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Fri Jul 16, 2021, 08:13 PM

Friday Talking Points -- GOP Defunded The Tax Police

There were two interesting developments in the congressional sausage-making process this week, both of which Democrats should immediately adopt as their main messages for the next week or so.

The first was that Senators Bernie Sanders and Mark Warner announced they had come to a compromise on the reconciliation bill which will fund the lion's share of President Joe Biden's economic agenda. They settled on a total figure of $3.5 trillion in new spending, which is far less than Bernie's original goal of $6 trillion (just for this bill alone), but also far more than the opening bid of the fiscally-conservative Democrats, which was in the $1.5 to $2 trillion range. It also will mean that Biden got the exact total he asked for in his "three-legged stool" of economic legislation. His first big legislative achievement (the American Rescue Plan) spent $1.9 trillion, and the bipartisan infrastructure deal represents $0.6 trillion more, which will mean a grand total of $6 trillion for all three -- which is exactly what Biden asked for in the first place.

But as we said, there were two interesting developments in the progress of both the reconciliation bill and the bipartisan infrastructure bill. Sanders managed to get one of his highest priorities included in the bill he will now write, and it's a doozy. Medicare coverage will expand to include dental, vision, and hearing insurance. There is no real logical reason why these three items are not considered part of standard American medical insurance in the first place -- they are medical problems which require a visit to the doctor and, sometimes, expensive accessories or treatment -- but for some strange reason in this country they are considered separate from regular health insurance. This means some older Americans haven't been able to afford things like new glasses or a hearing aid. Which is tragic. Bernie aims to fix that problem in one fell swoop. By doing so, he (and by extension all the Democrats who vote to make it happen) will earn the thanks of tens of millions of elderly Americans. This is a monumental and fundamental change that will improve the kitchen-table lives of a whole lot of people, in other words.

That's the positive message Democrats should start using: "We made this happen. Democrats made it so your grandmother can afford a hearing aid, or getting her teeth cleaned. We did this without Republican help -- this was not bipartisan, this was Democrats helping you while Republicans fought against it."

That's a pretty easy case to make, obviously.

And then there's the negative messaging. Because the bipartisan deal seems to have hit a rather large snag. Republicans are balking at one of the main ways their bill will be funded. They've already balked at plenty of other rational suggestions for how to raise the money, and the GOP negotiators thought they had an answer because it wouldn't have "raised taxes" on anyone and because it really wouldn't require any legal change or new program or even a rewrite of the tax laws. Democrats proposed a rather novel money-making idea: give the I.R.S. more money to hire people to conduct audits, and then direct them to audit high-income individuals and corporations. Investing in such enforcement against tax cheats would have paid for itself many times over (in the tax money recovered, which otherwise would have been lost), so the increase in revenue could be applied to all the infrastructure projects in the new bill.

Not such a bad idea, right? It wouldn't go against any of the Republican anti-tax orthodoxy, and would really just reverse the trend (over the past decade or so) of starving the I.R.S. of funding to punish it for some misperceived sins.

But the Republicans pushed back, for some unfathomable reason. This means they are now openly defending the indefensible. The ball is teed up and just waiting for the Democrats to drive it as far down the fairway as possible. Again, this is pathetically easy to do:

"Republicans like to brag about how they support law enforcement, bending over backwards to appear 'pro-cop' to the public. But you know what? This just is not true anymore, if it ever was. First Republicans in Congress voted against awarding the highest honor Congress can bestow to the police officers who bravely protected Congress with their lives this January. That was disgraceful -- how could anyone vote against such an honor for those who protected us all on that dark day? But now it's gotten even worse, folks. Because for all their sloganeering over the issue, for the past 10 years or more, the Republican Party has systematically defunded the tax police. Yes, you heard that right -- they have defunded the agents whose job it is to go after tax cheats. And when Democrats suggested boosting this budget back up so the I.R.S. could catch more high-income tax cheats, Republicans said they couldn't support the idea. Republicans like to say they're pro-police, but they dishonored the very officers who physically protect them every day, they defunded the tax police, and they are now pro-tax-cheaters. That is the reality, plain and simple, no matter what they tell you to the contrary."

