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Gregg Popovich with President Barack Obama, left

Image via Wikimedia Commons

The fact that not everyone in Texas is a far-right Republican was evident on Sunday, January 23, when San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich was interviewed by reporters and spoke his mind about voting rights — slamming not only Republicans, but also, two centrist Democrats: Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona.

Before the Spurs’ game against the Philadelphia 76ers — the basketball team known for everyone from Julius Erving, a.k.a. Dr. J., to Allen Iverson — the 72-year-old Popovich told reporters:

“As many have said, it’s been time, it’s past time for hardball. The Republican Senate will just not participate, they just will not. So, whatever can be done needs to be done. And Sinema and Manchin, they get it, but they don’t get it. They know what’s going on. They understand. But there are more important things to them, and it’s damn selfish and dangerous to our country," said Popvich.

Although Manchin and Sinema have voiced their support for voting rights — Manchin has pushed the Freedom to Vote Act as an alternative to the more comprehensive For the People Act — they are adamantly opposed to altering the filibuster, which requires 60 votes for most legislation to pass. And Democrats, with their narrow Senate majority, don’t have 60 votes.

Some voting rights activists have proposed a compromise to Manchin and Sinema: keep the filibuster on the whole, but create an exception for voting rights. Manchin and Sinema, however, are even opposed to that.

Popovich, who is vehemently opposed to the voter suppression bills being proposed by Republicans in state legislators, told reporters, “It’s ironic, but as much as the community of color has been oppressed and denigrated, those are the people who try to save this damn country from itself. It’s just ironic to me.”

Popovich continued, “Every time we take steps forward, you get the backlash. The fact that the voting rights issue is in the situation it’s in is just mind-boggling to me in one sense, because we’ve already gone through this back in the ‘60s — and we know what the Supreme Court did earlier in gutting it. But it's like, we don’t get it. It’s like, maybe there wouldn’t be a democracy if it wasn’t for Black people.”

Popovich, a U.S. Air Force veteran, has been the Spurs’ coach since 1996.

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

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Newt Gingrich

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich went on Fox News over the weekend and threatened members of the select committee investigating the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. Even in the language he used, not just the position he took, Gingrich made clear who rules his world.

“You’re gonna have a Republican majority in the House, a Republican majority in the Senate,” he said on Sunday Morning Futures. “And all these people who’ve been so tough and so mean and so nasty are going to be delivered subpoenas for every document, every conversation, every tweet, every email.”

”So tough and so mean and so nasty”? Gingrich might as well have painted his face orange before busting out that line, it’s such a direct imitation of what Donald Trump must be ranting to everyone who will listen in the Mar-a-Lago buffet line. But Gingrich wasn’t just threatening subpoenas.

“I think when you have a Republican Congress, this is all going to come crashing down,” Gingrich said. “The wolves are gonna find out they’re now sheep, and they’re the ones who are, in fact, I think, going to face a real risk of going to jail for the kind of laws that they’re breaking.”

Breaking laws? By investigating a bloody attack on the seat of government intended to stop Congress from doing its duty by certifying an election? This is the Republican position now: investigating crimes committed in support of Donald Trump is itself a crime. And Gingrich is not just some blast from the Republican past. He’s advising House Republican leaders in the runup to 2022.

Reps. Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger, the Republicans on the select committee, responded. Cheney took a serious tone:

Gingrich has been working on bringing the U.S. to this point for decades, though—and for most of that time, Cheney’s father Dick was right on board with it.

Kinzinger went for mockery:

But as ridiculous a figure as Gingrich is, as ridiculous as the threat may seem to be, this is where the Republican Party is: fiercely opposing any investigation of a coup attempt by its leader. That in itself is extraordinarily dangerous.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos