Christian nationalist assault on democracy still trying to be unnoticed

In April 2018, researcher Frederick Clarkson exposed the existence of Project Blitz, a secretive Christian nationalist “bill mill” operating below the radar to shape and enact legislation in dozens of states, using a network of state “prayer caucuses,” many of which had unsuspecting Democratic members. Its plan was to start with innocent-seeming bills, such as requiring public schools to display the national motto, “In God We Trust,” and to culminate with laying the foundations for a “Handmaid’s Tale”-style theocracy, enshrining bigotry in law under the guise of “religious freedom.”

Salon was the first to report and build on Clarkson’s findings, as well as subsequent progressive organizing efforts which eventually drove Project Blitz back underground, following a high-profile USA Today exposé (Salon follow-up here.) Now, three years later, Clarkson, a senior research analyst at Political Research Associates, has unearthed the playbooks Project Blitz has used since going dark, and discussed their implications with Salon in an exclusive interview.

Clarkson told Salon, “While most people to the left of the Christian right view the Project Blitz playbook with revulsion, I see it as a gift to democracy. The playbook and their accompanying briefings and events laid bare their intentions and their game plan.” Because of that, he continued, “We were handed a vital tool for the defense of democratic values and, arguably, the wider defense of democracy itself. The things that happened in response, I think, are underappreciated, even by some of those who should be taking great pride in their victories.”

RTFA. Explains more than a few weird happenstances in our own state of New Mexico. Already had one recent effort to have “in god we trust” emblazoned on every public building in the state. Except this ain’t the bible belt. Yet.

Wildfire smoke stretches over the GOUSA, coast to coast

The massive Bootleg Fire in Oregon has scorched an area larger than Los Angeles, and it’s only 30% contained. The fire is so large and is burning so hot that it’s creating its own weather.

It’s just one of the many blazes raging in the West; the National Interagency Fire Center is watching 80 large fires across 13 states this week – a testament to just how destructive the US wildfire season has become…And the effects of the fires stretch all the way to the East Coast

In some areas, the smoke has reached the ground level, where it can be a health concern. Air quality alerts have been issued hundreds of miles from the flames, as far east as Pennsylvania and New York.

Never seen it this bad in New Mexico in all the years I’ve lived here.

Who are these people?

More than 93,000 people died of drug overdoses in 2020. “We are in an enduring crisis that is still going on. We are still right in the middle of it…”

The 29.4% increase is an alarming jump from 2019, which also set a record after 71,000 people died from drug overdoses, according to CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics…

The spike in deaths was driven by the increased presence of the dangerous opioid fentanyl into the illicit drug market in the US, along with increased isolation among people who use drugs and overwhelmed public health agencies during the pandemic. The increase is only the latest in a long-running epidemic of overdose deaths steadily rising over the last half-century, with more than half a million people dying as a result of drug overdoses in the last decade alone…

While fentanyl is now linked to 3 out of 5 overdose deaths nationwide, the preliminary statistics suggest deaths from methamphetamine, cocaine, and prescription pain pills also increased in the last year. That likely reflects their contamination with fentanyl, and increasing use of multiple drugs together, said Volkow. As little as 2 milligrams of fentanyl can be a lethal dose; one survey conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration reported that 26% of counterfeit pain pills contained that dosage or higher.

We know all the usual steps needed to fightback…including policing producers of ingredients used by the makers of counterfeit drugs. One constant remains. A junkie is a junkie is a junkie. Straightening out that personality disorder still seems to be beyond modern American medicine.

Military Brass planned mass resignation to counter a Trump refusal to leave office


General Milley [R] ready to leave the stink of Trump politics

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley and other top military officials feared that President Donald Trump was planning a coup after his defeat in the 2020 election and discussed resigning if they were given illegal or dangerous orders, according to a new book…

According to the excerpts, Milley discussed the possibility of a coup with lawmakers, friends and top officials…”They may try, but they’re not going to f—ing succeed,” Milley told his deputies, according to the authors. “You can’t do this without the military. You can’t do this without the CIA and the FBI. We’re the guys with the guns.”

It was not clear when Milley’s discussion with the officials took place, but according to the book, a focus of their concern was Trump’s decision to replace top officials at the Departments of Defense and Justice, including then-Defense Secretary Mark Esper, with hard-line loyalists…

According to the book, Milley grew increasingly concerned by Trump’s behavior ahead of January 6, believing that Trump was deliberately seeking to stir unrest with his bogus election-fraud claims to invoke the Insurrection Act and summon the military.

Think about the state of affairs. Reflect upon the fact that not only were a number of opportunist political hacks ready to follow Trump into a Nazi-style takeover…his loyal followers in the Republican Party rank-and-file don’t care a rats ass about what’s legal and what isn’t. Power dispensed by a homegrown version of Hitler or Mussolini would have satisfied their desire for absolute control of our government. The “law-and-order” crowd is always ready to crap on our Bill of Rights if they get to give the orders.

