Tennessee Finally Removes Crime Against Art/Humanity Statue Honoring Racist Traitor Founder Of KKK



What a great day in President Joe Biden’s America! They’re finally removing that hideous Nathan Bedford Forrest statue in Tennessee. Located on private property alongside Interstate 65 south of downtown, the statue depicts the former Confederate general and first Grand Wizard of the Klu Klux Klan riding a horse. Well, at least that’s presumably the creator’s intent. The statue is so fucking ugly it’s hard to tell exactly what’s going on.

Just look at this shit:

The proportions are all wrong. Either Forrest is Lilliputian or the horse once belong to Paul Bunyan, who was not a Confederate sympathizer. Forrest’s head looks like it dispenses Pez, and his face is twisted and inhuman. That part is probably accurate.


The statue belonged to Bill Dorris, and during his lifetime, there was an ongoing battle to remove the statue or block it from public view. It was vandalized several times and even painted bright pink, as if Forrest deserved to be fabulous. Dorris left the coat of paint intact because he believed it would draw more attention to the statue, which is objectively unattractive.

Dorris reportedly insisted that Forrest, a known traitor, was a standup guy who belonged to the Klan during its early, funny days and not when it went overboard with the cross burnings and racial terrorism. This is demonstrably false. The Klan was founded in resistance to the federal government’s racially progressive Reconstruction policies. Author Andrew Ward wrote: "In the spring of 1867, Forrest and his dragons launched a campaign of midnight parades; 'ghost' masquerades; and 'whipping' and even killing Negro voters and white Republicans, to scare blacks off voting and running for office.”

The handiwork of “sculptor” Jack Kershaw from Nashville, the tacky polyurethane statue was constructed between 1996 and 1998, when the Spice Girls were on the radio. It’s hardly a historical artifact. Kershaw was also the attorney who represented James Earl Ray, who assassinated Dr. Martin Luther King in 1968. Everyone gets a defense in America, but if you want to demonstrate that you aren’t racist for defending King’s racist killer, you probably shouldn’t have a side gig sculpting racist statues.

Kershaw didn’t suggest Dr. King’s death was suicide — a classic lynching defense — but he did claim his client was an unwitting dupe in a larger conspiracy, which the King family later believed. However, Kershaw was personally a racist scumbag who helped found the white supremacist League of the South, a neo-Confederate group that promoted Southern secession. That’s unfortunately not a fringe belief in the GOP these days.

Dorris provided his buddy Kershaw with the space to sculpt and the materials necessary for his crime against art. All told, he spent almost $80,000 on the statue since the mid-'90s. He obviously suffered from significant economic anxiety. He described Kershaw as a mediocre artist but a great thinker. Unfortunately, racist thoughts don’t produce great sculptures.

Dorris died last November, which was a great loss to his faithful dog, who inherited his estate. However, it also meant that Tennessee could rid itself of the tumorous statue. The Sons of Confederate Veterans were supposed to receive the land on which the statue was displayed, if that’s what you’re calling it, but the whole thing was tied up in probate court as is usually expected when someone leaves their assets to a dog.

It’s hard to care about the specifics of a dead racist’s last will and testament. What’s important now is that the Forrest statue was removed from public sight Tuesday morning.

“This has been a national embarrassment,” Democratic state Sen. Heidi Campbell said at the scene of the removal. “I’m so excited. This is great news. It’s just so hurtful to people, not to mention it’s heinously ugly.”

Good riddance, Forrest.

[Tennessean / USA Today]

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David Perdue Will Lay Own Body Down Before Stacey Abrams’s Evil Shermanesque Death March To GA Gov!



Former Senator David Perdue launched his campaign for Georgia governor Monday, and he officially has nothing to offer but racism, cultural resentment, and Donald Trump’s Big Lie.

Here’s his announcement video, which we don’t advise watching without an airsick bag handy.

PERDUE: I’m running for Governor to make sure Stacey Abrams is NEVER Governor of Georgia.

Yes, that’s his sole platform — keeping the Black woman out of the governor’s mansion. It’s not as if almost 30,000 Georgians have died during the COVID-19 pandemic or anything. This reminds me of when Josh Lyman on the "West Wing" quit a presidential campaign because he realized the candidate didn’t actually stand for anything but winning and being strongly opposed to somebody else winning. That’s it.


Stacey Abrams launched her second campaign for governor with an inclusive, uplifting message. She specifically discussed how she’d help all Georgians and move the state forward. Perdue is acting as if she delivered a variation of Khrushchev’s “we will bury you” speech.

PERDUE: Make no mistake, Abrams will smile, lie, and cheat to transform Georgia into her radical vision of a state that would look more like California or New York.

California and New York are American states where almost 60 million citizens live. Republicans regularly attack states they don’t consider “real America,” but that doesn’t make them patriots. It makes them neo-Confederates. California and New York have the nation’s first and third largest economies, so it’s not the worst thing in the world for Georgia to become more like either. Perdue has also made a great deal of money trading stocks in that un-American hell hole, New York.

