Open Thread: Moscow Mitch Goes There

Maybe he fractured that shoulder patting himself on the back. At the same event:

Newsweek, “#MassacreMitch Trends As People Blame Mitch McConnell Blocking Gun Control Legislation for Mass Shootings”:

More than 120,000 tweets have been sent using the #MassacreMitch hashtag after at least 20 people were killed at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, and a further nine people killed in a shooting around 13 hours later in Dayton, Ohio.

Many Twitter users expressed their anger towards McConnell for blocking a Senate vote on a bill passed by the House of Representatives in February which would require full background checks to be run against every person who wishes to purchase a gun.

Others also accused McConnell of costing people’s lives by pandering to the NRA due to the donations he and the Republican party receive from the lobbying group.

It is the second time in a matter of days that a McConnell-related hashtag has trended on Twitter. Tens of thousands of people used the “Moscow Mitch” hashtag after the Kentucky senator blocked a set of election security bills…

Several Democratic lawmakers and politicians are urging McConnell to call the Senate back for an emergency session so that the background check bill can be passed in a vote and move closer to becoming law.

Senator and 2020 presidential candidate, Elizabeth Warren, tweeted: “The House passed a bill more than 5 months ago to require basic background checks on gun sales—the very least we can do to keep our loved ones safe. How many more people need to die before @SenateMajLdr McConnell puts aside @NRA interests and gives that bill a vote?”…








Saturday Morning Open Thread: Readership (Voter) Capture

From the Washington Post:

Former first lady Michelle Obama is urging teachers throughout the country to make sure students who are eligible to cast ballots actually register and “are ready to vote.”

Obama made her call through a video address at two recent teachers union conferences: the annual convention of the National Education Association, the country’s largest labor union, and the American Federation of Teachers. Together, the organizations have as many as 5 million members, most of them educators.

Her outreach to teachers is the first piece of a voter registration initiative that she helped launch last year, a national, nonpartisan organization called When We All Vote. Other co-chairs include Tom Hanks, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Janelle Monáe, Chris Paul, Faith Hill and Tim McGraw. The teachers unions are partners with the nonprofit initiative, as are other organizations including the League of Women Voters and Rock the Vote…








Columbine: 20 years

It never gets easier. It’s difficult to realize these beautiful children might now have children of their own. Maybe one of them would have run for office or become the scientist who solved climate change.

It was awful when it happened, so close to home. What I didn’t realize was it was going to keep happening….

 








Fucking Vote

Pelosi is a smart politician but this is dumb:

Appearing on “The Late Show” with Stephen Colbert on Tuesday, Pelosi (D-Calif.) said that “up until today, I would’ve said, ‘If the election were held today, we would win.’ What now I’m saying is, ‘We will win, we will win,'” Pelosi announced.

My reaction to this isn’t superstition, either: there are a lot of people for whom voting is a major chore, because the Republicans want it that way. If these prospective voters think the House is in the bag, they’re not going to take hours out of their day to trudge to a far-off polling place, stand in line, and be miserably cold and/or wet.

We will win IF EVERYONE VOTES. Jesus, it’s so simple, but even the best Democrats could fuck up a god damned ham sandwich.

Also, my voting plan was executed two weeks ago when I voted absentee because I’ll be out of town next week.








Calling Cheryl and Adam, Impending Nuclear Holocaust Edition

Somehow I missed this kinda important story this weekend:

Donald Trump has confirmed the US will leave an arms control treaty with Russia dating from the cold war that has kept nuclear missiles out of Europe for three decades.

“We’ll have to develop those weapons,” the president told reporters in Nevada after a rally. “We’re going to terminate the agreement and we’re going to pull out.”

Trump was referring to the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces treaty (INF), which banned ground-launch nuclear missiles with ranges from 500km to 5,500km. Signed by Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev, it led to nearly 2,700 short- and medium-range missiles being eliminated, and an end to a dangerous standoff between US Pershing and cruise missiles and Soviet SS-20 missiles in Europe.

No prizes for guessing whose fingerprints are all over this measured, well thought out decision:

The Guardian reported on Friday that Trump’s third national security adviser, John Bolton, a longstanding opponent of arms control treaties, was pushing for US withdrawal.

There are arguments! There always are.  In this case, it’s an allegation that Russia is violating the agreement w. a cruise missile development program, and that China is looming, outside the treaty.  I’m way out of the zone of what passes for my expertise here, so I’ll leave it to Cheryl and/or Adam to weigh in on these claims. Here I’ll just note both claims have the look of assertions that are drummed into service to fill in the gaps marked “pretextual verbiage needed here” on the form providing cover for what one wants to do anyway.

That view is strengthened, I think, by the fact that there isn’t a single arms control treaty these bloody incompetents have ever liked.

Bolton and the top arms control adviser in the National Security Council (NSC), Tim Morrison, are also opposed to the extension of another major pillar of arms control, the 2010 New Start agreement with Russia, which limited the number of deployed strategic warheads on either side to 1,550. That agreement, signed by Barack Obama and Dmitri Medvedev, then president of Russia, is due to expire in 2021.

The early reviews for this buried, weekend news dump are what you’d expect:

Jeffrey Lewis, the director of the East Asia nonproliferation program at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, said: “This is a colossal mistake. Russia gets to violate the treaty and Trump takes the blame.

“I doubt very much that the US will deploy much that would have been prohibited by the treaty. Russia, though, will go gangbusters.”

Old friend Mikhail Gorbachev adds:

Gorbachev, 87, wondered aloud: “Is it really that hard to understand that rejecting these agreements is, as the people say, not the work of a great mind.”

Concur

Gorbachev called Trump’s decision “a mistake” and “very strange.”

“Do they really not understand in Washington what this can lead to?” he asked.

Concur.

And doubly, trebly concur with this:

“All agreements aimed at nuclear disarmament and limiting nuclear weapons must be preserved, for the sake of preserving life on earth,” he added, per the Times.

This is the true measure of the GOP betrayal of America.  They knew who Donald Trump was long before he became President. They knew — hell the candidates, Cruz and Graham and the rest said so out loud — that he was the last person you’d want near the nuclear button.  And yet when the choice came down to tax cuts and an anti-abortion SC vs the safety and security of the United States…

They all got in line.  We, and the world, are in ever deeper peril as a result.

Oh — and one more thing? How is this not a huge story? Republican maladministration wants Europe back on a hair trigger?  I’m looking at the New York Times home page and it isn’t there.  Our media iz not lerning.

Image: Simone del Tintore (attr.), Still Life with Mushrooms, Fruit, a Basket of Flowers and a Catbefore 1708.