Congress thinks “broadband” is a new style of cummerbund

The Federal Communications Commission broadband standard that was implemented under then-Chairman Tom Wheeler in 2015 and never updated by Ajit Pai is now “likely too slow,” according to a government report issued last week.

The Wheeler-led FCC in January 2015 updated the agency’s broadband standard from 4Mbps downstream and 1Mbps upstream to 25Mbps downloads/3Mbps uploads. The increase was opposed by broadband-industry lobbyists and Republicans, including Ajit Pai, who was then a commissioner and later served as FCC chairman throughout the Trump administration…

Consumer advocates have frequently called the 25Mbps/3Mbps outdated, and the nonpartisan US Government Accountability Office (GAO) agreed in a report based on a review of research and interviews with small businesses.

So much of this political incompetence and malingering is old hat. I’ve been online since 1983…simply because I took on a sales position that required uploading orders and info from my day’s travel and sales-work – direct to the computer system in the company’s main sales office. This so-called broadband standard was next to useless, then. It’s even worse, now.

Add together all the work and private needs in the article and, then – include what’s happening minute by minute throughout North America with the conversion of domestic television to include many more sources and channels. All being streamed over systems regulated by your hot dog Republican or Democrat in Congress.

Croatian village fights holey war!

It happened suddenly and without warning. Where there should have been the emerging first shoots of potato seedlings behind the orchard in Nikola Borojević’s spacious garden, there was now huge hole. Measuring 30m (98ft) wide and 15m (49ft) deep, it quickly filled with water. And it wasn’t the only one.

Within the space of a few weeks, dozens of similar holes had opened up around the village of Mečenčani and neighbouring Borojovići in north-east Croatia. The one outside Borojević’s home in Mečenčani appeared on 5 January, just six days after a 6.4 magnitude earthquake struck the area around the nearby city of Petrinja. It was the strongest earthquake to have hit Croatia for more than four decades, killing seven people and destroying thousands of homes.

While landslides and sinkholes are known to be triggered by earthquakes, along with other strange geological phenomena such as liquefactions – where the solid ground begins to behave like a liquid – the sheer number of holes appearing around the two villages surprised and baffled experts. A month after the earthquake, there were almost 100 sinkholes spread over a 10 sq km (3.8 sq miles) area, with new ones opening every week…

After analysing data collected from the area around Mečenčani and Borojovići, Croatian geologists concluded that the strange events resulted from a complex combination of several different factors…

“The situation in Croatia can be considered as warning of what can happen in countries with earthquakes and areas that are prone to cover-collapse sinkholes,” says geologist George Veni.

RTFA. Interesting details. Bother your local geologists to see if there’s something comparable in your backyard.

The decline in U.S. fertility


A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle
I wonder why this photo was chosen for the article?

The decline in population growth in the U.S. from 2010 to 2020 is part of a broader national trend linked to falling birth rates, but also immigration changes and other factors. In May of 2021 the scope of that change became clear, with a record low of 55.8 births per 1,000 women of childbearing age in 2020, a 4% drop from 2019. Other countries are facing similar slowdowns in population growth.

This shift has been underway in the U.S. for many years.

Economic opportunities, social norms and changing gender roles – especially expanding education and employment options for many women – help to explain why fertility has slowed in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. That change has repercussions for trends in workforce numbers, employment, health care, housing and education.

And that’s about as much of this article as I care to reproduce (pun intended!). Maybe I missed something; but, the authors avoided the everpresent question in our young(ish) republic. Do we continue to obey the instruction set we receive from religious leaders — or not!

When my father’s family moved here from Canada they hadn’t yet reached their ultimate family size of 10. That’s Grandma, Grandpa, and eight kids. My parents had two of us. Birth control overruled the priest at St.Charles Church on East Main Street. And after my sister and I related our first-day-in-catechism class…how fortunate we were not to be whipped by the nuns who performed that task for the priest in charge…that Sunday morning journey came to an end. My mom…very much self-taught like my dad…picked society-oriented books, fiction and non-fiction, for us to read every week and we discussed them Sunday mornings instead of taking that walk to church.

Over time, we went different ways, different conclusions. My sister married and had two lovely children. I eventually decided marriage could work. My parents example proved that to me. I had no interest in children since I didn’t set out to set the world on economic fire, anyway. Stronger political struggles in the (then) new and growing post-war civil rights movement served as primer for an ever-expanding materialist philosophy. Got a vasectomy when I was 22 years old. The Doc just about freaked out. I never looked back.

Read both the articles I linked to. Make up your own mind. It’s your life to build.

A snake bit him on the toilet

A 65-year-old man was left with minor injuries after a reticulated python bit him while he was sitting on the toilet.

He was said to have felt a “pinch in the area of his genitals” before noticing a five foot snake beneath him in the toilet bowl at his home in the Austrian city of Graz.

“Shortly after he sat on the toilet the Graz resident – by his own account – felt a ‘pinch’ in the area of his genitals,” the police said in a statement…The victim needed treatment in hospital for minor injuries.

Although the snake’s suspected route into the toilet could not be confirmed, it is thought to have escaped from a neighbour’s apartment.

Eeoough!