetual poo-flinging Republicans engage in is real and how much is simply performative, Rep. Eric Swalwell has the answer. It’s 99% nonsense, much like Cruz himself.

Swalwell joined the MeidasTouch podcast on Monday and offered his insight into the modern Republican Party. You may have suspected much of this, but it’s still nice to get the inside take on these scurvy scalawags. 


SWALWELL: “It’s pro wrestling, to be honest. Many of my colleagues are better suited to work at the WWE. And I say that about [Rep. Matt] Gaetz because I’ve worked with him on marijuana issues, I’ve worked with him on other issues, especially really before Trumpism took off and he turned into a character, and there were times where he would laugh at himself about how stupid he had to act, you know, to keep the act going. That’s what’s so frustrating. And this may sound crazy, but if you ran into Matt Gaetz or Ted Cruz or Jim Jordan at the Santa Monica Pier, you would say, ‘These are nice guys. Boy, they’re nothing like what I see them do on Twitter or TV.’ And I write about this in the book. During the impeachment trial in the Senate, Ted Cruz came up to me, like we bumped into each other in the Senate bathroom, and he said, ‘Hey, I think you’re doing a great job out there, I just want you to know that.’ And I’m like, ‘What the fuck is this guy talking about?’ He just scorched me on Fox News, like, the night before, he tweets at me like every other week. But to him, if you’re a pro wrestler, it doesn’t matter that you hit me over the head in the ring with a steel chair. It’s all fake, right? You’re just doing what the fans want, so I should just be cool with it, because he projects onto me what he does. He thinks that I’m just performing as well, and that’s what’s most sickening is that I don’t even know what these guys believe. I really don’t. I think they just are giving what they think the fans want. … There is a colleague of mine who is a ranking member of one of the committees, and he and I had gone out before, had gone to dinner before and tried to work on some issues together like in the health care space. And again he, he started all of a sudden when it was popular to tee off on me, I’d see him on Fox News and I’d see him tweeting at me, and then like a day later we’d pass each other on the congressional steps going up to the Capitol and he’s like, ‘Hey, I’ve got a great restaurant that we need to go to, let’s try to find time to do it.’ I’m like, ‘What is this?’ But to these guys, it’s not even real. Like, it’s not real.”

Honestly, I don’t know what horrifies me more: the illusion that Ted Cruz really is as loathsome as he appears or the (apparent) reality that he’s only pretending. 

Don’t get me wrong. Either way, he’s awful. After all, the last thing we need in Congress is another wrestling heel, especially if it’s this jabroni. But it would be nice to get a genuine human moment from the guy at least once. I imagine even the Zodiac Killer managed that from time to time.

It made comedian Sarah Silverman say “THIS IS FUCKING BRILLIANT” and prompted author Stephen King to shout “Pulitzer Prize!!!” (on Twitter, that is). What is it? The viral letter that launched four hilarious Trump-trolling books. Get them all, including the finale, Goodbye, Asshat: 101 Farewell Letters to Donald Trump, at this link. Just $12.96 for the pack of 4! Or if you prefer a test drive, you can download the epilogue to Goodbye, Asshat for the low, low price of FREE.

California's Legalization Of Marijuana Hasn't Worked Out Quite As Planned


In 2016, California voters passed Proposition 64, the “Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act” by the substantial margin noted in the graphic above.  According to the California Commission on Police Officer Standards and Training, Proposition 64:

permits adults 21 years of age and over to possess and grow specified amounts of marijuana for recreational use.  . . .  Prop 64 added and amended sections to the Penal Code, Business and Professions Code, Health and Safety Code, and the Revenue and Taxation Code. These changes will have an impact on enforcement decisions by California peace officers and prosecutors. Possession of recreational marijuana will still be a crime if in violation of one of the newly added Health and Safety Code Sections, but the penalties have been reduced.  Pursuant to Health and Safety Code Section 11362.1(c), marijuana and its products involved in any way with conduct deemed lawful by this section are not contraband and not subject to seizure. Additionally, conduct deemed lawful by this section cannot constitute a basis for detention, search, or arrest.

Generally, then, Proposition 64 decriminalized much of marijuana possession and use, and reduced penalties for certain marijuana-related rimes. In particular, possession of more than 28.5 grams with intent to sell was reduced from a felony to a misdemeanor. As minorities were typically the targets of prior marijuana laws, Proposition 64 was projected to amend marijuana laws to be more just.  (Nixon counsel John Erlichman openly admitted that laws against heroin and marijuana were designed to target hippies and Blacks; in time, the marijuana laws proved as useful against Blacks and other minorities.)

It was also anticipated that marijuana growing would shift from illegal operators to legal, licensed, taxpaying operators. California’s marijuana market has jumped to nearly $845 million annually, with over 2,800 marijuana businesses currently operating in the state, seemingly bearing out this promise. However, the legal market hasn’t replaced the illicit one.

In fact, the number of illegal marijuana farms, operating in California’s deserts, particularly in San Bernardino County northeast of Los Angeles, and in unincorporated Los Angeles County, has exploded.

