The Guardian: “’Let us be reminded that before there is a final solution, there must be a first solution, a second one, even a third. The move toward a final solution is not a jump. It takes one step, then another, then another.’
“So began Toni Morrison’s 1995 address to Howard University, entitled Racism and Fascism, which delineated 10 step-by-step procedures to carry a society from first to last. Morrison’s interest was not in fascist demagogues or fascist regimes. It was rather in ‘forces interested in fascist solutions to national problems.’ The procedures she described were methods to normalize such solutions, to ‘construct an internal enemy,’ isolate, demonize and criminalize it and sympathizers to its ideology and their allies, and, using the media, provide the illusion of power and influence to one’s supporters…
“The contemporary American fascist movement is led by oligarchical interests for whom the public good is an impediment, such as those in the hydrocarbon business, as well as a social, political, and religious movement with roots in the Confederacy. As in all fascist movements, these forces have found a popular leader unconstrained by the rules of democracy, this time in the figure of Donald Trump.”
Salon.com : “Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) suggested on Sunday that she would rather die than be vaccinated for Covid-19…
“‘We were led to believe that we wouldn’t have to have the shot,’ Palin said. ‘Well then they changed their tune and now those of us who have had Covid, they’re telling us that even though we’ve had it and we have natural immunity now that we still have to get a shot…There are more of us than there are of them!’ she exclaimed. ‘You need to all look around and realize as you stiffen your spine and take those positions and we know our rights, especially when it comes to the government telling us what we have to inject in our own bodies, realize that those around you — as you stiffen your spine — their spines too will stiffen.'”
Daily Beast: “QAnon acolytes in Dallas are now drinking toxic chemicals from a communal punch bowl, according to the family of a woman who joined the Texas ‘cult’ that’s waiting for the supposed resurrection of President John F. Kennedy and his late son, JFK Jr.
“Numerous members of the Leek family told the Dallas Observer that the woman, who reportedly abandoned her husband and children in Delaware last month to follow Trump-supporting QAnon leader Michael Brian Protzman to Dallas, has been quaffing a mixture containing chlorine dioxide—industrial bleach—which she apparently distributes among the group…
“Bleach-drinking enthusiasts got a boost last year when then-President Trump held a televised news conference during which he marveled at the possibility of using disinfectants to treat or prevent COVID-19.”
David Leonhardt/NYT via PoliticalWire: “In the U.S., partisanship is the biggest factor determining vaccination rates. If Democratic voters made up their own country, it would be one of the world’s most vaccinated, with more than 91 percent of adults having received at least one shot. Only about 60 percent of Republican adults have done so. This vaccination gap has created a huge gap in death rates, one that has grown sharply during the second half of the year.”
Philip Bump (Washington Post via PoliticalWire): “It is red America, Donald Trump-voting America, that has seen the worst effects of the pandemic. With divergent vaccination rates, with the unvaccinated population that’s most at risk being made up of Republicans at three times the rate of Democrats, that gap is poised to grow.”
Peter Baker/NY Times (via Twitter): Approximately 150,000 unvaccinated people in the United States have died of Covid-19 since June 1, despite an effective vaccine being widely and freely available, the New York Times reports.
Trump & company are using every means possible to encourage their followers to die – and statistics show that this contemptible campaign is working. Why are they doing it – why are they actively encouraging their followers to get sick and die? Is it just that they want to hobble the recovery, slow the economy and raise anxiety to make trouble for Biden and the Dems in the midterms.
But what makes the MAGAs so stubbornly determined to risk their health and their lives? It looks more like another personality cult devolving into mass suicide every day.
Axios: “Republican officials around the country are testing a creative mechanism to build loyalty with unvaccinated Americans while undermining Biden administration mandates: unemployment benefits.
“Driving the news: Florida, Iowa, Kansas and Tennessee have changed their unemployment insurance rules to allow workers who are fired or quit over vaccine mandates to receive benefits.
