Republicans and Other White Trash Criminals

Emily Blunt


Articles
Ayn Rand
Definition
Fox News
Gerrymandering [cheating]
GOP Turning Nazi
Moscow Mitch
Opposed to Democracy
Privatization
Quotes



Prickly City by Scott Stantis for May 07, 2022

For many Republicans, ending Roe is the first step, not the last. Rachel M 5/3/22

Republican-approved justices intend to end abortion rights, and Republican lawmakers on Capitol Hill will eye federal abortion restrictions soon after.

The process is long and difficult. It begins with four Supreme Court justices agreeing to hear a case. Months later, after a series of briefs have been filed, the high court hears oral arguments.

At that point, the justices meet privately and express where they stand on a given case. The chief justice then assigns a member of the majority the task of writing the court’s opinion.

But the process doesn’t end there. The justice authoring the decision prepares a draft, which is circulated among his or her colleagues in the majority for possible changes, including edits that affect the scope and reach of the ruling.

All of this is done in secret, behind closed doors. At least, that is, the way the Supreme Court ordinarily operates. There are, evidently, extraordinarily rare exceptions. NBC News reported overnight:

In what would amount to an unprecedented leak in modern times, Politico on Monday night published what it said was a draft opinion indicating the Supreme Court would overturn the abortion rights enshrined in Roe v. Wade in a pending case later this year. The document, reportedly authored by Justice Samuel Alito and circulated in February, suggests at least five justices side with Mississippi in its case before the court challenging the landmark 1973 abortion ruling.

Doonesbury by Garry Trudeau for May 01, 2022

No Republican who participates in the war on truth deserves your vote. WP By Eugene Robinson 4/25/22

"First off, folks, let me be very clear tonight. The election in 2020 was rigged and stolen."

That baldfaced lie was former senator David Perdue’s opening line Sunday in a primary debate against the fellow Republican whose job he is trying to take, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp. The shocking thing about this falsehood is that nobody should be particularly shocked. It would have been more surprising if Perdue had told the truth.

The GOP has made clear that it intends to run a "post-truth" campaign in the November elections. No Republican who goes along with this abominable strategy - no Republican who doesn't publicly denounce it - deserves your vote. Not a single one of them.

It is no exaggeration to say that what the onetime Party of Lincoln is doing constitutes a dire threat to the very idea of democracy. A contest between liberal and conservative philosophies is healthy. An asymmetrical clash between one party grappling with nuanced reality and another party deliberately spewing paranoid fiction is dangerously corrosive to the fabric of the nation.

If the warp of our differences is no longer held together by the weft of an agreed-upon chronicle of events and a bipartisan encyclopedia of facts, there is no basis for meaningful political discourse. We can only speak past, not to, one another.

It must be acknowledged, because it is the simple truth, that this is not a "both-sides-are-to-blame" crisis. The Democratic Party is engaged in politics as usual, with the customary pull and tug between its progressive and centrist wings. The GOP has gone rogue in a way that is un-American and without modern precedent.

Republicans tolerated Donald Trump's lies for years. But this tendency to excuse mendacity shifted from bad habit to mortal sin with the party's embrace of that "big lie" about the election Trump lost to Joe Biden. Perdue was especially brazen in the way he trumpeted the proven falsehood. But no less guilty are the many other Republicans who perpetuate it by mumbling about "irregularities" in the 2020 vote - or by remaining silent. Their complicity in the lie is not excused by the fact that Trump will try his best to end their careers if they dare speak the truth. They know the difference between right and wrong, and they are opting for personal gain over public service. They should be ashamed of themselves.

The stolen-election lie is just the beginning, though. It establishes a post-truth ethos in which other lies become not just acceptable but also routine. Last week, for example, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) flatly denied a New York Times report that he had told GOP colleagues, in a phone call after the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection, that he planned to advise Trump to resign. Those who were on that call knew he was lying. None came forward publicly to say so.

When the Times and MSNBC released a tape recording of the Jan. 10, 2021, call — in which McCarthy pledges to tell Trump, "It would be my recommendation you should resign" - the only public GOP criticism of McCarthy came from Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, who has already broken with the leadership and serves on the House Jan. 6 committee, and Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, who accused McCarthy of insufficient fealty to Trump. Most mainstream Republican members of Congress said nothing at all.

Democrats, understandably, were less constrained. "Kevin McCarthy is a liar and a traitor," Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) said Sunday. "This is outrageous. And that is really the illness that pervades the Republican leadership right now - that they say one thing to the American public and something else in private."

Warren did not exaggerate. The whole GOP campaign for the fall elections promises to be built on lies - about critical race theory, about gay and transgender people, about purported attempts to "cancel" conservative voices. I know from private conversations that there are prominent Republicans who are deeply concerned about what their party is doing - but say nothing publicly. The party's aim is to regain power, and truth is mere collateral damage.

The Democratic Party can be messy, disorganized, clumsy, starry-eyed and overly wonkish, prone to showing up at a political knife fight with a sheaf of briefing books. However, right now, the Democrats are the nation's only hope for getting our democracy back on the rails. My personal views are obviously on the progressive side, but I believe journalists must stand, above all else, for truth, no matter where on the political spectrum it comes from. The Republican Party no longer acts as if truth matters.

And this state of affairs can’t be blamed entirely on Trump. Republican elected officials have a choice and are choosing to lie. Voters must choose to send the liars home.

Steve Sack 4/16/22

Wumo by Wulff & Morgenthaler 4/15/22

Pat Bagley 3/30/22

Brewster Rockit by Tim Rickard for April 08, 2022

Barney Google And Snuffy Smith by Billy DeBeck 3/28/22

In the fight over the courts, Republicans pretend to be victims, Rachel 032222

In the political fight over the judiciary, Senate Republicans have finally identified the real victims: themselves

More than two dozen Senate Republicans demand Biden do more for Ukraine after voting against $13.6 billion for Ukraine. By Mariana Alfaro and Eugene Scott 3/17/22

Thirty-one Senate Republicans voted last week against the $1.5 trillion spending bill to fund the government, increase U.S. defense spending and provide humanitarian and military assistance to Ukraine. In recent days, many of them have clamored for more weapons and aid.

Nikki Haley slams Biden administration for all the wrong reasons Rachel. 3/8/22

When Republicans are "mortified" by the White House pushing China to help rein in Russia, it's evidence of a party that's running out of talking points.

Trump not done marveling at how Kim Jong Un is treated by aides. Rachel 3/8/22

In 2018, Donald Trump said how impressed he was by how North Koreans treat Kim Jong Un. Three years later, he’s still talking about it.

Why Ron Johnson's new rhetoric on 'Obamacare' repeal matters. Rachel 3/8/22

Team Trump's Mark Meadows faces voter fraud allegations. Rachel 3/8/22

McConnell tries to distance his party from proposed GOP tax hike. Maddow 3/2/22

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell insisted that his party would not unveil a policy blueprint ahead of the 2022 elections. The Kentucky Republican’s thinking was obvious: The moment the GOP presented some kind of governing vision, Democrats and the party's critics would have an election-year target. McConnell wants this election cycle to be a referendum on the Democratic majority, not a choice between competing visions.

Sen. Rick Scott - the chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee - ignored McConnell's wishes and unveiled a 31-page plan last week. To Democrats' surprise, the Florida senator's plan included a proposed tax hike on tens of millions of lower-income Americans.

Republicans' criticism of Ketanji Brown Jackson is part of the reason Black women like me left the party. WP 3/1/22 By Sophia A. Nelson freelance

One of the reasons I am no longer a card-carrying Republican is because the party simply does not actively court, value or embrace smart Black women among their ranks. Yes, we can point to former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice; Kay Coles James, director of the office of personnel management under former president George W. Bush and current Virginia secretary of the commonwealth; Virginia Lt. Gov. Winsome Earle-Sears; and former Utah congresswoman Mia Love as Black female success stories in the Republican Party. And retired federal Judge Janice Rogers Brown, who was appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit by Bush, and who was considered a serious contender for the Supreme Court.

Which U.S. communities sent money to support the Canadian trucker protests? WP 2/17/22

Barney Google And Snuffy Smith by Billy DeBeck 2/16/22

Anger over mask mandates, other covid rules, spurs states to curb power of public health officials. By Amy Goldstein 12/25/21

Republican lawmakers pass laws to restrict the power of health authorities to require masks, promote vaccinations and take other steps to protect the public health.

BenSargent61421

Inside the nonstop pressure campaign by Trump allies to get election officials to revisit the 2020 vote. wp By Amy Gardner, Emma Brown and Josh Dawsey 12/22/21

More than a year after Donald Trump lost the presidency, election officials across the country are facing a growing barrage of claims that the vote was not secure and demands to investigate or decertify the outcome, efforts that are eating up hundreds of hours of government time and spreading distrust in elections.

The ongoing attack on the vote is being driven in part by well-funded Trump associates, who have gained audiences with top state officials and are pushing to inspect protected machines and urging them to conduct audits or sign on to a lawsuit seeking to overturn the 2020 results. And the campaign is being bolstered by grass-roots energy, as local residents who have absorbed baseless allegations of ballot fraud are now forcing election administrators to address the false claims.

The fallout has spread from the six states where Trump sought to overturn the outcome in 2020 to deep-red places such as Idaho, where officials recently hand-recounted ballots in three counties to refute claims of vote-flipping, and Oklahoma, where state officials commissioned an investigation to counter allegations that voting machines were hacked.

State and local officials said no one has presented actual evidence that rampant fraud tainted the 2020 election, and numerous ballot reviews and legal proceedings have affirmed that the vote was secure. Yet they and their staffs have been forced into a high-stakes game of whack-a-mole, debunking a steady stream of false allegations only to see similar claims emerge again from other groups or in other states.

The onslaught is exhausting and troubling, officials said, as they launch preparations for the 2022 midterm elections - and is further eroding faith in the nation's voting systems.

Doonesbury by Garry Trudeau 12/5/21

GOP Meeting Dec. 2021

A GOP lawyer issues a frantic warning to his own party about Trump and 2024. WP By Greg Sargent 12/6/21

Benjamin Ginsberg, a veteran Republican election lawyer, just issued a stark warning to lawmakers in his own party: If you don't act now to protect our system, the losing candidate in the 2024 presidential election might seek to overturn the will of the people - and succeed.

We should fear this looming threat, Ginsberg continued, because Donald Trump in 2020 showed us the template for it. As Ginsberg warned: "Republicans should be haunted by the blueprint that he has created."

How is the GOP's coronavirus recklessness compatible with being pro-life? WP By Michael Gerson 12/6/21

Under the intellectual and moral leadership of Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), Republicans in the House have done their best to set a standard of deadly misinformation, poisonous bigotry and mental vacuity. But Republicans in the Senate - possessing greater intellectual kilowattage and fewer excuses for cowardice - have recently taken center stage in the GOP festival of small-mindedness.

During last week’s budget negotiations, and as America prepared for the full-scale arrival of the omicron coronavirus variant, every present Senate Republican voted to "defund" the federal vaccine mandate on businesses, the military and the federal workforce. This indicated a political party now so intimidated by its liberty caucus that senators such as Mitt Romney of Utah and Susan Collins of Maine felt compelled to bend the knee. It was a collective declaration of utter madness.

This is the strangest political cause of my lifetime. In the midst of a public health emergency that has taken more than 1 of every 500 American lives and which has reduced average life expectancy by 1.67 years (reversing about 14 years of life expectancy gains), Republican officials are actively discouraging citizens from taking routine medical precautions for their own welfare.

This is not just a disagreement about policy. It is a political movement organized around increasing the risk of death to your neighbors, particularly your ill and elderly ones. And while it is certainly selfish, is not ultimately self-interested. Fatalities have increased especially in Republican-leaning portions of the country. A death cult has adopted a death wish.

For the "don't tread on me" crowd, this is part of a consistent ethic of death. By some recent measures, almost a third of Republicans say political violence may be necessary to "save" the country. Most of these advocates have spent many years being desensitized to bloodshed; they have been told that a portion of their fellow citizens are the embodiment of evil and bent on their destruction. A philosophy of freedom has been transformed into a means of dehumanization.

This sets up a serious conflict at the heart of Republican ideology - at least for those who still put stock in political consistency. The other visible wing of Trumpism is made up of antiabortion evangelicals, whose support explains much of Donald Trump’s political rise and endurance.

But whatever view you take of the antiabortion movement, it is essentially communitarian, not libertarian. There is no rational way to advocate this viewpoint that does not involve the community of the born defending the interests of a voiceless, helpless group of nascent humans.

Five themes Democrats can focus on to boost their standing. WP By Jennifer Rubin 12/5/21

Defeatism abounds in Democratic circles these days.

Many Democrats are down in the dumps about President Biden’s poll numbers, fretful about inflation, convinced the House majority is already lost, certain that voting-rights legislation will not get through and, most recently, despondent about the prospect of right-wing partisans at the Supreme Court snatching away the right of women to control their own lives. More sober Democrats realize they have missed the boat in organizing and developing political talent at the local and state level, leaving them at a disadvantage on everything from school board fights to redistricting.

Let's first acknowledge that while Democrats have reasons for concern, so, too, do Republicans. The GOP remains under the thumb of former president Donald Trump, an insurrection instigator and covid-19 superspreader. Crazies who spew rabid antisemitism and Islamophobia dominate the House Republican caucus, which is led by the weakest minority leader in memory.

Meanwhile, Republicans oppose a raft of popular measures (e.g., affordable insulin, subsidized child care, green energy transition). They are also at odds with a supermajority of voters on abortion (or compelled pregnancy and childbirth, which is what right-wing justices seem to have in mind). Oh, and elected Republicans have spread anti-vaccination conspiracy theories and have resisted mandates, leading potentially to thousands of deaths.

Can Democrats improve their 2022 outlook? Certainly. But they will need to adjust their message in several respects if they want to survive 2022 (and beyond), protect democracy from the authoritarian Republican Party and secure a comfortable governing majority.

Democrats, in addition to finally investing in down-ballot races and grass-roots organizing, would be wise to stick to five basic themes between now and the 2022 midterm elections.

1. Stress that there is only one pro-democracy party.

2. Stop the hand-wringing and paint a portrait of "Morning in America."

3. Present themselves as the party of work and family, and Republicans as defenders of rich tax scofflaws and climate change culprits.

4. Return to an oldie but goodie from the Clinton presidency: "There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured by what is right with America."

5. Call out the GOP's war on women.

Democrats have powerful rationales for retaining majorities and statewide offices. They simply need to articulate them in accessible ways over and over again.

Migrants already jailed for months under Texas' border scheme may see even lengthier detention. kos 12/1/21

Is it really possible that Texas’ Greg Abbott's legally dubious border scheme locking up hundreds of migrants for weeks and months at a time without any charges could get even worse? Unfortunately, yes. Horrifically, despicably, reprehensibly, yes.

The Texas Tribune reports that over 90 migrants who were in Texas custody on trespassing charges saw their court dates get axed after the judge overseeing the hearings tested positive for COVID-19. The report said that roughly a third of these men have already been detained for as long as three months, with no word on when their hearings will be scheduled.

Not that Greg Abbott cares in the least. The right-wing governor has been a great friend to COVID-19, blocking local vaccine mandates through executive action, and just this week helping partially block a federal vaccine mandate for health workers. That was through a lawsuit launched by the very corrupt Ken Paxton and a number of other pro-pandemic Republican attorneys general. If the virus means that asylum-seekers and other migrants could now be detained for even longer, it couldn't work out any better for Abbott (not counting deportation, which is what he really prefers for them).

Meanwhile, detained men “were crushed” over the canceled hearings, Texas RioGrande Legal Aid attorney, Kristin Etter, told The Texas Tribune. With many facing lengthy detention times, Etter said the court hearings were "something that they've been looking forward to for a long time, and to not only tell them that our court date is canceled but also that we have no idea when it's going to get reset ... it's hard." Attorney said they continue to work to have the men released on bond.

Human Rights Watch late last month said that more than 1,500 migrants, including several children, have been arrested and detained under Abbott's scheme. The human rights organization has been among those calling on the Justice Department to intervene and "act swiftly" to halt the operation. Rep. Joaquin Castro has led a similar effort among lawmakers.

Jen Psaki Shocks FOX News Hack Peter Doocy with Trump's Deadly Record of COVID Mismanagement. 12/1/21

The White House correspondent for Fox News, Peter Doocy, has made it his mission to try to construct blatantly biased questions during the White House press briefings. For the most part he has failed miserably, as press secretary Jen Psaki has easily batted his screwballs out of the park.

Undeterred by repeated smackdowns, Doocy tried again on Wednesday. He chose for his lame attempt at a journalistic sucker punch a query about comparing the COVID fatalities during the Trump administration to those of the Biden administration. But his ignorance and inability to grasp that Psaki is his intellectual superior in every way, led to another embarrassing drubbing (video below):

Doocy: In 2021, when roughly 220,000 Americans had already died of COVID, Joe Biden said about Trump, "Anyone who was responsible for that many deaths should not remain as President of the United States of America." Is that still the standard now that more Americans have died under President Biden?

Doocy really needs to be relieved if he didn't see Psaki's effortless response coming. He left her wide open for a crushing retort that blistered him and his offstage overseer, Donald Trump:

Psaki: I think the fundamental question here is what are you doing to save lives and protect people. And the former President was suggesting people inject bleach. He reportedly didn’t even share with people he was going to interact with that he tested positive for COVID himself. He continued to provide a forum for misinformation, which probably led to people not taking steps forward to protect themselves, to wear a mask, to eventually get vaccinated.

This President has made the vaccine widely available. He’s relied on the advice of his health and medical experts, and he is trying to be a part of solving this crisis, getting the pandemic under control. And I think there’s a pretty stark difference between their approaches.

Michigan anti-vaxxer, election canvasser, and Big Lie proponent is dead from COVID-19. 12/1/21

Joel Peett 11/24/21

P.Byrnes 11/24/21

Mike Luckevich 11/24/21

M. Wuerker 11/24/21

Sheneman 11/24/21

P. Byrnes 11/24/21

Clay Toons 11/24/21

Britt 11/24/21

Alicia Anderson 11/4/21

Wolverton 11/24/21

W. Handlond 11/24/21

Joel Pett 11/24/21

Joel Pett 10/28/21

Branhall 11/24/21

Natt Handelsman 11/24/21

Benson Lregtoes 10/21/21

BenSargent41421

BenSargent61421

MichaelRamirez112721

Pat Bagley 11/22/21

David Horsey 11/28/21
America the Ungovernable?
At best, an election is a collective gut reaction that is derived as much from deep-seated biases and misinformation as by rationality and serious research.

Chris Britt for November 23, 2021

Doonesbury by Garry Trudeau 110921

Doonesbury, Gary Trudeau 102421

Gov. Abbott has his admirers
Ann Telnaes 101221

Tom Tomorrow 102121

BobEnglehart102021

RJ Matson 012021

Ghouls in Washington
Ann Telnaes 101421

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Cartoon GOP

Pearls Before Swine, Stephan Pastis 101221

Non Sequitur, Wiley Miller 101121

Zippy The Pinhead, Bill Griffith 100821

Yet another Republican-created crisis; yet another demand that the rest of America bail them out. dailykos 9/13/21

Here's a nicely written little story from The New York Times about how the state of Idaho's near-complete incompetence at dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in adjacent Washington State hospitals having to pick up the slack. Northern Idaho hospitals are now so inundated with patients that crisis rationing of health care was announced last week. In Washington, the new flood of Idaho pandemic patients is resulting in postponed brain cancer surgeries and overwhelmed emergency rooms.

But a more useful headline for the piece would be the angle that the story itself only touches as gingerly as possible: Republican Idaho Gov. Brad Little's clownish pandemic incompetence is flat-out killing people, and not all of them are in Idaho. It's yet another case of a red-state Republican government completely botching—on purpose—the response to a public crisis while leaving it to the public and to nearby better-run governments to clean up the wreckage. Again. And Americans have every right to be pissed off about it.

Abortion, voting rights, guns and covid: Texas Republicans go all in. By Dan Balz 9/4/21

It was only a year ago when the talk about Texas was whether it was about to turn blue in the presidential race, as polls indicated a closer-than-expected contest between Joe Biden and Donald Trump. Today the talk is over the lengths to which Texas Republicans have gone to stretch the boundaries of conservative governance.

Texas now has in place the most restrictive abortion law in the nation: one that bans abortions, with no exception for rape or incest, as early as the sixth week in a pregnancy. The law also empowers citizens to sue those who perform an abortion or anyone who “aids and abets” the procedure. Those who sue successfully can receive $10,000. The law was deliberately written to make constitutional challenges more difficult. Republicans in other states are taking note.

In a 5-to-4 vote, the Supreme Court allowed the law to take effect, virtually shutting down access to legal abortions in the state, the impact of which will fall more heavily on low-income women and women of color. When the abortion bill passed the Texas House and Senate, not a single Republican opposed it. One House Democrat and one Senate Democrat joined the GOP majorities.

The abortion law went into effect during a week in which the Texas legislature passed a law restricting voting rights in the state. The bill curbs some of the practices that were implemented during the 2020 election, such as 24-hour voting and use of drive-through polls. It came after a protracted battle that included two special sessions and a lengthy walkout by state House Democrats designed to deny Republicans a quorum.

While adding an hour a day for early voting, the bill includes tighter rules for those who assist others in filling out their ballots, gives partisan poll watchers more freedom to oversee the ballot-counting process and threatens poll workers with penalties if they step out of line. It also adds restrictions on the use of mail ballots. The restrictions on voting are likely to affect voters of color more than White voters and appears to be aimed principally at Houston and its heavily Black and Latino - and pro-Democrat - population.

In 2017, 26 people were shot and killed by a gunman at a church in Sutherland Springs, Tex. In 2019, 23 people were shot and killed in El Paso by a gunman who said he was deliberately targeting Mexicans; less than a month later, eight more people were killed in a shooting in Midland and Odessa in West Texas. A recent investigation by KTRK-TV in Houston found a 65 percent increase in mass shootings in the state this year.

On Wednesday, a new law took effect in Texas that allows any gun owner to carry a handgun in public without a permit or training. Advocates call it the “constitutional carry” law. “Texas will always be the leader in defending the Second Amendment, which is why we built a barrier around gun rights this session,” Gov. Greg Abbott (R) said when he signed the bill in June. It was one of seven gun measures he signed that day. In this case, Texas was joining many other states that have similar laws.

Fueled by the delta variant, the coronavirus has surged in Texas during recent months, as it has in a number of Southern states. Abbott issued an executive order banning local mask and vaccine mandates, one of many orders during the pandemic designed to restrict local efforts that could slow the spread of the virus. Officials in some major Texas cities have sued the state and, meanwhile, have defied the no-mask-mandate order.

Abbott opposes any vaccine mandates in a state where the percentage of eligible people who have received at least one shot is below 60 percent and where only about half are fully vaccinated. The rate of vaccinations in Texas fell in the most recent week, according to The Post’s vaccine tracker.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott speaks at a news conference on June 8 in Austin. (Eric Gay/AP)

Texas has been a conservative state for generations. For many decades, it was dominated by conservative Democrats. That changed in the last decades of the 20th century. Now it is a conservative state under Republican control. Texas hasn’t elected a Democrat as governor since Ann Richards in 1990.

Trump won the state in 2020, though his victory margin was smaller than in 2016 and much smaller than previous GOP nominees had achieved. Democratic hopes for gains in the state House last November evaporated. With a grip on all statewide offices and both chambers of the legislature, Republicans have had their way this year.

But as elsewhere around the country, the Republican Party in Texas is not what it used to be. The philosophy of Texas Republicans like George W. Bush [the idiot bumbler] and George H.W. Bush has given way to a far more extreme version of conservatism - and an effort to tailor policies and rhetoric to please and accommodate the Trump wing of the party.

Abbott, who is running for reelection in 2022, governs in an environment in which he must guard his right flank, as he is not the most conservative official in the state's hierarchy. Some Texans believe he might have his eye on a presidential campaign in 2024, depending on whether Trump runs again, though an Abbott bid could collide with another Texas Republican’s presidential ambitions: those of Sen. Ted Cruz, should he try again.

Abbott and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, as governors of the two most-populous GOP-led states in the country, are competing to showcase their conservative governing bona fides. They have become symbols of resistance to federal recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the coronavirus battle.

The legislative party in Texas is dominated by White politicians, specifically White men. The Texas Tribune reported at the start of the legislative session in January that all but five of the 100 Republicans in the state House and Senate were White, while 13 of the 100 were women. In a state whose population is about 40 percent Hispanic, just two of the Republicans in the state House were Latino, two Asian and one is Black.

The Texas abortion law has triggered alarms nationally among supporters of abortion rights, many of whom assumed its implementation would be blocked until the courts had adjudicated its constitutionality. With the Supreme Court’s ruling, and its 6-to-3 conservative majority, the threat to Roe v. Wade is even more real. The implications for midterm politics in 2022 are even more real, as well. The threat to abortion rights could motivate abortion rights supporters to turn out in higher numbers.

Texas is an example of the balkanization of the country, as red and blue states push further and further apart in the policies they embrace and enact. No state of note, however, has gone as far in one direction as Texas. In that way it is a model for those who cheer those policies. Whether it becomes a political object lesson is now the question.

Comments:

An article in The Huffington Post states that Bette Midler is advocating that women everywhere in the United States refuse to have sex until the right to an abortion is legalized by Congress. Seems like a good plan. Apparently only men wrote the Texas abortion law and a majority of the votes in the Texas Legislature were from men. - ddpark51

Texas & Afghanistan can be like "sister cities", they have so much in common: gun-toting populations prohibiting women from making their own choices, no masks or vaccines. Of course, if Taliban insist the women in Afghanistan have to wear a hijab, it might protect the women from covid, while the Taliban men succumb. - PJB_ARL

No-Mask Abbott hates women...he is also a killer: women will die from self-administered abortions & and many people will die of Covid because of Abbotts' prohibitions of masking requirements... Abbott's approval rating is now worse than Biden's, and will drop further with lax gun laws that will result in deaths. .. Abbott can run on his record as the Grim Reaper next time around. - PJB_ARL

Men who really don't want children or anymore children have always the choice of vasectomies. My bet is American men would be up in arms, their selves, if a religious group and politicians rabble-roused their voters to ban vasectomies, taking away their American freedom to have one. Even though most men do not have vasectomies they would want to retain that right to their own decision, just like most women have their babies and don't have abortions want to retain that right to the decisions of their own reproduction. This would be like some extreme group saying that babies cells begin 'in sperm' instead of the womb, and 'forcing' the men to have children whether they want to or not! - WEearnedJINFLUENCE

Why does the Post insist on calling these GOP radicals, conservative? Conservatives believed in local control, these jerks believe that they have the right to decide to allow or prohibit whatever they want, regardless of any laws, tradition or principles. The Republican party literally deserted all principles when it refused to agree on a platform in 2020. - Cynthia Dalton

The SC bent the rules in this 5-4 Texas abortion ruling. It may have been a shot across the bow , or it could have been an 'oh well, it's the best we can do at this time' since nationally abortion prohibitions are very unpopular.Years ago a Supreme Court threw out a case of draft dodging against Mohammed Ali without ruling on the case itself, using a side door technique.Ali was not popular at the time and he simply said he would not go across the ocean and kill brown people who had done nothing to him. That court was unanimous in throwing out the conviction without ruling on the merits of the case. This case allows the Texas law to stand without ruling on the merits. If so it is a coward's way out which leans in an obvious direction to satisfy a political,religious minority. - oxinfree

Are the men who impregnate women in Texas going to have to pay for a woman’s health care expenses to have the babies that are forced on them? Are they all going to have to pay to raise the children until they are age 18? Are there going to be bounties in Texas forcing the men snd their families to pay for the pregnancies and for raising the children? - Bayanera

Texas Republicans are the new Gestapo - Richard L. Ulmer

A majority of Republican men do not believe women should be allowed to vote. A majority of Republicans want the institution of a evangelical Christian state. A majority of Republicans do not believe that any People of Color should be allowed to vote. . . . The Republicans decry the teaching of Critical Race Theory, but practice it daily. - Bobcat4424

I'll never set foot in texistan or floriduh again. I'll never purchase anything made in either state. I vote with my wallet, every day. - Give Us Barabbas

This is so nauseating and barbaric. I am a native Texan who left the state years ago.... Vote these unhinged Taliban Republicans out and vote out every Republican in the United States. This is exactly what they have been fighting for for decades. This is the bigoted misogynistic gun-toting women-controlling world they want. Vigilantes hinting women now but god only knows what comes next. Reinstating slavery? - SMB Sav

Zippy The Pinhead, Bill Griffith 090221

Biden escalates his efforts to puncture the Fox News bubble. By Philip Bump 8/27/21

In a sense, Peter Doocy’s arrival in the White House press briefing room has been to his employer’s detriment. It used to be that Fox News could spend days condemning Democratic presidents for not responding to whatever controversy its hosts had been tumbling around in their rhetorical rock polishers. Now, though, there’s Doocy, who is regularly selected by White House press secretary Jen Psaki to ask questions probably in part so that the familiar process can be beheaded early. Her exchanges with Doocy drop into the political conversation like bang snaps, crackling with life for an instant before being forgotten, the gotcha almost always redirected to the junkyard.

That's at least in part because the questions often reflect a network or right-wing consensus that hasn't been exposed to any significant scrutiny. Little grains of ice snowball into scandals, with Sean Hannity, Dan Bongino and whoever else packing on more and more - and then they get removed from the cooler and placed on the sidewalk. It often doesn't take long for it to melt.

At other times, the inflection of Doocy's question itself gets at the point. As was the case Thursday evening, when President Biden called on Doocy after brief remarks about the suicide bombing outside the airport in Kabul.

"Let me take the one question," Biden said, "from the most interesting guy that I know in the press."

This was not really meant as a compliment.

"Mr. President, there had not been a U.S. service member killed in combat in Afghanistan since February of 2020," Doocy said. "You set a deadline. You pulled troops out. You sent troops back in. And now 12 Marines are dead. You said the buck stops with you. Do you bear any responsibility for the way that things have unfolded in the last two weeks?"

When Donald Trump was asked a similar question in March 2020 about the failure of coronavirus testing, he answered like Donald Trump: "No, I don't take responsibility at all, because we were given a - a set of circumstances, and we were given rules, regulations, and specifications from a different time." Rejection of the idea that he deserved blame and a pivot to his predecessor.

Biden's been doing this longer, so he accepted blame - and then pivoted to his predecessor.

"I bear responsibility for, fundamentally, all that's happened of late," Biden said. "But here's the deal: You know - I wish you'd one day say these things - you know as well as I do that the former president made a deal with the Taliban that he would get all American forces out of Afghanistan by May 1. In return, the commitment was made - and that was a year before - in return, he was given a commitment that the Taliban would continue to attack others, but would not attack any American forces."

At that point, though, Biden went in a different direction: He challenged Doocy to admit that he knew that his own framing of the question was unsound.

Doocy tried to interject that Trump was no longer the president, but Biden kept at it.

"Now wait a minute," he said. "I'm asking you a question. Is that - is that accurate, to the best of your knowledge?"

"I know what you're talking about," Doocy conceded, before then trying to get Biden to opine on why Americans might be frustrated with the situation in the country. Biden, after resting his head on his hands in apparent frustration, replied that Americans "have an issue that people are likely to get hurt" as they had that day.

He then returned to the prior point: that U.S. forces had avoided attack thanks to the deal made by Trump that had included a withdrawal pledge. This was the case, he said, "whether my friend will acknowledge it" or not - his friend being Doocy.

Fundamentally, that was the Biden's point. Doocy and his network often don't provide or consider the context that would subject their theories to heat from the outset. As New York magazine's Jonathan Chait pointed out Thursday, Fox viewers often aren't really tuning in to the network's offerings for a considered debate on the news of the day. What keeps them engaged and watching is the diaspora of voices and range of volumes fuming at the day's outrage.

For all of the right's focus on Biden's mental acuity, he's sufficiently adept at the sort of exchange seen Thursday to be able to put Doocy on the defensive. Not that this friction between Fox News and a Democratic White House is newly emergent. Biden's willingness to engage offensively with Doocy echoes the disparagement and criticisms that were a frequent feature of Barack Obama's administration.

What's different now are the stakes. Fox News is powerful, capturing an audience of millions of viewers a night. It shifted during the Trump administration in part out of an effort to retain the attention of Trump's more fervent supporters. In 2013, Fox News's prime-time lineup flowed from Greta Van Susteren to Bill O'Reilly to Megyn Kelly to what was then its populist anchor, Hannity. Now, the channel is hosting a rotating slot of right-wing personalities in the 7 p.m. hour, before handing things over to Tucker Carlson, Hannity and Laura Ingraham. If those names aren't intimately familiar to you, trust me when I say it's a significant move away from the center.

The network (and Carlson in particular) remains a lodestone for much of the often-self-contained conversation on the political right. In November, after it became obvious that Biden had won the election, I pointed out that with Trump vanquished, Biden's main opponent - misinformation from the right - remained potent. (Right-wing misinformation, driven by Trump, then spent months claiming that no such vanquishing had occurred.) Biden and his team clearly recognize this threat, as evidenced by their willingness to engage with Doocy.

There's an overly neat analogy that could be drawn here about the White House entertaining a representative of a hostile power, but it's not entirely wrong. Doocy gives the White House a way into the often-sealed discourse on the right, a way to draw those snowballs into the sunlight. Psaki and Biden are confident in their ability to handle Doocy's questions and eager to reframe them. It's a bit like doing an interview with a local television station in rural Texas: You're pretty much guaranteed airtime that you wouldn't otherwise get.

Not that it seems to be having much effect.

This year's extreme fires and floods may change what Americans think about climate change, our research finds

Buried doubts and public deceptions in the Afghan war. 8/19/21

As covid-19 surges in Mississippi, some people are ingesting an unproven livestock dewormer. 8/21/21

Result of lies from Fox News and Trump

Zippy the Conehead, Bill Griffith 081821

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Dave Granlund 081421

WuMo, Wulff & Morgenthaler 080321

McConnell's reckless new threat makes a strong case for ending the filibuster. Opinion by Paul Waldman and Greg Sargent 8/9/21

With the bipartisan infrastructure bill headed for passage, congressional Democrats have released their blueprint for an ambitious reconciliation bill containing everything from supports for children and families, to expanded health-care and Medicare access, to large investments in combating global warming.

One thing it does not contain, however, is an increase in the debt ceiling - the unexploded bomb forever lurking in the federal budget. Instead, Democrats want to deal with the debt limit in a government funding bill this fall, which would require the support of 10 GOP Senators.

So Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has reiterated that, reconciliation or not, he will make sure there isn't a single Republican vote to address the debt ceiling, so passionate are Republicans about the problem of debt.

In so doing, McConnell is making the best possible case for Democrats to get rid of the filibuster - if not entirely, then at least to avoid a global financial crisis.

For a set of arcane reasons dating back to World War I, Congress not only appropriates spending; it must take an extra vote to authorize further debt paying for what it has already appropriated. All this does is allow the opposition to blackmail the ruling party, saying they'll refuse to authorize more debt, which would mean the United States defaults, causing global financial havoc.

For technical reasons, addressing the debt limit in the reconciliation bill would require Democrats to set a new, higher ceiling. That could complicate the process of getting the reconciliation measure through. By contrast, this other route would allow them to temporarily suspend the debt limit until a future date - which Democrats prefer.

This is supposed to call McConnell's bluff, by daring him to make good on his threat to withhold all GOP votes for suspending the debt limit. If Republicans want to force a crisis, Democrats are saying, they're going to own it.

Is Kevin McCarthy a 'moron'? Opinion by Dana Milbank

After Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy this week decried the House's new face mask requirement, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) replied with a considered response: "He's such a moron."

Such an incendiary charge by Pelosi demands a fact check: Is McCarthy, in fact, a moron? Let's weigh the evidence.

The very day Pelosi called him a moron, McCarthy complained on the House floor that the latest mask guidance came from a study in India (not so) of an unapproved vaccine (also not so) that "didn't even pass purr review." Was he waiting for a litter of kittens to examine the data?

The day before Pelosi called him a moron, McCarthy held a news conference to provide his latest thinking on the Jan. 6 investigation, including:

"We now have a committee that all of America wants to know the answers to."

"How can you ever get to the bottom of the questions?"

"Never before in the history of Congress has a speaker taken the unprecedented move of denying the other party to a committee of who they selected."

McCarthy further concluded that the April slaying of a Capitol Police officer was politically motivated - "based upon if you listen to who made the killing of buying the knife and go out."

WuMo, Wulff & Morgenthaler 080321

Be careful, Arizona Republicans. The DOJ just made clear your phony election audit is on thin ice. Opinion by Jennifer Rubin 7/29/21

The Justice Department stepped up its visibility on the enforcement of voting rights on Wednesday, issuing new guidance on efforts by Republicans to curb access to the ballot and to stage phony election audits.

That part on audits is the most intriguing, as it attempts to keep Republicans from undermining or even changing election results. The Justice Department zeroed in on Section 20701 of Title 52 in the U.S. Code, which requires election officials to maintain custody of all election related materials for 22 months. "Election audits are exceedingly rare. But the Department is concerned that some jurisdictions conducting them may be using, or proposing to use, procedures that risk violating the Civil Rights Act," the department found. "The duty to retain and preserve election records necessarily requires that elections officials maintain the security and integrity of those records and their attendant chain of custody, so that a complete and uncompromised record of federal elections can be reliably accessed and used in federal law enforcement matters."

It means that, even when private "auditors" are given access, state election officials still must preserve their integrity. (Enforcing this part of the law is something voting-rights groups have called on the administration to do.)

In a swipe at the unprofessional audit underway in Maricopa County, Ariz., the department stated: "Where election records leave the control of elections officials, the systems for maintaining the security, integrity and chain of custody of those records can easily be broken." It added that the "risk of the records being lost, stolen, altered, compromised, or destroyed . . . is exacerbated if the election records are given to private actors who have neither experience nor expertise in handling such records and who are unfamiliar with the obligations imposed by federal law."

The department also made clear it is prepared to enforce criminal penalties for violation of these document retention requirements. That is clearly a shot across the bow of the Arizona Republicans, who have allowed an inexperienced outfit led by conspiracy theorists to rifle through ballots and despoil voting machines.

Further, the department warned against various forms of voting intimidation that violate federal law, again signaling that phony GOP audits, especially Arizona's, are on thin ice.

Here's how the media can cover Republicans responsibly. Opinion by Jennifer Rubin 7/29/21

Media coverage that draws a false equivalence between one party operating in defense of democracy and another seeking to tear it down not only plays along with Republican deceptions; it also fails the most fundamental goal of journalism: to inform the public.

Reporters regularly fall for this trap. That includes any report that insists on taking Republican "outrage" seriously; that refuses to call Republicans out for their excuses for bad behavior; that attempts to downplay Republicans' rambling, incoherent and unhinged rhetoric; and that regurgitates Republicans' false statements. Such instances serve as evidence that many in the mainstream media outlets have learned little over the last five years.

As my colleague Margaret Sullivan points out regarding the GOP's attempt to undermine the Jan. 6 inquiry, "[T]he media has played straight into Republicans' hands, seemingly incapable of framing this as anything but base political drama." The false balance syndrome ironically enables the one party whose survival depends on deflection and obfuscation to triumph over one trying desperately to debunk serial lying. The media poses as "fair," but as Sullivan explains, it winds up "com[ing] across as both cynical ('politics was ever thus') and unsophisticated ('we're just doing our job of reporting what was said')."

What would accurate, morally defensible coverage look like?

First, instead of the "Republicans say" formulation, the most precise framing is more often than not "Republicans lied" or "Republicans offered a non sequitur." House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s (R-Calif.) outbursts rarely evidence real "outrage," they feign anger. Republicans do not offer "explanations" for their opposition to the Jan. 6 committee; they manufacture falsehoods to justify opposition.

Second, the media cannot allow Republicans to rewrite the past. When McCarthy offensively and falsely labels House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) as responsible for Jan. 6, it is critical to repeat McCarthy's own words. As he said shortly after the attack, "The president bears responsibility for Wednesday's attack on Congress by mob rioters." Reporters should also explain that his own actions that day (desperately calling on the president to act) show his current accusations to be fraudulent.

Third, the media should stop accepting Republican definitions that distort reality. Even before the addition of Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), the select committee was bipartisan despite GOP statements to the contrary. Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) still "counts" as a Republican. And those who seek to upend democratic elections and reject the rule of law are not "conservatives." They are authoritarian or anti-democratic. Terminology matters.

Fourth, Republicans' false assertions in other realms (e.g., that voter suppression laws are designed for "election security") should not be taken at face value. Instead, the media should place such statements in the context of Republicans' ongoing effort to subvert the will of voters. Instead of repeating obvious lies (e.g., Republicans are concerned about election fraud), reporters are obligated to point out that Republicans' false assertions flow from their overarching lie that the election was stolen.

Fifth, just as the former president's unhinged speeches and emails (which often contain disinformation about the pandemic and 2020 election) get far too much attention, the incessant repetition of right-wing media propaganda serves to spread their noxious views (e.g., replacement theory, anti-vaccination hysteria). The latest outrageous utterance from a right-wing cable TV host should not regularly appear on the front page of mainstream papers. Likewise, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) is only one of many Republicans who should not be invited on air, given his vaccine skepticism and lies on the Jan. 6 insurrection. What is the point of providing him a platform to dissemble?

Sixth, it is incumbent on the media to describe the demeanor of Republicans more vividly. Anyone who does not watch congressional hearings would not know that Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) screams virtually nonstop and speaks at a frenetic pace. It is critical to provide an exacting description of Jordan. Put differently, reporters should stop making MAGA leaders more reasonable than they are.

Seventh, the White House press corps must stop echoing false Republican talking points. Many reporters seemed to accept at face value the Republican argument that unemployment benefits were keeping people from finding work, resulting in an incessant parade of questions that suggested the administration was refusing to accept blame. It turns out that the administration was right; the GOP talking point was bunk. CNBC reported last week: "State withdrawals from pandemic-era unemployment programs aren't speeding up the job recovery, according to a new analysis." In fact, "Census Bureau data suggests recipients didn't rush to find jobs in the weeks following the first batch of state withdrawals."

Eighth, outlets should stop squeezing every issue into a political frame. Why are reporters who cover political campaigns so often the same ones who cover the White House? When, for example, the commerce secretary is scheduled to appear in the briefing room, business and economics reporters should be asking the questions. All outlets also need dedicated reporters (not simply run-of-the-mill political reporters) to cover voting rights and race issues. (In the civil rights era, there was a specific "race beat" that developed insight and expertise.)

Finally, too much coverage assumes that Republicans have no choice but to continue their sycophancy toward former president Donald Trump given his powerful sway over the base. Aside from accepting the cynical calculation that getting reelected justifies lying and sedition, the assumption might be entirely wrong. Republican state lawmaker Jake Ellzey on Tuesday handily beat the Trump-endorsed Susan Wright in Texas's special election for its 6th Congressional district. The pundits dubbed it an upset, but perhaps they need to revisit the assumption that Trump can make or break candidates. It is long past time to question whether media obsession with Trump reflects reality.

Republicans refuse to go after rich tax cheats. Democrats should. Opinion by Jennifer Rubin 7/29/21

The mammoth infrastructure deal, while not a done deal, is on track to pass the Senate. That's a tribute not only to tireless negotiators, but also to a White House that has learned to ignore silly commentary [from Republicans]. (How many times did the media say President Biden failed on infrastructure? What about the hysteria that Biden had imperiled the deal with a comment about linking it to a separate reconciliation bill?)

... Worse, Republicans got their way in refusing to fully fund the Internal Revenue Service to go after tax cheats.

Grand Old McCarthyism
Michael de Adder 071121

Native voters are clearing hurdles. That's why some politicians want to make them higher. Opinion by John Echohawk and Jacqueline De León July 9, 2021

John Echohawk is executive director of the Native American Rights Fund. Jacqueline De León is a staff attorney at the Native American Rights Fund and co-author of "Obstacles at Every Turn: Barriers to Political Participation Faced by Native Americans."

Native American voters are waking up to their political power - which means that some politicians threatened by this new reality are trying to take it away from them. State legislatures across the country have introduced bills that target and restrict Native Americans' ability to vote. Leading this discriminatory charge has been Arizona, now backstopped by a Supreme Court that upheld two discriminatory state laws and, in the process, made it harder to challenge new obstacles put in the path of Native voters.

It's imperative to understand that Native voters already face clear and documented voting barriers unfathomable to most Americans.

Native communities in Arizona and across the country do not have mail delivered to their homes. They have to drive great distances, often upward of 50 miles - much farther, in general, than their White counterparts - to register, vote and access a post office. This isolation is compounded by poorly maintained, dirt roads that often become impassable.

Making these unreasonably difficult circumstances near insurmountable is crushing poverty; in Arizona, 32.9 percent of Natives live in poverty, more than twice the statewide average. With poverty like that, affording a tank of gas is hard, never mind accessing a working vehicle.

It's astonishing, given these inequities, that Native voters have managed in recent years to demonstrate their political power. To take one recent example, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) would not have won without the Native vote. Sinema beat incumbent Republican Sen. Martha McSally by a narrow 55,000 votes. On-reservation precincts in Arizona cast 67,996 votes, the vast majority of whom voted for Sinema.

That political power was earned despite the continued suppression of the Native vote by these hurdles. Now, state legislators, apparently fearful of a fully enfranchised Native electorate, have chosen to attack the strategies that Native Americans use to overcome these unreasonable barriers.

BenSargent071021

Rep. Mo Brooks says he can’t be sued for inciting Capitol riot because he is a federal employee. By Spencer S. Hsu July 6, 2021

A third of White conservatives refuse to get vaccinated — a refusal shown in polling and the real world. By Philip Bump National correspondent July 6, 2021

Former NRA president tricked into giving graduation speech to 3,044 chairs representing dead teens

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Matt Gaetz tries to showboat on 'critical race theory,' an angry Gen. Mark Milley isn't having it

Bizarro Dan Piraro 060821

Bob Englehart 052221

Shoe By Gary Brookins And Susie MacNelly 052921

Protesters gather outside Kyrsten Sinema's office as she refuses to end the filibuster

Ohio Republican indicted for voter fraud after forging deceased father's ballot to vote Trump

Nothing says good ole' time like lots of arrests, a slit throat, a strangulation, and Trump fans

New poll reveals deep, widespread fears over future of U.S. democracy

There's not many polling questions these days that draw 90%+ agreement, but Americans are united by one central idea: They believe the country should remain a democracy.

[As opposed to the Republicans who want an autocracy]

Civiqs poll: Majority of Americans very worried we're becoming less of a democracy

The best antidote to hot takes is hard data, and the latest Daily Kos/Civiqs poll is here with your cure. This survey of 1,416 registered voters was conducted online from June 19-22 and finds that a staggering 87% of Americans are worried that the United States is becoming less of a democracy (61% very worried, 26% somewhat worried). Fully one-half of Americans view the new voting laws being passed by Republican legislators in many states as an attack on American democracy.

Other noteworthy findings in this month’s poll include:

Most Americans (52%) think physicians should be allowed to provide health care to transgender youth that recognizes and supports their gender identity.

56% of Americans recognize that people of color in America face discrimination and unfair treatment based on race.

Only 16% of Republicans believe that people of color face discrimination in the United States, but a majority of Republicans (54%) say that white people are treated unfairly in America because of race.

Opinion: Republican senators’ failure to investigate Jan. 6 is worse than their impeachment performance. by George T. Conway III Contributing columnist June 2, 2021

Republican senators have managed to outdo themselves in cowardice — which is quite a feat.

Last week’s Senate vote blocking a national commission to investigate the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol was even more appalling than either of the Senate’s impeachment trial acquittals of former president Donald Trump.

With few exceptions, Senate Republicans shirked their duties at both trials, despite the oaths they took to defend the Constitution, and, in an impeachment trial, to “do impartial justice.” These derelictions were especially apparent in the first impeachment trial. Faced with overwhelming evidence that Trump had used his official powers to try to coerce a foreign nation into aiding his reelection campaign, all but one Republican (Utah’s Mitt Romney) voted to acquit him, even as the senators refused to call witnesses.

They betrayed their oaths again in February, when 43 of the 50 Republican senators voted to acquit Trump of inciting the insurrection, even though he had largely committed his high crime openly, on television and Twitter, and even though the senators themselves were among the victims.

They acquitted him even though they surely recognized, as their own leader, Sen. Mitch McConnell (Ky.), blisteringly said on the floor on Feb. 13 after voting to acquit, that Trump had engaged in a "disgraceful - disgraceful - dereliction of duty." Rather than "do his job," McConnell said, Trump "watched television happily — happily — as the chaos unfolded," hoping "to either overturn the voters' decision or else torch our institutions on the way out."

Trump breached his duties in both cases, and Senate Republicans thus failed to carry out theirs. But at least then the senators had excuses, however feeble.

With the first impeachment, they faced the momentous decision of whether to remove a president from office — something that has never been done. You can't blame anyone for feeling trepidation at such a prospect.

The second time around, most claimed they couldn't convict a former president, even though he had been impeached while in office for acts committed while in office. Constitutional text and history refute that proposition, but you could at least understand one underlying motivation: The usual sanction for an impeachment conviction is removal. Trump was already gone, posed no further threat of committing official abuse, had just lost an election by 7 million votes and stood as unpopular as ever. So, at least the theory went, why bother convicting him just to formally disqualify him from ever holding federal offices to which he’d never be elected?

Those may not have been great excuses, but at least the Republicans had them.

There was no excuse — none — for what they did last week.

They weren't being asked to remove anyone from office; they weren't being asked to pass judgment of any sort. They were merely being asked to allow a bipartisan commission to look into what happened on, and led to, Jan. 6.

Even worse: They actually weren’t voting on whether to create a commission; they were voting on cloture — on whether even to allow a VOTE on the issue. Using the filibuster, a Republican minority refused to allow a majority (which would have included seven Republicans) to hold that vote.

And they did so out of raw political fear, this time without fig leaves. McConnell's own leadership colleague, minority whip Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), actually admitted that Republicans feared that the commission's findings "could be weaponized politically and drug into next year," a midterm election year.

As for McConnell, he pulled out all the stops. Virtually echoing British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain's notorious call to partisanship in the decisive 1940 parliamentary debate over his handling of Nazi aggression - "I have friends in the House" — McConnell shamelessly asked his colleagues to kill the commission bill as "a personal favor" to him.

With that, the Republicans' policy of appeasing Trump prevailed once again. But if Republicans are worried about what would happen if the public learned more of the truth about Jan. 6, they have only themselves to blame.

After all, they were the ones who acquitted Trump in the first impeachment trial and let him remain in office. They were the ones who stood mute before Jan. 6 as Trump propagated the "big lie" after the election. They were the ones who left open the horrifying prospect of letting Trump hold office again. They are the ones who continue to wish his wrongs away.

They quiver in fear of the man who cost them the presidency and both houses of Congress. As they continue to quake, the "big lie's" cancer upon democracy grows, with spurious election audits in pursuit of fantasies of fraud, and with some insanely claiming — reportedly including Trump himself — that he'll be "reinstated" in due course.

Four years of Trump have led to the Republican Party becoming a threat to democracy, a declining sect dominated by crackpots, charlatans and cowards. Of these, it's the cowards, including the senators who killed last week's legislation, who bear the most blame.

Texas bill to ban teaching of critical race theory puts teachers on front lines of culture war over how history is taught. By Arelis R. Hernández and Griff Witte June 2, 2021

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Marchers chant “Hands up, don’t shoot” in San Antonio on June 3, 2020, in a protest over the death of George Floyd. (Eric Gay/AP)

SAN ANTONIO — Not long after George Floyd was murdered on a Minneapolis street last Memorial Day, Meghan Dougherty felt an awakening in her suburban Texas school district.

Teachers received training in the role that race had played in creating the United States’ vast inequalities. Students, parents and faculty members spent their summers studying and debating how to combat generations of systemic racism. Some crafted a plan to enroll more Black and Latino students in Advanced Placement classes, where they had long been underrepresented.

"That's a small thing, but it's also a big thing," said Dougherty, an instructional coach in Round Rock, a fast-growing and increasingly diverse district just outside Austin. "The conversation has changed."

Yet, now, Republican legislators have passed a bill that could change it back.

Under the culture war rallying cry of combating “critical race theory” — an academic framework centered on the idea that racism is systemic, not just a collection of individual prejudices — lawmakers have endorsed an extraordinary intervention in classrooms across Texas.

Their plans would impose restrictions on how teachers discuss current events, bar students from receiving course credit for civic engagement and, in the words of advocates, restore the role of “traditional history” to its rightful place of primacy by emphasizing the nation’s noble ideals, rather than its centuries-long record of failing to live up to them.

"We should be teaching American history," Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) recently told an interviewer with Sinclair broadcasting. "We should not be teaching that people are somehow unequal."

To Texas educators who have cheered attempts to offer students a more thorough and honest account of the nation’s often ugly history of racial subjugation, it all feels like an attempt to put the post-Floyd awakening back to sleep.

The dramatic fight in Texas over voting obscures the point that almost no demonstrated fraud exists. By Philip Bump National correspondent June 1, 2021

It was a dramatic weekend in Austin.

Texas's legislature meets every two years, with its 2021 session coming to an end at midnight on Sunday. The Republican majority in the state House had hoped to pass new constraints on voting in the state, but were unable to do so after Democrats walked out, preventing the chamber from reaching the quorum needed for a vote. Gov. Greg Abbott (R) responded by saying he would dock the legislators' pay, reflecting the fury of his party at the unexpected play by their political opponents.

The proposed legislation in Texas was an echo of other bills passed in a number of states since the 2020 election, including new restrictions on voting implemented in Georgia and Florida. The path to a gubernatorial signature in those other states twisted in different ways, with Georgia’s early position on the effort drawing national scrutiny and blowback. The root is obviously the same: dishonest claims from former president Donald Trump that the 2020 election was riddled by fraud have prompted Republican voters to embrace the false idea that the security of voting is imperiled. So we have late-night machinations in Austin including discreet messages and exasperated legislators.

All of that drama, though, can obscure the central point: There is no evidence of any rampant fraud in Texas or anywhere else, meaning the purported rationale for the legislation itself doesn't exist.

Opinion: Biden’s Memorial Day speech shows he understands the holiday better than MAGA Republicans. by Jennifer Rubin Columnist June 1, 2021 at

The MAGA crowd, like its leaders, love the pomp and pageantry of our military. (Who could ever forget the cringeworthy Fourth of July celebration in 2019 when the disgraced former president recalled that, in 1775, “Our army manned the air, it rammed the ramparts, it took over the airports, it did everything it had to do, and at Fort McHenry, under the rockets’ red glare, it had nothing but victory”?) But as Republicans stymie the Jan. 6 commission, grouse about addressing our complicated past on race and seek to disenfranchise millions of Americans, one wonders whether they understand Memorial Day, Veterans Day and other tributes to the military. These events are not actually about military glory.

President Biden, in a refreshing shift from militaristic idolatry, spoke on Monday about the cause for which so many died: "Our troops have fought this battle on fields around the world, but also the battle of our time. And the mission falls to each of us, each and every day. Democracy itself is in peril, here at home and around the world," he said. "What we do now, how we honor the memory of the fallen, will determine whether or not democracy will long endure. We all take it for granted. . . . Every generation has to fight for it."

Opinion: Senate Republicans know they chose cowardice in killing a Jan. 6 investigation. They just proved it. by James Downie Digital opinions editor May 31, 2021

Give Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Tex.) SOME credit. On Friday, Senate Republicans put the final nail in the coffin of an independent commission to investigate the Jan. 6 insurrection. On Sunday, not one Republican senator appeared on the network talk shows to defend another GOP blow against democracy. Instead, they left it to McCaul to make their case for them during an appearance on CNN's "State of the Union."

"Some" credit doesn't mean "a lot." McCaul's argument didn’t resolve the hypocrisies and contradictions Republicans have relied on to avoid looking too closely at what happened in January and who is responsible for it. There's no good way to do that. But at least McCaul defended that position rather than hiding from host Jake Tapper's questions.

America can't win the fight against COVID-19 unless we find a way to reach anti-vax Republicans. 5/28/21

What is critical race theory, and why do Republicans want to ban it in schools? WP By Marisa Iati May 29, 2021

The latest front in the culture wars over how U.S. students should learn history and civics is the concept of critical race theory, an intellectual tool set for examining systemic racism. With roots in academia, the framework has become a flash point as Republican officials across the country seek to prevent it from being taught in schools.

In reality, there is no consensus on whether or how much critical race theory informs schools’ heightened focus on race. Most teachers do not use the term “critical race theory” with students, and they generally do not ask them to read the work of legal scholars who use that framework.

Some lessons and anti-racism efforts, however, reflect foundational themes of critical race theory, particularly that racism in the United States is systemic. The New York Times’s landmark 1619 Project, which addresses slavery’s role in shaping the nation, also has an associated school curriculum.

At least five Republican-led state legislatures have passed bans on critical race theory or related topics in recent months, and conservatives in roughly nine other states are pressing for similar measures. Some teachers have said they worry that the legislation will have a chilling effect on robust conversations, or could even put their jobs at risk, at a time when the nation is embroiled in a reckoning on race relations.

The GOP push to revisit 2020 has worrisome implications for future elections. By Dan Balz Chief correspondent May 29, 2021

Donald Trump’s “big lie” has spawned a movement that under the guise of assuring election integrity threatens to do the opposite, potentially affecting the election process with questionable challenges that could block or delay the certification of results and undermine an essential pillar of democratic governance.

Opinion: The really scary reason Republicans don’t want to face the truth about Jan. 6. Opinion by Karen Tumulty Columnist May 28, 2021

You’ve got to at least give Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) some credit for candor.

In pressing Senate Republicans to kill the idea of an independent commission to investigate the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol by supporters of then-President Donald Trump, McConnell did not bother to disguise the fact that he was making a cravenly political calculation.

Anything that looks back to the final ugly spasms of the Trump presidency, as opposed to pressing the case against the current occupant of the White House and his party, would hurt the Republicans’ chances for gaining back control of Congress, McConnell acknowledged to reporters on Tuesday.

George P. Bush is the latest Republican to humiliate himself in a movement that enforces cowardice. 5/27/21

Part of the problem we outsiders have in trying to explain Republican elected officials' behavior is that it continues to be bizarrely incompatible with what they claim to be their party's driving beliefs. Not from a policy standpoint, mind you. From a "basic human being living their life" standpoint. In premise, Republicanism is all about being tough and bigly: bein' proudly hypermasculine, an "alpha male" not taking any guff.

But the behavior actually demanded of Republican officials, if they want to keep their positions in the party, is gutless, spineless cowardice. Donald Trump, a perpetual whiner who is terrified of strong women and needs a golf cart to get from one end of a green to the other, is allowed to be the "alpha male." Every other Republican is expected to be so beta as to barely exist.

George P. Bush, ambitious if loutish offspring of Jeb! Bush, is the extended Bush clan's only plausible current inheritor of the family political dynasty. He will be challenging Texas attorney general Ken Paxton, who is indicted for f'cks sake, in upcoming Republican primaries. George P. is expected to run a campaign based broadly around "the name Bush is on my driver's license" and "the other guy is indicted, for f'cks sake!" But Donald Trump absolutely loathes the Bush family, and has been very loud in saying so, because the Bush family is one of the few nests of Republicans left willing to point out that Donald Trump is a grifting, incompetent helium balloon of a man who has screwed up everything he's ever touched. This requires George P. Bush to make a decision. Defend his family? Or cozy up to Coughed-Up Hairball?

If this doesn't scare you, then you are not paying attention

Email from Daily Kos, 5/23/21

Republicans are living in an alternate reality from the rest of us.

The House of Representatives voted this week to create a commission to investigate the January 6th insurrection—a direct and violent attack on our democracy while lawmakers certified what should have been a peaceful transfer of power from one president to a newly-elected one. Only 35 out of 211 House Republicans voted in support of it. With some Republicans calling the rioters who threatened their lives that day "tourists" and saying that it was "just a peaceful protest."

How did we get to the point where one political party is so detached from reality? The answer is right-wing media like Fox News, Newsmax, Breitbart and OANN.

For years now, right-wing media has spread misinformation, propaganda and conspiracy theories calling it "news" and thanks to unchecked social media platforms those lies can spread across the internet like a wildfire. It's a self-feeding cycle of lies between network, voter, and now Republican lawmaker.

The need for independent, progressive media that is based on facts has never been greater than at this moment.

Judge orders Betsy DeVos to sit for three-hour deposition to explain rejecting loan forgiveness. 5/20/21

Former Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has been ordered to sit for a three-hour deposition for lawyers handling a class-action lawsuit. The lawsuit, brought on behalf of around 160,000 student loan borrowers, came from the students defrauded by numerous for-profit colleges across the country. These were organizations like Trump University, where Trump settled a civil lawsuit for $25 million in November 2016. DeVos oversaw the 18-month delay and then rejection of student borrowers’ claims while she ran the Department of Education.

Republican representative removed from office after comments about teaching slavery. 5/19/21

Republican lawmakers just don’t understand the concept of thinking before speaking. Time after time state officials are found to make comments they allegedly did not realize could come off as racist, but that doesn’t excuse their behavior. In a recent incident, a Louisiana state representative was ousted from his position as chairman of the House Education Committee after making comments around teaching slavery in schools.

WH Press Secretary Jen Psaki throws shade on Trump as she answers Fox News Reporter's silly question. 5/20/21

Peter Doocy once again tried to be a smart ass. Instead, she calmly neutered his premise that instead successfully made it clear that Trump had no legitimate foreign policy.

Insurrectionist's lawyer says his client endured four years of Hitler-like propaganda. Yes, he did. 5/18/21

On Jan. 6, Donald Trump took advantage of a phalanx of weak-minded sheep to do his bidding, sending them into the fray at the Capitol while he cooled his bone-spurred heels in the safety of his KFC-redolent villain’s lair.

That’s not my assessment. Except for the KFC part, that’s basically the argument made by the lawyer for Jacob Chansley, the sartorially confused crackpot who calls (or rather called) himself the “Q Shaman,” and who helped storm the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 during Mr. Choad’s Wild Ride.

In a Talking Points Memo story about Capitol insurrectionists’ attempts to use the so-called “Trump defense” (i.e., blaming Borg Spleen Donny for commandeering their brains prior to the Capitol assault), Chansley’s lawyer, Albert Watkins, highlighted what he saw as Trump’s integral role his client’s actions while (rather insultingly) demeaning his client’s mental acuity.

Watkins’ attempts to exculpate his client by pointing to Trump’s obscene behavior didn’t work initially. Judge Royce C. Lamberth dismissed the argument in March when determining whether Chansley should remain in jail before his trial. Yet Watkins still thinks he’ll be able to finagle a less harsh sentence in light of Trump’s Machiavellian schemes.

Bitter about being abandoned by Trump, Proud Boys’ chats reveal preparations for 'absolute war'. 5/18/21

If anyone held out hope that the Proud Boys—with 18 members awaiting trial for their roles in the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection—might eventually wither and blow away in its aftermath, they should read through the Telegram messages Ethan Nordean and his cohorts shared afterwards, when they had returned to their homes but before their arrests.

Nordean, one of the main leaders of the Proud Boys contingent that played a key role in the breach of the Capitol’s security barriers, did express his utter dismay with Donald Trump for having encouraged them to act and then “leaving us on the battlefield” afterwards. But for the most part, Nordean and his fellow street-brawling thugs began making plans for their post-insurrection world, believing they were making preparations for “absolute war.”