This is Politics 101, really. What are Democrats for? Making sure everyone pays their fair share of taxes, making sure cheaters get caught and pay the price, and giving old people dental, vision, and hearing insurance through Medicare. What are Republicans for? Making grandma pay for her own glasses and hearing aids, because Republicans will to fight to the death to defund the tax police while standing up for the rights of the ultra-wealthy to cheat on their taxes, scot-free. Rarely in politics do you get given two such gifts in a single week, so let's hope Democrats actually realize it and utilize it to the fullest.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has set a deadline of next Wednesday for the first vote on the bipartisan bill, and for Bernie Sanders to finalize his drafting as well, so this should also be big news next week, too.

There was one other major development this week that is going to help Biden and the Democrats out, and that was the appearance in millions of bank accounts of a tax credit for most parents. Part of the American Rescue Plan Biden passed earlier this year has finally been implemented, and checks and direct deposits went out this week for the first time. Here's a quick rundown on how important this could prove to be:

The Biden administration on Thursday began the biggest anti-poverty program undertaken by the federal government in more than half a century, delivering monthly payments to the overwhelming majority of American parents for the first time.

The Treasury Department said it has sent checks to households representing about 60 million children under a provision in a stimulus package Democrats passed in March. The payments can be withdrawn Thursday but appeared in many bank accounts as early as Wednesday. The benefit, expected to cost about $120 billion per year, provides $300 per child younger than 6, as well as $250 per child age 6 and older. The administration previously said that about 88 percent of all children nationwide would receive the aid.

At an event at the White House on Thursday afternoon with Vice President [Kamala] Harris, [President Joe] Biden extolled the benefit as representing a "historic" achievement and said it would be one of the administration's proudest accomplishments. The president, urging Congress to extend the program beyond this year, emphasized that it amounts to a "middle-class tax cut" that will help working-class families make ends meet.

"It's our effort to take another giant step toward ending child poverty in America," said Biden, who was joined by nine families, including young children, that will receive the tax credit.

. . .

"This is the biggest anti-poverty effort since Lyndon B. Johnson's War on Poverty," said Joshua McCabe, a historian of U.S. welfare policy at Endicott College. "This is a once-in-a-longtime chance to significantly reduce child poverty."

Democrats need to toot their own horn about this, starting immediately, because like all the other good things in the American Rescue Plan, they can take all the political credit (since Republicans refused to vote for it).

Shifting gears a bit, there was news this week about the former president, all of it bad (as usual). A new book on the final days of Donald Trump's term in office had one particularly chilling quote, from the highest-ranking military officer in the country, as he was watching his commander-in-chief give a speech on January 6:

At the Pentagon, Gen. Mark A. Milley was watching on television from his office as well, deeply disturbed by the rhetoric.

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff already had been on edge. A student of history, Milley saw [President Donald] Trump as a classic authoritarian leader with nothing to lose. He had earlier described to aides that he kept having a stomach-churning feeling that some of the worrisome early stages of 20th-century fascism in Germany were replaying in 21st-century America. He saw parallels between Trumpís rhetoric about election fraud and Adolf Hitler's insistence to his followers at the Nuremberg rallies that he was both a victim and their savior.

"This is a Reichstag moment," Milley told aides. "The gospel of the FŁhrer."

Think this is overstating the matter? We don't. Especially when Trump himself confirmed (once again) the depths of his depravity, in a Fox News interview. Trump actually praised the insurrectionists, by flat-out lying about what happened that day in the boldest terms, starting with his own rally at the Ellipse:

The crowd was unbelievable and I mentioned the word "love," the love in the air, I've never seen anything like it.... Too much spirit and faith and love, there was such love at that rally, you had over a million people.

Um, no, not even close. The crowd was under (probably way under) 50,000 people. Pretty much everything else he had to say about the day was just as fat a lie, too.

On the people storming the Capitol in the attempted insurrection, Trump had all kinds of glowing things to say:

[The insurrectionists were] tremendous -- in many cases, tremendous people, tremendous people.

[They had] no guns... no nothing.

[They were] military people, and they're police officers, and they're construction workers.

He also denied all the violence we all saw on our television screens, calling what happened a "lovefest."

An interesting footnote to Trump kissing up to violent right-wing extremists -- when White supremacists rallied in Charlottesville, Virginia to protest plans to remove a Confederate statue, he called them "very fine people."

This week, both that statue and another Confederate statue came down in Charlottesville, and the company that did the removal threw in for free the removal of two other statues which portrayed Native Americans in a demeaning light. Which is a satisfying ending, you'll have to admit.

And finally, a humorous note. When the Democrats in the Texas state legislature flew to Washington, D.C. to deny the Republicans the quorum they needed to pass a voter-suppression bill, Senator Ted Cruz felt the need to weigh in, calling the whole thing "a political stunt." The internet had a field day, pointing out how Cruz fled the state during a winter storm crisis that left much of the state without power for days on end. So we finish with the most amusing retort of the bunch, from JuliŠn Castro, who tweeted:

Texas Democrats left the state to fight for voting rights.

Ted Cruz left the state to sip drinks on a Cancun beach.

I'd sit this one out, Ted.

We have three Honorable Mention awards to hand out before we get to the main event. The first goes to Senator Bernie Sanders, for striking a $3.5 trillion deal on the reconciliation deal with the fiscally-conservative Democrats. This will be a monumental achievement if it happens, and Bernie should be proud. But at the same time, nothing is actually drafted on paper yet, so we're going to hold off giving him the MIDOTW award until next week, at the earliest.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer also deserves an Honorable Mention award for promising a vote on a bill to end the federal War On Weed once and for all (we wrote about this at length yesterday, in case anyone's interested).

And the Texas Democratic state legislators more than earned recognition this week, by flying out of Texas to deny the Republicans a quorum (to pass a Draconian voter-suppression bill), and instead of just holing up somewhere they all flew to Washington D.C. to lobby Congress to pass the two bills which would fix the problem at the national level. So far, they haven't had much success in convincing Senate Democrats (Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema in particular) to change the filibuster rule enough so these two crucial bills can pass with only a simple majority vote, but they are certainly doing all they can in this regard, and our thanks go out to them for their effort. One in particular, state representative James Talarico, deserves particular acclaim, for going on Fox News and baldly asking the host: "Did Donald Trump lose the election in 2020? Can you answer the question? Did Donald Trump lose the election in 2020?" The host, of course, didn't answer. But it was certainly fun to see him squirm.

But we have a rather interesting pair of main awards this week, starting with the Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week going to President Joe Biden, for the speech he gave in Philadelphia on the importance of voting rights.

This was a soaring speech and, at times, it correctly identified both how voting rights are under attack from Republicans and the urgent need for action.

Apologies for the extended excerpts, but this really was a speech worth reading in full:. Parts of it were downright historic. Here are just a few highlights:

They voted early. They voted absentee. They voted in person. They voted by mail. They voted by drop box. And then they got their families and friends to go out and vote.

Election officials, the entire electoral system, withstood unrelenting political attacks, physical threats, intimidation, and pressure. They did so with unyielding courage and faith in our democracy.

With recount after recount after recount, court case after court case, the 2020 election was the most scrutinized election ever in American history. Challenge after challenge brought to local, state, and election officials; state legislatures; state and federal courts -- even to the United States Supreme Court not once, but twice.

. . .

It's clear. For those who challenge the results and question the integrity of the election: No other election has ever been held under such scrutiny and such high standards.

The Big Lie is just that: a big lie.

The 2020 election -- it's not hyperbole to suggest -- the most examined and the fullest expression of the will of the people in the history of this nation. This should be celebrated -- the example of America at its best. But instead, we continue to see an example of human nature at its worst -- something darker and more sinister.

In America, if you lose, you accept the results. You follow the Constitution. You try again. You don't call facts "fake" and then try to bring down the American experiment just because you're unhappy. That's not statesmanship.

