Monday, October 31, 2022

Lula's win in Brazil, reported on here by Tom Phillips and Constance Malleretseems to me a good thing for the whole global community — though what Bolsonaro, who said he would not concede defeat if he lost the election, intends to do now, we have to wait and see.

Judd Legum puts the attempted assassination of Nancy Pelosi in the context of years of Republican demonization of Pelosi: 

The apparent assassination attempt follows more than a decade of personal and unrelenting attacks against Pelosi. In 2010, Republicans launched a "Fire Pelosi" project which featured "images of [Pelosi] engulfed in Hades-style flames." Things escalated from there.

In 2018 and 2019, shortly before announcing her run for Congress, Majorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) "indicated support for executing prominent Democrats," including Pelosi. In a January 2019 speech, Greene said that Pelosi is "a traitor to our country, she’s guilty of treason," noting that treason is "a crime punishable by death." In a Facebook video the next month, Greene said that Pelosi would "suffer death or she’ll be in prison" for her "treason."

According to federal prosecutors, many of the January 6 rioters were "searching for Pelosi as they entered the Capitol and shouting that they were 'coming for' her as they tried to get past law enforcement into the House chamber." A woman "allegedly demanded that police bring Pelosi out so the mob could 'hang that f---ing bitch.'" A North Carolina man "brought guns and ammunition to Washington on January 6 and texted a relative the following day that he was thinking of going to see Pelosi speak 'and putting a bullet in her noggin on Live TV.'" Another woman "admitted filming a selfie-style video in which she said, 'We were looking for Nancy to shoot her in the frickin’ brain but we didn’t find her.'" 

Jonathan Weiler addresses the normalization of violence in US political life, of which the Pelosi attack is just the latest reminder:

It’s hard to imagine what could de-escalate this rising tide of violence-normalization, since there is no meaningful counterweight in the GOP - Republican officials who did speak out against this stuff risk immediate excommunication. None of this to deny that some political violence targets political figures on the right. But only on one side’s elites is there such normalization and that starts with the conscience-less and bloodthirsty man at the top - the person who in 2016 William Saletan described as the “warlord” of the GOP’s “failed state.” 

Aaron Rupar notes that, predictably and shamefully, New York Times is echoing GOP talking points in depicting the attack on Pelosi as about rising crime

And yet the New York Timesmain news story about the attack framed it as though it was a product of rising crime in San Francisco, noting that “the break-in and assault comes at a time when the city is awash in crises over crime and disorder in the streets.” This framing echoed messaging from prominent Republicans, which was more or less that the Pelosis have nobody to blame but themselves since Nancy is so soft on crime.

Commentary on what Elon Musk is doing to Twitter continues, with Robert Reich arguing that his tweet promoting a hateful homophobic conspiracy theory about the attack on Pelosi's husband shows Musk is unfit to lead Twitter and should step down:

By posting the lie about Nancy Pelosi’s husband, Musk just demonstrated his willingness — no, eagerness — for Twitter to become a free-for-all hellscape.

I have long had my doubts about Elon Musk’s character and judgment. He has repeatedly shown himself to be impetuous, unreliable, self-serving, and loony. But his latest foray suggests I may have overestimated him.

No one in a decent, civil society should have the unchecked power Elon Musk has accumulated. He must relinquish Twitter. If he does not, the rest of us should jump off his stinking ship.

Aaron Rupar and Noah Berlatsky write

Very wealthy people like Musk, though, have power to shape the debate in ways that those with fewer resources do not. Specifically, if they disagree with the editorial line of an outlet they read, they can just buy it.

And, after a great deal of confusion and shilly-shallying, that is what Musk has done. He believes that Twitter should be more pro-insurrection and more open to hatred, transphobia, and bigotry. And so he used his vast wealth and power to change its editorial stance so that it will be more in line with his own. Bigots on Twitter duly celebrated the news by posting racist slurs and Nazi memes, emboldened because they feel, with some justice, that Musk is okay with them doing so.

Ed Kilgore notes how Republican candidates are now back-pedaling on the proposal for a national abortion ban, though there's this: 

Yet in the current Congress, 166 House Republicans and 18 Senate Republicans are co-sponsors of the Life at Conception Act, the most radical national ban anyone could imagine, as I explained in August:

The Life at Conception Act is a classic "personhood" bill treating every fetus, embryo, and fertilized ovum as just like me and you when it comes to fundamental rights. While the bill does say it does not "authorize the prosecution of any woman for the death of her unborn child," there’s no exception to the "right to life" for pregnancies involving rape, incest, or even threats to the life of the mother. Most legal scholars believe "personhood" statutes could ban morning-after pills or the use of IUDs. The Life at Conception Act is not a constitutional amendment, but in the wide-open post-Dobbs legal landscape, it would set national policy at the federal level and presumably preempt any contrary state laws, codifying "fetal personhood."

And, finally, Jeremy Schwartz and Jessica Priest along with Texas Tribune report on the increasing boldness of churches about endorsing political candidates as the IRS looks the other way: 

For nearly 70 years, federal law has barred churches from directly involving themselves in political campaigns, but the IRS has largely abdicated its enforcement responsibilities as churches have become more brazen about publicly backing candidates. ...

At one point, churches fretted over losing their tax-exempt status for even unintentional missteps. But the IRS has largely abdicated its enforcement responsibilities as churches have become more brazen. In fact, the number of apparent violations found by ProPublica and the Tribune, and confirmed by three nonprofit tax law experts, are greater than the total number of churches the federal agency has investigated for intervening in political campaigns over the past decade, according to records obtained by the news organizations.

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