Prosecutors in Nordean’s case filed a document last Thursday that gave details of some of the Proud Boys’ messages after Jan. 6. It makes for chilling reading since it makes abundantly clear that the violent far-right extremists who make up their membership rolls are not going to slow down anytime soon, instead planning to ratchet up the violence in the coming months and years.

"Wow. This is unhinged" writes Maricopa County Election Official about trump's deranged statement. 5/16/21

From the depths of his swamp in Florida, trump is doing what he has done every day for the past 4 years — making up and regurgitating lies and CTs to keep his rabid supporters frothing at the mouth and writing checks to him. On Saturday, he issued an insidious statement about the insane audit of election results being conducted in Arizona by the equally insane Republicans that infest that state, ranting about deleted databases and stolen elections, in spite of multiple state-conducted audits that prove the integrity of the 2020 election.

Giuliani team is freaking out because Trump isn’t lifting any of his tiny fingers to help Rudy. 5/17/21

Joe Arpaio's racist shenanigans to soon cost taxpayers over $200 million. 5/19/21

The total haul that Arizona taxpayers have been forced to shell out over Joe Arpaio’s racist shenanigans as former Maricopa County sheriff will total over $200 million by next year, NBC News reports. Because the department under current sheriff Paul Penzone has been deemed close to—but not quite yet 100%—compliant with the court orders stemming from Arpaio’s actions, officials have had to approve another $31 million until the department has been deemed fully abiding.

Did Marjorie Taylor Greene and her husband commit tax fraud in Georgia? Sure looks like it. 5/15/21

Another day, another story that confirms what we all know: Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene has no business in Congress. This week alone, the freshman conspiracy theorist made headlines for chasing after and screaming at Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in the Capitol, and again after her aide, Nick Dyer, accosted Rep. Eric Swalwell on the House floor, and then again, after an extremely disturbing video showed Greene (R-Karens) and friends harassing the door (yes, a door) of Ocasio-Cortez’s congressional office back in 2019.

If this doesn't scare you, then you are not paying attention

Email from Daily Kos, 5/23/21

Republicans are living in an alternate reality from the rest of us.

The House of Representatives voted this week to create a commission to investigate the January 6th insurrection—a direct and violent attack on our democracy while lawmakers certified what should have been a peaceful transfer of power from one president to a newly-elected one. Only 35 out of 211 House Republicans voted in support of it. With some Republicans calling the rioters who threatened their lives that day "tourists" and saying that it was "just a peaceful protest."

How did we get to the point where one political party is so detached from reality? The answer is right-wing media like Fox News, Newsmax, Breitbart and OANN.

For years now, right-wing media has spread misinformation, propaganda and conspiracy theories calling it "news" and thanks to unchecked social media platforms those lies can spread across the internet like a wildfire. It's a self-feeding cycle of lies between network, voter, and now Republican lawmaker.

The need for independent, progressive media that is based on facts has never been greater than at this moment.

Opinion: How cynical is the Republican election recount circus in Arizona? This cynical. Opinion by Fernanda Santos Contributing columnist May 19, 2021

Jack Sellers wasn’t having it. After withstanding weeks of a nonsensical audit seemingly designed to undermine the results of a presidential election resolved six months ago; enduring insults from conspiracy theorists convinced that Donald Trump is still president; and ignoring unfounded accusations of ballot-mishandling, the chairman of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors unleashed on his fellow Republicans in the Arizona State Senate.

The review they ordered, he said on Monday, is "a grift disguised as audit," "a sham process" and a "circus."

"It's time to be done with this craziness and get on with our county's critical business," he said at a special meeting of the board convened to declare the end of the county's cooperation with the review. The election "audit" in Maricopa County — private contractors recounting 2.1 million votes by hand — has no formal authority, but it is aiding the larger Republican project of wrecking confidence in the democratic process.

Sellers's scorching criticism in the meeting and in a letter to the audit organizers, signed by other members of the Republican-dominated Maricopa board, seems to have been at least partially successful. On Tuesday, the firm backtracked from accusations that voting data had been destroyed, which would have been a crime. In its letter, the board noted the auditors' "incompetence" and "ineptitude," and then told them how to find the data.

Still, the Arizona Senate's Republican president, Karen Fann, vowed Tuesday that the audit — championed by Trump and his far-right supporters — would continue.

The news has been a gift to late-night comedians.

100 Republicans are vowing a GOP 'civil war.' Here's why that's good news. by Greg Sargent Columnist May 12, 2021

The news that a group of Republicans is threatening to start a third party if the GOP continues its headlong plunge into authoritarianism is already provoking savvy eye-rolls. After all, very few elected Republicans — if any — will find this effort a cause for even the slightest discomfort.

Indeed, it would be extraordinarily surprising if it gains any serious traction among GOP voters, or if any current GOP elected officials join it.

But it’s good news nonetheless. And it arguably should be taken as such even by liberals and progressives who understandably view the prospect of a pro-democracy center right with deep skepticism.

With Cheney out, the GOP’s cowardice is on display.Opinion by Jennifer Rubin Columnist May 12, 2021

House Republicans ousted Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) from her leadership post on Wednesday. To put an exclamation point on their spineless subservience to the MAGA cult leader and refusal to renounce the “big lie” that the election was stolen, they deployed a voice vote. They lack the nerve even to admit who voted to defend the lonely truth-telling congresswoman.

By standing up for democracies and denouncing lies and violent insurrection, Cheney has shown that the vast majority of her Republican colleagues are delusional, dangerous and devoid of courage. She was willing to elevate sanity and democracy at the expense of her own career and her party’s short-term prospects with the hope that she can drag the GOP back to reality.

Her stirring words on the House floor on Tuesday evening were a rebuke to a party of lackeys and liars.

Truth-telling Republicans will have a lot of hard questions to answer. Jennifer Rubin 5/12/21

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) made clear that the cancer metastasizing in the Republican Party must be excised for it to survive. The problem, she rightly noted, is not limited to the disgraced former president. As she said in the closed-door conference meeting on Wednesday where she was ousted from her House leadership position: “If you want leaders who will enable and spread his destructive lies, I’m not your person, you have plenty of others to choose from. That will be their legacy.”

That is an indictment of those who voted against her, not simply of the leader of their cult. She is telling the United States that the vast majority of House Republicans are liars, unfit to serve. And that poses some interesting questions:

Will Cheney support primary challenges to MAGA House and Senate Republicans? Will she support independent conservatives in the general election?

Will she run for president in 2024?

Will she oppose the former president’s sycophants (e.g., Sens. Josh Hawley of Missouri or Ted Cruz of Texas) if they run for president?

If a MAGA Republican, other than the former president gets their party’s nomination in 2024, would she support that person? Would she support a third-party candidate?

Does a conscientious Republican stay in the party and vote for Cheney Republicans? Or do they follow the more than 100 Never Trumper Republicans who are threatening to form a third party?

Does the most egregious instance of “cancel culture” — Cheney’s removal for speaking her mind — complicate the GOP’s favorite amorphous talking point?

It is easy to say that anti-MAGA Republicans should let a thousand flowers bloom; some should leave, and some should stand with Cheney to essentially level the existing GOP. But in a fundamental sense, the two strategies are incompatible. If the sane, patriotic and truth-telling Republicans leave the GOP, the pool of voters who support Cheney and like-minded, pro-democracy Republicans shrinks. And if Cheney succeeds in retaining her seat in the House, the rationale for a third party, at least one based on center-right positions, would likely crumble.

100 Republicans are vowing a GOP 'civil war.' Here's why that's good news. by Greg Sargent Columnist May 12, 2021

The news that a group of Republicans is threatening to start a third party if the GOP continues its headlong plunge into authoritarianism is already provoking savvy eye-rolls. After all, very few elected Republicans — if any — will find this effort a cause for even the slightest discomfort.

Indeed, it would be extraordinarily surprising if it gains any serious traction among GOP voters, or if any current GOP elected officials join it.

But it’s good news nonetheless. And it arguably should be taken as such even by liberals and progressives who understandably view the prospect of a pro-democracy center right with deep skepticism.

Democracy can't work if the GOP is devoted to restricting voters and rejecting their decisions. 5/1/21

Arizona is still fighting about the 2020 election. No good can come of it.. 5/2/21

Is the White House wise to the GOP’s infrastructure ruse? 5/2/21

The politicians who tried to overturn an election — and the local news team that won’t let anyone forget it. 5/1/21

Tucker Carlson’s latest idiocy on masks is dangerous and hypocritical even by his usual standards 4/27/21

Republicans made a foolish bet on the Biden agenda. 4/11/21 Opinion by Jennifer Rubin

The economy looks ready to take off in a way we have not seen for 30 years. The International Monetary Fund predicts that the U.S. economy "will surpass its pre-pandemic size as growth reaches 6.4% this year .... up 1.3 percentage points from the group’s forecast in January,” CNN reported. The IMF predicts the $1.9 trillion rescue plan will "deliver a strong boost to growth in the United States in 2021 and provide sizable positive spillovers to trading partners,” and, as a result, the “recession is likely to leave smaller scars than the 2008 global financial crisis.”

This was precisely the argument the Biden administration made: The risk was spending too little, not too much. The key to a robust recovery was crushing the pandemic. With Biden’s “whole of government” approach, mass vaccination offers a realistic chance for returning to workplaces, schools and public venues. It is the new confidence in a post-pandemic world that promises to unleash an economic boom.

With more than 900,000 jobs added in March and a manufacturing boom underway, some economists anticipate a 10 percent growth in the second quarter. Corporate America sounds downright giddy about the economic prospects. CNBC reported:

JPMorgan CEO [Jamie] Dimon commented at length on the economy in his annual letter to shareholders Wednesday, and his remarks echoed what many economists expect.

“I have little doubt that with excess savings, new stimulus savings, huge deficit spending, more QE, a new potential infrastructure bill, a successful vaccine and euphoria around the end of the pandemic, the U.S. economy will likely boom,” Dimon wrote. “This boom could easily run into 2023 because all the spending could extend well into 2023.”

If this comes to fruition, Republicans will be hard-pressed to come up with a justification for their utter intransigence on spending plans. And it will be difficult to convince voters that their fake cultural wars — from their attacks on trans youth to complaints about discontinuing some Dr. Seuss titles — are more important than an economic recovery. “Sure, the economy is roaring, you can visit your grandparents, the kids are back out of the house and you can go to a baseball game ... but Dr. Seuss!”

Moreover, as the Atlantic’s Ron Brownstein pointed out, the Biden agenda offers benefits not simply for traditional Democratic constituents but for rural voters and voters with only a high school diploma. “By proposing these mammoth economic plans that direct substantial assistance to Democratic and Republican constituencies alike,” he writes, “Biden is placing his own bet, one that Democrats from Lyndon B. Johnson and Hubert Humphrey’s generation would recognize: that he can win back blue-collar and rural white voters drawn to conservative messages on culture and race by addressing their kitchen-table economic concerns.”

There is only so much Republicans can do to distract from good times, yet it has not occurred to them that they might want to gain some credit for the expansion rather than cede all of it to Democrats. It is telling that soon after the American Rescue Plan passed with no GOP votes, Republicans started claiming credit for money flowing to their districts and states. If they decide to deny the administration any support for its historic infrastructure bill (which, like the rescue plan, is popular with labor, mayors, governors, small business and more), you can be sure Biden and congressional Democrats will remind voters that the new bridge or the faster Internet or the new Veterans Affairs hospital would not exist if it were up to Republicans.

Republicans’ game plan of obstruction and distraction seems poorly designed to address the real possibility of economic success and post-pandemic elation.

Republicans are stuck with a Trump ball and chain. 4/11/21

Republicans are concerned about the debt again, even as they admit Trump grew it. 4/8/21

More than 100 corporate executives hold call to discuss halting donations and investments to fight controversial voting bills. 4/11/21

Mike Luckovich 3/25/21

Patrick Bagley 3/25/21

Kevin Siers 3/25/21

Texas’s chief energy regulator fiercely defended fossil fuels after historic blackouts. She also profits from oil and gas. 3/19/21

Ex-Florida state senator paid bogus candidate to ‘siphon votes,’ police say, in race GOP narrowly won. 3/19/21

Donald Trump is fading away. Republicans ought to celebrate. 3/15/21

Ron Johnson’s racism is breathtaking. 3/15/21

MSNBC 3/25

In first news conference, Biden calls the Republicans "despicable."

Reagan tied Republicans to White Christians and now the party is trapped. 3/22/21

The Lincoln Project (@ProjectLincoln) tweeted at 11:09 AM on Wed, Mar 03, 2021:

Things the GOP cares about:

- Mr. Potato Head
- Dr. Seuss
- MyPillow

Things the GOP doesn’t care about:

- democracy
- voting rights
- punishing insurrection

David Horsey 2/25/21

COMPETENCE RESTORED AT WHITE HOUSE
David Horsey 3/3/21

Clay Bennett 3/13/21

Steve Sack 3/13/21

3/13/21

Stuart Carlson 03/12/21

Matt Wuerker 3/11/21

NOT ONE REPUBLICAN
The House passes President Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus plan and and not one Republican supported it, even though a majority of Americans do.
Ann Telnaes Mar 10, 2021


Nick Anderson 3/9/21

Pamper Party
Bart van Leeuwen 3/6/21

Rick McKee 3/4/21

Matt Wuerker 3/4/21

Darrin Bell 3/4/21

Steve Sack 3/5/21

Rick McKee 3/4/21

Matt Wuerker 3/4/21

Darrin Bell 3/4/21

Steve Sack 3/5/21

Pat Bagley 3/3/21

Bob Englehart 3/2/21

Doonesbury by Gary Prudeau 2/28/21

Bob Englehart 2/25/21

Dave Whamond 2/27/21

David Horsey 2/23/21

Michael Ramirez 2/13/21

Dave Whamund 2/13/21

Nate Beeler 2/12/21

Matt Davies 2/11/21

Stuart Carlson 2/12/21

Bart Van Leeuwen 2/11/21

Jen Sorensen 2/9/21

Matt Davies 2/4/21

Stuart Carlson 2/3/21

Bart Van Leeuwen 2/2/21

Pia Guerra 2/1/21

Pia Guerra 1/1/21

Michael De Adder 1/30/21

Stuart Carlson 1/29/21

Pat Bagley 1/28/21

Barney & Clyde by Weingartens & Clark 1/22/21

David Horsey 1/20/21

Matt Wuerker 1/20/21

This Modern World by Tom Tomorrow 1/20/21

Stuart Carlson 1/20/21

Steve Sack 1/20/21

A WEIGHT LIFTED
Barry Blitt 1/20/21

Darrin Bell 1/20/21

Prickly City by Scott Stantis 1/20/21

Mike Luckovich 1/17/21

Doonesbury by Gary Prudeau 1/17/21

DUMB MAN WALKING
Pat Bagley 1/8/21

Loon Star: Mr. Cruz goes to Washington


Ben Sargent 1/8/20

Matt Davies 1/7/21

It's Time for Trump to Go
Dave Granlund 1/7/21

Steve Sack 1/7/21

Bob Englehart 1/7/21

It's past time for the 25th Amendment
Ann Telnaes 1/7/21

Matt Wuerker 1/6/21

David Horsey 1/6/21

Mike Luckovich 1/6/21

Bart van Leeuwen 1/6/21

Opinion: Pundits are wrong. We don’t need a functional GOP. by Jennifer Rubin Columnist Feb. 21, 2021

You hear it all the time, especially from Democrats: We need a functioning two-party system. We need a better Republican Party. No, and no.

A two-party system serves two functions. First, it provides choice to voters and discipline to each party. Second, it aids in organizing legislative bodies. But could those functions be performed in some other manner?

Regarding the first function, many jurisdictions are effectively one-party locales. New York City is overwhelmingly dominated by Democrats. Mississippi is the province of Republicans. The political action in those jurisdictions comes in the primaries, where individuals with an array of policy views and personal attributes fight it out. Dozens of Democratic candidates are running for mayor of New York; no one seriously questions whether New Yorkers are deprived of the benefits of democracy.

With regard to organizing legislative bodies, most Western-style democracies have more than two parties. By the same token, it is conceivable, as the Founders envisioned, that something akin to “factions” rather than political parties provides the organizational structure for legislatures. We saw a moderate faction help end the government shutdown in 2018 and forge an agreement on a covid-19 relief package last December.

That faction of sane Senate Republicans, for example, could conceivably organize as its own caucus, wielding power that would install, for example, Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) or Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) as majority leader. There is no magic, in other words, to two parties.

Moreover, the pining for a sane Republican Party — a “center right” party — makes sense only if one thinks such a party has a constituency and sufficient distance from the Democratic Party. Can you find a base for a party that, say, wants to spend a trillion dollars instead of $1.9 trillion on a covid-19 relief bill? Perhaps in a few states, but nationwide, it is unclear that there is a felt need for a Democratic-lite party, beyond rich donors. It is even harder to find a substantial base for a Barry Goldwater-style “small government” party. Neither side ran on such a platform in 2020.

It is no secret that modern conservatism, in large part a response to the Cold War, is ideologically spent. The Bulwark’s William Kristol got to the nub of it in a September post:

So perhaps we need to acknowledge that it has come to this: Real, existing conservatism as it exists in America in 2020 is an accomplice to, an apologist for, and an enabler of Trump’s nativist, populist, unconservative, and illiberal authoritarianism. ...

[P]erhaps every political movement has a natural lifespan: Modern American conservatism was born in 1955, peaked in full flower in the 1980s, and then aged, mostly gracefully, for three decades. Until it could easily, if suddenly, be pushed aside in its dotage—forced, or induced, to surrender to its younger and stronger, if disreputable, distant relative.

If the Democratic Party were made up purely of devotees of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), one could see space for a center-right party. But contrary to GOP propaganda, that is not the case. A center-left nominee won the presidency. The Senate includes many moderate Democrats, including Warner, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Robert P. Casey Jr. of Pennsylvania.

All of that is to say that there is no particular reason to hope for a revived Republican Party insofar as we are looking for a vehicle for an exhausted ideology. If we need a second or a third party, the possibilities are endless. There are socially conservative but economically progressive parties in Western Europe that embrace a strong social contract. There could be a need for a centrist party if the Democrats go off the deep end.

However, as we think through this next era in politics, we should abide by one core principle: A right-wing, populist and authoritarian party should not be allowed to hold power. It has proved to be dangerous, racist and fundamentally un-American. Everything else should be up for debate.

This is how bad McConnell really is. Opinion by Jennifer Rubin Columnist Feb. 14, 2021

We witnessed a historic confession of hypocrisy and deceit on Saturday when Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) went to the floor after voting to acquit Donald Trump in the former president’s Senate impeachment trial. McConnell said, “Former President Trump’s actions [that] preceded the riot were a disgraceful, disgraceful dereliction of duty.” He added, “Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day.”

But McConnell said he couldn’t vote to convict because the trial had come too late, after Trump was out office — even though it was McConnell himself who had kept the Senate out for the remainder of Trump’s term.

McConnell suggested that a criminal prosecution of Trump could be in the cards, a stunning confession of how he regards the seriousness of the allegations and the extent of the evidence. The only saving grace is that McConnell will be forever remembered as the one who intentionally let someone worthy of criminal investigation get away.

“It is the height of hypocrisy,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) told me. McConnell in effect “called time, and he’s the one who ran out the clock.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was irate during the post-verdict news conference. “It is so pathetic that Senator McConnell kept the Senate shut down so that the Senate could not receive the Article of Impeachment and has used that as his excuse for not voting to convict Donald Trump.”

The media figured out what was going on and called him out in unusually blunt terms. Mediaite recounted the exchange on CNN between Dana Bash and Abby Phillip:

Anchor Dana Bash began the segment talking about Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) infuriated tone at a press conference earlier Saturday, reacting to McConnell’s actions.

Pelosi “was so incensed, so angry, understandably so,” said Bash, “given the fact that she really would have given the Impeachment Article to the Senate had she not heard pretty clearly, like we all heard, from Mitch McConnell when he was still in charge of the schedule of the Senate, that he wasn’t going to bring them back from recess.” …

“But he did it because he wanted to be able to do both things, wanted to be able to say, ‘I don’t think we should, you know, vote to convict Trump,’ but also condemn it,” concluded Phillip. “You cannot have it both ways on this issue no matter how hard he tries.”

NBC News’s Benjy Sarlin observed, “By McConnell’s own account of Trump’s conduct, he decided to let the Senate adjourn rather than agree to consider removing a president who was at that very moment violently threatening the core function of government.”

The New York Times underscored how McConnell set up the trial on terms that would allow him to then vote to acquit. “Democrats were furious, pointing out that their vote to impeach came while Mr. Trump remained in office and that it was Mr. McConnell who refused to call the Senate back into session to start the trial before he left office.”

McConnell, one would think (but consistency is never a barrier for him), cannot object if the new administration’s Justice Department prosecuted the former president. McConnell no doubt resents Trump for costing him the Senate majority. He likely would be pleased if some prosecutor could do the job for him.

The next time someone criticizes the Biden administration for a lack of bipartisanship, remember this episode of McConnell’s monstrous hyperpartisanship. The White House will be dealing with a minority leader and a party so lacking in honor, and so willing to disregard the country’s interests, that no reasonable person could expect their genuine cooperation or compromise. McConnell has shown his true colors.

There is another way to test McConnell: Democrats could bring a bill or a resolution to affirm, according to the 14th Amendment, Section 3, that the former president is ineligible to hold office because he engaged in “insurrection” or had “given aid or comfort” to those who did. That Civil War provision prohibited Confederate officials and military officers from serving in the Union unless granted a reprieve by a two-thirds vote of the House and Senate.

Congress could enact legislation establishing procedures to enforce Section 3 with respect to Trump. Alternatively, congressional action could take the form of a concurrent resolution. That wouldn’t have the force of law, but it would cast serious doubt on Trump’s ability to hold office in the future and could be used as a basis for challenging his candidacy if he seeks office.

Whatever the mechanism, it would affirm that in Congress’s view, Section 3 applies to prevent him from holding office. Congress could go even further and authorize the attorney general to bring an action to enforce Section 3 against Trump before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (or a three-judge federal district court panel) and allow for immediate, expedited appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Strictly speaking, a vote on a Section 3 resolution would not be required if down the road Trump chooses to run for office. If he runs, his opponents could seek to disqualify him. Nevertheless, putting Congress on the record would give weight to such a claim in the future and, as noted, could give the Justice Department a cause of action to enforce Section 3.

Would McConnell sign on to that sort of measure? One imagines he would come up with an excuse to avoid it. Democrats will have to decide the legal and political value of such a move. Whatever they decide, however, it won’t diminish the outrageousness of McConnell’s dishonorable maneuvering to acquit Trump and show contempt for the Constitution and for his oath of office.

The GOP response to losing in 2020? Make it harder to vote. Again. 2/9/21

Matt Davies 2/4/21

Stuart Carlson 2/3/21

Bart Van Leeuwen 2/2/21

Pia Guerra 2/1/21

Pia Guerra 1/1/21

Michael De Adder 1/30/21

Stuart Carlson 1/29/21

Pat Bagley 1/28/21

Trump is far worse than Marjorie Taylor Greene. Yet the GOP still won’t renounce him. Opinion by Max Boot Columnist Feb. 3, 2021

It is heartening — but also hilarious — to watch the Republican Party’s self-appointed adults get into a lather about Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R.-Ga.), the kooky congresswoman who claims that QAnon is for real but that the plane that hit the Pentagon on 9/11 and various mass shootings weren’t.

“Loony lies and conspiracy theories are cancer for the Republican Party and our country,” says Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). John Thune (S.D.), the No. 2 Republican leader in the Senate, wants to know whether House Republicans “want to be the party of limited government ... or do they want to be the party of conspiracy theories and QAnon?” (He might not like the answer.) Sen. Todd C. Young (R-Ind.) thunders that he has “no tolerance” for “someone who indulges in anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and all manner of other nonsense.”

Here’s a reminder of what all of these Republicans seem to have instantly forgotten: They spent the past four years tolerating and even supporting “loony lies and conspiracy theories” emanating not from a powerless House newcomer but from the most powerful man on the planet. Greene might be marginally kookier than former president Donald Trump — but only marginally. His whole political career was defined by his advocacy of insane conspiracy theories, and far from disavowing Greene’s “nonsense,” Trump praised QAnon believers as “people that love our country.”

Opinion: Republicans’ blundering attempt at bipartisanship. Opinion by James Downie Digital opinions editor Jan. 31, 2021

Early in Barack Obama’s presidency, Democrats wasted months on futile hopes of wooing Republican support for his major priorities. Key bills such as the 2009 stimulus and the Affordable Care Act were watered down in return for little or no GOP support. With President Biden’s team learning from the Obama administration’s mistakes and plowing ahead on its own with a covid-19 relief package, some Senate Republicans have put out a counterproposal, supposedly to prove that they can be bipartisan after all.

Instead, they’re just proving how little they have to offer.

Sunday morning, 10 Senate Republicans — the number it would take to overcome a filibuster if combined with all 50 members of the Democratic caucus — announced a coronavirus stimulus proposal totaling $600 billion. “We want to work in good faith with you and your administration to meet the health, economic and societal challenges of the covid crisis,” the group wrote in a letter to Biden. The move was meant to head off a Democratic push to bypass the Republicans by using the budget reconciliation process, which is not subject to the filibuster, to pass a relief bill.

Considering just the top-line number, it’s insulting for Republicans to pretend that a proposal less than a third the size of the White House’s $1.9 trillion package is a serious compromise offer. But the breadth of what the plan cuts from the Democrats’ plan is remarkable. Among other reductions, stimulus checks would be reduced to $1,000 (and phased out at $50,000 in income for individuals, rather than $75,000), supplemental unemployment insurance would be trimmed by $100 a week, and there would be no state and local aid or minimum wage increase at all.

The emptiness of this proposal was personified on the airwaves Sunday by two of the 10 proposers: Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), who appeared on “Fox News Sunday,” and Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), who went on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

First, it seemed not everyone was on the same page about the basics: While Cassidy knew the plan’s top-line cost, Portman bizarrely did not. “Well, it will be less than $1.9 [trillion]" was the best that Portman, who recently announced his upcoming retirement, could muster.

As for the policy details, Cassidy and Portman tried to defend smaller stimulus checks. Both senators sidestepped explaining the reduction to $1,000 to focus instead on the lower income threshold. “Our money goes to that income level where we know it will stimulate the economy,” Cassidy told Fox News. Funny how neither Portman nor Cassidy had such concerns when it came to the Trump tax cuts, which delivered windfalls for the wealthiest Americans and increased inequality. And if the argument is that the relief is better targeted, then why reduce that relief? The only reason to offer less is that Republicans think struggling Americans need less.

More broadly, neither of the senators had good explanations as to why Democrats are wrong for seeking to go ahead without them. Cassidy complained that it wasn’t in keeping with Biden’s inauguration calls for “unity” — a thoroughly substance-less gripe. Portman argued that using reconciliation to force a party-line vote “will poison the well for other bipartisanship we will need on so many issues" — only for host Dana Bash to point out that, when Republicans controlled Washington, Portman supported using reconciliation for partisan moves like repealing the Affordable Care Act.

To be fair to Cassidy and Portman, they didn’t have a good reason for why Biden and the Democrats should listen to them because there is no reason to do so. In a vacuum, voters may say they like bipartisanship, but in the real world they value results more. Any American able to pay their rent thanks to $1,400 stimulus checks won’t care what process was used to pass those checks. As Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) told ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday, “The question is not bipartisanship, the question is addressing the unprecedented crisis that we face right now. If Republicans want to work with us, they have better ideas on how to address those crises, that’s great. But … I have not yet heard that.”

If that day ever comes, then Democrats should certainly embrace bipartisanship. Until then, it’s full-steam ahead on the one-party train.

Stuart Carlson 1/29/21

Forcing out the fringe. Can Republicans exile their most toxic supporters? They’ve done it before. By Matthew Dallek January 29, 2021

The GOP faces a battle for its soul. On the side of Trumpism are self-styled militias at state capitols, QAnon chat rooms about the fictitious “deep state,” Jan. 6 rioters, white supremacists and their allies — as well as the officials who defend this set: the 197 of 207 House Republicans who voted against impeachment, the Arizona GOP apparatchiks who censured their own governor for acknowledging Joe Biden’s election victory in their state, the Oregon Republicans who approved a resolution calling the Capitol attack a “false flag” operation organized by Donald Trump’s enemies to harm his reputation.

On the other side are the Republicans still living with us in the real world.

Can the deranged fringe be contained and our politics restored to something like normal? If social media platforms keep Trump out, Senate Republicans convict the former president, GOP leaders rally voters to defeat Trumpian candidates in the 2022 primaries, and Trump acolytes in places like Arizona and Georgia lose statewide races, the party could diminish his legacy and weaken his followers, relegating them to the periphery.

It seems unlikely, but it’s happened once before. In the postwar decades, a slash-and-burn conspiratorial style took hold of the right wing, posing a challenge to several pillars of American democracy, including free and fair elections, the acceptance of facts in political debates and the peaceful transfer of power. Just as QAnon followers see a deep-state conspiracy to destroy Trump, some John Birch Society members viewed liberals as communist agents and dupes. The armed Minutemen of the 1960s echo in the gun-toting pro-Trump extremists in Charlottesville and Lansing, Mich. Talk radio kingpins such as Rush Limbaugh share a heritage with right-wing media stars Dan Smoot and Clarence Manion. And the Proud Boys share a sensibility with the white supremacists who formed Citizens’ Councils in reaction to the Supreme Court’s Brown decision desegregating schools.

By stigmatizing, punishing and outvoting the forces that wanted to burn it all down in the 1950s and 1960s, Americans ostracized them; the United States put a lid on the toxic stew of bigotry, conspiratorial thinking and White Christian identity politics, and defended democratic values like truth, equality and racial justice. It was a whole-of-society strategy, more effective than anything unfolding today. Clearly, it didn’t keep those forces at bay forever. But in the right circumstances, it could work again.

In the ’50s and ’60s, the federal government, the national media, the U.S. military and civic groups took a stand that made it harder for violent, conspiratorial, white-supremacist elements to become the dominant force in either party. This elaborate and diffuse containment effort helped make those elements toxic in the eyes of a majority of Americans, defining extremists as threats to democracy and racial progress, rendering them less electable. This work could serve as a basis for a new counter-reaction to Trumpism.

Pat Bagley 1/28/21

Democrats need to accept the implications of GOP radicalization. Opinion by Greg Sargent Columnist Jan. 28, 2021

(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Democrats have a tendency to engage in a kind of two-step. When they grow frustrated with GOP radicalism, they angrily denounce it — while simultaneously telling themselves that if it can be overcome in the short term, it will be rendered a dead letter forever.

When President Barack Obama ran for reelection in 2012, he insisted that victory might mean more GOP compromise, because the party’s “fever may break.” It didn’t.

When Joe Biden ran for president in 2020, he declared that if Republicans lost, they would seek “consensus” after having an “epiphany.” Republicans denied his win for weeks, and even after Donald Trump incited a violent insurrection to overturn the outcome, GOP leaders are now gravitating to Trump’s DEFENSE.

A new piece from the Atlantic’s Ron Brownstein spells out the stakes of the failure to accept the true implications of this GOP radicalization. It argues that the single most consequential decision for Democrats is whether to end the legislative filibuster to pass reforms that would expand voting rights and unwind GOP counter-majoritarian advantages going forward.

Congressional Democrats are coalescing around a package of reforms that would dramatically expand access to voting by requiring states to implement automatic voter registration, extensive early voting and same-day registration. It would restrict voter suppression tactics and hurdles on vote-by-mail.

The reforms would also require nonpartisan redistricting commissions — a strike at the next round of GOP gerrymanders — while restoring protections in the Voting Rights Act and blocking states from disenfranchising felons. The reforms would go far in curtailing Republican counter-majoritarian tactics for years to come.

Any such package will be filibustered by Senate Republicans. That would mean the wielding of yet another counter-majoritarian tool to further entrench GOP counter-majoritarian advantages for the foreseeable future.

There are three reasons why a filibuster of this package could have truly far-reaching effects, as Brownstein spells out.

The first is that REPUBLICANS ARE RESPONDING TO THEIR 2020 LOSS BY INTENSIFYING THEIR VOTER SUPPRESSION EFFORTS IN NUMEROUS STATES, fake-justified by the same lies about voter fraud that animated Trump’s effort to overturn the election results.

That effort was supported by a large swath of the Republican Party, which SHOWS THAT THE GOP IS ONLY GETTING MORE RADICAL IN ITS WILLINGNESS TO WIELD COUNTER-MAJORITARIAN TACTICS. That will continue.

The second reason this decision will be so consequential is that the conservative hold on the Supreme Court makes it more likely that GOP voter suppression efforts will be upheld.

The third is that the Democratic coalition will be increasingly reliant on younger and non-White voters, as the more diverse millennial and Generation Z voters swell into a larger share of the electorate.

Measures expanding the franchise and nixing voter suppression tactics would likely bring large numbers of those voters into the electorate, Brownstein notes. So the question of whether these reforms happen could have a large impact on the makeup of the electorate in coming years.

Brownstein summarizes:

For all these reasons, many experts in voting and elections believe that the choices Democrats make regarding their democracy and voting-reform agenda represent a fundamental crossroads in American politics. Passage of these laws wouldn’t guarantee a sustained period of Democratic political dominance: In both 2016 and 2020, Trump’s incredible mobilization of infrequent white voters demonstrated that Republicans could compete in a high-turnout environment.

But failing to pass the laws might ensure the reverse: a lasting Democratic disadvantage. The absence of national election standards would further entrench the current system, which has allowed Republicans to frequently control Congress, the White House, or both during the past three decades, even though Democrats have won the popular vote in seven of the past eight presidential elections.

As democracy scholar Lee Drutman tells Brownstein, if these reforms don’t happen, “there is a very good chance that America will wind up under an extended period of minority rule in which the party that represents 45-46 percent of the country can have a majority of power in Washington.”

Democrats might tell themselves various stories about these inconveniences. One is that Trump had a unique ability to generate turnout among low-propensity White conservative voters — and a profile that maximized GOP counter-majoritarian advantages in the electoral college — that won’t be duplicated by another GOP presidential nominee anytime soon. That also helped lift GOP down-ballot candidates in 2020.

So Democrats might tell themselves that without another Trump, their tendency toward majoritarian advantages in popular voting will be less easily overtaken by GOP exploitation of counter-majoritarian structural factors.

Another might be that the GOP’s increasing radicalization will continue to alienate women, suburban voters and educated Whites. Still another might be that this realignment favors Democrats because those voters turn out in off-year elections, mitigating a traditional GOP advantage.

All these might prove true. But it would be folly to count on them. Just as Trump drove uniquely high turnout on his side, so too did his unique horrors inspire an enormous outpouring of energy on the Democratic side.

It would be nice if these high levels of engagement were to continue of their own accord. But there is no guarantee that in future elections, Democrats will have the same hyper-torqued civic energy of the past two cycles, energy that rendered them prepared to crawl across broken glass to get to the polls. Old patterns could reemerge. Ramped-up GOP voter-suppression tactics and extreme gerrymanders might work.

Democratic leaders are making public comments that strongly suggest they grasp the need to deliver in a big way to restore faith in democracy and usher in a post-Trump phase of civic renewal.

That’s good. But we need to hear more of a recognition that the GOP’s increasing radicalization when it comes to anti-democratic tactics will also require a fundamental Democratic reset going forward. That means being genuinely prepared to do away with the filibuster if it comes to it.

Unity is dead. Long live unity. Opinion by Molly Roberts Editorial Writer Jan. 26, 2021

“To restore the soul and secure the future of America requires so much more than words,” Joe Biden said in his inaugural address. “It requires the most elusive of all things in a democracy: unity.”

The question, only a week later, is whether unity is itself more than just a word.

Some Republicans think unity is something they can weaponize against Biden as they willfully misinterpret his meaning. “Unity themes and divisive actions,” grumbled Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.) on Twitter. “A radical leftist agenda in a divided country will not help unify our country,” protested Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.). “It will only confirm 75 million Americans biggest fears about the new administration.”

But unity never meant passing policies that charm both the minority and the newly earned majority. It was always more about process than policy: about mutual respect, and restoring the norms that a certain Florida resident blew out of the water. Most important, it was about ideals — democracy, for starters, and equality over “racism, nativism, fear, demonization,” as Biden put it. Those, not prohibitions on oil pipelines or even protections for transgender people, are the shared ground we’re now being asked to stand on.

Fully credentialed right-wingers, to their credit, understand this. “Much of it is thinly veiled innuendo calling us white supremacists, calling us racists, calling us every name in the book, calling us people who don’t tell the truth,” complained Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.)

To the left, unity can be a threat, too. So maybe Biden won’t try to meet the white supremacists halfway, but he does want to negotiate in good faith with those who have, over the past decade or so, done next to nothing to stymie their party’s worst instincts and biggest troublemakers. That’s a kind of unity the left doesn’t love. The fight to abolish the filibuster embodies this mentality: Keeping the thing around according to the belief that bipartisanship is a virtue, they worry, means sacrificing the ability to enact legislation that can ensure true democracy.

What happens, progressives ask, when by protecting some ideals we throw away others? Union with those across the aisle, as it turns out, can mean disunion with those on your own side of it. We’re at war over the very concept of peace.

Our period of good feelings was bound to be less an era than a short intermission. The past four years brought us a riot of unity and division all at once. If polarization wasn’t more pronounced than ever before, it was certainly more visibly pronounced. The country was divided, and people on both sides were more unified than ever about which camp they belonged in. Reality itself turned controversial. Donald Trump was hacking away at the bedrock beneath us, and far too many were cheering him on.

Nearly all GOP senators vote against impeachment trial for Trump, signaling likely acquittal. By Mike DeBonis and Seung Min Kim Jan. 26, 2021

It’s not just Trump on trial. It’s the whole Republican Party. Opinion by Max Boot Columnist Jan. 25, 2021

Two articles of impeachment against then-President Donald Trump are carried in a procession through the Capitol Rotunda to the U.S. Senate on Jan. 15, 2020. (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)

When the impeachment proceedings begin in the Senate, it will not be just Donald Trump in the dock. The entire Republican Party will be on trial. And there is every reason to believe that the GOP will fail this test — as it failed every other during the past four years.

Trump’s guilt is clear — and getting clearer all the time. The Center for Responsive Politics reports that the Trump campaign paid more than $2.7 million to the individuals and firms responsible for organizing the Jan. 6 rally on the Ellipse where Trump told his supporters to “to fight much harder” against “bad people.” At least five individuals who face federal charges in connection with the Capitol assault have said that they were following orders from the then-president.

The New York Times has just revealed another part of Trump’s plot against America: The then-president wanted to replace acting attorney general Jeffrey Rosen with a lower-ranking official intent on using the Justice Department’s power to force Georgia to overturn its election results. Trump was only dissuaded when all of the department’s senior leaders threatened to resign. This occurred shortly after Trump himself was recorded demanding that the Georgia secretary of state find the votes needed for him to win that state.

Trump’s incitement of a violent insurrection against another branch of government is the worst wrongdoing that any president — who is sworn to “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution” — can commit. Members of Congress and Trump’s own vice president were lucky to escape injury in the riot that he fomented.

For one fleeting moment, it appeared that the shock of these events was sufficient to scare at least some Republicans straight. Ten House Republicans voted for impeachment, including a member of the leadership, Rep. Liz Cheney (Wyo.), who declared, “There has never been a greater betrayal by a President of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution.” Then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) was almost equally scathing, saying: “The mob was fed lies. They were provoked by the president and other powerful people.”

And yet the momentum to impeach Trump among Republicans is waning as rapidly as the evidence of his guilt is accumulating. “The chances of getting a conviction are virtually nil,” Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) told CNN.

To avoid having to defend Trump’s indefensible conduct, many Republicans are taking refuge in the argument that it’s unconstitutional to impeach a president who has already left office. This is simply untrue, as more than 150 legal scholars — including a co-founder of the Federalist Society! — point out. “In 1876,” they note, “Secretary of War William Belknap tried to avoid impeachment and its consequences by resigning minutes before the House voted on his impeachment. The House impeached him anyway, and the Senate concluded that it had the power to try, convict, and disqualify former officers.”

The other popular GOP argument is that impeachment is just too darn divisive. As Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said on Sunday: “We already have a flaming fire in this country and it’s like taking a bunch of gasoline and pouring it on top of the fire.” That message would be more convincing if Rubio could argue, in the words of Billy Joel, “We didn’t start the fire.” But Trump did start the fire — and congressional Republicans provided the kindling by refusing to challenge his election lies. And now they say it’s too divisive to hold a political arsonist to account?

A sign of how rapidly the GOP has shifted in the wrong direction can be found in the words of the ultimate finger-to-the-wind politician, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.). During the House impeachment debate, he admitted that “the president bears responsibility” for the attack. Now he says: “I don’t believe he provoked it if you listened to what he said at the rally.”

The GOP appears more eager for retribution against Republicans who upheld their oaths of office than against a president who violated it.

All 10 of the House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump are now facing a backlash at home, with local party organizations scolding them for disloyalty and primary challengers lining up against them. Pro-Trump House members are also demanding Cheney’s ouster as chair of the House Republican conference.

The Arizona Republican Party just censured not only former senator Jeff Flake and Cindy McCain — who courageously supported Joe Biden — but even Gov. Doug Ducey, who supported Trump. His crime? Refusing to overturn the state’s election results.

Meanwhile — if you didn’t think the GOP was despicable enough already — the Texas Republican Party has employed a QAnon slogan (“We are the storm”) and the Hawaii Republican Party posted a series of tweets (now deleted) defending the same insane conspiracy theory.

Alexander Hamilton wrote: “The hope of impunity, is a strong incitement to sedition: the dread of punishment, a proportionably strong discouragement to it.” Republicans who want to offer Trump immunity are making themselves complicit in future sedition.

Trump caused the assault on the Capitol. He must be removed. Opinion by Editorial Board Jan. 6, 2021 at 6:31 p.m. CST

PRESIDENT TRUMP’S refusal to accept his election defeat and his relentless incitement of his supporters led Wednesday to the unthinkable: an assault on the U.S. Capitol by a violent mob that overwhelmed police and drove Congress from its chambers as it was debating the counting of electoral votes. Responsibility for this act of sedition lies squarely with the president, who has shown that his continued tenure in office poses a grave threat to U.S. democracy. He should be removed.

Mr. Trump encouraged the mob to gather on Wednesday, as Congress was set to convene, and to “be wild.” After repeating a panoply of absurd conspiracy theories about the election, he urged the crowd to march on the Capitol. “We’re going to walk down, and I’ll be there with you,” he said. “You’ll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength, and you have to be strong.” The president did not follow the mob, but instead passively watched it on television as its members tore down fences around the Capitol and overwhelmed police guarding the building. House members and senators were forced to flee. Shots were fired, and at least one person was struck and killed.

Rather than immediately denouncing the violence and calling on his supporters to stand down, Mr. Trump issued two mild tweets in which he called on them to “remain” or “stay” peaceful. Following appeals from senior Republicans, he finally released a video in which he asked people to go home, but doubled down on the lies fueling the vigilantes. “We love you. You’re very special,” he told his seditious posse. Later, he excused the riot, tweeting that “these are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously & viciously stripped away.”

The president is unfit to remain in office for the next 14 days. Every second he retains the vast powers of the presidency is a threat to public order and national security. Vice President Pence, who had to be whisked off the Senate floor for his own protection, should immediately gather the Cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment, declaring that Mr. Trump is “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.” Congress, which would be required to ratify the action if Mr. Trump resisted, should do so. Mr. Pence should serve until President-elect Joe Biden is inaugurated on Jan. 20.

Failing that, senior Republicans must restrain the president. The insurrection came just as many top Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.), were finally denouncing Mr. Trump’s antidemocratic campaign to overturn the election results. A depressing number of GOP legislators — such as Sen. Josh Hawley (Mo.), Sen. Ted Cruz (Tex.), House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (Calif.) and House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (La.) — were prepared to support Mr. Trump’s effort, fueling the rage of those the president has duped into believing the election was stolen.

Mr. McConnell, to his lasting credit, was not. “President Trump claims the election was stolen,” he said. But “nothing before us proves illegality anywhere near the massive scale, the massive scale, that would have tipped the entire election. . . . If this election were overturned by mere allegations from the losing side, our democracy would enter a death spiral.” He added: “I will not pretend such a vote would be a harmless protest gesture while relying on others to do the right thing.” As if to prove his point, the Trump mob would soon climb up the Capitol walls, and Mr. McConnell and his colleagues would seek refuge in secured locations.

Now that the stakes are viscerally clear, Mr. McConnell and every other Republican, almost all of whom bear some blame for what occurred on Wednesday, have an overriding responsibility to the nation: stopping Mr. Trump and restoring faith in democracy. That began Wednesday night with the resumption of the congressional session and the continuance of the electoral vote count. Some of the lawmakers who sought to benefit from Mr. Trump’s mob-stoking rage suspended their cynical posturing — though they will always bear the stigma of having contributed to the day’s shameful events.

The chaos confirmed once again the voters’ wisdom in rejecting Mr. Trump in favor of Joe Biden. The president-elect rose to the moment. “I call on this mob, now, to pull back and allow the work of democracy to go forward,” Mr. Biden said. “It’s not protest. It’s insurrection.” He concluded: “Today is a reminder, a painful one, that democracy is fragile.”

Mr. Biden is right. Rules, norms, laws, even the Constitution itself are worth something only if people believe in them. Americans put on their seat belts, follow traffic laws, pay taxes and vote because of faith in a system — and that faith makes it work. The highest voice in the land incited people to break that faith, not just in tweets, but by inciting them to action. Mr. Trump is a menace, and as long as he remains in the White House, the country will be in danger.

We just saw an attempted coup d’etat. Blame Trump. Blame his Republican enablers. Opinion by Eugene Robinson Columnist Jan. 6, 2021 at 4:42 p.m. CST

Let's be clear: What happened Wednesday afternoon at the U.S. Capitol was an attempted coup d'état, egged on by a lawless president desperately trying to cling to power and encouraged by his cynical Republican enablers in Congress.

It was perhaps inevitable that President Trump's chaotic and incompetent tenure in office would end with riots and tear gas. Not since British Major Gen. Robert Ross set fire to the president's residence and the Capitol building in 1814 have we seen such a scene at the hallowed citadel of our democracy, as an angry and disillusioned mob — whipped into a frenzy by Trump himself — forced its way into the Capitol to disrupt the official certification of Trump's electoral defeat.

Images from this shameful day will endure forever: crowds storming the security barricades, overwhelming outnumbered and seemingly unprepared Capitol police, and breaking windows to pour into the seat of American power. Police officers inside the House of Representatives chamber, guns drawn and aimed at the main doors, where protesters threatened to force their way inside. A scarf-draped rioter sitting smugly in the chair where, an hour earlier, Vice President Pence had presided over the Senate.

The central act of our democracy — the peaceful and orderly transfer of power — was not allowed to take place. Blame the rioters themselves, who must take responsibility for their own actions. But blame Trump above all. And blame the Republican members of Congress who sought to boost their own political fortunes by validating Trump's self-serving paranoid fantasies.

The Proud Boys outside the U.S. on Jan. 6. (Amanda Andrade-Rhoades/For The Washington Post)

I mean you, Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri. And you, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas. And you, Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana. And all the rest who thought that the way to succeed in GOP politics was to pretend to believe Trump's lies rather than tell the nation the truth.

Trump told his MAGA legions that he didn't really lose the election, that in fact he could not possibly have lost, and that somehow he would manage to remain their president for a second term. First various recounts would save him — until they all confirmed Joe Biden's victory. Then it was going to be the certifications of the vote totals — but all the states certified their results. Then it was going to be the courts that rode to the rescue — but courts at every level, including the U.S. Supreme Court, tossed out his frivolous lawsuits like so much scrap paper.

Finally on Jan. 6, Congress — or perhaps Pence, acting alone — would surely throw out the electoral votes from states Trump falsely claimed to have "won," thus giving him the glorious victory he deserved. He urged his followers to come to Washington to "Stop the Steal" — to keep Congress from doing its constitutional duty in counting the electoral votes. And Hawley, Cruz, Scalise and scores of other congressional Republicans went along with this ridiculous fairy tale so as not to anger the president or his supporters.

But then Jan. 6 arrived. Pence issued a statement early in the day making clear that he would obey the Constitution, not Trump's autocratic wishes. And the many thousands of Trump supporters who had gathered on the Ellipse to hear Trump give a long and angry rant, and who obeyed his order to march on the Capitol, became a guided missile aimed at the heart of U.S. democracy.

They were like a doomsday cult when the appointed day arrives and the foretold asteroid does not strike. Trump had convinced them he could not possibly lose, yet inside the Capitol he was losing. They decided to prevent the transfer of power by force. Shots were fired, and one person was struck and killed. Tear gas was deployed. The scenes were like those I saw in places like Paraguay and Peru as a foreign correspondent — and nothing like we've ever seen in the United States.

Biden gave a televised address calling for an end to the "insurrection" and the restoration of "decency, honor, respect, the rule of law." Trump posted a desultory video statement on social media urging rioters to "go home" but repeating his claims that the election was "stolen."

It is possible to see better days ahead. Biden is a good man and a lifelong public servant. Georgia voters have given the Republican Party the punishment it deserves by putting Democrats in control of the White House and both houses of Congress. Inauguration Day is just two weeks away.

But somehow our damaged nation has to make it through those next two weeks. Police and the National Guard are more than capable of reestablishing order in the streets. The wounds Trump has inflicted upon the nation, however, are ragged and deep. We will be paying for the mistake of electing this bitter, twisted man as president for a long, long time.

Trump is guilty of sedition. Impeach him again. Opinion by Max Boot Columnist Jan. 6, 2021 at 7:39 p.m. CST

We need to be clear about what has just happened at the U.S. Capitol. This was not a protest by “American Patriots,” the words used by Ivanka Trump in a now-deleted tweet. This was a violent and unlawful insurrection by a seditious mob bent on preventing the House and Senate from certifying the election results that will make Joe Biden the next president of the United States.

This is far worse than anything that antifa or any other left-wing group has done. It has nothing in common with the protests that swept the country last year after the killing of George Floyd — and which Republicans cited as evidence of an impending communist revolution. The invasion of the Capitol was a genuine and terrifying attack on our democracy the likes of which we have not seen in our lifetimes.

We also need to be clear about who was responsible for this attempted coup: not just President Trump but also his enablers in the executive branch, Congress and the media.

Trump invited his followers to come to Washington on Wednesday for a “big protest” premised on the false assumption that the election was stolen from him. “Be there, will be wild!” he tweeted on Dec 19. On Tuesday, he tweeted: “I hope the Democrats, and even more importantly, the weak and ineffective RINO section of the Republican Party, are looking at the thousands of people pouring into D.C. They won’t stand for a landslide election victory to be stolen.”

When his followers did show up on the Mall on Wednesday, Trump incited them further, telling them: “We will never give up. We will never concede. It will never happen. You don’t concede when there’s theft involved. Our country has had enough. We will not take it anymore.” He castigated his own vice president, Mike Pence, for refusing to exceed his constitutional authority by not certifying the electoral votes of states that Trump lost. “We are going to have to fight much harder,” Trump said, and urged the assembled multitudes to march on the Capitol.

It is on Trump’s head that by Wednesday afternoon, his followers had surged past the overwhelmed Capitol Police to invade America’s citadel of democracy. The scenes that unfolded looked like something out of a horror movie, with police clashing with the attackers and members of Congress having to stop their proceedings and flee to safety.

Pleas from his own aides and members of Congress from both parties finally led Trump to issue a mealy-mouthed videotaped appeal to the mob to “go home.” But he refused to give up his false and incendiary claims that the election was stolen, and he paid tribute to the odious attackers: “We love you. You’re very special.” This was very much reminiscent of his ambivalent response to the neo-Nazis in Charlottesville in 2017 — “very fine people on both sides,” he said.

The leader of our government is inciting an assault on it. He is resorting to mob rule to tear down the rule of law. This is sedition, and it cannot be ignored. Congress needs to finish certifying the election results and then move on to the urgent business at hand — impeaching Trump for a second time. There are only 14 days left in his term, but that is enough time to act — not only to remove Trump from office but also to prevent him from running again. This is precisely the kind of “high crime and misdemeanor” that the impeachment clause of the Constitution was designed to address.

Or, failing that, Pence and a majority of the Cabinet can invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Trump. Perhaps now that the vice president and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have been terrorized by Trump supporters, they will understand the danger that this aspiring authoritarian poses.

But whatever happens with the president, we must never forget the responsibility of his enablers for the ugly events of Wednesday. This would never have happened if Fox “News,” OAN, Newsmax, Mark Levin, the Daily Wire and all the rest had not been spreading poisonous lies to allege that the election was stolen. This would never have happened if more than 100 members of the House and at least 13 senators had not endorsed those theories by announcing that they would not certify the election results in battleground states that Trump lost. Members of the Sedition Caucus such as Sens. Ted Cruz (Tex.) and Josh Hawley (Mo.) should see their careers crash and burn, as Sen. Joe McCarthy’s did, for their shameful and cynical assault on the Constitution.

This was a day of infamy for American democracy. We can only hope that some good comes out of it by causing a backlash against the Trumpist attempt to pervert our most vital institutions. Many of us have been warning of the danger for years — only to have our words dismissed as overly alarmist, even hysterical. It is now clear that the only people who have been suffering from “Trump Derangement Syndrome” are those who have refused to acknowledge the danger from this American fascism.

Democratic lawmakers are calling for Trump's impeachment. Members of 'the Squad' led the charge. Anne Branigin January 7

Reps. Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley and Cori Bush proposed swift action

Within hours of having their workplace stormed by a mob of Trump supporters seeking to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, Democratic members of Congress began calling for the impeachment of President Trump — and even the removal of conservative members of Congress who backed the president’s baseless claims of an unfair election. And it was women of color lawmakers — including members of “the Squad” — who were quickest to lead the charge.

The president’s repeated, false claims that the election was stolen drew thousands of his supporters to the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday to protest Congress’s certification of the 2020 presidential election results, which saw President-elect Joe Biden securing a definitive victory. Waving Trump, American and Confederate flags, hundreds of protesters battled past law enforcement to storm the Capitol building, disrupting Congress’s attempt to certify Biden’s victory and forcing lawmakers to evacuate their offices or shelter in place. After the building was cleared, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said lawmakers would resume counting electoral college votes Wednesday night.

The chaos that erupted at the Capitol drew condemnation from around the world, and from both Republicans and Democrats in Congress. In the case of some of Trump’s most outspoken critics in Washington, that took the form of calls for another impeachment — even if the possibility of Trump’s removal from office remains unlikely.

Republicans repeatedly made false claims about the election and encouraged unrest ahead of violent scenes in the U.S. Capitol on Dec. 6. (Zach Purser Brown/The Washington Post)

In a tweet posted Wednesday afternoon, Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) called on Trump to be impeached “as soon as Congress reconvenes,” calling his behavior in the lead-up to the violent attack on the Capitol “dangerous and unacceptable.”

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) soon chimed in, saying she was drawing up articles of impeachment against the president. “We can’t allow him to remain in office, it’s a matter of preserving our Republic and we need to fulfill our oath,” Omar wrote on Twitter.

Both Pressley and Omar have received racist, often violent, rhetoric and threats from Trump’s supporters since their election to the House in 2018. In 2019, Trump attacked the Squad on his Twitter account, saying Pressley and Omar, as well as Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), ought to “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.” Trump has continued to attack the lawmakers — all of whom are women of color — throughout his time in office. Omar says she has received a deluge of death threats from his followers.

Freshman Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.), a newly minted member of the Squad and Congress’s first prominent Black Lives Matter organizer, also proposed a swift course of action Wednesday. As law enforcement confronted rioters on the Capitol, Bush announced that she was drafting a resolution calling for the expulsion of Republican members of Congress who supported Trump’s claims that the election had been stolen. This would be the first piece of legislation introduced by Bush, who has been one of Congress’s most visible incoming members.

“The Republican members of Congress who have incited this domestic terror attack through their attempts to overturn the election must face consequences. They have broken their sacred Oath of Office,” she wrote. “I will be introducing a resolution calling for their expulsion.”

Within hours of having their workplace stormed by a mob of Trump supporters seeking to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, Democratic members of Congress began calling for the impeachment of President Trump — and even the removal of conservative members of Congress who backed the president’s baseless claims of an unfair election. And it was women of color lawmakers — including members of “the Squad” — who were quickest to lead the charge.

The president’s repeated, false claims that the election was stolen drew thousands of his supporters to the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday to protest Congress’s certification of the 2020 presidential election results, which saw President-elect Joe Biden securing a definitive victory. Waving Trump, American and Confederate flags, hundreds of protesters battled past law enforcement to storm the Capitol building, disrupting Congress’s attempt to certify Biden’s victory and forcing lawmakers to evacuate their offices or shelter in place. After the building was cleared, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said lawmakers would resume counting electoral college votes Wednesday night.

The chaos that erupted at the Capitol drew condemnation from around the world, and from both Republicans and Democrats in Congress. In the case of some of Trump’s most outspoken critics in Washington, that took the form of calls for another impeachment — even if the possibility of Trump’s removal from office remains unlikely. Trump, Republicans incite crowd before mob storms Capitol

Republicans repeatedly made false claims about the election and encouraged unrest ahead of violent scenes in the U.S. Capitol on Dec. 6. (Zach Purser Brown/The Washington Post)

In a tweet posted Wednesday afternoon, Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) called on Trump to be impeached “as soon as Congress reconvenes,” calling his behavior in the lead-up to the violent attack on the Capitol “dangerous and unacceptable.”

[ Live updates: Woman dies after shooting in U.S. Capitol; D.C. National Guard activated after mob breaches building]

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) soon chimed in, saying she was drawing up articles of impeachment against the president. “We can’t allow him to remain in office, it’s a matter of preserving our Republic and we need to fulfill our oath,” Omar wrote on Twitter.

Both Pressley and Omar have received racist, often violent, rhetoric and threats from Trump’s supporters since their election to the House in 2018. In 2019, Trump attacked the Squad on his Twitter account, saying Pressley and Omar, as well as Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), ought to “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.” Trump has continued to attack the lawmakers — all of whom are women of color — throughout his time in office. Omar says she has received a deluge of death threats from his followers.

[ An Illinois GOP group has apologized for a meme calling four Democratic women ‘The Jihad Squad’]

Freshman Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.), a newly minted member of the Squad and Congress’s first prominent Black Lives Matter organizer, also proposed a swift course of action Wednesday. As law enforcement confronted rioters on the Capitol, Bush announced that she was drafting a resolution calling for the expulsion of Republican members of Congress who supported Trump’s claims that the election had been stolen. This would be the first piece of legislation introduced by Bush, who has been one of Congress’s most visible incoming members.

“The Republican members of Congress who have incited this domestic terror attack through their attempts to overturn the election must face consequences. They have broken their sacred Oath of Office,” she wrote. “I will be introducing a resolution calling for their expulsion.”

Neither Omar’s articles of impeachment nor Bush’s calls to expel GOP lawmakers are likely to pass in the two weeks before Biden is expected to be sworn in, even as their tweets amassed hundreds of thousands of likes within hours of being posted. But the calls to expel not only Trump, but GOP lawmakers, are indicative of the long-broiling political divisions that were once again set aflame on Wednesday.

Soon after Bush and Omar’s announcements, more elected officials amplified calls to remove Trump from office ahead of the Jan. 20 inauguration. Among them were Vermont Gov. Phil Scott (R), who tweeted that Trump should “resign or be removed from office by his Cabinet, or by Congress.” Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux (D-Ga.) and Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-N.J.) also said they wanted to see Trump impeached for inciting Wednesday’s violence.

The calls come amid the backdrop of House Democrats’ first attempt to impeach Trump: In December 2019, they accused him of obstructing Congress’s investigations into his affairs, as well as abusing his power to influence the results of the 2020 election. The hyperpartisan process ended with a Republican-controlled Senate acquitting Trump on both impeachment charges the following January.

Following her initial announcement that she was drafting new articles of impeachment, Omar attempted to reassure Americans disturbed by the chaos that had unfolded in Washington.

“Rest assured, this day will not end without us finishing the work Congress is supposed to carry out,” Omar tweeted. “Democracy will prevail.”

A demagogue, a mob and the Sedition Caucus. Opinion by Jennifer Rubin Columnist Jan. 7, 2021

All but six senators supporting objections to the counting of Arizona’s electoral college votes slunk away when it came time to cast final votes. Consider those who remained the Dirty Half Dozen: Republican Sens. Ted Cruz (Tex.), Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (Miss.), John Neely Kennedy (La.), Roger Marshall (Kan.) and Tommy Tuberville (Ala.).

The first two, as you could tell from their vapid and utterly contentless remarks, knew they had no legitimate basis for seeking to overthrow the duly elected government. Theirs was an act of sedition — a cynical attempt to pander to the rioters, many of whom had trashed the Capitol. The other four, I strongly suspect, simply are not very bright. Ideally, their colleagues should expel them, or at least toss them out of the Republican caucus.

Cruz, Hawley and Kennedy should face disbarment. They have violated their oaths, stoked a violent mob and attempted to tear down democracy.

On the House side, 121 Republicans — a substantial majority of the caucus, including Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (Calif.), and Minority Whip Steve Scalise (La.) — voted to overturn the Arizona election results based on nothing but conspiracies and their own lust for power. The rest of the Republican caucus might considering splitting with the party so as to not be wiped out when voters come seeking to oust the traitors to democracy. In any event, all 121 should face primary or third-party challenges. They, too, are unfit to serve. (In all, 139 representatives voted to sustain the Arizona and/or Pennsylvania objections.)

Rumors flew Wednesday night that there were discussions among Cabinet members about invoking the 25th Amendment. Progressive members of the House took to social media to urge impeachment. The Post’s editorial board endorsed removing him from office: “Responsibility for this act of sedition lies squarely with the president, who has shown that his continued tenure in office poses a grave threat to U.S. democracy. He should be removed.”

Over at the White House, a few stray aides resigned. NOW they leave? They have enabled a president far too long to escape censure for their role in this catastrophe.

Vanity Fair reported, “White House Counsel Pat Cipollone was urging White House officials not to speak to Trump or enable his coup attempt in any way, so they could reduce the chance they could be prosecuted for treason under the Sedition Act.” If true, this would suggest Cipollone, who defended Trump during impeachment (making a slew of specious factual assertions and dubious legal arguments), thinks Trump is committing sedition. If so, he should scramble to advise Congress to impeach and remove Trump, as so many others are suggesting. He might also think back on his role in enabling Trump to remain in office, only to commit more impeachable acts, as many of us predicted.

On the Senate floor, speeches ranged from breathtaking to the truly awful. In the former category, Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) bellowed: “No congressional-led audit will ever convince those voters, particularly when the president will continue to claim that the election was stolen. The best way we can show respect for the voters who are upset is by telling them the truth.” An ovation followed. Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) spoke emotionally about the assault on democracy and the sight of the mob carrying a Confederate battle flag through the Capitol.

On the other end of the spectrum, Hawley and Cruz stumbled through nonsensical arguments. Cruz was concerned because there are so many darn people who do not trust the results. Hawley attacked Pennsylvania’s pre-election rule changes.