Before his corpse was dumped in a shallow grave 50 miles north of Los Angeles, Mauricio Ismael Gonzalez-Ramirez was held prisoner at one of the hundreds of black-market pot farms that have exploded across California’s high desert in the last several years, authorities say.

He worked in what has become California’s newest illegal marijuana haven: the Mojave Desert. A world away from the lush forest groves of the “Emerald Triangle” of Northern California, this hot, dry, unforgiving climate has attracted more than a thousand marijuana plantations that fill the arid expanse between the Antelope Valley and the Colorado River.

It’s an unprecedented siege that has upended life in the remote desert communities and vast tract developments that overlook Joshua trees and scrub. Authorities say the boom has led to forced labor, violence, water theft and the destruction of fragile desert habitat and wildlife.



The marijuana plantations aren’t a few plants grown here and there among other desert life; they are typically industrial-scale greenhouse growing operations. 

Farms capable of growing 3,000 to 5,000 plants at a time now crowd once-empty tracts of desert near Twentynine Palms. Typically, the farms consist of white hoop tents that shelter plants worth millions of dollars on the black market. Workers, who live on the compounds for months at a time, nourish the crop with fertilizer and plastic drip-irrigation tubes.

Some plantations are smaller; one highlighted in the quoted LA Times article was only around 100 marijuana plants, but the owner expected them to net him around $100,000.

Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies within the last few months have counted 500 such illegal grow sites from the air — a huge jump from the 150 tallied last year. In San Bernardino County, sheriff’s deputies have come across 860 illegal sites.

At first glance this is counterintuitive; why would Proposition 64 result in an explosion of illegal marijuana plantations? The regulatory framework in California is somewhat burdensome, including a requirement that only licensed distributors may transport the product, as well as county-level infrastructure requirements and the difficulty of getting distributors to some growing areas.

However, one prominent reason is the reduced sentences mandated under Proposition 64, and relatively lax enforcement. The 100 plant grower mentioned above, for example, one day found police cutting down his plants. They handed him a misdemeanor citation for $500 or up to six months in jail; when he appeared in court for the citation, he discovered there was no record of it. It apparently had never been filed.

Another prominent reason is that Proposition 64 left it up to local communities to decide whether to allow marijuana production and sales or not; including San Bernardino County and Los Angeles County. Illegal growers stepped in to fill the production gap. 

The illegal plantations pose a number of unanticipated problems. The plantation operators essentially steal land that isn’t theirs, and some landowners have been threatened to allow plantations to operate on their land. The plantations also dig up and cover environmentally sensitive areas, including bulldozering sand berms to make way for grow houses, killing desert tortoises, and uprooting Joshua trees.

More practically, plantation operators steal water from landowners and communities in order to grow a relatively water-intensive crop.

One day last spring, water pressure in pipelines suddenly crashed In the Antelope Valley, setting off alarms. Demand had inexplicably spiked, swelling to three and half times normal. Water mains broke open, and storage tanks were drawn down to dangerous levels. . . .

It took a while for officials to figure out where all that water was going: Water thieves — likely working for illicit marijuana operations — had pulled water from remote filling stations and tapped into fire hydrants, improperly shutting off valves and triggering a chain reaction that threatened the water supply of nearly 300 homes.

[W]ater thievery across the state has increased to record levels. Bandits in water trucks are backing up to rivers and lakes and pumping free water they sell on a burgeoning black market. Others, under cover of darkness, plug into city hydrants and top up. Thieves also steal water from homes, farms and private wells, and some even created an elaborate system of dams, reservoirs and pipelines during the last drought. Others are MacGyvering break-ins directly into pressurized water mains, a dangerous and destructive approach known as hot-tapping.

Many of the operations are also guarded by armed personnel, making life for nearby residents more dangerous.

Enforcement is problematic because the production facilities are typically located in remote areas, and local and County law enforcement has too few personnel, or personnel not equipped to handle the weaponry the growers use, or both. 

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors decided last Tuesday to reconsider that County’s ban on production and distribution of marijuana, and to provide additional funds for enforcement, but both measures appear to be inadequate for the problem faced by residents on unincorporated Los Angeles County. San Bernardino County appears to be favoring increased enforcement over legalization.

Given the above, it appears that Proposition 64, California’s voter-selected implementation of marijuana legalization is flawed, perhaps fatally as currently implemented. There are ways to save it, however. First and foremost, the state needs to amend the implementing laws to mandate that marijuana production is legal everywhere in the state (with exceptions for certain state and federal lands) and that local communities cannot decide this on their own. Second, the State needs to re-impose felony penalties for growing without a license or permit, growing on land not owned or leased by the grower, and theft of water for grow operations. Finally, the State needs to allocate more and better resources for enforcement, rather than leaving that to local communities. It would also help if the State streamlined the regulatory process for growing and distributing marijuana.

Legalization of marijuana is the right thing to do. However, unless the State of California, and not just local communities and Counties, takes this problem seriously, marijuana legalization here may come to be seen as a failure.