Georgia actually has more violent crime per capita than New York, so really Make Georgia More Like New York isn’t the worst platform. But that’s not actually Abrams’s goal. She genuinely loves Georgia.

Perdue, who supports Donald Trump, accuses Abrams of lying and cheating. This isn’t just a grossly negative personal attack. It’s intended to counter the obvious reality that Abrams is a decent human being. Abrams is charming and personable, while Perdue looks like he’s giving a deposition while constipated. The Republican strategy against Abrams is similar to their oldie, but good and racist one against Barack Obama: Voters might think they like Abrams but that’s only because she’s lying to them. Secretly, she’s plotting their demise while cackling maniacally.

Perdue explains that in order to “fight back” against Abrams, whose big offense is running for office, Republicans must be united, which is why he’s challenging the incumbent Republican governor, Brian Kemp.

PERDUE: Unfortunately, today, we are divided, and Brian Kemp and Brad Raffensperger are to blame.

Uh, no, Republicans are “divided” because Trump and his cronies, including Perdue and fellow former Senator Kelly Loeffler, openly attacked Kemp and Raffensperger because they wouldn’t help Trump steal the election. Like someone in a gangster movie, Perdue says, "Look, I like Brian, this isn’t personal. It’s simple. He has failed all of us and cannot win in November.”

This obvious implication is that Kemp “failed” Georgia when he certified President Joe Biden’s victory in the state and didn’t violate numerous laws on Trump’s behalf.

PERDUE: Instead of protecting our elections, he caved to Abrams and cost us two Senate seats, the Senate majority, and gave Joe Biden free rein.

This is a supervillain’s distorted recollection of past battles. Kemp didn’t “cave” to Abrams because Abrams had nothing to do with what happened after the ballots were cast and Biden won. Trump had lied, back when he had a Twitter account, that Kemp and Raffensperger had approved a consent decree, at Abrams’s urging, that "makes it impossible to check & match signatures on ballots and envelopes, etc. They knew they were going to cheat. Must expose real signatures!” In reality, the consent decree doesn't prevent Georgia election clerks from scrutinizing signatures.

Trump has specifically demonized Abrams as the mastermind behind his loss in Georgia, and Perdue is helping Trump promote his “stab in the back” narrative regarding Kemp and Raffensperger. They’re both Republicans, just like Elections Manager Gabriel Sterling, so they must not have fought hard enough against Abrams or just folded before her fearsome Blackness.

It’s pathetic for Perdue to blame Kemp for his own election defeat in January. Perdue and Loeffler lost those Senate seats all by themselves. They chose to kiss up to Trump, who reportedly was glad they lost because he didn’t think they were loyal enough. He’s a sick bastard.

PERDUE: Think of how different things would be today if Kemp had fought Abrams first instead of fighting Trump.

Kemp never “fought” Trump. This is fantasy.

Perdue isn’t solely focused on Trump’s personal vendetta. He has some plans of his own, such as eliminating the state income tax and fighting the “woke Left.” He would put “parents in control” of schools, not the “woke Left” who are apparently no one specifically but everyone Republicans don’t like. He’d also continue fighting public health measures and wouldn’t cave to the “liberals in the cities,” which is where Georgia citizens live.

Finally, after slandering Abrams, Kemp, and Raffensperger, Kemp asked for voters’ support and their prayers, but he shouldn’t count on any divine endorsements. He sold what remained of his soul to Trump.

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Politico Wrote An Entire Story About Kamala Harris’s Headphones And Why They Mean She Sucks



First Kamala Harris had a fake French accent. Then she bought a $375 pot. Now, she’s accused of wearing old-fashioned headphones. The vice presidential scandals never end.

Politico broke the gripping story about Harris’s headphone preferences. The headline blared: “Kamala Harris Is Bluetooth-Phobic,” as though Harris is prejudiced against technology.

While a growing number of consumers are going wireless, the vice president is sticking with the classics. She has long felt that Bluetooth headphones are a security risk. As a result, Harris insists on using wired headphones, three former campaign aides told West Wing Playbook.

That caution has continued since the election.

We’re treated to examples of Harris using wired headphones in public and during televised appearances. And this is absurd: "After casting the tie-breaking Senate vote on the American Rescue Plan in March, reporters captured Harris with wired headphones in hand. And during the campaign, she filmed campaign videos with the retro coils falling from her ears.”


They “captured” the vice president with wired headphones? The verb choice makes it seem like she was caught on film kicking a poodle. That’s also the least important takeaway from Harris helping Democrats pass the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill. The press doesn’t report much on the bill’s tremendous impact, including the $39 billion in child-care funding, but at least we know how Harris listened to her jams.