The response from Sen. Patrick J. Toomey (R-Pa.) decimated Hawley. Hawley was seeking to “overturn the results of the presidential election in Pennsylvania, and thereby deny the voters of Pennsylvania to even participate in the presidential election,” Toomey said. He pointed out that of the ballots arriving after Election Day, about 10,000 were excluded from the vote. He marched through a series of other claims, including the specious assertion that fraud that was not investigated. There was no such evidence to support the Trump lawyers’ claims.

Toomey quoted from the conservative federal district court judge who threw out the Pennsylvania case, a decision upheld by a circuit court panel of three judges (all Republican appointees). And he finished by explaining there was nothing anomalous about the election’s outcome; the 2-point shift in the vote since 2016 in Democrats’ favor is easily explained by President-elect Joe Biden’s improvement in the suburbs around Philadelphia and Trump’s slight decline in some rural counties. Toomey dubbed Trump a demagogue, but inexplicably said he had hoped Trump would win. (That’s the irrational, soulless GOP for you. And Toomey is one of the “sane” ones.)

The insanity was not yet over. When the call of the states reached Pennsylvania, Hawley and Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.) objected. This time, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell did not allow debate. The vote was 92-7 with Sen. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) and Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) joining the Seditious Six. (Why they didn’t object to Arizona earlier is unknown.) Kennedy did not object for reasons that are unclear.

We are left with a raving commander in chief who needs to be removed immediately — a demagogue seeking to burn down democracy on his way out the door. Trump was egged on by a hodgepodge of careerists, cult followers and truly despicable members of Congress. They in turn were prodded by right-wing media personalities. Collectively, they induced a mob to violence and disgraced our country. The only consolation is that this travesty will end some careers and, we pray, obliterate a thoroughly discredited party that abandoned democracy.

Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy have led Republicans to disaster. They must go. Opinion by Max Boot Columnist Jan. 7, 2021

In 2016, Never Trumpers predicted that by nominating an ignorant and egomaniacal bigot, the Republican Party would lead the country and itself to ruin.

The consequences have proved far worse than even President Trump’s opponents could have predicted. Who, after all, could have imagined that more than 360,000 Americans would die during Trump’s last year in office because of his catastrophic mismanagement of a pandemic? Or that the U.S. Capitol would be invaded by a mob of Trump supporters?

But the political consequences for the Republican Party have not been as dire as they should have been. Until now.

It’s true that the GOP lost the House in 2018, but it actually increased its majority in the Senate. It’s true that Trump failed to secure a second term, but in the electoral college at least, it was hardly a landslide. More significantly, on Nov. 3, Republicans gained seats in the House and appeared to retain control of the Senate.

How different things look after the results of Tuesday’s Georgia Senate runoffs. Democrats won both seats, and with them control of the Senate. Trump becomes the first president since Herbert Hoover to lose reelection and both houses of Congress. And the widespread revulsion over Wednesday’s storming of the Capitol is likely to increase the political cost of Trumpism for the GOP. As the Never Trumper Charlie Sykes notes, the Trumpageddon that so many of us had expected is finally here. The GOP is finally getting what it deserves. Sen. Lindsey O. Graham’s (R.-S.C.) warning from 2016 has finally been vindicated: “If we nominate Trump, we will get destroyed.......and we will deserve it.”

Republicans are blaming Trump for this colossal defeat — and understandably so. Things might have turned out differently if the president had devoted his energy these past two months to defeating Democratic Senate candidates Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff instead of raging against Republican Gov. Brian Kemp and Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.

But really Republicans have no one but themselves to blame for allowing this autocratic buffoon to hijack their party.

They could have stood up to Trump during the past four years, as he committed one offense against our democracy after another — from spending money that Congress did not appropriate on a border wall that we do not need to using congressionally appropriated aid to attempt to blackmail Ukraine’s president into helping him politically. But Republicans chose either to ignore Trump’s transgressions or to assist them.

A large share of the GOP has aligned itself with utter lunatics such as pro-Trump lawyer L. Lin Wood, who suggests that Vice President Pence should be executed for treason, that Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. is “being blackmailed in a horrendous scheme involving rape & murder of children captured on videotape,” and that Jeffrey Epstein is still alive. This is tinfoil-hat stuff, yet Republicans are associated with it because so many have championed the unhinged and unsubstantiated theories of election fraud spread by Wood and fellow conspiracy mongers such as Sidney Powell, Michael Flynn, Rudolph W. Giuliani — and Trump himself. Those are the same theories that led to the horrifying attack on the Capitol. Yet, even after this riot, 139 House Republicans and eight Senate Republicans — a majority of all congressional Republicans — still voted not to certify the election results in at least one state, thereby giving the mob what it wanted.

The Georgia Senate results suggest that — surprise! — assaulting American democracy is not the way to win elections in America. Yet the GOP will find it hard to pivot toward the sane center, given how much of its base has bought into the vile lies spread by Trump and his propagandists. (A recent NPR/Ipsos poll found that two-thirds of Republicans believe that voter fraud helped Biden win.)

It is unlikely to happen under the current congressional leadership, which has been a profile in cowardice. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) voted with the authoritarian extremists by refusing to certify the electoral college outcome. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) opposed efforts to challenge certification, as he explained in an eloquent speech on Wednesday, but it’s too little, too late. He spent the past four years as Trump’s wingman. McConnell and McCarthy have brought dishonor and defeat on the Republican Party. Both men need to go if there is to be any hope of redemption for the GOP.

Imagine how differently the Republican Party would look if Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) — the only member of the House GOP leadership who refused to challenge the election results — were to become House minority leader and Sen. Mitt Romney (Utah) — the only Republican in either chamber to vote for Trump’s impeachment — were to become Senate minority leader. If congressional Republicans care at all about the future of their party — or their country — that is a change they will need to make. Otherwise, the Republican Party will be on the fast track to the oblivion that it so richly deserves.

The violence at the Capitol shows Trump’s seditious plot coming to fruition. Opinion by Greg Sargent Columnist Jan. 6, 2021 at 4:01 p.m. CST


In a scene that anyone paying attention for the last few years knew was coming, mobs supporting President Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol and used violence to subvert the lawful process by which we choose our presidents.

The mobs have succeeded in disrupting the rule of law and the peaceful conclusion of a lawful presidential election. The proceedings at the Capitol — where Congress was debating the counting of electoral college votes, in accordance with the Constitution — have been suspended.

Trump has long talked about “law and order.” By this, he has always intended something that has nothing in common with any conception of “rule of law.” He threatened to unleash “law and order” against the protests against police brutality, by which he meant unshackled state and even vigilante violence, which he also encouraged against those protesters.

Now that he’s lost the election, what we’re seeing is political violence, a phrase that we haven’t had to use much in recent decades but was once a more familiar one in this country.

Incredibly, CNN reported that Trump has been watching all of this unfold on TV, and has been resisting demands from staff to put out a stronger statement calling on his supporters to stand down.

Large mobs breached the Capitol, and one frightened reporter recounted that the invaders did not go through metal detection, noting that “we have no idea” what they “might have on their bodies.” Another reporter took pictures of rioters with Confederate flags inside the building.

Members of Congress were ordered to shelter in place. CNN reported that a woman died after being shot in the chest on Capitol grounds. There was an armed standoff on the House floor.

Trump openly encouraged all of this. He told his supporters to be ready for a “wild” day, where they could protest the election that (he lied) was stolen from him. He has spent years saying our elections cannot render a legitimate outcome in which he loses, and more recently, he has said too many times to count that the election’s outcome was indeed illegitimate.

Trump has worked to enlist numerous state and federal officials in his plot to subvert the results, often attacking those who have refused to do so as surrendering.

Even on the day itself, even as enormous mobs were breaching the Capitol, Trump blasted Vice President Pence for doing his constitutional duty and pledging not to to unlawfully overturn the election while playing his ceremonial role during the congressional count of electors. That’s an extraordinary act of potential incitement at a moment of untold danger.

Trump finally tweeted out a video calling for “peace." But incredibly, he used it to continue claiming that the election was stolen from him and from “you” and from “all of us,” that is, from his supporters, from the mobs who are currently occupying the Capitol.

“We have to have law and order,” Trump claimed on the video.

But if he’s also continuing to claim that the election was unlawfully stolen from him and his supporters, what will “law and order” really mean to them? It will mean exactly what Trump intends it to mean. A call for a restoration of law and order, coupled with a continuing claim that his loss was illegal and illegitimate, must mean a continued effort to overturn the election.

For Trump, the phrase “law and order” actually means something. As the Atlantic’s Adam Serwer has suggested, “law and order” really means that “he and his ideological allies are above the law,” while others are “merely subject to it.”

I’ve argued before that Trump expressly holds forth the promise of law and order as something utterly bereft of the rule of law. He very deliberately stands for those two things in combination with one another: Violent enforcement, carried out either by the state or by vigilante actors, but without any actual conception of rules-and-laws-bound processes governing it.

When Trump campaigned for reelection on this version of law and order, he was, in truth, the candidate of arbitrary violence, lawless abuses of power and mass civil breakdown. He is now adding the incitement of violent insurrection to the mix.

What else can calls for law and order, when accompanied with the refusal to acknowledge the lawful, legitimate outcome of an election he lost, and the continued insistence that his supporters are being illegally cheated of political representation, actually mean?

It was inevitable that the Trump presidency would end in civil violence and civil breakdown. And we’re now seeing exactly this, right in the seat of government, successfully disrupting our lawful transition of power. Just as we always knew would happen.

Trump’s devastation of the Republican Party is nearly complete. Opinion by Karen Tumulty Columnist Jan. 6, 2021

It is time for Republicans to face an uncomfortable but increasingly obvious truth.

President Trump is just not that into you.

He never has been.

To Trump, the party of Lincoln was a rental vehicle, one that he took for a joyride and is getting ready to turn back in, with trash jammed under the seats and stains covering the upholstery. Also, the tank is empty, and there’s a crack in the windshield.

Democrat Raphael Warnock has won his Senate race in Georgia, defeating Republican Kelly Loeffler, a billionaire who had reinvented herself as a Trumpist, right down to the trucker cap that she started wearing atop her expensively styled blond locks.

If Democrat Jon Ossoff’s lead over David Perdue, whose Senate term expired Sunday, holds up in the remaining Georgia Senate race, Republicans will have managed to lose the presidency, the House and the Senate during Trump’s four years in office.

Quite the trifecta.

What is even worse, both for democracy and for the long-term well-being of the party itself, is that Republicans have lost any legitimate claim that they stand for constitutional principles and conservative values.

We will see the most incontrovertible evidence of this on Wednesday, as GOP members of the House and Senate, at Trump’s bidding, wage a futile and deeply undemocratic effort to overturn the results of a presidential election that wasn’t even close. What is normally a rote procedure to certify the results of the electoral college will be challenged by a shockingly large number of GOP foot soldiers, with Vice President Pence in the hot seat.

And why are Republicans doing this? The more weak-kneed among them might be afraid of an unkind tweet from the president; others, of a possible primary challenge.

And still others — I’m looking at you, Sens. Ted Cruz (Tex.) and Josh Hawley (Mo.) — because of craven opportunism. As my colleague David Von Drehle pointed out, they are positioning themselves for 2024 presidential bids and are betting on the dubious proposition that Trumpism is “a philosophical torch that can be passed from one runner to the next.”

As a large number of Republicans vote to undermine democracy inside the Capitol, the streets of Washington will be thronged with Trump supporters. The MAGA crowds might or might not actually believe their leader’s claims that the election was stolen, but they are willing to do whatever he asks of them. Trump has not been subtle in his suggestion that violence might be in order. “Big protest in D.C. on January 6th,” he tweeted last month. “Be there, will be wild!”

Watching Trump’s performance since his election loss — and especially the chaos he has sown in the past few weeks, as things went down to the wire in Georgia — it seems fair to ask whether he even wanted Republicans to win there. Because if Perdue and Loeffler had carried the state and he had lost it, that would have exposed exactly how hollow were his claims of election fraud.

Trump’s obsession with Georgia is such that the president placed no fewer than 18 calls to its secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, before finally reaching him. (His incompetence is such that he was dialing the press office, where interns answered and hung up, assuming that it was a prank.)

The transcript of his hour-long diatribe on the phone with Raffensperger, as reported in a blockbuster story by The Post’s Amy Gardner, underscored another fixation on Trump’s part: Stacey Abrams, who after being narrowly defeated in Georgia’s gubernatorial race in 2018 took the lessons from the loss and built a Democratic voter-mobilization program that will be studied — and emulated — for years to come.

“Stacey Abrams is laughing about you,” Trump fumed. “She’s going around saying these guys are dumber than a rock. What she’s done to this party is unbelievable, I tell you.”

When the president says things like that to other people, we have learned, he is projecting what he knows to be the case about himself. And if there is anything that he cannot abide, it is the idea that a woman — or an African American, and Abrams is both — might be mocking him.

It parallels the narrative, embraced by many close to Trump, that his decision to run for president in the first place was set in motion after then-President Barack Obama made fun of him at the 2011 White House correspondents’ dinner. Since he has been president, nothing has unsettled him more than the contempt of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

Republicans knew what he was when they made the bargain they did, transforming themselves from a party that claimed to stand for conservative values to one that was willing to become whatever Trump demanded it to be. It got some judges and some tax cuts along the way.

But this fealty was never going to be a mutual one. The GOP is of no use to Trump anymore — except as a target for blame and recrimination.

We just saw an attempted coup d’etat. Blame Trump. Blame his Republican enablers. Opinion by Eugene Robinson Columnist Jan. 6, 2021 at 4:42 p.m. CST

Let's be clear: What happened Wednesday afternoon at the U.S. Capitol was an attempted coup d'état, egged on by a lawless president desperately trying to cling to power and encouraged by his cynical Republican enablers in Congress.

It was perhaps inevitable that President Trump's chaotic and incompetent tenure in office would end with riots and tear gas. Not since British Major Gen. Robert Ross set fire to the president's residence and the Capitol building in 1814 have we seen such a scene at the hallowed citadel of our democracy, as an angry and disillusioned mob — whipped into a frenzy by Trump himself — forced its way into the Capitol to disrupt the official certification of Trump's electoral defeat.

Images from this shameful day will endure forever: Crowds storming the security barricades, overwhelming outnumbered and seemingly unprepared Capitol police, and breaking windows to pour into the seat of American power. Police officers inside the House of Representatives chamber, guns drawn and aimed at the main doors, where protesters threatened to force their way inside. A scarf-draped rioter sitting smugly in the chair where, an hour earlier, Vice President Pence had presided over the Senate.

The central act of our democracy — the peaceful and orderly transfer of power — was not allowed to take place. Blame the rioters themselves, who must take responsibility for their own actions.

But blame Trump above all. And blame the Republican members of Congress who sought to boost their own political fortunes by validating Trump's self-serving paranoid fantasies.

I mean you, Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri. And you, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas. And you, Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana. And all the rest who thought that the way to succeed in GOP politics was to pretend to believe Trump's lies rather than tell the nation the truth.

Trump told his MAGA legions that he didn't really lose the election, that in fact he could not possibly have lost, and that somehow he would manage to remain their president for a second term. First various recounts would save him — until they all confirmed Joe Biden's victory. Then it was going to be the certifications of the vote totals — but all the states certified their results. Then it was going to be the courts that rode to the rescue — but courts at every level, including the U.S. Supreme Court, tossed out his frivolous lawsuits like so much scrap paper.

Finally on Jan. 6, Congress — or perhaps Pence, acting alone — would surely throw out the electoral votes from states Trump falsely claimed to have "won," thus giving him the glorious victory he deserved. He urged his followers to come to Washington to "Stop the Steal" — to keep Congress from doing its constitutional duty in counting the electoral votes. And Hawley, Cruz, Scalise and scores of other congressional Republicans went along with this ridiculous fairy tale so as not to anger the president or his supporters.

But then Jan. 6 arrived. Pence issued a statement early in the day making clear that he would obey the Constitution, not Trump's autocratic wishes. And the many thousands of Trump supporters who had gathered on the Ellipse to hear Trump give a long and angry rant, and who obeyed his order to march on the Capitol, became a guided missile aimed at the heart of U.S. democracy.

They were like a doomsday cult when the appointed day arrives and the foretold asteroid does not strike. Trump had convinced them he could not possibly lose, yet inside the Capitol he was losing. They decided to prevent the transfer of power by force. Shots were fired, and one person was struck and killed. Tear gas was deployed. The scenes were like those I saw in places like Paraguay and Peru as a foreign correspondent — and nothing like we've ever seen in the United States.

Biden gave a televised address calling for an end to the "insurrection" and the restoration of "decency, honor, respect, the rule of law." Trump posted a desultory video statement on social media urging rioters to "go home" but repeating his claims that the election was "stolen."

It is possible to see better days ahead. Biden is a good man and a lifelong public servant. Georgia voters have given the Republican Party the punishment it deserves by putting Democrats in control of the White House and both houses of Congress. Inauguration Day is just two weeks away.

But somehow our damaged nation has to make it through those next two weeks. Police and the National Guard are more than capable of reestablishing order in the streets. The wounds Trump has inflicted upon the nation, however, are ragged and deep. We will be paying for the mistake of electing this bitter, twisted man as president for a long, long time.

The violence at the Capitol shows Trump’s seditious plot coming to fruition. Opinion by Greg Sargent Columnist Jan. 6, 2021 at 4:01 p.m. CST


In a scene that anyone paying attention for the last few years knew was coming, mobs supporting President Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol and used violence to subvert the lawful process by which we choose our presidents.

The mobs have succeeded in disrupting the rule of law and the peaceful conclusion of a lawful presidential election. The proceedings at the Capitol — where Congress was debating the counting of electoral college votes, in accordance with the Constitution — have been suspended.

Trump has long talked about “law and order.” By this, he has always intended something that has nothing in common with any conception of “rule of law.” He threatened to unleash “law and order” against the protests against police brutality, by which he meant unshackled state and even vigilante violence, which he also encouraged against those protesters.

Now that he’s lost the election, what we’re seeing is political violence, a phrase that we haven’t had to use much in recent decades but was once a more familiar one in this country.

Incredibly, CNN reported that Trump has been watching all of this unfold on TV, and has been resisting demands from staff to put out a stronger statement calling on his supporters to stand down.

Large mobs breached the Capitol, and one frightened reporter recounted that the invaders did not go through metal detection, noting that “we have no idea” what they “might have on their bodies.” Another reporter took pictures of rioters with Confederate flags inside the building.

Members of Congress were ordered to shelter in place. CNN reported that a woman died after being shot in the chest on Capitol grounds. There was an armed standoff on the House floor.

Trump openly encouraged all of this. He told his supporters to be ready for a “wild” day, where they could protest the election that (he lied) was stolen from him. He has spent years saying our elections cannot render a legitimate outcome in which he loses, and more recently, he has said too many times to count that the election’s outcome was indeed illegitimate.

Trump has worked to enlist numerous state and federal officials in his plot to subvert the results, often attacking those who have refused to do so as surrendering.

Even on the day itself, even as enormous mobs were breaching the Capitol, Trump blasted Vice President Pence for doing his constitutional duty and pledging not to to unlawfully overturn the election while playing his ceremonial role during the congressional count of electors. That’s an extraordinary act of potential incitement at a moment of untold danger.

Trump finally tweeted out a video calling for “peace." But incredibly, he used it to continue claiming that the election was stolen from him and from “you” and from “all of us,” that is, from his supporters, from the mobs who are currently occupying the Capitol.

“We have to have law and order,” Trump claimed on the video.

But if he’s also continuing to claim that the election was unlawfully stolen from him and his supporters, what will “law and order” really mean to them? It will mean exactly what Trump intends it to mean. A call for a restoration of law and order, coupled with a continuing claim that his loss was illegal and illegitimate, must mean a continued effort to overturn the election.

For Trump, the phrase “law and order” actually means something. As the Atlantic’s Adam Serwer has suggested, “law and order” really means that “he and his ideological allies are above the law,” while others are “merely subject to it.”

I’ve argued before that Trump expressly holds forth the promise of law and order as something utterly bereft of the rule of law. He very deliberately stands for those two things in combination with one another: Violent enforcement, carried out either by the state or by vigilante actors, but without any actual conception of rules-and-laws-bound processes governing it.

When Trump campaigned for reelection on this version of law and order, he was, in truth, the candidate of arbitrary violence, lawless abuses of power and mass civil breakdown. He is now adding the incitement of violent insurrection to the mix.

What else can calls for law and order, when accompanied with the refusal to acknowledge the lawful, legitimate outcome of an election he lost, and the continued insistence that his supporters are being illegally cheated of political representation, actually mean?

It was inevitable that the Trump presidency would end in civil violence and civil breakdown. And we’re now seeing exactly this, right in the seat of government, successfully disrupting our lawful transition of power. Just as we always knew would happen.

Trump’s devastation of the Republican Party is nearly complete. Opinion by Karen Tumulty Columnist Jan. 6, 2021

It is time for Republicans to face an uncomfortable but increasingly obvious truth.

President Trump is just not that into you.

He never has been.

To Trump, the party of Lincoln was a rental vehicle, one that he took for a joyride and is getting ready to turn back in, with trash jammed under the seats and stains covering the upholstery. Also, the tank is empty, and there’s a crack in the windshield.

Democrat Raphael Warnock has won his Senate race in Georgia, defeating Republican Kelly Loeffler, a billionaire who had reinvented herself as a Trumpist, right down to the trucker cap that she started wearing atop her expensively styled blond locks.

If Democrat Jon Ossoff’s lead over David Perdue, whose Senate term expired Sunday, holds up in the remaining Georgia Senate race, Republicans will have managed to lose the presidency, the House and the Senate during Trump’s four years in office.

Quite the trifecta.

What is even worse, both for democracy and for the long-term well-being of the party itself, is that Republicans have lost any legitimate claim that they stand for constitutional principles and conservative values.

We will see the most incontrovertible evidence of this on Wednesday, as GOP members of the House and Senate, at Trump’s bidding, wage a futile and deeply undemocratic effort to overturn the results of a presidential election that wasn’t even close. What is normally a rote procedure to certify the results of the electoral college will be challenged by a shockingly large number of GOP foot soldiers, with Vice President Pence in the hot seat.

And why are Republicans doing this? The more weak-kneed among them might be afraid of an unkind tweet from the president; others, of a possible primary challenge.

And still others — I’m looking at you, Sens. Ted Cruz (Tex.) and Josh Hawley (Mo.) — because of craven opportunism. As my colleague David Von Drehle pointed out, they are positioning themselves for 2024 presidential bids and are betting on the dubious proposition that Trumpism is “a philosophical torch that can be passed from one runner to the next.”

As a large number of Republicans vote to undermine democracy inside the Capitol, the streets of Washington will be thronged with Trump supporters. The MAGA crowds might or might not actually believe their leader’s claims that the election was stolen, but they are willing to do whatever he asks of them. Trump has not been subtle in his suggestion that violence might be in order. “Big protest in D.C. on January 6th,” he tweeted last month. “Be there, will be wild!”

Watching Trump’s performance since his election loss — and especially the chaos he has sown in the past few weeks, as things went down to the wire in Georgia — it seems fair to ask whether he even wanted Republicans to win there. Because if Perdue and Loeffler had carried the state and he had lost it, that would have exposed exactly how hollow were his claims of election fraud.

Trump’s obsession with Georgia is such that the president placed no fewer than 18 calls to its secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, before finally reaching him. (His incompetence is such that he was dialing the press office, where interns answered and hung up, assuming that it was a prank.)

The transcript of his hour-long diatribe on the phone with Raffensperger, as reported in a blockbuster story by The Post’s Amy Gardner, underscored another fixation on Trump’s part: Stacey Abrams, who after being narrowly defeated in Georgia’s gubernatorial race in 2018 took the lessons from the loss and built a Democratic voter-mobilization program that will be studied — and emulated — for years to come.

“Stacey Abrams is laughing about you,” Trump fumed. “She’s going around saying these guys are dumber than a rock. What she’s done to this party is unbelievable, I tell you.”

When the president says things like that to other people, we have learned, he is projecting what he knows to be the case about himself. And if there is anything that he cannot abide, it is the idea that a woman — or an African American, and Abrams is both — might be mocking him.

It parallels the narrative, embraced by many close to Trump, that his decision to run for president in the first place was set in motion after then-President Barack Obama made fun of him at the 2011 White House correspondents’ dinner. Since he has been president, nothing has unsettled him more than the contempt of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

Republicans knew what he was when they made the bargain they did, transforming themselves from a party that claimed to stand for conservative values to one that was willing to become whatever Trump demanded it to be. It got some judges and some tax cuts along the way.

But this fealty was never going to be a mutual one. The GOP is of no use to Trump anymore — except as a target for blame and recrimination.

Mitch McConnell’s sanctimony is too much to bear. Opinion by Jennifer Rubin Columnist Jan. 6, 2021

Violent rioters, egged on by the president of the United States, breached the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, causing members and staff to flee or barricade themselves inside the chamber. Vice President Pence was escorted to a safe location as President Trump continued to berate him on Twitter. Lawless thugs attacked Capitol Police. Tear gas wafted through the Capitol. This is the natural result of Trump’s weeks-long effort to delegitimize the election and overthrow our democracy. He lit the match when he called for “wild” protests in the nation’s capital.

The violence is also the natural result of Republicans’ refusal to confront — and when they had a chance, remove — a president who lived up to the worst fears of his opponents. The events preceding the chaos highlighted the role of congressional Republicans in triggering this unprecedented spasm of authoritarian-inspired violence.

As Trump’s rioting mob attacked police outside the Capitol building — a poignant example of the right’s hypocritical claim to be the “law and order” party — Rep. Paul A. Gosar (R-Ariz.) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) on the House floor attempted to substitute their will for that of the American people. They sought to challenge the votes of Gosar’s home state, an act of betrayal that in less serious circumstances would be comical. Even more shamefully, a large portion of the House Republicans rose to give an ovation to the insurrection.

Once the Senate reconvened in its own chamber, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) rose to defend the right of the people to determine our elections. He correctly warned: “We cannot simply declare ourselves a national board of elections on steroids. The voters, the courts and the states have all spoken. … If we overrule them, it will damage our Republic forever.”

He should have stopped while he was ahead. Instead, he deplored a political universe in which we “keep drifting apart into two separate tribes with a separate set of facts and separate realities" and insisted democracy requires adherence to the truth. He deplored a political environment in which we are at war with one another and seek to undermine our institutions. Coming from the man who defended Trump for four years; who refused to uphold his oath by ignoring replete facts of impeachable conduct; who abused the institution of the Senate to deny Merrick Garland a hearing on his Supreme Court nomination and then jammed through Amy Coney Barrett’s; who declared that desperately needed aid to fight the pandemic was a “blue state bailout”; and who refused to roundly condemn Trump’s calls to violence, this was galling. Tribalism and compulsive lying have defined the Republican Party over these past four years, aided and abetted by McConnell.

And as if to prove how lacking in credibility he is, McConnell bizarrely tried to accuse Democrats of attacking institutions and refusing to recognize the results of elections. This is a lie. Democrats never objected to electoral college votes for Trump. They never said he was not the elected president. They pursued ample evidence of Trump’s illegality and unconstitutional behavior. There is a world of difference.

McConnell deserves little praise for coming to his senses (sort of) after apparently losing the Senate majority in Georgia’s Senate runoff elections. He and his colleagues, aside from Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), should examine their consciences.

If there was a positive aspect to the events on Wednesday, it is that we saw Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) blow up his career and future presidential ambitions on the floor of the Senate. His essential argument was that people are now suspicious of the election results — because of his and Trump’s baseless conspiracies! — and so we must investigate. As Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said, this is nothing more than an insurrection.

Between the right-wing rioters outside the Capitol to the insurrectionists inside, the Republican Party departs the Trump era in tatters and in disgrace. If the Republicans now arguing against the coup have an ounce of integrity, they should kick Cruz and his co-conspirators out of the caucus, deny them committee seats and run primary challengers against them. Their “colleagues” who wish to overthrow the government have rejected democracy. Now those in the GOP who claim to protect it should reject them.

Georgia’s voters end the Trump era. Definitively.

Thanks to the voters of Georgia, the 2020 election looks very different than it did 48 hours ago. Barring a highly unlikely shift in the vote count, President-elect Joe Biden will now govern with a Democratic Senate and a Democratic House. The margins will be thin, but the power of Republicans to obstruct has been sharply diminished.

And the political map of the United States looks very different, too. Four years ago, it was unimaginable that Democratic control of the elected branches of the federal government would be cemented by victories in Senate races in Georgia. The Rev. Raphael Warnock won and Jon Ossoff leads in a state that had not elected a Democrat to the Senate in two decades.

The likely outcome put an exclamation point on Biden’s success and a dagger into the Trump era. President Trump almost certainly hurt Republicans Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, both directly and indirectly.

Jan. 6 will be a glorious tribute to Trump’s failure. Opinion by Paul Waldman Columnist Dec. 31, 2020

For a while, it appeared as though President Trump might have a hard time finding a senator who would join in a challenge when Congress receives the votes of the electoral college on Jan. 6, as procedures demand to force a debate on whether some of those votes might be rejected. Trump had recruited newly elected Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.), but “Tubs” hadn’t yet committed to play the part. But now Trump doesn’t need him, because Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), positively incandescent with ambition for 2024, has announced that he will bravely raise his hand and cry, in the words heard on elementary school playgrounds everywhere, “No fair!"

This is a fitting end to the 2020 election: pointless, insincere, performative outrage, promising the eternally aggrieved GOP base a victory Trump can’t deliver, contemptuous of the majority of Americans, and propped up by Republicans whose opinion of their own voters could barely be lower.

When future students stroll through their virtual reality presentations on the Trump presidency, this will be another of those standout moments, to add to the horror of Charlottesville, the shame of Helsinki, the vulgar corruption of “Do us a favor though” and the shocking negligence of “One day, it’s like a miracle, it will disappear." This, they’ll learn, was how the final door was shut on Trump’s attempt to steal the 2020 election.

How to make deals with unreasonable people. Opinion by Jennifer Rubin Columnist Dec. 16, 2020

Photo of Mitch McConnell, obstructionist

As the two parties narrow in on a compromise deal for a stimulus package initially devised by a bipartisan group of House and Senate members, we know the final product, if there is one, will certainly disappoint many in the Democratic base. Already, progressives are talking about nixing the deal. While the two Georgia Senate runoff races have yet to be decided, the long and tortured path to a possible deal tells us a lot about how the parties will operate in an era in which Democrats will control the White House and narrowly hold the House while the Senate remains closely divided and subject to a filibuster.

First, Republicans’ demands are not related to actual conditions in the country. They have demanded that the bill include protections for companies against lawsuits related to covid-19, but there is virtually no litigation against employers for covid-19 exposure and, in any event, tort litigation under state law would likely be unsuccessful (e.g., causation would be hard to prove). Nevertheless, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has made this a red line, either because he is beholden to business interests and a right-wing base (neither of which think logically about tort liability) or because he needed an excuse to avoid a deal. Likewise, Republicans’ objection to state and local funding is irrational and counterproductive when even red states such as Kentucky are facing a budget collapse and layoffs of public employees. Arguing on the merits is rarely the way to win over Republicans.

Second, as Jason Furman, former chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, observed, sometimes it is worth letting Republicans have something ludicrous but harmless. He tweeted that “a better template for deals next year is to give up a bit more in exchange for getting more. In this case, the GOP demand for liability protections was high symbolism relative to substance (few lawsuits anyway), [so I] wish Dems had given that in exchange for more state aid." We do not know if that deal was possible, but if so, it is hard to argue against Furman’s position.

Third, red-state Republicans want things, too. The notion that Republicans, even very conservative ones, are against “big government” is laughable given the size of the deficit and the unimpeded growth in spending over decades. Whether it is military bases in their districts, hospital support, better access to broadband or rural child care, there are plenty of attractive items Democrats can throw into a stimulus package. Given that neither side believes in lowering the deficit (although Republicans will pretend they do under a Democratic president), Democrats should be willing to win over Republicans with rural benefits in whatever spending package they propose. (These may also be good policy as we seek to narrow the urban-rural divide.)

Fourth, Republicans like federalism; Democrats during the Trump presidency learned to appreciate it as well. Republican governors on balance tend to be more responsible and more fact-based than Republicans in the House and Senate. Democrats should therefore be amenable to sending money to the states with fewer federal controls than they might otherwise want. If Republicans, for example, can be talked into sending billions to states for Medicaid, Democrats should not balk if some Republicans in some states want to impose work requirements. This is the nature of compromise.

Fifth, the bipartisan group of senators negotiating the stimulus package showed they can successfully move McConnell. As I have noted, Democrats must seek out moderate Republicans such as Sens. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Susan Collins (Maine) as well as a few conservatives (e.g., Utah’s Mitt Romney, Louisiana’s Bill Cassidy) to make deals. The coalition may shift on a case-by-case basis, but so long as enough Republicans demand action, McConnell will find it harder to obstruct popular initiatives.

Finally, there will always be Democrats who say, “It’s not enough. We should hold out for more." While attractive, this is rarely productive when the other side feels comfortable just saying no. The stimulus package is a case in point. President-elect Joe Biden is telling Democrats to make the deal now -- and then wait until he is in office to get more. Biden’s confidence in his own ability to win over Republicans might be exaggerated, but given the outcome of the 2020 election, there is no other option but, in football terms, to grind out three yards and a cloud of dust before coming back on the next snap for more gains.

Retiring Michigan congressman quits GOP, citing ‘disappointing’ election claims. By Paul Kane Dec. 14, 2020

A retiring Michigan congressman quit the Republican Party on Monday over President Trump’s refusal to accept defeat in his election campaign, blasting GOP leaders in Washington for aiding and abetting Trump’s endeavors.

“It is unacceptable for political candidates to treat our election system as though we are a third-world nation and incite distrust of something so basic as the sanctity of our vote," Rep. Paul Mitchell wrote in a 2½ -page letter to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel. “Further, it is unacceptable for the president to attack the Supreme Court of the United States because its judges, both liberal and conservative, did not rule with his side."

Mitchell surprised many colleagues last year when he announced he would not seek reelection after just two terms, citing Trump’s public demeanor and caustic behavior. But he remained a reliably conservative vote in his last months in office, opposed last year’s impeachment vote against the president and, as he wrote in his letter Monday, voted for Trump’s reelection last month.

Mitchell’s announcement, on the same day that the electoral college certified President-elect Joe Biden’s victory, included criticism of McDaniel and McCarthy for not intervening with Trump and instead taking actions that encouraged violent protests across the country, including demonstrations Saturday in Washington where four stabbings occurred as members of a group of White chauvinists attacked ­anti-Trump activists.

His decision was first reported by CNN

“I believe that raw political considerations, not constitutional or voting integrity concerns, motivate many in party leadership to support the ‘stop the steal’ efforts, which is extremely disappointing to me," Mitchell wrote.

Mitchell’s actions stand apart from the vast majority of Republicans in the House and Senate, most of whom have refused to publicly acknowledge Biden’s victory and instead have tried to avoid answering questions about the presidential contest.

He is the second Republican from Michigan to give up on the party, following the decision last year by Rep. Justin Amash to abandon the GOP because of his opposition to Trump’s hostile takeover of its ideological core. A libertarian-leaning five-term lawmaker, Amash considered running for the Libertarian Party’s nomination for president but instead opted to retire from elective politics.

In his letter quitting the GOP, Mitchell singled out McDaniel, a fellow Michigander, for allowing racially tinged accusations of voter fraud to percolate and spread with a focus on Detroit, a ­majority-Black city in Wayne County, the most populous in the state.

He noted that Trump lost to Biden by about 154,000 votes statewide, far larger than the margin of fewer than 11,000 votes Trump won Michigan by in 2016.

“Ronna, you know Michigan politics well. President Trump did not lose Michigan because of Wayne County, but rather he lost because of dwindling support in areas including Kent and Oakland County, both previous Republican strongholds," Mitchell wrote of suburbs that broke for Biden.

McDaniel and McCarthy did not immediately respond to Mitchell’s criticisms.

Mitchell ended his missive by explaining that, for his last few days in office, he will officially be considered an independent by the clerk of the House on voting rolls.

“While admittedly symbolic, we all know that symbols matter," Mitchell wrote.

The indelible stain of Republican sedition

Republicans have done far worse than just 'damage' our democracy. Dartagnan Community Wednesday December 09, 2020

For anyone concerned about the future of this country, the last few weeks have been anything but reassuring. Yes, the Trump campaign’s quest to overturn the election results has yielded a string of embarrassing failures, as courts across the country, with virtual unanimity, slapped down dozens of abusive, evidence-challenged, and frivolous lawsuits, even as the legal maneuvers themselves became more farfetched and fantasy-driven. And yes, thus far our legal system has generally held its ground in the face of these politically motivated attempts to twist it off its foundations.

But as has been pointed out repeatedly, the poison introduced by such toxic abuses of the system doesn’t just disappear. These seemingly scattershot legal trial balloons will leave an impression simply because they move, however invisibly, the infamous Overton window, subtly redefining what type of conduct is and is not tolerable to our society.

But things are more insidious than that.

It’s a fundamental principle that American democracy is dependent on fealty to the rule of law, but it’s less acknowledged that the “rule of law” itself is also dependent on something called “truth."

In criminal law, to convict someone of a crime generally requires a finding of “proof beyond a reasonable doubt." In civil cases the proof threshold is a lesser one, proof by a “preponderance of the evidence," or in some cases, “clear and convincing evidence." All of these formulations are different ways of getting to the truth of the matter at hand. Since there is rarely something as recognizable as an “absolute truth," such “truths” are, by necessity, approximations: reflections of our best, though imperfect, human efforts to determine what the facts of the matter actually are.

When these courts threw out or otherwise disposed of the Trump campaign’s lawsuits, nearly all of them referred to the complete absence of any evidence put forward to support them. Still, again and again, even down to the last-ditch filing on Tuesday in the U.S. Supreme Court, the Trump campaign, with either the tacit or full-fledged support of the Republican Party, continued to insist that its bald assertions and arguments should be afforded the same consideration applied to real facts. They continued to insist that their contrived, bare, and hyperbolic accusations of some sinister “plot” against Donald Trump should be treated with the same deference as actual evidence.

In effect, they asked our legal system, over and over, to agree that 2+2=5, that A=B, that fraud should be assumed and investigated where none could possibly exist. Trump’s team demanded that zero credible evidence should nonetheless lead to a drastic result in their favor, a result that would repudiate the entirety of our democratic-based system of government. In other words, they’ve repeatedly asked the courts to discard truth.

As long as the courts refused to do that, you’d be forgiven for thinking that everything will turn out okay. But the Trump campaign, and the Republican Party that prop it up, never actually expected these lawsuits to be successful. Their own lawyers, at least the ones employed by genuine, “respectable” law firms knew exactly where they were headed—they were simply being paid (at least in theory) to do a job. Lawyers don’t drive lawsuits—their clients do; in this case, they had a client who desperately wanted to create a narrative. Trump’s vehicle to this goal was to abuse the legal system, something he’s done all his life. It was a narrative that the whole Republican Party would end up buying into: that truth didn’t matter anymore. It was the story they were selling to the 70 million or so Trump voters that mattered. And they counted on their credulous base, snug in its information bubble, to accept exactly what they were being told.

Jim Small, writing for the Arizona Mirror, diagnosed this dangerous susceptibility on the part of the Republican electorate just after the 2018 midterms. Then, the GOP did a trial run at spinning a false fraud narrative of why and how then-candidate Kyrsten Sinema defeated former Sen. Martha McSally in that state’s 2018 election; how eagerly the Republican rank and file embraced that phony narrative. At that time, Small described their unsettling capacity for WILLING SELF-DELUSION.

But they want to believe, with as much sincerity as they’re able to trick themselves into faking, the fantasy that there is fraud, that there is a conspiracy to steal political power away from them, that their political opponents are evil and their time in positions of power will be nightmarish. Facts that refute the lie are instead used as evidence of the conspiracy, and truth-tellers become conspirators.

Why?

Well, fantasies – and nightmares, in particular – are exciting. The day-to-day existence can be mundane: cleaning the litter box, the drudgery of our jobs, doing laundry, and our orderly and peaceful elections. The prospect of a massive evil conspiracy of evil conspirators conspiring to do evil spices things up.

They’re having fun. They’re enjoying this. It delights them. A make-believe session of feigned indignation over imaginary outrages is a close substitute for emotional fulfillment.

But after four years, Small’s assessment of Republican voters has become considerably darker, as what once could have been written off as a feigned “distraction” has morphed, outright, into a life-affirming obsession. Writing again this month for the Mirror, Small quoted author Kurt Vonnegut, whose 1962 novel Mother Night examines how the human capacity for self-deception can, if unchecked, ruin entire populations.

His warning is a chilling one, laid out in the opening sentences: “We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be."

Republicans have spent four years ignoring and then humoring and then repeating Trump’s vile and utterly false claims that strike at the heart of our democracy. Now, they are demanding exceptional and unprecedented remedies to problems that were fabricated out of whole cloth. ...

They’ve become what they pretended to be.

What George Packer wrote this week in The Atlantic dovetails completely with that analysis: The myth that Republicans were somehow “stabbed in the back” and betrayed by unseen forces has now taken hold of the Party, and most of its constituents.

So a stab-in-the-back narrative was buried in the minds of millions of Americans, where it burns away, as imperishable as a carbon isotope, consuming whatever is left of their trust in democratic institutions and values. This narrative will widen the gap between Trump believers and their compatriots who might live in the same town, but a different universe.

And that was Trump’s purpose—to keep us locked in a mental prison where reality was unknowable so that he could go on wielding power, whether in or out of office, including the power to destroy.

For his opponents, the lies were intended to be profoundly demoralizing. Neither counting them nor checking facts nor debunking conspiracies made any difference. Trump demonstrated again and again that the truth doesn’t matter. In rational people this provoked incredulity, outrage, exhaustion, and finally an impulse to crawl away and abandon the field of politics to the fantasists.

For believers, the consequences were worse. They surrendered the ability to make basic judgments about facts, exiling themselves from the common framework of self-government. They became litter swirling in the wind of any preposterous claim that blew from @realDonaldTrump. Truth was whatever made the world whole again by hurting their enemies—the more far-fetched, the more potent and thrilling.

The consequences of this warped and radical departure from truth are coming into clear focus as the Trump charade careens toward its inevitable endgame. We see the rage building as deluded hordes of armed vigilantes gather to harass and intimidate government servants for doing their job. We see Republican governors taking Gestapo-like revenge on people for speaking the truth in the face of their lies. We see cowed public officials refusing to acknowledge the truth out of fear for their lives. And we see efforts like this shameful document, where elected state officials, who presumably should know better, now feel free to advocate disenfranchising their own citizens as a token of their obedience to Donald Trump.

Where a political party is subordinate to a cult of personality, with rare exceptions, any deviation from the party line is politically suicidal. Fear of being labelled an apostate or a heretic keeps people in line, because their political survival depends on echoing the dogma spewed by the leader. This is why brutal, dictatorship-style regimes, such as North Korea, for example, do not simply whither away but sustain themselves in perpetuity. In such regimes, truth becomes forever the province of whatever the leader says it is. In such an environment, whatever institutions exist that oppose that made-up “truth” ultimately must run up against the numbers and power of the population so deceived, and ultimately those institutions must either stand or crumble.

The Trump campaign knew that if it could persuade a single federal or state appellate judge that 2+2 did in fact equal 5, they would have elevated this disregard of truth to a level of respectability which it desperately wants to achieve. They didn’t initiate over 50 meritless lawsuits because they were expecting to win, but because they wanted to game the system in the future. They wanted to work the refs to see what could be achieved in warping truth to their own ends. They know that the inroads already made with our legislative branch of government will only inspire further attempts to co-opt the judiciary, because as any lawyer can tell you, while judges may swear to uphold the law, judicial decisions are often made with a nod toward the undercurrents of society as a whole.

And they know that if the judiciary succumbs to the abandonment of facts, the final arbiter of truth in this country all but disappears.

For the next six weeks or so, Republicans can hide behind the excuse that Donald Trump is still the occupant of the Oval Office. As of Jan. 20, they will no longer have that excuse. After that, and in the months that follow, we will all be seeing just how deep this rot runs within the Republican Party, how far they intend to goad their own constituents down this ever-circling rabbit-hole of grievance, and most importantly, whether they have any inclination at all to respond to the urgent needs of the American people. In the midst of an unprecedented public health and economic crisis, to have one political party gamely attempting to dig us out of this abyss while the other remains totally enamored by delusions, lies, and hateful revenge fantasies is simply unsustainable.

The GOP’s Minority Rule Caucus reveals its contempt for democracy

These Republicans may not be capable of shame, but you should know who they are. Opinion by Ruth Marcus Deputy editorial page editor Dec. 11, 2020

I never imagined that the aftermath of the election would pose a greater danger to American democracy than the four previous years. But here we are. Not just because of President Trump -- his authoritarian impulses are a given -- but because of the craven response of his fellow Republicans.

With the always doomed-to-fail litigation at the Supreme Court, Republicans have gone beyond the indulge-the-toddler-while-he-cries-it-out phase of this debacle to a dangerous new stage: Incentivize the toddler. Reward his bad behavior. Encourage his belief, as poisonous to democracy as it is delusional, that the election was stolen.

And they are laying the predicate for a contentious new phase of American democracy, if it can continue to be called that, in which election results -- after appropriate recounts and audits and certifications -- are no longer accepted. Instead, they merely open the door for a second phase of legal and political guerrilla warfare in which no tactic, no lie, no baseless claim is off-limits. Democracy cannot function this way.

It had looked as though we dodged a bullet with Trump’s defeat. Turns out there were more in the gun.

One interminable month ago, in response to Trump’s unsupported claims of electoral victory -- then shocking, now routine -- I wrote that history would judge the response of Republican leaders. Only those willing to ignore their gutless record over the past four years would have expected many profiles in courage. Still, what’s happened is even worse: not servile silence but vigorous incitement.

Which brings us to Texas’s risible bid to have the Supreme Court throw out the election results -- which the justices predictably rejected Friday evening. The dry legal language of the court’s order barely concealed its exasperation with Texas’s shenanigans. “Texas has not demonstrated a judicially cognizable interest in the manner in which another State conducts its elections," the court noted tartly.

But this is not a matter of all’s well that ends well. What was alarming about the Texas effort -- what Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro aptly described as “this seditious abuse of the judicial process” -- was that it gained the support of so many others. Seventeen of 26 Republican state attorneys general. Nearly two-thirds of House Republicans, some 106 on Thursday, with 20 more jumping on the bandwagon Friday, including the minority leader, Kevin McCarthy (Calif.).

Every one of these individuals has forfeited any claim to believe in anything but fealty to Trump and their own political self-interest. Because nothing could be less conservative, less consistent with supposed Republican principles, than urging a court to overturn a democratic election. Spare me the pieties about activist judges.

Nothing could be less consistent with conservative principles than contending that one state should be able to instruct another about how to conduct its elections -- or that federal judges should referee such claims. So much for federalism.

So history will record, but let me make it easier for the historians and, perhaps, impose a smidgen of accountability in the present.

First, the attorneys general, the chief law enforcement officers of their states, who joined Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton in this legal monstrosity: Eric Schmitt, Missouri (he goes first because Missouri filed the brief); Steve Marshall, Alabama; Leslie Rutledge, Arkansas; Ashley Moody, Florida; Curtis Hill, Indiana; Derek Schmidt, Kansas; Jeff Landry, Louisiana; Lynn Fitch, Mississippi; Tim Fox, Montana; Doug Peterson, Nebraska; Wayne Stenehjem, North Dakota; Mike Hunter, Oklahoma; Alan Wilson, South Carolina; Jason Ravnsborg, South Dakota; Herbert H. Slatery III, Tennessee; Sean Reyes, Utah; Patrick Morrisey, West Virginia.

Second, the House members, including McCarthy, Whip Steve Scalise (La.); Jim Jordan (Ohio), ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee; Kevin Brady (Tex.), ranking member of the Ways and Means Committee; Rep. Gary Palmer (Ala.), head of the Republican Policy Committee; and Mike Johnson (La.), who organized this constitutional abomination.

The rest, listed in order of their home state: Alabama (Robert B. Aderholt, Mo Brooks, Bradley Byrne), Arizona (Andy Biggs, Debbie Lesko), Arkansas (Eric A. “Rick” Crawford, Bruce Westerman), California (Ken Calvert, Doug LaMalfa, Tom McClintock), Colorado (Ken Buck, Doug Lamborn), Florida (Gus M. Bilirakis, Mario Diaz-Balart, Neal Dunn, Matt Gaetz, Bill Posey, John Rutherford, Ross Spano, Michael Waltz, Daniel Webster, Ted Yoho), Georgia (Rick Allen, Earl L. “Buddy” Carter, Douglas A. Collins, Drew Ferguson, Jody Hice, Barry Loudermilk, Austin Scott), Idaho (Russ Fulcher, Mike Simpson), Illinois (Mike Bost, Darin LaHood), Indiana (Jim Baird, Jim Banks, Trey Hollingsworth, Greg Pence, Jackie Walorski), Iowa (Steve King), Kansas (Ron Estes, Roger Marshall), Louisiana (Ralph Abraham, Clay Higgins).

Maryland (Andy Harris), Michigan (Jack Bergman, Bill Huizenga, John Moolenaar, Tim Walberg), Minnesota (Tom Emmer, Jim Hagedorn, Pete Stauber), Mississippi (Michael Guest, Trent Kelly, Steven M. Palazzo), Missouri (Sam Graves, Billy Long, Vicky Hartzler, Blaine Luetkemeyer, Jason T. Smith, Ann Wagner), Montana (Greg Gianforte), Nebraska (Jeff Fortenberry, Adrian Smith), New Jersey (Gregory Steube, Jeff Van Drew), New York (Elise Stefanik, Lee Zeldin), North Carolina (Dan Bishop, Ted Budd, Virginia Foxx, Richard Hudson, Greg Murphy, David Rouzer, Mark Walker), Ohio (Bob Gibbs, Bill Johnson, Robert E. Latta, Brad Wenstrup), Oklahoma (Kevin Hern, Markwayne Mullin).

Pennsylvania (John Joyce, Frederick B. Keller, Mike Kelly, Dan Meuser, Scott Perry, Guy Reschenthaler, Glenn Thompson), South Carolina (Jeff Duncan, Ralph Norman, Tom Rice, William Timmons, Joe Wilson), Tennessee (Tim Burchett, Scott DesJarlais, Charles J. “Chuck” Fleischmann, Mark Green, David Kustoff, John Rose), Texas (Jodey Arrington, Brian Babin, Michael C. Burgess, Michael Cloud, K. Michael Conaway, Dan Crenshaw, Bill Flores, Louie Gohmert, Lance Gooden, Kenny Marchant, Randy Weber, Roger Williams, Ron Wright), Virginia (Ben Cline, H. Morgan Griffith, Rob Wittman, Ron Wright), Washington (Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Dan Newhouse), West Virginia (Carol Miller, Alex Mooney), Wisconsin (Tom Tiffany).

They may not be capable of shame, but you should know who they are.

Chris Murphy’s surprise floor speech raises tough questions for Democrats. Opinion by Greg Sargent Columnist Dec. 11, 2020

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) on Capitol Hill in September. (Susan Walsh/AP)

If there’s one thing that widespread Republican support for President Trump’s effort to overturn the election results suggests, it’s that we’re entering into uncertain and potentially treacherous territory when it comes to the long-term viability of our democracy.

And that raises hard questions for Democrats that they haven’t seriously begun to grapple with -- about how they will deal with this ultra-radicalized Republican opposition, and relatedly, about how they should communicate with the American people about the true nature of that opposition.

All this is driven home by a speech that Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) gave on the Senate floor on Friday, in which he called out his Republican colleagues. Watch this full excerpt:

text Chris Murphy:

“Right now, the most serious attempt to overthrow our democracy in the history of our of country is underway.

Those who are pushing to make Donald Trump President, no matter the outcome of the election, are engaged in a treachery against their nation."

Chris Murphy video

Now ask yourself this: How many other Democrats have you heard making this case in such stark terms?

Yes, you regularly hear Democrats claiming that it’s time that Republicans accept that Trump lost. Or you hear them slamming Trump’s lawsuits as frivolous. Or you hear them suggesting that Republicans are spineless for not standing up to Trump, as if they harbor deeply held principles they’d adhere to if only Trump’s rage-tweets weren’t so frightening.

But you don’t often hear them saying what Murphy suggested here: that the Republican Party has morphed into a malignant and profoundly dangerous threat to the country and the long-term prospects for our democratic stability.

I followed up with Murphy to ask what prompted this speech.

“I have a very clear sense of the danger this all poses to the republic," Murphy told me. “If this becomes at all normalized more broadly than it already is, they will steal an election two years from now or four years from now."

“And then I’m not sure how we keep our democracy together," Murphy continued.

I asked Murphy whether more Democrats need to step up and amplify a similar case. He pointed out that this is a complicated moment, with Democrats under pressure to do a lot of things at once. Among these are managing the transfer of power, scaling up a more robust response to coronavirus and negotiating with Republicans on an economic rescue package.

There also seems to be a tension at play among Democrats. President-elect Joe Biden’s team -- which has adopted the posture that much of what Republicans are doing is just a stunt -- wants to reassure the country that the transition is proceeding smoothly, and might not want too much focus on this disruption. But that risks misleading the public about the tenuousness of the moment.

Murphy suggested that a “division of labor” among Democrats is appropriate, in which some raise alarms and others focus more on all those other matters. But he allowed that more Democrats need to speak up right now.

“I think we do need more people looking at this as a hair-on-fire moment," Murphy told me, while adding that “not everybody in the party can do that, because there are a lot of things going on."

All this raises broader questions: If large swaths of the Republican Party are morphing into a much more cancerous anti-democratic force, one that in some basic sense just isn’t functioning as an actor in a democracy, how should Democrats adapt, and communicate to the public about this? How can they compete in the information wars, given the massive media machine the GOP has at its disposal?

On another front, a much more robust agenda to broaden prosperity and combat inequality and flat wages might defuse some populist anger out there. But given that the prospects for a modest economic rescue package are dim -- and given the likelihood of GOP Senate control -- that seems like an uphill climb.

Murphy suggested that the starting point might be to “diagnose the problem," which would require a real reorientation in posture.

“For much of the last four years, we thought the problem was that Republicans knew what the right thing was, but they just didn’t do it because Trump was so scary," Murphy told me. “I think this moment is showing us that there are a whole lot of Republicans who believe this nonsense."

“This isn’t just a party that’s trying to stay on the good side of an enemy of democracy," Murphy continued. “This is a party that has a whole bunch of enemies of democracy inside its top ranks. That’s bone-chilling."

If we start to answer the question of “how did we get to the point where the Republican Party has such antipathy to democracy inside it," then we might “be led to some policies to pursue," Murphy said. As if the next few years weren’t already looking dark and challenging enough.

Why the Republican cult of victimhood is so dangerous. Opinion by Max Boot Columnist Dec. 11, 2020

Republicans oppose supposedly frivolous lawsuits on behalf of employees infected by covid-19 at work, yet they support farcical lawsuits to overturn the election results. Such breathtaking displays of incoherence -- are Republicans pro or con on “lawsuit abuse”? -- can lead one to conclude that the only thing the Republican Party truly believes in anymore is President Trump’s cult of personality.

But that’s not quite fair. The Republican Party does have a few deep-seated beliefs left. With his uncanny ability to channel the right-wing id, Trump perfectly expressed one of the modern GOP’s animating beliefs during a rally in Georgia on Dec. 5. “We’re all victims," he said. “Everybody here, all these thousands of people here tonight, they’re all victims, every one of you."

Huey Long promised: “Every man a king." Trump’s premise: Everyone a victim. This might seem an unlikely sentiment coming from a tycoon who has been wealthy since birth. But no amount of success can cure Trump of his conviction that he is being treated unfairly.

You would think a party that has long preached the gospel of personal responsibility -- of pulling yourself up by the bootstraps rather than relying on government handouts -- would reject this cult of victimhood. Au contraire. Forget about all the “winning” Trump promised. Many Republicans prefer to see themselves as losers -- and, boy, are they sore.

Rich Lowry, editor of National Review, rationalized support for Trump as a “middle finger … to brandish against the people who’ve assumed they have the whip hand in American culture” -- meaning, “the media, academia, corporate America, Hollywood, professional sports, the big foundations, and almost everything in between."

Poor Republicans. They have to be satisfied with control of the Senate and the Supreme Court -- and outsize influence in the House and the electoral college. And it’s not as if the institutions Republicans decry are monolithically liberal. Fox News is part of the media, too, and it has long been the top-rated cable channel. Nor is corporate America suffering from a shortage of Republicans -- where else does Trump find all of his big donors? The owners of professional sports teams also skew heavily Republican.

The media sometimes depicts Republican voters as the poor and downtrodden -- as the people that globalization left behind in opioid-ravaged Rust Belt towns -- but that’s not exactly true. Exit polls show that President-elect Joe Biden won voters making under $100,000 a year. Trump won those making over $100,000 annually -- and by a large margin (54 percent to 42 percent).

And yet it’s not entirely illogical that Republicans are seething with resentment. As Thomas Edsall argued in a recent New York Times column, Republicans are reacting less to a loss of income than to a loss of status and prestige.

Trump appeals primarily to older White voters: If the exit polls are accurate, he won 58 percent of White voters but only 12 percent of Black voters and roughly a third of Latinos and Asians. These White voters grew up in a world of unquestioned White privilege and certain widely accepted myths (e.g., about cops and Confederates) that are now being challenged as people of color become more numerous and assertive. Ultimately, by 2045, we will be a majority minority nation. It is fear of that fact that, more than anything else, explains and animates the modern Republican Party.

The Republican cult of victimhood is dangerous because if you believe that you have been wronged by forces beyond your control, you may also believe that you are justified in fighting back by any means imaginable. There’s a reason totalitarian movements so often rely on victimhood myths -- such as Adolf Hitler’s claim that Germany had been “stabbed in the back” during World War I by liberals, Jews, communists and socialists, or Joseph Stalin’s claim that “enemies of the people” were plotting to sell out the Soviet Union to the fascists.

This kind of totalitarian propaganda strikes us as insane. But is it any crazier than the QAnon movement, which has been embraced by so many Republicans? It claims that top Democrats are Satan-worshipping, blood-drinking child molesters. Or is it any crazier than the “stabbed in the back” myth that Trump is now propagating -- claiming that he was robbed of his rightful landslide by all-pervasive and yet entirely invisible chicanery?

Some of the very people who are now advancing the most preposterous claims of voter fraud -- e.g., attorney L. Lin Wood -- are also responsible for helping to raise $2 million to bail out Kyle Rittenhouse, the domestic terrorist who was caught on video and accused of killing two people and wounding another in Kenosha, Wis. They think he is a victim whose murderous rampage was justified in self-defense. This is an exceedingly dangerous mind-set that will victimize the whole country.

Pelosi accuses Republicans of ‘subverting the Constitution’ as more GOP lawmakers backed failed attempt to undo Biden’s win in the Supreme Court. 12/12/20

McConnell blocks progress on COVID-19 relief, traditional media says 'both sides' are in 'disarray'

Good God, enough of this. Enough of these headlines: "Economic relief talks in disarray as congressional bickering intensifies." Or this: "Coronavirus relief negotiations reach a breaking point with time running short." As if the stimulus talks were a sentient actor going down the wrong path. As if one person—Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell—wasn't purposefully sabotaging the effort. As if he hadn't been doing that for eight months, moving goalposts and setting out impossible, poison-pill demands to secure his support.

It's been 209 days since the House passed the $3 trillion HEROES Act, and 71 days since the House passed their compromise $2.2 trillion bill, both of which McConnell has refused to consider. Until the traditional media says that, until they stop both-sidesing this as "squabbles" and "bickering" and call McConnell out for the destructive force that he is, he's going to continue to hold all the cards.

Muslim men said the FBI put them on no-fly list for retribution, SCOTUS grants them the right to sue. 12/11/20

On Thursday, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled in favor of three Muslim men who said they were wrongly placed wrongly on a “no-fly” list. The men, all U.S. residents, went to court on the basis that the FBI put them on the government’s no-fly list for refusing to spy on U.S. Muslim communities and act as informants. All three men were allegedly placed on the list without evidence to prove that they threatened airline or passenger security. As a result of being on the list, not only were the three men’s reputations and employment statuses harmed, but they could not visit family in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Yemen for a span of years.

The Supreme Court’s decision, the latest in a spate of rulings in favor of religious liberties, allows the men to sue the FBI agents for monetary damages under a federal law protecting religious exercise.

Now that the Supreme Court has ruled, we should treat these Republicans like the fascists they are. Dartagnan Community

Now that the Supreme Court has ruled on Texas’ ridiculous suit against four other states, perhaps we can take stock of what’s happened over the past few weeks.

Imagine a world where over one-half of the members in the Republican House of Representatives, including the top Republican in that caucus, sign on to a clumsy, thoroughly bogus attempt to overturn a national election based on contrived lies that add up to nothing except the fact that their man lost. Not just “lost," mind you, but was soundly beaten. Had his ass kicked, in fact, both in the popular vote and the electoral college tally.

And imagine a Republican Senate Majority equally contemptuous of the winner of that election, wielding the power to hold hostage many of the new President’s first official actions—such as the basic function of picking a Cabinet. That Senate uses the excuse that the election was still being “litigated” to stall even scheduling hearings on his Cabinet nominations.

Imagine the outgoing, losing president, doing his level best to sabotage and hamstring the man who beat him in the election, alternatively whining and threatening elected Republican officials, demanding a list of those opposed to him, so that he could single them out for punishment.

And imagine all of this occurring against the backdrop of the worst public health crisis, combined with an equally virulent economic calamity, to hit this country in over a century.

If you really want to appreciate the insanity of what we’re witnessing right now, just play the alternative scenario in your head.

Had President Barack Obama lost to Mitt Romney in 2012 by over seven million votes, suffered a 306-232 Electoral college shellacking, yet insisted he was the rightful winner, accusing the Republican Party of a massive and fraudulent campaign to undermine him, all while refusing to concede the election, you don’t really need to think too hard to comprehend how this whole sorry episode in our country’s history would have played out.

If something so ridiculous and far-fetched ever occurred, Democrats wouldn’t have waited to remove him, they would have done it themselves. They wouldn’t have waited for the Republican Party to cry and scream about it. He would have been banished from political life and never spoken of again.

So despite the Supreme Court’s ruling, wiping out this latest attempt by the GOP to subvert and destroy our country, there’s really something unspeakably terrible about this moment. It’s bad enough as it is, but it’s actually getting worse, Supreme Court rulings notwithstanding.

By now many people have put their finger on what’s going on here. Basically, the Republican Party has shown its true colors. In a way, perhaps, we should thank Donald Trump for bringing this out in the cold light, for all to see.

As Adam Serwer, writing for The Atlantic, cannily observes, the message that is being sent by the Republicans here is that your vote was fraudulent if the person you voted for wasn’t Donald Trump. And more specifically, your vote was fraudulent if you are not white.

To Trump’s strongest supporters, Biden’s win is a fraud because his voters should not count to begin with, and because the Democratic Party is not a legitimate political institution that should be allowed to wield power even if they did.

This is why the authoritarian remedies festering in the Trump fever swamps—martial law, the usurpation of state electors, Supreme Court fiat—are so openly contemplated.

Because the true will of the people is that Trump remain president, forcing that outcome, even in the face of defeat, is a fulfillment of democracy rather than its betrayal.

