I pet an alpaca for the first time yesterday. Very fluffy. I highly recommend it. Also, I found out llamas are used to guard alpaca herds. Neat stuff. - Robert
THE BIG NEWS
Trump Cult Shields Paxton from Accountability, Pledge Retribution
Over the weekend, the Texas Senate acquitted patently corrupt attorney general Ken Paxton on all 16 impeachment charges brought by the state's lower chamber.
According to Bolts, mounds of evidence show Paxton attempted to use his office to target the legal adversaries of a wealthy friend and donor (who gave a patronage gig to Paxton's mistress and renovated Paxton's home). Paxton then fired staff who blew the whistle. The whistleblowers sued and forced Paxton to apologize and settle for millions of dollars. To top that off, he petitioned state lawmakers to use taxpayer funds to pay for the settlement.
Only two Republicans joined Texas Senate Democrats to vote to convict on some of the charges. The sixteen other Republicans, voted in lockstep to shield Paxton, one of the chief handmaiden of Trump's attempted coup. The extreme right wing of Texas Republicans, who now dominate the Lone Star state's politics, are vowing to take revenge against any Republican colleagues not fully committed to their fascist project. According to the Texas Tribune, target number one for ultra-MAGA Republicans is Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan:
“You and your band of RINOs are now on notice,” Defend Texas Liberty PAC leader Jonathan Stickland tweeted at Phelan on Saturday, as voting continued in the Texas Senate. “You will be held accountable for this entire sham. We will never stop. Retire now.”
Since the start of impeachment in May, Paxton-friendly conservatives have been spreading propaganda that Texas Republicans involved in impeachment were in cahoots with the Biden administration.
Alex Pareene's thesis that "mainstream Republicans" are being devoured by the lunatic fringe they fostered gets more relevant every day.
MORE STORIES TO WATCH
No Resolution Near as Negotiations Resume Between UAW and Big 3; Biden Reportedly Pressured Union to Slow-Start Strike
On Sunday, representatives from the United Auto Workers met with counterparts from the Big Three automakers, Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis. Currently, about 13,000 UAW members have walked out of three assembly plants, according to Reuters. Union president Shawn Fain made the rounds on weekend news channels saying members are prepared to escalate to a full-blown 130,000 worker strike if negotiations don't yield satisfactory results. Mike Elk at the Payday reports that the union scaled down the start of the strike under pressure from the Biden administration. According to CBS, the White House is deploying Labor Secretary Julie Su and senior adviser Gene Sperling to Detroit to help mediate, but it's unclear whether the union explicitly invited this move. Biden struck a decidedly pro-union tone after the strikes began on Friday saying that the automakers “should go further to ensure record corporate profits mean record contracts for the UAW.” I guess we'll see how much he's committed to that statement if/when the UAW decides to expand the strike.
On a side note, UAW's Twitter briefly lost its blue check after the strike was called Friday, according to the Intercept. I wouldn't put it past Elon Musk to do something petty like that, but it seems likely that the UAW's switching to a new profile picture triggered check's temporary disappearance. Twitter breaks down like that a lot now.
U.S. Helped Pakistan Secure IMF Bailout Through Secret Arms Deal for Ukraine
Leaked documents to the Intercept reportedly document U.S. purchase of arms from Pakistan to supply the Ukrainian military, which is in chronic need of the kinds of basic munitions Pakistan produces. This deal helped Pakistan, which has not officially sided with Ukraine in the conflict, gather the capital and political good will necessary to secure an International Monetary Fund Loan, according to the Intercept's sources. The authors of the piece, Ryan Grim and Murtaza Hussain, argue that this intervention set the stage for Pakistan's crackdown on government opposition -- which climaxed in the imprisonment of former President Imran Khan -- by alleviating some of the economic pressures facing the ruling military class. Pakistani elections scheduled for November are almost certain to be delayed as the military tries to game the next election in its favor.
- Last Three on Trial for Attempted Kidnapping of Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer Acquitted A juror approached one of the men after the verdict and apologized for all trouble the far-right militia member went through. Maybe it's time to increase Whitmer's security detail a bit more. via NBC News.
- Libya to Investigate Dam Collapse that Led to the Drowning of Over 11,000 Citizens "It’s unclear how such an investigation can be carried out in the North African country, which plunged into chaos after a NATO-backed uprising toppled longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi in 2011." via HuffPost by way of the Associated Press.
- Special Counsel Requests Gag Order on Trump This seems like a double-edged strategy, as the former president can't stop incriminating himself. via Axios.
- China Flies Over 100 Military Planes Toward Taiwan This was a record exercise and described by Taiwan as "harassment." via the Associated Press.
- Drew Barrymore Re-Discovers Solidarity Barrymore's show, along with The Talk and Jennifer Hudson's Talk, have decided not to return to air until writers and actors win fair contracts. via the Daily Beast.
That’s how much Clean Energy for America Education Fund is putting into campaign ads highlighting green investments and job creation stemming from Inflation Reduction Act funds in swing states. That's fine, let's make those jobs good and unionized too. via E&E Daily.
ON THE SHOW TODAY
9/18: Happy Monday! Sam and Emma speak with James Tabery, professor in Philosophy at the University of Utah, to discuss his recent book Tyranny of the Gene: Personalized Medicine and Its Threat to Public Health.
DON'T MISS MR CLIPS
"I find him [Maher] completely unfunny. Like, maybe the unfunniest person I’ve ever encountered that’s called a comedian." - Norm MacDonald. R.I.P.
We fight common threats with solidarity, not throwing more marginalized groups under the bus.
"This was a David-against-Goliath battle, and the Davids prevailed."
-- SEIU President Mary Kay Henry on getting McDonald's and Starbucks to withdraw opposition to raising fast-food workers' minimum hourly wage to $20 and labor-management council that will address workplace issues. Over half a million workers will get a raise as a result. via the American Prospect.
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