Politico’s Alex Thompson, who should feel bad, tweeted more details Monday afternoon:

NEW: Kamala Harris has long felt that Bluetooth headphones are a security risk. So, she insists on using wired ones, 3 fmr campaign aides told @rubycramer and me. That Bluetooth phobia remains (if you look closely, you'll see the clump of wires in hand)

Not to horn in on Dok’s rhetoric beat, but the word choice here reveals a clear bias. Harris doesn’t just prefer to use wired headphones, she “insists” upon them, like a pop star diva who demands that her dressing room be kept at exactly 68 degrees before a performance. Politico keeps using the word “phobia,” implying an irrational fear or obsession, rather than a logical precaution.

Thompson notes that Harris’s husband, Doug Emhoff, doesn’t share her “anxieties” and is “pro-Bluetooth,” like a cool dude who, you know, isn’t the goddamn vice president of the United States. The couple probably doesn’t even share an iTunes account anymore.

Thompson went on:

While wired headphones have re-emerged as a hip vintage accessory among Gen Z, Harris’ embrace of them is less about fashion than caution. Former aides say that the vice president has long been careful about security and technology — with some describing it as prudent and others suggesting it’s a bit paranoid.

It’s a recurring theme. An aide on her 2016 Senate bid said Harris often preferred texting to email for security reasons. And another former aide when she was attorney general in California said that when a person arrived for a meeting, staff were instructed not to allow them to wait in Harris' office alone. Instead, the person was asked to wait outside.

OH SHIT PEOPLE WEREN'T INVITED TO JUST CHILL IN THE ATTORNEY GENERAL'S OFFICE BY THEMSELVES, WHAT A PARANOID WEIRDO, OHHHH SHITTTTTT.

Politico observes that such "caution and vigilance has not stood in the way of Harris’ meteoric rise to the vice presidency — the first woman of color to do so.” What does that sentence even mean? Caution and vigilance are positive traits. Half-assed carelessness isn’t going to catapult you to the Oval Office, usually.

But still, should someone who travels with the nuclear football be spending time untangling her headphone wires? The American people deserve answers!

Oh, screw you and your National Enquirer-style reporting. Really. Just screw you. The media was obsessed with Hillary Clinton’s email security, which helped elect Donald Trump, and five years later at least 788,000 Americans are dead from COVID-19. Harris might rightly believe that using Bluetooth headphones will result in further tragedy. After all, Bluetooth is about as secure as a hotel honor bar. Hackers tend to prey on people connecting to Wi-Fi in busy public settings. Harris is wise not to use Bluetooth when on a morning run or even inside the US Capitol, which is filled with Republicans.

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How A Frozen Landscape Chilled This Room For 24 Days! Tues., Dec. 7, 2021



The Department of Justice is suing Texas over the state’s hella racist redistricting maps. (Washington Post)

Donald Trump’s second coup attempt is well underway and shaping up nicely. This is not good news. (The Atlantic)

So-called “pro-Trump” counties reportedly have a higher death rate from COVID-19 than counties that voted for President Joe Biden. This is appalling. (NPR)

Health care analyst Charles Gaba explains why Florida’s COVID-19 death rate is likely far worse than what NPR describes. (ACASignups.Net)

Former House Rep. Max Rose from New York is preparing for a rematch against Republican incumbent Nicole Malliotakis, who defeated him last year. (CNN)


Politico breaks the latest Vice President Kamala Harris scandal. (Twitter)

Not sleeping regularly will ruin your health. I’m going to miss all my lawyer friends. (New York Times)

Will we live to see a Puerto Rican actress play the Puerto Rican Maria in West Side Story? (The Daily Beast)

Do we need a 24-hour economy, especially when it might jeopardize lives? Unfortunately, many Americans in the Amazon era would say yes. (The Nation)

Small business are bearing the brunt of inflation. Many are choosing to absorb costs rather than pass them on to their customers. (L.A. Times)

Lockdown drills aren’t as effective at saving lives during school shootings as preventing school shootings in general. (Mother Jones)

Portland’s best doughnuts rightly include my neighborhood favorite, Angel Donuts, which I’ve frequented for years now, even when I still lived in Seattle. (Eater)

Owen Gleiberman's list of 2021’s 10 best movies includes my son’s favorite, Cruella, as well as Zack Snyder’s Justice League, which arguably isn’t even a movie at all. I mean, there’s technically physical movement on the screen. (Variety)

A holiday classic turns 40. (Akron Beacon Journal)

It’s egg nog season. I’ll probably post some more favorite recipes, but here’s Alton Brown for a start.

www.youtube.com

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Matt Lewis Pretty Sure It’s Bill Clinton’s Fault Republicans Love Trump So Much



Bob Dole died Sunday, and that has made liberals and conservatives alike misty-eyed about a day when not all Republicans were openly bigoted authoritarians. They used to preserve the mystery.

Conservative Matt Lewis, who decries so-called “cancel culture,” was so grief-stricken Monday that he wondered if America would’ve have turned out better if we hadn’t canceled Bill Clinton. You see, for those of you under 30, Republicans thought Clinton had a disreputable character because he stretched the truth and cheated on his wife. The latter was especially odious because, prior to Clinton, no president ever had extramarital affairs, except for all the ones who did.

