On Feb. 27, 2020, Donald Trump hosted a Black History Month event where he talked about the COVID-19 pandemic.Tia Dufour/White House/Planet Pix/Zuma

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.It’s the one-year anniversary former President Donald Trump’ fateful remarks dismissing the COVID-19 pandemic. At a Black History Month event on February 27, 2020, Trump predicted:
And you know what?  If we were doing a bad job, we should also be criticized.  But we have done an incredible job.  We’re going to continue.  It’s going to disappear.  One day—it’s like a miracle—it will disappear.  And from our shores, we—you know, it could get worse before it gets better.  It could maybe go away.  We’ll see what happens.  Nobody really knows.
The fact is, the greatest experts—I’ve spoken to them all.  Nobody really knows. 
Two days after Trump’s comments, health officials in Washington State announced the first known coronavirus death in the United States (though later on the first known death was revised to February 6). Now, at the one-year mark of Trump’s denial, the United States has had more than 500,000 people die from COVID-19, roughly equal to the population of a major city like Atlanta. The toll has been worse for people of color, disproportionately taking Black, Latino, and Native American lives.
It also wasn’t true that nobody really knew what would happen. While CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield testified that same day before Congress that his agency “believes that the immediate risk of this new virus to the American public is low,” the Trump administration received warnings from top scientists and national security experts on the threat of a pandemic as early as January. Despite these warnings, the Trump administration failed to take needed steps to ensure the supply of medical supplies, issue mask mandates, and urge Americans away from large gatherings. 
Read Mother Jones‘ comprehensive timeline for more on Trump’s deadly denial.

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What does the minimum wage have to do with Social Security? On the surface, they might seem like unrelated issues. After all, the minimum wage is for workers and Social Security is for people who’ve stopped working due to old age or disability. But in fact, the two are closely linked—and raising the minimum wage to a $15/hour living wage would strengthen Social Security.”Democrats have 50 votes in the Senate, and they must do whatever it takes to get this done.”
Social Security is extremely popular, effective, and efficient, but it has one major flaw—benefits are too low. Raising the minimum wage would be a big step towards fixing this problem. That’s because the more money workers pay into Social Security, the greater their future benefits. In other words, raising the minimum wage doesn’t just increase workers’ current compensation. It also increases their future compensation: Social Security.
In practice, this means that a $15 minimum wage will increase the future Social Security benefits of low-income workers by up to $5100 a year. That translates to millions of seniors and people with disabilities who won’t have to cut their medications in half in order to afford groceries.

Raising the minimum wage would also bolster the Social Security trust funds. When workers earn more, they contribute more into Social Security. A $15 minimum wage would generate over $130 billion for our Social Security system by 2035. But the same Republicans who endlessly demand cuts to Social Security so it doesn’t go “bankrupt” (which is impossible) refuse to support a living wage.
The benefits to Social Security are just one of many reasons why we need to update the minimum wage to $15. It will make millions of workers and their families more economically secure. It will pump billions of dollars into communities across the country. And it will save money on means-tested assistance programs.
A $15 minimum wage just passed the House of Representative. This is a huge milestone for grassroots activists and unions who have been fighting for $15 for nearly a decade. Now, the ball is in the Senate’s court—and they need to act now.
Raising the wage isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s also popular with Americans across the political spectrum. Democrats have 50 votes in the Senate, and they must do whatever it takes to get this done. The American people won’t take no for an answer. 

