Sounds fine to us!
They're all back in America this week, so we guess we're back to regular press briefings!
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Let’s be polite and pretend we’re surprised.
Florida and Texas are currently tied for the most residents facing charges related to the January 6 assault on the Capitol. The score stands at 47 arrests from each state out of the 484 nationwide total, according to the USA Today database. (Business Insider has recorded 521 arrests so far.)
Texas and Florida are the second and third most populous states respectively, but they still disproportionately contributed to the MAGA mob: For instance, Floridians account for 6.6 percent of the nation's population but 9.7 percent of alleged January 6 insurrectionists. Texas boasts 8.7 percent of the US population, which is still less than its percentage of accused Capitol rioters. Just 29 people have been arrested in California, which is significantly larger than both states. New York, whose “values" Texas GOP Senator Ted Cruz once smeared, has had 35 arrests, despite its close proximity to Washington, DC.
Florida Democratic Rep. Charlie Crist, who's running for governor, called his state's arrest total “stunning." He's requesting that GOP Governor Ron DeSantis create a bipartisan commission to investigate the state's links to the January 6 attack, not so much for finger-wagging but as a matter of "public safety." DeSantis is obviously too busy abusing the First Amendment and transgender children to bother addressing domestic terrorism. His press secretary, Christina Pushaw, dismissed Crist's request as "raw political opportunism."
From the Herald-Tribune:
Pushaw said "any individuals who are found guilty of committing crimes should be held responsible for their own actions." She added that Crist's proposal "is tailor-made for left-wing corporate media, not for everyday Floridians. Moreover, Crist's framing blames more than 20 million Floridians for the actions of a few, and that is simply unfair — and unserious."
DeSantis eagerly signed Republican “anti-riot" bills targeting left-wing protests against police violence and traitor monuments, but he'd rather ignore the January 6 riot, even though he still publicly supports the twice-impeached thug who incited the violence. He repeatedly refuses to answer the question “Was the 2020 election rigged?" with a firm, non-evasive “no."
Andrew Warren, the top prosecutor for the Tampa area and all of Hillsborough County, said a state commission would help prevent future crimes.
"This is about more than what happened on Jan. 6, this is about what could happen tomorrow," Warren said Friday during a press conference with Crist outside The Florida Holocaust Museum in St. Petersburg. "Nobody, Republican, Democrat, wants hate groups organizing, arming themselves and instigating violence in our state. Nobody. Investigating why so many Floridians breached the Capitol and committed crimes against our nation is critical to keeping hate out of our state and keeping our communities safe."
Florida pulls ahead of even Texas in arrests of alleged Capitol rioters associated with far right groups the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys. The Herald-Tribune reports that Floridians account for more than 40 percent of the Oath Keepers arrested and about 25 percent of the Proud Boys. This includes leaders from both groups charged with helping plan the insurrection.
These are seriously violent people, who allegedly did more than just molest a Confederate statue. An East Naples Proud Boy is accused of pepper spraying a line of Capitol police officers. A Titusville Oath Keeper allegedly stashed weapons near the Capitol to provide a “quick reaction force." (He's also admitted to shooting his neighbor's dog, so he's a monster.) Federal authorities claim Audrey Southard-Rumsey from Spring Hill jammed a flag pole against a police sergeant's chest, “forcing him backwards until he fell into a statue and struck his head on the base." Quite the aggressive tourist!
Surveillance video allegedly showed Southard-Rumsey yelling at cops: "Tell Pelosi we are coming for that bitch ... There's a hundred thousand of us, what's it going to be?" and "Last friend, last bullet. What's it going to be?" Southard-Rumsey was arrested this month, but your Fox News-viewing relatives probably have no idea who she is. They still think "Pigs in a Blanket, Fry 'Em Like Bacon" is the official Black Lives Matter chant.
Republicans can try to both sides this and suggest that Rep. Maxine Waters also promotes violence, but no one arrested at a riot in Kenosha, Wisconsin, or Portland, Oregon, boldly declared, “Auntie Maxine sent me!" However, these accused insurrectionist thugs are devoted and vocal Donald Trump supporters.