Anyway, here’s what Lewis tweeted:

You're going to hear a lot of talk about the heroism and decency of men like Bob Dole and George H. W. Bush—and I agree with all that. But we should also note the American people rejected these heroic and decent men—twice—in favor of *Bill Clinton*...

This is bullshit for a number of reasons, but what’s especially hilarious is that Lewis contradicted himself just last year when he wrote this article for The Daily Beast: "Trump Is Terrible. Here’s The One Reason I Still Can’t Vote for Biden.”


Lewis bragged about supporting Joe Biden in the Democratic primary, presumably so he could block more liberal candidates, but he never had any intention of voting for Biden in the general election when it mattered the most. This is because Biden is pro-choice, and Lewis considers abortion a “deal breaker.” However, he seemingly can’t understand why a pro-choice voter would feel the same way. They might admire George H.W. Bush and Bob Dole and question Slick Willy’s morals, but they’d prefer Supreme Court justices like Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer, both of whom Clinton nominated.

Bill Clinton ran for president, not Jesus. He publicly admitted his flaws, but unlike Donald Trump, he didn’t actively campaign as a heartless asshole. He arguably sealed the deal with voters in this famous 1992 debate moment, when he came across as an empathic, considerate person.

www.youtube.com

Lewis goes on:

Now, I'm not going to suggest there is a perfectly straight line from Clinton to Donald Trump.

There is zero line from Clinton to Trump, who is incapable of human feeling and empathy. He can only stoke anger and resentment. If Lewis wants to draw a line from Trump to anyone, he should consider Pat Buchanan, who challenged George H.W. Bush for the GOP nomination in 1992. Despite Bush’s sterling character, Buchanan didn’t consider Bush conservative enough. During his Republican National Convention speech, Buchanan sounded much like today’s Republicans who insist that Democrats, despite all evidence, are dangerous radicals. He said, "I watched that giant masquerade ball up at [the Democratic National Convention] – where 20,000 liberals and radicals came dressed up as moderates and centrists – in the greatest single exhibition of cross-dressing in American political history.”

But Lewis doesn’t denounce the character of odious bigots such as Pat Buchanan. No, he’s also stunned that voters would snub John McCain and Mitt Romney for Barack Obama, whose character was just awful if you believed all the rightwing lies about him.

But perhaps when the public rejected good men like Dole and HW (and later Romney and McCain), it sent a message to Republicans? It turns out, character doesn't win elections.

Here’s some actual data for Lewis: Dole’s candidacy specifically failed to inspire actual Republicans. One of the final polls prior to the 1996 election showed that just 75 percent of self-identified or Republican-leaning voters supported Dole compared to Clinton’s 85 percent support from Democrats. Dole would go on to win white voters (a somewhat key GOP electorate) by just two points. The message to Republicans came from inside the party.

The GOP’s social conservative base was always skeptical of Bush, Dole, McCain, and Romney. It seems absurd that white evangelicals would embrace an obvious scumbag like Donald Trump, but his candidacy pulled back the curtain on their hypocrisy. It was never about character, just control. Trump freed them to openly express their contempt for anyone slightly different.

Finally, Lewis leaves us with this nonsense:

Clinton mocked Bob Dole's "bridge to the past," and talked about building a "bridge to the future." Well, that bridge helped lead us to where we are.

What a monster Clinton apparently was to attack a political opponent’s perceived strengths. If Lewis thinks Clinton’s mild zingers led to Trump and other Republicans questioning Obama’s legitimacy as an American, he’s not the most serious thinker.

www.youtube.com


And now, OPEN THREAD!

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Nikki Haley, Still An A-Hole



Former South Carolina GOP Gov. Nikki Haley reminded everyone she still exists Sunday. Maybe she felt a little jealous because Senator Tim Scott is considered a top contender for the GOP vice presidential slot in 2024. She’s not content to just fade into the background as a loyal Donald Trump enabler who casually suggests President Joe Biden is senile. She’s also demonstrating that she’s just as gross as GOP sedition caucus members Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert.

Here’s what Haley tweeted on Sunday, God’s day for watching football:

HALEY: When I was governor, I worked with Democrats who still believed in America. I didn’t share their views on policy, but at least we agreed on some basic principles. Those days are over. The Democratic Party has become the Socialist Party.

Yep, when Haley was elected governor in the distant past of 2010, Democrats still believed in America, that shining city on a hill. Now the Democratic Party is the Socialist Party, led by noted socialist Joe Biden from Stalingrad and his radical Senate accomplices Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema.

Bolsheviks all.


Back in the real world, the Democrats are not a socialist party. Yes, Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar, Cori Bush, and Jamal Bowman are members of the Democratic Socialists of America. That’s five Democrats out of 222 in the House of Representatives. There were also six self-identified DSA members in the Democratic caucus well before 2010. We’re hardly witnessing a socialist takeover of the party that twice rejected Bernie Sanders in favor of Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden, both of whom Republicans still insisted on calling socialists. It’s as if the word doesn’t mean anything, other than as convenient shorthand for “n-word lover."