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Though House Democrats in the end had the votes to assure final passage of a sweeping Covid-19 relief package overnight—securing approval with a final 219-212 tally—it was the Republican Party membership in total lockstep, joined by two lonely members of the majority party, that voted to deny struggling American families, frontline workers, state governments, local communities, small businesses, and the nation’s schools and public health system nearly $2 trillion in urgent assistance to stabilize the economy, beat back the pandemic, and ensure solid footing for a robust recovery.The two Democrats who sided with the GOP were Rep. Jared Golden, who represents Maine’s 2nd District, and Rep. Kurt Shrader, who represents Oregon’s 5th District. Direct from the roll call:

In a statement, Golden called the third round of direct stimulus payments to households in his state and nationwide “a waste” of resources and justified his “no” vote as being fiscally responsible as he fearmongered over the deficit by saying at “some point” the bill for the relief spending authorized by Congress over the last year to stem the damage caused by one of the worst pandemics to hit the nation (and the world) in over a hundred years “has to come due.” The “no” vote did not go over well with many Maine voters:

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Bill Clark/CNP via ZUMA

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz) skipped key votes in the House of Representatives, citing the “ongoing public health emergency,” to instead attend a conference hosted by white supremacists in Orlando, Florida on Friday.
Gosar, whose six siblings memorably endorsed his congressional opponent in a 2018 ad, has a long flirtation with far-right extremism. He appeared Friday at a white supremacist gathering in Orlando, America First Political Action Conference (AFPAC) organized by Nick Fuentes, a white nationalist figurehead and instigator of the Jan. 6 insurrection.
Gosar has fanned the flames of the Jan. 6 insurrection himself by calling the Democrats’ win an attempted “coup” and then President-elect Joe Biden an “illegitimate usurper.” After the election, he wrote in an op-ed promoting the “Stop the Steal” rallies: “Be ready to defend the Constitution and the White House.” His past ties to the right-wing militia group Oath Keepers are already under scrutiny. In 2017, he dismissed right-wing violence in the deadly Charlottesville Unite the Right rally as the doing of George Soros, lying about how the billionaire known for backing progressive causes was actually behind the violence. “Who is he?,” Gosar said. “I think he’s from Hungary. I think he was Jewish. And I think he turned in his own people to the Nazis.” 
Just after Gosar spoke on Friday, Fuentes took the mic to call the Capitol riot “awesome” and mocked Gosar’s colleague, Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-N.C.), who uses a wheelchair. 

Here’s another bit from the Nick Fuentes speech at AFPAC, delivered right after Rep. Paul Gosar got off the stage. Gosar’s speaking at CPAC in a couple hours. Fuentes joked that he’d get a call from his lawyer afterward. pic.twitter.com/N0nX0maXrZ
— Dave Weigel (@daveweigel) February 27, 2021

The keynote by Nick Fuentes at AFPAC also included jokes about @CawthornforNC, Gosar’s colleague, who uses a wheelchair. Fuentes mocked how often Cawthorn says he’ll “take a stand.”
“‘I’m gonna take a stand?’ How? How are you gonna do that?”
— Dave Weigel (@daveweigel) February 27, 2021

On Saturday, Gosar, at CPAC, half-heartedly tried to distance himself from the association with white supremacists, saying, “I denounce when we talk about white racism.”

Paul Gosar kicked off his CPAC panel with a muddled attempt to distance himself from the white nationalist event last night. “Before I get to that, I want to tell you — I denounce when we talk about white racism. That’s not appropriate.”
— Will Sommer (@willsommer) February 27, 2021

Gosar wasn’t the only member of Congress to skip Friday’s House session. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fl), like Gosar, enlisted colleagues to vote by proxy, signing letters saying, “I am unable to physically attend proceedings in the House Chamber due to the ongoing public health emergency.” Instead, Gaetz spoke at the in-person CPAC on Friday, where the event’s thousands of attendees loosely followed policies on wearing masks.
The Republicans skipped a slate of important votes, including a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 stimulus package and a public lands measure to protect 1.5 million acres of new wilderness and to protect 1,200 miles of waterways. The Republicans had their proxies oppose the bills.

