Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Unqualified immunity

 Rand Paul was being an asshole about vaccine again, so Richard Marx tweeted that he'd like to buy many drinks for Rene Boucher, the neighbor who mugged Paul over some previous episode of assholery.  A short time later a package of what turned out to be harmless white powder arrived at the Paul establishment.  Paul whined that it's "reprehensible that Twitter allows C-list celebrities to encourage violence against me and my family."  To be fair, Marx had included a picture of Paul with a gun to his head and the words, "I'll finish what your neighbor started, you motherfucker."  

By coincidence, Florida got a shiny new law yesterday that tries to impose penalties for social media platforms that ban politicians for violating their terms of service.   Nobody thinks this unconstitutional attempt by the government to interfere with private corporations is anything but an early birthday present for the Palm Beach demagogue, but bashing "Big Tech Censorship" is very popular with the Trumpanzees this season.  The law would require Twitter and Facebook to ignore tweets portraying a train smashing into CNN, Democratic politicians with rifle sights over their faces, calls for the lynching of Ilhan Omar or Nancy Pelosi, and the daily spewings of demented Georgia congresswomen, but they could sent Richard Marx to Twitter jail.  Unless he announces his candidacy for his local school board, I suppose.

As Congress inches closer to passing the George Floyd bill ending the "qualified immunity" that police have long depended on, Florida wants to extend it to politicians.  They can use social media to indulge their violent fantasies and even to assemble mobs for the purpose of invading the capitol buildings of states or the nation, but the rest of us have to abide by the fine print we didn't read in our haste to open  accounts.  

And what flavor of politicians express themselves through violence and hate?  With very few exceptions who should be ashamed of themselves, it's the Republicans.  When they stop praising free speech and condemning "cancel culture" for five minutes, it's to deny a tenured journalism chair to Nikole Hannah-Jones because The 1619 Project hurts white feelings.   They're fine with reporters being fired for something they wrote years ago on Twitter that was critical of Israel; they encourage it.   

Take Rick Santorum.  Please.  All he said was that nothing happened before 1492.  "We birthed a nation from nothing.  I mean, there was nothing here," he asserted, and when a few descendants of the millions who were here objected, he refused to apologize.  CNN cut its losses and he was soon wailing to Fox, "You get savaged for telling the truth."  No, Rick, Ronald Greene got savaged.  You'll just have to get along without your (I assume) six-figure salary.  I hear there are lots of job openings if you'll work for $12 an hour.  ("Hi, the election was stolen.  Please speak into the clown's mouth.")

I can't think of anything Republicans support that doesn't kill Americans:  downplaying covid, poverty, collapsing infrastructure, poison tap water, guns, lousy health care, racist cops, septic abortions, ignorance/conspiracy theories, global warming.  It's just as well they no longer run on a party platform, just point:  "Whatever the Leader wants."  Above all, they want for there to be no consequences.  This is not Belarus.  You can't physically torture journalists here.



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