That's not statesmanship; that's selfishness. That's not democracy; it's the denial of the right to vote. It suppresses. It subjugates.

The denial of full and free and fair elections is the most un-American thing that any of us can imagine, the most undemocratic, the most unpatriotic, and yet, sadly, not unprecedented.

. . .

While this broad assault against voting rights is not unprecedented, it's taking on a new and, literally, pernicious forms.

It's no longer just about who gets to vote or making it easier for eligible voters to vote. It's about who gets to count the vote -- who gets to count whether or not your vote counted at all. It's about moving from independent election administrators who work for the people to polarized state legislatures and partisan actors who work for political parties.

To me, this is simple: This is election subversion. It's the most dangerous threat to voting and the integrity of free and fair elections in our history. Never before have they decided who gets to count what votes count.

Some state legislatures want to make it harder for you to vote. And if you vote, they want to be able to tell you your vote doesn't count for any reason they make up.

They want the ability to reject the final count and ignore the will of the people if their preferred candidate loses.

And they're trying -- not only targeting people of color, they're targeting voters of all races and backgrounds. It's with a simple target: who did not vote for them. That's the target.

It's unconscionable. I mean, really, I... it's hard to declare just how critical this is. It's simply unconscionable.

. . .

We must ask those who represent us at the federal, state, and local levels: Will you deny the will of the people? Will you ignore their voices?

We have to ask: Are you on the side of truth or lies; fact or fiction; justice or injustice; democracy or autocracy? That's what it's coming down to.

. . .

Because as much as people know they're screwing around with the election process, I don't think that most people think this is about who gets to count what vote counts -- literally, not figuratively. You vote for certain electors to vote for somebody for President. State legislator comes along -- under their proposal -- and they say, "No, we don't like those electors. We're going to appoint other electors who are going to vote for the other guy or other woman."

Because here's the deal: In 2020, democracy was put to a test -- first by the pandemic; then by a desperate attempt to deny the reality and the results of the election; and then by a violent and deadly insurrection on the Capitol, the citadel of our democracy.

I've been around a long time in public life. I thought I've seen it all or most of it all. But I never thought I'd see that, for real.

And in spite of what you see on television -- and you saw it -- you have senators saying it was just a day at the Capitol, just people visiting the Capitol.

. . .

Look how close it came. I mean, for real, how close it came. We're going to face another test in 2022: a new wave of unprecedented voter suppression, and raw and sustained election subversion. We have to prepare now.

. . .

So hear me clearly: There is an unfolding assault taking place in America today -- an attempt to suppress and subvert the right to vote in fair and free elections, an assault on democracy, an assault on liberty, an assault on who we are -- who we are as Americans.

For, make no mistake, bullies and merchants of fear and peddlers of lies are threatening the very foundation of our country.

. . .

The assault on free and fair elections is just such a threat, literally. I've said it before: We're are facing the most significant test of our democracy since the Civil War. That's not hyperbole. Since the Civil War. The Confederates back then never breached the Capitol as insurrectionists did on January the 6th.

I'm not saying this to alarm you; I'm saying this because you should be alarmed.

So for giving such a passionate and breathtaking speech about how the right to vote is precious and should be defended at all costs, President Joe Biden is our Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week.

[Congratulate President Joe Biden on his White House contact page, to let him know you appreciate his efforts.]

Sadly, we are also going to award President Biden the Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week as well, for the very same speech.

Biden's speech was a real call to action. He even ended on this precise note:

Just remember, our late friend John Lewis said, "Freedom is not a state; it is an act." "Freedom is not a state; it is an act." And we must act, and we will act. For our cause is just, our vision is clear, and our hearts are full.

For "We the People," for our democracy, for America itself, we must act.

Strong words indeed.

However, they weren't actually backed up by much, in Biden's speech. Here is the strongest passage (and that's not saying much) about what Biden intends to do about it all:

But we also have to clear-eyed about the obstruction we face. Legislation is one tool, but not the only tool. And it's not the only measure of our obligation to defend democracy today.