Meanwhile, 139 out of 213 House Republicans voted to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election and install Trump as the forever president. A clear majority of Republicans is openly opposed to democracy and much of the remainder is at least fascist-curious. And while we’ve often noted that the GOP’s been hot garbage for decades now, this is a far more dramatic shift and an escalating threat.

Haley’s lying, of course, and she’s not alone. GOP Senator Marco Rubio from Florida tweeted that Biden's Build Back Better agenda “isn’t socialism. It’s Marxism.” (It’s possible he doesn’t understand the meaning of either word.) This rhetoric isn’t just standard Lee Atwater/Karl Rove dirty politics where you smear your opponent without shame or regard for the truth. It’s objectively dangerous.

Trump’s MAGA mob stormed the Capitol on January 6. It wasn’t just a riot, but an attempted insurrection against the government. When Haley and other Republican opportunists claim Democrats are fundamentally anti-American and an existential threat to our way of life, they implicitly justify violent resistance. The MAGA thugs already consider themselves “patriots” fighting for their “true” president.

Five years ago, during the GOP primary, Rubio expressed concern that then-candidate Trump was, as Business Insider put it, "feeding civil unrest, leading the country to 'chaos' and 'anarchy.'"

"You wonder if we're headed in a different direction today where we're no longer capable of having differences of opinion but in fact now protests become a license to take up violence and take on your opponents physically," Rubio [said] "This is what happens when a leading presidential candidate goes around feeding into a narrative of bitterness and anger and frustration."

Conservative columnist Josh Barro called out Rubio's hypocrisy. After all, he'd accused President Barack Obama of intentionally "undermining this country" as "part of a plan to weaken America on the global stage.” You have "differences of opinion" at the country club over marginal tax rates and farm subsidies. Ashli Babbitt died because she was fed a steady diet of lies that Biden, Democrats, and Hugo Chavez’s ghost had stolen the presidency.

Haley believes she can appease Trump supporters with this vicious rhetoric, but it’s likely to have the opposite effect. Haley openly criticized Trump after January 6 and said she was “disgusted” by his actions after Election Day. The MAGA faithful will point out that if Haley genuinely believes Democrats are an existential threat, why would she oppose Trump’s efforts to subvert the election?

As Bootsy Collins said, “If you fake the funk, your nose will grow.” Haley can tweet lies about Democrats, but she’ll never convince anyone she’s a true believer. She’ll still end up running from the MAGA mob.

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David Perdue Embraces Trump’s Big Lie That He Can Beat Stacey Abrams For Georgia Gov.



The Georgia governor’s race has become the next stop on Donald Trump’s revenge tour. He loathes incumbent GOP Gov. Brian Kemp, because Kemp wouldn’t help him steal the election. This has created an opportunity for ambitious Republicans who have maintained the mad MAGA king’s favor. Monday, former Senator David Perdue is expected to announce that he’s challenging his old buddy Kemp for the GOP nomination.

Democrat Stacey Abrams announced her candidacy last week, and Perdue has reportedly told allies he’s not confident Kemp can defeat her again. So, for the sake of all that’s white in Georgia, Perdue must rise again from the ashes of his own decisive loss in January's Senate runoff.

What specific policies distinguish Perdue from Kemp? That’s apparently not important. What matters is that Perdue isn’t Kemp.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports:

“We have a divided party in Georgia right now,” Perdue recently said. “Forget about me. It’s divided. And a lot of people feel like that people in power haven’t fought for them and caved in to a lot of things back in 2020 that didn’t have to be done.”

"David Perdue 2022: FORGET ABOUT ME.” It’s a fitting slogan. You’ll recall that he was too much of a coward to face Senator Jon Ossoff in a third debate last year.


www.youtube.com

Perdue implies that Kemp “caved” when he followed the law and certified Joe Biden’s victory in the state. Kemp made a point of not endorsing the results, nor did he defend state elections officials, including GOP Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger from Trump’s lies. That apparently still wasn’t good enough for the MAGA mob. However, Perdue and equally former Senator Kelly Loeffler shamelessly jumped on the election fraud bandwagon. They even demanded that Raffensperger resign because he wouldn’t pull a Trump victory out of his hat.

So, the Georgia Republican party is divided because Perdue helped divide it after Trump wouldn’t accept his loss. Now, the only way the party can truly heal from the damage Perdue inflicted is for the party to back Perdue as governor. It’s all very straightforward and sinister.

Perdue is the asshole who racistly referred to Vice President Kamala Harris as "Ka-MAL-a (sic), Ka-MAL-a or Kamala, Kamala, Ka-mala, -mala, -mala, I don't know, whatever.”

