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GOP congressional candidate defends slandering Chinese people—because she’s Korean

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In an op-ed entitled “Texas Republicans must reject Sery Kim for her anti-Chinese rant,” Olsen, a conservative, writes:

(Kim) started her remarks by alleging that the Chinese government had “created coronavirus in a Wuhan lab,” an unproved claim. But she really lost it when asked a question about Chinese immigration to the United States. “I don’t want them here at all,” she said. “They steal our intellectual property, they give us coronavirus, they don’t hold themselves accountable. And quite frankly, I can say that because I’m Korean.”

Slandering the Chinese is now practically a point of pride among Republicans, of course, as Kim demonstrates by prominently featuring the video of her remarks on her official website. And despite the huge spike in violence directed at Asian Americans as a direct result of hateful rhetoric, Republican officials continue to gleefully promote the theory that the COVID-19 virus was created in a Wuhan laboratory. They continue to deliberately insert the words “Chinese virus” into public statements about the pandemic, as they were instructed to do at its outset. It’s a calculated ploy to shift the blame from Donald Trump’s wretched response to a crisis that has left 560,000 Americans dead; it has been standard operating procedure for the GOP since the pandemic began.

So what could possibly be the problem with a former Trump official echoing Trump’s own bigoted verbiage? After all, as Olsen notes, under Texas’ special elections law, Kim is competing with about 20 other announced candidates in the primary; the top two vote-earners (regardless of party) advance to the general election. So why shouldn’t Kim go full-on Trump and turn on the bigotry spout full blast? That’s what Trump voters want, after all.

The problem, as the Republican Party is belatedly realizing, is that Asian Americans vote. And as a result of the biased rhetoric spewed by Trump, many Republican elected officials, including Sery Kim, Asian American voters are gradually, but unmistakably, moving towards the Democratic Party. Additionally, being Korean is no insulation from anti-Asian hate. According to Stop AAPI Hate’s research, less than half (42.2%) of such incidents target people who are of Chinese descent.

That’s why it’s no surprise that, immediately after Kim’s anti-Chinese rant her two elected Republican endorsers, Reps. Kim and Steel, spoke up.

Reps. Young Kim and Michelle Park Steel had both won tight races against Democratic incumbents in California’s Orange County, and they understood just how damaging Sery Kim’s words were. They urged her to “apologize and clarify her remarks,” but Kim refused. They then pulled their endorsements in a joint statement that said her “hurtful and untrue comments about Chinese immigrants … were contrary to what we stand for.” Kim remains unrepentant, saying that she is the victim of “the liberal media.”

As if to underscore her petulant whining over this criticism of her statements, Kim has also filed a patently meritless lawsuit accusing the Texas Tribune of defaming her because its reporting on the GOP forum characterized those same remarks as racist.

In this Kim is simply following the Trump playbook, wearing her bigotry proudly, like a badge of honor. But for those two Republican congresswomen—both of whom won by narrow margins in California—they can’t afford to lose any of the Asian vote. And now they’ve foolishly endorsed, however fleetingly, a bigot who is actively and openly fanning the flames of hate and violence towards Asian Americans. 

It’s not hard to imagine their as-yet unannounced 2022 Democratic opponents are, most assuredly, already planning the negative ads.

Back at the Post, Olsen—a staunch right-winger—sees the red lights flashing.

Liberals in and out of the media would love to paint the GOP as racist.

Kim’s anti-Chinese views would simply offer them an easy target to take aim at every single day.

Whether or not Texas Republicans will heed Olsen’s call to “reject Sery Kim for her anti-Chinese rant” remains to be seen. But what Olsen is too afraid to acknowledge is that Kim is very much a product of her own party’s enduring and willful embrace of bigotry, which has only solidified after four years under Donald Trump. That the GOP’s embrace of hate-motivated rhetoric would cause a substantial bloc of Asian Americans to turn away from the Republican Party probably did not occur to anyone at the time. But like elections (and endorsements), bigotry comes with consequences. Republicans are now being forced to deal with those consequences, in ways they never expected.