Jeffrey Register from Fernandina Beach reportedly wore a “God, guns and Trump" hoodie while storming the Capitol. He confessed to the FBI that his ultimate objective was to "affect Congress's decision on" certifying the Electoral College vote. Register added that he wished he'd made it into the House chamber so he could "show his support for President Trump."
Donald Trump is the unrepentant leader of an insurgent movement. Republicans could've rejected him completely after January 6, but they'd rather sweep this all under the rug and keep Trump as the face of their party. Meanwhile, Trump has hate rallies scheduled in Ohio and Florida, where he'll spread more lies about the 2020 election. This is an ongoing national security threat, and the Republicans who choose to ignore it are all morally implicated.
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Republicans not helping because when do they ever?
President Joe Biden set two ambitious targets in May: Fully vaccinating 160 million American adults and giving at least one shot to 70 percent of adults by July 4. We're on pace to miss both goals, because apparently Americans' collective stupidity exceeds their survival instincts.
According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as of last Wednesday, about 65 percent of adults are at least partially vaccinated from COVID-19. This means about 13.6 million would have to receive their first shot within the next 18 days to reach the desired 70 percent figure. That's an average of roughly 756,000 new vaccinations each day, and the US is averaging less just 336,000 newly vaccinated adults per day over the past week. It's like in college when you were behind in the assigned reading but convinced yourself you could somehow catch up if you buckled down and read something like 500 pages a day until the finals. That never panned out.
Biden focused on the positives during a White House press conference Friday: 300 million shots have been administered within his first 150 days in office. That's still a tremendous achievement, but the 70 percent figure wasn't pulled out of a hat, like the winning numbers in a vaccine lottery. Medical experts estimate that 70 percent of the population, at a minimum, needs to be vaccinated for the country to achieve herd immunity. The vaccine also can protect you from COVID-19 variants, the worst right now being the Delta variant, which the CDC upgraded last week from a “variant of interest" to a “variant of concern." Maybe once the CDC upgrades Delta to a “critical race variant," Americans will pay more attention.
The Delta variant is responsible for 10 percent of new cases in the US. Missouri has the highest number of reported Delta variant cases at 6.8 percent. GOP Senator Josh Hawley could try overturning those results but it won't change reality. The CDC reports significant community transmission in rural parts of Missouri and Kansas, where vaccination rates are low.
Biden, unfortunately, had to state the obvious last week: "The best way to protect yourself against these variants is to get vaccinated." Vice President Kamala Harris and Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra have gone on the road selling the vaccine. This is a public good, but Republicans couldn't resist attacking Harris for not focusing instead on their contrived border “crisis."
When Harris visited South Carolina last week, Governor Henry McMaster claimed that Harris's time would be better spent at the border. McMaster isn't the boss of Harris, who is free to go wherever she wants. That's why Juneteenth is a federal holiday. GOP Rep. Nancy Mace shared a photo on Twitter from some MAGA supporter holding up a sign that read: "The Border Is That Way."
Mace tweeted: "SC has a message for VP: Stop making up problems just to avoid real ones. We can vaccinate our citizens just fine without you dropping by."
This comes off like a very classy “N-word Go Home" sentiment. Mace seems to be trying to rebrand herself as a Diet Racist version of Marjorie Taylor Greene. South Carolina ranked 40th among states in vaccinations with just 42.3 percent of residents having at least one dose. South Carolina is also ranked 42nd in education, so maybe Mace just doesn't get math. However, my home state isn't doing “just fine" on vaccinations.
South Carolina is also 27.3 percent Black and 5.7 percent Hispanic, and MAGA-enabling Mace doesn't speak for them. They were happy to see the vice president they overwhelmingly supported, and they could use her help. South Carolinians of color have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. Black people account for 50 percent of COVID-19 deaths, which includes my cousin. I consider that a “real" problem even if Mace doesn't care.