Trump encouraged Perdue to run and is expected to publicly endorse him. He’s already endorsed state Sen. Burt Jones in the GOP primary for lieutenant governor and attacked Jones’s opponent, Senate President Pro Tem Butch Miller, for not doing enough to overturn Biden’s victory. He’s also backed Rep. Jody Hice’s bid for secretary of state, presumably confident that Hice could find 11,780 votes for him.

Perdue had originally supported Kemp’s re-election before the Big Lie, and Kemp said recently that he hoped Perdue would “be a man of his word” and not primary him. "David Perdue 2022: NOT A MAN OF HIS WORD" is another fitting slogan. It’s also a given if Donald Trump’s endorsing you for anything.

Kemp’s campaign reportedly considers Perdue’s run an act of betrayal that will trigger “total war.” Shots were already fired from Kemp spokesperson Cody Hall:

“Perdue’s only reason for running is to soothe his own bruised ego, because his campaign for U.S Senate failed to inspire voters at the ballot box — twice.”

Hall’s math here includes the November general election when Perdue failed to win a majority of the vote against Ossoff, triggering a runoff. Hall has a point that Perdue’s recent track record of failure doesn’t reflect well on his chances against Democratic icon Stacey Abrams. The reality is Joe Biden won Georgia, so the Republican nominee might need to flip some of his voters to win, because voter suppression only goes so far. That’s how Glenn Youngkin prevailed in Virginia, and Kemp was hoping to follow that model rather than dwell on 2020.

Veteran Republican strategist Brian Robinson (no relation) compared the situation to General William Sherman’s march to Savannah during the Civil War, which the AJC describes as “ruinous” but I consider a good time: “Sherman left more standing than this primary will.”

The Abrams campaign naturally welcomes GOP’s reality TV primary battle. Political strategist and Fair Fight Action CEO Lauren Groh-Wargo tweeted, "While David Perdue and Brian Kemp fight each other, Stacey Abrams will be fighting for the people of Georgia.”

Here’s Jon Ossoff handing Perdue his ass during a debate, because that’s always fun to watch. Perdue ain’t ready for Abrams.

www.youtube.com

[The Atlanta Journal-Constitution]

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Steve Bullock Has Solid Advice For How Democrats Can Beat Republicans From Old ‘West Wing’ Reruns



Democrat Steve Bullock, the former governor of Montana, has a prescription for Democrats’ electoral woes, and you know it’s great because conservatives such as Amanda Carpenter are retweeting his words. (By “great,” we mean useless.)

Bullock was a decent governor who failed to generate much interest when he ran for president last year, then lost his 2020 Senate race to incumbent Republican Steve Daines like any common coastal elite. But here’s some of his savvy political advice that he published in the New York Times (i.e. The Rural Working Man Gazette). The op-ed is titled "I Was the Governor of Montana. My Fellow Democrats, You Need To Get Out of the City More.” Obvious dogwhistles aside about how cities -- where a significant number of Americans live! -- are somehow not “real America,” Democrats are constantly visiting rural America. They aren’t characters from a Woody Allen movie.


The core problem is a familiar one — Democrats are out of touch with the needs of the ordinary voter.

Since 1992, Democrats have won the national popular vote in every presidential election except for one (2004). Republicans aren’t exactly kicking Democrats’ asses at the ballot in local races either. They are reaping the benefits from aggressive, anti-democratic gerrymandering.

Hillary Clinton won voters with incomes less than $50,000, as did Joe Biden by double digits. Conflating “ordinary voters” with rural white voters is gross and racist, and Democrats should leave that to Republicans, who are the experts at gross racism.

Bullock argues that rural voters are disappointed in Democrats and don’t think the party can help them because of the internal squabbling over the infrastructure bills. However, the bipartisan bill passed and Build Back Better isn’t far behind. Democrats also passed substantial COVID-19 relief. Democrats are getting results, and I’m not sure the “ordinary voter” cares about the drama along the way. Not everyone is a devoted follower of Kyrsten Sinema’s shenanigans.

To overcome these obstacles, Democrats need to show up, listen, and respect voters in rural America by finding common ground instead of talking down to them.

Democrats don’t “talk down” to rural voters. Meanwhile, Republicans frequently deride “urban” residents as lawless, decadent perverts. It’s fair to argue that Democrats shouldn’t emulate the GOP’s divisive tactics, but Bullock ignores that Republicans are beating Democrats like him, while dismissing “New York values” and “coastal elites.”

Eliminating student loans isn’t a top-of-mind matter for the two-thirds of Americans lacking a college degree.

More Americans might enroll in college if they didn’t assume they’d spend the rest of their lives in a figurative debtors’ prison. However, maybe Democrats should prioritize eliminating student loan debt because it’s a priority to the people who vote for them. This is how Republicans operate, passing broadly unpopular abortion bans and blocking gun safety legislation most Americans support. Republicans have had a base-specific strategy for decades now.

Being told that climate change is the most critical issue our nation faces rings hollow if you’re struggling to make it to the end of the month.