The Republican base’s fundamental belief, the one that Trump used to win them over in the first place, the one that ties the election conspiracy theory to

birtherism and to Trump’s sneering attack on the Squad’s citizenship, is that Democratic victories do not count, because Democratic voters are not truly American.

It’s no accident that the Trump campaign’s claims have focused almost entirely on jurisdictions with high Black populations.

To Republicans, only white votes matter now.

Are you wondering why you haven’t heard any accusations about voter fraud in the suburban counties surrounding Philadelphia, for example, which helped Joe Biden win Pennsylvania? There are no such accusations, because those areas are predominantly white.

Back to our imagined scenario: If Barack Obama had attempted this, the Republican Party would long since have lined up in unison, braying for his head on a platter. There would be no reticence in calling this exactly what it is: treachery, treason, sedition of the highest order.

Republicans wouldn’t be demanding hearings. From the top of the GOP leadership down, they’d be demanding an inquisition. They’d be urging all of their constituents to flood the streets.

But back in our real world, Democrats have been remarkably quiet about what is happening. Perhaps it’s an expectation that this will all blow over, once the Electoral College votes on Monday.

Perhaps the thinking is, following the lead of Joe Biden, Democrats want to project an air of professionalism and capability while the Republicans make fools of themselves. Perhaps they’re inclined to just let the media do the castigating for them. Perhaps, as some have suggested, they feel as if their Republican counterparts are only behaving this way because they know their efforts will be unsuccessful.

I don’t understand this thinking. It seems ridiculously naive, particularly under these times of unprecedented crisis, where thousands of Americans are dying in hospitals every single day.

The Republicans have embraced fascism. I don’t know how many times it’s going to be necessary to say this. I don’t know how it can be said more clearly. There will not be any cooperation with these people. They’ve sold their souls. Fascists are impervious to reason, shame or argument. The only thing they understand is power when it’s used against them.

The Democratic Party represents the majority—by a considerable margin—of the American voting public. As diverse as our coalition is, it is in fact the majority, and it needs to behave like a majority. We—not the Republicans—were the millions who marched in the streets of Washington, D.C. in 2017. We—not the Republicans—were the millions who marched in every major city in the country—and practically every other place in the country—in opposition to racism and police brutality. We—not the Republicans—were the ones who flooded the polls in 2018, and again in 2020, finally throwing this abomination out of office.

A majority has power, and it knows when to use it.

What the Republicans are doing has been, and is, intolerable. Any Republican—at the state level, the federal level, or in any other capacity—should be made to understand that they have betrayed the country. They need to know that they will be viewed and treated like people who have betrayed their country—for the rest of their political careers. They need to be made to understand that they will face the consequences of their 2020 treachery for the rest of their lives.

Unless and until that happens, they will continue to mock us, to disenfranchise us, knowing that we will sit back in fear, relying on our fragile “institutions” to protect us. And then they will try it again.

Republicans are engaged in an act of sedition, and no one should pretend this is just politics. Mark Summer, 12/11/20

On Tuesday, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed suit in the Supreme Court asking that the outcome of the federal election in four states—states that voted for Joe Biden—be overturned. Not recounted. Not investigated. But overthrown, eliminated, reversed. By any definition, what Texas asked of the court was for an immediate end to democracy in America and its replacement by single party rule. Then seventeen more Republican-controlled states signed on to this overt act of sedition.

On Thursday, 106 Republican members of the U.S. House added their names to this declaration that they’re done with the whole concept of representative government. If politics is war by other means, then Republicans are levying that war against the people, institutions, and foundations of the United States.

This is not a partisan dispute. There is no coming back from this. Certainly it should never be forgotten. Neither should there be any forgiveness. Republicans have launched a second civil war in the courts, and it should be treated no more kindly than any launched on the battlefield.

The Washington Post provides a list of the Republicans who, while technically not guilty of treason—perhaps, are none the less proud to put down their names as traitors, along with a 107th Republican who whined on Twitter that she was omitted from the official list due to a “clerical error." The names you might expect are there … Andy Biggs, Mo Brooks, Greg Gianforte, Louie Gohmert, Jim Jordan, Blaine Luetkemeyer, Steve Scalise. So is a long list of GOP backbenchers both so odious and pitiful that the opportunity to put their name on this infamy is the “highlight” of their careers.

The statement pulls no punches in what it requests. As the secretary of state for Pennsylvania wrote, "Texas seeks to invalidate elections in four states for yielding results with which it disagrees. Its request for this Court to exercise its original jurisdiction and then anoint Texas's preferred candidate for President is legally indefensible and is an affront to principles of constitutional democracy," wrote Shapiro. "Texas's effort to get this Court to pick the next President has no basis in law or fact. The Court should not abide this seditious abuse of the judicial process, and should send a clear and unmistakable signal that such abuse must never be replicated."

For the attorney generals who have signed their names to this blatant effort to overthrow the duly elected government of the United States, the Supreme Court should send a powerful rebuke. It’s not clear what punishment the court might mete out to the complainants … but it should seek the harshest available.

Then every bar association should seek the disbarment of every one of these attorneys general for an act that involves signing on in support of statements they know to be false. This is an illegal, immoral, amoral, and insupportable attempt to break the nation. It should be treated as such.

And then every member of the House of Representatives who put their name to this document should be expelled. So 106, or 107. Republicans might have signed on to this atrocity. But there are 233 Democratic members, and 89 Republicans who did not rush to anoint themselves Traitors for Trump. Let the House put their integrity to the test by calling for the expulsion, one at a time, of every member who attempted to destroy the nation’s most foundational institution. And let them start with Minority Whip Steve Scalise.

It does not matter that the text and assertions of the Texas suit are ludicrous. It does not matter that they’re certain to fail. In many ways, that only makes things worse. If it were possible to plow the posts of these men under and salt the earth above them, that should be done. Failing that, every one of them should be made absolutely certain that this is a mistake that will ruin their reputations for a lifetime.

The only thing more ridiculous than the suit issued by Texas, is the idea that these people might take this action and then carry on as if it never happened.

As Texas brief goes before the Supreme Court, another bunch of Republicans join sedition list. Mark Summer 12/11/20

To be absolutely clear, the lawsuit filed by Texas isn’t about arbitrating some election dispute. It doesn’t ask for a clarification on a rule, guidance on the allocation of electors, or recanvassing of some vote. Instead it seeks direct permission from the Supreme Court to disenfranchise tens of millions of Americans in specific states, and reverse the outcome overall, without providing evidence of a single mistallied vote.

There’s little doubt that from the moment it was filed, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton had no expectation of winning. None of the 17 other state attorney generals who signed onto the suit believe it will win. None of the Republican representatives who scrawled their names on the farce expect it to win. None of them actually believe the Supreme Court of the United States will stand up and say, “You know, we’re also sick of this democracy thing. From now on, single party authoritarian rule!"

Republicans are now so enamored of this seditious act that another score have rushed to have their names appended onto the list in the House. They genuinely believe they can take this action without consequence. For the sake of the nation, they had better be wrong.

[Sedition is overt conduct, such as speech and organisation, that tends toward rebellion against the established order. Sedition often includes subversion of a constitution and incitement of discontent toward, or rebellion against, established authority. Sedition may include any commotion, though not aimed at direct and open violence against the laws. - Wikipedia

Synonyms for sedition - treason, rabble-rousing, subversion, agitation, disloyalty, incitement to riot -https://www.freethesaurus.com/

Maybe the most ridiculous thing about this ridiculous moment, is that among the 126 Republican House members who have signed on to a document that they know to be not just false in its content, but malicious in its intent, are 19 from states that are the subject of the suit.

So Representatives like Doug Collins and Barry Loudermilk in Georgia are arguing that their own elections were fraudulent. Except, of course, they’re not making that argument. They’re not making any argument. They’re just hoping to gain “street cred” from adding their signatures to a list of people who support Trump rather than America.

Meanwhile, Texas has now actually filed its brief in this case. This means that the Supreme Court might hand down a ruling at any moment. It’s expected that a ruling will come no later than Monday.

Trump is testing democracy. Nine out of 10 senior elected Republicans are failing. Opinion by Max Boot Columnist November 18, 2020

President Trump is cynically trying to overturn the election results based on claims of fraud that are themselves fraudulent. He is unlikely to succeed. But if he did, the United States’ 232-year history as a democracy would be finished. Now is a time of testing: Do you stand with the democrats or the autocrats?

Unfortunately, most Republicans are failing this test -- just as they have failed every other test during Trump’s presidency. According to Axios, only six Republican senators (out of 53), seven Republican governors (out of 26) and 10 Republican members of the House (out of 197) have thus far acknowledged that Joe Biden won. That means fewer than 1 in 10 of the most senior elected Republicans publicly stands behind our electoral system. Even fewer have followed Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) in warning that Trump’s unfounded claim of election-rigging “damages the cause of freedom."

Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) has often championed freedom abroad, but now he is a threat to freedom at home. The Republican secretary of state in Georgia, Brad Raffensperger, says that the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee pressured him to throw out as many ballots as possible in a state that Biden won narrowly. (Graham denies it.) Anyone who thought that Lickspittle Lindsey would grow a spine now that he has been reelected -- and Trump defeated -- will be disabused of that illusion.

Time to call out the GOP’s new Jim Crow tactics. Opinion by Jennifer Rubin Columnist November 18, 2020

The Wayne County Board of Canvassers, which oversees elections in Detroit, provoked outrage Tuesday night after its members deadlocked over whether to certify its county’s results for the presidential election. Eventually, Republicans on the board caved to certify the results, asking Michigan’s secretary of state to conduct an audit of the election.

Before the reversal, the Trump campaign’s legal adviser celebrated the potential disenfranchisement of hundreds of thousands of African American voters:

Anger builds in Black community over Trump’s claims of voter fraud in big cities. By Ashley Nguyen, Kayla Ruble and Tim Craig November 20, 2020

When Wisconsin Republicans opened an office earlier this year in the historical Bronzeville neighborhood, it was meant to be a physical symbol of President Trump's commitment to urban voters. Signs on the window declared "Black Voices Matter," and the address was on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive.

But on Friday, as state officials began recounting ballots in Milwaukee County at the request of Trump’s failed reelection campaign, the office had become, for many residents, a symbol of Republican hypocrisy.

12-9-20

Matt Wuerker 12/8/20
Republicans at work

A GOP senator reveals just how deranged many in his party have become. Opinion by Greg Sargent Columnist Dec. 9, 2020

Sen. Patrick J. Toomey, Republican of Pennsylvania, has done something truly extraordinary. He has now stated in unequivocal terms that it’s unacceptable for his fellow Republicans to try to subvert the will of American voters to keep President Trump in power illegitimately.

Why have so few other Republicans proved willing to take this simple step?

Toomey’s declaration contrasts sharply with a new development in the Georgia runoffs. GOP Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue just announced their support for a deranged lawsuit filed by Texas that seeks to overturn popular vote outcomes in four battleground states that Trump lost.

Those Georgia moves capture a broader state of affairs: It appears that untold numbers of elected Republicans are trying to inspire in GOP voters a state of what you might call permanent warfare against our democratic institutions and the opposition’s voters alike.

This war footing doesn’t permit acknowledgment of the opposition’s claims to legitimate political representation. It treats efforts at the wholesale subversion of unwanted electoral outcomes as an acceptable tool of political competition.

This is what Toomey’s new declaration throws into sharp relief.

“It’s completely unacceptable," Toomey told the Philadelphia Inquirer, referring to Trump’s efforts to get numerous GOP-controlled state legislatures to appoint pro-Trump electors to the electoral college, in defiance of the state’s popular vote outcome.

“The president should give up trying to get legislatures to overturn the results of the elections in their respective states," Toomey continued.

Compounding the heresy on display here, Toomey even dared to reveal that he had personally congratulated President-elect Joe Biden on his victory, in a conversation Toomey described as “pleasant."

Some Republicans support Trump’s efforts

Our discourse on all this is deeply confused. News organizations sometimes emphasize that few elected Republicans have affirmatively endorsed Trump’s efforts to get state legislatures to overturn popular vote outcomes. This creates the impression that they are quietly tolerating a Trumpian tantrum that they hope will pass, as if the problem here is their mere spinelessness.

But the more important point -- and this is almost never conveyed with clarity -- is this. While it’s good that some state-level Republicans have rebuffed these efforts, a great many other elected Republicans have refrained from declaring them wholly intolerable, which would demonstrate that they must be unequivocally condemned as existentially destructive to democracy.

By doing exactly this, Toomey has exposed this deficit.

It’s also rarely conveyed with clarity that some Republican senators actually do tacitly support efforts to overturn the election results. This includes Loeffler and Perdue. Loeffler has suggested that by trying to get rogue electors appointed, Trump is merely exercising his “right” to take “legal recourse," which is nonsense, because that tactic lies outside what the law allows.

A demented lawsuit

What’s more, Loeffler and Perdue have now endorsed this new Texas lawsuit. It literally asks the Supreme Court to step in and invalidate Biden’s electors in Georgia, Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, on the fictitious grounds that the voting was administered fraudulently in them -- echoing claims that numerous courts have shot down already.

This could clear the way for GOP state legislatures in all four states to appoint Trump electors, overturning the results, as Trump himself has repeatedly demanded.

This is insane. As University of Texas law professor Steve Vladeck points out, the suit seeks to exploit the fact that the Supreme Court does have jurisdiction to hear disputes between states, but it does not automatically hear such complaints, and in this case, it won’t. The high court already declined to hear a somewhat less crazy lawsuit seeking to overturn results in Pennsylvania.

But the fact that this is a stunt doesn’t make it less disgusting that Loeffler and Perdue have endorsed it. Their statement declares that they “fully support” this lawsuit on the grounds that Trump has “every right” to exercise his “legal recourse."

Again, here they are declaring this effort to subvert the will of the voters to be a legitimate tactic. Since one of the states is Georgia, this is in effect a declaration of war on their own state’s electorate.

“The central argument here is that we should let the election be decided by unelected judges and partisan state legislators, rather than the 150 million Americans who cast legitimate ballots," Vladeck told me. “That would be the end of democracy as we know it."

The future of the Trumpified GOP

We hear a lot of pious talk about the need to restore solidarity and national unity these days. But as Will Wilkinson points out, such calls should be seen in the context of ongoing efforts to overturn the election: They ring particularly hollow when many major figures on the right are essentially demanding the majority’s “abject submission to the minority’s will."

Indeed, as Laura Field demonstrates, if Trump can keep exerting influence over the GOP, one can envision him -- and the Republicans carrying his mantle -- seeking to maintain among supporters a kind of permanent state of warfare against the legitimacy of our institutions and of the opposition. It will be rooted in retributive rage against our system and its voters for rendering its verdict against Trump.

Philosopher John Dewey wrote that democracy is sustained by “faith” in the fundamental worth of other human beings, faith that is demonstrated in all sorts of routine ways. This faith is rooted in a “generous belief” in the “possibilities” of others, in their “capacity” for “intelligent judgment and action."

What we’re seeing now in this ongoing support for election subversion is at bottom a form of very profound contempt for those possibilities -- a very profound contempt for other human beings; for fellow Americans.

Toomey has hinted at another way. But far too few elected Republicans seem interested in following it.

Trump’s assault on the election could leave a lasting mark on American democracy. By Toluse Olorunnipa, Michelle Ye Hee Lee and Rosalind S. Helderman November 24, 2020

When President-elect Joe Biden is sworn in on Jan. 20, he will face a fundamental challenge unlike any incoming president before him: Tens of millions of Americans who doubt his legitimacy and question the stability of the country’s democratic traditions -- in part because of his predecessor’s unprecedented attempt to set both ablaze before leaving office.

For the past three weeks, as President Trump has refused to concede the election, the federal government, the Trump campaign legal team and whole swaths of the Republican Party have worked in tandem to interfere with the peaceful transition of power.

By lodging baseless claims of voter fraud and embracing -- or declining to reject -- outlandish conspiracy theories about the electoral process, Trump and his allies have normalized the kind of post-election assault on institutions typically seen in less-developed democracies, according to historians, former administration officials, and lawmakers and diplomats from across the political spectrum.

Lingering damage to the U.S. electoral system could be among the most consequential legacies of the Trump presidency, said Michael Chertoff, a homeland security secretary under President George W. Bush.

Trump’s effort to overturn the election results in the days after the race has so far proved unsuccessful, as Biden has moved ahead with hallmarks of a presidential transition such as building a Cabinet. But Chertoff and others said the harm inflicted on the democratic process since Nov. 3 should not be underestimated.

“We’ve now seen a blueprint, which has been road-tested in other parts of the world, being adopted by Donald Trump here in the U.S.," he said, adding that Trump’s attempts have been ineffective in part because of their clumsiness. “But a more effective and a more skillful want-to-be autocrat could use the same playbook."

Trump has continued to declare himself the winner of the election, even as several key swing states have moved forward with certifying Biden’s victory and the federal government has ascertained that a new administration is likely to take over in two months. Trump’s GOP allies, despite multiple losses in court, have continued to press their case with the public -- making an ever-growing list of specious allegations about fraud involving mail-in ballots, voting machines, signature-matching, late-arriving votes, poll workers in heavily minority cities, foreign interference, dead people casting votes, unbalanced voter rolls, nonresident voters, Sharpie-stained ballots and the traditional tabulation process.

But as Trump has tried unsuccessfully to win over judges and state lawmakers, Biden’s lead has remained secure -- and has grown nationally as more ballots have been processed. As of Tuesday, Biden’s popular vote total had surpassed 80 million, the largest in the country’s history.

Still, Trump’s repeated claims of election rigging have led many of the 74 million people who cast ballots for him to doubt the reliability of the voting process. Even as the transition proceeds -- with the General Services Administration announcing late Monday that the administration could begin coordinating with Biden’s incoming team -- Trump has continued his onslaught.

Clay Bennett 11/29-20

“What does GSA being allowed to preliminarily work with the Dems have to do with continuing to pursue our various cases on what will go down as the most corrupt election in American political history?" Trump tweeted Tuesday morning. “We are moving full speed ahead. Will never concede to fake ballots & ‘Dominion,’ " the latter reference being about a company that supplies voting equipment.

The claims about vote-changing machines and fraudulent ballots have been repeatedly rejected by judges, local officials and even the president’s own administration. Last week, Trump fired a top Department of Homeland Security official who had vocally dismissed allegations of widespread fraud in the Nov. 3 election.

The White House did not respond to a request for comment.

The lack of pushback from Republican lawmakers signaled a willingness by them to accept Trump’s post-election denial despite the danger it poses, said Julian Zelizer, a presidential historian at Princeton University.

“This is the story of the Trump presidency," he said. “The GOP not only stood behind the president, regardless of what he did, but even as he used his power to attack the basic element of the democratic process, very few took action."

While a growing number of Republicans have publicly acknowledged Biden’s victory, more have remained silent or echoed Trump’s allegations of fraud. Some local Republicans have challenged the results of their own races as Trump has done, making post-election allegations about rigged voting a more mainstream proposition up and down the ballot.

Kimberly Klacik, a Republican who lost a Baltimore-area congressional race by 72 percent to 28 percent, claimed on social media that the result had been rigged.

“Luckily, we raised enough money to investigate," she wrote earlier this month, in a tweet that referred to the president’s allegations of fraud.

Trump’s campaign has also been soliciting donations to continue the president’s quest to overturn his defeat.

“We cannot let the Democrats STEAL this Election from your all-time favorite President," Trump said Tuesday in a fundraising pitch. “I’m calling on YOU to FIGHT BACK. We need to bolster our critical Election Defense Fund if we’re going to keep going. We can’t do this without you."

Gene Rechtzigel, a Minnesota Republican who ran for the U.S. House, filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State, the Minnesota State Canvassing Board and the Ramsey County Elections Office. He lost to Democrat Betty McCollum by more than 30 points -- 133,086 votes -- but claimed that the state should delay certification of the results because of allegations of election irregularities.

Other Republicans have taken up the Trump campaign’s push to delay the certification of vote totals in other states ahead of the electoral college’s formal vote electing Biden in mid-December.

The Republican Party’s future: Being terrorized by its unhinged base. Opinion by Paul Waldman Columnist November 20, 2020

When President Trump finally leaves office on Jan. 20, he will bequeath to Joe Biden a disaster to rival those any president has faced: a raging pandemic, an economy still in crisis, a federal government degraded and demoralized. Just digging out of the mess will be a challenge for the ages.

Meanwhile, Trump’s party will have a straightforward task: As they did with President Barack Obama, the Republicans will try to obstruct whatever Biden might want to do, sabotage the economic recovery if they can and generally do whatever is in their power to make him fail. But as they do so, they are likely to be riven by another echo of the Obama years: an internal conflict pitting the party’s angriest elements against an elite they will declare to be insufficiently devoted to the cause.

Go back to 2009 and the rise of the tea party movement, and you should recall the general feeling of chaos that gripped our politics. Amid a national economic crisis, a movement sprang up that was both genuinely grass-roots and assisted by elite Republicans. It was loud and aggrieved, and it filled the Republican Party with fear.

It did so because, from the beginning, its targets were not only Obama, whom it saw as an illegitimate president, but because it regarded as a quisling any Republican whose opposition to Obama was not strong, outraged or effective enough.

The defeat of a couple of establishment Republican officeholders by tea party challengers in primaries was enough to fill others in the GOP with terror. Lest they run afoul of this ravenous beast, they joined the tea party cause, held dozens of meaningless votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act and even shut down the government to prove that they were fighting with the appropriate vigor.

That history is likely to replay itself in 2021 and beyond. But, this time, the Republican base is even crazier than before.

Its members have spent four years swimming in Trump’s sea of paranoia and misinformation, and the idea that the 2020 election was stolen from Trump will become their foundational belief. Any Republican who dismisses it will be branded a traitor to the cause.

We’re already seeing it; just look at what’s happening with Fox News, the right’s most important propaganda outlet. Despite the fact that Fox News hosts have been relentlessly pushing bogus claims of voter fraud and questioning the legitimacy of the election, significant portions of the GOP base have decided that the network’s commitment to Trump has waned, and, therefore, it must be part of the anti-Trump conspiracy. “Fox News sucks! Fox News sucks!" chanted the MAGA faithful at last week’s march of dead-enders in Washington.

And after Fox News’s Tucker Carlson called out Trump lawyer Sidney Powell on air for refusing to come on his show and detail her claims of a stolen election, “his [Twitter] mentions have been FLOODED with people calling him a traitor, sellout, etc.," according to CNN media reporter Oliver Darcy. Keep in mind that Carlson didn’t actually criticize Powell for the lunatic claims she has been making (“President Trump won by a landslide," she said at a Thursday news conference); he just wanted her to show the evidence.

So now, in the eyes of some, Carlson -- who regularly advises Trump -- is not Trumpy enough. In fact, some viewers have been leaving Fox News for the more pleasingly deranged content on Newsmax and One America News (OAN), where Trump is the true winner of the election and no conspiracy theory is too loopy to be believed. As Darcy points out, the strategy Fox has always used to maintain the loyalty of its viewers -- telling them that every other news source is fatally infected with liberal bias -- is now being deployed by those minor-league outlets against Fox itself.

If their critique is that Fox News is too establishment, they’re not wrong: From its founding in 1996, the network has always been equally devoted to the twin goals of making money and advancing the interests of the Republican Party. It represents and defines the center of gravity in the party, even as that center of gravity may shift.

So the near future could see Newsmax, OAN and other upstart outlets capture the attention of 2021’s version of the tea party, the latest right-wing backlash to a Democratic president. In between propagating lunatic conspiracy theories, they could wage war against traitorous Republicans whose loathing of Biden and all other Democrats is deemed insufficiently venomous.

In response, some Republicans will pander to the party’s nut cases, and others will try to finesse the questions they raise. But few will disavow them completely. Keep your eye on the likely 2024 presidential candidates -- Sens. Ted Cruz (Tex.), Josh Hawley (Mo.), Marco Rubio (Fla.), Tom Cotton (Ark.), as well as former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley -- as they jockey for advantage and try to find the party’s key points of influence. Once they start appearing on Newsmax, claiming the election was stolen, and giving winks and nods to QAnon and other conspiracy theories, you’ll see how deeply the madness has penetrated the GOP.

Though many of the Republican leaders who were reviled by the tea party, such as former speaker John Boehner and former congressman Eric Cantor, are no longer around, the ones still in office remember well what it was like. And now they’re going to have to go through it all over again.

WaPo Kevin Siers 12/2/20

Joe Biden has to move fast. Opinion by Paul Waldman Dec. 2, 2020

For every day of his presidency, Joe Biden will be restrained and bedeviled by Republican power. Republicans will probably retain control of the Senate, and even if they don’t, they will do everything they can to sabotage Biden’s agenda. They will obstruct and delay, whether it’s on legislation, appointments or anything else, to make sure Biden has as little as possible to show for his time in office.

Unfortunately, Biden is naturally inclined to respond in just the way Republicans are counting on. He’s a compromiser, a dealmaker -- a man who wants to believe that there are bipartisan solutions to be found.

That’s not to say that Biden is naive about what he faces, just that he will always be vulnerable to some of the same mistakes that President Barack Obama made early in his tenure, mistakes that come from thinking Republicans just might be operating in good faith and with the proper persuasion they can be dealt with.

But a realization of the full implications of our current polarization may just prove liberating for the new administration.

There are at least some encouraging signs that Biden understands the situation; here’s a report from Politico on how his transition is thinking about personnel:

Concerned about Republicans slow-walking confirmation hearings for Cabinet appointees and hollowed-out federal agencies, Biden and his aides are eager to place mid- to lower-level officials across the federal government, particularly in national security roles, to ensure his administration can begin to enact his agenda immediately, according to three people familiar with the situation.

Slow-walking will absolutely be the Republican strategy, on both appointments and legislation. They won’t come out and say they’re going to stonewall every appointee and refuse to allow any legislation to pass; instead they’ll say that they just want to make sure Biden doesn’t stock his administration with radical leftists and propose far-out socialist laws. Send us the nominees and the bills, and we’ll consider them. It’ll just take some time.

Weeks will then stretch into months, and the Biden agenda will languish. They’ve done it before -- Obama himself describes how they endlessly dragged out negotiations on the Affordable Care Act by claiming they might support it -- and they’ll do it again. That’s the Republican plan.

The first step to getting around it is to understand that the public won’t blame gridlock on the ones who are causing it. They’ll just see a bunch of bickering in Washington with nothing getting done, and Biden will be the one who takes the blame.

Once you realize that the public is neither aware of nor particularly concerned about process questions, you can stop worrying about whether Republicans will squawk at this appointment or that executive order -- because they’ll squawk no matter what you do. If it’s a good idea and you think the results will be good, then just do it. As quickly and comprehensively as possible.

As David Roberts of Vox observes: In 2009, Obama and his aides made the mistake of thinking that their major initiatives had to be rolled out one at a time in sequence, because he had a finite store of “political capital” that had to be spent carefully. But political capital is not something that exists apart from any particular issue; it isn’t a special sauce that has to be poured on a policy in order to make it palatable.

And with the parties as polarized and unified as they are, political capital has become all but meaningless. There may have been a time when a popular president possessed so much capital that a senator from the opposition party would feel compelled to support him on part of that president’s agenda, but that time is long gone. There is no account Biden can draw on to turn Republican “no” votes into “yes."

So setting up a series of high-profile policy battles may be the opposite of what Biden should do. The unfortunate fact is that he may not have the opportunity to do much in the way of big legislation on health care or climate change or anything else, and if he has only executive power to work with, it makes it all the more urgent to move quickly.

Which means getting staff in place immediately and then unleashing them. The Revolving Door Project argues that Biden should give as much authority as possible to the agencies to let them dismantle their particular corners of the Trump legacy on their own, because the task “simply will not happen if approached sequentially or micromanaged” by a White House staff with limited bandwidth.

That means moving on every policy area all at once. There’s nothing to be gained by putting off any part of Biden’s agenda. Whatever he can do given the limits of his power, he should do as soon as possible, in a flood of policymaking.

Even if Democrats win both Georgia races and control the Senate, Biden should acknowledge that he likely has two years until the 2022 midterm elections to pass whatever legislation he can. Not only will Democrats probably lose one or both houses in the inevitable backlash (as happens to most presidents in their first midterm), the only possible chance at forestalling that result is to get results, as many as possible, that he can show the voters.

Republicans will complain that Biden is being partisan, uncompromising, taking a “my way or the highway” approach. It will be a strategy to convince everyone of the lie that Biden and Democrats might be able to find some way of winning them over, when in fact they’ll be implementing a strategy of total opposition.

If Biden follows them on that fruitless quest, he’ll be running in circles while crucial time passes and nothing gets done. The only option for him is to decide not to care about Republican whining and do what he got elected to do with all haste. The alternative is failure.

Ann Telnaes 10/22/20
The Republicans crow about ignoring the American voter

In his new memoir, Barack Obama writes of hope, despair and life at the center of a divided nation By Michael Kranish November 13, 2020

Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and his vice-presidential running mate, Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.), during a campaign rally in Detroit on Sept. 28, 2008. (Jason Reed/Reuters)

Barack Obama laid out his concerns about picking Joe Biden as his running mate in the summer of 2008. The senator from Delaware loved to hear himself talk, he didn’t have a filter, and “he wasn’t always self-aware," Obama writes in his new memoir.

While “we couldn’t have been more different," Obama writes, he “found the contrast between us compelling," along with what he called Biden’s good heart, foreign policy expertise and appeal to the working class.

So, with the choice finalized, Obama and Biden awaited Republican nominee John McCain’s announcement of his vice-presidential pick. Biden learned of the decision in a meeting with Obama from a text message on an adviser’s BlackBerry.

“Who the hell is Sarah Palin?" Biden said.

The story of the competing vice-presidential choices is one of many anecdotes in Obama’s book, “A Promised Land," in which the former president defends his legacy and seeks to explain what motivated him and at times left him distraught.

As Palin created a surge of interest in the Republican ticket, Obama was briefly worried that he had been outfoxed by McCain and that Palin would pull away enough undecided voters to swing the race to the GOP. But he soon figured the choice would backfire because “on just about every subject relevant to governing the country she had absolutely no idea what the hell she was talking about."

In the end, Obama writes, the most troubling aspect of the Palin pick was what it said about the devolving direction of the nation’s politics. Obama found Palin’s ineptitude “troubling on a deeper level . . . her incoherence didn’t matter to the vast majority of Republicans," who saw questioning her knowledge of issues “as proof of a liberal conspiracy."

In response, Palin on Friday posted a comment on her Facebook page in which she thanked Obama for crediting her with shaping Republican politics, adding, “It’s pleasurable to know I’ve lived rent free in your head these past twelve years."

The book, the first of an expected two volumes on Obama’s presidency, will be publicly available Tuesday. An advance copy was provided to The Washington Post by publisher Penguin Random House.

Obama writes both of the job’s loneliness and of the importance of a trusted circle of confidants who saw him through it, including his wife, Michelle, and Biden, adviser David “Axe” Axelrod, campaign manager David Plouffe and White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel. He heaps praise on all of them.

At the same time, he settles scores, scorns Republicans and directs some unexpected zingers at fellow Democrats. Sizing up his 2008 primary rival Sen. John Edwards, for example, Obama writes that he was never impressed; the North Carolinian’s “newly minted populism sounded synthetic and poll-tested to me, the political equivalent of one of those boy bands dreamed up in a studio marketing department."

Throughout the book, as Obama elaborates on the roadblocks he faced in pushing his agenda, he acknowledges that his inspirational campaign talk of hope and “yes, we can” was privately accompanied by bouts of doubt, despair and regret. Time and again, he writes, he wondered whether he was the man for the moment, whether he was driven too much by ego and not his lofty ideals, and whether he was sacrificing too much of his family life for the political mire.

“I confess," Obama says in the preface, “there have been times during the course of writing this book, as I reflected on my presidency and all that’s happened since, when I’ve had to ask myself whether I was too tempered in speaking the truth as I saw it, too cautious in either word or deed, convinced as I was that by appealing to what Lincoln called the better angels of our nature, I stood a greater chance of leading us in the direction of the America we’ve been promised."

The book was completed in August, before Biden became president-elect. Nonetheless, read in the aftermath of the 2020 election, it serves as a preamble, laying out the divisions that resulted in the 2016 election of Donald Trump and the pitfalls that Biden is bound to encounter in office.

Obama recounts the difficulty of dealing with Mitch McConnell (Ky.), the top Senate Republican then and now. Obama writes that Biden told him of how McConnell had blocked one of his bills.

When Biden tried to explain the bill’s merits, McConnell responded, “You must be under the mistaken impression that I care," Obama writes, recounting McConnell’s “shamelessness” and “dispassionate pursuit of power."

Obama came into office vowing to work with Republicans, but he tells with increasing fury and frustration how the opposition party was just that -- almost always in opposition. He recounts spending countless hours seeking to woo Republicans to support his health-care plan.

In an atmosphere poisoned by false assertions that he was not born in the United States, that he was a Muslim and that he supported “death panels” that would determine the fate of older Americans, Obama says it was hard enough to win GOP support. But he thought he had a chance with some Republican moderates such as Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine, who supported the health plan in committee but voted against it on the floor of the Senate.

He writes of how he asked Republican Sen. Charles E. Grassley whether any changes in the bill would win the Iowan’s vote. “I guess not, Mr. President," Grassley responded, according to Obama. Grassley’s office released a statement Friday that said, “Neither Sen. Grassley nor his senior staff at the time have any record or recollection of that and it’s unlikely that is something Sen. Grassley would say."

The legislation passed without support from Republicans, many of whom have spent years trying to kill it.

Similarly, writing of efforts to court the support of Sen. Lindsey O. Graham for climate change legislation, he said the South Carolina Republican “liked to play the role of the sophisticated, self-aware conservative, disarming Democrats and reporters with blunt assessments of his party’s blind spots," but then found ways to “wriggle out” of proposed compromises. He was like the character in a spy movie “who double-crosses everyone to save his own skin," Obama writes.

Edwards, McConnell and Graham did not respond Friday to requests for comment.

Obama’s grievances with the media are a constant theme. He portrays himself as a victim of unfair reportage and political commentary from every corner, including from liberals who he said never understood the need for him to make compromises to win passage of legislation.

At one point, he recounts saying that when some people in small Pennsylvania towns “get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren’t like them, or anti-immigrant sentiment, or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations."

While he acknowledges that he “screwed up” by making the comment, he seeks to shift some of the blame to a writer for the Huffington Post, who accurately quoted his words. “This is what separates even the most liberal writers from their conservative counterparts -- the willingness to flay politicians on their own side," Obama writes. He writes that he wishes he could take back the remarks and “make a few simple edits."

But Obama has particular scorn for “conservative pundits” who framed efforts to help the disadvantaged in society into partisan attack lines. “The problem is no longer discrimination against people of color, the argument goes; it’s ‘reverse racism,’ with minorities ‘playing the race card’ to get unfair advantage. The problem isn’t sexual harassment in the workplace; it’s humorless ‘feminazis’ beating men over the head with their political correctness," he writes.

Obama pushes back against such rhetorical “sleight of hand," recounting that the country’s history of openly racist policies and the aftermath of the Civil War and the Great Depression were followed by measures to create a social contract that lifted the disadvantaged and created a more equal society -- the theme that Obama puts forward in the book’s title of “A Promised Land."

His message throughout the book is that the constant personal attacks on him, and the widening gap between the two main political parties, severed the bond of trust that is needed for Washington to improve the lives of all Americans.

It was “the fault line of race," Obama writes, that constantly threatened his progress and that of the country.

“Accepting that African Americans and other minority groups might need extra help from the government -- that their specific hardships could be traced to a brutal history of discrimination rather than immutable characteristics or individual choices -- required a level of empathy, of fellow feeling, that many white voters found difficult to muster," Obama writes.

Foreshadowing issues that led to Trump’s election, Obama writes that Republicans pushed the idea that one group of people was being shortchanged at the expense of another, fostering the politics of grievance and the belief that “government couldn’t be trusted to be fair." The result: “A deep and suffocating cynicism took hold."

Though the book’s narrative ends before Trump’s 2016 presidential race, Obama scorns the New York City developer’s earlier peddling of the false assertion that he wasn’t born in the United States. “For millions of Americans spooked by a Black man in the White House, he promised an elixir for their racial anxiety."

Obama recounts that Trump in 2010 suggested to Axelrod that he be put in charge of plugging the massive oil leak from the Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico and then proposed that he build a “beautiful ballroom” on White House grounds. Both offers were rejected.

The irony of his presidency, Obama writes, is that he was often misunderstood. On foreign policy, he says, he was an admirer of President George H.W. Bush, who he says adroitly ended the Cold War and deftly managed the 1991 Persian Gulf War. On the economy, he says he rejected proposals by some on his left to respond to the Great Recession with sweeping efforts to nationalize the banks and what he called “stretching the definition of criminal statutes to prosecute banking executives." He worries that such moves would have “required a violence to the social order."

“Someone with a more revolutionary soul might respond that all this would have been worth it," Obama writes, but he wasn’t willing to take the risk, and that “revealed a basic strand of my political character. I was a reformer, conservative in temperament if not in vision. Whether I was demonstrating wisdom or weakness would be for others to judge."

GOP leaders’ embrace of Trump’s refusal to concede fits pattern of rising authoritarianism, data shows - Research by a team of international scholars shows the Republican Party’s shift away from democratic norms predates Donald Trump but has accelerated since. By Christopher Ingraham November 12, 2020

Taking a cue from President Trump, several leading Republican lawmakers and officials have refused to acknowledge Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential contest and indulge Trump’s baseless claims of voter fraud.

In Georgia, two GOP senators called on the state’s Republican secretary of state to resign, alleging irregularities and mismanagement without offering evidence. Only four of 53 Senate Republicans have congratulated Biden on his projected victory. Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin recently told reporters “there’s nothing to congratulate [Biden] about," while Missouri’s Roy Blunt said the president “may not have been defeated at all."

It’s the latest sign of the party’s lurch away from democratic ideals and practices, a shift that predates Trump but one that has accelerated precipitously since.

Now, according to data released by an international team of political scientists just before the Nov. 3 election, it’s possible to quantify the extent to which the Republican Party no longer adheres to such principles as the commitment to free and fair elections with multiple parties, the respectful treatment of political opponents and the avoidance of violent rhetoric.

“The Republican Party in the U.S. has retreated from upholding democratic norms in recent years," said Anna Lührmann, a political scientist at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden and a former member of the German parliament. “Its rhetoric is closer to authoritarian parties, such as AKP in Turkey and Fidesz in Hungary."


Lührmann is deputy director of the university’s V-Dem Institute, which compiled the data. For the project, researchers recruited more than 600 political scientists around the world to make annual assessments of political parties’ adherence to a number of key small-D democratic values.

Those assessments are combined into the main measure in the chart above, which tracks parties’ overall commitment to democracy. Lührmann points out that the Republican Party score started to edge downward during the Obama administration but fell off a cliff in 2016 with the ascent of Trump.

The United States is backsliding into autocracy under Trump, scholars warn

The elites who think MAGA voters are rubes: Republicans. Opinion by Jennifer Rubin Columnist November 11, 2020

A central tenet of the outlook of many conservatives is that “elites” look down upon them and regard them as bigoted, uneducated rubes. Well, they have a point: That’s exactly how Republican politicians and the revenue-generating, right-wing media machine regard them.

It was not the DEMOCRATIC nominee who thought suburbanites would be afraid of integration; that was President Trump. Using George Soros -- a Hungarian Jewish immigrant -- as a SLUR AND ANTI-SEMITIC CODE word is A RIGHT-WING TACTIC; Democrats have no such Jewish bogeyman.

It is TRUMP who believes fear of immigrants is what motivates his base; Democrats trust voters to understand that immigration is essential to the United States. And it is Republicans such as Sen. Ted Cruz (Tex.) -- not Democrats -- who are convinced that constituents will buy into the anti-Ukrainian Kremlin agitprop that they dish out in generous portions.

Fox News is apparently convinced that its viewers want a steady diet of Hunter Biden conspiracy theories, horror stories linking immigration and crime, false and ludicrous claims of voter fraud from anonymous witnesses and climate change denial. Rupert Murdoch and his clan, not to mention producers and executives, surely know this is bunk; its own reporters on the news side know it is claptrap. But, hey, this is the slop they figure their audience craves. (Disclosure: I am an MSNBC contributor.)

Republicans’ contempt for the masses is nowhere more obvious than in the latest Trump scam -- his claim of a “stolen election." I have zero doubt that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and every Republican senator knows the election was definitive.

Biden won. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), who said he has “nothing to congratulate” Biden for, must figure members of his base are so ignorant and irrational that they will think better of him if he practices election denial. And when educated senators call on election officials to count only “legal” votes -- as is always the case -- they must think bamboozling and enraging voters is the way politics is practiced.

The entire GOP strategy for the Georgia Senate elections apparently centers on a belief that Georgia voters are irrational and will rise up in fury because they think they have been wronged -- again -- by conniving Democrats. The Post reports: “Fear over losing the Senate majority by falling short in the upcoming runoff elections for two U.S. Senate seats in Georgia has become a driving and democracy-testing force inside the GOP, with party leaders on Tuesday seeking to delegitimize President-elect Joe Biden’s victory as they labored to rally voters in the state."

Georgia’s Republican Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler seem convinced that ideas and political philosophy do not motivate voters. Seething, blind resentment is what they need to instill in voters (hence their letter calling for the resignation of Georgia’s Republican secretary of state). McConnell seems to agree.

The Post reports: “For McConnell, as well as Perdue and Loeffler, keeping in step with Trump -- and with the White Republicans in Georgia who are loyal to him -- is paramount as they go about trying to win the seats, according to GOP aides and Republican strategists interviewed Tuesday."

Democrats, meanwhile, operate under the assumption that voters are not idiots.

Per the Post: “The first ad by [Georgia’s Democratic Senate nominee Jon Ossoff] for the runoff campaign asserts that his priorities, if he joins the Senate, will be managing and fighting the coronavirus, helping small businesses and passing an infrastructure bill." In other words, Ossoff thinks voters are rational, appreciate policy choices and expect politicians to address real-life concerns. It’s almost as if he does not think politics is performance art for self-pitying cultists. How quaint.

Meanwhile, Raphael Warnock, the other Georgia Democrat preparing for a Senate runoff election, “has talked up his rise from being one of 12 children growing up in the Savannah projects to running the church the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. [preached at] as a platform for national change." Hope, change, progress. He is not selling hate or fear.

The metaphor in the closing days of the Trump campaign was striking: Trump held campaign rallies that apparently became superspreader events. He also left supporters stranded in the cold in remote locations without transportation back to their homes or vehicles. Total disregard for their well-being is part and parcel of the Trump campaign. Respect? Hardly.

Republicans’ leap into anti-democratic conspiracy theories, climate change denial and economic illiteracy (selling protectionism and fear of immigration) reflects their abiding belief that politics is about inflaming ignorant people -- or making people ignorant about the real choices they have. Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley (a product of Stanford and Yale Law School), Cruz (Princeton and Harvard Law School), Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton (Harvard and Harvard Law School) and the rest of the possible 2024 Republican contenders are not stupid. But they apparently think their voters are, and they think their political careers depend on voters’ irrationality, bigotry and gullibility.

The MAGA voters are right: Many politicians and media personalities regard them with contempt. But they come from their own party and movement, and they are laughing all the way to the bank. There is nothing they think their voters won’t buy.

By humoring Trump, the GOP is enabling authoritarianism. Opinion by Max Boot November 10, 2020

We all know that President Trump is a sore loser -- and even a sore winner -- with a tenuous grip on reality. He screamed “fraud” after losing the 2016 Iowa caucuses to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.). He made similar claims when he lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton in 2016. He even formed a commission to investigate supposed election fraud in 2016; it disbanded after finding none.

So it was inevitable that if Trump lost the 2020 election that he would allege that he had been cheated of his rightful victory even without any evidence of any cheating. What was not inevitable was that the leaders of the Republican Party would support his claims and that Attorney General William P. Barr would authorize prosecutors to proceed in investigating largely nonexistent voter fraud. (Richard Pilger, a well-respected career lawyer who was head of the Justice Department’s Election Crimes Branch, resigned in protest over Barr’s decision.)

The cynicism is endless, appalling and corrosive. Senior Republicans KNOW that Trump lost and that the vote was free and fair. After all, many of them won reelection on the same ballots that were cast to elect Joe Biden. How could part of the ballot be fair and part fraudulent?

Sen. Christopher A. Coons (D-Del.) said that several of his Republican colleagues have told him in private: “Please convey my well wishes to the president-elect, but I can’t say that publicly yet." The news is full of reports that Trump retainers and family members -- even Jared Kushner and Melania Trump -- are struggling to get him to accept the reality that he lost. And yet Republicans keep the charade going because their leader is too much of a “snowflake” to admit that he was just repudiated by more than 76 million Americans.

One senior Republican official told The Post: “What is the downside for humoring him for this little bit of time? No one seriously thinks the results will change." It is hard to imagine a better encapsulation of how feckless and dangerous the Republican Party has become. What’s the downside? Only the undermining of our democracy.

Many countries have elections. But only in functioning democracies do losers recognize the result and transfer power to the winners. “Graceful concessions by losing candidates constitute a sort of glue that holds the polity together, providing a cohesion that is lacking in less-well-established democracies," writes Shaun Bowler, a political scientist who is a co-author of “Losers’ Consent: Elections and Democratic Legitimacy."

By not conceding the election -- even though Joe Biden appears to have won the same number of electoral college votes as Trump did in 2016 along with a larger share of the popular vote than any challenger since 1932 -- Republicans are dissolving the “glue” that holds our republic together. You can see the damage being done in a new Politico-Morning Consult poll. It found that the number of Republicans who now say they don’t believe the 2020 election was free and fair has doubled since the election -- from 35 percent before the vote to 70 percent today.

Keep in mind the likelihood that Trump will NEVER concede that he lost even though he will be forced to sullenly move out of the White House on Jan. 20.

Why should he? By keeping the grift going, he positions himself to run again in 2024 and allows his campaign to keep on fundraising. (The fine print of fundraising solicitations for Trump’s “election defense fund” shows that at least half of the money raised can be used to pay off campaign debts.) As usual, Trump is fleecing his supporters to salve his own ego.

As a result, tens of millions of Americans likely will embrace a “stabbed in the back” myth and never accept the legitimacy of the Biden presidency. Republicans already believe a lot of nonsense. (Half of Trump supporters said in a poll that senior Democrats are involved in child-sex trafficking as alleged by the QAnon conspiracy theory.) This will just push them further over the edge, adding to our political dysfunction and increasing the risk of political violence.

Republican refusal to accept reality comes with another cost as well: It makes it impossible for the Biden campaign to proceed with a presidential transition as called for under the law. The Biden campaign is hampered in its ability to review classified information, conduct background investigations of appointees, meet with serving officials and do everything else needed to take power in just 71 days.

The 9/11 Commission found that the delayed transition in 2000 made the 9/11 attacks more likely because it hampered the incoming George W. Bush administration from focusing on the looming al-Qaeda threat from Day 1. What national security risks are we now running if the Biden transition team is prevented from doing the work it needs to do? We don’t know, and Republicans seem not to care.

Republicans need to take a good, hard look in the mirror. They have become a cult of personality for an aspiring authoritarian. That means, in effect, the GOP is now an authoritarian party that is a danger to our democracy. What a sad, cruel fate for the party of Lincoln.

Republicans' only way to win is to stop people from voting, 10/28/20

We have to destroy the Republican Party in order to save it, by Max Boot 10/28/20

[Why can't we just destroy it? It deserves it.]

Republicans: Unshackle yourselves from the Trump craziness. Opinion by Matt Bai November 9, 2020

For all you Republicans in Washington who are cowered under desks right now, who talk all the time about your love of liberty and about all the long-dead White guys whose statues you claim to care so much about, I have a small bit of advice.

Go back to your eighth-grade history and reread the words of Patrick Henry.

Oh, never mind, I know you’re not big readers. I’ll give you the 30-second refresher.

Henry was a tavern owner and self-styled lawyer who could give one hell of a speech, which is how he ended up at the second Virginia Convention in 1775, a few months before the Battle of Bunker Hill.

Moderates of the day were hoping to head off a full-scale conflict with their British overlords. Henry, on the other hand, argued for raising a militia and girding for “inevitable” war.

“Why stand we here idle?" Henry demanded. “Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery?"

He brought it home with the line every school kid knows: “Give me liberty or give me death!"

You know why that’s one of the most resonant speeches in American history? Because Henry spoke the same existential truth to his countrymen that Winston Churchill would echo to the British a century and a half later:

Some conflicts can only be avoided by surrendering everything you believe in and going away.

You see where I’m going with this, Republicans?

Here you are, anxiously waiting for Donald Trump and his royal family to accept reality, not wanting to say anything that might upset him or his followers, because somehow the thing you fear most in the world -- more than any virus, or God, or even transgender bathrooms -- is the prospect of losing primaries.

Here is Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (S.C.), once considered a person of substance, warning that failure to resist the election will mean never having another Republican president.

How totally pathetic.

I ask you: Is your political life so dear, your committee seat so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of servitude to a rage-filled, nativist mob?

You think you can avoid this fight just by backing down and letting events take care of themselves?

Already you’ve got an avowed QAnon follower coming to a table near you at the caucus lunches. These people believe -- I mean, actually believe -- that Democratic politicians are harvesting blood from babies. A couple of followers were arrested last week, heading to a vote-counting center in Philadelphia with an armload of guns.

Somebody’s going to get killed here. Are you really going to spend the rest of your political careers shackled to this craziness?

This fight with the forces of Trumpism is coming, like it or not. You’ll never make yourselves seem wild-eyed enough to head that off. Wouldn’t it be better to stand for something and lose than to prostrate yourselves and lose more slowly?

I get it: The guy got 70 million votes. You figure it’s his party now. If you’re Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.) or Sen. Ted Cruz (Tex.) or someone else who wants to run for president again, better to lay low right now and not close off any paths.

If you’re House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (Calif.), better to keep the base happy by echoing all kinds of Trumpian nonsense you can’t possibly believe. If you’re Vice President Pence, better to bust out the Coppertone and ride it out on a beach in Florida.

But it’s hard-truth time: That base is never, ever going to trust you. They don’t trust anyone with institutional power. You were Trump’s foil before you were his friend.

And an awful lot of those Republican voters came out this year because they were more frightened by socialism and rioting than they were by Trump’s mishandling of the pandemic. I’m guessing millions of them would just as soon have voted for someone else.

You won’t know the real heart of this party until you wage a fight for some kind of genuine conservative vision. And if you can’t string together enough vertebrae to admit this election is over, then you stand zero chance of prevailing.

It’s time to emulate the basic integrity of George W. Bush and Mitt Romney. It’s time to show Trump the door and let his noisy legions know that democracy matters more than they do -- that they no longer get to dictate talking points to a once great political party.

Tell the Trumps, as Patrick Henry said in another of his famous speeches: “If this be treason, make the most of it!"

Or keep cowering, and let your actual treason echo through the ages.

The election is over, but there’s no end to Republican bad faith. Opinion by Michael Gerson November 9, 2020

It is not over.

The presidential election is certainly over, and the result was not particularly close. President-elect Joe Biden won a decisive majority of the popular vote and likely a considerable electoral college victory. Claims of widespread electoral fraud would be spurious even if they weren’t made by a prating fool in front of a Philadelphia landscaping firm. The 2020 election is done. Concluded. Finished.

What has not ended -- what seems endless -- is Republican bad faith and poltroonery.

I am not referring here to those voters for President Trump who have been misled into false hope. It is not hard to convince people who distrust elites and are prone to conspiracy theories that elites are plotting to deny “real” Americans their influence. It does not even matter if the vote-counters are Republicans, because that is exactly what a conspiracy would do to hide its nefarious work.

No, it is Republican leaders who are responsible for poisoning whatever wells of goodwill still exist in our republic.

Having aided Trump’s autocratic delusions, they are now abetting his assault on the orderly transfer of power. Through their active support or guilty silence, most elected Republicans are encouraging their fellow citizens to believe that America’s democratic system is fundamentally corrupt. No agent of China or Russia could do a better job of sabotage. Republicans are fostering cynicism about the constitutional order on a massive scale. They are stumbling toward sedition.

And they are looking mighty pathetic in the process.

After Trump’s campaign manager threatened political harm to Republicans who refused to embrace Trump’s position on the election, Sen. Ted Cruz (Tex.) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (Calif.) reported promptly for degradation. Cruz falsely alleged that Republican poll watchers had been denied access in Philadelphia. McCarthy falsely asserted: “President Trump won this election." It was a good thing both men were not in the same room or their strings might have gotten tangled. Other Republicans simply expressed no opinion on the validity of a U.S presidential election, as though Trump’s sabotage of democratic legitimacy was just another tweet they could ignore.

What explains this degree of deference to a besieged, erratic lame-duck president?

Some legislators claim that they are just providing time for Trump to cool down and accustom himself to the election result. They believe, apparently, that the president just needs a little encouragement and self-care before he will do the right thing. This theory is less compelling on the 1,001st unsuccessful attempt. Trump will not sacrifice any personal interest merely for the good of the country. He will interpret anything short of opposition as permission. And permission is clearly what many elected Republicans intend to provide.

The only plausible explanation for Republican complicity is fear. Fear of a vengeful, wounded president. Fear of a Trump-endorsed primary challenger. Fear of voters so loyal that they stuck with Trump through a botched pandemic response, a wrecked economy and an aimless campaign.

The damage encouraged by feckless elected Republicans is considerable. Trump’s defiance of the election results is already creating confusion in the transition process. The incoming Biden administration is being denied resources and facilities: office space, government email addresses that allow secure communication, access to classified briefings. That will undermine the staffing and preparations necessary to tackle concurrent health and economic challenges.

It is particularly obscene for an administration that has abdicated the work of pandemic response to undercut a new administration determined to mount a serious effort. Trump seems determined to extend his legacy of incompetence and needless death as far into the future as possible.

The other effect of Trump’s strategy is harder to quantify -- body bags are easy to count -- but no less real. Trump and his Republican retainers are purposely destroying the democratic faith of many Americans. The problem is not with the substance of Trump’s legal challenges (though they seem embarrassingly frivolous).

Rather, it is the broad assertion that the U.S. electoral system is rigged. A conspiracy on the scale necessary to overturn the results of the 2020 election -- reaching across several states, and involving numerous Republican and Democratic officials -- would reveal a system of government that is rotten to its core.

If tens of millions of people were to actually believe this, it would reduce the legitimacy and, potentially, the stability of the U.S. form of government. It would render political cooperation -- agreement with the stealer of elections -- almost impossible. It would encourage a desire to retaliate in kind, and add credibility to radicals who act outside the law.

It is one thing to vote for a demagogue. It is another to support a demagogue as he tries to destroy the credibility of voting itself. This is where the Republican Party finds itself at the shabby political end of Donald Trump: as an ally to illiberalism.

An open letter to the most important Republicans. Opinion by Jennifer Rubin November 8, 2020

The Senate races in Alaska and North Carolina have yet to be called; two Georgia Senate races move to a runoff. Any Senate majority will be narrow, and a 50-50 split leaving Vice President-elect Kamala D. Harris as the tiebreaker remains a possibility.

We should not expect anything but obstruction from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.),

but individual Republican senators retain remarkable power to forge coalitions, to refuse to engage in spurious investigations and to advocate for a fact-based politics. It is to them -- Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Mitt Romney (R-Utah), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) -- I address the following. (Burr and Toomey have said they will not run for reelection in 2022.)

Senators:

I bet you are more than a little relieved that President Trump lost. His erratic, outrageous conduct and refusal to operate in the real world no doubt caused you no small amount of embarrassment and pain. Aside from Sen. Romney, the rest of you no doubt received criticism from your Democratic colleagues for remaining mute and/or enabling Trump.

Your votes to acquit him in impeachment were the low point in your careers.

Nevertheless, you have the opportunity to help the country and the party recover from a pandemic, recession and political nightmare.No one expects you will vote to raise taxes -- although consider what trade-offs a package might include -- or support the most progressive policy initiatives Democrats can dream up. That said, you know our voting system needs repair and uniformity, our infrastructure needs updating, broadband connection is essential for rural America and policies that address climate change can also create jobs.

You know that our country needs and the president-elect deserves up-or-down votes on his executive and judicial appointments. (The bipartisan circus of not allowing the confirmation of judges nominated by the other party’s president must end.) You all know President-elect Joe Biden and should offer an open hand when he approaches with policies that are reasonable. You can rediscover the arts of horse-trading and compromise.

You have every reason to pursue executive-branch reforms that would actually constrain the Democratic president while rebuilding guardrails Trump tore down. All presidents should be required by law to provide their tax returns and to allow doctors to speak candidly about their health with open access to relevant medical records.

Executive-branch employees should be prohibited from owning individual stocks. The Office of Government Ethics must be upgraded and penalties must be created to enforce the Hatch Act.

Inspectors general need funding and clear jurisdiction (e.g., to investigate the attorney general). There should be a new, quick and enforceable process for congressional subpoenas and department heads who refuse to comply should face civil penalties.

The White House must limit and report on contacts with the Justice Department on individual enforcement and prosecution matters. The president’s “emergency” powers should be excised from the statute books where appropriate.

Just as important, it is time to stop indulging the cranks, the conspiracy-mongers and the out-and-out liars in right-wing media and in your own caucus. Call out silly and baseless smears; insist on factual rigor at hearings. Denounce further attempts to call into question the 2020 election results. It is not enough to run from the cameras when you are queried about Republicans’ lies. It is your obligation to keep the party and the public rooted in reality.

Surely you do not want your first and last line in the history books to be, “The senator enabled a corrupt and unhinged president."

Take a page from the records of Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah), who worked diligently with the late Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) on a raft of domestic legislation, and from the late Sen. John McCain, who defended human rights, sought to reform the Pentagon, backed climate-change legislation and was a leader on immigration. (Speaking of which, you all can come up with a reasonable legislative solution for Dreamers and, more generally, a reasonable package of border control and rules for a path to citizenship for millions of others.) You know there are systemic problems with policing that can be addressed, at least in part, at the federal level.

Biden’s election gives you a chance to do what you came to D.C. to accomplish -- solve problems and make the United States a better place. You have an obligation to do just that.

Mike Luckovich 10/22/20

Ex-OPCW chief [Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons] reveals he was threatened and spied on before US ousted him for challenging Iraq war - John Bolton acting at the behest of the "dark overlord" Dick Cheney threatened the OPCW chief and his children when Mr. Bustani refused to resign. 10/21/20 By Mehdi Hasan

“We Know Where Your Kids Live”: How John Bolton Once Threatened an International Official

“John Bolton is a bully," said José Bustani, a retired Brazilian diplomat. “I don’t know how people can work for him."

The Intercept March 29 2018 - Who better to advise the bully-in-chief, Donald Trump, on when to make war and kill people than another bully? It’s difficult, after all, to avoid the label -- that of a bully -- when thinking of John Bolton, the former Bush administration official-turned-Fox News pundit who Trump recently picked as his national security adviser.

“John Bolton is a bully," José Bustani, the retired Brazilian diplomat and former head of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, told me when I reached him by phone in Paris earlier this month.

There are a number of people who claim to have been bullied or intimidated by Bolton -- including Bustani. The latter’s criticisms of the famously mustachioed hawk have been public for many years now, but some of the details of his tense encounter with Bolton at the OPCW have never been reported before in English.

In early 2002, a year before the invasion of Iraq, the Bush administration was putting intense pressure on Bustani to quit as director-general of the OPCW -- despite the fact that he had been unanimously re-elected to head the 145-nation body just two years earlier. His transgression? Negotiating with Saddam Hussein’s Iraq to allow OPCW weapons inspectors to make unannounced visits to that country -- thereby undermining Washington’s rationale for regime change.

In 2001, then-Secretary of State Colin Powell had penned a letter to Bustani, thanking him for his “very impressive” work. By March 2002, however, Bolton -- then serving as under secretary of state for Arms Control and International Security Affairs -- arrived in person at the OPCW headquarters in the Hague to issue a warning to the organization’s chief. And, according to Bustani, Bolton didn’t mince words. “Cheney wants you out," Bustani recalled Bolton saying, referring to the then-vice president of the United States. “We can’t accept your management style." Bolton continued, according to Bustani’s recollections: “You have 24 hours to leave the organization, and if you don’t comply with this decision by Washington, we have ways to retaliate against you."

There was a pause.

“We know where your kids live. You have two sons in New York."

Bustani told me he was taken aback but refused to back down. “My family is aware of the situation, and we are prepared to live with the consequences of my decision," he replied.

After hearing Bustani’s description of the encounter, I reached out to his son-in-law, Stewart Wood, a British politician and former adviser to Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Wood told me that he vividly remembers Bustani telling him about Bolton’s implicit threat to their family immediately after the meeting in the Hague. “It instantly became an internal family meme," Wood recalled. Two former OPCW colleagues of Bustani, Bob Rigg and Mikhail Berdennikov, have also since confirmed via email that they remember their then-boss telling them at the time about Bolton’s not-so-subtle remark about his kids.

Another former OPCW official, then-Special Assistant to the Director-General for External Relations Gordon Vachon, who was in the room for the meeting with Bolton, has confirmed that the Bush administration official implicitly threatened Bustani. The OPCW chief “could go quietly, with little fuss and restraint on all sides and ‘without dragging your name through the mud,’” Vachon recalled Bolton saying, in an email to The Intercept. “I cannot say from memory that I heard Mr. Bolton mention DG Bustani’s children, probably because I was reeling from Mr. Bolton’s thinly-veiled threat to DG Bustani’s reputation."

I reached out to John Bolton and the White House for a response to these allegations. Rather than issue an outright denial, the White House responded via a press spokesperson that referred me to a section of his 2008 memoir, “Surrender is Not an Option: Defending America at the United Nations," which deals with Bustani and the OPCW. In the book, Bolton said the U.S. viewed Bustani as a “management disaster” (without mentioning Powell’s praise), but claims to have offered him “a gracious and dignified exit” -- if, that is, he went quietly.

To call Bolton’s rhetoric undiplomatic is an understatement. He visited Bustani in his capacity as a top U.S. State Department official, yet his behavior was more thuggish. How on earth can a senior diplomat, representing a democratic government, justify implicitly threatening the children of an international official in order to win a political argument? How is such a person now fit to hold the office of national security adviser -- the most senior position in the U.S. government that doesn’t require an election win or Senate confirmation?

“The problem with this man is that he’s so ideological, so brutal; he doesn’t open the door to dialogue," the former OPCW chief told me on the phone. “I don’t know how people can work for him."

Bolton’s history of bullying, in fact, is well-documented. Carl W. Ford Jr, the State Department’s former intelligence chief, called Bolton “a serial abuser” of junior employees and “a quintessential kiss-up, kick-down sort of guy." Testifying before the Senate in 2005, Ford discussed the case of Christian Westermann, the former chief bioweapons analyst at the State Department who had refused to sign off on a speech accusing Cuba of possessing a secret bioweapons program and had been “berated” by Bolton, who “then tried to have him fired."

Melody Townsel, a former U.S. Agency for International Development contractor, said she was harassed by the short-tempered Bolton, then a lawyer in the private sector, on a visit to Kyrgyzstan in 1994: “Mr. Bolton proceeded to chase me through the halls of a Russian hotel -- throwing things at me, shoving threatening letters under my door and, generally, behaving like a madman," she later recalled, in a letter to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

According to Time magazine, his former boss Colin Powell privately warned Republican senators in 2005, during the confirmation hearings for Bolton’s controversial nomination as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, that “he had been troubled by the way Bolton had treated subordinates who did not agree with him."