“The big picture: Extending unemployment benefits to the unvaccinated is just the latest in a series of proposals aligning the GOP with people who won’t get a COVID shot.”
Washington Post via MSN: “The United States for the first time was added to a list of “backsliding democracies” in a report released Monday by the Stockholm-based International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance. “’The United States, the bastion of global democracy, fell victim to authoritarian tendencies itself, and was knocked down a significant number of steps on the democratic scale,’ the International IDEA’s Global State of Democracy 2021 report said.”
DW: “A wave of authoritarianism is churning from East to West and assailing civil society. Autocrats are threatening democracy, while their regimes portray NGOs as Trojan horses for foreign interference.
“The resurgence of authoritarianism is impacting countries across the globe, no matter what their form of government. “In the Crosshairs of the State” documents this worldwide phenomenon using the examples of India, Russia, and Poland and shows how civil society is being repressed, and what impact this can have on the future of democracy. When populists and autocrats wield power, the first victims are civil liberties. However, regimes aren’t stopping at attacking and imprisoning activists – they go as far as criminalizing entire groups and freezing their funds. These governments are increasingly targeting NGOs and other players in civil society that demand democracy and assert human rights or protest about social grievances and environmental destruction. The methods of choice are defamation campaigns, repression, and criminalization. In the past few years, certain countries have passed over 60 laws specifically aiming to systematically impede NGOs’ work or completely put an end to it. The root causes are wide-ranging, but it all boils down to rulers’ desire to remain in power and protect their economic interests. Beyond authoritarian wielders of power, democratic governments are increasingly clamping down on independent and critical players, too. Are we experiencing a full-on global assault on civil society? What happens when the driving force of democracy – the people themselves – is silenced? How can we counter this development? Film director Sebastian Weis investigates these question, relating the situations in India, Russia, and Poland chapter by chapter, with each country representing an overarching issue. India faces environmental destruction, Russians are seeing human rights be eroded, and in Poland women’s rights are under attack.”
Rebbeca Solnit at The Guardian: “Pretty much anything that happens to the Democrats is a sign that they’re weak and losing and should be worried, according to the storylines into which mainstream media tends to stuff news. Pretty much nothing, including losing, seems to signify that the Republicans are losers. In so habitually and apparently unconsciously fitting a wide array of new and varied facts into familiar old frameworks, the media shape the political landscape at least as much as they report on it.
“It’s in the language. The New York Times editorial board thunders that ‘Democrats deny political reality at their own peril’ and then insists that this election in which a moderate lost is a sign that the party needs to get more moderate. Bloomberg News found a way to make a victory sound like defeat: ‘Phil Murphy clung on to win a second term as New Jersey’s governor, surviving by a narrow margin.’ It was about the same margin by which a Republican won the Virginia governorship, but the language around that was apocalyptic (though Virginia usually elects a governor who’s in the other party than the president, and New Jersey – which not long ago gave Republican Chris Christie two terms – re-elected its first Democratic governor in decades on Tuesday)…
“As for this week’s election, it swept in a lot of progressive mayors of color. The most prominent was Michelle Wu, who won the Boston mayor’s seat as the first woman and first person of color. Elaine O’Neal will become Durham, North Carolina’s, first Black woman mayor, and Abdullah Hammoud will become Dearborn’s first Muslim and Arab American mayor. Aftab Pureval will become Cincinnati’s first Asian American mayor. Pittsburgh elected its first Black mayor, and so did Kansas City, Kansas. Cleveland’s new mayor is also Black. New York City elected its second Black Democratic mayor, and Shahana Hanif became the first Muslim woman elected to the city council (incidentally, New York City and Virginia have about the same population). In Seattle, a moderate defeated a progressive, which you could also phrase as a Black and Asian American man defeated a Latina. A lot of queer and trans people won elections, or in the case of Virginia’s Danica Roem, the first out trans person to win a seat in a state legislature, won reelection.”