This is an absurd statement to make considering that two dozen homes and businesses burned to the ground in Denton, Montana, last week because a record December heat wave resulted in “unusual” prairie fires. This is climate change in action, and it’s impacting “ordinary voters” right now. Climate change isn’t an elitist consideration, like stoned philosophy majors debating whether life matters at all because the universe is slowly expanding.

And the most insulting thing is being told what your self-interest should be.

This is the part that Amanda Carpenter emphasized in her tweet thread. Carpenter’s political party is an authoritarian dumpster fire right now because Republican politicians don't have any moral imperative beyond gaining power. They appeal to their voters’ worst instincts, even at the cost of people’s lives.

Get out of the cities and you will learn we have a libertarian streak, with a healthy distrust of government.

That “healthy distrust of government” is proving fatal, which is the opposite of healthy. Rural Americans are dying from COVID-19 at disproportionately higher numbers than we “coastal elites” because they believe what rightwing morons tell them about a perfectly safe vaccine.

We listen when folks talk about opportunity and fairness, not entitlements. We expect government to play a role in our having a fair shot at a better life, not solve all our problems.

When discussing the Build Back Better agenda, almost all Democrats — conservative, moderate, and progressive — talk about “opportunity and fairness.” It’s only really Senator Joe Manchin who’s afraid of creating an “entitlement” society if Democrats pass overtly pro-family policies such as paid family leave.

It's time for Democrats to get uncomfortable and go beyond friendly urban and suburban settings to hear directly from folks in small towns who are trying to run a business, pay the bills, and maintain access to health care.

Democrats practically live in Iowa when campaigning for president, and no Democrat has suggested that spending time in rural areas makes them “uncomfortable.” (Whereas Republicans like J.D. Vance “joke” about the potential threat to their lives when visiting major American cities.) Also, Americans in “friendly urban and suburban settings” are also trying to run a business, pay the bills, and maintain access to health care.

It’s not a surprise that white cis male Democrats like Bullock believe 1990s Clinton-style politics are the answer to a nation under assault from the right wing. Closing your eyes and imagining you're competing against Bob Dole and not Marjorie Taylor Greene is a pleasant fantasy but not a useful one.

[The New York Times]

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Cops Pretty Sure Their Morale’s Too Low To Solve Homicides



The United States homicide rate is increasing. More than 500 people were murdered in Philadelphia this year. Cook County, Illinois, reported a 50 percent increase in murders since 2019. Baltimore also had an increase in homicides that Police Commissioner Michael Harrison blames on gun violence. He’s not scapegoating. Guns are the murder weapon of choice.

"Whether it's young people, whether it's older people, people solving their conflict with violence, namely gun violence," Harrison told CBS News.

Harrison is also concerned about the rise of so-called “ghost guns.” These are firearms that lack commercial serial numbers and people can assemble the untraceable weapon in their home “within an hour.” Baltimore cops have seized more than 300 ghost guns this year.

The same week as the Michigan school shooting, a 17-year-old Brooklyn high school student was busted with a loaded 9 mm pistol and more than $30,000 in cash, which we presume he wasn’t going to spend on the vending machines. The school put up a single metal detector the next day and found 21 weapons, including knives and stun guns.


So guns are a problem, and, true to their design purpose, they’re getting people killed. We could pass better gun laws, but it seems like the media is going to help steer the discussion in a more rightwing friendly direction. For instance, this is a CBS News headline on the subject: "More Guns And Fewer Police officers Are Blamed For Spike In Homicides.”

Generally speaking, the police investigate homicides. They don’t prevent them. This is why the "Law & Order” franchise has never had a series called "Psychic Detectives Unit.” In fairness, cops would probably stop a homicide if they saw one occurring right in front of them (that’s excluding cases where one of their own officers is murdering someone). However, it’s a stretch to argue that the increased homicide rate is directly connected to fewer cops on the payroll.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, local police lost about one percent of its workforce from 2019 to 2020, which is not a lot if you know how one percent works. The CBS News article follows up that statistic with the claim that after the nationwide protests against police violence last year, some major cities, such as New York City and Oakland, cut police funding.

What’s not put into context is that municipal budgets across the nation were cut in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic. The police pitched a fit, of course, but it’s not like their departments were reduced to six guys and a cap pistol. Last June, New York "decided to cancel the planned hiring of roughly 1,160 officers, and to shift monitoring of illegal vending, homeless people on the streets and school safety away from the police.” If public schools lost funding for art and music classes, few conservatives would suggest this is why students are suddenly failing math.

Also, Mayor Bill de Blasio blinked on even moderate cuts to law enforcement, and fiscal year 2022’s spending plan keeps the police headcount and operations intact.

The New York Times published an article a couple weeks ago with the headline “After Murders ‘Doubled Overnight,’ The NYPD Is Solving Fewer Cases.” The headline misleadingly presented a former cop’s quote as a verifiable fact. He’d only said that police “caseloads” had doubled. The Times didn’t seem to differentiate between caseloads and actual murders. Also, the caseloads hadn’t doubled overnight, either, and the Times let this easily disproven copaganda stand.