Yet the big problem is that Bolton -- the “madman," the “serial abuser," the “bully” -- happens to also be pretty effective at getting things done. This is perhaps what makes him so dangerous. Take the case of Bustani and the OPCW: Bolton succeeded in having the Brazilian removed from his post. Only a few weeks after the U.S. official’s visit to the Hague, the OPCW chief was “pushed out of office” in an extraordinary meeting of the organization’s member countries (and in a decision, incidentally, that an administrative tribunal of the International Labour Organization would later call “unlawful”).

Bolton himself proudly recalled in his memoir how then-Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., criticized his views while praising his abilities during the 2001 congressional hearings to confirm him as under secretary of state. “My problem with you, over the years, has been, you’re too competent," Biden remarked, according to Bolton. “I mean, I would rather you be stupid and not very effective.

Now, therefore, is the time to panic; now is the moment to sound the alarm. The bullies have come together. The “ideological” and “brutal” Bolton is about to be given a desk a few feet away from the Oval Office. As national security adviser, he’ll be the first one in the room and the last one out. “Trump is utterly ignorant of the world, prone to making impulsive decisions, and tends to defer to the most forceful voice in the room, especially when it conveys information with confident bluster," observed Damon Linker in the The Week. “That would give Bolton enormous power to shape policy -- which means the power to get the United States to launch big new wars as well as expand the numerous ones we’re already waging across wide swaths of the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia."

Is it any wonder, then, that Bustani -- who did so much to prevent the threat of conflict and the proliferation of chemical weapons before being ousted by Bolton -- believes the latter’s appointment as Trump’s national security adviser could spell “disaster” for the world?

Women earn more and are more likely to have jobs when Democrats run the state legislature10/13/20

The GOP is lying its way toward expanding the Supreme Court’s conservative majority, 10/11/20

It’s bad enough that Republicans are trying to pack the courts with activist conservative judges eager to use judicial power to roll back nearly nine decades of progressive advances, from the New Deal forward.

It’s even worse that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has barely tried to hide his hypocrisy and highhandedness.

In 2016, he blocked a hearing and a vote for Judge Merrick Garland, who was nominated to the Supreme Court eight months before a presidential election. In 2020, McConnell is using the procedural equivalents of howitzers, Sherman tanks and smart bombs to force through Judge Amy Coney Barrett, nominated by President Trump just 38 days before a presidential election. It is an election that, on the current numbers, McConnell’s party is more likely to lose than to win.

But here’s the topper: Republicans insist on lying about why they are willing to rip apart our institutions, destroy what little political comity we have left and undercut the legitimacy of the court itself.

Lalo Alcaraz 10/22/20

Republicans have no standing to complain about court-packing, 10/9/20

The 2020 election isn’t about whether to expand the size of the Supreme Court. It isn’t about whether Democratic nominee Joe Biden states his position on court-packing. The election is about one thing: a referendum on the dangerous presidency of Donald Trump.

No wonder Republicans are so desperate to change the subject.

The future of the court, now that Republicans are poised to cement a six-justice conservative majority, is a hugely important topic. Republicans stole one seat when they refused to let President Barack Obama fill a vacancy created nine months before the 2016 election. Now they are poised to steal another, rushing through President Trump’s nominee with Election Day less than a month away.

If Democrats, in response, are entertaining the radical idea of expanding the size of the court, it’s hard to blame them; Republicans have stocked the court with one and soon two justices whose seats they were not entitled to fill. This is slow-motion court-packing in plain sight.

Steve Breen 9/17/20

Republicans: Reckless and Stupid by Jennifer Rubin 10/3/20

The Post reported Friday night that a second Republican senator and member of the Judiciary Committee, Thom Tillis of North Carolina, has tested positive for the coronavirus. Tillis, like his colleague Mike Lee of Utah, has vowed to self-isolate for 10 days. By Saturday morning a third senator, Republican Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, reported testing positive. Johnson’s communications director said in a statement: “Senator Johnson was exposed to someone who tested positive for covid-19 on Sept. 14. He stayed in quarantine for 14 days without developing symptoms and tested negative twice during that time. He returned to Washington on Sept. 29 and shortly after was exposed to an individual who has since tested positive." (It’s surprising news that Johnson was infected in September. Contracting the virus a second time raises serious questions about whether immunity is acquired after infection.) The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention standards instruct isolating for 14 days.

Are we to believe that with two Judiciary Committee members -- and perhaps other senators -- infected yet not committed to following CDC guidelines, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) would force their colleagues to gather for hearings and potentially expose even more senators to the novel coronavirus? Apparently, Republicans have not learned anything from President Trump’s illness or the infection of first lady Melania Trump, Trump aides such as Kellyanne Conway, and reporters. The virus does not care if you are campaigning or trying to jam through a Supreme Court nominee. To ignore the risk is to endanger others’ lives.

Moreover, as a simple political matter, it’s foolish to give Democrats on the Judiciary Committee a platform to lambaste Republicans for their reckless behavior in front of a huge national audience. Democrats need not ask Trump’s nominee, Judge Amy Coney Barrett, ANYTHING other than to confirm definitive statements she has previously made about Roe v. Wade, the Affordable Care Act and other hot-button issues. Democrats could then use their time explaining how Republican senators are endangering their colleagues and aides.

By voting to confirm Barrett, Democrats would explain, Republicans are making a naked power grab that damages the Supreme Court’s reputation as a nonpartisan body (to the extent that the court still has any credibility). Democrats could also emphasize that Republicans voting for Barrett want to strike down the ACA and criminalize abortion, among other things. Senate Republicans want a vote before Election Day? They might get their wish -- after Senate Democrats have advertised how extreme Republicans’ views are and how reckless they have been about potentially spreading the virus. Let’s hope it does not come to that.

In a joint statement released Friday before word of Tillis’s illness became public, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (Calif.), the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, and Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (N.Y.) practically pleaded with Graham not to endanger their colleagues and staff:

It is premature for Chairman Graham to commit to a hearing schedule when we do not know the full extent of potential exposure stemming from the president’s infection and before the White House puts in place a contact tracing plan to prevent further spread of the disease.

The unfortunate news about the infection of our colleague Senator Mike Lee makes even more clear that health and safety must guide the schedule for all Senate activities, including hearings.

In addition, there is bipartisan agreement that a virtual confirmation hearing for a lifetime appointment to the federal bench is not an acceptable substitute. All circuit court nominees have appeared in person during the pandemic . . . It’s critical that Chairman Graham put the health of senators, the nominee and staff first – and ensure a full and fair hearing that is not rushed, not truncated, and not virtual. Otherwise this already illegitimate process will become a dangerous one.

Fortunately, both McConnell and Graham are on the ballot in November, so voters could register their disapproval for such reckless endangerment by kicking them both out of office.

Then again, surely Barrett has enough common sense and concern for the well-being of fellow Americans to insist that the hearing not go forward until everyone has been quarantined for a full 14 days. (Since she had the virus this summer and, thankfully, recovered, maybe she can share the precautions she took to avoid infecting her family.) No reasonable person, let alone someone who wants to be entrusted with a Supreme Court seat, would encourage such behavior. Susan Hennessey of Lawfare blog and the Brookings Institution tweeted her dismay:

Susan Hennessey tweet:

Republicans were hoping they could bluster their way through this by pretending it was all just business as usual and there was nothing to see here. They are full of it. This is a desperate power grab. And now it's laid bare for the world (and their own constituents) to see.

Susan Hennessey tweet:

The fact that Amy Coney Barrett would go along with this says everything we need to know about her character.

If three Republicans are incapacitated, the Senate would lack a quorum to vote on the nomination. If only two are out, a single Republican senator nevertheless could put an end to this wantonly dangerous behavior. Two Republicans have already said they oppose holding a vote for the nominee before Election Day, given the principle that McConnell used to deny Obama nominee Merrick Garland a confirmation hearing in 2016. We need a single Republican to step forward and say, Enough! Don’t bother endangering each other, because I won’t show up to jam this through. That would definitively end the whole reckless exercise. We will not have to rely on the good judgment of characters like Johnson, Lee and Tillis to absent themselves for a full 14 days or longer if need be.

That is what any decent person would do, particularly one in a public position of power. That is what pro-life is supposed to mean, right? The prioritization of human life above more mundane concerns? Unfortunately, Republicans’ cavalier attitude toward the virus and their enabling of Trump did not prioritize the lives of ordinary Americans, more than 7 million of whom have have been infected. Republicans have not heeded the lesson of the more than 208,000 Americans who have died. Maybe when their own lives are on the line, and when the lives of their loved ones (who could be infected), colleagues and staff are at risk, they will act responsibly. If Graham and McConnell are too blinded by partisanship and their lust for power to heed the call, then one other Republican senator needs to step forward to save these people from themselves.

Ted Rall 9/5/20

Nate Beeler 9/1/20

Do we really need to count all the votes? Brave Republicans are asking. 9/29/20

Some courageous Republicans have started asking the question: Do we really need to count ALL of the votes? After all, counting is hard. (This is also a good rationale for ending the census early.) It is an exhausting, full-body effort that can involve removing both socks. Also, saying, “Ah-ah-ah!" after each vote can cause you to lose your place, and then you have to start over. Instead of all this counting of ballots, which is tiring, can take a long time and can result in a result where a candidate other than Donald J. Trump wins, why not simply -- not count them?

I wish I were joking, but I am never joking any longer; I am simply describing events in as straightforward a manner as I can in the hopes that somebody will want to stop them from happening! Florida’s Sen. Rick Scott has suggested a bill called the Voter Act that would require ballots to be counted within 24 hours of the polls’ closing and require that voter precincts “report the number of in-person and mail-in ballots received ONE HOUR [frightened caps mine] after polls close to identify the total universe of votes to be counted in the election”! Neat! Whatever will enable me to count the least amount! I hate democracy almost as much as I hate concerted effort of any kind! Anything that can’t be done in one hour isn’t worth doing at all, as the Founders would have said.

DHS whistleblower’s charges could be worse than we thought, 9/15/20

As you know, a whistleblower at the Department of Homeland Security recently made a series of startling allegations: He claimed, among other things, that top DHS officials brought intense pressure on him to help hype the threat of organized leftist violence to try to bolster one of President Trump’s favorite reelection narratives.

This is only one of many ways in which top officials have placed their official duties and the levers of government at the disposal of Trump’s reelection needs. This blog compiled a list of examples along these lines earlier this week.

But there’s another buried layer in the whistleblower complaint that may constitute yet another way in which this is happening.

The whistleblower, a senior official named Brian Murphy, also alleges that he was ordered by acting DHS secretary Chad Wolf “to cease providing intelligence assessments on the threat of Russian interference in the United States, and instead start reporting on interference activities by China and Iran."

Murphy claims Wolf said that directive originated from White House national security adviser Robert O’Brien.

At first, this seemed as if it might have just been another way in which top Trump officials were trying to obscure the importance of Russian interference in the election, in keeping with Trump’s longtime efforts to make that interference disappear.

But over at the Lawfare blog, Susan Hennessey and Jacob Schulz suggest that this might be more serious than it first appears: What if it constitutes an effort to cook the intelligence to literally create from scratch a largely fabricated narrative in its own right that Trump could campaign on?

As Hennessey and Schulz document, many of Trump’s top officials and campaign propagandists have been relentlessly repeating the line that China, not Russia, poses the greatest threat to our election. And some of them have also claimed that China wants Joe Biden to win and Trump to lose. AD

Indeed, the most devoted pro-Trump propagandist of all -- Trump himself -- has repeatedly said this.

And the second-most devoted pro-Trump propagandist of all -- Donald Trump Jr. -- also made the same claim at the GOP convention, asserting that “the intelligence community recently assessed that the Chinese Communist Party favors Biden," because “Beijing Biden” is “weak on China."

That’s comical, given that Trump’s trade wars with China are an utter disaster, and he spent weeks bolstering China’s insistence that it had the coronavirus under control, to push the lie that we didn’t need to worry about it here.

But put that aside for now. The question, as Hennessey and Schulz note, is whether this pressure on the DHS whistleblower to report on interference by China and Iran rather than by Russia was deliberately done “to benefit the president’s political interests and harm the president’s political opponent."

Zippy the Conehead by Bill Griffith 9/15/20

Media Freedom? Show me the MSM Journalist Opposing the Torture of Assange By Craig Murray 9/7/20

" Today, the corporate media that cried “Media freedom” when Extinction Rebellion blocked the billionaire owned propaganda presses, is silent as Julian Assange’s Calvary for bringing real truth unfiltered to the public moves on to its next station; the macabre Gothic architecture of the Old Bailey.

The Tories appeared remarkably tolerant in the days when Extinction Rebellion were causing general disruption to the public. But to threaten the interests of billionaire paymasters is something against which the entire political class will unite. At a time when the government is mooting designating Extinction Rebellion as Serious Organised Crime, right wing bequiffed muppet Keir Starmer was piously condemning the group, stating: “The free press is the cornerstone of democracy and we must do all we can to protect it."

It is surely time we stopped talking about “free press”, as if it was Thomas Paine or William Cobbett distributing pamphlets. Print media is now the subject of phenomenonal ownership concentration. It broadcasts the propaganda of some very nasty billionaires to a shrinking audience of mostly old people. The same ownerships have of course moved in to TV and Radio and increasingly into new media, and have a political stranglehold over those who control state media. At the same time, the corporate gatekeepers of Facebook and Twitter purposefully strangle the flow of readers to independent online media. The idea of a “free press” as an open marketplace of democratic ideas has no real meaning in modern society, until anti-monopoly action is taken. Which is the last thing those in power will do.

Quite the opposite, they are actively seeking to eliminate dissent even from the internet.

I do not want permanently to close down the Sun or the Telegraph; neither do Extinction Rebellion. But their excellent action is an important opening to the debate about controlled public narrative, not least on climate change. The highly paid stenographers to power have been quick to protest. Murdoch mouthpiece David Aaronovitch tweeted out that in fact 99% of the time there was no editorial interference from Murdoch. But that is the point. Murdoch employs reliable right wingers like Aaronovitch; he does not need to tell them what to write.

David Aaronovitch tweet

It's really complicated by the alternative scenarios. I'm pretty persuaded that we would be two or three titles lighter in this country if not for RM. And as I ought to know there is no direct command structure for the editorial line 99% of the time.

leftworks tweet

There's no need if the right people are picked. You can be relied upon to parrot Establishment bullshit 99% of the time, for example

Show me the Murdoch journalist who has more than once published about the human rights abuses against the Palestinians. Murdoch ejected his own son from his media empire because James was insufficiently enthusiastic about the slow genocide of the Palestinians, and does not believe that the market will magically fix climate change.

The corporate media selects its mouthpieces. Scotland has become an extreme example, where 55% of the population support Independence, but only about 5% of state and corporate media “journalists” support Independence.

Julian Assange has been a light in this darkness. Wikileaks have opened a window into the secret world of war crime, murder and corruption that underlies so much of the governance we live under throughout the “free” world. Coming in the wake of the public realisation that we had been blatantly lied into the destruction of Iraq, there was a time when it seemed Assange would lead us into a new age where whistleblowers, citizen journalists and a democratic internet would revolutionise public information, with the billionaire stranglehold shattered.

That seems less hopeful today, as the internet world itself corporatised. Julian is in jail and continuing today is an extradition hearing that has been one long abuse of process. The appalling conditions of solitary confinement in which he has been kept in the high security Belmarsh Prison, with no access to his legal team or a working computer, to his papers or to his mail, have taken a huge toll on his physical and mental health. The UN Special Representative has declared he is subject to torture. A media which is up in arms about the very dubious attack on Navalny, has no emotion for state torture victim Assange other than contempt.

It is constantly asked by Julian’s supporters why the media do not see the assault on a publisher and journalist as a threat to themselves. The answer is that the state and corporate media are confident in their firm alliance with the powers that be. They have no intention of challenging the status quo; their protection from those kicking Assange lies in joining in with the kicking.

I hope to be in court today, and throughout the extradition hearing. The public gallery of 80 has been reduced to 9 “due to Covid”. 5 seats are reserved for Julian’s family and friends, and I have one of these today, but not guaranteed beyond that. There are just 4 seats for the general public.

Journalists and NGO’s will be following the hearing online – but only “approved” journalists and NGO’s, selected by the Orwelian Ministry of Justice. I had dinner last night with Assange supporters from a number of registered NGO’s, not one of which had been “approved”. I had applied myself as a representative of Hope Over Fear, and was turned down. It is the same story for those who applied for online access as journalists. Only the officially “approved” will be allowed to watch.

This is supposed to be a public hearing, to which in normal times anybody should be able to walk in off the street into the large public gallery, and anyone with a press card into the press gallery. What is the justification for the political selection of those permitted to watch? An extraordinary online system has been set up, with the state favoured observers given online “rooms” in which only the identified individual will be allowed. Even with approved organisations, it is not the case that an organisation will have a login anyone can use, not even one at a time. Only specifically nominated individuals have to login before proceedings start, and if their connection breaks at any point they will not be readmitted that day.

Given these restrictions, I was very conscious I may need to queue from 5am tomorrow, to get one of the 4 public places, if I drop off the family list. So I went this morning at 6am to the Old Bailey to check out the queue and work out the system. The first six people in the queue were all people who, entirely off their own bat, without my knowledge and with no coordination between them, had arrived while London slept just to reserve a place for me. I was swept up by their goodness, their trust in me and by their sheer humanitarian concern about Julian and the whole miscarriage of justice. I chatted cheerily with them for a while, then came back to write this, but just got round the corner when I burst into floods of tears, overwhelmed by all this kindness.

I have to pull myself together now and get into that court.

Craig John Murray is a British former diplomat turned political activist, human rights campaigner, blogger and whistleblower. Between 2002 and 2004, he was the British ambassador to Uzbekistan during which time he exposed the violations of human rights in Uzbekistan by the Karimov administration.

Louis DeJoy’s rise as GOP fundraiser was powered by contributions from company workers who were later reimbursed, former employees say, By Aaron C. Davis, Amy Gardner and Jon Swaine 9/6/20

Louis DeJoy’s prolific campaign fundraising, which helped position him as a top Republican power broker in North Carolina and ultimately as head of the U.S. Postal Service, was bolstered for more than a decade by a practice that left many employees feeling pressured to make political contributions to GOP candidates -- money DeJoy later reimbursed through bonuses, former employees say.

Five people who worked for DeJoy’s former business, New Breed Logistics, say they were urged by DeJoy’s aides or by the chief executive himself to write checks and attend fundraisers at his 15,000-square-foot gated mansion beside a Greensboro, N.C., country club. There, events for Republicans running for the White House and Congress routinely fetched $100,000 or more apiece.

Two other employees familiar with New Breed’s financial and payroll systems said DeJoy would instruct that bonus payments to staffers be boosted to help defray the cost of their contributions, an arrangement that would be unlawful.

“Louis was a national fundraiser for the Republican Party. He asked employees for money. We gave him the money, and then he reciprocated by giving us big bonuses," said David Young, DeJoy’s longtime director of human resources, who had access to payroll records at New Breed from the late 1990s to 2013 and is now retired. “When we got our bonuses, let’s just say they were bigger, they exceeded expectations -- and that covered the tax and everything else."

[Republicans cheat again]

The five dumbest Republican arguments for Trump, by Jennifer Rubin 8/30/20

None of Republicans’ commonly deployed arguments for reelecting President Trump are tethered to reality. The paucity of logic and factual support for their rationales suggests many on the right, even “respectable” columnists and elected officials, actually support him for reasons they’re loath to admit, whether it’s because they share his apocalyptic view of crime encroaching on the suburbs or are eager to see a country purged of immigrants.

HE WILL GIVE US LAW AND ORDER: If public safety is the concern, the unnecessary deaths from covid-19, which might exceed 200,000 by Election Day, and the anxiety over leaving our homes for fear of joining 6 million infected Americans surely make Trump’s tenure the most dangerous for ordinary Americans. Each week, we have been losing twice the number of Americans killed on Sept. 11.

No wonder Trump loves to highlight any domestic scene of disorder, mayhem and looting he can to frighten White Americans, arguing that if law enforcement “dominates the streets," we will have public order. This is preposterous. We cannot go to war with millions of demonstrators. That’s simply impossible, not to mention morally objectionable. The demands of the protesters, among them police reform and voting rights legislation are entirely legitimate. But so long as Trump denies the legitimacy of these concerns and the presence of systemic racism, we will not have domestic tranquility.

Trump celebrates violence, encourages police misconduct, honors Whites indicted for brandishing guns at marchers and tear-gassed peaceful protesters in Lafayette Square. Senior adviser Kellyanne Conway let on that the administration believes that the more violence happens in the streets, the better chance Trump has of being reelected.

Meanwhile, Trump smears our intelligence community, spinning false conspiracy theories and adopting Vladimir Putin’s version of the 2016 plot to interfere with our election. Trump tramples on laws and precedents ranging from the Hatch Act to turning over his tax returns to the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee upon request. There is no president in recent memory who has hired and associated with so many convicted felons. He personally is under investigation by multiple authorities for potential financial crimes. He is his own crime spree.

HE HAS VANQUISHED THE PANDEMIC: The level of delusion necessary to sustain the fiction that Trump has handled the pandemic well is unfathomable. We have more deaths due to the disease than any other country on the planet, many more deaths per capita than many advanced countries and no national testing-and-tracing program. We remain cloistered at home and children cannot attend school in person in most places after weeks of shutdowns, largely because Trumped egged officials into reopening prematurely. He has hawked dangerous and unproven remedies and pressured government health experts to weaken or change guidelines to minimize dangers and restrictions on activities. As he did Thursday night, he gathers large crowds without masks and social distancing, creating his very own potential superspreading events.

HE HAS BEEN GREAT FOR THE ECONOMY: Multiple fact-checkers have repeatedly demonstrated that the economy under President Barack Obama’s was stronger by multiple measures than the economy under Trump. This disparity was due in part to tariffs Trump imposed, which amount to a tax hike for U.S. consumers. If Trump falsely thinks he inherited a rotten economy, it’s inarguable that it got worse even before he crashed it by attempting to ignore a pandemic. It is now evident that some jobs lost will not return when -- and if -- the coronavirus is vanquished. Hundreds, if not thousands, of businesses have closed. Companies will not all emerge from bankruptcy. Trump ends his four years with record unemployment and debt -- and without a plan to reduce either.

JOE BIDEN IS A SOCIALIST: Not even the Republicans have the nerve to make that argument. Instead, they argue that Biden will be tricked or led around by the nose by forces on the left. This is entirely speculative and ignores Biden’s decades-long record in office (remember the 1994 crime bill?) and policy choices during the campaign, among them his opposition to Medicare-for-all. Moreover, we have yet to see in American politics a situation in which the wing of a party defeated in the presidential primary magically controls the executive branch after their rivals from the same party assume office.

Moreover, if “conservatives” are worried about the expansion of government, then Trump’s widespread abuse of executive power, meddling in investigations and enforcement actions to benefit cronies and punish enemies, threats to harm certain companies (as in his call for a boycott of Goodyear), protectionism and capitulation to illiberal regimes, as well as the mammoth debt he’s run up, his indiscriminate use of federal forces against protesters, his misuse of government property and government employees to serve his personal interests, and attacks on the courts and free press make Trump the least conservative president ever (if that word has any meaning anymore).

"LIFE": One can respect those deeply opposed to abortion in evaluating the candidates, but by the same token, a president who prioritizes the economy over preventing a pandemic, rips children from the arms of their mothers, refuses to denounce killings of unarmed Black Americans and willfully declines to protect the lives of our troops on whose heads Russia placed bounties is not respectful of human life in any meaningful sense. Indeed, Trump has turned the party into a vicious death cult that trivializes the nearly 180,000 deaths caused by covid-19 to date. When you create superspreader crowds to soothe your ego, you are endangering human life.

When one party willfully ignores a pandemic and treats Black lives as expendable, it loses any moral authority regarding the sanctity of human life. In refusing to be guided by scientific facts (be it on air and water quality, climate change or covid-19), Trump puts at risk the health and lives of millions of people here and around the world. Those who value the essential worth of every human being should be repulsed by this administration.

The GOP is strapped to a ticking time bomb, 8/27/20

The Republican Party’s intellectual crisis was on full display during the GOP convention. On Monday, the party announced that it wouldn’t publish a new platform: Instead, its members promised to support “the President’s America-first agenda” and threw out some half-baked bullet points. In the days that followed, speakers heaped praise on the president, making clear that his person, rather than a program, is the guiding light of the party. The GOP used to be animated by a marriage of social conservatism, economic libertarianism and foreign policy hawkishness. Now there’s just President Trump and his instincts.

This intellectual hollowness is a ticking time bomb for the GOP. As soon as Trump leaves office, whether in 2021 or 2025, the Republican Party will have to deal with the intellectual and political consequences of elevating him. And it won’t be pretty.

Why conservative men are more likely to fantasize about sharing their wives - It may, paradoxically, be precisely because they believe cuckoldry is so bad, 8/27/20

In the wake of allegations that he spent years watching his wife have sex with another man, Jerry Falwell Jr. resigned this week from his post as president of Liberty University. Falwell has denied the specifics of those allegations, but if they’re true, he would be neither the first nor the last conservative man to take pleasure in sharing his spouse or partner while he looks on, a sexual practice known more commonly as “cuckolding." In fact, a disproportionate percentage fantasize about just that happening to them.

They’re not alone, of course. Cuckolding routinely ranks among the top searches on the world’s biggest porn sites, as reported by neuroscientists Ogi Ogas and Sai Gaddam in their book “A Billion Wicked Thoughts," for which they analyzed the contents of hundreds of millions of Internet searches. But as my own research has shown, reports of that sexual fantasy exhibit a surprising ideological pattern. For my book “Tell Me What You Want," I studied the sexual fantasies of 4,175 Americans from all 50 states. I asked my participants to report how often they fantasized about hundreds of different people, places and things -- including cuckolding.

A majority of heterosexual men (52 percent) said they had fantasized about watching their partner have sex with someone else. Heterosexual men who identified as Republican were the most likely to report having had a cuckolding fantasy at some point -- and they fantasized about it more often than Democrats.

Evictions and hunger are coming for too many people as Republicans refuse to extend COVID-19 relief, 8/25/20

The Republican Party announces that it stands for nothing, by Editorial Board 8/24/20

IN RECENT years, people have tended to ignore or even gently deride the deliberations of party platform committees. All these arguments over arcane questions of policy, and for what? The nominee, if elected, won’t be bound by any of it.

True enough. Yet the Republican decision this year to adopt no policy platform whatsoever shines a light on the democratic significance of the exercise -- and the alarming vacuity of the Republican Party under President Trump. The Republicans are announcing that they stand for nothing. The party’s only reason for being is to gain and retain power for itself and its comparably unprincipled leader. What kind of future can there be for such a party? And how healthy can the two-party system be if one party has no principles?

Leading up to the Democratic convention last week, supporters of former vice president Joe Biden spent hours debating with supporters of some of the candidates he had beaten for the nomination, including Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). They argued over health care, education funding, foreign affairs and more. They compromised at times, found new ground at times and hammered out a platform that the party could unite behind. If elected, Mr. Biden and Democrats in Congress won’t be bound by it, but the exercise will help shape their governing priorities. It was a useful democratic exercise.

The Republicans can’t risk such a debate. Many of the party’s senators and other leaders used to have principles, or at least claimed to. They believed in fiscal rectitude, free trade, limited executive power. Now they have fallen in line behind a president who believes in none of that. So, are they the party of managed trade, unbridled presidential power, unlimited debt? No one wants to say that. Instead, they define themselves as the party of Donald J. Trump.

As a result, you will hear a great deal at their convention this week about what Republicans are against: socialism, the cancel culture, unbridled crime, Marxism, the “deep state” and -- oh, did we mention socialism? At times, their negative passion will be focused on real but exaggerated problems (murder rates have climbed in some cities); at times, the threats will be imagined. And because they believe in nothing, they can put up no resistance when deranged and dangerous conspiracy-mongers move in, as has happened in several GOP congressional primaries.

You also will hear that they are for Mr. Trump’s “America first” agenda. But what is that agenda? No one dares spell it out, because he doesn’t know. One day he is a huge admirer of Chinese dictator Xi Jinping; a bit later, Mr. Xi is the source of all evil. In a cult of personality, no one can afford to be caught still saying nice things about Mr. Xi after the official line has changed. So better to say nothing at all.

And in a cult of personality, the government itself becomes the property of the leader. He wants to give his acceptance speech on the South Lawn of the White House? He wants to use the country’s chief diplomat, the secretary of state, as one more political prop?

The party can only cheer its approval.

Cult Leader

Republicans are putting on two conventions this week. One of them will be sane. Opinion by Jennifer Rubin 8/24/20

The Republican Party revealed its descent into a cult of personality by declaring on Sunday that it would have no party platform at its convention this week, only a pledge of complete loyalty to President Trump. [So it is now officially a cult]

The party proclaimed in a resolution that “The [Republican National Committee] enthusiastically supports President Trump and continues to reject the policy positions of the Obama-Biden Administration, as well as those espoused by the Democratic National Committee today … [and that] the Republican Party has and will continue to enthusiastically support the President’s America-first agenda." Any platform would be ruled “out of order," according to the resolution. It is quite a confession of intellectual vacuity.

The document also effectively puts the party on record supporting all of Trump’s loony ideas about the “deep state," his denial of Russian interference in the election, his defense of Confederate imagery, his opposition to legal immigration, his insistence that there is nothing wrong with extorting an ally to fabricate dirt on a political rival, his hawking of phony cures for the novel coronavirus, his animosity toward NATO, his embrace of trade wars and his reckless attacks on democratic norms and institutions. It is a party that welcomes QAnon support -- because Trump does. It is a party that approves of abusive policing (“Don’t be too nice” when putting suspects in the police car, he told a room of law enforcement officials) and China’s Uighur detention camps -- because Trump does.

You can understand why the party would not want to spell all that out in a platform. You can also understand why “Republican ideas” is an oxymoron and “conservatism” has lost all meaning.

Debt, eviction and hunger: Millions fall back into crisis as stimulus and safety nets vanish [due to Republicans], 8/23/20

Republicans are becoming the QAnon Party, by Max Boot 8/12/20

On Tuesday, Marjorie Taylor Greene, a racist conspiracy-monger, won a Republican primary in Georgia that will almost certainly result in her winning a congressional seat in a deep-red district. The same day, Rep. Ilhan Omar, a Democrat notorious for anti-Zionist and even anti-Semitic sentiments, beat back a well-funded challenger to win her primary in a blue district in Minnesota.

By juxtaposing these election outcomes, the media can give the impression, wittingly or not, that both major parties are in the grip of extremists. Nothing could be further from the truth. Democrats have the far left under control, while Republicans are being controlled by the far right.

Greene and Omar actually have little in common. The Somali-born member of Congress has gotten into trouble for backing the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement and for suggesting that Jewish money controls Congress (“It’s all about the Benjamins baby”). But she has apologized for her anti-Semitic statements.

Greene, by contrast, is unrepentant in her racism and conspiracy mongering. She has falsely claimed that George Soros, a liberal Jewish financier, is a “Nazi himself trying to continue what was not finished." She has described the election of Omar and another Muslim woman to Congress as an “Islamic invasion of our government." She has suggested that “the most mistreated group of people in the United States today are White males."

As if that weren’t bad enough, Greene is also a supporter of QAnon. This cult, which has been linked to acts of violence, believes that President Trump is fighting a secret clique of “deep state” child molesters. Greene said in a video: “There’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take this global cabal of Satan-worshiping pedophiles out, and I think we have the president to do it."

Some Republican members of Congress have denounced Greene for her “disgusting” comments, but House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) didn’t lift a finger to block her election, and Trump welcomed her win. He called her a “future Republican Star” who is “strong on everything and never gives up -- a real WINNER!"

And why shouldn’t Trump welcome this QAnon wing nut to his party? She fits right in. Media Matters for America found that 53 congressional candidates have promoted QAnon this year. Besides Greene, they include Lauren Boebert, who defeated a Republican incumbent in a congressional primary in Colorado, and Jo Rae Perkins, who won the Republican Senate primary in Oregon. NBC News wasn’t kidding when it suggested Congress could soon have a “QAnon caucus."

When the Republican Party was under assault from the conspiracy-minded John Birch Society in the 1960s, responsible conservatives such as Richard Nixon and William F. Buckley Jr. marginalized them. That isn’t happening today. Trump has regularly retweeted QAnon accounts, his son Eric posted a giant “Q” as well as the group’s slogan (“Where we go one, we go all”) on his Instagram account, and Donald Trump Jr. has echoed the group’s deranged claims that Joe Biden is a pedophile.

The president might not be a full-fledged QAnon adherent, but he is a racist and a conspiracy-monger in his own right. The conspiracy theories that he has promoted -- Joe Scarborough is a murderer, former president Barack Obama wasn’t born in the United States, Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-Tex.) father killed John F. Kennedy, etc. -- are nearly as nutty as the ones promulgated by QAnon. And Trump is appointing officials with similarly noxious beliefs:

His choice for a senior Pentagon post said that Obama is a sleeper agent for Hamas and a “terrorist leader." His choice for ambassador to Germany said that country has been overrun by “Muslim invaders." And his choice to run the Office of Personnel Management said Hillary Clinton campaign manager John Podesta took part in satanic rituals. Trump’s first national security adviser -- Michael Flynn -- has even pledged allegiance to QAnon.

Trump is also becoming increasingly blatant in his appeals to White bigots. He tweeted on Wednesday that “the ‘suburban housewife’ will be voting for me," because under a Biden presidency “low income housing would invade their neighborhood." Trump claimed that the person in charge of this plot would be African American Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.). This isn’t a racist dog whistle; this is a wolf whistle.

Under Trump, the GOP has become a party of white nationalists and conspiracy-mongers.

I had feared that the Republican swing to the far right would lead the Democrats to go to the far left -- and Sen. Bernie Sanders’s (I-Vt.) brief run as the Democratic front-runner had confirmed my concerns. But the ticket of Joe Biden and Sen. Kamala D. Harris (Calif.) is as mainstream and moderate as you can get. Trump & Co. can bellow all day long that they are lackeys for Sanders and “the Squad," but it’s simply not credible. The Republican Party, by contrast, isn’t just catering to extremists -- it’s led by one.

Senate Republicans are staking their political future on lies and conspiracy theories, Eugene Robinson 5/21/20

Senate Republicans have made their choice: They’re putting on their tinfoil hats and staking their political future on transparent lies and wild conspiracy theories. The onetime “Party of Lincoln” threatens to become the “Party of Q."

Every incumbent GOP senator ought to be asked if he or she supports the party’s Senate nominee in Oregon, Jo Rae Perkins, who avidly promotes the absurd and wholly fictitious QAnon story line. Adherents see President Trump as a heroic warrior fighting to save America and the world from an evil cabal of “globalist," sex-trafficking “elites” who include moles within the government known as the “deep state." The supposed proof? Enigmatic posts on anonymous message boards from a “Q Clearance Patriot” who claims to have the inside dope on a coming “Storm” that will wash away this faction and purify the country.

“As people put together more and more pieces of the puzzle," Perkins told the New York Times, “they can see, yeah, this is real."

Reality check: No, it’s not. It’s crazy talk, on the level of the paranoid speculation in Stanley Kubrick’s “Dr. Strangelove” that Russians were using fluoride to taint Americans’ “precious bodily fluids."

I’m not sure I could find a sitting GOP senator who, if given truth serum, would admit to actually believing such paranoid nonsense. But plenty are willing to play footsie with QAnon followers by speaking of the imaginary deep state as if it were real.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), for example, complained last year that there are “Republican senators up here whose allegiance is more to the deep state than it is to the president." At the time, Paul was arguing that the Senate should be holding hearings about Trump’s claim that the whole investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election was nothing but a conspiracy to destroy Trump’s presidency.

If paranoid rants like this were just electoral performance art, that would be deplorable enough. But Republicans are using the power of their office to grant wishes to fantasists such as Paul, and to bolster conspiracy-minded voters who crave the feeling that they’re always on the brink of a major revelation.

Senate committee chairmen are reportedly preparing subpoenas for documents and testimony to investigate how Trump’s campaign “was treated like a hostile foreign power by our own law enforcement," in the words of Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), because of “wild theories of Russian collusion."

Those of us grounded in reality know Russia interfered with the 2016 election in an effort to boost Trump’s chances of winning. The Trump campaign at least welcomed this interference, and there was evidence of possible collusion -- more than enough for Trump’s own Justice Department to launch the investigation by former special counsel Robert S. Mueller III. But for nonbelievers, that’s just what the “deep state” and the puppet-masters want you to believe happened.

It’s not only voters who engage in this kind of contortion. This week, Senate Republicans presented, with fanfare, an email that President Barack Obama’s national security adviser, Susan E. Rice, wrote to herself on Inauguration Day 2017 describing a White House meeting two weeks earlier about the Russia investigation. Shockingly, she wrote that Obama insisted the probe be conducted “by the book."

Wrote Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) on Twitter: “Susan Rice knew exactly what she was doing. That’s why she wrote herself emails in a desperate attempt to cover her tracks."

So goes QAnon logic: Up is down. Seeming innocence is proof of deviance. And following an unpopular president down a very strange rabbit hole is just another move in a game of four-dimensional chess.

Polls show Trump trailing badly against presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden. Trump, who fancies himself a marketing genius, has so damaged the Republican brand that the party is in danger of losing Senate seats in Montana, Colorado, Arizona, North Carolina and Maine -- for starters. Even in South Carolina, Sen. Lindsey O. Graham is having to look over his shoulder at Democratic challenger Jaime Harrison, who outraised him last quarter. The GOP’s 53-to-47 majority is in real peril of being erased.

Republicans could have decided to cut Trump loose and try to save themselves -- and, in the end, perhaps some will take that route. But Trump has so remade the Republican base in his own image, including by providing encouragement to a near-cult, that, as Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), the party whip, told Politico: “I just think that everybody realizes that our fortunes sort of rise or fall together."

An actor killed President Abraham Lincoln. A different kind of fiction may kill his party.

Phony? Radical? Republicans have no idea how they want to attack Kamala Harris. by Jennifer Rubin, 8/12/20

Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.) has yet to appear in public or sit for an interview since her selection as the Democratic nominee for vice president, but she has already discombobulated the right-wing attack machine. President Trump -- the compulsive liar, former Democrat turned Republican who used to be pro-choice and is now a rabid defender of evangelicals -- proclaims Harris a “phony." Maybe authenticity isn’t the best line of attack for a serial philanderer and racist who uses a Bible as a prop after tear-gassing peaceful protesters.

But just because she is a “phony," in Trump’s eyes, does not detract from her being a far-left ideologue. At his low-energy news conference on Tuesday, Trump declared she is "just about the most liberal person in the U.S. Senate." (Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders will be disappointed to hear they are no longer Trump’s favorite bogey-people of the left.)

Harris is also, according to Trump campaign spokeswoman Katrina Pierson, a former prosecutor who “fought to keep inmates locked up in overcrowded prisons ... she championed laws that put parents in jail for truancy and prosecuted the mentally ill." (The latter sounds like the Republicans’ ideal crime-fighter.)

Before this is over, Harris will be a peacenik and warmonger; a tool of Big Oil and a radical environmentalist; and a somnolent senator and a vicious slayer of poor, defenseless White nominees. But mostly, Trump says, she is “nasty” and “disrespectful." He might as easily have called her “uppity." Perhaps that is the real “problem” with Harris for many Republicans. And perhaps that’s why Trump on Wednesday stoked White Christians who feel they are losing their supremacy in American society, tweeting:

Donald dumb-ass tweet:

The "suburban housewife" will be voting for me. They want safety & are thrilled that I ended the long running program where low income housing would invade their neighborhood. Biden would reinstall it, in a bigger form, with Corey Booker in charge!

Get it? Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) is Black, and people like him will “invade” the White suburbs. Any attempt at subtlety is gone. The president has now gone full-out white supremacist, making it all the more awkward for right-wing radio and TV pundits who fancy themselves as sophisticated conservatives to deny they are defending an unabashed racist.

In response to Trump’s attacks, Biden campaign spokesman Andrew Bates said: “Donald Trump’s presidency is melting down after his failed, divisive, erratic leadership has cost over 160,000 American lives, tens of millions of jobs, and left the United States the hardest-hit country in the world by COVID-19." He added: “As he struggles in vain attempts to tear the American people apart and distract the country from his devastating mismanagement with clumsy, bigoted lies, he’s only further discrediting himself -- and proving that he’s dumbfounded after Joe Biden’s selection of a strong running mate who he himself said not two weeks ago would be a ‘fine choice.’”

It is not as if Harris was a surprise pick. You would have thought the Trump team would have prepared a coherent (albeit disingenuous) line of attack. Instead, it once more shows its disorganization, not to mention its racist underbelly and deep misogyny.

Harris manages to both make her own ticket more exciting, more contemporary and more optimistic and force the Republicans to double down on their most disgusting attributes. The Republicans have managed to make her candidacy not about Biden or even Harris, but about their own moral unfitness and warped views.

If anything, Harris has emphasized that this is a referendum on Trump and his party’s reactionary, exclusionary view of America. As Trump’s supporters -- including, potentially, future presidential aspirants -- parrot Trump’s attacks, they will confirm an uncomfortable truth: The problem is not just Trump; it’s the whole darn lot of them.

It is appropriate that on the same day Harris was picked, Republicans in the 14th Congressional District primary in Georgia nominated QAnon conspiratorialist Marjorie Taylor Greene, whom Trump dubs a “future Republican Star." He actually might be right about that one.

Trump’s reality show for millionaires is a cruel trick, by Jennifer Rubin

Deprived of rallies, President Trump came up with the mind-numbing idea to hold not one but two news conferences at his exclusive country club this weekend. The audience was nearly all rich White men (able to pay several hundreds of thousands of dollars for club membership and fees) who hooted at the press and applauded Trump as a pandemic rages outside.

Consider the psychology of a person who needs to stage such events -- and who convinces himself they are a reflection of his true popularity. Trump is perpetually searching for ways to convince himself that he is not a disastrous president about to lose his seat.

Consider also the image of a super-rich president with super-rich friends at an exclusive club while Americans lose eviction protections, while the $600 federal unemployment subsidy legally expires and while Republicans complain that such a tiny sum (not the double-digit unemployment) encourages laziness. It would be hard to create a more damning portrait of clueless, greedy and self-satisfied elites if you tried.

Instead of addressing the problems the pandemic still poses, Trump puts on a show by signing executive orders -- or “unconstitutional slop” as Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) put it. (I trust that Sasse will join in any legal action and/or vote to disable this hooey.) For starters, the notion of an executive order to replace expired spending bills passed by Congress is nonsensical. Congress had to pass a law to achieve items such as enhanced unemployment insurance; Congress has to pass a law to continue them. Otherwise, Trump could have waved his wand months ago to accomplish whatever he thinks he is accomplishing.

Trump is first attempting to delay payroll tax collection -- something that does not help the unemployed, does not eliminate the tax and does not acknowledge Congress’s prime role in tax legislation. Moreover, by this action and his stated determination to cut payroll taxes permanently, Trump has fallen into the most obvious of political traps: He’s essentially attacking funding for Social Security and Medicare.

Second, Trump says he is extending an unemployment insurance subsidy of $400. This is a cynical ploy. “He calls for $44 billion of funding from the Department of Homeland Security’s Disaster Relief Fund that is normally used for hurricanes, tornadoes and massive fires to be shifted over to unemployment," The Post reports. Having snatched money from the military for his wall, he now robs disaster relief without authorization to pay for something entirely unrelated. Moreover, even on its own terms, it would pay for just a few more weeks of unemployment insurance.

Third, he wants to “consider” whether an eviction ban is needed. I’ll save him the trouble: YES. Meanwhile, millions of Americans face eviction while Trump studies the obvious. Landlords do not take considerations in lieu of rent checks.

Finally, Trump is deferring student loan payments -- which is nice for college graduates, but does nothing to feed a single mom, give a family without income $600 to get by, help prepare K-12 schools to operate in a pandemic or keep police, firefighters, nurses and teachers from being laid off because state and local coffers are dry.

Former vice president Joe Biden responded to the phony executive emails: “This is no art of the deal. This is not presidential leadership." He went on: “These orders are not real solutions. They are just another cynical ploy designed to deflect responsibility. Some measures do far more harm than good."

Trump is delusional if he thinks shows at his country club will alleviate his political problem or Republicans’ surefire road to losing the Senate. The reviews are rotten; the show will be canceled in November.

I was a Republican, and I drew my red line too late. I’ll answer for my choices for years to come. Opinion by Beth Fukumoto 8/7/20

Beth Fukumoto served three terms in the Hawaii House of Representatives and is a fellow at Harvard Kennedy School’s Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation.

I rehearsed the words over and over from the back of the black sedan, hired to take me from my red-eye flight to an event at the Republican National Committee headquarters: “We are committed to electing candidates who reflect the full diversity of our nation."

It was June 2013. I had come from my home state to D.C., to do one job -- announce a $6 million investment from the Republican Party to support candidates of color and women running at the state level.

This initiative was one of many meant to change the course of the GOP following its defeat in the 2012 presidential campaign and the subsequent release of its what-went-wrong report, known as the “Growth and Opportunity Project."

Without a more inclusive message, better representation, less ideological rigidity, and compassionate immigration and economic policies, the report warned, Republicans would continue to lose national elections. It described a party I wanted to help build.

Over the next year, I recruited people to a party that promised diversity, dialogue and the chance to reimagine its foundation. I wanted a government that would be responsible with its power and judicious in its interventions, a leveler when our systems became unbalanced.

Instead, that party nominated a president who sends federal forces to tame American cities yet refuses to use the power of his office to coordinate an effective response to the novel coronavirus.

There are only so many ways to say, “I was wrong." I’ve exhausted them all.

As the Republican leader in the Hawaii House, I made compromises that I regret. I spoke out when our presidential candidate said he might have supported Japanese American internment, but I couldn’t find the courage to question the implementation of voter identification laws that I should have understood weren’t designed to protect voters.

I made decisions out of political expediency, or hubris, or naivete. Republicans offered an inclusive vision of “Growth and Opportunity” for all; then we elected a man that didn’t even bother to fake it. I couldn’t make it right. I declined to endorse him and criticized his policies. Then, when he won, I continued to disagree with him in public, and my Republican colleagues said they would strip me of my leadership position unless I promised to stop speaking against him. So, I resigned from the party. A few months later, I joined the Democratic Party.

I drew my red line too late. I’ll answer for my choices publicly and privately for years to come. But admitting your mistakes is one of the best ways to keep from repeating them.

With a month to go before another round of voting begins, a few Republicans appear to be reassessing their relationship with President Trump and his Republican Party. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) won’t say whether she’ll support Trump as she defends her once-safe seat. Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) questioned the president’s handling of the coronavirus crisis and on some issues of national security. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), amid a difficult reelection, disagreed with Trump on removing Confederate names from military bases.

Distancing yourself from a failing party is an easy hedge when your position is either completely secure or increasingly desperate. But if Republicans are serious about reckoning with their futures, they must start by asking themselves: “Where is my red line? At what point would I say, ‘This is just too much’?"

If it wasn’t seeing kids in cages or seeking bribes from a foreign government, was it the repeated suggestion that the coronavirus would take care of itself? If it wasn’t Trump’s defense of white nationalists in Charlottesville, was it when he suggested we postpone the election in a tweet?

The autopsy the Republicans will need after this election could make the 2012 postmortem seem like child’s play. If Republicans do not ask themselves these questions between now and Election Day, they will surely be asking themselves after. And, I can tell you the answers will hurt.

'I can say anything I want': Michigan official [Republican of course] defends using racist slur while refusing to wear a mask, 8/7/20

Congress must investigate the secret detention of children and asylum-seekers

email from Dani Marrero, 8/7/20

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is a secretive federal agency that systematically violates the legal and human rights of immigrants and asylum-seekers.

Right now, DHS is secretly detaining children, families, and asylum-seekers at hotels and other black sites across the United States without a paper trail or any due process before disappearing them from the U.S.1

Without a paper trail, there is no way for anyone to ensure the safety and rights of asylum-seekers.

Congress must immediately investigate the Department of Homeland Security's illegal and immoral detention and deportation of asylum-seekers.

The Trump administration is denying asylum-seekers due process in an ongoing effort to degrade and, ultimately, end asylum—the legal process that allows someone who feels their life is in danger to seek refuge in safer countries.

An attorney for the ACLU, which has filed a lawsuit on behalf of children in U.S. government custody previously held at a hotel in McAllen, TX, says, "The Trump administration is holding children in secret in hotels, refusing to give lawyers access to them so it can expel them back to danger without even a chance for the children to show they warrant asylum. Unfortunately this is just the latest in a series of steps taken by the Trump administration to abuse and terrorize children."

Why is this important?

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is a rogue and secretive federal agency that systematically violates the legal and human rights of immigrants and asylum-seekers. Now, they are secretly detaining children, families, and asylum-seekers at hotels across the U.S. without a paper trail or any due process before disappearing them from the country. Without a paper trail, there is no way for anyone to ensure the safety and rights of the people DHS is secretly detaining.

–Dani Marrero Hi, Texas Civil Rights Project

Trump’s desperate attacks are revealing the scam Republicans have been pulling for years, 8/7/20 Opinion by Jennifer Rubin

Unless something dramatic happens, President Trump will lose in November, taking a good number of Republican enablers with him. The Pew Research Center reported on Thursday: “Trump’s rating from the U.S. public overall for his response to the coronavirus has declined 11 percentage points since March, from 48% to 37%." His overall approval is down to 38 percent. A new poll has his Republican ally, Sen. Lindsey O. Graham, tied in South Carolina. Republican Sens. Susan Collins (Maine), Martha McSally (Ariz.), Thom Tillis (N.C.) and Joni Ernst (Iowa) all trail their opponents in recent polls.

Democrats will have a field day if Republicans leave town without a stimulus deal. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) have already bashed Republicans over and over again for failing to come to the aid of Americans facing poverty, eviction and food insecurity while proposing in their bill a tax deductibility for business lunches. Pelosi had this stunning exchange with CNBC’s Jim Cramer on Thursday:

Jim Cramer: I like your spirit of being more upbeat, more optimistic, so I will offer this: Why can’t you go across the aisle and say, ‘Representative Lewis, civil rights legend, would have loved it if we could do something for the totally disenfranchised in this country. No matter what, can we give a huge chunk of money to the people who are disenfranchised, to minorities who want so badly to stay in business and can’t and to people who are trying to go to college or have student loans who are minorities who are the most affected because they had the least chance in our country?' That’s got to be something both sides can agree to.

Speaker Pelosi: Perhaps you mistook them for somebody who gives a damn for what you just described.

Jim Cramer: Ooh, jeez.

Speaker Pelosi: Yeah. That’s the problem. See, the thing is, they don’t believe in governance. They don’t believe in governance, and that requires some acts of government to do that. . . . And basically, economists tell us, spend the money, invest the money for those who need it the most, because they will spend it. It will be a stimulus or at least a stabilization of -- and that’s a good thing. Consumer confidence is a good thing for the economy. You know that better than anyone.

Meanwhile in Ohio, President Trump used an official White House visit as a forum to attack presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden. The former vice president, Trump proclaimed, would “take away your guns, take away your Second Amendment. No religion, no anything." Revealing his own lack of faith and decency, Trump added that Biden would “hurt the Bible. Hurt God. He’s against God. He’s against guns. He’s against energy."

The Biden team responded more in disgust than anger. “Joe Biden’s faith is at the core of who he is; he’s lived it with dignity his entire life, and it’s been a source of strength and comfort in times of extreme hardship," spokesman Andrew Bates said. “Donald Trump is the only president in our history to have tear-gassed peaceful Americans and thrown a priest out of his church just so he could profane it -- and a Bible -- for his own cynical optics as he sought to tear our nation apart at a moment of crisis and pain." Bates added that Trump’s remark "comes just one day after Trump’s campaign abused a photo of Joe Biden praying in church to demean him, in one of the starkest expressions of weakness throughout this whole campaign."

At this point, we not only see the desperation in Trump’s attacks but the scam Republicans have pulled for years in the name of “conservatism." Claiming to be the party of values, conservatives have lined up behind someone who decries true faith, brutalizes the weak, unabashedly displays his racism and acts on every ugly impulse that pops into his head. Their support is not grounded in values; rather, they come from cultural resentment and white supremacy.

As Robert P. Jones, head of the Public Religion Research Institute and expert on the religious right, tweeted: “Trump’s not first to weaponize God-talk, but his instrumental use of Christianity is so transparent [because] it’s not his native language. Seems he’s using Bible as totem, uttering mantras he barely understands (e.g., 2 Corinthians, “hurt the Bible”) to conjure its power."

The Second Amendment, also a mainstay of right-wing rhetoric and political mobilization, looks like it was cover for a money-making racket.

The Post reports, “The chief executive of the National Rifle Association and several top lieutenants engaged in a decades-long pattern of fraud to raid the coffers of the powerful gun rights group for personal gain, according to a lawsuit filed Thursday by the New York attorney general, draining $64 million from the nonprofit in just three years." New York Attorney General Letitia James wants to dissolve the NRA and remove “CEO Wayne LaPierre from the leadership post he has held for the past 39 years, saying he and others used the group’s funds to finance a luxury lifestyle." The cynicism of the right can be seen in the lack of outrage that its money has been allegedly stolen by con men; instead, they worry they’ll lose an effective campaign entity.

Let’s not forget the debt, which Republicans were happy to ring up when it came to tax cuts for the wealthy or bailouts for big business and their own cronies. But they suddenly rediscover their aversion to spending when it comes to funding state and local government to prevent layoffs of police and fire fighters, expanding food stamps or continuing federal support for unemployed Americans. At a joint news conference Thursday, Pelosi let loose on Republicans, chiding Republicans for their selective concern about the debt. She noted they were perfectly willing to use $2 trillion for tax breaks “heaping mountains of debt onto our children," but not to feed, house and educate them.

Trump and his Republican cohorts seem to be heading for an electoral disaster.

Along the way, they are also managing to show us that whether it was on religion or guns or debt, their rhetoric was largely a sham. Stripped of the pretense that they care about anything other than holding power, they must campaign under a president who cannot explain what he wants to do in his second term. God willing, we won’t have to find out.

Ted Rall 8/6/20

It has suddenly dawned on Senate Republicans: They're doomed, Opinion by Jennifer Rubin

There is no deal yet between the White House and House Democrats on the stimulus bill, the Heroes Act, which the House passed more than two months ago. The Senate Republicans’ bill, finally rolled out last week, was so preposterously insufficient even President Trump called it “semi-irrelevant."

Senate Republicans are so irrelevant they are not even participating in talks between the president’s representatives -- White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin -- and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.). That’s right: The Democratic minority leader is relevant; the Republicans are not.

That is because they have allowed the anti-government, anti-science Trump sycophants to disclaim any interest in the bill, thereby handing the reins to Democrats. Only recently does it seem to have dawned on Republican incumbents on the ballot three months from now that this is not a good place to be. CNN reports: “Republican senators are increasingly concerned over the state of stimulus negotiations on Capitol Hill. They’re frustrated over how long it is taking to reach an agreement and fearful that a deal may not come together at all as the country remains in crisis."

As Republicans itch over next possible Supreme Court vacancy, Democrats mull countermeasures, 8/3/20

When Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died in February of 2016, Senate Republicans discovered a heretofore unidentified, now-infamous caveat to President Barack Obama's constitutional powers: Black presidents aren't allowed to fill vacant Supreme Court seats during an election year. The Senate refused to even consider the nomination of Merrick Garland, who was put forward by Obama for the role; instead, the seat was simply left vacant for the duration of Obama's term. When Republican Trump was installed as president the next year, the Senate swiftly confirmed his own conservative nominee.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and fawning Trump golf partner Sen. Lindsey Graham, among others, have not been shy in declaring that the previously made-up rule no longer applies under Trump. On the contrary, they say the Senate would move swiftly to confirm any last-minute nominees if a vacancy were to arise in the last months of Trump's calamitous term.

The recent diagnosis of liberal court icon Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg with liver cancer (she is by all accounts being successfully treated) is putting new focus on these Republican court-packing inventions and un-inventions—and is pushing Democratic senators to more seriously consider expanding the court to rebalance it in the face of blatant Republican sabotages.

Steve Breen 8/6/20

GOP ads kicked off the air for making up crap about North Carolina Senate candidate, 8/4/20

Last week, at least three TV stations refused to air a NRSC commercial that falsely accused Democrat Cal Cunningham of personally benefiting from the federal coronavirus relief effort known as the Paycheck Protection Program.

New Yorker Cartoons

You have echoed lies and defended demagoguery. It must sting to still be defending Trump. 7/30/20

What a tremendous burden it must be for you to still be defending President Trump. You have called yourself a constitutional conservative for decades, but now you sit silently as the president pushes to move this year’s election because he might lose. Even some Republican senators are speaking up. Why aren’t you?

Mike Lester 7/23/20

Republicans don’t seem to grasp cause and effect Opinion by Jennifer Rubin, 8-2-20

President Trump’s critics have a remarkable capacity to predict the future. Consider all the things Trump’s fiercest critics, both Democrats and Never Trumpers, called in advance:

If Trump goads governors into reopening their states early and sneer at mask-wearing, thousands will die.

If Trump fears he will lose the election, he will try to delegitimize the election.

If Trump stops inciting violent clashes with federal forces, unrest will die down.

If the virus runs rampant, the economy cannot recover.

If you go to a crowded Trump rally where masks are not worn, you risk illness or death.

If Trump sides with white nationalists and not Black Lives Matter, he will be at odds with with most Americans.

If Trump disdains scientific expertise, he will make a fool of himself embracing quack remedies and charlatans.

It is not that Trump critics have a crystal ball. If you understand cause and effect, embrace science and exercise common sense, you too can anticipate a good deal. If you do not disregard every public poll showing you doing poorly, you might have a better sense of where Americans actually stand on issues. (It would help if you got out of the right-wing media playback loop.)

Trump, however, is unable to do these things and flails away, making matters worse for himself and the country.

We might try a different approach that would allow Trump also to “predict” the future. Here it goes:

If you invest in absentee voting and give the U.S. Postal Service adequate funds, you will help avoid, as Trump put it on Friday, the “greatest election disaster in history."

If you call out Russian President Vladimir Putin for targeting U.S. troops and impose harsh sanctions when he does, he (and other aggressors) will be more likely to stop than if you never bring it up.

If you want Americans to survive financially and pay their bills at a time of astronomically high unemployment, boost their unemployment insurance, expand food stamps and give state and local governments money to stop massive layoffs of public employees.

This is not rocket science. At some point it becomes obvious that Trump does not WANT to do these things. He does not WANT to add credibility to an election he is increasingly likely to lose. He does not WANT to confront Putin even if U.S. troops’ lives are at stake. And he does not WANT to help working people because it will not impress his donors and will not keep him in good stead with the extreme base. (On this last one, it is also possible he and millionaire Cabinet members simply have no clue about the concerns facing unemployed Americans, who are not lazy but rather unable to find jobs.)

Republicans in 2016 missed the easiest cause and effect out there: If you elect a narcissistic, ignorant, corrupt and cruel president, disaster will ensue. We now are paying the price.

Dave Whamund 7/23/20

Today’s GOP in a nutshell: Jaw-dropping incompetence and grotesque disrespect for others, Opinion by Jennifer Rubin

Two defining features of the Republican Party were on display Thursday. Together, they are proof that the flaws of today’s GOP are not limited to President Trump and reason enough to send the party in its current manifestation into the political wilderness.

The first, and most important, feature is the party’s jaw-dropping incompetence. We not only have Trump’s failure to address the coronavirus pandemic (as well as dozens of other examples ranging from a wall you can saw through to a government shutdown), but also the incapacity of the Republican-controlled Senate to do its job.

The Post reports: “Senate Republicans killed President Trump’s payroll tax cut proposal on Thursday but failed to reach agreement with the White House on a broader coronavirus relief bill." That, in turn, sent lawmakers into “a frantic scramble with competing paths forward . . . and the entire effort appeared to teeter chaotically on the brink of failure." They have had more than two months to consider a plan following the House’s swift passage of the Heroes Act. They have heard from Trump-appointed Federal Reserve Board Chair Jerome H. Powell, who urged the Senate to put together a substantial relief package. It still doesn’t have its act together. (Can you imagine if they invalidated the Affordable Care Act and were charged with finding a replacement?)

At a joint news conference on Thursday, Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) could only gape in amazement at Republicans’ ineptitude. “Now that Senate Republicans have finally woken up to the calamity in our country, they have been so divided, so disorganized, so unprepared that they have struggled to even draft a partisan proposal within their own conference," Schumer said. “They can’t come together. Even after all this time, it appears the Republican legislative response to [covid-19] is un-unified, unserious, unsatisfactory." He added, “The Republican disarray and dithering has potentially serious deadly consequences for tens of millions of Americans. 1.4 million Americans applied for unemployment last week, the first time the number rose since March."

Pelosi, arguably the most competent legislator of the last 20 years, barely controlled her disdain for Republicans’ utter failure. She declared: “They don’t believe in science. They don’t believe in governance. . . . It is another example of their dereliction of duty." Asked whether she had gotten a phone call or a piece of paper from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), she tersely replied, “No."

Understand that this is not a matter of coming up with a proposal acceptable to Democrats. Republicans do not even know what they want. More than six months into the crisis, the slothful Senate seems ready to leave for the weekend. Perhaps the White House and Pelosi should strike a deal, daring the Senate to vote it down with no alternative in place. They are using up space and time, acting as an impediment to action. If they cannot perform their jobs, they should turn over the reins to Democrats.

The second defining feature of today’s Republicans is their grotesque disrespect for their fellow Americans, with a deep strain of misogyny. We have become so accustomed to Trump’s ugliness that we sometimes ignore outbursts from other Republicans. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) was not about to let that happen on Thursday.

She took to the floor to rebut Rep. Ted Yoho (R-Fla.) for his non-apology over his verbal assault on her earlier in the week, during which he reportedly called Ocasio-Cortez a “f---ing b---h." (Yoho has denied using the slur.) Had Yoho made an equivalent statement concerning an African American male colleague, leadership would have been under pressure to condemn him, strip him of privileges (as was the case in handling remarks made by Rep. Steve King of Iowa) or even boot him from the House. With a woman as the victim, they were prepared to do exactly nothing.

Ocasio-Cortez elegantly skewered not only Yoho but the men who silently stand by after such displays. “This issue is not about one incident. It is cultural," she said. “It is a culture of . . . impunity, of accepting of violence and violent language against women, and an entire structure of power that supports that." She pointed to Trump as well, recalling his comment that four congresswomen of color (including herself) -- each of them U.S. citizens -- should “go back” to where they came from. She added: "Having a daughter does not make a man decent. Having a wife does not make a decent man. Treating people with dignity and respect makes a decent man. And when a decent man messes up, as we all are bound to do, he tries his best and does apologize."

Instead, today’s Republican Party rewards displays of insensitivity, disrespect, meanness and bigotry as a sign one will not be contained by “elites” or “political correctness." It tolerates support for the Confederate flag and white nationalism. It ignores protesters screaming in the faces of health-care workers to protest one’s right to go mask-less, thereby endangering others. The culture of bullying and the disdain for others is not an incidental part of the GOP; it is central to its identity.

