Just Outside Washington
My friend Janie, who lives in San Diego County, recently
complained that her old California is gone, which she attributes to
illegals and great wealth. But for me, I think nothing ever stays the
FRANK'S COMPLETE ARCHIVES
CORONA NUMBERS UPDATED
WORLD: OVER 199.66 MILLION.
DEATHS - OVER 4,250,338 MILLION .
U.S.: 35.689 MILLION.
CANADA: CASES - OVER 1.431 MILLION.
DEATHS - OVER
AMERICA TOMORROW: HAVE A LOOK AT HUNGARY TODAY
Yesterday, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán posted on Facebook a photo
of Fox News Channel personality Tucker Carlson visiting him. Carlson is
broadcasting his television show from Hungary this week, before he
speaks on Saturday at MCC Feszt, an event hosted by a
government-sponsored university whose mission is to produce a
Hungary is a country in central Europe of about 10 million people who
have, in the decade since Orbán took power for the second time, watched
their democracy erode. On paper, Hungary is a democracy in that it still
holds elections, but it is, in fact, a one-party state overseen by the
Orbán has been open about his determination to overthrow the concept of
western democracy, replacing it with what he has, on different
occasions, called "illiberal democracy," or "Christian democracy." He
wants to replace the multiculturalism at the heart of democracy with
Christian culture, stop the immigration that he believes undermines
Hungarian culture, and reject "adaptable family models" with "the
Christian family model."
No matter what he calls it, Orbán's model is not democracy at all.
As soon as he retook office in 2010, he began to establish control over
the media, cracking down on those critical of his party, Fidesz, and
rewarding those who toed the party line. In 2012, his supporters rewrote
the country's constitution to strengthen his hand, and extreme
gerrymandering gave his party more power while changes to election rules
benefited his campaigns.
Increasingly, he used the power of the state to concentrate wealth among
his cronies, and he reworked the country's judicial system and civil
service system to stack it with his loyalists. While Hungary still has
elections, state control of the media and the apparatus of voting means
that it is impossible for Orbán's opponents to take power.
Trump supporters have long admired Orbán's nationalism and centering of
Christianity, while the fact that Hungary continues to have elections
enables them to pretend that the country remains a democracy.
Currently, political patterns in America look much like those
Orbán used to gather power into his own hands.
Republican-dominated legislatures are passing new measures to suppress
the vote, aided by the Big Lie that former president Trump did not lose
the 2020 election. Trump and his supporters are focusing on the
so-called "forensic audit" of Maricopa County in Arizona, paid for and
conducted by Trump loyalists who insist that Trump actually won despite
the repeated investigations that have proved the election was clean.
Today, a piece by Jane Mayer in the New Yorker revealed how the money
for that audit is coming not from local protesters, but rather from
"sophisticated, well-funded national organizations whose boards of
directors include some of the country's wealthiest and highest-profile
conservatives." Those organizations "have relentlessly promoted the myth
that American elections are rife with fraud, and according to leaked
records of their internal deliberations, they have drafted, supported,
and in some cases taken credit for state laws that make it harder to
Mayer details how organizations such as the Heritage Foundation, the
American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the anti-regulation
FreedomWorks, and the Judicial Education Project (which is tied to
Leonard Leo, a chair of the Federalist Society, which has worked since
the 1980s to stack the courts with originalists) have turned from their
previous advocacy to focus on voter suppression. These groups are
bankrolled by Milwaukee's Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, whose
board member Cleta Mitchell was on Trump's January 3, 2021, call to
Georgia election officials.
In the Washington Post, Greg Sargent noted that the goal of these audits
is to undermine Americans' faith in elections altogether. Continued
questioning of election results even after repeated recounts and
verification makes any outcome seem untrustworthy.
In such a case, a state legislature might argue it was justified either
in "finding" enough votes to swing an election -- as Trump tried to get
Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to do in Georgia in 2020 -- or in
throwing out the vote altogether and advancing its own slate of electors
to the Electoral College.
Mayer points out that organizations funded by the Bradley Foundation
are, indeed, talking about taking the choice of electors away from
voters and giving it instead to state officials.
Carlson has shown support for Hungary in the past. Notably, in 2019, he
endorsed that country's anti-abortion and anti-immigration policies; in
that year, according to investigative researcher Anna Massoglia of Open
Secrets, Hungary paid a D.C. lobbying firm $265,000, in part to arrange
an interview on Carlson's show.