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In a vote in the earlier hours of Saturday morning, every Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives—except Reps. Jared Golden of Maine and Oregon’s Kurt Schrader—overcame unanimous Republican opposition by voting to approve a far-reaching $1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief package—including a $15 minimum wage proposal—that is now heading to the U.S. Senate for consideration.With a final vote of 219-212, the passage of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 in the House clears the way for the Senate to take up the legislation that most Democrats vowed would be their first priority in last year’s elections. See the full roll-call of the vote here.

I voted just after 2 a.m. to pass a robust relief package that will:Speed up vaccine distributionSend out survival checksExtend UI benefitsRAISE THE WAGEI’m calling on the Senate to vote on this package. Now is the time to go big and get people the help they NEED.— Rep. Pramila Jayapal (@RepJayapal) February 27, 2021

Roundly applauded by progressives, the sweeping legislation, as The Hill details,”We urge swift passage, in full, by the Senate to get needed relief to those who need it most.” —Didier Trinh, Main Street Alliance

which was modeled after Biden’s proposal, includes provisions to provide a third round of direct stimulus checks of up to $1,400 for individuals, a $400 weekly unemployment insurance boost through Aug. 29, and $8.5 billion in funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to distribute, track and promote public confidence in COVID-19 vaccines. The direct payments of up to $1,400 for individuals or $2,800 for married couples are the largest pandemic impact payments yet, after the two previous rounds last year maxed out at $1,200 and $600.  Individuals with incomes of up to $75,000 and married couples earning up to $150,000 would be eligible for the full amounts, while the payments would phase out for individuals making up to $100,000 or $200,000 for couples. Other key parts of the massive package include $350 billion for state and local governments, $130 billion to help K-12 schools reopen for in-person classroom instruction, and an expansion of the child tax credit to $3,000 per child or $3,600 for children under six years of age.

With targeted relief for small businesses as well, the Main Street Alliance, a national advocacy coalition, applauded the legislation.

Didier Trinh, the group’s government affairs director, said passage by the House “has given small businesses on their last legs hope that we can make it through” the ongoing pandemic and economic crisis.

“We urge swift passage, in full, by the Senate to get needed relief to those who need it most,” Trinh said.

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The Phantom V, the world’s first electric Rolls-Royce car. August 21, 2020, Silverstone, United Kingdom. © Cover Images/ZUMA

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.This story was originally published by Grist and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.
Lauri Mueller was ready for a new car. It was 2019 and Mueller, a 56-year-old freelance motion graphics designer, had run her 20-year-old Dodge Plymouth Neon practically “into the ground.” She had spent the last few years gradually moving toward a greener lifestyle—solar panels, reusable grocery bags, even an electric snowblower—and so she wanted a car that ran off battery power. She settled on a brand-new $40,000 Nissan Leaf, a birthday present to herself, because it came with an incentive: A credit of $7,500 taken off her federal taxes.
But Mueller was in for a nasty surprise. That “tax credit” was only worth as much as she owed the federal government—and in 2019, she only owed $3,829. The car ended up costing her several thousand dollars more than she expected.
Mueller isn’t alone. According to one study by researchers at the University of California, Davis, 13 percent of electric vehicle owners overestimated how much money they would get back on their purchase. And her experience points to a much larger problem with the government’s primary strategy for getting consumers to adopt EVs: The people who benefit the most are those with the most money to spend.

Electric vehicles have long been seen as crucial to moving the U.S. economy away from fossil fuels: Many Americans are too car-addicted to abandon their personal vehicles, and the country is too tethered to its highways and suburbs to make a quick switch to a full-scale European-style public transportation system. (Sorry, mass-transit advocates.) A fleet of EVs, running on clean electricity, could help slash the 28 percent of U.S. emissions that come from transportation.