A party that disdains government should not run for office. A party that celebrates rudeness, incivility, meanness and bigotry should be shunned. Rehabilitation for the GOP? It’s impossible to imagine, given its cast of characters.

Three more signs Republicans are in trouble by Jennifer Rubin 7/16/20/h3>

Republicans are in deep trouble. It is not simply President Trump’s atrocious national and state polling numbers. It is not merely the growing list of incumbent Senate Republicans facing difficult elections. (Five incumbents are in toss-up seats, according to the Cook Political Report; four are in the next-worst category of “Lean Republican.") There are three new signs suggesting the Republicans’ grip on power is draining like sand out of an hourglass.

First, for all of Trump’s support among Republicans (not 94 percent as he claims, but generally in the high 80s), there is stunning evidence of what we suspected was underway in 2018. It is not so much that Republicans are abandoning Trump but that voters are abandoning the Republican Party, and now adding to the anti-Trump vote. Gallup reports:

Since January, Americans’ party preferences have shifted dramatically in the Democratic Party’s direction. What had been a two-percentage-point Republican advantage in U.S. party identification and leaning has become an 11-point Democratic advantage, with more of that movement reflecting a loss in Republican identification and leaning (down eight points) than a gain in Democratic identification and leaning (up five points). . . . In June alone, there was a three-point increase in Democratic identification and leaning, and a corresponding five-point drop in Republican identification and leaning.

The flight from the GOP just in June, in the wake of the killing of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter protests, suggests millions of Americans may have decided it was unacceptable to identify as Republicans. The implications are ominous for Republicans up and down the ticket. Per Gallup: “Four months before Election Day, Democrats appear to be as strong politically now as they were in 2018 when they reclaimed the majority in the House of Representatives and gained seven governorships they previously did not hold," the pollsters found. “If the strong current Democratic positioning holds through Election Day, Democrats could build off those 2018 successes to possibly win the presidency and Senate in 2020."

Second, without directly challenging Trump, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is abandoning Trump’s stances emphatically and quickly. Over the past few weeks, he has become a poster-boy for mask-wearing, bemoaning those who have politicized the issue. He is also caving on the next stimulus bill. As House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) gleefully put it at her weekly news conference on Thursday, “First it was going to be no bill. Then it was going to be some little bill. Then it was going to be $1.3 [trillion]. That’s not enough." She radiated confidence: She will get the Senate’s agreement on state and local funding, Pelosi said. She also noted that McConnell knows how to read the polls and that he listens to his members. The momentum is with Democrats, and he better hop on board -- quickly.

Third, Republicans are panicking over money, as well they should. The Wall Street Journal reports: “Democratic candidates in the 11 most competitive Senate races collectively raised $67.3 million in the second quarter of the year, $20.5 million more than their Republican counterparts, according to fundraising reports filed Wednesday with the Federal Election Commission. The total includes two Republicans who gave almost $6.5 million to their own campaigns." At least one Republican operative is living in the real world, telling the Journal, “We’re scared to death by what we see."

The House picture is no brighter. ABC News reports, “House Democrats are outpacing their own previous fundraising records, bringing in nearly $40 million in the second quarter -- a signal of both the party’s enthusiasm in the final stretch of the cycle ahead of November and the difficult road ahead for the GOP seeking to take back the majority." What’s more, reliable third-party groups that normally give big money to Republicans have not been opening their wallets. “So far, for the 2020 elections, the [U.S. Chamber of Commerce] has reported just $1.6 million in political spending to the Federal Election Commission," Daily Beast reports. At this point in 2016, the group had given 10 times that amount.

By contrast, former vice president Joe Biden (never known as a prodigious fundraiser) has been raking it in. The New York Times reports: “Mr. Biden’s campaign announced on Thursday that he entered July with $242 million in the bank, up from less than $60 million at the beginning of April. He still has less money than Mr. Trump, who reported $295 million, but the cash gap is suddenly far less daunting."

To recap: The GOP is shrinking, Republicans are scrambling to get on the right side of stimulus, and the fundraising numbers indicate donors are figuring out the party will lose big. At some point, all of this becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy -- and a big blue wave.

The Republican campaign to help the wealthy cheat on their taxes

WHEN MILLIONS of Americans file tax returns on Wednesday -- the 2020 deadline following a three-month delay due to covid-19 -- they can feel satisfaction that they have paid their share to live in an ordered society. They should also feel anger at tax cheats who refuse to do so, placing more burden on everyone else, and at the politicians who help them get away with it.

When Republicans won control of the House in 2010, they began a multi-year campaign to defund the Internal Revenue Service, slashing its budget by a fifth in real dollars over the course of the following decade. A lower IRS budget translated directly into lower amounts of taxes collected -- and therefore a substantial net loss to the government. The IRS left $381 billion a year on the table between 2011 and 2013. A Congressional Budget Office report released last week shows that the primary beneficiaries were rich tax delinquents.

A disproportionate amount of the Republican IRS cuts have targeted the agency’s enforcement division, leading to a sharp loss of workers auditing tax forms. “Employees who work the most complex examination and collections cases experienced especially large declines," the CBO noted. That led to a 40 percent drop in returns examined even as more returns were being filed. Audits of filers claiming more than $1 million in income plummeted by 63?percent. Examinations of large corporations’ tax filings saw a similar collapse.

It doesn’t have to be this way. The CBO estimated that hiking the agency’s budget by $20 billion over the coming decade would boost federal revenue by $61 billion. A $40 billion raise would result in $103 billion in revenue. A no-brainer, you might think -- and increased IRS enforcement would likely promote higher levels of voluntary compliance, so the treasury would take in even more as tax avoiders calculated that dishonesty had become too risky.

On the other hand, continuing to shortchange the IRS could have particularly bad results this year, as the coronavirus pandemic hobbles the already strained agency’s ability to run in-person audits and tax filers’ ability to get help with their forms.

Attacking the taxman has provided easy applause lines for Republicans. But the policy has harmed honest citizens. It is past time to end the GOP’s penny-wise, pound-foolish anti-IRS crusade.

Republican congressman who used UPS Store address on voter registration is charged with 3 felonies, 7/14/20

A member of the U.S. House of Representatives has been indicted on four charges related to an investigation into illegal voting. Topeka, Kansas authorities announced Tuesday that Rep. Steve Watkins, a Republican, faces four charges in all, including one misdemeanor, tied to the investigation, which stems from Watkins’ registering to vote in 2019 with a false address, then attempting to rectify it with another useless address when he was caught.

Not all Republicans have lost their souls, 8-22 Jennifer Rubin

Well, what else do you expect them to do? I’ve heard that rationale innumerable times to explain Republicans’ capitulation to President Trump, in violation of every principle they once espoused and despite his morally indefensible conduct. Republicans who preached free trade now insist that Trump is at heart a free-trader. (I’m looking at you, Larry Kudlow.)

Republicans who said they were so very concerned about anti-Semitism when Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) peddled in anti-Israel or anti-Semitic language -- that’s you, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), and you, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) -- cannot bring themselves to utter a word of criticism when Trump repeatedly accuses Jews of “disloyalty."

Like many individuals, the right-wing think tanks, policy groups and media have put principle, truth and decency aside either to actively support Trump or turn a blind eye toward his behavior. Well, they want judges and tax cuts. Well, they are party men and women. Well, you cannot let the left win. It takes the presence of some principled Republicans to highlight how specious is this line of reasoning and how to maintain one’s integrity.

The Post reported this week: “Jennifer Horn was pushed right up to a line she swore she would never cross. Her GOP organization, where she sat on the board for several years, had just endorsed President Trump for reelection, something she says she would never do herself. ... Horn sent a letter to the chair and vice chair of the Log Cabin Republicans, a national LGBTQ organization, on Monday after the group announced its endorsement of Trump."

I spoke to Horn by phone on Wednesday afternoon. She stressed that when she was recruited to the Log Cabin Republicans’ board, she was “proud to join an independent group” that pursued equality, fairness and inclusion. “An endorsement was completely separated” from that ethos, she believes, although she expresses “a tremendous amount of respect” for board members, some of whom helped founded the group and have pursued gay marriage and gay rights efforts for decades. “This is not a president for inclusion, for equality for all," she tells me. “Donald Trump is not a conservative, not a Republican and not a good person."

She explains that the board went through a process to consider an endorsement. The decision was not unanimous, with Horn and a group of dissenters opposing and voting against the endorsement.

She and another source familiar with the Log Cabin Republicans tell me that at least three members of the board have quit in recent months, including the first female board member, Sarah Longwell, a prominent NeverTrump voice who heads several organizations, including Republicans for the Rule of Law.

One can take the charitable view that perhaps for people now in their 70s, having a Republican president that they can work with and who doesn’t condemn them outright is an accomplishment. The less charitable explanation is that these people have been blinded by access to power and accommodated themselves to a president who threw transgender Americans out of the military, gave contractors permission to discriminate against LGBTQ employees based on their professed religious beliefs, appointed virulently anti-gay judges and openly peddles bigotry.

I asked Horn whether she has been surprised by the lack of spine throughout the GOP. “I have been surprised at the degree to which otherwise good and responsible Republicans" have capitulated, she says. She offers that there are people who might be motivated by an issue such as tax cuts, but there are plenty of people whose driving motivation is “holding onto power." She concedes that Trump has been “very effective in bullying the party."

And yet people do manage to object or leave the party, as Rep. Justin Amash (I-Mich.) did; denounce Trump’s language, as former Ohio governor John Kasich has done for years; leave groups that knuckled under to Trump; or speak out to denounce Trump from the floor of the Senate.

Horn says that in 2008, when she first entered politics to run for Congress, she had a rule of thumb: “I have a very clear memory of telling my husband. . . I would not do or say anything I could not defend to our children." In the case of Trump, Horn couldn’t possibly explain why she was part of a reelection effort.

Cowardice is prevalent in the Republican Party for lots of reasons -- including an insatiable desire to remain in office, a tribal mentality, a hysterical conviction that the alternative to Trump is national doom and an unusual ability for self-delusion. Nevertheless, the presence of people such as Amash, Longwell, Horn and some others is a reminder that we always have a choice. So long as there are people choosing to do the right thing, the Trump appeasers are reminded of their own lack of decency, principle and honor. No wonder they are so angry all the time.

And no wonder Trump so loathed the late senator John McCain, who was the epitome of principled defiance. If a few of these Republicans started standing up to him, there’d be no end to it, right?

Here’s why Cory Gardner and other Republicans deserve to lose in 2020, 1-31

Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) have learned nothing over the past two years, politically speaking. And from a moral and intellectual standpoint, they seem to have regressed.

Both you see are already endorsing President Trump -- because Trump’s the incumbent, you see. Consider the logic here:

Portman now says he plans to back the president in 2020.

“I intended to support the Republican incumbent," he told IJR. And like other Republicans, Portman said he’s basically supporting Trump because he’s already the president.

“What changed?" Portman replied when asked why he’s changed his mind. “Well, he’s the incumbent. I mean, he’s in office, I work with him every day.

“I disagree with him publicly and privately when appropriate. But I also get a lot done, and I get that done with him. So we work with the White House, and I think that’s important for Ohio," Portman added.

Portman apparently doesn’t care about the obvious indications of the president’s abject unfitness, his bizarre fondness for Russian President Vladimir Putin, and Trump’s refusal to accept reality even in the face of the unanimous judgment of the intelligence community and the considerable evidence that he obstructed justice and lied to the American people about ties to Russia. Hey, he’s there in the Oval Office, so he’s my guy!

It doesn’t seem to occur to him that someone more to his political liking might be the Democratic nominee or that a fine Republican challenger could emerge. It’s fair to say Gardner is in extreme political peril given the increasingly Democratic bent of the state; this sure won’t help.

And when you are looking for examples of political spinelessness, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) never disappoints. ("'Why, is someone running against him?' Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) replied when asked if he plans to back Trump, his former 2016 rival. ‘It’s my intention, of course, to support the nominee. And he’ll be the nominee.’”) No one ever accused him of having an abundance of political imagination or independence.

These Republicans have internalized no lessons, it seems, from the morally and intellectually ruinous effort to defend Trump at all costs. They cannot imagine a political universe in which he is not the nominee -- or they are afraid to say so. They, in short, remain enablers of Trump’s incompetent, deceitful and cruel administration. They bear blame for his attacks on democratic institutions, his normalization of bigotry, and his undermining of U.S. influence and stature in the world.

I do NOT want to work with republicans. [CG feels the same]

There, as the title says, I. Do. Not. Want. To. Work. With. Republicans.

I want to fucking DESTROY THEM. I want them to suffer the consequences from their abusive policies that they have strapped America with the past 100 years. I don’t want to reach across the aisle. I don’t want to hear them out, or see what ideas they can bring to the table.

Their policies have FAILED! They have failed repeatedly and will continue to do so. There is NO fix for what broken shit they sell because they are purposefully selling BROKEN SHIT that has never worked and NO amount of political trickery will EVER make it work.

They are in the minority and they should be treated as they have treated the democrats when the democrats were in the minority, with NOTHING but disdain and disgust. They ONLY win elections through fucking cheating or through the antiquated broken Electoral College. STOP TREATING THEM LIKE THEY DESERVE A SEAT AT THE FUCKING TABLE WHEN THEY DESERVE TO BE TOSSED INTO THE TRASH BIN OF HISTORY!

Their beliefs are disgustingly inhumane and also poll with a minority of the population but they push their ideas anyway because the democrats can’t stop treating them like their ideas are worthy of discussion.

Yes, this diary is against the absolute ignorant belief that Vice President Biden thinks he can "work" with republicans. This is against any dem who thinks that they can work with republicans and that we need to hear from them to govern for progressive policies that progressives want.

Do we NOT remember mcconnell saying he would do anything to make President Obama a one term president? Do we not remember how mcconnell held onto a Supreme Court seat FOR OVER A FUCKING YEAR to ensure that the next president would get it? Do we not remember that mcconnell conveniently STOPPED the election hacking being done by the Russians from going public?

Republicans committed burglary to get dirt on their political opponents with Watergate.

Republicans conspired with terrorists during Iran Contra while undermining the ELECTED PRESIDENT who was doing everything in his power to get the hostages freed. For those of you who don’t know – THAT’S A FUCKING COUP RIGHT THERE!! RIGHT FUCKING THERE!

Republicans went to war on illegals premises and sold this war on LIES to the AMERICAN PUBLIC and don’t forget THE DEMS HELPED THEM DO IT!! That is what we get when we work with them – WAR!! WAR based on lies and bullshit!! War that cost hundreds of American lives and hundreds OF THOUSANDS of civilian lives and hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars.

Republicans committed WAR CRIMES. THEY COMMITTED TORTURE!! THEY ARE AT THIS MOMENT JAILING CHILDREN!! CHILDREN!!

Republicans illegally spied on American citizens.

And all of the above up there? That is just SOME of the crimes they have committed. Let’s talk about the other stuff, you know; like calling First Lady Michelle Obama an ape! Let’s talk about comparing Chelsea Clinton to a fucking dog! Let’s talk about the investigation into President Clinton, which at first went NO WHERE, so they fired the guy doing the investigating and started investigating AGAIN!! And when the second guy stated the same thing as the first guy, that there was NO CRIME FOUND the republicans then FIRED THAT GUY AS WELL and brought on rapist protector Ken Starr who dug and dug and dug…until they could FINALLY nail President Clinton for lying under oath about consensual sex with a woman of adult age, who was not his wife. Not for White Water…which was what the investigation had started with wayyyyy back when it started.

Let’s talk about President Obama and how he MUST HAVE BEEN BORN IN KENYA because, you know; he’s… you know.. .he’s… well…he’s….uhm…. yeah, let’s just say…he ain’t WHITE so obviously, he MUST have been born in, you know… AFRICA… I mean, that’s where all them black folk do come from…am I right?? OF COURSE I AM, CERTAINLY NO ONE NAMED OBAMA COULD HAVE POSSIBLY BEEN BORN HERE, IN THE GOOD ‘OLE UNITED STATES OF WHITE… I MEAN, AMERICA!!

Let’s talk about how well they did going after President Clinton that they couldn’t help themselves from going after Secretary Hillary Clinton. Millions of dollars investigating Benghazi so they could try and pin the blame on her instead of investigating it to try and prevent it from ever happening again!!

Millions of dollars investigating her FUCKING EMAILS!!! HER FUCKING EMAILS!! HOLY GODDAMN GOD DAMN!!! She sat for an 11 hour congressional inquiry because the republicans controlled congress and goddamn them if they weren’t going to find something they could nail her for. There has to be something there!! I mean, it worked for Bill...it must work for Hillary as well.

[And they attacked her for trivial stuff. She IS a war criminal. But, hey, who cares abour that?]

Now let’s talk about the current crop of republicans. They outright deny climate change is harming the planet despite all evidence to the contrary. WE ARE KILLING THIS PLANET AND WE ARE DOING IT FOR PROFIT!!!

There is NO other reason the republicans don’t want to do anything about it. You can say they want the rapture, or that it’s god’s will or whatever bullshit you want to believe about THEIR beliefs when the only belief that they have ever expressed has been one of making money and making sure that they are protecting those who make A FUCKING METRIC TON OF MONEY.

They are okay supporting a president who has committed adultery and then lied about it (Hey, President Clinton, do you want a do over? You do? FUCK YOU, TOUGH SHIT!!) Accountability is for democrats and democrats alone suckers!! WORK WITH THAT!!

They are okay with supporting a president who obstructed justice! Wait..oh, now YOU want do over President Nixon? Tough shit, you’re dead.

They assault reporters and then get a slap on the back from the rapist in chief all the while they ignore fulfilling out what punishment the judge handed out.

[AND, they HATE whistleblowers! Assange and Manning in particular because they embarrassed them and exposed their lies]

Oh yeah, and the guy in the Oval Office? HE IS A FUCKING RAPIST!! A PEDOPHILE RAPIST!!! HE HAS ASSAULTED NUMEROUS WOMEN, CHILDREN, AND HAS TOLD OVER 10,000 FUCKING LIES SINCE TAKING OFFICE!! And the republicans are OKAY with him. He is the end result of all their policies, and beliefs and political will, he is definitely NOT an anomaly that has turned the rethugs away from their broken policies. He is the end result of their broken policies.

And Wow…some people think that once trump is gone…the fog will lift from the republican eyes and they will suddenly start working with the democrats again, for the good of the country, and not just for the good of the profits.

Wake the fuck up democrats running for office - this is what republicans are! They have shown you who they are time add time and time and time again!!! WHY WON’T YOU BELIEVE THEM??

And all of that? All of the above isn’t talking about abortions, or gun control, or health care, or election integrity!! All of those thing that the progressives have winning, POPULAR policies for.

So, NO I do NOT want to work with republicans.

I WANT TO DESTROY THEM.

And before anyone says “but but but AOC is working with ted cruz yada yada yada”. Good for her. When he burns her in the end and does everything he can to ruin her and her ideas… she will have learned a valuable lesson.

Republicans won’t have anything left to salvage WP Dana Milbank, 8/22/18

Speaker of the House Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)

What President Trump and his cadre have done is very bad.

What Republican leaders are doing is unforgivable.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) stood on the Senate floor Wednesday morning for his first public remarks since the seismic events of the day before: The president’s former personal lawyer pleaded guilty to fraud and breaking campaign finance laws, implicating the president in a crime; the president’s former campaign chairman was convicted on eight counts of financial crimes, making him one of five members of Trump’s team who have been convicted or have admitted guilt; and a Republican congressman was indicted, the second of Trump’s earliest congressional supporters to be charged this month.

It was time for leadership. McConnell ducked.

Instead, he hailed Trump’s campaign rally in West Virginia the night before. He disparaged President Barack Obama’s record. He spoke about low unemployment “under this united Republican government." He went on about coal, taxes, apprenticeship programs, health research, prisoner rehabilitation and more -- and not a peep about the corruption swirling around the president. When reporters pressed McConnell in the hallway for comment, he brushed them off.

McConnell’s counterpart in the House, Speaker Paul D. Ryan (Wis.), was equally cowardly. “We are aware of Mr. [Michael] Cohen’s guilty plea to these serious charges” was his office’s official statement. “We will need more information than is currently available at this point."

The U.S. isn't a banana republic, so why are sitting presidents immune to prosecution? (Kate Woodsome, Breanna Muir, Adriana Usero/The Washington Post)

What more do you need, Mr. Speaker? What more will it take, Republicans? It seems nothing can bring them to state what is manifestly true: The president is unfit to serve, surrounded by hooligans and doing incalculable harm.

A scroll through Republican lawmakers’ tweets since the Cohen-Manafort combination punch late Tuesday found shameful silence. GOP House leaders Kevin McCarthy (Calif.) and Steve Scalise (La.) tweeted about a murder allegedly committed by an illegal immigrant.

It briefly appeared that Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley (Iowa) was doing the right thing. He tweeted a suggestion to read Gerald Seib’s Wednesday Wall Street Journal column proclaiming the “darkest day of the Trump presidency." Fourteen minutes later came a corrective tweet from Grassley: He meant a previous Seib column, on another subject.

Among the few Republican lawmakers demonstrating dignity: Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (Pa.), ex-FBI agent, commended his former colleagues for “upholding the rule of law."

This intolerable silence of the Republicans -- through “Access Hollywood," racist outbursts, diplomatic mayhem and endless scandal -- is what allows Trump and his Fox News-viewing supporters to dock their spaceship in a parallel universe where truth isn’t truth. At Tuesday night’s rally in West Virginia, Trump’s irony-challenged audience could be heard chanting “Drain the Swamp!" and “Lock her up!" (Hillary Clinton, that is), just a few hours after Paul Manafort’s conviction and Cohen’s guilty plea.

Trump's claim that the Mueller investigation is a 'witch hunt' just got the wind knocked out of it. (Adriana Usero, Kate Woodsome/The Washington Post)

Republican lawmakers fear that with 87?percent of Republican voters backing Trump, crossing him is political suicide. But this is circular. Support among the Republican base remains high because Republican officeholders validate him.

It took a year from the Watergate break-in to Republican Sen. Howard Baker’s immortal 1973 question about a Republican president: “What did the president know and when did he know it?"

Instead of Baker, today we have Texas’s John Cornyn, the No. 2 Senate Republican, saying: “I would note that none of this has anything to do with the Russian collusion or meddling in the election."

And Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (S.C.): “Thus far, there have yet to be any charges or convictions for colluding with the Russian government by any member of the Trump campaign."

And Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (Utah): The “president should not be held responsible for the actions of the people he’s trusted."

And Grassley: “I don’t think I should be speculating."

But there doesn’t have to be collusion, or even speculation, to recognize that something is terribly wrong. There is no good answer to the question Cohen lawyer Lanny Davis posed after his client said under oath that Trump directed him to pay off two women to influence the election: “If those payments were a crime for Michael Cohen, then why wouldn’t they be a crime for Donald Trump?"

A few Republican senators (Jeff Flake, Bob Corker, Ben Sasse, Susan Collins, Richard Burr) have rhetorically distanced themselves from Trump. But their modest efforts don’t sufficiently protect the party, or the country, from Trump’s sleaze and self-dealing.

The moral rot is spreading. Two weeks ago, Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.) was arrested on charges related to insider trading -- from the White House lawn. On Tuesday, Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) and his wife were charged with using campaign funds for travel, golf, skiing, tuition, tickets, clothing, makeup, dental work and more, often while claiming the funds were being used on charities.

His office’s Trumpian response: “This action is purely politically motivated."

If Republicans don’t put some moral distance between themselves and Trump, there will soon be nothing left to salvage.

The spectacular greed and stupidity of Team Trump WP By Megan McArdle, 9/22/18

If anyone is looking for a good lawyer, I would strongly suggest that you don’t retain the services of Michael Cohen. Don’t take my word for it: On Wednesday morning, those exact words were tweeted by the president of the United States, famously Cohen’s onetime client. Or as he is now known to the Justice Department, “Individual-1."

The charges make fascinating reading, particularly because there is such an eerie similarity between the crimes that President Trump’s lawyer pleaded guilty to and those that Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort was found guilty of on the same day... But both stories involve tax fraud and fraudulent loan documents. Which is to say, dishonesty -- and stupidity.

Dishonesty explains itself. But the stupidity bears some examination. Tax fraud is never right, but provided one’s moral fiber was sufficiently flimsy, it used to be an arguably reasonable calculated risk. Lots of businesses transacted most of their exchanges in cash, giving the proprietor the opportunity to siphon off a percentage before the IRS learned about the income. And if you had serious amounts of money, there were foreign banking havens that would happily hide it.

A combination of technical and legal changes is making it harder to pull this sort of thing off. Cash has significantly declined as a medium of exchange, while banking surveillance has tightened dramatically. Your bank reports any large cash transactions straight to the government (causing headaches for banks and for small businesses that have a legitimate reason to be depositing cash). As for moving money abroad, rich-world governments have spent the past decade forcing foreign tax havens to open up their books.

That’s not to say no one ever gets away with tax evasion, of course; there remains a significant gap between the taxes the IRS collects and those it is owed, and the IRS should be given more resources to close that gap. But tax chicanery has become significantly more challenging than it was in the past, and even those of grasping nature and atrophied conscience should refrain out of sheer self-interest.

Consider all the money that Manafort spent on tasteless expensive clothes -- in part, perhaps, because it was a relatively easy way to get his foreign funds into the United States. Why not just forgo a few ostrich jackets and suits that screamed “1970s family room couch” and get right with the IRS? Why didn’t he and Cohen put aside some of their considerable earnings for a rainy day rather than resort to loan fraud?

Well, because they are both clearly spectacularly greedy and shortsighted, and evidently not troubled by shirking their civic obligations or defrauding people. And it seems hardly a mere coincidence that they ended up in the orbit of a man who displays so many of those qualities himself: cheating vendors, lying to the public on an unprecedented scale, using the highest office in the land to enrich himself.

.... But then, what sort of judgment do you expect from a man who would hire Paul Manafort as his consultant, or Michael Cohen as his lawyer?

Ban Censorship By Thomas L. Knapp August 16, 2018

In a recent tweet, US Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) warned that “Infowars is the tip of a giant iceberg of hate and lies that uses sites like Facebook and YouTube to tear our nation apart." His solution: “These companies must do more than take down one website. The survival of our democracy depends on it."

Yes, odd as it might seem, Senator Murphy believes that the future of America can only be secured by suppressing information and discussion he doesn’t like. That sentiment seems to be going around. David McCabe of Axios reports on a leaked policy paper from the office of US Senator Mark Warner (D-VA). Two of its most dangerous proposals:

"[N]ew federal funding for media literacy programs that could help consumers sort through the information on online platforms. " In other words, well-financed government propaganda to make sure we hear what Mark Warner wants us to hear (and think what he wants us to think about what we hear elsewhere).

"[R]equiring web platforms to label bot accounts or do more to identify authentic accounts, with the threat of sanction by the Federal Trade Commission if they fail to do so." America’s long tradition of anonymous and pseudonymous political speech -- not least among it the Revolution-era pamphlets of Thomas Paine -- shouldn’t be subject to the veto of Mark Warner or Chris Murphy.

Then, a good laugh: “The size and reach of these platforms demand that we ensure proper oversight, transparency and effective management of technologies that in large measure undergird our social lives, our economy, and our politics."

Since when has government ever produced proper oversight, transparency, or effective management of anything? And what could possibly go wrong with eviscerating the First Amendment to give these jokers “oversight” or “management” powers over technologies that undergird our politics? What’s really going on here?

Political blogger Michael Krieger answers that question with a simple headline: “Censorship Is What Happens When Powerful People Get Scared." The American political establishment has spent the last decade quaking in its boots over the next potential disclosure from WikiLeaks, Edward Snowden, or whistleblowers yet unknown. This isn’t about “our democracy." It’s about “their power."

The US government’s use of putatively “private sector” social media outlets as proxy censors has been going on for some time, but the Russiagate scandal lent it new momentum. And it’s not just some alleged lunatic fringe that they’re after. Recent victims of Twitter’s ban policy include non-interventionist foreign policy analysts like Scott Horton (editorial director of Antiwar.com), former Foreign Service Officer Peter Van Buren, and Ron Paul Institute director Daniel McAdams.

We don’t need “more government oversight” of social media. What we need is for it to be recognized, and treated, as a criminal abuse of power (and a violation of US Code Title 18 § 241 -- “conspiracy against rights”) for government officials or employees to attempt to “oversee” or “manage” social media’s content standards.

Let me reconfigure Chris Murphy’s authoritarian statement to name the stakes: The survival of our freedom depends on it.

Thomas L. Knapp (Twitter: @thomaslknapp) is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism (thegarrisoncenter.org). He lives and works in north central Florida.


Articles

Republicans Can Not Govern Honorably by greenandblue Community Thursday July 19, 2018

Respect for people, human rights, freedom, truth and equality is honorable. Misusing respect for the flag is dishonorable.

We are well aware that the current occupant of the White House regularly partakes in receiving emoluments, attacking federal agencies, denigrating opponents, disparaging allies, coddling dictators, and colluding with Russia. Donald Trump also has personal issues that are widely considered immoral or unethical, such as laundering money for criminals, as well as, infidelity to wives and business contracts alike. But, is Trump an aberration or a symptom of increasing malignancy? How far back do we have to go to find a Republican president who fulfilled his duties with honor? Nixon set the precedent for criminal behavior in the modern Republican party with the break in and theft of DNC materials. The criminal cover-up of those crimes led to his resignation, thanks to pressure from Republicans with a modicum of shame and honor.

Reagan followed up a half decade later by negotiating for Iran to keep our hostages until he became president. Then, during his term, he either ignored or approved the illegal selling of arms to Iran and using the proceeds to illegally fund Contra rebels in Nicaragua. Now, Reagan is practically considered a saint, while members of his administration who carried out the crimes are revered among Republicans.

George HW Bush might have been the most honorable of the modern lot, but he was caught up in Iran-Contra too, and later invaded Panama on dubious pretenses before starting the decades long military intervention in Iraq.

George W Bush, under false pretenses, eventually invaded Iraq, which killed and hurt millions of people, and which has been a significant contributor to instability in the region to this day. Let’s also not forget the previously unacceptable torture that Bush Jr approved.


Independence Day Special: Thirteen Facts About America Conservatives Would Like You to Forget by Richard Riis. "Daily Kos." Jul. 4, 2014.

1. Conservatives opposed the Founding Fathers, the American Revolution and a lot of other righteous stuff as well.

"By definition a conservative is one who wishes to preserve and/or restore traditional values and institutions, i.e. to “conserve” the established order. No surprise then that 18th century American conservatives wanted no part of breaking away from the British Empire and the comforting bonds of monarchical government. Those anti-revolutionary conservatives were called Tories, the name still used for the conservative party in England. The Founding Fathers? As radically left-wing as they came in the 1770s. The Boston Tea Party? The "Occupy Wall Street" of its day.

"Some of the other "traditional" values supported by conservatives over the course of American history have included slavery (remember that the Republican Party was on the liberal fringe in 1860), religious persecution, the subjugation of women and minorities, obstacles to immigration, voter suppression, prohibition and segregation. Conservatives started off on the wrong side of American history, and that's where they've been ever since.

2. The United States is not a Christian nation, and the Bible is not the cornerstone of our law.

'’t take my word for it. Let these Founding Fathers speak for themselves:

John Adams: “The government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion." (Treaty of Tripoli, 1797)

Thomas Jefferson: “Christianity neither is, nor ever was, a part of the common law." (Letter to Dr. Thomas Cooper, February 10, 1814)

James Madison: “The civil government … functions with complete success … by the total separation of the Church from the State." (Writings, 8:432, 1819)

George Washington: “If I could conceive that the general government might ever be so administered as to render the liberty of conscience insecure, I beg you will be persuaded, that no one would be more zealous than myself to establish effectual barriers against the horrors of spiritual tyranny, and every species of religious persecution." (Letter to the United Baptist Chamber of Virginia, May 1789)

You can find a multitude of similar quotes from these men and most others who signed the Declaration of Independence and/or formulated the United States Constitution. These are hardly the words of men who believed that America should be a Christian nation governed by the Bible, as a disturbing fundamentalist trend today would have it be.

3. Long before the United States even existed, it was drawing "problem" immigrants.

After being pretty much run out of England as anti-government radicals, the religious dissidents we know today as the Pilgrims settled in Leiden, Holland, where they set about making themselves that nation's immigrant problem. Sticking to themselves and refusing to “blend in” with their new homeland, the Pilgrims grew alarmed by the unpalatable ideas to which their children were being exposed, such as religious tolerance (good for the Pilgrims, bad for everyone else) and national service (like all Dutch residents, the Pilgrims were eligible for the draft). When their children began picking up the Dutch language, the Pilgrims had had enough. By then the Dutch had, too. Next stop: Plymouth Rock.

4. Those Pilgrims were commies... and it saved their lives.

Governor William Bradford’s memoirs confirm that the first thing the settlers did upon arrival in the Plymouth Colony was to set up a textbook communist system of production and distribution. Every resident of the colony was expected to share, to the extent of his or her ability, the chores of hunting, farming, cooking, building, making clothing, etc., and, in exchange, everyone shared the products of that communal labor.

That commie-pinko economy sustained the Pilgrims through their first brutal year in the New World, after which it was decided that the colony was sufficiently stable to allow householders their own plot of land on which to grow crops they were free to keep for themselves. The fact that the colonists’ productivity increased exponentially with their own land begs the question: were the Pilgrims working harder now that they got to keep the product of their own labor or, conversely, were they prone to slacking off when the goods came whether they worked hard or not?

I guess you could say the Pilgrims were the kind of lazy, shiftless “takers” that conservatives are always railing against.

5. One of the Founding Fathers, Thomas Jefferson, hated Thanksgiving.

In fact, Thomas Jefferson once called a national day of Thanksgiving “the most ridiculous idea” he’d ever heard of.

Despite being first proclaimed by George Washington in 1789, Jefferson believed a national day of thanksgiving was not consistent with the principle of separation of church and state and refused to recognize the holiday in any of the eight years in which he was president of the United States. “Every one must act according to the dictates of his own reason," Jefferson once wrote, “and mine tells me that civil powers alone have been given to the President of the United States, and no authority to direct the religious exercises of his constituents."

For the record, Presidents Andrew Jackson and Zachary Taylor refused to issue Thanksgiving Day proclamations during their administrations, too. Can you imagine what Fox News Channel would have made of these administrations' “War on Thanksgiving”?

6. The Pledge of Allegiance was written by a socialist.

The Pledge was written in 1892 for public school celebrations of the 400th anniversary of Columbus’ arrival in the Americas. Its author was Francis Bellamy, a Baptist minister, Christian socialist and cousin of socialist utopian novelist Edward Bellamy. Christian socialism maintains, among other ideas, that capitalism is idolatrous and rooted in greed, and the underlying cause of much of the world’s social inequity. Kinda puts the red in the ol' red, white and blue, doesn't it?

7. Roe v. Wade was a bipartisan decision made by a predominantly Republican-appointed Supreme Court.

Technically, Roe v. Wade did not make abortion legal in the United States, the Supreme Court merely found that the state of Texas’ prohibition on abortion violated the 14th Amendment Due Process Clause and that states could exercise varying degrees of discretion in regulating abortion, depending upon the stage of pregnancy. The Court also held the law violated the right to privacy under substantive due process.

That being said, the landmark 1973 ruling that conservatives love to hate, was decided on a 7-2 vote that broke down like this:

Majority (for Roe): Chief Justice Warren Burger (conservative, appointed by Nixon), William O. Douglas (liberal, appointed by FDR), William J. Brennan (liberal, appointed by Eisenhower), Potter Stewart (moderate, appointed by Eisenhower), Thurgood Marshall (liberal, appointed by LBJ), Harry Blackmun (author of the majority opinion and a conservative who eventually turned liberal, appointed by Nixon), Lewis Powell (moderate, appointed by Nixon). Summary: 3 liberals, 2 conservatives, 2 moderates.

Dissenting (for Wade): Byron White (generally liberal/sometimes conservative, appointed by JFK), William Rehnquist (conservative, appointed by Nixon). Summary: 1 liberal, 1 conservative.

By ideological orientation, it was an across-the-board decision for Roe: conservatives 2-1, liberals 3-1, moderates 2-0; by party of presidential appointment: Republicans 5-1, Democrats 2-1. No one can rightly say that this was a leftist court forcing its liberal beliefs on America.

8. Conservative icon Ronald Reagan once signed a bill legalizing abortion.

The Ronald Reagan conservatives worship today is more myth than reality. Reagan was a conservative for sure, but also a practical politician who understood the necessities of compromise. In the spring of 1967, four months into his first term as governor of California, Ronald Reagan signed a bill that, among other provisions, legalized abortion for the vaguely-defined “well being” of the mother. Reagan may have been personally pro-life, but in this instance he was willing to compromise in order to achieve other ends he considered more important. That he claimed later to regret signing the bill doesn’t change the fact that he did. As Casey Stengel liked to say, “You could look it up."

9. Reagan also raised federal taxes eleven times.

Okay, Ronald Reagan cut tax rates more than any other president – with a big asterisk. Sure, the top rate was reduced from 70% in 1980 all the way down to 28% in 1988, but while Republicans typically point to Reagan’s tax-cutting as the right approach to improving the economy, Reagan himself realized the resulting national debt from his revenue slashing was untenable, so he quietly raised other taxes on income – primarily Social Security and payroll taxes - no less than eleven times. Most of Reagan’s highly publicized tax cuts went to the usual handout-takers in the top income brackets, while his stealth tax increases had their biggest impact on the middle class. These increases were well hidden inside such innocuous-sounding packages as the Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 1982, the Deficit Reduction Act of 1984 and the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1987. Leave it to a seasoned actor to pull off such a masterful charade.

10. Barry Goldwater was pro-choice, supported gay rights, deeply despised the Religious Right, and - gasp! - liked Hillary Clinton.

It's a measure of just how much farther right contemporary conservatism has shifted in just a generation or two that Barry "Mr. Conservative" Goldwater, the Republican standard-bearer in 1964, couldn't buy a ticket into a GOP convention in 2014.

There's no debating Goldwater's deeply conservative bona fides, but check these pronouncements from the man himself:

"I am a conservative Republican, but I believe in democracy and the separation of church and state. The conservative movement is founded on the simple tenet that people have the right to live life as they please as long as they ''t hurt anyone else in the process." (Interview, Washington Post, July 28, 1994)

"A woman has a right to an abortion. That's a decision that's up to the pregnant woman, not up to the pope or some do-gooders or the Religious Right." (Interview, Los Angeles Times, 1994)

“The big thing is to make this country… quit discriminating against people just because they're gay. You ''t have to agree with it, but they have a constitutional right to be gay. ... They're American citizens." (Interview, Washington Post, July 28, 1994)

"Politics and governing demand compromise. But these Christians believe they are acting in the name of God, so they can't and won't compromise. I know; I've tried to deal with them. Just who do they think they are? And from where do they presume to claim the right to dictate their moral beliefs to me? And I am even more angry as a legislator who must endure the threats of every religious group who thinks it has some God-granted right to control my vote on every roll call in the Senate. I am warning them today: I will fight them every step of the way if they try to dictate their moral convictions to all Americans in the name of ‘conservatism.'" (Congressional Record, September 16, 1981)

"If [Bill Clinton] let his wife run business, I think he'd be better off. ... I just like the way she acts. I've never met her, but I sent her a bag of chili, and she invited me to come to the White House some night and said she'd cook chili for me." (Interview, Washington Post, July 28, 1994)

11. The first president to propose national health insurance was a Republican.

He was also a trust-busting, pro-labor, Nobel Peace Prize-winning environmentalist. Is there any wonder why Theodore Roosevelt, who first proposed a system of national health insurance during his unsuccessful Progressive Party campaign to retake the White House from William Howard Taft in 1912, gets scarce mention at Republican National Conventions these days?

12. Those "job-killing" environmental regulations? Republican things.

Sometimes being conservative can be a good thing, like when it applies to conserving America's clean air and water, endangered wildlife and awesome natural beauty. Many of Theodore Roosevelt's greatest accomplishments as president were in the area of conserving America's natural environment. In 1905, Roosevelt formed the United States Forestry Service. Under his presidential authority, vast expanses of American real estate were declared off limits for private development and reserved for public use. During Roosevelt's time as president, forest reserves in the United States went from approximately 43 million acres to about 194 million acres. Talk about big government land grabs!

The United States Environmental Protection Agency, arch-enemy of polluters in particular and government regulation haters in general, was created by that other well-known GOP tree hugger, Richard Nixon. In his 1970 State of the Union Address, Nixon proclaimed the new decade a period of environmental transformation. Shortly thereafter he presented Congress an unprecedented 37-point message on the environment, requesting billions for the improvement of water treatment facilities, asking for national air quality standards and stringent guidelines to lower motor vehicle emissions, and launching federally-funded research to reduce automobile pollution. Nixon also ordered a clean-up of air- and water-polluting federal facilities, sought legislation to end the dumping of wastes into the Great Lakes, proposed a tax on lead additives in gasoline, and approved a National Contingency Plan for the treatment of petroleum spills. In July 1970 Nixon declared his intention to establish the Environmental Protection Agency, and that December the EPA opened for business. Hard to believe, but had it not been for Watergate, we might remember Richard Nixon today as the “environmental president”.

Oh, yes – conservatives would rather forget that Nixon was an advocate of national health insurance, too.

13. President Obama was not only born in the United States, his roots run deeper in American history than most conservatives’ - and most other Americans' - do.

The argument that Barack Obama was born anywhere but at Kapiolani Maternity and Gynecological Hospital in Honolulu, Hawaii, is not worth addressing; the evidence is indisputable by any rational human being. But not even irrational “birthers” can dispute Obama’s well-documented family tree on his mother’s side. By way of his Dunham lineage, President Obama has at least 11 direct ancestors who took up arms and fought for American independence in the Revolutionary War and two others cited as patriots by the Daughters of the American Revolution for furnishing supplies to the colonial army. This star-spangled heritage makes Obama eligible to join the Sons of the American Revolution, and his daughters the Daughters of the American Revolution. Not bad for someone some conservatives on the lunatic fringe still insist is a foreigner bent on destroying the United States of America.

Why the Notion of the Self-Taught, Self-Made Billionaire Is a Lie A look at the educational background of the 1 percent, courtesy of the Wealth-X and UBS Billionaire Census, reveals that the “rags to riches” narrative we’re fed about the rich being “self-taught self-starters” is a fallacy. The world’s billionaires are “disproportionately likely” to have received a degree at one of several elite (and, one could add, elitist) institutions... “Education [is] the way that some people make their way up and it’s the way of consolidating privilege."

Why cats aren't Republican

Open Letter on CensorshipBy Zuade Kaufman. George Orwell was right: “Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past." Such power isn’t limited to rewriting history. It extends to defining what we hear, what we read, what we say—and ultimately what we think. It affects all of us, especially those who believe in the potential of words to shine a light on hidden agendas, hold the powerful to answer, and express ideas that shape our values... The threat is both from governments, which feel a need to control their people, and from companies that have an unceasing urge to increase their power and their wealth.

Why anyone in the South would continue to vote Republican after seeing this Map defies logic (Dave) Rubin Report.

This Is Your Brain on Money: Why America’s Rich Think Differently Than the Rest of Us Economist Chris Dillow cites research by Cameron Anderson and Sebastien Brion, showing that overconfident individuals are seen by others as more competent. He argues that, “overconfident people are more likely to be promoted. And this could have positive feedback effects. Higher status will itself breed even more overconfidence. (E.g. “I got the job so I must be good.") And if bosses employ like-minded subordinates, the result could be entire layers of management which are both over-confident and engaged in groupthink." Many other studies cited.

The GOP has plunged us into a modern Dark Age

The Republican Party is the modern-day equivalent of the medieval church. It fights science. It protects ignorance. Above all, it embraces a lunatic reading of the Second Amendment so that any nut can buy a weapon that can kill a maximum number of people in a minimum amount of time.

El Paso, Dayton -- at least 31 dead, many wounded, mountains of grief followed typically by the hollow oaths of politicians and the senseless redundancy of labeling an act of hate a hate crime. Oh, that’ll stop the killing.

But more killing is coming. The dire future can be told in the numbers: 329 million Americans, nearly 400 million guns, some of them AR-this or AR-that, with special stocks that were developed for war but can be bought down the block or at the mall. Even if you cannot pass a background check, you can pass by the place where, illegally, you won’t need one. Cash will do just nicely.

This is largely the doing of an obdurately malicious Republican Party .?.?. and a scattering of Democrats. But it’s the GOP that has done the bidding of the National Rifle Association to prohibit the use of federal funds to even study the effects of gun violence. Many a medieval cleric would cheer such a ban. Knowledge is dangerous. It can challenge belief.

Oh, where is our Poggio Bracciolini? He was the 15th-century figure who discovered the Roman poet Lucretius’s “On the Nature of Things” -- which explored Epicurean physics -- in a German monastery. According to Stephen Greenblatt’s marvelous book, “The Swerve: How the World Became Modern," it was Bracciolini’s discovery that set Europe on a course to modernity -- reason’s eventual triumph over religiosity.

We are now plunged into a contemporary dark age. Science is mocked and rebuked. Man’s role in global warming is rejected. Science is in near-unanimous agreement: Some sort of apocalypse is coming. Cruise ships now go where, until recently, only hardy ice breakers dared venture. Storms of rare violence are now increasingly common. New Orleans is in peril; Houston is where it does not belong, and Miami Beach and Manhattan are threatened.

Around the globe, migrants flee unbearable heat, expanding deserts and the Four Horsemen that accompany such debacles.

What is the GOP’s response? President Trump met climate change head-on by pulling the United States out of the Paris climate accord. He pitted his faith in his own intelligence against the finding of scientists: “One of the problems that a lot of people like myself, we have very high levels of intelligence but we’re not necessarily such believers." He partook of the waters and sniffed the air and found them “at a record clean." Presumably they will only get cleaner by permitting even more carbon emissions. If there is not virtue in inaction, there are at least votes.

The problem of gun violence is met with pageantry. Often, first comes the posting of some idiotic manifesto and then the violence itself. It is met by law enforcement officers dressed and armed for war. Armored vehicles are rolled up, virtual tanks, but there are none on the other side -- usually just a lone gunman whose bloody work is already done. He is killed, usually, his Internet entrails examined for odd beliefs and weird obsessions.

These incidents are our domestic Afghanistan. Our homegrown Taliban keep coming, keep killing. We label them -- white nationalist, domestic terrorism -- affix a category (hate crime), erect memorials of bodega flowers, promise futile mental health programs, as if these things can be predicted -- but do nothing about the weapons without which such mass killing would be impossible. Certainly, gun advocates have a point when they say it is people who kill people. But those people use guns. No one can outlaw people. Guns are a different matter entirely.

El Paso and Dayton are not what the Framers had in mind with the Second Amendment. They did not envision a right of Americans to wantonly kill Americans. This was not their notion of a “well regulated militia." It is, instead, politically permitted mayhem.

Political realism dictates that absolute gun control is not possible. But it is possible to ban military-style weapons -- the guns themselves and all their paraphernalia. All that stands in the way is a GOP that, like some medieval church that blames sickness on witchcraft, praises myth and ignorance and repudiates science. This is the Republican platform: passivity about climate change and inaction about gun violence. It is a dark age indeed.

John Cornyn is choosing Trump over Texas, 8-6-19

The Texas Tribune reports on state Republicans’ willingness -- or lack thereof -- to explain the connection between the slaughter of 22 people in El Paso and the white nationalism spouted by the suspected murderer. Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush, whose father Jeb was governor of Florida and whose mother is a Mexican immigrant, got the ball rolling. He said the response “should include standing firm against white terrorism here in the US." Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) also chimed in. "'As the son of a Cuban immigrant, I am deeply horrified by the hateful anti-Hispanic bigotry expressed in the shooter’s so-called ‘manifesto,' Cruz said, labeling the shooting a ‘heinous act of terrorism and white supremacy.'"

Cruz, however, never condemned President Trump’s racist call for four nonwhite congresswomen to “go back" to where they came from. He has not denounced the president when he uses words such as “infested” to describe immigrants. He still fully supports a president who whips up hysteria about immigrants and propagates fear of an “invasion," the very theme white nationalists use to target immigrants. Maybe someone in Texas should ask why he doesn’t do these things.

Even worse, as the Texas Tribune continues, “By bluntly acknowledging race’s apparent role in the shooting, the statements by Cruz and Bush were different from initial comments by other statewide elected officials including the state’s senior U.S. senator, John Cornyn, as well as Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick. Abbott emphasized mental health in the immediate aftermath of the shooting Saturday evening, while Patrick decried cultural factors -- such as violent video games -- in a Fox News interview Sunday morning. He did say the shooting was ‘obviously a hate crime, I think, in my view, against immigrants.’” Even more bizarrely, Cornyn seems helpless as to how to respond. "Sadly, there are some issues, like homelessness and these shootings, where we simply don’t have all the answers," he wrote on Twitter. On virtually no issue do we have all the answers, but that does not prevent us from taking obvious steps to address serious problems.

Cornyn is on the ballot in 2020, when voters in Texas get to render a verdict on a lawmaker who opposes gun-safety laws supports fear-mongering policies such as building a wall and enthusiastically backs Trump for reelection. He’s silent when asked about the president’s racist remarks. He supports and praises grossly unqualified nominees such as Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Tex.), who was forced to back out of consideration to become the director of national intelligence. Cornyn is, by definition, enabling Trump and providing cover for him -- as though Trump had not spouted racism, as though he had not minimized the threat of white nationalist terror after the mosque attacks in Christchurch, New Zealand, in March.

What could Cornyn and other Republicans do? For starters, decline to endorse Trump’s reelection. Then speak out, as Nebraska state lawmaker John McCollister did on Twitter:

The Republican Party is enabling white supremacy in our country. As a lifelong Republican, it pains me to say this, but it’s the truth.

I of course am not suggesting that all Republicans are white supremacists nor am I saying that the average Republican is even racist.

McCollister continued, “We have a Republican president who continually stokes racist fears in his base. He calls certain countries ‘sh*tholes,' tells women of color to ‘go back’ to where they came from and lies more than he tells the truth." He added,"What I am saying though is that the Republican Party is COMPLICIT to obvious racist and immoral activity inside our party. . . . We have Republican senators and representatives who look the other way and say nothing for fear that it will negatively affect their elections. No more. When the history books are written, I refuse to be someone who said nothing." (We’ve heard nothing from Sen. Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska, whom Republicans laud as some kind of principled intellectual.)

The specific label -- complicity -- should be applied to lawmakers such as Cornyn. If he is not denouncing the president’s rhetoric that gives encouragement to white nationalists, he is complicit in the consequences. He can choose Trump or Texans but not both.

Republican state lawmaker in Nebraska says his party is 'enabling white supremacy'

In a series of tweets written Sunday night in the wake of mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton, Ohio, that left 31 people dead, state Rep. John McCollister said it pained him to share that conclusion as a lifelong member of the Republican Party.

The Nebraska Republican Party responded late Monday that McCollister “should tell the truth and change his party registration."

“I of course am not suggesting that all Republicans are white supremacists nor am I saying that the average Republican is even racist," wrote McCollister, who represents an Omaha-area district. “What I am saying though is that the Republican Party is COMPLICIT to obvious racist and immoral activity inside our party."

Republicans struggle to respond in wake of El Paso, Dayton shootings, 8-6-19

[That is because they are complicit]

187 House Republicans have lost their moral compass

Susan Brooks. Brian Fitzpatrick. Will Hurd. Fred Upton.

You may have read or heard these names in passing, but they are worth lingering upon. These are the four Republicans who supported a resolution condemning President Trump’s plainly racist taunt urging four House members to “go back” to their countries of family origin. These are the only House Republicans for whom decency still has a political application. These are the last, scattered exceptions to the rule of malice and bigotry in the GOP.

Vote for them. Send an email to thank them. Give generously to their campaigns. Shake their hands in the street.

If we want more of a virtue in public life, it is important to praise it and praise it properly. Brooks, Fitzpatrick, Hurd and Upton (along with ex-Republican Justin Amash ) possess political courage, but of a particularly rare and important type. They refused to rationalize.

Rationalization is the default setting of the human mind. We can’t reconsider our whole view of the world with every new piece of information. So we tend to accept evidence that supports our predispositions and filter out evidence that does not. All of us do this to one extent or another.

But in politics, rationalization can take disturbing forms. The tendency can become a habit. And this habit can harden into a rigid ideology in which all questioning is disloyalty. And this cult-like ideology, if all the maleficent stars align, can become a cable network like Fox News.

If politics is really the never-ending warfare between tribes, then information is useful only as ammunition. The consideration of conflicting ideas and views only gives aid and comfort to the enemy.

The most depressing historical example of rationalization can be found in Mark A. Noll’s brilliant “The Civil War as a Theological Crisis." In the mid-19th?century, prominent ministers in the North used the Bible to justify abolitionism, while prominent ministers in the South employed the Bible to justify slavery. According to South Carolina minister James Henley Thornwell: “That the relation betwixt the slave and his master is not inconsistent with the word of God, we have long since settled. .?.?. We cherish the institution not from avarice, but from principle."

[...]

I have no intention of equating the surpassing evil of slavery to the rise and rule of Trump in the GOP. I raise the example to show how hard it is -- and how important it is -- to examine the settled convictions of your own community and resist them when they are wrong.

Democrats: McConnell is putting Republican wins ahead of country by blocking election security bills

[TRAITER! He should be shot]

Many USDA workers to quit as research agencies move to Kansas City: ‘The brain drain we all feared’

[Trump Drumpf is destroying our country, our mores, and our government. Shitheal!]

Why you can't be nice to neo-Nazis or their enablers in the GOP, Frank Vyon Walton for Daily Kos

Well, it seems like our great investigative media has finally discovered the great secret that Donald John Trump has been not hiding at all for his entire life: He’s a racist shithead.

Who exactly didn’t know this after his claim that Mexicans are “rapists”; his attempt to ban Muslims from entering the country; his reference to “shithole countries”; birtherism; his calling for the death penalty against the Exonerated 5 from the Central Park Jogger case; his being sued twice for housing discrimination; his father saying “You know I don't rent to n*ggers”; his father being arrested at a 1927 Klan riot; the Polish Gang and his encouraging clients of his modeling agency to violate immigration laws; saying Judge Gonzalo Curiel’s judgement can’t be trusted because he has Mexican heritage; saying that Gold Star Mother Ghazala Khan didn’t speak at the DNC for cultural reasons; claiming there were “fine people” on both sides of a violent alt-right attack on Charlotesville, including those who support keeping the favorite flag of the Klan on public and state property; “I don’t like black guys touching my money”; trying to convince The Apprentice first season runner-up Kwame Jackson that he should share his win with a white guy; repeatedly using the n-word backstage at The Apprentice; saying “black people are too stupid to vote for me” and “Haitians all have AIDS”; and finally, his use of a phrase that’s literally in the EEOC manual as a prime example of discrimination, when he told four U.S. citizens who happen to be members of Congress to “go back to the [crime-infested countries]" they came from?

Who didn’t know? Apparently, nearly all of the Republican Party didn’t—and is still unable to admit it.

Having a well-documented racist in the White House is terrible, but that’s not the really big problem. The problem is that Trump still has 72% approval from Republicans, and that his support among the party faithful actually increased after his attack on Reps. Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, and Rashida Tlaib.

It’s not just that Trump is a raging bigot, but that so are those at the base of his support. Other than calling them out, what exactly should we, and can we, do about it?

As my favorite YouTube content provider Steve Shives points out: You just can’t be nice to neo-Nazis. It should be obvious that some people are so far gone that you can’t simply argue them out of their point of view, and you aren’t going to be able to come up with an amazing rationale that will show them the error of their ways and convert a raging bigot into a calm, reasonable, rational, and fair-minded person. That is simply not something they’re capable of.

Shives argues that once you begin trying to debate with a bigot who inherent believes in white supremacy, you’re likely to fall into the trap of trying to find the middle ground between bigotry and no bigotry.

When you assume you can have an honest conversation about our difference of opinion with someone who is a Nazi -- neo or original recipe -- we’re making a couple of very dangerous mistakes.

First, we’re elevating the belief and goals of Nazis to the level of civil discourse. That’s a bad idea. That’s worse than a bad idea -- that’s morally abhorrent. If you’re on one side of the table arguing that all people deserve justice and equality regardless of their race, religion, gender, sexuality, ability, what-have-you, and the person across from you believes that certain people are inherently inferior and deserving of persecution and death based on which of those categories they happen to fall into, what’s the middle? Where do you compromise with someone who rejects the very idea of universal human rights?

Ah, you might say that I’m not seeking to compromise with that person. I won’t have to give up any ground, because I’m going to persuade them that I’m right. That’s where the second mistake come in: assuming that the Nazi sitting across the table from you is any less committed to his ideals than you are to yours.

I think that whether we realize it or not, a lot of us have the idea that people only disagree because they haven’t seen what we’ve seen, and they don’t know what we know. A Nazi only thinks white people are superior because he hasn’t gotten to know enough people of color. He only wants to establish an ethnostate because he doesn’t know any better. Right?

Sometimes. It happens. There are ex-Nazis, ex-Klansmen, People do see the light and change. But a world war wasn’t necessary to end the horrors of the Third Reich because more people didn’t try to reason with Hitler. It wouldn’t have mattered how many Jews answered Hitlers hatred with shows of goodwill. it wouldn’t have mattered how many other took the high road and tried to argue the Nazis out of committing atrocities.

It’s not as if the people who are not ex-Nazis are the only ones who ever encounter the arguments that convinced them to walk away from their old ideology. Lots of Nazis have heard those arguments. Most of them aren’t persuaded. Most of them don’t change.

[...]

You can’t put your faith in the reason and humanity of Nazis. If their reason and humanity were functioning properly, they wouldn’t be Nazis in the first place. Being nice to them, engaging them in intellectual discourse, appeasing them, doesn’t work.

You have to fight them.

Again, that doesn’t necessarily mean violence. [...] Those who promote bigotry and intolerance, who vilify and scapegoat minority groups, who seek to destroy institutions setup to guard against dictatorship and despotism must be resisted.

if you pass them a microphone, you’re not resisting them. if you fight for their ability to fundraise or recruit, you’re not resisting them. If you argue they deserve a place onstage, you’re not resisting them. if you ignore them, you’re not resisting them.

Where is the halfway point, where you can concede that their point of view has at least some validity? It may seem like an absolutist view, but do we have a responsibility to have a certain amount of tolerance for the intolerant? Is it possible to talk someone out of their most deep-seated beliefs? Should you simply ignore those beliefs and try to move forward in other ways, or do you have a moral duty to confront them over it? Do you have to make certain they know that those views are not tolerable, even if in the end there’s no chance that you might reach a middle ground, or ever convince them of the wrongness of their position?

We’ve seen different versions of this argument play out between Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, when Biden said that he had been able to put aside the personal views of various pro-segregationist senators by compartmentalizing that issue as something they disagreed on and finding common ground on other issues where they could work together. Part of the backlash to his view was that if you’re able to ignore the basic immorality of someone’s position, are you being a tacit enabler of that position, even if you disagree with it?

Wasn’t former House Speaker Paul Ryan an enabler of Trump’s racism and bigotry after he stopped being willing to call him out publicly once he won the Republican nomination, whereas before he said that Trump’s attack on Judge Curiel was “textbook racism?" Didn’t he become a collaborator in Trump’s racism when he stopped being willing to oppose it? Or did he help America by keeping silent on those issues while working to shave off the harsher edges of Trump’s proposed policies?

"I'm telling you, he didn't know anything about government," Ryan says in the book. "I wanted to scold him all the time. What I learned as I went on, to scratch that itch, I had to do it in private. So, I did it in private all the time. And he actually ended up kind of appreciating it."

Ryan's story is remarkable, but not rare. Trump's critics in the GOP are increasingly unwilling, or unable, to speak their minds publicly about the president for fear of enduring his wrath, or that of his constituents.

The silence of Republicans takes on new significance as Trump seeks a second term, potentially deepening his hold on the party.

"Those of us around him really helped to stop him from making bad decisions. All the time," said Ryan, who stepped down after nearly two decades in Washington , in the book. "We helped him make much better decisions, which were contrary to kind of what his knee-jerk reaction was. Now I think he's making some of these knee-jerk reactions."

Did he manage to mainstream Trump’s bigoted attitude directly into the American bloodstream by downplaying its toxicity or did he manage to save us—at least temporarily—from potentially even worse policies? It could be argued that he did both. He certainly didn’t resist Trump.

There were others in the GOP who simply weren’t willing to grin and bear it, even for the “greater good."

"He's not alone," said Flake, who retired early rather than run for reelection alongside Trump.

"I could not stand on a campaign stage with the president when people shouted, 'Lock her up!' -- and I'm not alone in that," the Arizonan said by phone Friday. "The problem isn't just Trump. It's Trumpism. Unfortunately, it's a virus that's infected not just the Republican party, but the Democratic Party, as well."

The truth is that Trump’s own personal bigotry is only a symptom of a much larger problem. He was more than willing to ride the wave of political racial resentment and grievance that had been building during the Obama years among middle-class and blue-collar whites who felt left behind and ignored while America had an African-American president. Now, many of them feel more than a little emboldened to let their frustrations out—particularly in public, and against people of color.

Can any of us afford not to stand up and confront bigotry directly and clearly whenever we encounter it? Shouldn’t we feel a moral imperative, as did this fast-food restaurant manager when some of his customers demanded that he and a co-worker speak English to each other, even though it was a conversation that didn’t involve the customers?

This is how you handle racists.

These two women in Burger King heard a man speaking Spanish.

"GO BACK TO MEXICO" they said.

That man was the manager.

In reaction, the manager kicked them out of the establishment immediately, yet relatively politely.

If you don’t stand up against racism, are you not enabling racism? In another incident, a person pulled a knife on people who were peacefully protesting Trump’s immigration policy.

This racist asshole pulled out a knife and threatened to stab people who were peacefully protesting Trump’s immigration policy. Twitter, do your thing. Let’s find this son of a bitch.

And then there’s the white man who flew into a rage and ran over an autistic black man with his car for talking to his girlfriend.

Anderson was accused of purposefully striking 20-year-old Kevin Marshall with his pickup truck during a party, abandoning the vehicle in a wooded area and then fleeing to upstate New York, where he was taken into custody on Tuesday, reported the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The 27-year-old Anderson started fighting with Marshall, who had autism, after the black man talked to his girlfriend, who was hosting the party at her Covington home but left with her boyfriend after the incident.

"That’s hatred, to beat somebody and then run him over at that impact and keep going," said the victim’s mother, Robbie Marshall. "He took my son's life, he deserves not to have his. I want him to have the death penalty."

Hate crimes against black and minority citizens are on the rise. There are even children who have been whitening their skin to avoid racism not just in the U.S, but overseas.

Children as young as 10 are whitening their faces to avoid being subjected to racist abuse in Britain, a child protection group has warned, as police struggle to stem a rising tide of hate crimes against minors.

A total of 10,571 racially-motivated hate crimes against children -- an average of 29 a day -- were recorded by police in 2017-18, the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) found. Toddlers and even babies were among those targeted.

That number is now a fifth higher than it was just three years ago, and is growing at a rate of about 1,000 new crimes a year.

This is not just a local American phenomenon, and it’s not just about Trump. There is an international, nativist, anti-immigrant, racist movement afoot. We would be remiss not to recognize that, and to recognize just how deeply entrenched it has become.

