The issue at this protest is the upcoming union election at the Amazon plant in Bessemer, Alabama. Amazon has made enormous profits as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is estimated that the company’s former CEO Jeff Bezos (He kicked himself “upstairs” to take a more overall supervisory role a short time ago) could give every employee of Amazon $105k with just the profits he personally earned between March and August of 2020.
The immediate target of the protest was the law firm of Morgan Lewis, a union-busting firm that has over 2,200 attorneys worldwide. Arrayed against Morgan Lewis are:
...the Bessemer workers. Sick of exhausting productivity goals and relentless monitoring by management, they approached RWDSU over the summer. The union had previously organized at an Amazon warehouse in Staten Island. But workers at that location were fired after escalating their efforts (Amazon insists that the firings were not retaliation), and the union has not filed for an election. When Bessemer workers approached it about a possible campaign, RWDSU redirected organizing resources from poultry plants, its regional stronghold, to Amazon.
RWDSU stands for the Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union.
Video of the Marching
One of the first issues to arise after Joe Biden was inaugurated was the vaccination plan that the Trump Administration had left for Biden’s people. Politifact looked at the question and concluded that, yes indeed, they left the Biden Administration “a vaccination plan.” Problem is, it was nowhere even close to adequate. As Vice-President Harris said: "There was no national strategy or plan for vaccinations, we were leaving it to the states and local leaders…”
The former Director of the CDC and former Vice-President Pence's coronavirus task force were really ticked off to hear their work being trashed, but TPM published "How Trump Left The Country With No Real Vaccine Distribution Plan"
Think the real problem here is at least partially the allergy of the Republican Party to big government. The COVID-19 pandemic is a 50-state problem and it requires national coordination. This is not at all consistent with he libertarian notion that we don't need any authority higher than the county sheriff. Democrats, on the other hand, are perfectly comfortable with national solutions.
Here’s a detailed examination of the complete and utter cluster%$@# known as Operation Warp Speed. That’s not quite fair, the production of the vaccines themselves were well done. It was the “last mile,” getting the vaccine distributed to people across the country that was a complete mess.
In retrospect the FedEx trucks rolling to the rescue out of vaccine warehouses, duly captured by news cameras in accordance with General Perna’s wishes, call to mind U.S. tanks rolling into Baghdad in 2003—a declaration of victory, followed by mayhem.
Yep, that's a pretty good metaphor for Operation Warp Speed. Get to Baghdad and then, uh, ehh, whatevuh.
The next big news was the case of Representative Marjorie Greene, a Qanon cult member who claimed "I was allowed to believe things that weren’t true." Meaning she takes no personal responsibility for having deranged beliefs. She was ultimately removed from all of her committee assignments, but not before House Minority Leader McCarthy completely disgraced himself by being unable to choose between her and the far more sensible and reality-based Representative Liz Cheney.
The second impeachment trial of the former President Trump was kind of a foregone conclusion as Republican senators didn’t demonstrate any enthusiasm for busting him. A preview of the arguments of various Republican senators. “...the House impeachment managers introduced the concept of the ‘January exception,’” which means that a president is to be “removed from office” after a successful impeachment, but as he’s already left office, the Senate can’t actually do anything.
A real problem with disallowing busting someone who’s out of office due to his term having expired. If the off-going President commits impeachable acts during his last few days in office, doesn’t that theory give him a free pass to do whatever he pleases? Sorry, but even if the Founding fathers left that loophole in the law, we should close it!
The former Republican Representative who oversaw the final Benghazi investigation, Trey Gowdy, cuts to the heart of the matter: "What's not split is the president's lawyers need to come up with a factual defense for what was he doing once he learned the siege began." Democrats would have been happy to try and determine what Trump’s thoughts, actions and motivations were, but as impeachment managers Stacey Plaskett and Joe Neguse argued, “Democrats are still engaged in a court battle to compel former White House counsel Don McGahn’s testimony related to Trump’s first impeachment trial.”