Getting Americans to buy electric cars, however, has proved challenging. EVs have been around forever—the first in the U.S. dates back to 1890 — but adoption has been sluggish. Even today, electric cars still cost thousands of dollars more up-front than their gas-powered counterparts (even if they ultimately make up that difference in lowered maintenance and fuel costs), and many people are skittish about having a car that runs out of power after a couple hundred miles. Between 2011 and 2019, less than 1 percent of cars sold in the U.S. were electric.
The tax credit was supposed to help. Started under President George W. Bush and expanded in President Barack Obama’s 2009 Recovery Act, the program gives purchasers of a new EV (or plug-in hybrid) a credit when they file their taxes the following year. The amount is scaled depending on the battery size: A 16kWh battery (like that of the now-discontinued Chevy Volt) is eligible for the max amount of $7,500.
But car buyers also have to make at least $66,000 a year—and have no other significant credits—to owe enough in taxes to get the full benefit. That’s one reason why the program has overwhelmingly helped richer Americans: According to an analysis by the Congressional Research Service, 78 percent of the credits were claimed by people making at least $100,000 per year; 7 percent were claimed by people making at least $1 million a year.
“It’s starting to be an equity issue,” said Gil Tal, director of the plug-in hybrid and electric vehicle research center at the University of California, Davis. A decade ago, he said, electric cars were more of a luxury item, only purchased by the rich—but now, as cheaper models are released, the tax credit may be standing in the way of middle-income Americans who want to jump on the EV bandwagon. Those buyers might not want to take on a heavy loan while they wait for the credit to kick in, or might not know how much they are going to make in the next year.
That’s what happened to Gene Cowan, a 56-year-old graphic designer based in California, who saved up to buy a Tesla Model 3 in 2018. He expected a $7,500 federal tax credit and another $3,000 rebate from the state. But after a rough year freelancing, he owed nothing in federal income tax, and, because he had to move to Washington D.C. to take care of a sick family member, he ended up losing the California-based benefit. “It’s crazy,” he said. “Because I wasn’t rich enough, I didn’t get it. It’s nuts.”
The tax incentive is supposed to convince Americans to buy electric vehicles who wouldn’t otherwise do so—especially middle-class Americans. But the credit only tipped the scales for 17 percent of EV buyers in 2015, according to one study in the journal Energy Economics. A whopping 83 percent would have bought their new cars regardless. Other analyses have found that the credit could be responsible for more like 30 or 40 percent of sales.
For middle-income Americans, there’s at least one way to still drive an EV. Tal, the UC Davis researcher, says that drivers interested in EVs can always lease — the federal tax credit gets applied to the dealership, which offers customers a cheaper leasing rate. This approach has been pretty popular: 75 percent of electric vehicles are leased instead of bought.“If I’m high-income, I’m going to buy my Tesla or Volt and I’m willing to pay full price,” said Tamara Sheldon, an author of the Energy Economics study and a professor of economics at the University of South Carolina. “But if you’re going to give me a tax credit or rebate—I’m not going to turn it down.”
But when it comes to purchasing an EV, Jay Friedland, director of the EV advocacy group Plug in America, thinks one way to tackle the equity problem is to move the credit “to the bumper.” That is, take the $7,500 directly off the sticker price of the car. That could be harder to swing politically—it’s easier to pass a tax credit than a direct subsidy through Congress—but would allow more Americans to take full advantage of the program. (A version of this already exists in California, where residents can get up to $1,500 off a new EV at the dealership.)
Another option is to provide a similar credit for used electric cars. In Oregon, low- and middle-income buyers can get a $2,500 rebate on a used EV; the state is also third in the nation for EV sales and leases. If Congress opened up the $7,500 tax credit for used cars, it could speed adoption among people who don’t have the funds to purchase a brand-new electric vehicle.
All of these ideas are likely to be debated in Congress over the next few months. President Joe Biden has made boosting EVs a pillar of his campaign—during the Democratic debates he repeatedly vowed to install “500,000 charging stations” across the country—and car companies are eager for the program to get revamped. The existing credit only applies to the first 200,000 eligible vehicles sold by a given car company, and Tesla and General Motors have already maxed out their quota. (Nissan and Toyota are getting close too.)
Any new legislation would likely lift those quotas, but could also help middle-income buyers get EVs. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York has floated plans for a bill that would provide cash for old, gas-guzzling cars—much like Obama’s “cash for clunkers” program—and give a boost to those buying used EVs. Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon and Representative Peter Welch of Vermont have proposed eliminating the automaker cap for the next 10 years and applying the credits directly at the dealership. And the GREEN Act, currently sponsored by 49 Congressional representatives, would extend eligible vehicles to 600,000 per company and add in a credit for used cars.
Whatever strategy Congress adopts, many hope that it will be easier to navigate than the current system. Mueller, who loves the simple maintenance and quiet engine of her Nissan Leaf, is still frustrated by her experience with the tax credit. “If you want to incentivize people to do something, it should be straightforward,” she said. “It shouldn’t be contingent on: ‘Oh, you didn’t have that many deductions that year.’”