Trump supporters and nativists have responded to the clear human rights violations by Customs and Border Patrol agents on our border by basically accepting the Trump administration’s excuses and lies, and blaming the migrants themselves for being held for as long as 40 days without a shower, brushing their teeth, changing their clothes, or access to fresh clean water.

They think Ocasio-Cortez calling these migrant detention centers “concentration camps” is worse than the fact that the U.N. agrees that they are concentration camps.

Republicans were aghast on Tuesday when Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez -- who has an ability to rile up the GOP like few others -- called out the moral crisis that is President Donald Trump’s ongoing widespread use of “concentration camps” to detain immigrants and asylum seekers who have crossed the southern border.

"This administration has established concentration camps on the southern border of the United States for immigrants, where they are being brutalized with dehumanizing conditions and dying," the New York Democrat wrote on Twitter, linking to an Esquire article. “This is not hyperbole. It is the conclusion of expert analysis."

The claim set off a firestorm, with Republicans lashing out and saying Ocasio-Cortez was spreading falsehoods and zeroing in on her use of the term “concentration camps." Among those who lashed out at her was Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), the third highest-ranking member of her party in the House and daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney:

Liz Cheney [daughter of war criminal] tweet:

Please @AOC do us all a favor and spend just a few minutes learning some actual history. 6 million Jews were exterminated in the Holocaust. You demean their memory and disgrace yourself with comments like this.

Meanwhile, the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights Michelle Bachelet has said she is "deeply shocked" by the conditions at the CBP migrant detention centers.

"As a pediatrician, but also as a mother and a former head of State, I am deeply shocked that children are forced to sleep on the floor in overcrowded facilities, without access to adequate healthcare or food, and with poor sanitation conditions,

So: not at all like summer camp. The facts of the conditions are the facts, even if Republicans like Mike Pence and Lindsay Graham have tried to white-wash things with their staged photo-ops.

It’s also not true that Rep. Ilhan Omar has expressed “support or pride” for al-Qaida.

President Donald Trump accused Rep. Ilhan Omar of professing a “love” for al Qaeda and talking about “how great” and “how wonderful” al Qaeda is. That is false.

Trump also misleadingly claimed polls showed Omar only has 8% support, not mentioning that a similar figure is from a poll of white likely general-election voters without a bachelor’s degree.

[...]

The White House press office did not provide any evidence to back up the president’s claim. But Trump appears to be referring, wrongly, to comments Omar made in October 2013 during a local PBS show in the Twin Cities of Minnesota. The program, BelAhdan, is hosted by Ahmed Tharwat, who described it as a show that “brings Somali Americans to your living room." Omar’s appearance as a local political organizer came on the heels of a deadly attack at a Kenyan mall by members of al-Shabab, a Somali Islamist militant group that declared its allegiance to al Qaeda in 2012.

Ironically, the main discussion was about Omar’s frustration that the entire Muslim community -- and the Somali Muslim community in Minnesota in particular -- is asked to respond to violent acts committed by extremists overseas. She said there’s “a difference between the people that are carrying on the evil acts, because it is an evil act” and “the normal people … who carry on their lives."

[...]

Later in the interview, Omar was even more explicit in condemning al-Shabab.

"These people are taking part in terror and their whole ideology is based on terrorizing the communities that they would like to have an influence in," Omar said, later adding that she does not share the group’s ideology.

Unfortunately, the truth of this can barely get out of bed before right-wing lies have made it halfway around the planet. GOPers have long criticized the Muslim community en masse for failing to stand up to Islamic extremism, and yet when they are asked to stand up to white supremacists, they are largely insulted by the notion that a connection between them and alt-right/neo-Nazis can even be drawn.

Trumpism is not exactly like Nazism, of course. There is a distinction in that Trump’s goal isn’t to implement a genocide. Then again, with his new “You can leave” argument, it does appear that he supports encouraging America to become an ethnostate, just as a neo-Nazi would like. And for the record, neo-Nazis really like Trump’s latest rhetorical attack.

Shaun King tweet:

17 hours since the President of the United States tweeted that he wanted “Progressive Democrat Congresswomen” to go back the countries they came from.

And not ONE single elected Republican in Congress or otherwise has called it out.

Nothing. Utter silence.

They are complicit

These Dallas Republican women are not Nazis, but it’s also pretty clear that they aren’t resisting Trump’s naked bigotry even a little bit. Instead, they’re enabling and excusing it.

video from CNN

Again, these women are not Nazis, but they are bigots. They have completely absorbed Trump’s ridiculous reverse racism gambit that “The Squad” of freshman congresswomen are the “real racists” and poor Trump is just a victim of their mean, mean, meanness.

Trump is not a Nazi either, not exactly, but it’s clear that his efforts to block all asylum seekers from entry (even though it’s legal to cross the border at any point in order to seek asylum), his efforts to implement mass deportation and remove hundreds of thousands recipients of Temporary Protective Status (who again, are legal residents), and now saying the native-born U.S. ciitizens “should leave” if they don’t like his administration, are all very Nazi-like. You could say that it’s alt-Nazism, if you like.

The fact is though, that Trump and his sycophant followers -- including the “Trumpettes” shown above -- are actually somewhat worse than just merely alt-Nazis, because if racism isn't the source of these comments it’s much more horrible. Although he’s never suggested sending “Crazy” Bernie Sanders “back to Vermont”, he has implemented multiple racist attacks against Elizabeth “Fauxcohantus” Warren’s slim amount of Native Americn heritage, even though the DNA test she took exactly confirms the family history she had previously claimed, and he has said to ball players who kneel during that national anthem that “Maybe they should leave”, which includes several white players and also World Cup Star Megan Rapinoe.

If you honestly take the Trumphettes and most of the GOP at their word, where they make the excuse that his statements aren’t racist because “he didn’t say color”, and you assume that when he isn’t defending and holding a “summit” for actual hate-mongering Right-wing social media mavens of the ilk of Alex Jones, Gavin McInnis and the Proud Boys who’ve been banned by Twitter and Youtube for their hate speech, and encouraging the geniune anti-Semitic conspiracy theory that “Liberal Jews” like Tom Steyer and George Soros have been paying for the migrant caravans to “replace” the so-called forgotten man, he apparently thinks that even white native-born American citizens who dare to use their specifically enumerated right under the First Amendment to seek “petition for redress of grievances with their government” to criticize him and his policies somehow deserve to be attacked, harassed, intimidated and frankly terrorized -- considering the already existing death threats against them even from members of law enforcement -- even to the point of being physically forced out of their own country.

All people wanted Kierstjen Neilsen and Sarah Huckabee-Sanders to do was “leave” a public restaurant, not the entire country.

It suggests that these people would support forcibly striping certain people of their citizenship and deporting them, not just for racial reasons or by violaing asylum laws, but because of a political policy disagreement that makes them claim they don’t sufficiently “Love America”, by which they really mean they don’t sufficienly “Love Trump." Even Nazis didn’t go quite that far, because that’s Stalinist totalitarianism. Just how many people -- including U.S. citizens -- would wind up in the detention camps under yet another illegal executive order while these people cheer along with it? Stalin ultimately killed 20 Million of his own people, far more than the Nazis, including those who were sent to the gulags, deported and forcibly resettled.

Deportation of kulaks

Large numbers of kulaks regardless of their nationality were resettled to Siberia and Central Asia. According to data from Soviet archives, which were published in 1990, 1,803,392 people were sent to labor colonies and camps in 1930 and 1931, and 1,317,022 reached the destination. Deportations on a smaller scale continued after 1931. Data from the Soviet archives indicates 2.4 million Kulaks were deported from 1930–34.[46] The reported number of kulaks and their relatives who had died in labour colonies from 1932 to 1940 was 389,521.

Simon Sebag Montefiore estimated that 15 million kulaks and their families were deported by 1937, during the deportation many people died, but the full number is not known.

Forced settlements in
the Soviet Union 1939-53

According to the Russian historian Pavel Polian 5,870 million persons were deported to Forced settlements in the Soviet Union from 1920–1952, including 3,125 million from 1939–52. [46] Those ethnic minorities considered a threat to Soviet security in 1939–52 were forcibly deported to Special Settlements run by the NKVD.

Poles, Ukrainians from western regions, Soviet Germans, Balts, Estonians peoples from the Caucasus and Crimea were the primary victims of this policy. Data from the Soviet archives list 309,521 deaths in the Special Settlements from 1941–48 and 73,454 in 1949–50.

According to Polian these people were not allowed to return to their home regions until after the death of Stalin, the exception being Soviet Germans who were not allowed to return to the Volga region of the USSR.

If Trump came up with a neo-totalitarian purge agenda for those who "Hate America", do you think any of the Trumphettes would lift a finger to stop it, or would they turn on those people who most loudly complain about it and cheer as they’re rounded up, jailed and "sent home"?

I have little doubt it would be the latter considering what we’re already seeing at his migrant concentration camps and as I noted above, his support among Republicans has increased as a result of his racist attacks on Democrats.

The “Day of the Rope” is what they really want. We could only hope that the courts would stop such a policy, but as we’ve seen that would take time and lead to multiple challeges in the appeals court and eventually SCOTUS while such an illegal policy could potentially continue, just as the completely impracticle and inhumane “zero tolerance” policy continues. It won’t be stopped because his base or the GOP disapproves, because they don’t disapprove -- they truly think only they are the true “patriots” in America. The rest of us are expendable and disposable. All of us.

The question I still have is: Is there anything we can do about this other than just criticize it? Can we do anything to change it?

Even after the next election, assuming Trump is defeated or otherwise removed, what can we do about lingering Trumpism? What can we do about resolving the racial resentment that was the fuel for Trump’s rise?

Steve Shives credibly argues that you probably can’t just talk people out of their bigotry, and I think that’s true. However, I don’t think we should totally give up on a significant portion of our own population completely. We probably can’t force them to come around to the ideals of universal human rights, and we may not be able to convince them of the rightness and correctness of our point of view. It would be like trying to talk a drug addict or a cult member down.

I agree with Steve: That won’t work.

But there are some groups and organizations that have had some success bringing people out of hate movements and bringing them out of cults, gradually. Most of them have worked because they’ve been founded and operated by former members of hate groups and cults. Case in point: the anti-Supremacy group Life After Hate, which has been recently defunded by Trump’s Department of Homeland Security.

Founded by former extremists, we are committed to helping people leave the violent far-right. We are dedicated to inspiring all people to a place of compassion and forgiveness -- for themselves and each other. It was these principles that guided us away from lives of hate and that drive us to help individuals exit hate groups today and to support those who have already left.

Our primary goal is to interrupt violence committed in the name of ideological or religious beliefs. We do this through education, interventions, academic research, and outreach. Our primary goal is to interrupt violence committed in the name of ideological or religious beliefs. We do this through education, interventions, academic research, and outreach.

You, I, or Democrats may not be able to make the argument that might bring a neo-Nazi or a hardcore Trump supporter around to our way of thinking. But a former Trump fan, or a former supporter of mass deportation who manages to come to another way of thinking just might be in the unique position to lead others toward enlightenment.

Unfortunately, those people are few and far between.

The FBI has officially declared the far-right "Proud Boys" as an "extremist group with ties to white nationalism."

Republican lawmakers refusing Medicaid expansion responsible for premature deaths of 15,000+ people

[And Texas, the shithole, is more responsible than most]

Surprise, surprise. This GOP lawmaker gets the booby prize for moral imbecility.

When Donald Trump began running for president more than four years ago, most Republicans, or at least most Republican leaders, clearly saw him for what he was: in Sen. Lindsey O. Graham’s (R-S.C.) words, “a race-baiting, xenophobic religious bigot." Criticism became attenuated as Trump secured the nomination, but then-Speaker Paul D. Ryan (Wis.) was willing to call out Trump’s attack on a “Mexican” judge as the “textbook definition of a racist comment," and dozens of prominent Republicans withdrew their endorsements, at least temporarily, when the notorious “Access Hollywood” tape emerged.

Reporter hounds Rand Paul the way all Republicans should be hounded, 7-19-19

Republicans embrace Trump’s racism. Blame them as much as him. Eugene Robinson

Donald Trump’s presidency is melting down into a noxious stew of racism, failure and farce. With breathtaking cynicism, the Republican Party pretends not to notice.

Trump had to know there would be outrage and uproar over his Sunday tweets admonishing four progressive members of Congress, all of them women of color, that they should stop “telling the people of the United States .?.?. how our government is to be run” and instead “go back” to the “totally broken and crime infested places from which they came."

The president’s motives are obvious: He was proudly displaying his white-supremacist racial views, drawing a bright line between his aging white political base and the rest of the country, and clumsily trying to exacerbate tensions within the Democratic Party. But why choose now to lob this political cluster bomb? My guess is that he wanted to change the subject from Thursday’s humiliating surrender, when he had to abandon his quest to put a citizenship question on the 2020 Census that would have guaranteed an undercount of Latinos.

"Trump is a racist” does not exactly qualify as breaking news. But the silence from prominent Republicans is staggering -- and telling. It amounts to collaboration -- perhaps “collusion” is a better word -- with the president’s assault on diversity and pluralism. In the coming campaign, you will hear Republican candidates at every level claim to be colorblind and embrace all Americans regardless of race or ethnicity. Do not believe them. Their failure to speak out now tells us everything we need to know about their true feelings.

The farcical aspect of this disgraceful episode is that, while Trump hoped to further divide squabbling Democrats, he ended up bringing them closer together.

The four Democratic House members he attacked -- Reps. Ayanna Pressley (Mass.), Rashida Tlaib (Mich.), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.) and Ilhan Omar (Minn.) -- have indeed been at odds with Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and the rest of the Democratic leadership on some issues. Calling themselves “the Squad," they fought hard against Pelosi’s approach on funding border security. They display none of the meekness expected of first-term members and are unfamiliar with the concept of deference.

Any possibility that this intraparty squabbling would become serious was probably foreclosed by Trump’s attack, which caused Pelosi and others to rush to the Squad’s defense. Apparently living in some kind of bizarro parallel universe, Trump went further on Monday by insisting that the members of Congress he attacked owe him an apology.

The reaction from Republicans? Still crickets.

There’s nothing new about the Republican Party playing footsie with racists, going all the way back to the “Southern strategy” pioneered by Richard M. Nixon. But as Trump has toppled the traditional pillars of Republican philosophy -- fiscal responsibility, free trade, markets undistorted by government interference, muscular foreign policy, equal opportunity for all to pursue the American Dream -- the GOP is reduced to being the party of no: no on abortion, no on immigration and no on diversity. Following Trump’s lead, the party practices the politics of resentment. Republican politicians appeal to voters not by stoking optimism about what can be accomplished but by stoking fear about what will happen if “they” -- the Democrats -- gain power.

"They” are portrayed as perhaps living near the coasts, perhaps being intellectuals, perhaps being women, perhaps being African American or Latino or Asian American. “They” are portrayed as the kind of affluent, high-and-mighty people who look down on “ordinary” Republican voters -- never mind that Ocasio-Cortez waited tables to support herself, Tlaib grew up in a struggling family in Detroit, Pressley’s father was incarcerated during much of her childhood, and Omar came to this country from a Somali refugee camp.

Trump’s brand of politics is often called “tribal," but “racist” is a better word. The wedge he is trying to drive, with his attacks on the Squad, is essentially white vs. nonwhite. He also seeks to portray them as immigrants, telling them to “go back” to where they came from, even though Pressley was born in Cincinnati, Tlaib in Detroit and Ocasio-Cortez in New York. Omar, indeed, is an immigrant -- a naturalized citizen who enjoys the same rights and responsibilities as any other American, including Trump.

If Republicans believed even a fraction of their rhetoric, they’d be all over Trump. They’d tell him that “telling the people of the United States .?.?. how our government is to be run” is the right of every American and the duty of every member of Congress. Instead, Republicans embrace Trump’s racism and xenophobia. Blame them just as much as Trump.

I may not agree with AOC’s squad, but they are better Americans than Trump, Max Boot

The American dark money behind Europe’s far right

By Mary Fitzgerald Claire Provost, July 14, 2019 "Information Clearing House"

From Britain to Hungary to Italy, the far right is on the rise. Investigations over the past year have revealed the vital role of US Christian conservatives.

Justin Amash explains why the GOP is irredeemable, Jennifer Rubin, 7-5-19

Writing for The Post on Independence Day, Rep. Justin Amash (I-Mich.) bemoaned the rise in partisanship: “True to [George] Washington’s fears, Americans have allowed government officials, under assertions of expediency and party unity, to ignore the most basic tenets of our constitutional order: separation of powers, federalism and the rule of law. The result has been the consolidation of political power and the near disintegration of representative democracy."

He continues: “With little genuine debate on policy happening in Congress, party leaders distract and divide the public by exploiting wedge issues and waging pointless messaging wars. These strategies fuel mistrust and anger, leading millions of people to take to social media to express contempt for their political opponents, with the media magnifying the most extreme voices. This all combines to reinforce the us-vs.-them, party-first mind-set of government officials."

Amash, therefore, declared that he is done with the Republican Party. And he wants voters to follow him. (“I’m asking you to believe that we can do better than this two-party system -- and to work toward it.")

From our vantage point, he did the right thing for the wrong reason. The problem isn’t two-party politics; the problem is President Trump and the Republicans who have abandoned their principles to support him.

[How then to explain Mitch McConnell's refusal to do anything, even allow the president to appoint a Supreme Court judge, which is specified by the constitution, before Trump came along?]

Jim Morin, Miami Herald

The Republican Party has adopted the trappings, language and behavior of right-wing nationalist governments in Europe, complete with a fondness for executive power. (Republicans now cheer using executive action as a lame effort to get around the Supreme Court’s ruling on the census, which, of course, applies equally to an executive order.) They have also adopted Trump’s penchant for lies, xenophobia, fiscal sloth, erratic isolationism mixed with bouts of bellicose warmongering, racism and know-nothingism. Not a single Republican member of Congress other than Amash has reached the inevitable conclusion of the Mueller report that the president obstructed justice and that it’s Congress’s job to do something about it.

[Yet, as Amash explained in his article, this was all going on long before Trump stumbled into the White House.]

There is no fighting a party in the grip of a mentally, morally and emotionally unfit figure such as Trump. You cannot break up a cult from the inside. You must leave it and then draw others away, compelling them to reflect and shed their delusional beliefs.

[I would argue that the Republican party has been caput since Reagan]

In the context of the Republican Party, despite the good efforts of former Massachusetts governor Bill Weld, there is no significant opposition to Trump’s renomination and zero interest among GOP members of Congress in fulfilling their constitutional obligation to consider impeachment.

Yet, the barriers to a third party are well known and considerable -- ranging from ballot access to funding to historical habit. A new party can replace an old one as the birth of the Republican Party demonstrated, but so long as the GOP is going strong, the oxygen for a new party is absent.

So what is the best course for those disgusted with the Republican Party?

First, one must bear witness, reveal and condemn the spineless and immoral conduct of Republicans who enable Trump. The pathetic excuses (“But Gorsuch!"), the hypocrisy and willful refusal to recognize his threat to our democracy cannot be sloughed off or regarded as business as usual. This will be critical down the road, as I’ll get to in a minute.

Second, Trump and his enablers up and down the ticket must be defeated. It is not enough to rid our politics of Trump; his handmaidens who could have opposed him and did not must be swept from office (think of it as impeachment by ballot box) not only to reaffirm our moral principles and democratic values, but also to disable the current Republican Party. Only when Trump and his ilk are drummed out of office can something take the place of the Republican Party.

Below the presidential level, it may be possible to primary Trump’s enablers. For president, however, the only viable alternative is the Democratic nominee. Perhaps if Amash runs as a third-party or independent candidate, he could siphon off Trump voters in a state such as Michigan.

[For lesser officials, as one democratic head of a committee opined, they should be impeached[

At the end of the primary process, the choice, in all likelihood, will come down to either Trump or a Democrat. Some conservatives might root or vote for more moderate Democratic contenders, but these Republican defectors are a sliver of the primary electorate, if they choose to vote at all. The best they can do is echo those moderates’ arguments about the dangers of a far-left nominee. Then it is a simple choice in the general election: Level the GOP so something better can emerge or saddle the country with four more years of Trump.

Jim Morin, Miami Herald

Prosecutors say California Republican used campaign cash to finance two—no, three—no, five affairs

[Typical Republican]

Senate Republicans protect Trump's ability to attack Iran on a whim

Senate Republicans did their part Friday to make sure Donald Trump can go to war with Iran without congressional approval. Democratic Sens. Tim Kaine of Virginia and Tom Udall of New Mexico offered a proposal requiring congressional approval for Trump to use military funds to attack Iran, and naturally, Republicans weren’t having it.

As Trump makes his typical blustering threats, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was arguing against this measure because of derangement, but not Trump’s, saying that he “would love to have some Democratic support, but I think this is an example of the affliction with Trump derangement syndrome." Or, you know, the affliction with a president who makes threats, alienates even allies, and changes his mind moment to moment.

Rape doesn't matter to Trump's base—or the people he's put into our government

Texas, your senior senator is a monster, 6-28-19

Sen. John Cornyn, who just happens to be up for reelection next year, thinks it's clever to joke about Donald Trump's concentration camps. Here's his reaction to the news that Bank of America won't work with private companies that run the detention facilities.

I may have to change banks:

So one of the most evil of all of the Wall Street players has decided that these private detention contractors are just too evil to associate with anymore, and that's a bridge too far for Cornyn.

Supreme Court undermines free and fair elections by refusing to limit partisan gerrymandering

Result of Republicans stacking the court and illegally refusing to move on an Obama nominee.

[Acting] Attorney General Barr Killed 7 Mueller Probes 10 Days After Release of his 4-Page Bogus Summary, Daily Kos 6-26-19

Attorney General Bill Barr killed seven different investigations started by special counsel Robert Mueller just ten days after he submitted his report.

CNN’s Katelyn Polantz had filed a request to unseal documents related to the special counsel’s investigation and on Monday the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia agreed.

Chief Judge Beryl A Howell ordered the release of multiple documents, including Attachment B, which listed information on applications for court orders requested by Mueller.

Just in case you weren't already nauseated enough by Bill Barr’s wildly un-American, banana-republic style, lie-filled summary of the Mueller report, we now learn that he soon thereafter deep-sixed seven more investigations started by Mueller into the likely crimes of the Trump cabal.

U.S. soccer star: 'I'm not going to the f*cking White House'

Mitch McConnell doesn't want migrant children at the border to receive humane treatment

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will not allow humanity to occur from the U.S. Congress, not on his watch. Tuesday night, the Democrats House passed a border funding bill that addresses the humanitarian crisis—requiring that the administration provide for the health and safety needs of the immigrants its incarcerating in Trump concentration camps.

McConnell has made it very clear that the House bill is dead as far as he's concerned and that he intends to jam the House by passing a version of the bill that allows Trump to continue to neglect and abuse children, and then leaving for July Fourth recess. He's allowed a vote on it Wednesday afternoon, but kept his conference in line and it was defeated 37-55.

McConnell believes he can force the vote on House Speaker Pelosi before the week-long recess. That's not happening, Pelosi told reporters Wednesday. Asked if there was any chance the House would take up the Senate version of the funding bill, she simply said "No."

The press soft-pedals GOP’s wild and dangerous insurrection in Oregon

Mike Pence took to CNN to sell the remaining scraps of his soul at low, low prices

I do NOT want to work with republicans. [CG feels the same]

There, as the title says, I. Do. Not. Want. To. Work. With. Republicans.

I want to fucking DESTROY THEM. I want them to suffer the consequences from their abusive policies that they have strapped America with the past 100 years. I don’t want to reach across the aisle. I don’t want to hear them out, or see what ideas they can bring to the table.

Their policies have FAILED! They have failed repeatedly and will continue to do so. There is NO fix for what broken shit they sell because they are purposefully selling BROKEN SHIT that has never worked and NO amount of political trickery will EVER make it work.

They are in the minority and they should be treated as they have treated the democrats when the democrats were in the minority, with NOTHING but disdain and disgust. They ONLY win elections through fucking cheating or through the antiquated broken Electoral College. STOP TREATING THEM LIKE THEY DESERVE A SEAT AT THE FUCKING TABLE WHEN THEY DESERVE TO BE TOSSED INTO THE TRASH BIN OF HISTORY!

Their beliefs are disgustingly inhumane and also poll with a minority of the population but they push their ideas anyway because the democrats can’t stop treating them like their ideas are worthy of discussion.

Yes, this diary is against the absolute ignorant belief that Vice President Biden thinks he can "work" with republicans. This is against any dem who thinks that they can work with republicans and that we need to hear from them to govern for progressive policies that progressives want.

Do we NOT remember mcconnell saying he would do anything to make President Obama a one term president? Do we not remember how mcconnell held onto a Supreme Court seat FOR OVER A FUCKING YEAR to ensure that the next president would get it? Do we not remember that mcconnell conveniently STOPPED the election hacking being done by the Russians from going public?

Republicans committed burglary to get dirt on their political opponents with Watergate.

Republicans conspired with terrorists during Iran Contra while undermining the ELECTED PRESIDENT who was doing everything in his power to get the hostages freed. For those of you who don’t know – THAT’S A FUCKING COUP RIGHT THERE!! RIGHT FUCKING THERE!

Republicans went to war on illegals premises and sold this war on LIES to the AMERICAN PUBLIC and don’t forget THE DEMS HELPED THEM DO IT!! That is what we get when we work with them – WAR!! WAR based on lies and bullshit!! War that cost hundreds of American lives and hundreds OF THOUSANDS of civilian lives and hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars.

Republicans committed WAR CRIMES. THEY COMMITTED TORTURE!! THEY ARE AT THIS MOMENT JAILING CHILDREN!! CHILDREN!!

Republicans illegally spied on American citizens.

And all of the above up there? That is just SOME of the crimes they have committed. Let’s talk about the other stuff, you know; like calling First Lady Michelle Obama an ape! Let’s talk about comparing Chelsea Clinton to a fucking dog! Let’s talk about the investigation into President Clinton, which at first went NO WHERE, so they fired the guy doing the investigating and started investigating AGAIN!! And when the second guy stated the same thing as the first guy, that there was NO CRIME FOUND the republicans then FIRED THAT GUY AS WELL and brought on rapist protector Ken Starr who dug and dug and dug…until they could FINALLY nail President Clinton for lying under oath about consensual sex with a woman of adult age, who was not his wife. Not for White Water…which was what the investigation had started with wayyyyy back when it started.

Let’s talk about President Obama and how he MUST HAVE BEEN BORN IN KENYA because, you know; he’s… you know.. .he’s… well…he’s….uhm…. yeah, let’s just say…he ain’t WHITE so obviously, he MUST have been born in, you know… AFRICA… I mean, that’s where all them black folk do come from…am I right?? OF COURSE I AM, CERTAINLY NO ONE NAMED OBAMA COULD HAVE POSSIBLY BEEN BORN HERE, IN THE GOOD ‘OLE UNITED STATES OF WHITE… I MEAN, AMERICA!!

Let’s talk about how well they did going after President Clinton that they couldn’t help themselves from going after Secretary Hillary Clinton. Millions of dollars investigating Benghazi so they could try and pin the blame on her instead of investigating it to try and prevent it from ever happening again!!

Millions of dollars investigating her FUCKING EMAILS!!! HER FUCKING EMAILS!! HOLY GODDAMN GOD DAMN!!! She sat for an 11 hour congressional inquiry because the republicans controlled congress and goddamn them if they weren’t going to find something they could nail her for. There has to be something there!! I mean, it worked for Bill...it must work for Hillary as well.

[And they attacked her for trivial stuff. She IS a war criminal. But, hey, who cares abour that?]

Now let’s talk about the current crop of republicans. They outright deny climate change is harming the planet despite all evidence to the contrary. WE ARE KILLING THIS PLANET AND WE ARE DOING IT FOR PROFIT!!!

There is NO other reason the republicans don’t want to do anything about it. You can say they want the rapture, or that it’s god’s will or whatever bullshit you want to believe about THEIR beliefs when the only belief that they have ever expressed has been one of making money and making sure that they are protecting those who make A FUCKING METRIC TON OF MONEY.

They are okay supporting a president who has committed adultery and then lied about it (Hey, President Clinton, do you want a do over? You do? FUCK YOU, TOUGH SHIT!!) Accountability is for democrats and democrats alone suckers!! WORK WITH THAT!!

They are okay with supporting a president who obstructed justice! Wait..oh, now YOU want do over President Nixon? Tough shit, you’re dead.

They assault reporters and then get a slap on the back from the rapist in chief all the while they ignore fulfilling out what punishment the judge handed out.

[AND, they HATE whistleblowers! Assange and Manning in particular because they embarrassed them and exposed their lies]

Oh yeah, and the guy in the Oval Office? HE IS A FUCKING RAPIST!! A PEDOPHILE RAPIST!!! HE HAS ASSAULTED NUMEROUS WOMEN, CHILDREN, AND HAS TOLD OVER 10,000 FUCKING LIES SINCE TAKING OFFICE!! And the republicans are OKAY with him. He is the end result of all their policies, and beliefs and political will, he is definitely NOT an anomaly that has turned the rethugs away from their broken policies. He is the end result of their broken policies.

And Wow…some people think that once trump is gone…the fog will lift from the republican eyes and they will suddenly start working with the democrats again, for the good of the country, and not just for the good of the profits.

Wake the fuck up democrats running for office - this is what republicans are! They have shown you who they are time add time and time and time again!!! WHY WON’T YOU BELIEVE THEM??

And all of that? All of the above isn’t talking about abortions, or gun control, or health care, or election integrity!! All of those thing that the progressives have winning, POPULAR policies for.

So, NO I do NOT want to work with republicans.

I WANT TO DESTROY THEM.

And before anyone says “but but but AOC is working with ted cruz yada yada yada”. Good for her. When he burns her in the end and does everything he can to ruin her and her ideas… she will have learned a valuable lesson.

Ravelry, The Premier Knitting/Fiber Site, Bans Trump [a white supremacist]

Head of the Republican National Committee says D-Day is the time to 'be celebrating' Donald Trump

Excuse me? Celebrate a coward, a draft dodger, and a thoroughly nasty person?

GOP lawmaker allegedly punched his wife for undressing too slowly for sex

Why do Republicans hate women. Are they all actually gay?

Austria shows the risks of dealing with the far right, WP 52119

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz is widely seen as the conservative golden boy of Europe. Suave and disarmingly young -- he turns 33 in August -- Kurz has been cast as the savior of Europe’s center-right establishment, a fresh face in a continent weary of the stoic centrism of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and a plausible bridge between the liberal west and more nationalist governments in Central and Eastern Europe.

But on Saturday, Kurz’s partnership with the Freedom Party -- a faction founded by neo-Nazis -- and its leader, Heinz-Christian Strache, dramatically ended after leaked videos showed Strache promising government contracts in return for donations from a woman posing as a wealthy scion of a Russian oligarch family. Strache announced his resignation both as the country’s vice chancellor, as well as leader of his party.

Top Senate Republican: McConnell won't allow bills to protect our elections to come to the floor, Daily Kos, 5-18-19

This is how Republicans get away with their lies: The media lets them do it, again and again, Daily Kos, 5-18-19

Start with a story that spends paragraphs repeating a series of Republican lies about abortion before getting around to acknowledging that there are lies involved, but gosh, it sure is a problem for Democrats. Now, how do you make it worse? The New York Times found a way.

It’s simple, really. You take that abysmal story and you promote it by tweeting out arguably the worst part of it. The Times has deleted the original tweet, but it read “With grisly claims that Democrats promote ‘birth day abortions’ and are ‘the party of death,' Republicans are employing unusually forceful messaging on abortion that has created challenges Democrats did not expect."

Wow. “Unusually forceful messaging” is an unusually crappy translation of “blatant falsehoods." Also “grisly claims” is a shoddy translation of “grotesque lies."

Democratic newcomer brings thunder and lightning down on Republicans for fighting Equality Act, Daily Kos, 5-18-19

Let’s preface this by saying that while they may not realize it, even the most ardent transphobic dunce has a transgender bathroom in their home. That’s a fact. Everything about the Republican and Trump administration’s opposition to the Democratic Congress’ Equality Act is fear-mongering ignorance.

Newly elected Democratic Rep. Katie Hill of California wasn’t having any of the prejudice being slung from across the aisle during today’s remarks before the Democratic-majority House passed an extension of civil rights protections to LGBTQ Americans. Before the vote, Republicans attempted to sidetrack the bill by adding in some worthless amendment that would “protect” girl’s and women’s athletics from trans people. This is where Rep. Hill decided to jump in.

I can’t believe we are standing here and having a man tell me what kind of protections I need in sports.

Cheers erupted from the audience and fellow Democratic reps. But Rep. Hill wasn’t done wiping the House floor with Republican tears.

I don't know if my colleagues on the other side of the aisle realize that they met trans people but they have. They definitely have. And I met many and this motion reflects nothing more than the prejudice of my colleagues. My staff have put together a lot of talking points for you today, but it's much simpler than that. The equality act ensures that LGBTQ women and girls who are lesbian, bisexual or transgender will all have the same opportunities as their peers. In sports, in housing, in jobs. the discrimination that trans individuals face just trying to live their lives every single day is something beyond what most of us could ever imagine.

It isn’t hard to understand and this might be why people like Rep. Hill are so absolutely frustrated by the bigoted posturing on the right. So just to make sure that conservatives are afraid of trans people ruining sports, Rep. HIll wanted to make it crystal clear that the costs of being a trans person in the world isn’t worth a track and field trophy in high school.

Through my work on the issue of homelessness, I saw trans women affected by discrimination at every single stage of their lives. They have higher rates of poverty, higher rates of sexual abuse, higher rates of homelessness, and i can tell you, no trans person is trying to game the system to participate in sports. That does not happen, and that is a sad scare tactic that has no place on the floor of the People's House.

Rep. Hill went on to explain that there is only evidence that allowing trans people to participate in sports doesn’t seem to have any adverse affect in either men’s or women’s athletics, so the Republicans’ motion is only an attempt to curb equal rights. But since the Republicans brought up sports, Rep. Hill decided to stick her dismount.

This is 2019 and we are not afraid of the boogie man that you are trying to create. We are ready to move forward and tell all of our constituents, all of our communities, all of Americans that they matter equally. You, my colleagues, are on the wrong side of history and we will be waiting for you on the other side when we reject this amendment and pass H.R. 5

Video of Hills in Congress

Comment: In Italy and Spain I have noticed, especially in the older buildings the vast majority of them have 1 entrance for both men and women, some combine the stalls for both men and women, some don’t. FOX/KGB/GOP made up the entire transgender “scandal” to keep the goobers occupied while they were busy selling out our country, democracy, the rule of law, and the constitution to the highest bidder. All of their culture war issues are gigantic piles of bullshit spread through their Fox and friends propaganda networks to keep the goobers and the old folks angry and fearful of stuff that has a less than zero effect on their shitty hate filled lives.

Comment: I was on a cultural exchange tour of Japan in 1977. A group of us teenagers went to use the restroom after lunch and before we got on the train north from Tokyo. The door had the usual international symbols. We expected that door to open into a foyer or someplace with other doors to the separate areas. Whoops, wrong! There was just the one room, with a row of urinals along the back wall, (nothing visible from our end), a row of stalls on the left wall, and a row of sinks on the right wall. And everybody minding their own business, (a cultural trait ingrained from early childhood).

The poor girl next to me was a very sheltered 15. She stopped dead, squeaked, spun on her heel & walked out. The rest of us looked at each other & figured we’d stand out more if we made a big deal about it, so we faked being cool & did whatever we needed to.

Turns out that’s the way things were in Japan, especially out away from the big city. Even the many of the bath houses weren’t separated by sex, it was just expected that people minded their own business, (there is no word for ‘privacy’ in Japanese).

(We did recommend that a quiet heads up be given to other new travelers in subsequent tours ;-) )

Travel is so broadening!

Right-wing clown show tries to turn a dead-serious hearing on hate into a travesty, 4-9 Kos

Republicans planned a clown show—featuring right-wing provocateur Candace Owens—for Tuesday morning’s House Judiciary Committee hearing on hate crimes and the rise of white nationalism. They got one, of course.

But then, none of what went on inside the hearing room compared to the deluge of hateful sewage that surged online around it.

The Republican tax scam isn't done screwing Americans just yet, Daily Kos 4-9

As if it wasn’t bad enough when many U.S. taxpayers were hit with substantial cuts to their anticipated tax refunds this year, thanks to the Republican Party's massive 2017 tax giveaway to corporations and the nation’s wealthiest, ordinary Americans have even more headaches awaiting them. Why? Because the Republicans really, really screwed this one up.

They passed a tax scam that was not only unwanted and unasked for by the vast majority of Americans, but they rammed it through so quickly, in the dark of night, that they didn’t even bother to read it.

After all, most of it had been written by the corporations in the first place, and the so-called tax “cuts" that went to ordinary, middle-class Americans were minuscule compared to those provided to multimillionaire corporate CEOs, for example. So it may have just never occurred to any Republican congressional representative or senator to inform the American people how the scam would impact their refunds, and specifically that Americans would have to significantly adjust the amount of taxes being withheld by their employers in order to obtain those same expected refunds. But with many tax-filing Americans now irate about how they seem to have been ripped off, the same IRS that is now hiding Donald Trump’s tax returns from us has announced they'll be issuing a new, very complicated withholding form so that Americans won’t feel as ripped off in the future.

Janna Herron of USA Today interviewed Pete Isberg, head of governmental affairs at the HR/payroll management software firm, ADP, who characterized the new form as a “much bigger pain" than previous withholding forms.

While the new form hasn’t been released yet, the IRS last summer put out a draft version and instructions seeking feedback from tax preparation companies and payroll firms. Instead of claiming a certain amount of allowances based on exemptions – which have been eliminated – the draft form asked workers to input the annual dollar amounts for:

Nonwage income, such as interest and dividends

Itemized and other deductions

Income tax credits expected for the tax year

For employees with multiple jobs, total annual taxable wages for all lower paying jobs in the household

“It looked a lot more like the 1040 than a W-4," Isberg says.

This new form is likely to be so complex, referencing a dozen other separate IRS forms and pamphlets, that employees are going to need “training" to fill it out. No one seems to have calculated how much productivity will be wasted in scheduling and conducting this “training."

Mulvaney, the Evil

John Michael Mulvaney (born July 21, 1967) is an American politician of the Republican Party who is serving in President Donald Trump's cabinet as Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), as well as acting White House Chief of Staff. Mulvaney also served as the acting Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) from November 2017 to December 2018. [Wikipedia]

Mick Mulvaney Is Trump’s Chief Enabler

The ultra-conservative has a knack for slashing regulations and starting fights.

Revealed: Trump-linked US Christian 'fundamentalists' pour millions of 'dark money' into Europe, boosting the far right, ICH

MEPs call for action as openDemocracy analysis reveals ‘shocking’ flows of cash crossing the Atlantic to push ultra-conservative agendas.

By Mary Fitzgerald and Claire Provost

None of these American groups discloses who its donors are – though at least two have links to famous conservative billionaires, such as the Koch brothers (who helped bankroll the Tea Party Movement) and the family of Trump’s education secretary. [De Vos, bitch]

Trump’s & GOP Governors Medicaid cuts or denials is genocide on the poor, their actions kill people, EW, 3-16-19

This is why we fight for Single-payer Medicare for All. Donald Trump, his Republican cohort, and Texas are doing a good job in hurting the poor, a larger percentage of them, the people who voted for them.

A few years ago, Congressman Alan Grayson went on the floor and upset a lot of Republicans.

"If you get sick in America, this is what the Republicans want you to do: If you get sick America, the Republican health care plan is this: Die quickly," Congressman Alan Grayson said. "That's right, the Republicans want you to die quickly if you get sick."

Policy after policy it is clear that while not spoken, that must be their goal. Not getting healthcare in a timely fashion means you will die quickly. This is genocide on the poor.

TRUMP’S PLAN TO SLASH MEDICAID COULD LEAVE MILLIONS SICK AND IN DEBT. JUST ASK TEXAS

This week, the Trump administration unveiled a 2020 spending plan that would cut almost $1.5 trillion from Medicaid over a decade, and eliminate funding for Medicaid expansion entirely. Instead, according to the plan, the federal government would allocate $1.2 trillion to block grants or per-person caps -- funding arrangements that give states more flexibility to kick poor people off health insurance.

Texas’ attorney general, Ken Paxton, is also leading a coalition of 20 states suing the federal government to unravel the nation’s health care program by arguing the 2010 Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional. A Fort Worth-based judge took Paxton’s side in a ruling in December, although Obamacare is still in effect during the appeals process. If the Texas-led lawsuit wins, Medicaid expansion could disappear across the country.

If the rest of the U.S. were to allow a Texas-style Medicaid coverage gap to fester, “it’d be both a personal crisis for millions of Americans and a systemic crisis for the health-care industry," said Anne Dunkelberg, associate director at the Austin-based Center for Public Policy Priorities.

That crisis is already too real for Valadez. She has tiny, infected pouches along the wall of her colon, an illness called diverticulitis. When those pouches flare, debilitating pain follows. Valadez waits out the pain for at least three days before she goes to the emergency room. She’s already unable to pay off her existing medical debt, and each visit can cost thousands. But she’s had to go multiple times over the past two years anyway.

The last time she had a flare-up, two weeks ago, she drove across the Mexican border to seek less expensive care. In Nuevo Progreso, a border town in Tamaulipas about 40 minutes from her home, a doctor told her she will likely need surgery. Without health insurance, it’s not an option.

“It doesn’t matter what I do. If I’m poor or I work, I still don’t qualify. Whatever it is, I’m undeserving," Valadez said.

Source: Trump's plan to slash Medicaid could leave millions sick and in debt. Just ask Texas. – VICE News

Want the GOP to stop using the word 'socialist' to scare off Democrats? Make 'capitalism' a bad word, 3-1019

I believe in having an economic system that works for everyone. It must be Democratic. The best one is a hybrid featuring free enterprise and a robust safety net, a system unable to hoard capital, which is a detriment to the economy as a whole.

Everyone should have the ability to create their own company if they so desire, using their intellect and labor to get compensation commensurate with their efforts. Many who read some of my anti-corporate/anti-capitalist rants likely believe that I am a blowhard who wants a socialist state, where the takers abuse the makers.

Rant: If Americans were greedy, millionaire & billionaire plutocrats wouldn’t stand a chance

That is not so. What is clear is that the food stamp con artists share much in common with most of the unfettered capitalists: They are takers by design. They both profit from the labor and intellect of others (e.g., taxpayers and employees).

Too many are resistant to change because they believe that our economic system is divine and untouchable. It is not. It is "man-made," and it is imbued with features to ensure only the chosen can succeed. The plutocrats, via the tenets of the Powell Manifesto, brainwashed many into believing that those who work the least, as long as they wear a suit and are in an "acceptable" economic space, are worthy of their income, wealth, and riches. That indoctrination has caused us to disparage the ever-growing discards of a failing system, blaming them unfairly for the failures of our economic model.

Progressives are scared to call out capitalism by name, just like they turn into deer in headlights when the GOP calls them socialists.

I looked up definitions of socialism, communism, and capitalism, just for amusement. Of course, the dictionary definitions tried to make communism and socialism similar. They are not. But what grabbed my eyes was the following, from Investopedia:

"Both are the opposite of capitalism, where limitations don’t exist and reward comes to those who go beyond the minimum. In capitalist societies, owners are allowed to keep the excess production they earn. And competition occurs naturally, which fosters advancement. Capitalism tends to create a sharp divide between the wealthiest citizens and the poorest, however, with the wealthiest owning the majority of the nation's resources."

How difficult is it to turn "owners are allowed to keep the excess production they earn" into the phrases "stealing from," "moocher," "taker," or similar pejoratives? After all, the plutocrats or capitalists are enriching themselves via the intellect and labor of others.

Ironically, as they take their unearned spoils, many of their employees are working several jobs to keep up, or relying on food stamps. This truth is not rocket science. It is the same pathology that keeps many majorities at the behest of immoral minorities (read: South Africa).

Here is a sad reality: Food stamp con artists share much in common with most of the unfettered capitalists. They both make money off of the labor and intellect of others. They both work out schemes in which they benefit financially on the backs of others. They both produce nothing to move society forward.

I know many will take exception. After all, didn't Bill Gates’ and Steve Jobs' intellect create mega computers that revolutionized efficiency and productivity? Again, that is what you were taught to believe. Bill Gates and Steve Jobs were good at what they did. But most importantly, they were chosen—and then their monopolies froze most out of their markets.

Does anyone believe that only a few dozen Americans have the intellect and insight to do what they did? Just like thousands of churches have singers as good or better than Mariah Carey but aren’t plucked from obscurity for fame and fortune, the same applies to technology.

The GOP does an outstanding job at turning words used by progressives into pejoratives. We must do the same with their words. Interestingly, we would not have to use Cuba or Venezuela to prove the failure of the economic system. We only have to ask average citizens to look at their paychecks, bank account statements, and credit card bills over time.

There is a basic tenet we must recognize in our economic system, explained by the article "Why our economic system is designed to keep most people broke by robbing us legally":

Why our economic system is designed to keep most people broke by robbing us legally

Pricing of any product in our economic system has its basis on a corrosive concept known as "Whatever the market will bear." And what will the market bear? All of your income plus your total creditworthiness, how much you can borrow.

Sadly, the reality is that corporations whose fiduciary responsibility is to their shareholders and their huge undeserved salaries will keep raising prices until people are simply unable to afford what they are selling. If it is something they must have, Americans will spend up to their limit to get it.

The tenets of the current economic system are predicated on this behavior that effectively prevents us from saving. It makes us entities that are nothing but conduits of our income used to create the increasing wealth of a few, those who determine prices, the Plutocrats.

Ultimately, those with unregulated and unlimited pricing power on necessary products and services can ensure the rest of us will never accumulate wealth. They own you. They can extort you.

The above reality defines our economy, which has evolved into an odious form of capitalism. The proof is a continual decline in the wealth of the masses as the few get a more significant percentage. If this remains unchanged, math will prevail. Welcome to indentured servitude.

The GOP performance at the Cohen hearing was a study in moral corruption, 2-28-19

The House of Representatives has always been the shallower end of the legislative pool. But the performance of Republicans at the Cohen hearing was in a class of its own. Their game plan seemed to consist of shouting, vilification and shouted vilification. Most of them apparently got their degrees from the Roy Cohn School of Law.

At some point, kissing up involves moral corruption. And Republicans passed that milestone some time ago. Many in Trump’s army of enablers have lost the ability to distinguish political realism from moral surrender. Now they are left to impugn the reputations of the president’s accusers, as though the whole Republican Party had signed on as part of Trump’s legal team. How did Republicans do? Cohen started the hearing with an absolutely awful reputation and still came across looking more trustworthy than his accusers.

The most ominous thing Michael Cohen said about Trump this week, 2-28-19

"Given my experience working for Mr. Trump, I fear that if he loses the election in 2020, that there will never be a peaceful transition of power."

Trump’s comments on Otto Warmbier are a reminder he doesn’t prioritize human rights, 2-28-19

The Trump administration has never shown much interest in human rights. Last year, it pulled the United States out of the U.N. Human Rights Council. In 2017, within months of President Trump’s inauguration, then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said diplomats should not let human rights values become “obstacles” to achieving national goals. Trump has spoken favorably about some of the world’s most vicious dictators.

On Thursday, Trump yet again showed just how little regard his administration has for human rights issues. As he wrapped up his second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Trump told reporters in Hanoi that he did not believe Kim was responsible for the death of American student Otto Warmbier.

Warmbier, a University of Virginia student, was arrested and imprisoned in North Korea in 2016 while on an organized tour. In 2017, he was released -- in a coma -- and flown back to the United States for medical treatment. He died a week after returning home. His parents have said they believe their son was “brutally tortured” while imprisoned in North Korea. And in the past, Trump also has seemed to suggest as much.

But Thursday, after meeting with Kim, Trump said he believed the North Korean leader knew nothing about Warmbier’s death. “I don’t believe he would have allowed that to happen," Trump said. “It just wasn’t to his advantage to allow that to happen."

That denial is part of a pattern with Trump. When given the opportunity to stand up to some of the world’s most notorious authoritarians, Trump has chosen to give them the benefit of the doubt despite history, news reports and experts telling him otherwise.

Judge blocks GOP effort to purge voting rolls in Texas, saying it is ‘ham-handed’ and ‘threatening’, 2-27-19 WaPo

A federal judge has ordered Texas election officials to halt a planned purge of electoral rolls, calling their effort “ham-handed” and “threatening” and saying there is no evidence of widespread voter fraud in the state.

The Wednesday ruling, a relief for voting rights activists, puts a temporary stop to the secretary of state’s search for noncitizens who may have voted illegally -- a probe that proved deeply flawed just days after it began.

Psychopathic US Senator Openly Calls For Maduro To Suffer Gaddafi’s Fate/h3>

By Caitlin Johnstone, February 25, 2019 "Information Clearing House"

Influential US Senator and 2016 presidential candidate Marco Rubio has tweeted a blatant death threat and incitement of violence against Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro. As of this writing the post has 13 thousand shares and counting.

No One Trusts the US Government, Not Even the American People

By Paul Craig Roberts, February 25, 2019 "Information Clearing House"

Germans see China as a more reliable partner for Germany than the US.

Atlantic Bridge, a German front organization set up by Washington to propagandize Germans to serve Washington, has failed in the job. The latest survey conducted by the front group shows that 85% of Germans are alienated from the US. The front group’s chairman acknowledged “the great lost of trust in the United States." By a margin of two to one, Germans see China as a more reliable partner for Germany than the US.

Americans have come to the same conclusion about the US government as have Germans. The latest Gallup Poll reveals that Americans regard America’s top problem to be the US government. Twice as many respondents regard the US government to be the top problem than regard immigration, and Americans see Washington to be six times the problem that health care is.

As many have concluded, the United States is not a democracy.It is an oligarchy ruled by monied private interest groups.

There has clearly been a revolution in America. An aristocracy has overthrown the people. Democracy is dead. We live in the Oligarchy United Against the People.

If Truth Is Politicized, All Is Lost, 2-21-19

Trump has allowed the crazed neocons to raise the likelihood of nuclear Armageddon to near certainty.

By Paul Craig Roberts, February 21, 2019 "Information Clearing House"

Trump’s surrender to the neoconservatives makes it impossible for an informed person to support him. He has signed off on the coup against democracy in Venezuela, and he has placed all life at risk by pulling out of the INF treaty with Russia. Putin has publicly announced that the consequences of Washington’s reckless and irresponsible decision to junk the INF treaty will be the targeting of the missile sites in Europe and also of the American command and control centers. http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/51130.htm As I write there is nothing on the BBC or CNN websites or anywhere else in the US print and TV media about the President of Russia’s clear statement. Trump has allowed the crazed neocons to raise the likelihood of nuclear Armageddon to near certainty, and it has gone unreported by the presstitutes.

Not only is there no evidence for Washington’s claim that Russia has violated the INF treaty, violating the treaty is not in Russia’s interests. Russian intermediate range missiles cannot reach the US. The purpose of the treaty is to keep Russia from targeting Europe by preventing US intermediate range missiles from being deployed in Europe. Washington tore up the INF treaty in order to put intermediate range missiles on Russia’s border, thus endangering Europe.

A hopeful person could perhaps reason that Trump, realizing that he is powerless to reduce tensions with Russia and to stop the wars, has decided to give free rein to the neocons in the expectation that they will so terrify Europe that Europe will break from Washington and NATO in an act of self-preservation. https://sputniknews.com/europe/201902211072620749-europe-suicide-pact-us-missiles/ Perhaps Trump realizes that only the breakup of the Empire can stop the wars, and that the best way to destroy the American Empire is to give free rein to the crazed neoconservatives. https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2019/02/21/pompeo-pence-and-alienation-europe.html

What is important is not what political party or candidate that we support, but that we support truth wherever we find it. Most people are confused about this. If truth is on Trump’s side, and you support truth, people see it as supporting Trump. This shows how politicized and emotional American thinking has become.

Andrew McCabe, former acting director of the FBI, has made it clear that the FBI, the Democratic Party, US media, former CIA director John Brennan, former director of National Intelligence James Clapper, and the US Department of Justice (sic) were, and are, involved in a plot to remove President Trump from office. The fraudulent “Steele Dossier” is the basis for the fraudulent “Russiagate” investigation. A number of laws have been violated by those involved in the plot. For example, spy warrants were obtained from the FISA court under false pretense, and there is little, if any, doubt that Brennan, Comey, Rosenstein, and Mueller are guilty of sedition and conspiracy against the President of the United States. By demanding that these government officials be held accountable, we defend truth and the rule of law, not Trump.

Russiagate is a hoax, but the INF treaty and the open plot to overthrow Venezuelan democracy are not hoaxes. These, not conspiring with Putin, are the crimes for which Trump should be held accountable.

Dr. Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments. His internet columns have attracted a worldwide following. Roberts' latest books are The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and Economic Dissolution of the West, How America Was Lost, and The Neoconservative Threat to World Order.

There’s yet another Trump administration scandal brewing. And it’s a doozy. 2-20-19

That the Trump administration is deeply, profoundly corrupt is not in question. But there are layers to that corruption that we have barely begun to explore. We are now learning of an absolutely shocking story that shows how so many people in Donald Trump’s orbit see his presidency as an opportunity for personal enrichment, and how that corruption may be warping U.S. policy.

There are jaw-dropping revelations on just about every page of a 24-page report just issued by the House Oversight Committee, based on information provided to them by multiple whistleblowers within the Trump administration. But I’ll do my best to break down the story and its implications. It stars a cast of familiar and not-so-familiar characters -- including former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn, Trump buddy and billionaire investor Tom Barrack, and even Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law.

We begin with a company called IP3 International, described as “a private company that has assembled a consortium of U.S. companies to build nuclear plants in Saudi Arabia." IP3, which has an all-star team of former generals and federal officials on its staff and board, was pushing hard on the Trump administration to approve its plan to build these reactors despite the lengthy process required to transfer nuclear technology abroad. And according to the Oversight Committee’s report, they had help:

A key proponent of this nuclear effort was General Michael Flynn, who described himself in filings as an “advisor” to a subsidiary of IP3, IronBridge Group Inc., from June 2016 to December 2016 -- at the same time he was serving as Donald Trump’s national security advisor during the presidential campaign and the presidential transition. According to the whistleblowers, General Flynn continued to advocate for the adoption of the IP3 plan not only during the transition, but even after he joined the White House as President Trump’s National Security Advisor.

So Flynn is working with this company while he’s also working for the Trump campaign and transition. He then gets into the White House and has the chance to push the company’s plan to build dozens of nuclear plants in Saudi Arabia.

The other key person inside the administration was Derek Harvey, the senior director for Middle East and North African //affairs at the National Security Council in the early days of the Trump administration. Harvey was later fired by Flynn’s successor, H.R. McMaster, and then went to work for Trump lickspittle Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. But in the White House, he was an unusually strong advocate for IP3's idea, despite the legal impediments meant to make sure that materials and technology capable of being turned into nuclear weapons don’t spread throughout the world:

Career staff warned that any transfer of nuclear technology must comply with the Atomic Energy Act, that the United States and Saudi Arabia would need to reach a 123 Agreement, and that these legal requirements could not be circumvented. Mr. Harvey reportedly ignored these warnings and insisted that the decision to transfer nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia had already been made.

Both career and political staff inside the White House reportedly agreed that Mr. Harvey’s directive could violate the law. One senior political official stated that the proposal was “not a business plan," but rather “a scheme for these generals to make some money." That official stated: “Okay, you know we cannot do this."

Yet, just days after the President’s inauguration, IP3 officials sent documents directly to General Flynn for President Trump to approve, including a draft Cabinet Memo stating that the President had appointed Mr. Barrack as a special representative to implement the plan and directing agencies to support Mr. Barrack’s efforts.

Why was Barrack, Trump’s billionaire friend, involved? He, too, was a big booster of IP3, and had himself explored buying a piece of Westinghouse, which makes nuclear reactors.

Meanwhile, inside the White House, there was apparently a small war going on, with NSC staffers on one side and Harvey -- assisted by the IP3 personnel with whom he was in contact, as well as the since-fired Flynn (“I speak with Michael Flynn every night," Harvey told a room full of people in March 2017) -- on the other. The NSC staff kept reporting Harvey’s actions to the council’s legal adviser, who kept telling them they were not to work on the IP3 plan, since it circumvented the process for such projects and presented huge conflicts of interest for some of the officials involved.

[...]

Also: Rick Gates, the former deputy to Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, an admitted criminal, and a cooperator with special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation, was by now working for Barrack and helping to set this whole thing up.

But wait, there’s more!

In January 2018, Brookfield Business Partners, a subsidiary of Brookfield Asset Management, announced its plans to acquire Westinghouse Electric for $4.6 billion. Westinghouse Electric is the bankrupt nuclear services company that is part of IP3’s proposed consortium to build nuclear reactors in Saudi Arabia, and which stands to benefit from the Middle East Marshall Plan. In August 2018, Brookfield Asset Management purchased a partnership stake in 666 Fifth Avenue, a building owned by Jared Kushner’s family company.

In case you aren’t aware, 666 Fifth Avenue in New York isn’t just any building. It is the building that nearly destroyed the Kushner family’s business, a building for which they massively overpaid (to the tune of $1.8 billion) at the height of the real estate bubble, and one they have been trying for years to unload to get rid of the crushing debt it took on to buy it. Brookfield agreed to purchase a 99-year lease on the building, paid up front; for all intents and purposes, it was a bailout of the Kushner Companies.

[...]

Even before Trump got elected, people with dollar signs in their eyes have swarmed around him, knowing that rules and laws were no longer going to be such an impediment to cashing in. In this case, even as senior White House officials were warning that the whole thing violated the law, they pressed on. After all, there was the potential for millions or even billions of dollars to be made.

Top Trump appointees promoted selling nuclear power plants to Saudi Arabia over objections from national security officials, House Democratic report says, 2-20-19

Key members of the Trump administration pushed a plan to sell nuclear power plants to Saudi Arabia in the months after the inauguration despite objections from members of the National Security Council and other senior White House officials, according to a new report from congressional Democrats.

The 24-page report from the House Oversight and Reform Committee is based on internal White House documents and the accounts of unnamed whistleblowers. It said the objectors -- including White House lawyers and National Security Council officials -- opposed the plan out of concern that it violated laws designed to prevent the transfer of nuclear technology that could be used to support a weapons program.

Of greater concern to some were potential conflicts of interest on the part of Michael Flynn, the retired Army lieutenant general who was President Trump’s first national security adviser and who had advised a firm pitching the nuclear plan. Yet the effort persisted even after Flynn resigned and left the White House, the report alleges.

The possible sale of nuclear power plants to Saudi Arabia was discussed in the Oval Office just last week. The meeting included Energy Secretary Rick Perry, representatives from the NSC and State Department, and a dozen nuclear industry chief executives, one of the people present told The Washington Post.

The Democrats’ report was released Tuesday morning by Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.), the new chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, who has pledged multiple investigations into the Trump administration. Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said Tuesday that his panel would join the Oversight Committee in investigating the proposed nuclear sales.

“Multiple whistleblowers came forward to warn about efforts inside the White House to rush the transfer of highly sensitive U.S. nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia in potential violation” of federal law, the Oversight Committee report says.


email from Union of Concerned Scirentitist, 2-20-19, Trump’s toxic handout to coal companies

In a stunning handout to the coal industry, President Trump's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is preparing to drastically curtail pollution limits on mercury and other toxins that hurt brain development, and are projected to cause thousands of premature deaths each year.

We can't sit on the sidelines while the president tries to allow coal executives to pollute our air and endanger our health.

You only have to follow a single coal company's efforts to sway the president to see just how corrupt this roll back is:

Step one: Murray Energy made a six-figure gift to the Trump Inauguration Committee, solidifying an already tight-knit relationship with the incoming administration.

Step two: Murray Energy's CEO delivered a policy wish list to the president, pushing for regulatory rollbacks, allowing more pollution, and ultimately more profit for the coal industry—all at the expense of taxpayers and millions of Americans' health, not to mention our planet's future.

Step three: Watch and wait. With Murray Energy's former lobbyist Andrew Wheeler running the EPA, the agency is now trying to undo policies that cut pollution and protected our health: the possible results could include more heart attacks, impaired child brain development, an increase in asthma attacks, and more.

It's hard to put a price on a person's ability to breathe free, but by some estimates, these rollbacks would cost tens of billions of dollars annually in health care costs.

N.C. election officials: Harris operative collected and falsified ballots, then tried to obstruct state investigation, 2-18

RALEIGH, N.C. -- State election officials in North Carolina said Monday that a political operative for Republican Mark Harris orchestrated a “coordinated, unlawful, and substantially resourced absentee ballot scheme” in the 9th Congressional District last year, hiding evidence of the operation as it unfolded and obstructing the state’s investigation after the election.

Americans are finally finding out they got royally screwed by the Republican tax scam, 2-9-19


In late 2017, about a year before they were summarily booted out of office, the Republican majority in the House of Representatives passed something they called the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017."

At that time Republicans not only made up a majority in the House, but in the Senate as well. They also had the amazing fortune of having a president eager and willing to sign whatever they chose to put in front of him. So they had an unprecedented, really tremendous amount of power, just then.

They could have used that power to fundamentally improve the lives of ordinary Americans. They could have passed all kinds of incentives to keep corporations from “outsourcing” jobs and hiding and parking their profits overseas. They could have routed vast sums of money to rebuild deteriorating highways and bridges that Americans rely on every day. They could have bolstered up Medicare and Social Security, ensuring that millions of citizens enjoyed a dignified and prosperous retirement. They could have helped families pay for their kids’ college educations. They could have funded all kinds of services that would improve the quality of Americans’ lives.

Instead, they chose to do the exact opposite. They chose to reward the corporate conglomerates who had bankrolled their political campaigns with millions of dollars in campaign ads and ghost-written voter suppression laws. They completely turned their backs on the ordinary people who had voted them into office. And they did this knowing full well that their big, ballyhooed tax “cut” was really nothing more than a huge tax giveaway to the nation’s wealthiest, that would not do a single thing to help the people who had voted for them.

They knew that as long as they kept repeating the time-tested mantras of “abortion” and “undeserving” and “illegals," that their gullible voting base would swallow whatever snake oil they could cook up. That’s why they never even bothered to mention their “tax cut” in their re-election campaigns last November. They knew it was all an embarrassing scam.

They were all in on it. Every single one of them. And now, safe in their cushy corporate sinecures they had all pre-arranged before the voters wised up and kicked them out of office, they’re having a good laugh at everyone else’s expense. Yes, the Republicans screwed Americans over good, and they’re not looking back.

Now the returns are literally coming in—and it’s dawning on ordinary folks how badly they were conned.

The average refund is down about 8% under the first full year of the overhauled tax code, according to data released by the IRS on Friday. Refunds averaged $1,865 compared to $2,035 for tax year 2017.

***

Some workers saw a bump in their take-home pay after employers started using the new IRS income tax withholding tables.

But experts have said people could see smaller refunds than expected if they didn't adjust their paycheck withholdings after the changes took effect. Others could see their tax burden increase because the revised code eliminated some popular deductions.

That so-called “bump” in take-home pay was part of the scam, and it was aided and abetted directly from the top.

[J]ust to be sure that voters noticed all the good Paul Ryan had done for them, the Trump administration reportedly pressured the IRS to err on the side of withholding too little from Americans’ paychecks “so people will see big increases in their take-home pay ahead of this year’s midterm elections."