Encouraging vaccinations should've been a bipartisan cause, like when a hurricane or other natural disaster hits, but these days Republicans are more likely to just blame Harris for the rain. She was greeted with more metaphorical burning crosses when she visited Atlanta last week. Fewer than half of Fulton County residents have received at least one shot.
From Capitol Beat:
"Biden and Harris have created a growing border crisis and today, day 86 as Biden's crisis 'manager,' Harris is in Atlanta," said Savannah Viar, a spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee. "Instead of grandstanding in Georgia, Harris needs to visit our southern border immediately."
This isn't “grandstanding." More than 600,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 over the past year. Maybe twice as many Fox News viewers are freaking out over a supposed “border crisis," but that doesn't make it a more serious issue or even a real one.
Like other Republican-run states bringing up the rear on vaccinations, South Carolina and Georgia have already lifted most COVID-19 restrictions. Guess it's easier to pretend the pandemic doesn't exist than it is to promote civic responsibility.
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Yesterday, June 17, was a pretty momentous day. Joe Biden signed the Juneteenth national holiday into law, and so now we have a federal holiday marking the end of slavery, which is a pretty big deal. Among those in the White House for the signing was Opal Lee, 94, who headed the effort to make the holiday not just a Texas thing, but a national holiday, even walking from Fort Worth to Washington in 2016, when she was nearly 90, to publicize the cause.
It's a really happy occasion, so of course the White Grievance crowd had a problem with it. So let's take a look at some of the less enlightened responses to America's newest national celebration, before we consign them to the ash heap of history. We promise to close with happy stuff!
Now, Yr Editrix already took care of the very worst take on the new holiday, because it came from her own member of Congress, Matt Rosendale, who fretted that celebrating the end of slavery might be a plot to sneak "critical race theory" into the schools (it is not). So we'll have to content ourselves with the also-rans. But let there be no mistake: They stepped in it, plenty.
We'll preface this hall of shame with this observation from The Atlantic's Adam Serwer: "Imagine being so racist you're *mad* about having an extra day to drink beer and eat barbecued meats." These people are indeed the worst.
Let's get one of the ugliest responses out of the way first. It's a two-parter, starting with former CIA guy Tony Shaffer, who's now a rightwing troll who writes for the Epoch Times. He was upset at Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for saying that Republicans who voted against the holiday were playing to the worst parts of their base. And so, like any number of mediocre white men, Shaffer decided to lecture AOC with some steaming hot "Southern Democrats did slavery and nothing every changed" bullshit that might as well have come straight from professional history liar Dinesh D'Souza.
Let's give @aoc a history lesson: - @RNC & Lincoln freed the slaves -We fought a Civil War where GOP States defeate… https://t.co/9wf6lD1gyp— Tony Shaffer (@Tony Shaffer)1623948539.0
Yes, and let's just pretend that there was no party realignment after northern liberal Democrats, with the help of northern liberal Republicans, passed the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which was signed by a Southern Democrat who knew what was right. Somebody really ought to point that out to Shaffer.
Racist cantaloupe and former congressman Steve King thought Shaffer had a heck of a point, possibly atop his sheet, and explained that the real heroes of emancipation were all white (fact check: Long before Lincoln's proclamation, enslaved people were emancipating themselves, escaping slavery in the chaos of the Civil War).
700,000 white christian men died in the conflict to save the union and end slavery. Their descendants, such as they… https://t.co/ugdUHBcsFl— Steve King (@Steve King)1623951814.0
700,000 white christian men died in the conflict to save the union and end slavery. Their descendants, such as they exist, are still waiting for a thank you from the Congressional Black Caucus. Instead, they demand slavery reparations. Blood is far more precious than sweat.
So to translate, apparently instead of celebrating Juneteenth, Black people should be thanking the descendants of all who fought in the Civil War. Including, logically enough, those on the Confederate side. He does have a point: Slavery in the US couldn't have ended if there had been no enslavers in the first place, so credit where it's due. At least he didn't call for Black people today to pay reparations to the descendants of those combatants.