For example, Attorney General Merrick Garland announced that the United States Department of Justice is going to be using its authorities to challenge the onslaught of state laws undermining voting rights in old and new ways.

The focus -- the focus will be on dismantling racially discriminatory laws, like the recent challenge to Georgia's vicious anti-voting law.

The Department of Justice will do so with a voting rights division that -- at my request -- is doubling its size in enforcement staff.

Biden also called on the public to get engaged, as well:

That's why, just like we did in 2020, we have to prepare for 2022. We'll engage in an all-out effort to educate voters about the changing laws, register them to vote, and then get the vote out.

All fine and good, but what was truly disappointing was what Biden didn't say. He didn't once utter the word "filibuster," for instance. He never once admitted that if Democrats are going to fix any of this legislatively, they are going to have to do so on their own. Biden blithely talked about what Congress should be doing, at one point:

As soon as Congress passes the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, I will sign it and let the whole world see it. That will be an important moment.

And the world is wondering -- the world is wondering -- and Dwight knows what I'm talking about, for real. You know, the world is wondering, "What is America going to do?"

But Biden never admitted what everyone already knows -- neither one of those bills is going to survive Mitch McConnell filibustering them in the Senate. They have zero chance of passing in any sort of bipartisan fashion.

Perhaps the most naÔve segment of the entire speech was the following:

We will be asking my Republican friends -- in Congress, in states, in cities, in counties -- to stand up, for God's sake, and help prevent this concerted effort to undermine our elections and the sacred right to vote. Have you no shame?

This got a big hand from the crowd, but the real answer is: "No, Joe -- no they don't. They have no shame left at all. They are the ones passing all these voter-suppression laws. They're not going to 'stand up, for God's sake.' They're not going to help prevent what they are actively accomplishing. They don't care. They are heading in exactly the opposite direction, en masse."

The only way voting rights will be defended by Democrats in Congress is if Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema can be convinced to allow a new "constitutional rights" carveout of the filibuster rules.

That is the only way it is going to happen. That is the action John Lewis would be demanding, if he were still alive today.

So while the rest of the speech was uplifting and soared, at times, it was the political equivalent of a "strongly-worded letter" that can easily be ignored. No Republican is going to hear that speech and suddenly have an epiphany and start voting with the Democrats to defend the right to vote for all. It just isn't going to happen, and the sooner Biden, Manchin, and Sinema realize it, the better.

Which is why Joe Biden gets both this week's awards, for a single speech. Because his own speech didn't live up to the masterful rhetoric deployed in the same speech.

Actions speak louder than words, Joe, sorry.

[Contact President Joe Biden on his White House contact page, to let him know what you think of his actions.]

Volume 626 (7/16/21)

Back after last week's hiatus, here are seven fresh talking points for Democrats everywhere to consider using this week, from politicians being interviewed on television to average voters around the water cooler.

Before we dive in, we have two milestones that merit a mention (that didn't seem to fit anyplace else). The first was good news, as Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter celebrated an astounding 75 years of being married to each other. Congratulations to the happy couple!

And secondly, we have to mark the passing of one of the most colorful politicians of our lifetime, as Edwin Edwards just passed away. The Louisiana politician (later turned jailbird) was certainly never at a loss for a snappy talking point, whether you agreed with or supported him or not. Two in particular have long been quoted in these pages over the years, which is how we're going to mark his passing. When he was running against an infamous K.K.K. leader, the Edwards campaign capitalized on Edwards's own checkered past with a bumpersticker for the ages: "Vote For The Crook -- It's Important!" But his most amusing political quote of all time came earlier, when he predicted that they only way he could lose an upcoming election was "if I'm caught in bed with either a dead girl or a live boy."

Again, no matter what you thought of him, his corruption, or his time in office, Edwin Edwards is definitely in the "Talking Points Hall Of Fame" for such pithy remarks.

OK, with that out of the way, let's dig in, shall we?