Cops might blame police reform advocates for violent crime, but the media shouldn’t repeat those claims without at least openly sneering at their cynical posturing. When a toddler died in the crossfire of a freeway shutout last month, the Oakland Police Officers’ Association declared this the “tragic consequence” of defunding the police, which never happened. However, cops keep insisting that hurting their feelings somehow emboldens violent crime. Their morale is just too damn low to prevent homicides.

"We did a survey of a couple of hundred police departments showing retirements increasing, resignations increasing," said Chuck Wexler, the executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum. "The workforce is shrinking.”

Oh no! Cops are also reportedly quitting over vaccine mandates, but that’s probably for the best. It’s hard to solve crimes when you’re needlessly dying from COVID-19.

[CBS News]

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Stacey Abrams Gonna Be Georgia’s Next Governor. There We Said It.



Stacey Abrams launched her second campaign for Georgia governor Wednesday. It’s the rematch we’ve wanted since she narrowly lost to Brian Kemp in 2018. Since then, her star has only risen in the Democratic Party, while Kemp’s has crash landed because he wouldn’t help Donald Trump steal the election. Now, Kemp frequently appears in Trump’s diss tracks.

Abrams declared her candidacy in this video that reminds us how awesome she is.



Abrams’s message is uplifting and inclusive.

No matter where we come from in Georgia or how long we’ve been here, we believe in this place and our people. Folks who deserve to be seen and heard and have a voice. Because in the end, we are one Georgia.

Brian Kemp and the Georgia Republican Party very much disagree. That’s why they’ll call Abrams a radical Marxist who’ll brainwash children with critical race theory. Kemp already claimed that Abrams is drunk with power and Georgia is just a stepping stone until she moves on up to the deluxe White House in DC. We can also expect Kemp to run some campaign ads where he blows up socialism. GOP voters love that.

Now don’t think for a minute that you should grudgingly admire Kemp because he sort of stood up to Trump. Both men are terrible in their own way.

When Abrams ran in 2018, it was pre-COVID-19 and the Big Lie. We didn’t realize that we’d need a governor who would promote public health instead of obstructing local officials who tried to keep their constituents alive. Kemp actually sued Atlanta Mayor Keisha Bottoms to keep her from talking about COVID-19. He also overruled locally enforced mask mandates. He signed an executive order forbidding "vaccine passports.” Less than 50 percent of Georgia’s population is fully vaccinated. Only eight other states have lower vaccination rates. It’s also currently ranked eighth out of all states in COVID-19 deaths per capita. Kemp actually think this is a swell record and that Georgia would’ve suffered more under Abrams’s leadership. The mortuary business certainly wouldn’t have done as well.

Although the more devoted Trump cultists still hate him, Kemp pacified the MAGA mob somewhat when he signed the GOP-controlled legislature’s voter suppression legislation. Preventing Black people from voting is something he does well. His approval rating increased after the bill passed, and there’s reason to believe that the prominent backlash from Major League Baseball and corporations such as Coca-Cola helped further restore Kemp's conservative luster.

From Morning Consult:

[The] Republican governor’s popularity among GOP voters has started to tick back up, a sign of strength against a potential primary challenge for re-election next year.

“I think you have seen a sea change in his prospects,” said Republican strategist Brian Robinson, a former aide to two-term Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal. “Republicans see him standing up in the face of the cancel culture theory – in the face of the mob – and that is such an important characteristic for Republican base voters.”

Republican base voters hate Democrats, especially Abrams, more than they resent Kemp. However, we’re sure he’ll have to kiss Trump’s ass until his lips crack to regain his favor. The first stop on the humiliation express is probably Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, who loves Papa Trump so much she's molested his graven image at campaign events. She’s currently Trump’s most vocal mouth piece in the House. If Kemp grovels sufficiently, maybe Greene can convince Trump not to actively endorse Abrams, which sort of happened at a September rally in Perry, Georgia.

“Having [Abrams], I think, might be better than having your existing governor. It might very well be better,” the former president said.

Trump has suggested that former Senator David Perdue challenge Kemp. Perdue lost his seat to Jon Ossoff in January. He’s not exactly a hot property, but he did swallow his dignity and enable Trump’s election lies last year.

There’s a great moment in Abrams’s announcement video where she’s walking through a charming Georgia neighborhood with two little girls. One of them says, “I think you’d make a really good governor. All you got to do is stay tough and stay brave.” We admit that made our Grinchy heart melt.

Abrams is a leader who is never cruel nor cowardly. She represents a far nobler Georgia than Marjorie Taylor Greene or even Brian Kemp. Senators Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff beat the odds during the Georgia runoff elections, and here’s hoping Abrams can do the same next year.

And if you’d like to do something more tangible than simply hope, you can donate to the cause here.

www.youtube.com


[Atlanta Journal-Constitution]

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