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The Trump-Cheney schism is scary for the country, but it should be even more frightening for the GOP

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Normal humans feel this thing called guilt when they do awful things to other sentient beings. Sawing our 244-year-old republic off at the knees would certainly qualify as “awful,” but I imagine at this point it’s the only thing that could give him an erection. 

I felt the usual pang of doom while reading this Washington Post story on the simmering internecine battle between a minority GOP contingent led by Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, who thinks America is worth saving, and the party’s majority quisling caucus, who seem all too eager to sacrifice our country on the altar of the Dread Blubber Ba’al.

The heartening part of the WaPo story is that it focuses on Cheney’s determination to keep up her fight against Trump and defend her country and party. I can’t stand Cheney’s politics—or much else about her—but she’s doing important work here, and we should support her, at least in this effort. 

What’s frightening, though, is that the story once again points up just how far off the beam “mainstream” Republicans have fallen. The craven capitulation to Trumpism starts at the top, with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who traveled to Mar-a-Lago earlier this year to kiss Trump’s ring. He has both publicly and privately rebuked Cheney for her focus on preserving democracy and the rule of law. Cheney is likely to be booted out of her leadership position soon, in favor of Rep. Elise Stefanik, a less ideologically pure Republican who is nevertheless in thrall to our deposed Orange Julius Caesar.

Again, it’s scary shit, because what’s happening right now is a big, party-wide loyalty test in which Republicans are expected to pay unyielding deference to the Big Lie as if it’s the GOP equivalent of the Nicene Creed. 

So, yes, plenty of reasons to be scared out of our wits. But there may be a silver lining to all this, which is that this insistence on turning one major American party into a personality cult could backfire, bigly.

Why? Even a majority of Republicans is a pretty small cohort in the grand scheme of things, and GOP leaders may be fatally overestimating Trump’s post-Jan. 6 appeal.

After all, the guy lost to Joe Biden for a reason, and it’s hard to imagine he’s a plus for the party going forward.

Indeed, buried deep inside the very scary WaPo story was a far more encouraging nugget.

The debate over Trump’s potentially negative impact on swing districts is likely to escalate in the coming months, as vulnerable Republicans try to position themselves for reelection.

The internal NRCC poll partially shared with lawmakers in April found that President Biden was perilously popular in core battleground districts, with 54 percent favorability. Vice President Harris was also more popular than Trump, the poll showed. Biden’s $1.9 trillion covid stimulus plan and his $2.3 trillion jobs and infrastructure package both polled higher than the former president’s favorability, which was at 41 percent, compared to 42 percent in February.

Biden’s job between now and the 2022 midterm is to keep delivering for the American people, so Trump can continue his long, circuitous journey to the sewage treatment plant … and then out to sea. Our job will be to do whatever we possibly can to hold the House, so that any GOP impulse for overturning a free and fair 2024 election in Congress becomes moot. 

We also need to redouble our efforts to challenge unfair voter suppression laws and, even more importantly, get our base out in droves. If the specter of Trump, who is making Republicans less and less popular in the suburbs every day, still hangs over our country in 2022, we might actually be able to hang onto our House seats, or even expand our slim majority. Whether we collapse under the weight of Trumpism or further extricate ourselves from that noxious swamp is up to us.

The time for celebrating Biden’s victory is over. The time for digging in and defending this country against the Big Lie and the Big Doofus has arrived.

Let’s do this.

It made comedian Sarah Silverman say “THIS IS FUCKING BRILLIANT” and prompted author Stephen King to shout “Pulitzer Prize!!!” (on Twitter, that is). What is it? The viral letter that launched four hilarious Trump-trolling books. Get them all, including the finale, Goodbye, Asshat: 101 Farewell Letters to Donald Trump, at this link. Just $12.96 for the pack of 4! Or if you prefer a test drive, you can download the epilogue to Goodbye, Asshat for the low, low price of FREE.


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Teachers shouldn’t have to be superheroes, this week in the war on workers

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Care work was already work before the pandemic, and there was already a crisis. But the coronavirus pandemic made the crisis exponentially worse. Sarah Jaffe takes on the policy and personal roots of that crisis in a searing, rage-filled piece that you really should read, from the parts about motherhood and the men who get let off the hook, to the welfare rights movement, to—especially—the part about teachers during COVID-19 and the way they’ve been scapegoated in debates about in-person education.

