Jimmy Carter Warned Us About American Oligarchy - The Monday AM Quickie 2/20/23
There was a fake antiwar rally on the National Mall yesterday and almost no one except rubberneckers showed up. As sad as it might sound, that counts as a win in my book, because the heavily hyped event was crawling with cult recruiters and neo-Nazis, and only harm can come from working with such types. - Corey
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THE BIG NEWS
Say Your Goodbyes to a Real One: President Jimmy Carter
You may have heard by now, but over the weekend Jimmy Carter entered hospice care at home in Plains, Georgia. That means the 98-year-old former president, who said a few years ago that he was "absolutely and completely at ease with death," is expected to pass on soon. Carter is, to my knowledge, the only U.S. president to devote his post-White House career to genuine humanitarian work, as opposed to pseudo-philanthropic influence buying, cutting big-dollar deals with Netflix, or trading favors with gangsters at a private luxury resort. As a member of the Nobel Peace Prize committee said after Carter was made a laureate: "Jimmy Carter will probably not go down in American history as the most effective president. But he is certainly the best ex-president the country ever had."
The pious Carter was a relative conservative among Democrats of his own generation, but in the wake of his uber-militaristic successor, Ronald Reagan, and the right-leaning "third way" neoliberalism of Bill Clinton, he would be considered a leftist by contemporary American standards. Carter left office before I was born, so I won't pretend to offer deep insights into his life or career. I can say I always found it refreshing to hear him chime in on current affairs, as in 2015, when he said America was no longer a democracy but rather an oligarchy with "unlimited political bribery."
Speaking of which, bribe-loving oligarch Donald Trump vowed in a Saturday-night Truth Social post that "I will never call Ron DeSanctimonious 'Meatball' Ron, as the Fake News is insisting I will." Now read that quote back to yourself in Jimmy Carter's voice, and weep for the country he once led.
MORE STORIES TO WATCH
Blinken Warns China Against Arming Russia
There was a ton of foreign policy news out of the Munich Security Conference over the weekend. In a marquee speech on Saturday, Vice President Kamala Harris said "the United States has formally determined that Russia has committed crimes against humanity." Harris cited "gruesome acts of murder, torture, rape and deportation" perpetrated by Russian forces in a "widespread and systematic" way against Ukrainian civilians. That night, Secretary of State Antony Blinken had a reportedly "tense" meeting which senior Chinese diplomat Wang Yi, and warned his counterpart against launching more spy balloons over the U.S. or supplying weapons or "nonlethal military assistance" like body armor to Russia. Finally, top European Union diplomat Josep Borrell called for an acceleration of military production, saying it can currently take from 10 months to 3 years to procure a single round of ammunition, a situation that could mean defeat for Ukraine.
Teacher Fired for Video Showing GOP Censorship in Florida
Brian Covey, a substitute teacher at Mandarin Middle School in Jacksonville, Florida, filmed a viral video last month showing bookshelves emptied by the new censorship regime enacted by Florida Republican lawmakers and Gov. Ron DeSantis. Covey was fired lat week after DeSantis was asked about the empty bookshelves at a press conference. He told the Washington Post "he received a 45-second phone call from Education Staffing Solutions (ESS), the organization the district contracts to hire substitute teachers, telling him that his services were no longer needed after he was told he 'had violated their cellphone and social media policy.'" But Covey says he was never told not to take video in the library. Meanwhile, at Palm Beach Atlantic University in West Palm Beach, English professor Sam Joeckel has been placed under review for a unit on racial justice he's been teaching for years without complaint. The provost and dean "told me they had concerns that I was indoctrinating students. That was the exact word they used: indoctrinating," Joeckel told CNN. "I had no idea this was coming." The rest of us can't say we weren't warned.
- Republicans Want to Kill the Vaccine Mandate in Hospitals and Nursing Homes A federal coronavirus vaccine mandate for workers in healthcare settings doesn't expire until November 2024, but that's not soon enough for the House GOP. via the Associated Press.
- Catholic Bishop Shot Dead in Los Angeles The initial statement from the archdiocese said only that Bishop David O'Connell "passed away unexpectedly"; police are treating the case as a homicide but declining to provide details. via the LA Times.
- Lori Lightfoot Could Lose Reelection in First Round of Voting Next Week One poll of the Feb. 28 municipial election has the Chicago mayor "in a statistical dead heat with two others — Paul Vallas, a former CEO of Chicago Public Schools who has won the backing of Chicago's Fraternal Order of Police, and [progressive Chuy] Garcia." via NBC News.
- Taliban Will Turn Vacant Foreign Bases Into 'Special Economic Zones' The United States may have lost its two-decade war in Afghanistan, but it seems neoliberalism won in the end. via Reuters.
Thats how many gallons of radioactive water Holtec International, which owns the defunct Indian Point nuclear power plant in New York, wants to dump in the Hudson River. Although it's a standard practice, Gothamist reports that some scientists and environmentalists want the company to store the water on-site until the radioactive components break down, which would prolong the plant's decommissioning to 24 years, up from 12, and delay redevelopment.
ON THE SHOW TODAY
2/20: The MR Crew is back! Sam sits down for a pre-taped conversation with Peniel Joseph, joint professor of public affairs and history at the University of Texas at Austin, to discuss his recent book The Third Reconstruction: America's Struggle for Racial Justice in the Twenty-First Century.
DON'T MISS MR CLIPS
Marge Greene Blames Labor for Ohio Rail Disaster
The gall these people have to even pretend to stick up for the working class!
Released Footage Reveals Atlanta PD's Lies That Were Covered Up
It sure sounds like these cops are talking about friendly fire between their colleagues, not anyone getting shot by a protester, as was the initial claim.
"When we start talking about the spiritual reality of the demonic forces, it's like, 'Oh, my God, this is crazy, we can’t go there. No. It's like, did you read the Bible? Didn't Jesus perform exorcisms? … Scriptures are clear. And so if we're not operating as though the spirit realities of the world exist, we're going to fail every time."
-- Newly elected Michigan Republican Party chair Kristina Karamo, an election denier who lost her campaign for secretary of state last year by 14 percentage points, speaking about her faith, as quoted by the Washington Post.
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