Biden Bucks

We certainly can't claim originality for this one. It started trending as a Twitter hashtag the day parents started seeing automatic deposits in their bank accounts. But so far we haven't seen it being widely adopted by Democrats, which we feel is a missed opportunity.

"Parents across this country got a welcome surprise in their bank accounts this week -- a payment of up to $300 for each child in the family. A middle-class family of four would have seen $600 appear in their bank account, from the federal government. Others will receive paper checks in the mail in the coming days. And all of them will get these payments every month from now on. Some have started calling these 'Biden Bucks,' which I think is a great way to put it. President Joe Biden and the Democrats in Congress expanded the Child Tax Credit and reimagined the delivery method, in order to put this money in parents' pockets on a regular basis. This could dramatically reduce child poverty in an enormous way, which is why it is such a great idea. Republicans, for the most part, opposed this measure. This is why it seems completely appropriate to call them Biden Bucks. So ask any parents you know with children still at home -- did they got their Biden Bucks yet? -- just to give credit where it's due."


Since we're in the mood for some political branding, let's also give credit where it is due for this monumental change as well.

"Bernie Sanders pretty much singlehandedly argued for and won the inclusion of a fundamental shift in Medicare that -- if it passes and becomes law -- will ease the lives of countless older Americans for the rest of their lives. No longer will they have to save up enough money to buy a pair of new glasses or a hearing aid or even a visit to the dentist, because through the new Berniecare expansion of Medicare, all of these things will be covered. No more supplemental plans to cover this stuff will be necessary. This is going to be a dramatic and welcome change, and Bernie Sanders deserves all the credit for fighting for it so hard. So when your parents and grandparents don't have to worry about glasses and hearing aids and teeth cleaning costs any more, you can all thank Bernie Sanders, for creating Berniecare."

GOP stands strong for rich tax cheats

This is just jaw-dropping. And so easy to use as a talking point.

"The Republican Party has now shown us its true colors. People like the former president hoodwinked a lot of folks into believing that the GOP was somehow now a 'populist' party, but in reality their the same old plutocratic party they've always been. They just usually don't show it this nakedly, that's all. Republicans are refusing to support a bipartisan plan their own negotiators came up with because it would target tax cheaters with beefed-up enforcement. And you know who cheats the most at their taxes? Rich people and corporate America. The GOP is standing strong for people and giant businesses to blatantly cheat on their taxes and get away with it. According to the GOP, there must be no tax cop on the beat, because that might mean the cheaters would get caught and have to pay what they owe. Oh, the horrors! This is just astounding, from a party that used to pride itself on being strongly for law and order. But now they're for lawlessness and for crime paying handsomely to the privileged few. Yes folks, by standing up for tax cheats, the Republican Party is showing us its true colors indeed -- and it's about as far from populism as you can get."

GOP defunded the tax police

Hammer this one home.

"Since 2010, Republicans have cut the I.R.S. budget with a vengeance. The number of auditors at the agency dropped by one-third between 2010 and 2017, when it dropped to fewer than 10,000 revenue agents for the first time since 1953. Yes, you read that right -- since the dawn of the Cold War. In 2010, the I.R.S. conducted 675,000 more audits than it did in 2017. This was all by design, brought to you by Republicans in Congress. For all the noise they make accusing Democrats of 'defunding the police,' all you have to do is look at how they themselves have slashed funding for the federal agents who are responsible for enforcing the nation's tax laws. Fewer audits means more tax cheats got away without paying what they legally owe. Millionaires and billionaires love this, obviously. There just isn't a great chance they'll get caught committing tax fraud anymore. But when Democrats proposed restoring the budget for the tax police -- which would have brought in an enormous amount of revenue -- Republicans balked. They are so fiercely on the side of tax cheats that they refuse to even consider reversing their own policy of defunding the tax police. So the next time some Republican accuses a Democrat of 'defunding the police,' please ask them why they defunded the tax police so more rich people can cheat on their taxes with impunity."

GOP anti-police in general

Again, they really need to be hit hard on this stuff.

