With the recent takeover of Twitter by a certain cretin who shall not be named here, the information landscape feels more dominated than ever by far-right conspiratorial garbage while progressives get pushed even further to the margins. The aforementioned executive tweeted recently that the site had been propagating “far left San Francisco/Berkeley views” to the world and that he was “moving rapidly to establish a even playing field.” These guys are the true eliminationists, using money, power, and intimidation to shut down the entire project of civil rights and human rights. Yet in conventional narratives, it’s still college kids or powerless people on social media who get scolded for being some sort of authoritarian threat.
I think it’s safe to say that if the GOP had not launched an aggressive demonization campaign against drag performers in recent months, falsely linking them to child abuse, those people at Club Q in Colorado Springs would still be alive today. The same applies for threats of violence against trans people and the medical professionals who provide care for them. The party now thrives on barely-veiled threats of violence and intimidation.
The Cop27 climate summit happening now in Egypt has been somewhat overshadowed by US election news, but it is no less important. I was struck by the statistic that global subsidies for fossil fuel production totaled $400 billion in 2019, and according to this Guardian report, these subsidies shot up to $700 billion in 2021 as governments tried help their economies rebound from the pandemic. Meanwhile, wealthier nations have failed to honor an agreement from Cop15 in 2009 (!) to provide a fraction of this — $100 billion — in aid to poorer nations ravaged by climate crises.
It cannot be emphasized enough how the GOP has ceased to be a legitimate political party and there is no meaningful way the Dems could position themselves to “the right” without trafficking in dangerous falsehoods. Mainstream commentators like to pretend elections are still determined by good-faith policy differences, because the alternative would be to acknowledge that nearly everything one “side” says has no basis in reality. And that gets awkward when you’re trying to maintain the lucrative fiction of “unbiased centrist.”
In earlier drafts of this cartoon each stage of Twitter initially had a description, which I’ll post here for posterity:
Hopefully the artwork in each panel manages to convey these ideas without the explanations.
This pretty much sums up how I feel about the midterms. I can’t believe so many contests are so close. Perhaps the most depressing one is the Ohio Senate race in which far-right extremist JD Vance — who has stated that the sexual revolution made it easier for women to leave violent marriages, and that this is bad somehow — has a very good shot at winning. Republican candidates can say just about anything these days, and it doesn’t matter. The old norms are gone; actual policy has become irrelevant.
In case you haven’t heard about the guys in tactical gear guarding a ballot drop box in Mesa, AZ, you can read more here.
As this excellent column by Will Bunch explains, the organization responsible for these ads that are running during baseball playoff games on Fox Sports is a shadowy dark money group called “Citizens for Sanity” that is at least partly composed of former Trump administration officials with ties to notorious immigrant-basher Stephen Miller. This dangerously dishonest and inflammatory propaganda is simply incompatible with democracy, and it’s likely not a coincidence that it was allowed on a Rupert Murdoch-owned network. Having just finished Ken Burns’ epic documentary about US attitudes toward Jewish and other immigrants during the Holocaust, it’s especially harrowing to see some of the same ugly rhetoric resurfacing.
The Washington Post recently analyzed GOP candidates for the House, Senate, and key statewide offices, and found that over half — 299 out of 569 — have either challenged or refused to accept Biden’s victory in 2020. Of these, 173 are running for safe seats that they can expect to win.
According to TPM, more than half of U.S. states, 27 to be exact, have election deniers running for positions that would give them some degree of control control over voting.
I’m not actually sure what the best plan to stop this madness would be, but I do think good politicians need to be talking about this a LOT more than they are. We also desperately need greater moral clarity from political media.
I’ve seen various reports lately about universities not having enough housing for students, with some being forced into homelessness, sleeping in their cars, etc. It’s apparently a global problem — I just had a conversation with a woman in the Netherlands who was telling me about the plight of students trying to attend university in the Hague. As someone who spent four years living in university housing, this is almost imaginable to me. College is hard enough without worrying about having a roof over your head.
Many women are finding that in states with strict abortion bans, drugstores won’t fill their prescriptions without special confirmation from a doctor or a privacy-invading consultation with the pharmacist. It’s yet another way in which anti-choice extremism is upending healthcare. This article in The Guardian provides an overview.
There’s not anything particularly complicated about what Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott are doing by shipping asylum seekers and migrants off to far-flung “blue” cities under reportedly deceptive pretenses. It’s just dehumanizing and cruel, exploiting desperate people to score political points with a base that’s been whipped into a hateful frenzy.
Lured by the promise of jobs, the migrants find themselves dumped in the middle of nowhere (or in front of Kamala Harris’s house in DC, in the case of those bused by Abbott). Some were given papers suggesting they had appointments hundreds or thousands of miles away in order to stay in the country. Communities like Martha’s Vineyard have risen to the occasion to help the migrants, but that’s apparently not enough to stop extremists on the right from celebrating some perverse “gotcha.”
I thought Biden’s speech was long overdue, and about as mild-mannered as could be given the circumstances. It could have been tighter and more eloquently delivered, but the important thing is that he did it. The nitpicking that ensued from the mainstream press completely missed the forest for the trees. He was mean to Trump voters! He engaged in “partisan” talk about policy! You would think that after all we’ve been through in the past two years, that maybe it would be OK for the President to finally criticize the MAGA movement. In fact, he has a moral obligation to do so.