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As the fight to include a $15 federal hourly minimum wage in the coronavirus relief bill hits speed bumps including an objection from the Senate parliamentarian and White House reluctance to go against her advice, over 150,000 voters by Friday signed a petition supporting the wage hike.”The passage of a $15 federal minimum wage and elimination of the subminimum wages for tipped workers, workers with disabilities, and youth workers would guarantee a livable wage for all workers.”—Saru Jayaraman,One Fair Wage
“We call on the Biden administration to disregard the parliamentarian rule and proceed with a [Covid-19] package that includes One Fair Wage of $15,” Saru Jayaraman, president and co-founder of One Fair Wage—which is leading the petition—said in a statement.
“The passage of a $15 federal minimum wage and elimination of the subminimum wages for tipped workers, workers with disabilities, and youth workers would guarantee a livable wage for all workers for the first time in our country’s nearly 250 year history,” Jayaraman continued. “Decency is Democrats using the political power they’ve been handed to finally deliver for the hardworking people of this country who have been repeatedly stepped on and disregarded over the last four years and especially during the pandemic.”
Dozens of progressive organizations also endorsed a letter accompanying the petition calling on President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris to ignore the parliamentarian’s ruling and do “whatever it takes” to deliver on their promise to voters.
“We are women of color, people of color, women, low-wage workers, and organizations that represent and support them,” the letter states. “We are writing to urge you to use the full power of your office to bring essential financial relief to all working people in America, by ensuring that a $15 federal minimum wage is included in the budget reconciliation process, regardless of the opinion of the parliamentarian.”

So many women, folks of color, and working people in this country are struggling. We deserve so much better.
We’re won’t stop until we achieve the $15 min wage increase. #RaiseTheWage
— UltraViolet (Text JOIN to 98688) (@UltraViolet) February 26, 2021

Some of the groups signing the letter include CASA, Center for Popular Democracy, Girls Who Code, Patriotic Millionaires, Presente.org, and the Urban League. 

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Advocates for boosting access to high-speed internet on Friday welcomed a unanimous vote by the Federal Communications Commission establishing the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program to help low-income households across the country get and stay online during the coronavirus pandemic.Under the $3.2 billion program, for which Congress allocated funding in the December relief package, eligible households will get discounts of up to $50 a month for broadband service. On tribal lands, the discount is $75 a month. Families will also be given a one-time discount of up to $100 for a computer or tablet.
The EBBP is open to Lifeline subscribers, Pell grant recipients, and households that are participating in a broadband provider’s low-income or pandemic relief program, have children qualified for free or reduced-price meals, or have lost substantial income during the past year’s public health and economic crises.
“The importance and impact of bringing the EBB Program online cannot be understated,” declared Access Now U.S. policy manager Eric Null.
“While we are saddened the FCC did not incorporate all of our proposals, codifying these rules is a huge step toward ensuring this money can quickly get into the hands of those most in need of it, especially Black and Indigenous communities of color,” Null said. “We look forward to seeing the program succeed.”