Also too, Candace Owens did her part to make America a happier place, by claiming that celebrating the end of slavery was — get this — a form of "segregation."
Juneteenth is soooo lame. Democrats really need to stop trying to repackage segregation. I’ll be celebrating Jul… https://t.co/MNHm2nIUC8— Candace Owens (@Candace Owens)1623959464.0
Also too, she wondered why anyone would even want to mark the end of slavery, because slavery is either no big deal, or just a tool to manipulate Black people who aren't as smart as she is, or, fuck knows, It's Candace Owens.
Every single race has been enslaved at some point in human history. Africans are STILL enslaved today. This is not… https://t.co/4NU2PtSN75— Candace Owens (@Candace Owens)1623960753.0
Over at Breitbart, Joel B. Pollak offered his own D'Souzaesque take: It sure is weird that Democrats want to celebrate Juneteenth, since it marks the Republican victory over "Democrat racists." But he did take pains to note we didn't really need a holiday to mark the end of the Civil War, since that's what Memorial Day is for. (No, Pollak didn't mention the nice veteran whose mic was shut off when he mentioned Black people's role in creating the holiday.)
You will be glad to know that Joel Pollak does not consider Juneteenth divisive, however, because it
celebrates the assimilation of black Americans into full American citizenship, whose true potential would only be realized a century later — again, over the opposition of racist Democrats.
Also, for some reason, the Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress and the Democratic president passed the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act, and the Fair Housing Act, apparently unaware that they were all racists who opposed all three, and once more the Southern Strategy never happened.
But the real First Runner-up to Rep. Rosendale for the Ugly Crown came from the ever-petulant Charlie Kirk, who whined that Juneteenth was out to replace Independence Day, by being in the summer and also all racial:
Lincoln knew America’s founding was July 4 1776. He knew that was the day our amazing nation made a step from “idea… https://t.co/BQpAoJV2gf— Charlie Kirk (@Charlie Kirk)1623944832.0
Lincoln knew America's founding was July 4 1776. He knew that was the day our amazing nation made a step from "ideal" to reality
"Juneteenth" is an affront to the unity of July 4th. We now have 2 summer holidays—and one of them based on race
Shame on the GOP for supporting this
We have a thought that, should he find himself capable of thinking, Charlie Kirk might want to try on for size: A big nation can actually mark two things in history, even if they're in the summer! The 4th of July celebrates the Declaration of Independence. And Juneteenth celebrates an important milestone in extending the Declaration's values to all Americans.
And we can celebrate both, because America is not a zero-sum game.
What's that? Charlie Kirk knew that once? Weird.
And now, on to the happy stuff, after one more genuinely solemn thing. Not long before signing the Juneteenth federal holiday into law, President Joe Biden noted that June 17 also marks a terrible anniversary:
Today marks six years since a white supremacist took nine precious lives at Mother Emanuel in an act of domestic te… https://t.co/ybjKxGrBvE— President Biden (@President Biden)1623964200.0
Today marks six years since a white supremacist took nine precious lives at Mother Emanuel in an act of domestic terrorism.
We must honor their lives with action, including reducing gun violence and addressing domestic terrorism.
The sad truth is that if you're marking almost any highlight of African American history, there's a horror hiding in the corner, because that is the true history of this bloody republic. King's 1963 March on Washington was followed just over two weeks later by the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, killing four little girls in their Sunday school class. It's all part of the national story, which is why we need to tell the whole story, honestly.
That said, we can also cry at the beauty of another historical coincidence. Juneteenth became a holiday on the 150th anniversary of the birth of James Weldon Johnson, who wrote the lyrics to "Lift Every Voice and Sing," also known as the Black National Anthem. Following the signing of the law yesterday, everyone at the signing ceremony lifted their voices, and sang:
Congressional Black Caucus members sing the Black national anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing” after the signing o… https://t.co/JbgjF001UU— Karine Jean-Pierre (@Karine Jean-Pierre)1623938276.0
Let freedom, as they say, ring.
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