But for him to visit Orbán and to broadcast from Hungary right now, when
American democracy is under the very sort of threat Orbán represents,
seemed to me to be a deliberate demonstration of the Trump Republicans'
plans for our future.
©Heather Cox Richardson
Letter from an American
SHAWVILLE, QC | We are
learning more than expected from the pandemic -- from scientific
insights to generalizations about well-being and good mental health. As
we slog through levels of lockdown, mental health problems seem only to
grow. Our kids, for example, feel isolated and stressed, struggling to
focus on their on-line lessons.
THE TROUBLE WITH
SHAWVILLE, QC | Lend me
your attention for a moment. This is not about local -- only issues, not
about Covid, hockey, nor low moisture in our crops. This is about money,
and money is the Trouble with Democracy.FRED'S
LOOSE TONGUES ENDANGER
SHAWVILLE, QC | The two
world wars past gave us plenty of public messaging about "idle talk"
which might reveal secrets to under-cover enemy agents. Every subject,
from call-up notices to departure times -- anything which might give our
enemies an edge -- was included. "Loose tongues endanger lives" was a
common public message.
Just Outside Washington
THE FRENCH HAVE FIGURED OUT A
BETTER MED WAY
As one gets older, it seems like we spend
more time at the doctor's offices. Even when there is nothing
specifically wrong, there are visits, periodic general practitioner
checkups, lab visits for blood extraction, dental cleanings,
dermatologist examinations, and more.
MEMORIAL FOR THE VICTIMS
OF . . . WHAT?FRED'S COMPLETE ARCHIVES
SHAWVILLE, QC |
Among the surprises of this month's federal budget was a doubling of
funds for Harper's "victims of communism" 2010 memorial in Ottawa. With
a total of near $7 million, this should be one heck of a memorial.
LCC WRITER: HI-5! TO
COVID VAX TEAM IN VIRGINIA
This morning Kathy and I received our second dose of the Pfizer
COVID-19 vaccine. Hooray!
PROTEST ... WHERE IT
SHAWVILLE, QC | Two street
protests against pandemic restrictions in Quebec, in Fort Coulonge and
Shawville, have stimulated public comment. And criticism -- many
participants, generally, were not following the health rules (masks and
a two-metre distance). The SQ were careful to warn protestors of the
rules, without aggravating emotions and stimulating further
STOPPING COVID-19 ~ WITH
SHAWVILLE, QC | One of the
lesser-noted effects of Covid-19 and its lockdown is the sudden and
widespread proliferation of scientific expertise. There's a touch of
Zakaria celebrates America's resilience, which he says gains
strength through chaos and crises. He also downplays the idea that
despots like China's Xi Jinping do better than democratic leaders
pointing out covid-19's leap around the world was due to China's
suppression of lifesaving data. Also, that authoritarian regimes
including Khamenei's Iran, Erdogan's Turkey, and Bolsonaro's Brazil,
ruled did badly.FRANK'S COMPLETE ARCHIVES
I'm writing this on the day of our 30th
wedding anniversary. Deb and I were married on December 15, 1990 in
Sherbrooke. That wasn't the original plan.
ON KEEPING WITS ABOUT
SHAWVILLE, QC | Lesson
number one: The pandemic's lockdown may be teaching us a thing or two,
despite it's costs. One lesson is obvious: how deeply we all depend upon
contact and communication with others. The opposite side of that coin
may be that we also are learning to live with our own selves, without
the contact we took for granted in the past.
WHY ENVIRONMENTAL REGS
As many as 12,000 children were exposed to drinking water with
high levels of lead, which cause long-term health problems. The water
supply change also caused an outbreak of Legionnaires' disease that
killed 12 people.FRANK'S COMPLETE ARCHIVES
WHAT'S WRONG WITH
SHAWVILLE, QC |
American friends are certainly now on the road to a healing presidential
term. The Republicans may rant about individual counts, but we can also
be certain that they are busy studying their playbook, "How to Sabotage
a Democrat President."
JANE DOES THE
This is one of 30 short
poems in the chapbook Placing No Markers by Jason Krpan. You can
download the book for free at Bookfellows.