"The Republican Party used to pride itself on how pro-police they were. They took the side of law enforcement and portrayed themselves as being on the side of law and order. But that just isn't true anymore. Some of what Republicans have been doing recently is just disgraceful, in fact. Some Republicans in Congress voted against awarding the highest civilian honor possible to the Capitol Police who put their lives on the line on the sixth of January to physically protect all of Congress from a mob that was screaming they were going to hang the vice president of the United States. Republicans refused to vote for funding for cops across the country in Joe Biden's first budget bill. Thankfully, Democrats had enough votes on their own to get the money out so strapped police departments wouldn't have to fire officers because they couldn't pay them anymore. Donald Trump is out there praising the rioters in that mob, and blatantly lying about the horrific violence we all witnessed on television that ugly day. Some of the officers from the siege of the Capitol will be testifying later this month, and it wouldn't surprise me in the slightest if they got rude and dismissive questions from the Republicans on the 1/6 select committee -- if Kevin McCarthy even bothers to appoint any, that is. Law and order? Hardly. Republicans are now for tax cheats, denying medals to law enforcement officers who risked life and limb to protect Congress, refusing emergency funding to cops across the country, defunding the tax police, lying about a murderous mob and saying warm things about people who beat cops bloody with metal poles. This is today's Republican Party -- and they're about as anti-police as you can get."

The Republican death cult

This used to be hyperbole or exaggeration, but sadly now it has become literal.

"The Republican Party has morphed into nothing short of a death cult, before our very eyes. That's what happens when your Dear Leader politicizes a health emergency because he's afraid it will somehow make him look bad. This craziness is just spinning further and further out of control, too. Tennessee just fired its top immunization official and halted all outreach to children to get them vaccinated -- and not just for COVID, but for measles and everything else, too. The governor of Florida is selling campaign merchandise with the inane slogan 'Don't Fauci My Florida' on it. People at a conservative conference enthusiastically applaud the fact that not enough people have been vaccinated to get to herd immunity. Republican governors are openly bragging about taking steps to maximize the deaths in their states. What's next? An all-out war on all childhood vaccinations? Republicans cheering when children die of easily-preventable diseases like the measles? Would they cheer the return of polio? At this point, I'd believe anything. Over 99 percent of the people dying of COVID now are unvaccinated. People have made their choice, and they are not just living with it, they are also dying because of it. And the Republicans cheer them on. Can anyone tell me the difference between this and Jim Jones? Or the Heaven's Gate/Hale-Bopp cult? Because from where I sit, the Republican Party is now nothing short of a death cult, plain and simple."

No change in the filibuster, no voting reform

This is a talking point between Democrats, really. But it's an important one.

"The president gave a wonderful speech this week on how critical it now is to protect the right to vote. The right to vote is under attack, from Republicans trying to make it so difficult to vote that poor people without resources just give up, to the Supreme Court gutting the Voting Rights Act, to state laws that might allow a presidential election to actually be stolen in the future. It is a dire situation indeed, but Joe Biden is delusional if he thinks that any reform bill is going to pass with the filibuster rules that are in place. An exception has to be carved out for bills that protect constitutional rights, because that is now the only way the right to vote is going to be protected in either 2022 or 2024. History is calling on all Democrats to act, and to act decisively. If we fail this calling, what happens next will be our own fault. Bipartisanship on the issue is impossible -- just ask any Republican. It is as plain as the nose on your face -- if we don't reform the filibuster, then we are just not going to be able to reform voting rights laws, period. It's a hard truth, but the sooner all Democrats face it the better."

Chris Weigant blogs at: ChrisWeigant.com
Follow Chris on Twitter: ChrisWeigant
Full archives of FTP columns: FridayTalkingPoints.com

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Reply Friday Talking Points -- GOP Defunded The Tax Police (Original post)
ChrisWeigant Jul 16 OP
flying rabbit Jul 17 #1

Response to ChrisWeigant (Original post)

Sat Jul 17, 2021, 12:06 AM

1. K&R

I disagree with the most disappointing democrat. I think he knows, and thinks beating that drum in that speech won't help.

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