1. Logic Chains, Again
I went on a little bit of a rant yesterday about Gabriel Sterling over at The Next Level. You can listen to it here if you want. Spoiler: JVL is always right.
Sterling is the voting systems implementation manager in the George secretary of state’s office. A lot of people wanted to throw a parade for him on Tuesday after he held a press conference and rained down righteous anger on the forces who are destabilizing our democracy.
You should watch the video to get his tone. But if you don’t want to, here’s the partial transcript:
I’m going to do my best to keep it together because it has all gone too far. All of it.
Joe diGenova today asked for Chris Krebs, a patriot who ran CISA, to be shot. A 20 something tech in Gwinnett County today has death threats and a noose put out, saying he should be hung for treason because he was transferring a report on batches from an EMS to a county computer so we could read it. It has to stop. Mr. President, you have not condemned these actions or this language. Senators, you have not condemned this language or these actions. This has to stop. We need you to step up and if you’re going to take a position of leadership, show something.
My boss, Secretary Raffensperger, his address is out there. They have people doing caravans in front of their house. They’ve had people come on to their property. Tricia, his wife of 40 years, is getting sexualized threats through her cell phone. It has to stop. This is elections. This is the backbone of democracy. And all of you who have not said a damn word are complicit in this. . . .
I don’t have all the best words to do this because I’m angry. The straw that broke the camel’s back today is again, this 20 year old contractor for a voting system company, just trying to do his job. Just there. In fact, I talked to Dominion today and I said, “He’s one of the better ones they got.” His family is getting harassed now. There’s a noose out there with his name on it. That’s not right. I’ve got police protection outside my house. Fine. I took a higher profile job. I get it. Secretary ran for office. His wife knew that too. This kid took a job. He just took a job. And it’s just wrong. I can’t begin to explain the level of anger I have right now over this. And every American, every Georgian, Republican and Democrat alike should have that same level of anger. . . .
Someone’s going to get hurt. Someone’s going to get shot. Someone’s going to get killed. And it’s not right. It’s not right. . . .
All that’s wrong. It’s un-American.
But here’s the catch: Last night Sterling was interviewed by Jude Woodruff on PBS. Here’s what he said:
Judy Woodruff: You seemed to be yesterday pleading with President Trump as — in your words, to stop inspiring potential acts of violence. What is it that the president has said and done that led you to this point?
Gabriel Sterling: Your vote is being stolen. Secretary Raffensperger, a lifelong conservative Republican, is an enemy of the people, asking, essentially, the two senators from the state to call for the resignation of Secretary Raffensperger for rampant mismanagement and allowing fraud to happen.
None of its true, none of it. And, frankly, it undermines our nation, undermines democracy, undermines the republic to continue to insist that there is some path to win.
I am a Republican. I will vote for those two senators, because I think it's important for the Republicans to control the United States Senate moving forward. But the president is in a position of responsibility. He needs to take some.
So: Gabriel Sterling thinks that Republicans—and specifically the two Republicans running for the Senate in Georgia are saying things which are untrue and conducting themselves in a way that is “un-American” and makes them “complicit” in an attack against “the backbone of our democracy.” He says that their words and actions are “going to get somebody killed.”
And he also says: “I will vote for those two senators.”
I wrote about this logic pretzel two weeks ago and, if anything, it’s getting worse.
When Woodruff pressed Sterling on this logic, his answer was that divided government is super important and Democrats will pack the court and blah-blah-blah.
I don’t want to sugar-coat this: That’s bullshirt.
Republicans didn’t think divided government was a good thing in 2018. If they did, then they would have voted for Democrats.
Joe Biden has said repeatedly he has no interest in packing the court. And even if he wanted to pack the court and controlled the Senate, he couldn’t do it. Just count the votes.
If control of the Senate was the only goal, then Sterling could vote for Perdue and against Loeffler. Republicans only need to win one of those seats.
What this is about is party über alles.
Because if a guy like Sterling says that Republicans are being literally “un-American” and are attacking the very “backbone of our democracy” AND that he’s still voting for them? Well, he is saying that he will always vote for Republicans, no matter what.
At which point there is no reason for anyone to pay attention to anything he says. Because it’s nothing more than theatrics.
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2. Ordinary Time
In politics, there is ordinary time and there are extraordinary times.
In ordinary time, you can be a partisan and fight about policy stuff because there are no larger threats. You can say, “We must deregulate the American Waterways and this is why I will vote for the Republican, even though he’s a son-of-a-bitch and the Democrat is a good guy.” Maybe it’s not the most honorable worldview, but it’s basically okay.
In extraordinary times, all of those differences are moot. After the Norway Debate, Conservatives didn’t stick with Neville Chamberlain because he was tough on unions and they were afraid of what a Labourite would do to tax rates.
This is an extraordinary time. And don’t take my word for it: Gabriel Sterling says as much himself. He admits that it’s an extraordinary time. He says that the “backbone of democracy” is under attack and that people are going to die. And then he refuses to act accordingly.
Why do you think that is?
3. Gang Land
It’s like a real-life Fast/Furious, but for the bad guys:
The assailants arrived in the sleepy city in southern Brazil just before midnight ready for battle: They wore head coverings and body armor, and were armed with powerful rifles and loads of explosives.
Over nearly two hours, the gunmen held the city of Criciúma hostage, shattering the nighttime calm with explosions and volleys of gunfire. They used people as human shields while they detonated explosives at a bank, sending a plume of bills flying into the air, and shot at an overwhelmed police force.
“It was a surreal scene,” said Clésio Salvaro, the mayor of the city of about 220,000, said in a televised interview Tuesday morning. “The city was left in a state of panic.”
The audacious attack on Criciúma was the latest in Brazil to target a relatively small city with poor defenses, where security analysts say they have good odds of overpowering and dodging security forces that deal mainly with petty crime. Criminals have carried out a handful of similar attacks in such places this year, rather than in the metropolises where large, well-equipped police forces have experience battling violent crime and powerful gangs. . . .
In this latest assault, analysts said a team of roughly 30 gunmen arrived in a convoy of 10 vehicles from outside the state, Santa Catarina, and had planned the operation meticulously. Officials have not said how much money they made off with.
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