Free Press vice president of policy and general counsel Matt Wood said in a statement that while his organization will be more fully reviewing the order, “it’s great to see the new FCC moving ahead right on time to deliver the promises the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program brings.”
“As the pandemic nears its one-year mark, it’s only gotten harder for many people to afford essential internet connections to the remote learning, work, and healthcare services they need,” noted Wood, whose group has documented how “affordability is the biggest yet most-often overlooked obstacle in overcoming the digital divide.”
“Some 77 million people in this country lack adequate broadband services, which is a particular hardship at a time when a robust home connection is such a lifeline,” he explained. “And this digital divide is far worse for the Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities that have been hit hardest by Covid.”
Even before the pandemic hit, over a third of Black, Latinx, and Indigenous people across the United States lacked wired connections at home, according to Free Press. As Common Dreams has previously reported, the public health crisis has bolstered the case for treating the internet as a public utility like water and electricity.
“The FCC’s order takes important strides to lower barriers to participation by eligible households and expand the choices available to them,” Wood said. “It allows recipients to verify eligibility without the intrusive and exclusionary step of requiring a Social Security number, letting people use Individual taxpayer identification numbers or other types of documentation instead.”
Wood also pointed out that the order says internet service providers can accept the discount for any plan they offer and that it directs the FCC to “work with internet providers, local governments, schools, community groups, and other digital-inclusion advocates to promote awareness of the program and assist with enrollment.”

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David Eulitt/Kansas City Star/TNS/Zuma

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.The February 26, 2021 passage of the Equality Act in the US House of Representatives piqued conservatives into a moral panic.
The bill, which would ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, had a terrifying potential for Republicans: the presence of trans girls in high school sports.
There was House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s statement that, “This really seems like an onslaught against freedom of religion [and] for girls’ sports as well.” There was Rep. Tom McClintock’s (R-Calif.) assertion that the legislation “destroys women’s sports and renders parents powerless to protect their own children.” And there was Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s (R-Ga.) tweet—in response to Rep. Marie Newman (D-Ill.), who has a transgender daughter—saying, “Your biological son does NOT belong in my daughters’ bathrooms, locker rooms, and sports teams.”
All this language of the need to “protect,” the need to root out other children from “bathrooms” and “locker rooms,” is hard to square with reality. As with the introduction of “bathroom bills,” the anti-trans argument is a red herring. It is another example of conservatives standing athwart progressive social change in the name of protecting children—long a hallmark of right-wing reactionary politics.
But it is also particularly infuriating because all this effort has been summoned on a day when actual women in sports were in the news for being harmed.
While legislators on the House floor were pontificating about the demise of women’s sports, another story was unfolding. Yesterday, John Geddert, head coach of the 2012 gold-medal women’s Olympic gymnastics team, committed suicide in Michigan. He had just been charged with human trafficking and sex crimes against girls as young as 13. (None of the members of Congress have commented on that, from what I’ve seen.)
Geddert was a longtime friend of Larry Nassar, the convicted rapist who was accused of assaulting 265 girls as young as six. His victims included Olympic gold-medal gymnasts McKayla Maroney, Aly Raisman, and Simone Biles. Nassar admitted to sexually abusing girls at the Twistars Gymnastics Club owned by Geddert.
Abusive coaches are nothing new, and it’s not only sexual abuse. In 2019, Mary Cain, the youngest American runner to make a World Championships team, accused Nike coach Alberto Salazar of physical and psychological abuse that ruined her career. A Business Insider story from last year details the psychological abuse female college athletes from a variety of sports say they experienced at the hands of their coaches. And last August, Texas Tech fired two of its women basketball coaches after accusations surfaced of physical, mental, and verbal abuse.
This abuse, of course, is not limited to women either. Among the most notorious abusers in the sports world is Jerry Sandusky, the Penn State assistant football coach who in 2012 was found guilty of sexually assaulting 10 boys. Joe Paterno, the head coach who ignored reports of Sandusky’s abuse, was fired and died of cancer months later.
As scandal after scandal emerges about the pervasive abuse of young athletes, it’s time we reevaluate our priorities. Trans athletes aren’t the problem.

