According to a report from Politico, Donald Trump may no longer be president but the Republican Party he left behind has been damaged to the point where it has almost become as "toxic" as he is to voters, according to one former top aide to a Republican senator.
As the report notes, high-profile members of the Republican party are still pushing Trump's "Big lie" that the 2020 election was stolen from him and have made that their focus going forward in lieu of proposing new policies that would allow them to win back the White House and both chambers on Congress.
Writing for Politico, David Siders explained, "Nearly four months after the election and one month into Joe Biden's presidency, the politics of grievance has become the near-singular organizing principle of the post-Trump GOP. And whether at CPAC or in statehouses across the country, policy prescriptions for restoring so-called voter integrity have emerged as the primary focus of the party's energy."
That focus on stopping people from voting could blow up in their faces, but worse still, it means they have no other message for voters other than the fact that they are lingering on Trump's loss.
Benjamin Ginsberg, a conservative election lawyer asked, "Tell me what the innovative Republican policies have been of late?" before adding it is "probably a sign that the Republican Party is mired in a bit of a policy wasteland and doesn't know which way to turn to get out."
According to former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, who served in President George W. Bush's administration, there is no evidence of widespread election fraud and Republicans harping on it is, "a big distraction. And I worry that it will continue to be a big distraction as long as a certain individual makes statements that it was stolen."
Former Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) adviser Kevin Madden was a bit more blunt in his assessment.
"It is a party that has been fashioned in the mold of Trump — Trump's message, Trump's tactics — and it is perfectly comfortable being a party that is defined by what it's against," he explained before adding, "... you become almost toxic as a party brand to larger, growing parts of the electorate. … The limitation of a message and a platform that's just about disagreeing with the opposition is that it doesn't speak to the broader concerns or anxieties of a big part of the electorate."
You can read more here.
Three people were killed Saturday when an earthquake struck the Indonesian tourist island Bali, the disaster agency said.
The 4.8 magnitude quake struck at a relatively shallow depth of 10 kilometres (six miles) northeast of the town of Banjar Wanasari. Shallow quakes tend to do more damage than deep tremors.
Two people died when the quake triggered a landslide that buried their house in Bangli regency while another person was killed in the port town of Karangasem, officials said.
The death toll was not expected to rise, they added.
"The quake was felt strongly for five seconds," said disaster agency spokesman Abdul Muhari.
"People were panicking and ran from their houses when the quake hit."
The tremor's epicentre was far from the main tourist hub in Bali, which is slowly reopening to international visitors after a pandemic shutdown.
Indonesia experiences frequent quakes due to its position on the Pacific "Ring of Fire", an arc of intense seismic activity where tectonic plates collide that stretches from Japan through Southeast Asia and across the Pacific basin.
In January, more than 100 people were killed and thousands left homeless by a 6.2-magnitude quake that struck Sulawesi island, reducing buildings to a tangled mass of twisted metal and chunks of concrete in the seaside city of Mamuju.
A 7.5-magnitude quake and a subsequent tsunami in Palu three years ago left more than 4,300 people dead or missing.
© 2021 AFP
The Golden Globes will go ahead despite NBC's decision not to broadcast the Hollywood award ceremony over concerns about its record on diversity and transparency, organizers said Friday.
The Hollywood Foreign Press Association -- which votes on the Globes and has been under fire due to allegations of racism, sexism, bullying and corruption -- said winners of the annual film and television awards will be announced on January 9.
No details were given of how the awards will be announced, or if any physical ceremony will take place.
The prestigious Globes ceremony usually kicks off Hollywood's glitzy award season, and draws a who's who of Tinseltown A-listers to a lavish and champagne-soaked ceremony.
But NBC pulled the plug on the party in May, after major Hollywood studios suspended their involvements with the HFPA, and stars such as Tom Cruise and Scarlett Johansson slammed the group.
At the time, Netflix and Amazon Studios said they would not work with the HFPA until more "meaningful" and "significant" reforms were made to its ranks.
The controversy stemmed from a report in February that the HFPA had no Black members in its ranks, although discontent with the group had been simmering in Hollywood for years.
This month, the HFPA admitted 21 new members in what it dubbed "the largest and most diverse" new class in its 78-year history, with a similar expansion planned next year.
The group also announced a five-year partnership with the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) to "to increase diversity, equity and inclusion across the global entertainment industry."
I speculated Thursday. I said 2020 might have been the Republican Party's best and last shot at an authoritarian takeover. I said I can't know if that's true. The time for knowing is not yet here. But if it is true, it's because respectable white people know what's going on. Let's talk about that.