As it turned out, most people really didn’t notice much of a “bump” in their paychecks at all. So they took their anger out on the Republicans last November, sweeping them out of office. But as reported by Eric Levitz for New York Magazine, the real reckoning of this travesty is just beginning to come into view:

Now, the bill for the GOP’s (reported) withholding shenanigans is coming due: The average American’s tax refund was 8.4 percent lower in the first week of 2019 than it was one year ago (under the pre-Trump tax code). And while Americans have trouble noticing tax changes when they’re dispersed across 12 to 24 separate paychecks, they do typically pay very close attention to the size of their refunds. About three-quarters of the country typically qualifies for a tax refund most years -- and for many of those households, that check from the IRS is the largest lump sum they’ll receive all year.

All told, about three million more Americans will end up owing the IRS money than last year, before the Republican tax plan took effect.

The economic consequences of this con job amount to more than simply confirming that the Republicans are charlatans. As pointed out in the Intercept by David Dayen (quoted by Levitz), the reduction in tax refunds is likely to reduce spending, which will end up slowing economic growth

***

So not only will the Republican tax “cut” have failed to do anything to help the economic prospects of ordinary Americans, it may very likely end up resulting in an economic slowdown that could haunt the present administration as it tries to tout its achievements, going into the 2020 elections.

While that may be a case of just desserts for the political future of Donald Trump, in the end, it’s all of us who will end up suffering the consequences of this colossal Republican fraud.

71% of Republicans on House panels having climate hearings this week are science-denying numbskulls, 2-6






Definition of Conservative

A definition of Conservative

Clay Bennett 8/23/20

The Conservative Action Score for a member of Congress is calculated as percentage of a slate of possible conservative actions that were actually taken by that member. The conservative standard for judging bills is defined according to these conditions:

> Disregard for constitutional protections of American civil liberty

> Secrecy and exclusion of citizens from government

> Support for discriminatory policy

> The symbolic denigration and practical undermining of science and education in America

> Active harm to the environment or passive allowance for environmental destruction

> Pursuit of further advantage for those in America who are already its richest

> Dismissal of peaceful alternatives and submission to the interests of the military-industrial complex

(Taken from the website That's My Congress, 8/6/14)







Quotes

Steve Sack 8/23/20

"Let me introduce myself. Since 1993, I've run the Congressional Accountability Project, which opposes corruption in Congress. It hasn't been easy. I'll bet you understand.

"After thirteen years, I can't honestly claim any victories. Sure, some powerful members of Congress were embarrassed by front-page scandal stories. But it didn't do much good. Congress passed no major anti-corruption reforms. Here's why: Although both Republican and Democrats are happy to hurl accusations at one another, neither has any real interest in reducing corruption in Congress.

"Even now, in the middle of the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal, which may be the worst political scandal since Watergate, both parties are hoping that nobody notices when they pass sham reform and call it a triumph...

"In Washington, Republicans are the party of the corporations and their trade associations. Anti-corruption reforms threaten corporations because they reduce the influence of money in politics. If money can't buy legislative action, then corporations won't get what they want. Lobbying reforms also cut into those lovely perks that members of Congress crave...

"Amazingly, when the Democrats announced their ethics plan, it was almost as tame as the Republicans'...

"Democrats haven't changed much since then. They have the power to file ethics complaints to trigger investigations of Republican corruption. But they ''t. Here's a dirty secret: House Minority Leader Nancy Pilosi basically prohibits her Democrats from filing ethics complaints against Republicans--even powerful ones. In other words, Pelosi protects Republicans from investigations of corruption, influence-peddling, and abuse of power.

"Why does Pelosi act as the Republicans' angel of mercy? If Democrats filed ethics complaints, Republicans would, too. The likely result of such an "ethics war": Corruption would be exposed, members from both parties would be embarrassed, and a few might lose their seats in Congress. There might even be an indictment or two. Maybe someone would go to jail. Sounds great. But it's intolerable to both parties...

"...in September 1997, they passed "reforms" (I called them the Corrupt Politicians' Protection Act) that made it impossible for citizens to file ethics complaints in the House. The "reforms" created a climate in Congress where corruption is increasingly possible--exactly what both parties wanted" (Gary Ruskin. "No Housecleaning." The Progressive, May, 2006: 22-24).


"Newt Gingrich and Tom DeLay first came to power promising to restore democracy to the House of Representatives, supposedly suffering from then-Speaker Jim Wright's tyrannical regime. Even after the Rs drove Wright from office, however, bipartisanship was out of the question for DeLay. In the budget fight and government shutdown of 1995, for instance, DeLay rejected compromise and famously said, "It's time for all-out war."

"I never minded DeLay being a tough guy--it was his syrupy claims to carry the banner for Christianity that I found offensive, as he frog-marched the House toward being a cash-operated special-interest machine. The idea of putting pressure on lobbyists to gie only to Republicans, pressuring lobbying firms into hiring only Republicans and then letting lobbyists sit at the table during committee meetings where legislation was written--it was just screaming overt corruption.

"Tom DeLay and Newt Gingrich turned the US House of Representatives, "the people's house," into a pay-for-play machine for corporations. Put in enough money, get your special tax exemption, get your earmarked government contract, get your trade legislation and your environmental exemption, get rid of safety regulation" (Molly Ivins. "WWTD: What Would Tom Do?" Texas Observer, April 21, 2006: 14).


"...we have only one political party in the United States, the Property Party, with two right wings, Republican and Democrat... citizens find it difficult at election time to tell the parties apart... The Republicans are often more doctrinaire than the Democrats, who are willing to make small -- very small -- adjustments where the poor and black are concerned while giving aid and comfort to the anti-imperialists" (Gore Vidal. "State of the Union, 2004." The Nation, Sep. 13, 2004: 23-29).


"... unemployed, underemployed, hurting economically in some way. This group of Americans, who number in the millions, harbors deep-seated anger over corporate shenanigans, their lack of healthcare and good jobs, yet in interview after interview I found they are often the most fervant in their support of George W. Bush and his tough rhetoric.

"Why? One answer is that Republicans have used "social issues"... to speak to these Americans; they mine the anger... deflecting attention from the true cause of their problems. And the Democrats have been timid, or unable to form a message to break through to them...

"...the workers' growing wrath -- he was seeing it mature into xenophobia and right-wing radicalism. "It's not unlike the anger in prewar Germany and prewar Italy," Russo said...

"In 1920s Weimar Germany... with economic deprivation came growing anger. What did the government do? Instead of raising taxes on the rich, who could pay, it lowered them. The terrible conditions were actually good for the industrialists and landlords. They wanted the mark to tumble, because they were able to erase debts by paying them off with worthless marks...

"In America, too, there were stresses in the 1930s... what if there had been no FDR? Walter Lippmann wrote that the nation would have "followed almost any leader anywhere he chose to go"...

"Talk-radio is but one example of how the anger has grown... Now there are 1,300 all-talk stations, and conservatives rule. It's no coincidence that their popularity rose concurrent with the decline of the manufacturing economy, as anger deepened in American society...

"There are tens of millions of American workers living in a virtual depression, in a virtual Weimar. Their anger is real, as is their fear... The right has been addressing it in the form of appearing decisive with "preventive war," or by cranking up the xenophobia...

"The solution lies in doing something both parties have ignored in their free-trade euphoria: helping working-class Americans with jobs and healthcare. That will not erase the fear of another terror attack, but it will dissipate some of the anger resulting from economic hardship. It would tip the margin back to a saner political course...

"If John Kerry wins, the right margin will rage against him, as it did against Clinton before him, and against FDR in the 1930s. The anger found in America is not going to dissipate. It must be dealt with. And that will take leadership" (Dale Maharidge. "Rust & Rage In the Heartland." The Nation, Sep. 20, 2004: 11-14).


"...how have the Christians, "the religious right," been persuaded to cast their lot with the Republican party?

"How does one convince millions of devout Christians to accept a secular political-economic philosophy developed and articulated, in large part, by atheists? How does one, in addition, enable this same multitude of Christians to disregard how their political “allies” are taking cash out of their pockets and redistributing it “upward” from the middle class and the poor to the already wealthy, at the cost, in addition, of impoverishing essential social services, aid to the poor, and placing a crushing debt upon future generations? And finally, how are these Christians persuaded that the moral teachings of Jesus of Nazareth are somehow consistent with aggressive foreign wars, the increased enrichment of the wealthy, the denial of relief to the poor, comfort to the afflicted, education for the young, and employment for the jobless?...

"...Without those votes, the political clout of the right-wing regressives would collapse, and the right would be appropriately relegated the fringes of the body politic.

"Fundamentalists like to ask: “What would Jesus do?" Good question! So let’s ask them:

  • Would Jesus launch a “war of choice” against a non-threatening country?
  • Would Jesus cut back on school lunches for poor children?
  • Would Jesus decline to comfort “those who mourn” as the soldiers’ caskets arrive at Dover Air Force Base?
  • Would Jesus sign 155 death warrants, giving the clemency appeals only a cursory glance?

"Why, then, do religious fundamentalists follow, and vote for, wealthy and powerful individuals who openly violate the basic moral teachings of their “Lord and Savior”? ...

"The tacticians of the Right began, as all good salesmen begin, by identifying the “hot buttons” of "the mark” (customer), and proceeding to push those buttons.

"Fundamentalists crave strong and charismatic leadership...

"Fundamentalists are most comfortable with a Manichean world view...

"The demonization of Liberalism is a text-book example of “branding” – piling emotions and attitudes onto a label. Until recently, “liberalism” was a honorific term, as indicated by its dictionary definition: “favoring reform or progress ... specifically favoring political reform tending toward democracy and personal freedom for the individual." (Websters Unabridged, 2nd ed.) And, in fact, when a cross-section of the American public is asked about such liberal advancements as the minimum wage, social security, Medicare, racial integration, environmental protection, etc., a large majority approves...

"The Right has, in effect, established a separate and distinct definition of “liberal," so that it is effectively equated with “libertinism” – sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll. In addition, the Right’s use of “liberal” connotes the stifling of religion, welfare cheating, profligate government spending (as in “tax-and-spend-liberals”) and even, in the hands of such uninhibited ranters as Ann Coulter, treason.

"In short, this redefined “liberalism” serves well as an embodiment of “evil” to the religious right. And when this sense of “liberalism” is associated, through constant repetitions, with the Democratic Party – well, you know the rest.

"Finally, the tacticians of the Right have learned that fundamentalists are typically much more sensitive to personal immorality (“sin”) than they are to social immorality (injustice). Thus when, for example, George Bush speaks to the religious right, his themes are “right to life” (anti-abortion), opposition to gay marriage, but rarely economic injustice, ethnic discrimination or civil liberties..." (Ernest Partridge. "Suckers for Jesus." http://opednews.com/partridge_081704_suckers_for_jesus.htm. Aug. 17, 2004).


A Day in the Life of Joe Middle-Class Republican

by 'na L. Lavins and Shel' Cotler

Joe gets up at 6:00 AM to prepare his morning coffee. He fills his pot with good, clean drinking water because some liberal fought for minimum water quality standards. He takes his daily medication with his first swallow of coffee. His medications are safe to take because some liberal fought to insure their safety and that they work as advertised.

All but $10.00 of his medications are paid for by his employer's medical plan. Because some liberal union workers fought their employers for paid medical insurance, now Joe gets it too. He prepares his morning breakfast -- bacon and eggs this day. Joe's bacon is safe to eat because some liberal fought for laws to regulate the meat packing industry.

Joe takes his morning shower, reaching for his shampoo. His bottle is properly labeled with every ingredient and the amount that is contains because some liberal fought for his right to know what he was putting on his body and the breakdown of its contents. Joe dresses, walks outside and takes a deep breath. The air he breathes is clean because some tree-hugging liberal fought for laws to stop industries from polluting our air. He walks to the subway station for his government-subsidized ride to work; it saves him considerable money in parking and transportation fees. You see, some liberal fought for affordable public transportation, which gives everyone the opportunity to be a contributor.

Joe begins his work day; he has a good job with excellent pay, medicals benefits, retirement, paid holidays and vacation because some liberal union members fought and died for these working standards. Joe's employer meets these standards because Joe's employer doesn't want his employees to call the union. If Joe is hurt on the job or becomes unemployed he'll get worker's compensation or an unemployment check because some liberal didn't think he should lose his home to temporary misfortune.

It's noon time. Joe needs to make a bank deposit so he can pay some bills. Joe's deposit is federally insured by the FSLIC because some liberal wanted to protect Joe's money from unscrupulous bankers who ruined the banking system before the depression.

Joe has to pay his Fannie Mae underwritten mortgage and his below market federal student loan because some stupid liberal decided that Joe and the government would be better off if he was educated and earned more money over his lifetime.

Joe is home from work. He plans to visit his father this evening at his farm home in the country. He gets in his car for the drive to dad’s; his car is among the safest in the world because some liberal fought for car safety standards. He arrives at his boyhood home. He was the third generation to live in the house financed by Farmers Home Administration because bankers didn't want to make rural loans. The house didn't have electric until some big government liberal stuck his nose where it didn't belong and demanded rural electrification (those rural Republicans would still be sitting in the dark).

Joe is happy to see his dad, who is now retired. Joe's dad lives on Social Security and his union pension because some liberal made sure he could take care of himself so Joe wouldn't have to. After his visit with dad, Joe gets back in his car for the ride home. He turns on a radio talk show. The host keeps saying that liberals are bad and conservatives are good. He doesn't tell Joe that his beloved Republicans have fought against every protection and benefit Joe enjoys throughout his day. Joe agrees, "We ''t need those big government liberals ruining our lives. After all, I'm a self-made man who believes everyone should take care of themselves, just like I have."

In the years to come, Joe's life will change dramatically. The U.S. dollar will be devalued as a result of our huge deficit, our living standards demolished, our standing with the world diminished, and our social security gone...all because some conservative Republican made sure he could take care of himself and his buddies.


"...how have the Christians, "the religious right," been persuaded to cast their lot with the Republican party?

"How does one convince millions of devout Christians to accept a secular political-economic philosophy developed and articulated, in large part, by atheists? How does one, in addition, enable this same multitude of Christians to disregard how their political “allies” are taking cash out of their pockets and redistributing it “upward” from the middle class and the poor to the already wealthy, at the cost, in addition, of impoverishing essential social services, aid to the poor, and placing a crushing debt upon future generations? And finally, how are these Christians persuaded that the moral teachings of Jesus of Nazareth are somehow consistent with aggressive foreign wars, the increased enrichment of the wealthy, the denial of relief to the poor, comfort to the afflicted, education for the young, and employment for the jobless?...

"...Without those votes, the political clout of the right-wing regressives would collapse, and the right would be appropriately relegated the fringes of the body politic.

"Fundamentalists like to ask: “What would Jesus do?" Good question! So let’s ask them:

  • Would Jesus launch a “war of choice” against a non-threatening country?
  • Would Jesus cut back on school lunches for poor children?
  • Would Jesus decline to comfort “those who mourn” as the soldiers’ caskets arrive at Dover Air Force Base?
  • Would Jesus sign 155 death warrants, giving the clemency appeals only a cursory glance?

"Why, then, do religious fundamentalists follow, and vote for, wealthy and powerful individuals who openly violate the basic moral teachings of their “Lord and Savior”? ...

"The tacticians of the Right began, as all good salesmen begin, by identifying the “hot buttons” of "the mark” (customer), and proceeding to push those buttons.

"Fundamentalists crave strong and charismatic leadership...

"Fundamentalists are most comfortable with a Manichean world view...

"The demonization of Liberalism is a text-book example of “branding” – piling emotions and attitudes onto a label. Until recently, “liberalism” was a honorific term, as indicated by its dictionary definition: “favoring reform or progress ... specifically favoring political reform tending toward democracy and personal freedom for the individual." (Websters Unabridged, 2nd ed.) And, in fact, when a cross-section of the American public is asked about such liberal advancements as the minimum wage, social security, Medicare, racial integration, environmental protection, etc., a large majority approves...

"The Right has, in effect, established a separate and distinct definition of “liberal," so that it is effectively equated with “libertinism” – sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll. In addition, the Right’s use of “liberal” connotes the stifling of religion, welfare cheating, profligate government spending (as in “tax-and-spend-liberals”) and even, in the hands of such uninhibited ranters as Ann Coulter, treason.

"In short, this redefined “liberalism” serves well as an embodiment of “evil” to the religious right. And when this sense of “liberalism” is associated, through constant repetitions, with the Democratic Party – well, you know the rest.

"Finally, the tacticians of the Right have learned that fundamentalists are typically much more sensitive to personal immorality (“sin”) than they are to social immorality (injustice). Thus when, for example, George Bush speaks to the religious right, his themes are “right to life” (anti-abortion), opposition to gay marriage, but rarely economic injustice, ethnic discrimination or civil liberties..." (Ernest Partridge. "Suckers for Jesus." http://opednews.com/partridge_081704_suckers_for_jesus.htm. Aug. 17, 2004).


A Day in the Life of Joe Middle-Class Republican

by 'na L. Lavins and Shel' Cotler

Joe gets up at 6:00 AM to prepare his morning coffee. He fills his pot with good, clean drinking water because some liberal fought for minimum water quality standards. He takes his daily medication with his first swallow of coffee. His medications are safe to take because some liberal fought to insure their safety and that they work as advertised.

All but $10.00 of his medications are paid for by his employer's medical plan. Because some liberal union workers fought their employers for paid medical insurance, now Joe gets it too. He prepares his morning breakfast -- bacon and eggs this day. Joe's bacon is safe to eat because some liberal fought for laws to regulate the meat packing industry.

Joe takes his morning shower, reaching for his shampoo. His bottle is properly labeled with every ingredient and the amount that is contains because some liberal fought for his right to know what he was putting on his body and the breakdown of its contents. Joe dresses, walks outside and takes a deep breath. The air he breathes is clean because some tree-hugging liberal fought for laws to stop industries from polluting our air. He walks to the subway station for his government-subsidized ride to work; it saves him considerable money in parking and transportation fees. You see, some liberal fought for affordable public transportation, which gives everyone the opportunity to be a contributor.

Joe begins his work day; he has a good job with excellent pay, medicals benefits, retirement, paid holidays and vacation because some liberal union members fought and died for these working standards. Joe's employer meets these standards because Joe's employer doesn't want his employees to call the union. If Joe is hurt on the job or becomes unemployed he'll get worker's compensation or an unemployment check because some liberal didn't think he should lose his home to temporary misfortune.

It's noon time. Joe needs to make a bank deposit so he can pay some bills. Joe's deposit is federally insured by the FSLIC because some liberal wanted to protect Joe's money from unscrupulous bankers who ruined the banking system before the depression.

Joe has to pay his Fannie Mae underwritten mortgage and his below market federal student loan because some stupid liberal decided that Joe and the government would be better off if he was educated and earned more money over his lifetime.

Joe is home from work. He plans to visit his father this evening at his farm home in the country. He gets in his car for the drive to dad’s; his car is among the safest in the world because some liberal fought for car safety standards. He arrives at his boyhood home. He was the third generation to live in the house financed by Farmers Home Administration because bankers didn't want to make rural loans. The house didn't have electric until some big government liberal stuck his nose where it didn't belong and demanded rural electrification (those rural Republicans would still be sitting in the dark).

Joe is happy to see his dad, who is now retired. Joe's dad lives on Social Security and his union pension because some liberal made sure he could take care of himself so Joe wouldn't have to. After his visit with dad, Joe gets back in his car for the ride home. He turns on a radio talk show. The host keeps saying that liberals are bad and conservatives are good. He doesn't tell Joe that his beloved Republicans have fought against every protection and benefit Joe enjoys throughout his day. Joe agrees, "We ''t need those big government liberals ruining our lives. After all, I'm a self-made man who believes everyone should take care of themselves, just like I have."

In the years to come, Joe's life will change dramatically. The U.S. dollar will be devalued as a result of our huge deficit, our living standards demolished, our standing with the world diminished, and our social security gone...all because some conservative Republican made sure he could take care of himself and his buddies.


Things you have to believe to be a Republican today:

Being a drug addict is a moral failing and a crime,
unless you're a conservative radio host. Then it's an
illness and you need our prayers for your recovery.

The United States should get out of the United
Nations, and our highest national priority is
enforcing U.N. resolutions against Iraq.

Government should relax regulation of Big Business
and Big Money but crack down on individuals who use
marijuana to relieve the pain of illness.

"Standing Tall for America'" means firing your
workers and moving their jobs to India.

A woman can't be trusted with decisions about her
own body, but, multi-national corporations can make
decisions affecting all mankind without regulation.

Jesus loves you, and shares your hatred of
homosexuals and Hillary Clinton.

The best way to improve military morale is to praise
the troops in speeches while slashing veterans'
benefits and combat pay.

Group sex and drug use are degenerate sins unless
you someday run for governor of California as a
Republican.

If condoms are kept out of schools, adolescents
won't have sex.

A good way to fight terrorism is to belittle our
long-time allies, then demand their cooperation and
money.

HMOs and insurance companies have the interest of
the public at heart.

Providing health care to all Iraqis is sound policy.
Providing health care to all Americans is socialism.

Global warming and tobacco's link to cancer are junk
science, but creationism should be taught in schools.

Saddam was a good guy when Reagan armed him, a bad
guy when Bush's daddy made war on him, a good guy when
Cheney did business with him and a bad guy when Bush
needed a "we can't find Bin Laden" diversion.

A president lying about an extramarital affair is an
impeachable offense. A president lying to enlist
support for a war in which thousands die is solid
defense policy.

Government should limit itself to the powers named
in the Constitution, which include banning gay
marriages and censoring the Internet.

The public has a right to know about Hillary's
cattle trades, but George Bush's driving record is
none of our business.

You support states' rights, which means Attorney
General John Ashcroft can tell states what local voter
initiatives they have a right to adopt.

What Bill Clinton did in the 1960s is of vital
national interest, but what Bush did in the '80s is
irrelevant.

Trade with Cuba is wrong because the country is
communist, but trade with China and Vietnam is vital
to a spirit of international harmony.

(from Lionel's Reading Room).


"Conservatives complain relentlessy that they do no get a fair shake in the university, and they want parity--that is, more conservatives on faculties. Conservatives are lonely on American campuses as well as beleaguered and misunderstood. News that tenured poets vote Democratic or that Kerry received far more money from professors than Bush pains them. They want America's faculties to reflect America's political composition. Of course, they do not address such imbalances in the police force, Pentagon, FBI, CIA and other government outfits where the stakes seem far higher and where, presumably, followers of Michael Moore are in short supply. If life were a big game of Monopoly, one might sugggest a trade to these conservatives: You give us one Pentagon, one Department of State, Justice and Education, plus throw in the Supreme Court, and we will give you every damned English department you want" (Russell Jacoby. "The New PC: Crybaby Conservatives." The Nation, April 4, 2005: 11-16).

I Pledge Allegiance to the United States of Sociopathy

By Elizabeth Keyes, February 05, 2019 "Information Clearing House"

In Alfred Hitchcock's classic thriller, Shadow of a Doubt, spunky, recent high school grad Teresa Wright discovers her beloved uncle is a serial killer.

Wright's subsequent efforts to protect herself and others from psychopathic Joseph Cotten are continually frustrated by the extraordinary denial of her family and her community lost in the "thrall" of the worldly, smooth-talking Uncle Charlie.

Heartbroken and distraught, she must contend with her uncle's violent agenda while being obstructed by a naive and vulnerable community of his enablers and/or soon to be victims.

Wright's horrifying predicament resonates as I witness my – our – psychopathic uncle – UNCLE SAM, the U.S. government – perpetrate violent crime upon crime against humanity enabled by a maddening, morally mute, over-trusting, under-informed and/or indifferent citizenry.

I don't think I'll ever be able to fully wrap my mind or heart around the profound lack of outrage and empathy among government leaders from both corporate parties, the corporate media, as well as the vast majority of my fellow citizens at the ongoing atrocities of the Global War on Terror (more accurately, the "US Global War of Terror") and the 'regime change' covert and/or overt operations initially and sinisterly described as "humanitarian interventions."

The terrorist attacks of 9/11 seemingly justified a "gloves off" bloodlust defiance by the political and military "guardians" of America of the legal and moral pillars of our democracy. All these years since, the mandates for constitutional and moral justice "for all" have gone unheeded.

The Iraq war was launched illegally and with manipulative lies. Bush's torture program was in total opposition to constitutional, international and moral law. Its perpetrators deserved serious prosecution.

The Geneva Conventions were ratified once upon a time by a U.S. Congress. Habeas corpus, in place since 1679, so cavalierly suspended with the GWOT's "anything goes" rationale.

When such gobsmacking evil manifests on such a collective and global level for such a sustained amount of time, it deserves a serious analysis by those of us still spiritually awake enough to protest it.

At this point in my concerned citizenship, I am moving beyond anger into an awe of the scope of the – well – I call it downright and seriously unchallenged EVIL. Looking for a more clinical term than that? How about patriarchal psychopathology?

In his acceptance speech for the 2005 Nobel Prize for Literature, Harold Pinter acknowledged the long trail of U.S. international war crimes as well as the lack of historical and current accountability by this government, corporate media and its citizenry for them.

"It never happened. Nothing ever happened. Even while it was happening, it wasn't happening . . . You have to hand it to America . . . masquerading as a force for universal good. It's a brilliant, even witty, highly successful act of hypnosis."

Speaking of bottom-line and minimized evil, the specter of torture has reared its ugly head once again with President Donald Trump, an unabashed torture enthusiast, and the confirmation of his choice for Director of the CIA, "Bloody Gina" Haspel, notorious overseer of a secret black prison in Thailand where brutal torture was conducted. She was readily confirmed by a combination of Democratic and Republican senators. Senators, no doubt, who after fearful years of being labeled "oo soft on terror" were not about to stick their necks out for decency and morality.

Too many of my fellow citizens, terminally influenced by an amoral corporate media, I am nonetheless at a loss for their easy acceptance of torture.

A Pew Research poll released in 2017 revealed that 48% of the US citizenry believed that some circumstances could justify the use of torture, and 49% maintained there were no circumstances that would ever justify it.

Every other US citizen is thumb's up for the use of torture!

How disturbing over the last decade for the use of torture to be normalized and decriminalized by the military, citizenry, politicians, media, and those government lawyers who early on cravenly defied the obvious spirit of basic "Golden Rule" morality, the Constitution, and international law, to minimize the savagery of torture with euphemistic labels still parroted by much of the corporate media and or applied as fig leaves over the reprehensible.

"Enhanced interrogation techniques." Thank you, New York Times. They are monstrous methods of inflicting debilitating psychological and physical anguish on victims even at times to the point of death. Techniques that, along with being illegal and immoral, are universally regarded as unreliable. They are reliable only in generating false confessions (which apparently was one of the goals of the original, craven perpetrators).

Torture is wrong. It is evil.

Reading Jacob Weisberg's book, The Bush Tragedy, I learned that the main ego-armature for George W. Bush during his Yale University years was his participation in the fraternity culture.

Weisberg discloses that when "W" finally became head of a fraternity, he "ruled" at one point that lowly pledges be branded with real, Texas branding irons as part of their hazing.

When the Yale Daily News got wind of Bush's sadistic and zealous intention, it disclosed it to the entire university community. The Yale administrative patriarchs immediately huddled together to deal with the negative P.R. (I'm guessing that far outweighed the actual physical or psychological welfare of the targeted pledges.)

The patriarchs solution? Rein in Mr. Bush, whose sociopathy they presumably minimized as an impish, "boys-will-be-boys"-ness. With the proverbial wink and nod, they insisted young Bush forego the branding irons and instead ONLY make use of scalding metal coat hangers or lit cigarettes to burn freshman flesh.

Say what?

Problem solved? This Yale incident foreshadowed and undoubtedly helped foster the ultimate creation of the craven and covert torture program by Bush and cabal, particularly with the ever-Satanic Dick Cheney.

The green-lighting of that more modest degree of torture speaks volumes of a troubling, profoundly unempathetic – sociopathic— macho-mindset within the deepest, most influential halls of America's supposed intellectual and ruling class elite and mentors of said elite. They enabled and abetted young, already morally-deranged Master Bush, instead of role modeling and enforcing boundaries of basic human decency.

Just another rite of male passage? No wonder our American culture is so violent.

Andy Worthington, a prime advocate for victimized prisoners of Gitmo once reminded his audience during a NYC anti-war forum that in 2007 it was Senator Obama who declared:

"In the dark halls of Abu Ghraib and the detention cells of Guantánamo, we have compromised our most precious values. What could have been a call to a generation has become an excuse for unchecked presidential power."

President Obama posed as a person of character most convincingly. It got him the White House. Twice.

Obama took no responsibility for his breathtaking, 180-degree reversals of golden promises of anti-Bush reform, pre-election.

The most obvious and necessarily immediate reforms that he failed to act on were the restoration of habeas corpus rights and the prosecution of the perpetrators of the clandestine Bush torture program, of those who had most reprehensibly exploited the post-9/11 fear, outrage and vengeance sensibility of much of the citizenry.

Obama's policy decisions instead included deadly drone warfare, assassination kill lists, unlimited due-process-less detentions, military tribunals, countless corporate wars and U.S. military (corporate-opportunistic) garrisoning; and the continuation of Gitmo and God only knows what other black sites.

Obama's posture was of an always rhetorically amiable and faux-reasonable Roman emperor with thumb's up or down power over life and death. Many of his "subjects" adored him.

"We tortured some folks," he finally admitted with a shrug at a press conference. As if it was not a colossally serious deal.

"Folks"? Now there's a friendly word.

This is heart-of-darkness territory. Obama chose to become an enabler of violators of human rights and then a violator of them himself. To add to the horror, Obama so readily was enabled by the media in this, the vast majority of Congress, and the vast majority of citizens.

Does the cult of celebrity in America overwhelm basic human decency? It seems so.

Do U.S. leaders as diverse (but all amoral) as Bush, Obama and Trump, along with callous political cronies, military leaders and media, only need to repeat the word "terror" enough times to have so much of America fall into a "do with us, our money, or anyone else whatever depraved, anti-humanity behavior you want" kind of swoon?

"To torture or not to torture" not only a hot news media topic, but fodder for jingoistic and sensationalized movies and TV shows (as the normalization of torture steamrolls on).

Loyalty and admiration for the troops (no matter what war crimes they may be committing) and/or blind trust in a national administrative and military authority should not override human decency. American "exceptionalism" should not override identifying and ending war criminality. It does.

The status quo establishment in America has us locked into perpetual war with untold mass global deaths and maiming and ever-increasing economic hardship for all humanity except for a tiny percentage of transnational elites.

A paradigm shift from a "profits over people" patriarchy to the humanism of partnership and cooperation is the answer, but that would require decisions based on a U.S. leadership, a U.S. media and a U.S. society that seriously honored empathy, justice and the law.

Ours do not.

Scott Peck asserts in his book, People of the Lie, that mental health is "dedication to reality at all costs." This healthy sense of reality includes an in-touchness with one's inner reality and a respect for the reality of others. It requires the capacity to fully think and FEEL.

This "feeling capacity" – including and especially EMPATHY -- seems most vulnerable to dysfunction in our society and world, among both leaders and followers.

Feelings are profoundly under-valued in our U.S. society, and this feeling dysfunction is at the heart (or lack thereof) of the existing suffering and injustice.

Alice Miller, in her book For Your Own Good, refers to a "poisonous pedagogy" that can infect a society. She explains that that was what made the "good" (as in compliant) German population easy prey for the authoritarianism of Hitler.

Miller emphasizes that the capacity for empathy is not linked to one's intelligence. She points out that both Hitler and Stalin had enthusiastic, highly intellectual followers.

If one is not able to respond with authentic feelings and thoughtful consideration to real life situations involving oneself or others, one is susceptible to "enthrallment" to the will of a toxic and controlling leader, asserts Miller.

She also contends that unprocessed trauma in one's childhood, that is, when children are exposed to profound degrees of non-empathy from adult caretakers, will cause a crippling or shutting down of their feeling capacity later in adult life along with the potential of a sudden dismantling of their own will for the will of another. Miller explains that such trauma undoubtedly also happened to the original destructive caretakers during their childhoods in a continuing, generational cycle of dysfunction.

When trauma goes unprocessed by feelings, that is, it stays unfelt and un-grieved, it induces one to over-identify with an aggressor and enter his or her "thrall" later in adulthood. Also, such conditioning can induce one to project one's negative feelings about oneself onto others as scapegoats. People with a disordered feeling capacity cannot handle and take mature responsibility for whatever guilt, shame, anger, frustration gets triggered within them in the present and must deflect it.

In People of the Lie, Scott Peck discusses the experiments of Dr. Stanley Milgram at Yale in 1961 which revealed how people were so readily intimidated by an authority in a white coat that they willingly would inflict what they thought were disabling electric shocks on strangers without question. Six out of 10 of the tested humans were willing to inflict serious harm on strangers from their own over-conditioning to the will of authority figures.

Peck emphasizes how obedience is the foundation of military discipline. "A follower is never a WHOLE person," he maintains. Tragically, most people are far more comfortable in the "follower" role, leaving the responsibility and decision-making to those who step forward as leaders. When ruthless, reckless, immature, even sociopathic persons assume leadership positions, especially in an authoritarian system, the results can be tragic.

He also contends that a lack of conscience in human beings is partly due to "specialization", a detachment from responsibility. One regards oneself as simply playing a role in a group scenario and thus can easily pass the "moral buck" so-to-speak to another part of the group. Troops shooting foreign civilians with a kind of "video-game aloofness", for example will rationalize: "We don't kill the people. Our weapons do. Whoever gave us these weapons and instructions are really responsible for the killing. Not us."

Another example he cites is of how weapons manufacturers, sellers, lobbyists, etc. feel no personal responsibility for the consequences of violence from the weapons they distribute. The moral decision as to the use of the weapons is not part of their "pecialized" roles. (And the financial profits are just too damn juicy to consider otherwise.)

Peck also cites the regressive shutting down of authentic and appropriate feelings in people due to a phenomenon called "psychic numbing." The mind has the ability to anesthetize itself from feelings in the face of trauma. "The horrible becomes normal," he writes.

Finally, he explains that groups bond often within a collectively egotistical groupthink by circling the proverbial wagons against a common, demonized enemy. "The other." Scapegoating occurs when a group collectively projects the "badness" of themselves, too difficult to fathom, onto others.

James Lucas in an article for globalresearch.com back in 2015 declared that the United States has killed approximately 20 million people in 37 countries since the end of World War II.

How many of us can actually begin to feel and process the utter enormity of such a revelation? (One thinks of a quote attributed to the profoundly non-empathetic Joseph Stalin: "One death is a tragedy, a million is a statistic.")

What say you to 20 million, America? Look what our UNCLE SAM has wrought.

Can we as a nation cultivate a collective capacity for "empathy"? A critical mass of us reached a breakthrough of collective conscience during the Vietnam era (though it took us long enough, admittedly).

Can each of us dedicate ourselves to a "reality at all costs" awareness for our individual as well as collective mental health?

The fast hardening of soft fascism seems to be happening with little conscious struggle among the masses who seem convinced we non-elites can get away with staying passive and will be supported by our corporate-captured politicians and media.

Can we face down and acknowledge the relentless criminality of our government and representatives (who are not really OUR representatives).

If such crimes are not acknowledged, called out and then accounted for they will continue and escalate in number and nature. Even more frightening, more and more and more "good" Americans will succumb to this "normalization" of evil.

Confronting evil is daunting. Confronting mass and institutionalized evil all the more so. Sickening. Spiritually exhausting. It even has been said to biologically weaken one's thymus gland that supports the body's immune system.

We must detach from seductive "cronyism" with authoritarians or authoritarian followers and encourage others to do so.

We must explore the details of what is going on in our citizen name, with our tax dollars and especially with our vulnerable, patriotic and earnest young who can become tragically confounded by and induced to perpetrate institutionalized evil policies.

We owe it to ourselves and our world to stay whole and awake as citizens. To speak truth to power. Once again, "a follower is not a whole person" as Scott Peck declared.

"This is why the individual is sacred. For it is in the solitary mind and soul of the individual that the battle between good and evil is waged and ultimately won or lost."

It has been said there are three types of people in this world. A smallish group of people who make things happen. A larger group of people who watch things happen. (I am thinking, of those "good people who do nothing.") And finally the third, excessively large and clueless group, exclaiming, "WHAT THE F*CK HAPPENED???"

Let's try to shrink the second and third groups and expand the first by getting up and exercising those consciences.

This article was originally published by "Counterpunch" -










Ayn Rand

Think you already detest Ayn Rand? Here's an abso-freakin'-lutely amazing story that'll have you...

...looking for new adjectives to express your disgust.

Thom Hartmann has written a really fascinating article over at alternet. If I were you I’d just click on it right now and read it fresh, as there is no way I can do it justice here.

The right-wing love affair with Ayn Rand ties conservatism to one of the most disturbing sociopathic killers

Written by Thom Hartmann / Independent Media Institute August 12, 2019

There's a direct link between a sociopathic killer in 1927 and the GOP's willingness to embrace a sociopathic president like Trump. That link runs through the work of Ayn Rand.

When Donald Trump was running for the GOP nomination, he told USA Today's Kirsten Powers that Ayn Rand's raped-girl-decides-she-likes-it novel, The Fountainhead, was his favorite book.

"It relates to business, beauty, life and inner emotions," he told Powers. "That book relates to … everything."

Trump probably knew that anything by Rand would be the right answer for Republicans; the party has embraced her for decades, to the point that Paul Ryan required interns to read her books as a condition of employment.

Powers added, "He [Trump] identified with Howard Roark, the novel's idealistic protagonist who designs skyscrapers and rages against the establishment." Roark raged so much in the novel that he blew up a public housing project with dynamite just to get his way.

Rand was quite clear about the characteristics she wrote into her heroes, and in particular Howard Roark. In her Journals, she writes of the theme of the book, "One puts oneself above all and crushes everything in one's way to get the best for oneself. Fine!"

On Howard Roark, she writes that he "has learned long ago, with his first consciousness, two things which dominate his entire attitude toward life: his own superiority and the utter worthlessness of the world. He knows what he wants and what he thinks. He needs no other reasons, standards or considerations. His complete selfishness is as natural to him as breathing."

Roark seems like the kind of man who would brag about grabbing women by the genitals because, "When you're a star, they let you do it." But this was long before Donald Trump was on the scene.

Instead, the man who so inspired Ayn Rand's fictional heroes was a real sociopath named William Edward Hickman, who lived in Los Angeles.

Ten days before Christmas, in 1927, Hickman, a teenager with slicked dark hair and tiny, muted eyes, drove up to Mount Vernon Junior High School in Los Angeles, California, and kidnapped Marion Parker—the daughter of a wealthy banker in town.

Hickman held the girl ransom, demanding $1,500 from her father—back then about a year's salary. Supremely confident that he would elude capture, Hickman signed his name on the ransom notes, "The Fox."

After two days, Marion's father agreed to hand over the ransom in exchange for the safety of his daughter. What Perry Parker didn't know is that Hickman never intended to live up to his end of the bargain.

The Pittsburgh Press detailed what Hickman, in his own words, did next.

"It was while I was fixing the blindfold that the urge to murder came upon me," he said. "I just couldn't help myself. I got a towel and stepped up behind Marion. Then, before she could move, I put it around her neck and twisted it tightly."

Hickman didn't hold back on any of these details: he was proud of his cold-bloodedness.

"I held on and she made no outcry except to gurgle. I held on for about two minutes, I guess, and then I let go. When I cut loose the fastenings, she fell to the floor. I knew she was dead."

But Hickman wasn't finished. "After she was dead I carried her body into the bathroom and undressed her, all but the underwear, and cut a hole in her throat with a pocket knife to let the blood out"

Hickman then dismembered the child piece-by-piece, putting her limbs in a cabinet in his apartment, and then wrapped up the carved-up torso, powdered the lifeless face of Marion Parker, set what was left of her stump torso with the head sitting atop it in the passenger seat of his car, and drove to meet her father to collect the ransom money.

He even sewed open her eyelids to make it look like she was alive.

On the way, Hickman dumped body parts out of his car window, before rendezvousing with Marion Parker's father.

Armed with a shotgun so her father wouldn't come close enough to Hickman's car to see that Marion was dead, Hickman collected his $1,500, then kicked open the door and tossed the rest of Marion Parker onto the road. As he sped off, her father fell to his knees, screaming.

Days later, the police caught up with a defiant and unrepentant Hickman in Oregon. His lawyers pleaded insanity, but the jury gave him the gallows.

To nearly everyone, Hickman was a monster. The year of the murder, the Los Angeles Times called it "the most horrible crime of the 1920s." Hickman was America's most despicable villain at the time.

But to a young Russian idealist just arriving in America, Hickman was a hero.

And while Hickman the man has, today, been largely forgotten, Hickman the archetype has lived on and influenced our nation in a profound fashion, paving the way for Donald Trump, a man with no empathy or consideration of social norms, to one day occupy the White House.

The kind of man who would pose with a tiny baby, the youngest survivor of a slaughter that he, himself encouraged with his hateful rhetoric, and mug for the camera with a thumbs-up sign.

Two years before William Edward Hickman was sentenced to death, a 21-year-old Russian political science student named Alissa Zinovievna Rosenbaum arrived in New York Harbor on a French ocean liner. The year was 1926, and she was on the last leg of her dream trip to the Land of Opportunity, scurrying across the Soviet Union, Germany, and France before procuring a first-class cabin aboard the S.S. De Grasse, bound for the United States.

Alissa was a squat five-foot-two with a flapper hairdo and wide sunken dark eyes that gave her a haunting stare. And etched into those brooding eyes was burned the memory of a childhood backlit by the Russian Revolution.

She had just departed Leninist Russia where, almost a decade earlier, there was a harsh backlash against the Russian property owners—the people who were rich with Russian money like Donald Trump—by the Bolsheviks. Alissa's own family was targeted, and at the age of 12 she witnessed Bolshevik soldiers burst into her father's pharmacy business, loot the store, and plaster on the doors the red emblem of the state indicating that his private business now belonged to "the people."

That incident left such a deep and burning wound in young Alissa's mind, that she went to college to study political science and vowed one day she'd become a famous writer to warn the world of the dangers of Bolshevism.

Starting afresh in Hollywood, she anglicized her name to Ayn Rand, and moved from prop-girl to screenwriter/novelist, basing the heroes of several of her stories on a man she was reading about in the newspapers at the time. A man she wrote effusively about in her diaries. A man she hero-worshipped.

He was the most notorious man in American in 1928, having achieved a level of national fame she craved—William Edward Hickman.

What young Ayn Rand saw in Hickman that would encourage her to base a novel, then her philosophy, then her life's work, on him was quite straightforward: unfeeling, unpitying selfishness.

He was the kind of man who would revel in the pain parents would feel when their children were ripped from their arms and held in freezing cages for over a year.

In Hickman, Ayn Rand wrote that she had finally found the new model of the Superman (her phrase, likely borrowed from Friedrich Nietzsche). Only a worldview held by a man like Hickman, she believed, could ever prevent an all-powerful state from traumatizing another generation of small businesspeople and their children as the Bolsheviks had her family.

Hickman's words as recounted by Rand in her Journals, "I am like the state: what is good for me is right," resonated deeply with her. It was the perfect articulation of her belief that if people pursued their own interests above all else—even above friends, family, or nation—the result would be utopian.

She wrote in her diary that those words of Hickman's were, "the best and strongest expression of a real man's psychology I ever heard.

Hickman—the monster who boasted of how he had hacked up a 12-year-old girl—had Rand's ear, as well as her heart. She saw a strongman archetype in him, the way that people wearing red MAGA hats see a strongman savior in Donald Trump.

As Hickman’s murder trial unfolded, Rand grew increasingly enraged at how the mediocre American masses had rushed to condemn her Superman, much like today people Trump calls mediocre condemn him and the killings that may have emerged from his rhetoric, from Charleston to Charlottesville to El Paso.

"The first thing that impresses me about the case," Rand wrote in reference to the Hickman trial in early notes for a book she was working on titled The Little Street, "is the ferocious rage of the whole society against one man."

Astounded that Americans didn't recognize the heroism Hickman showed when he proudly rose above simply conforming to society's rules, Rand wrote, "It is not the crime alone that has raised the fury of public hatred. It is the case of a daring challenge to society. .. It is the amazing picture of a man with no regard whatever for all that society holds sacred, with a consciousness all his own."

In other words, a man who lives exclusively for himself. A narcissistic psychopath. A man who could sell out his own country to foreign powers, tearing apart his nation's people, just for his own enjoyment.

Rand explained that when the masses are confronted with such a bold actor, they neither understood nor empathized with him. Thus, "a brilliant, unusual, exceptional boy [was] turned [by the media] into a purposeless monster."

The protagonist of the book that Rand was writing around that time was a boy named Danny Renahan. In her notes for the book, she wrote, "The model for the boy [Renahan] is Hickman." He would be her ideal man, and the archetype for a philosophical movement that could transform a nation.

"He is born with the spirit of Argon and the nature of a medieval feudal lord," Rand wrote in her notes describing Renahan. "Imperious. Impatient. Uncompromising. Untamable. Intolerant. Unadaptable. Passionate. Intensely proud. Superior to the mob… an extreme 'extremist.' … No respect for anything or anyone."

The kind of man who would tell over 12,000 lies in two and a half years, who would daily lie to the press and his nation, just because he could—and would revel in it.

Rand wanted capitalism in its most raw form, uncheck by any government that could control the rules of the market or promote the benefits of society. Such good intentions had, after all, caused the hell she'd experienced in the Bolshevik Revolution, just like they'd caused Fred Trump to be arrested and fined for refusing to maintain apartments that black people had moved into.

Ayn Rand, like Hickman, found in the extremes her economic, political, and moral philosophy. Forget about democratic institutions, forget about regulating markets, and forget about pursuing any policies that benefit the majority at the expense of the very rich—the rule-makers and rule-enforcers could never, ever do anything well or good. Only billionaires should rule the world, as Trump has suggested.

Trump personifies this, putting an advocate of destroying public schools in charge of public schools, a coal lobbyist in charge of the EPA, an oil lobbyist in charge of our public lands, and a billionaire described by Forbes as a "grifter" in charge of the Commerce Department. His chief of staff said that putting children in cages (where seven so far have died) would actually be a public good. Don't just ignore the rules; destroy them.

Welfare and other social safety net programs were, as Rand saw it, "the glorification of mediocrity" in society. Providing a social safety net for the poor, disabled, or unemployed, she believed, were part of a way of thinking that promoted, "satisfaction instead of joy, contentment instead of happiness… a glow-worm instead of a fire."

She, like Trump, lived a largely joyless life. She mercilessly manipulated people, particularly her husband, and, like Trump, surrounded herself with cult-like followers who were only on the inside so long as they gave her total, unhesitating loyalty.

Like Trump and his billionaire backers, she believed that a government promoting working-class "looters" instead of solely looking out for capitalist "producers" was throwing its "best people" under the bus.

In Rand's universe, the producers had no obligations to the looters. Providing welfare or sacrificing one nickel of your own money to help a "looter" on welfare, unemployment, or Social Security—particularly if it was "taken at the barrel of a gun" (taxes)—was morally reprehensible.

Like Trump saying, "My whole life I've been greedy," for Rand looking out for numero uno was the singular name of the game—selfishness is next to godliness.

Later in Rand’s life, in 1959, as she gained more notoriety for the moral philosophy of selfishness that she named "Objectivism" and that is today at the core of libertarianism and the GOP, she sat down for an interview with CBS reporter Mike Wallace.

Suggesting that selfishness undermines most American values, Wallace bluntly challenged Rand.

"You are out to destroy almost every edifice in the contemporary American way of life," Wallace said to Rand. "Our Judeo-Christian religion, our modified government-regulated capitalism, our rule by the majority will... you scorn churches, and the concept of God… are these accurate criticisms?"

As Wallace was reciting the public criticisms of Rand, the CBS television cameras zoomed in closely on her face, as her eyes darted back and forth between the ground and Wallace's fingers. But the question, with its implied condemnation, didn't faze her at all. Rand said with confidence in a matter-of-fact tone, "Yes."

"We’re taught to feel concerned for our fellow man," Wallace challenged, "to feel responsible for his welfare, to feel that we are, as religious people might put it, children under God and responsible one for the other—now why do you rebel?"

"That is what in fact makes man a sacrificial animal," Rand answered. She added, "[man's] highest moral purpose is the achievement of his own happiness."

Rand's philosophy, though growing in popularity on college campuses, never did—in her lifetime—achieve the sort of mass appeal she had hoped. It was confined to college coffee shops, intellectual conferences, and true-believer journals, but never hit the halls of Congress, the mainstream television airwaves, or water-cooler political debates. There were the handful of "true believers," but that was it... until today.

Now, Ayn Rand's philosophy is a central tenet of today's Republican Party and the moral code proudly cited and followed by high-profile billionaires and the president of the United States.

Ironically, when she was finally beginning to be taken seriously, Ayn Rand became ill with lung cancer, and went on Social Security and Medicare to make it through her last days. She died a "looter" in 1982, unaware that her sociopathic worldview would one day validate an entire political party's embrace of a sociopathic narcissist president.

Thom Hartmann is a talk-show host and the author of The Hidden History of Guns and the Second Amendment and more than 25 other books in print. He is a writing fellow at the Independent Media Institute.

This article was produced by the Independent Media Institute.


Opposed to Democracy

Mitch McConnell reveals that the Republican party is fundamentally opposed to democracy, 1-30

In case anyone was in need of a reminder that President Donald Trump is far from being the sole source of corruption and depravity within the Republican Party, Senate Majority...

In case anyone was in need of a reminder that President Donald Trump is far from being the sole source of corruption and depravity within the Republican Party, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is happy to make that point clear as he denounces the Democratic Party efforts to secure voting rights.

McConnell is attacking the Democrats’ bill HR 1, which includes the following provisions:

Create an “Election Day” holiday to make it easier for voters to get to the polls

Launch an automatic voter registration database, requiring people to opt out rather than opt in

Force super PACs and political groups that rely on “dark money” to reveal their funders

Require social media platforms to reveal the sources of their political advertisements

Use government matching funds to enhance the power of individual donors’ contributions to presidential and congressional campaigns

Recruit more poll workers to reduce long lines at polling places

Enhance election security

These reforms would reduce the power of billionaires to influence politics, enhance the power of average voters, and make voting more accessible for a wide swath of the public.

So naturally, McConnell is deeply opposed.

McConnell called the bill a “power grab” by Democrats, which would “rewrite the rules to favor the Democrats and their friends." And he decried the fact that the bill would require more federal oversight of states’ running of elections.

Because these provisions would increase Democratic turnout, he claimed, the bill is essentially a “Democratic Politician Protection Act."

But while McConnell seems to believe that attacking HR 1, as he’s done before, redounds to his advantage and the advantage of his party, what he’s actually making clear is how fundamentally unrepresentative and undemocratic the Republican Party has become.

Putting aside his clear disdain for federal workers and workers generally in his denunciation of an Election Day holiday, McConnell clearly fears what the natural result of this provision would be: Many more people would be able to vote.

“An implicit admission that minimizing the number of Americans who vote is a crucial precondition for the GOP’s viability as a national party," said Jeff Spross, a correspondent for The Week, of McConnell’s claims.

He also admits, in opposing the efforts to bolster the political power of small donations and expose the secret political donations of wealthy dark money donors, that the GOP does better when billionaires have more influence the political system than average voters. This is fundamentally anti-democratic and plutocratic.

And by defending the states’ independence in the control of their own elections, he is protecting the duplicity of politicians like Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, a Republican, whose blatant voter suppression efforts in 2018 likely stole the election for him against his opponent Stacey Abrams.

The Democrats’ bill is filled with mainstream, reasonable ideas that would make American Democracy much more functional than it currently is. If it passed, it would be much easier to vote. It’s true that, if it becomes easier to vote, Democrats will probably do better in elections -- because its the Democratic Party’s constituencies that are most disempowered and most likely to be targeted for voter suppression. By so fiercely opposing these commonsense measures, McConnell reveals the fundamental truth about the Republican Party as it currently stands: It can only succeed by suppressing the vote.










Moscow Mitch

Historian ponders McConnell's role as a 'gravedigger of American democracy', 1-22

In 1930s Germany, due to waning support for their ideals, conservative politicians made a Faustian bargain with Adolf Hitler so they could benefit from his popularity while he implemented their political priorities. After installing Hitler as chancellor, German President Paul von Hindenburg and his allies were "initially gratified," wrote Holocaust historian Christopher Browning, as Hitler curtailed the country's free press, free speech, and freedom to assemble. Of course, after Hitler and the Nazis stamped out basic civil liberties, they went on to deliver the horror of full-scale genocide to the country.

So in present-day America, does Browning see any Hindenburgs of our time? Maybe. As the Brett Kavanaugh hearings gripped the country last fall, Browning observed:

If the US has someone whom historians will look back on as the gravedigger of American democracy, it is [Senate Majority Leader] Mitch McConnell. He stoked the hyperpolarization of American politics to make the Obama presidency as dysfunctional and paralyzed as he possibly could.

As with parliamentary gridlock in Weimar, congressional gridlock in the US has diminished respect for democratic norms, allowing McConnell to trample them even more. Nowhere is this vicious circle clearer than in the obliteration of traditional precedents concerning judicial appointments.

Systematic obstruction of nominations in Obama’s first term provoked Democrats to scrap the filibuster for all but Supreme Court nominations. Then McConnell’s unprecedented blocking of the Merrick Garland nomination required him in turn to scrap the filibuster for Supreme Court nominations in order to complete the “steal” of Antonin Scalia’s seat and confirm Neil Gorsuch. The extreme politicization of the judicial nomination process is once again on display in the current Kavanaugh hearings.

One can predict that henceforth no significant judicial appointments will be made when the presidency and the Senate are not controlled by the same party. McConnell and our dysfunctional and disrespected Congress have now ensured an increasingly dysfunctional and disrespected judiciary, and the constitutional balance of powers among the three branches of government is in peril.

McConnell, through his degradation of institutional norms, has taught Americans not to trust the very institutions that were devised to protect them and defend the rule of law. In short, McConnell has corrupted our democracy. Exactly how to restore it remains unclear, especially in the current climate, which includes his continued presence as Senate Majority Leader.

Turns out Republicans don’t care about the dignity of a paycheck after all

One useful development has come out of this pointless shutdown: It has revealed how little Republican politicians actually care about many of the principles they claim to champion.

Eliminating “waste, fraud and abuse”? You’d never know this mattered, given their insistence that Democrats agree to spend “only” $5 billion on a wall that is a non-solution to a non-problem.

Valuing “freedom” and “property rights”? Hard to square with proposals to invoke eminent domain to build a border wall and use asset forfeiture money to pay for it (an idea endorsed by the chair of the House Freedom Caucus, no less).

But perhaps the biggest swindle revealed by the shutdown is Republican officials’ commitment to the “dignity of work."

For years, the GOP has tried to slash the safety net on the premise that lazy Americans need to be weaned off government handouts. The objective is not to punish the poor, they say, or even to save money. Rather, it’s to imbue dejected Americans with greater feelings of self-worth through an honest paycheck.

And yet, with astounding callousness, Republicans have brushed aside the hundreds of thousands of Americans now being denied the dignity of that paycheck thanks to an unnecessary government shutdown.

Trump prepares to declare a unitary government, as Republicans cheer him on, 1-11

On Thursday, Donald Trump moved closer to declaring a national emergency and seizing the funds to build his wall, despite failure to secure the support of Congress. As he did, Republicans in the Senate made it clear that they would not object to Trump turning the executive into the sole branch of government and conducting a not-quite-bloodless coup.

At a photo op at the border, Trump stated several times that he “maybe definitely” was going to declare a national emergency. He repeated this threat in an overnight tweet. The Washington Post reports that the military has already been ordered to prepare to begin building the wall—by stealing the money from projects that had already been approved, including funds dedicated to disaster relief. Trump is looking to take money from disaster relief in already sorely abused and neglected Puerto Rico, from fire-ravaged California, and from other areas affected by natural disasters, including the Texas coastline.













GOP leaders’ embrace of Trump’s refusal to concede fits pattern of rising authoritarianism, data shows. By Christopher Ingraham November 12, 2020

Research by a team of international scholars shows the Republican Party’s shift away from democratic norms predates Donald Trump but has accelerated since

Taking a cue from President Trump, several leading Republican lawmakers and officials have refused to acknowledge Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential contest and indulge Trump’s baseless claims of voter fraud.

In Georgia, two GOP senators called on the state’s Republican secretary of state to resign, alleging irregularities and mismanagement without offering evidence. Only four of 53 Senate Republicans have congratulated Biden on his projected victory. Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin recently told reporters “there’s nothing to congratulate [Biden] about," while Missouri’s Roy Blunt said the president “may not have been defeated at all."

It’s the latest sign of the party’s lurch away from democratic ideals and practices, a shift that predates Trump but one that has accelerated precipitously since.

Now, according to data released by an international team of political scientists just before the Nov. 3 election, it’s possible to quantify the extent to which the Republican Party no longer adheres to such principles as the commitment to free and fair elections with multiple parties, the respectful treatment of political opponents and the avoidance of violent rhetoric.

“The Republican Party in the U.S. has retreated from upholding democratic norms in recent years," said Anna Lührmann, a political scientist at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden and a former member of the German parliament. “Its rhetoric is closer to authoritarian parties, such as AKP in Turkey and Fidesz in Hungary."


Lührmann is deputy director of the university’s V-Dem Institute, which compiled the data. For the project, researchers recruited more than 600 political scientists around the world to make annual assessments of political parties’ adherence to a number of key small-D democratic values.

Those assessments are combined into the main measure in the chart above, which tracks parties’ overall commitment to democracy. Lührmann points out that the Republican Party score started to edge downward during the Obama administration but fell off a cliff in 2016 with the ascent of Trump.

The United States is backsliding into autocracy under Trump, scholars warn - The weakening of democratic values -- a path that’s difficult to reverse -- has accelerated, according to hundreds of indicators assessed each year

Three years into the Trump administration, American democracy has eroded to a point that more often than not leads to full-blown autocracy, according to a project that tracks the health of representative government in nations around the world.

The Democratic Party, by contrast, hasn’t changed much. This is a prime example of what political scientists call asymmetric polarization -- a growing partisan gap driven almost entirely by the actions of the Republican Party.

While V-Dem’s data only runs through 2018, that asymmetry has only become more apparent in the aftermath of this election, Lührmann said: “It is disturbing that most leading Republicans are still not objecting to President Trump’s baseless claims of electoral fraud and attempts to declare himself the winner."

As a result, she says, GOP scores are likely to sink further when 2020 data is released.

Daniel Pemstein, a political scientist at North Dakota State University who helped develop V-Dem’s methodology, acknowledges that the project “seeks to measure things that are inherently difficult to observe." There’s no universally accepted measure of “illiberalism," for instance.

In the absence of such a measure, the best alternative is to interview numerous experts on the topic to determine whether there is a consensus. V-Dem essentially systematizes this process, collecting and standardizing expert assessments on a massive scale.

Trump’s most worrying attacks on democracy, in one giant chart - Political scientists have been monitoring Trump’s biggest deviations from his predecessors

President Trump has done more to undermine American democracy than any chief executive in the modern era, according to data compiled by the Varieties of Democracy project, an ongoing effort to quantify the health of representative government around the world. His seemingly daily attacks on freedom of speech, the independence of the judiciary, the right to vote and other pillars of our constitutional system are bolstered by an intensely loyal fan base.

“We combine ratings from a huge number of local experts on political parties, leveraging the pattern of agreement across experts to estimate real-world party characteristics," Pemstein said.

Lührmann notes the project has collected data on nearly 2,000 political parties.

The drivers of the Republican Party’s drift toward authoritarianism are visible in the sub-indicators that make up the main index. Consider the demonization of political opponents: In 2006, V-Dem’s experts judged that GOP leaders “usually did not” resort to demonization and severe personal attacks in characterizing the Democratic Party.

But the rise of the tea party was a turning point, research shows. “Angry protesters have frequently made claims ranging from proclaiming Obama’s ‘socialist’ intentions to making explicit Nazi comparisons to suggesting that the President is defying or even subverting the Constitution," the Anti-Defamation League wrote at the time.

By 2016, that sort of rhetoric had become the norm among GOP leaders.

New research explores authoritarian mind-set of Trump’s core supporters - Data reveal high levels of anti-democratic beliefs among many of the president’s backers, who stand to be a potent voting bloc for years to come

The Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic has been a catastrophic failure, with researchers at Oxford University estimating that its mismanagement of the crisis resulted in nearly 60,000 preventable deaths.

As the economy cratered and covid-19 mortality skyrocketed, the Trump faithful stuck with him, lending credence to his infamous 2016 campaign boast that he “could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody” and not lose any support.

Encouraging violence has become alarmingly common. From the 1970s through roughly 2010, V-Dem’s experts note that both Republican and Democratic leaders consistently rejected the use of violence against political opponents. For Republicans, that began to change under Trump.

During the 2016 campaign, Trump appeared to encourage violence against protesters at his rallies. Also during that campaign, Kentucky’s Republican governor suggested armed insurrection might be necessary in the event of a Hillary Clinton victory.

As president, Trump told law enforcement officers not to worry about hurting suspects during arrests, and praised a Republican congressional candidate who was convicted of assault for body-slamming a reporter. A Wisconsin teen accused of fatally shooting two Black Lives Matter protesters and injuring a third has been defended by Trump, various conservative groups and at least one Republican lawmaker.

In September, Facebook removed a post by a Georgia congressional candidate for violating a policy against inciting violence. The candidate, Marjorie Taylor Greene, went on to win her election.

Many GOP supporters have taken these messages to heart, with news reports documenting dozens of cases of violent crimes committed in Trump’s name. Survey data collected by a separate group of political scientists has shown that “willingness to support incivility, harassment, and violence are higher among President Trump’s supporters than among his opponents."


It’s tempting to write off these worrying trends as Trump-era aberrations that will subside after he leaves office -- Biden predicted a post-Trump “epiphany” among the GOP, for instance. There are some in the Republican Party who are critical of Trump’s efforts to undermine the election. Former national security adviser John Bolton warned in a recent Washington Post op-ed that the party may suffer “permanent damage to its integrity and reputation because of President Trump’s post-election rampaging."

Two moderate Republican governors also criticized Trump’s efforts to stymie the transition.

But V-Dem’s data underscores how much of the Republican Party has adopted the authoritarian beliefs and tactics of the president. Many of the GOP leaders going along with Trump’s baseless claims of voter fraud will still be in office after he leaves.

“That leading Republicans are not willing to defend the electoral process shows that Trump is not the only GOP politician who has a problem with key democratic norms," Lührmann said.

Christopher Ingraham writes about all things data. He previously worked at the Brookings Institution and the Pew Research Center.










Privatization

Opinion: Biden is ending the Justice Department’s contracts with private prisons. Now end ICE’s. Opinion by Eunice. Cho Jan. 28, 2021

Earlier this week, President Biden signed an executive order directing the attorney general to phase out the Justice Department’s use of private prisons. Although this is an important step, the order falls short of realizing Biden’s campaign pledge to “make clear that the federal government should not use private facilities for any detention, including detention of undocumented immigrants.”

Clay Jones 042421

Non Sequitur Wiley 041221

Prickly City Scott Stantis 041221


Fox News

Steve Sack 4/16/22



Colby Glass, MLIS