This is the crux of it: “Get Covid and die, get written about in glowing terms,” she writes. “Collectively refuse to die (or to spread the virus to your students and their families), and your ‘allies’ will begin to threaten you.”

Teachers, she writes, have been “goddamn superheroes,” and, “If we, collectively, gave a shit about kids’ learning conditions, they would not be attending overcrowded schools with lousy ventilation; ancient, crumbling textbooks; ice-cold water in the sinks; and no nurses. Teachers would not be the ones bargaining for smaller class sizes and counselors in the buildings and green space and recess time. They would not be sharing photos of mold and mouse droppings in their buildings online. Or they would, but they’d have actual support from all the current scolds. They wouldn’t have to be superheroes; they could be human, grieving, depressed, struggling, messy, and mortal like the rest of us.”

That. All of that. Read the whole thing.


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Studies show meeting current agreements won’t be enough to stop melting of Antarctic ice sheets

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The one good thing about isostasy is that it does happen slowly. Not slowly as far as geologists are concerned, but slowly for people who don’t spend every day thinking in terms of “deep time.” For example, if the West Antarctic Ice Sheet were to melt, it would likely take 1,000 years for the continent to rebound. 

But even if the pressure between crust and mantle will be adjusted over a millennia, that doesn’t mean that sea level increases won’t be evident until 3021. That Antarctic rock bounce would add about a meter to sea level rise, but that’s just a fraction of the total increase expected.

As a paper from a team of international researchers predicts, melting land ice can be expected to add more than 42cm (1.4’) to sea level in this century—and that’s if all nations meet the obligations under the Paris agreement. If the increase in global warming could be limited to 1.5°C, the increase could be cut by two-thirds, but that would require significant additional changes.

An increase of under two feet may not seem like much, but it’s an enormous change for coastal communities. In fact, it’s over twice as much increase has occurred since 1880. Combined with high tides and storms, it would overwhelm many cities, push saltwater far into many estuaries, ruin aquifers in multiple areas, and mean the loss of millions of acres of low-lying agriculture. 

A second paper also examines the relationship between the commitments under the Paris agreement and the expected rise in sea level. That paper predicts that meltwater from Antarctica will contribute about 0.5cm (0.2”) per year, which also sounds relatively mild—but it’s an order of magnitude greater than previous measures. That paper also provides a mind-boggling number for the total amount of water contained in the Antarctic Ice Sheet, showing it as enough to raise the global sea level by 57.9 meters. That would be 190 feet. Now add in that isostasy, and the resulting change would be more like 250’.

That’s not quite enough to bring on Waterworld, but more than enough to render a map of the coastlines unrecognizable. How big would the change be? These two maps in the Miami Herald max out at just 10 meters (33 feet). In fact, the highest point in Florida is just 197 feet above sea level. 

What both papers show is how exquisitely sensitive to small changes these system are, with differences of a degree causing huge changes in outcomes. In an interview with The Guardian, one of the lead authors of the second study made it clear.

“If the world warms up at a rate dictated by current policies we will see the Antarctic system start to get away from us around 2060,” said Robert DeConto. “Once you put enough heat into the climate system, you are going to lose those ice shelves, and once that is set in motion you can’t reverse it.”

Keep in mind that the numbers being posted here are the “good” scenarios, the ones where the world sticks with climate agreements. Fortunately, current pricing on energy make doing the right thing also the cheap thing as solar power and wind power have moved well below the cost of coal and are competing directly with the price of natural gas. Still, it is not a given that the economics will always favor renewable energy, Anyone who thinks that simply relying on the market to do the right thing … has never watched how the market deals with anything. Preventing trillions of tons of additional carbon from being injected into the atmosphere will take serious, enforceable, itnernational agreements.

Of course, sea level increase is not happening tomorrow. Because it’s happening today. The sea level has already been rising. Now it’s rising faster.


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