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CPAC 2021! Wingnut City on Steroids! The first day of this year’s exercise in flamboyant delusion featured a parade of alternate-reality speakers laboring hard and loud to out-bonkers-and-hoodwink each other, with impressive results. There was Ted ‘Braveheart’ Cruz, devotee of violent insurrection, who ended his incoherent speech by shrieking “FREEDOM!” – from masks, Democrats, people making fun of Cancun? – in an attempt to channel William Wallace without the face-paint, we think, though many noted Wallace got drawn and quartered and Cruz is just like Wallace “except for all the courage, honor, patriotism, bravery, strength, integrity, morality, virtue, toughness, wisdom, fearlessness, goodness, scruples and righteousness” which makes him “less like Braveheart and more like Naivefart.” There was Josh Hawley whining about being “silenced” just because he rejected valid election results and pundit Deroy Murdock who longed for the good old days when Hillary et al didn’t try to to steal your grandfather’s insulin with absentee ballots – don’t ask – and Kimberly ‘THE BEST – IS YET – TO COME!’ Guilfoyle yelling about “re-igniting the American Dream” because “socialists and communists want to see our nation burn” but thankfully the GOP will be “reborn as a party of the working class and minorities” even though hours earlier the GOP stalled a minimum wage hike. Then she introduced the coke-fueled “SON OF THE LEADER OF THE WARRIOR MAGA MOVEMENT!!!!” who strutted on stage to rant about Hunter Biden, again. Star power! There were, it’s true, glitches: CPAC – tagline #AmericaUncancelled – had to cancel a YouTuber named Young Pharoah after it turned out he said the existence of Jews was “ALL A COMPLETE #LIE,” and attendees booed organizers for asking people to wear a mask like the law says. But the SS-insignia shaped stage made up for them.

Still, the highlight of the day was when they broke out the Golden Calf, a yuge gold statue of Trump in red tie, stars-and-stripes surfer shorts and flip flops, looking suspiciously like either Bart Simpson or Guy Fieri or Bob’s Big Boy, holding a copy of the Constitution in one gold hand and a magic wand in the other. It was made – in Mexico it turns out – by Tom Zegan, a commercial artist and Trump fan who noted it has “all kinds of symbolism…A lot of thought went into it.” Deep stuff: suit and tie=businessman, shorts=patriotic, sandals=retired, Constitution=he follows it. “And the people bowed and prayed/to the neon god they made”: It got wheeled in and set up for gleeful selfies – win a t-shirt! – because somehow all these Evangelical Christians never got to the part in the Bible about false idols and graven images. It also quickly drew “a backlash of Biblical proportions.” While the beast captures “the apocalyptic vibes” of Trump’s presidency, it was generally agreed that, insofar as worshiping the golden calf was bad, “worshiping a golden jackass is worse.” “If only there were some sacred text,” mused one tweet, “one most people at CPAC claimed allegiance to, that very explicitly warns against making golden idols…” From BrooklynDad, “This reminds me of that religious story, something something something Golden Calf, something something graven image, something something false idols.” Many just listed relevant Scripture passages: Exodus 32:8, Matthew 7:15, Jeremiah 14:14, Exodus 20:3: “And the Lord struck the people with a plague because of what they did with the (golden) calf Aaron had made.” Cynics noted the statue’s perfect for a group preparing to “wander the electoral desert for 40 years,” or that it’s “time for Moses to come down from the mountain and break some tablets.” Still, the vulgarians of CPAC drank it up; on the video, they happily gush as it gets wheeled in. “Awesome,” says one. Another: “That is so cool!” Not. Who are these fucking people, and can they leave our country soon, please?”

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The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good.

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