The lawyer Asha Rangappa was asked about a defense put up for the former president, that his inciting speech right before the attack on the Capitol counted as a variety of Constitutionally-protected “free speech.” She said that no, it doesn't fall under "free speech," but under something more like employment law. The president was speaking as an employee of the people of the United States and he was saying things that his employers would not have approved of or authorized.
Daily Kos live-blogged the impeachment trial. Good point here:
This incredible montage of Democrats saying the word “fight,” shorn of all context, might mean something … if any of these Democrats’ supporters had stormed the Capitol. Which they did not.
In the end, Senate Minority Leader McConnell was left with a wildly inconsistent argument:
McConnell: "While a close call, I am persuaded that impeachments are a tool primarily of removal and we therefore lack jurisdiction.”
McConnell again: “The Constitution makes it perfectly clear that Presidential criminal misconduct while in office can be prosecuted after the President has left office, which in my view alleviates the otherwise troubling ‘January exception’ argument raised by the House.”
Problem with this argument of using the regular justice system for a president who commits impeachable offenses is that the Constitution contains the deliberately vague, catch-all term of “High crimes.” The purpose of this is that it’s impossible to catalog all of the crimes a future president might commit, so the term covers things that aren’t necessarily in the criminal law.
So, “After acquitting Trump, McConnell slams him for a 'disgraceful dereliction of duty.'” Which indicates McConnell was trying to have it both ways at once. He voted for Trump to be acquitted, but then verbally tore him up afterwards. Speaker Pelosi thought McConnell’s performance was really, really pathetic! Speaking of pathetic, here are the senators who voted to remove Clinton from office in 1998, but also voted to acquit Trump in 2021.
Did the Democrats prove their case? A very convincing case that they did, based on what the defense counsel refused to answer.
Texas suffered a massive power outage where essentially all the forms of power generation went down all at once. Windmills froze, but so did coal and natural gas because Texas doesn’t require power generators to winterize. Right-wingers try desperately to discredit green energy in the wake of the Texas disaster. Unfortunately, the “preppers” and survivalists never thought to prepare for a complete lack of electrical power.
The lights are back on in Texas and are likely to stay that way, but Texans face a number of serious problems, from water pipes that cracked because of the freezing water in them and that are now leaking to power bills from unregulated floating prices. In years past, this was a great deal. Not so much anymore. For those Texas who did not lose power, the bills have been in the thousands, because those “great deals” weren’t regulated.
The problem with the Texas power grid isn’t complicated. It’s libertarianism and the ideology of small government. It’s the idea that big government is a problem, when big government is exactly what Texas needs right now. A big government can engage in advanced contingency planning and can anticipate problems and can spend to avoid them. I was introduced to libertarian ideas back in my Freshman year at college. I noticed at the time that it was a strictly white, middle class guy-type of philosophy. Women didn't seem to have much use for it, neither did Black or brown people. Nor, for that matter, did people with modest incomes. More on just who benefits from libertarianism and specifically from the crisis in Texas.
Here’s a serious, long-term problem:
The Green New Deal is a huge challenge to major financial backers of the Republican Party. The fossil fuel industry has long been a major backer of the Republican Party and right-wing causes. Many major right-wing funders, most notoriously the Koch brothers, got a substantial portion of their fortunes from fossil fuels.
What that appears to mean is that the opposition of the Republican Party to “greening” our energy (moving from fossil fuels to renewables) is a deep problem having everything to do with how political parties get funding to run campaigns.
Your heroic narrator.
Long after he’d lost the 2020 election and shortly before he left office, the off-going President complained that his wife Melania had never gotten a photo feature in any major magazines. Melania Trump’s old ex-friend Stephanie Winston Wolkoff recently reported that Trump is connected to the mysterious disappearance of inaugural funds at the very beginning of her husband’s term in office. In order for a magazine to do a photo feature, they need to first do an interview that takes up at least four or five pages. That’s difficult to do when the First Lady has so much to hide. Other old problems like Trump getting an “Einstein Visa” to enter the US. Is there an innocent explanation for that? Seems there might be, but she’d have to take some heat and would have to carefully explain herself in detail. Now, she’s griping and stewing and spending lots of time at the spa.