You might think who cares? Swing voters are extinct! Don't be daft. Respectable white people — which is to say, white people who care about looking respectable to other white people — are the great globular middle of American politics. They determine which party prevails over long periods. From the 1930-1960s, they sided with the Democrats. From the 1980s-2010s, they sided with the GOP. I believe we are in a new moment of transition. Respectable white people are deciding which party speaks for them most consistently and why.
To come to the right conclusion, they must see what's going on. They must see it clearly. And there's the rub. Respectable white people are respectable on account of their being white people of middle class and higher means who are generally immune to political fallout. My fear is they are hearing more about "wokism" and "Critical Race Theory" than they are about the slow-motion civil war that's been building since the rapid-action coup attempt on January 6. Like it or not, respectable white people are going to fear non-white people more than other white people, even when those white people are far from respectable.
So we must do our best to pierce through the facade thrown up by the Republicans to hide their real objective, which is this: the protection, preservation and perpetuation of the "natural" orders of power — God over Mankind, men over women and white people over everyone else.
This has always been the objective of authoritarian-minded Americans. They used to be the center of the Democratic Party. Now they are the center of the Republican Party. In both cases, they fashioned a reasonable-sounding facade to hide it. They had to. They live in a democracy, after all. They can't have it be known far and wide that democracy is only tolerable if it doesn't undermine their objectives.
When it does, as when Barack Obama was elected, it's war by other means. That's when the facade becomes even more important. Part of what makes respectable white people respectable is the general sense that no matter bad things are, democracy is still worth having. The Republicans can't afford respectable white people turning against them. Even as they go to war, they work hard to hide going to war.
But sometimes, the facade falls off. I think that happened in a school district in Texas. NBC News reported Thursday secret audio of an administrator for the Carroll Independent School District in Southlake advising teachers with books on the Holocaust in their class libraries that they should also have books representing "opposing views." This isn't a fringe view. It was a serious mistake, though. I'm guessing the administrator didn't intend to say something so grotesque, but factors conspired to force her to. And with that, the facade slid right off.
Those factors are laws in Texas and other formerly confederate states putting greater restrictions on teachers and how they teach the history of racism and slavery. The Republicans who control these states say these laws protect students from something called "Critical Race Theory." In fact, they push back against political gains made after a white police officer murdered Black man. George Floyd's death sparked a nationwide rethinking of racism and greater efforts at anti-racism. (By the way, the "opposing view" of anti-racism is racism.)
Public schools are naturally where most of this rethinking and effort has been taking place. After all, the point of public education is creating democratic citizens who vote, who know their rights and who demand freedom. In other words, creating small-r republicans who may over time flatten the orders of power. Critical Race Theory, which is not taught to fifth-graders, is a convenient facade for covering up what the GOP wants to do, which is straw-bossing public educators.
The GOP is having great success. Why stop with Black people? Public schools are where lots of women work. (Most teachers are women.) Harassing them about "Critical Race Theory" is another way of harassing women for refusing to stay in their place in the orders of power (under men). Same for the death-threat squads stalking election officials. Most of them are women, too. Harassing them about "election fraud" is another way of harassing them about the "fraud" of trying to have a life unbeholden to men that's contrary to the natural order.
First, Black people. Then women. And then Jews. It should all make sense. The QAnon conspiracy theory, which fuels the Big Lie that Donald Trump is still president, tracks nearly perfectly with ancient Jew-hatred. For QAnon, Democrats drink the blood of children. For antisemites, Jews drink the blood of Christian children. Again, I don't think the administrator for the Carroll Independent School District in Southlake, Texas, intended to say teachers should teach "both sides" of the Holocaust. But the fact that she did is in keeping with the larger authoritarian objective of keeping white Christian men on top.
We must do our best to make respectable white people aware of this. We must do it for their sakes, too. Why? Because it's not just people on the margins who are in danger. It's not just racial and religious minorities. If the GOP is allowed to keep going, it's only a matter of time before much of the country is assimilated into their authoritarian collective. As one fascist writer put it, most would agree that the United States has become "two nations occupying the same country." But, he said, "fewer are willing to take the next step and accept that most people living in the United States today—certainly more than half—are not Americans in any meaningful sense of the term."
If you think border politics is only about "illegal immigrants," you are badly mistaken. Border politics will come for everyone in time. If left unchecked, many citizens will find themselves deemed "illegal," too. As I said, 2020 might have been the Republican Party's best and last shot at an authoritarian takeover. But if that's indeed true, it's because respectable white people know what's going on. Make sure they do.
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