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Letter From An American by Heather Cox Richardson

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    mickeyratmickeyrat up my ass, like Chadwick was up his Posts: 36,294
      May 1, 2023 (Monday)

    Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen wrote to House speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) today to warn him that the Treasury will be unable to pay the government’s bills by early June, possibly as early as June 1. She wrote: “I respectfully urge Congress to protect the full faith and credit of the United States by acting as soon as possible.”

    President Biden promptly called McCarthy and House minority leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), along with Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) for a meeting on May 9 to discuss the crisis. The delay is caused by the fact that the House is not in session and McCarthy is in Israel with a House delegation. They will have only a week to confer before Biden is off to Japan for the 2023 summit of the International Group of Seven, or G7, a political forum consisting of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States, along with the European Union, which is a "non-enumerated member."

    Biden has said his position remains the same: he will not negotiate over paying the nation’s bills, although he is happy to negotiate over the national budget as part of the normal process.

    Last week, the House passed a bill that would raise the debt ceiling for about a year and cap government spending at 2022 levels, which amounts to cuts of about $130 billion in non-defense spending.

    Republicans are angry at a warning from the Department of Veterans Affairs— the VA— that the House bill will force a 22% cut to the department’s budget, costing 81,000 jobs in health services, reducing outpatient visits for veterans by 30 million, increasing food insecurity for about 1.3 million veterans, and adding 134,000 claims to disability backlogs. Republicans insist this is a lie, but they have declined to say where their cuts would come from.   

    Meanwhile, Schumer wrote to his colleagues today to condemn what he called the Republicans’ “Default on America Act,” or “DOA,” which “offers two choices: either default on the debt or default on America, forcing steep cuts to law enforcement, veterans, families, teachers, and kids.” He said that the bill would “gut Medicaid for over 20 million Americans, rip away SNAP benefits for over a million recipients and eliminate Pell grants for tens of thousands of American students every year.”

    Schumer has prepared for the Senate to take up two bills: a clean debt ceiling bill and McCarthy’s bill, which if it passes would become part of normal budget negotiations.  

    In another story with major implications, tomorrow the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on Supreme Court ethics. Supreme Court justices are the only federal judges that are not explicitly bound by a code of conduct and, aside from the decisions that have made the justices seem to be advancing a political agenda, the court appears to be plagued with ethics scandals. Confidence in the court is draining away.

    After Justice Samuel Alito’s early draft of the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health decision of last June leaked, an angry chief justice vowed to find the leaker, only to have an antiabortion activist claim in December that he and his colleagues had courted the goodwill of justices with donations to the Supreme Court Historical Society. He claimed that he had received advance notice of the court’s decision in the Burwell v. Hobby Lobby case, important to antiabortion activists, from someone connected to Justice Alito.

    Alito claimed the Dobbs leak had made the justices “targets for assassination” and the final report on the Dobbs leak called the leak “a grave assault on the judicial process,” but the report said investigators could not determine who had leaked. Court employees had been grilled, but it was not clear that the justices themselves had been questioned.

    Then, last month, ProPublica reported that Justice Clarence Thomas did not disclose gifts and trips worth hundreds of thousands of dollars from Republican megadonor Harlan Crow, or that Crow had bought and improved a home in which Thomas’s mother still lives.

    Then, Politico reported that Justice Neil Gorsuch did not disclose the purchaser of his jointly-owned log home in Colorado. After two years on the market, the house sold nine days after Gorsuch was confirmed to the court; Gorsuch reported making between a quarter- and a half-million dollars on the sale. The buyer was the head of Greenberg Traurig, a law firm that has been involved in at least 22 cases before the court since Gorsuch joined it.

    In late April, Insider reported another appearance of conflict: a whistleblower filed an official complaint against Chief Justice Roberts himself in December, alleging that he had listed his wife’s income as “salary” when the $10.3 million she received from 2007 to 2014 came from commissions paid by corporations and law firms for her work as a legal recruiter.

    On April 20 the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Dick Durbin (D-IL) invited Chief Justice John Roberts or anyone he designated to testify about how Supreme Court justices address ethical issues. “The status quo is no longer tenable,” wrote Durbin. “The time has come for a new public conversation on ways to restore confidence in the Court’s ethical standards.

    On April 25, Roberts declined Durbin’s invitation, writing that he was concerned about the separation of powers and about “preserving judicial independence.” He promised that the justices subscribe to a statement of ethics principles and practices, which he attached.

    On April 27 the Democrats on the Judiciary Committee responded with a letter saying: “It is noteworthy that no Justice will speak to the American people after numerous revelations have called the Court’s ethical standards into question, even though sitting Justices have testified before Senate or House Committees on at least 92 occasions since 1960.” They asked when the justices had agreed to the statement of ethics.

    Today, Roberts responded that they had agreed to the ethics statement on April 25, and said that justices policed their own ethics as they “consult a wide variety of guidance on ethics issues, including statutes, judicial opinions, advice [from legal experts], scholarly commentary, and historical practice, among other sources.”

    Democrats on the Judiciary Committee responded that “[t]hese answers further highlight the need for meaningful Supreme Court ethics reform.” Pressure for that reform is growing.

    On April 26, Senators Angus King (I-ME) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) introduced the Supreme Court Code of Conduct Act, a bill to reform Supreme Court ethics that gets around the separation of powers issue by requiring the court to write its own code of conduct and appoint an official to review potential conflicts and public complaints. It is a remarkably simple bill, designed, King and Murkowski say, to shore up the public’s confidence in the Supreme Court. Greg Sargent of the Washington Post suggested that at the very least, the measure should force lawmakers who oppose it to explain why.

    The crisis in the Supreme Court is headed for another major test. The court today agreed to hear a case that could gut the government’s ability to regulate business. The court will reconsider the 1984 Chevron v. Natural Resources Defense Council decision, which affirmed that judges should defer to government agencies in their reasonable interpretation of a law if the wording of the law is vague. This court seems likely to reject this idea and to allow judges to rein in regulation according to their own interpretation of the law.

    Only eight justices will decide the case, since Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, who was on the circuit court that first heard the case at the heart of the challenge to Chevron, has recused herself.

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    Not today Sir, Probably not tomorrow.............................................. bayfront arena st. pete '94
    you're finally here and I'm a mess................................................... nationwide arena columbus '10
    memories like fingerprints are slowly raising.................................... first niagara center buffalo '13
    another man ..... moved by sleight of hand...................................... joe louis arena detroit '14
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    mickeyratmickeyrat up my ass, like Chadwick was up his Posts: 36,294
      May 2, 2023 (Tuesday)

    The end of the semester is always rough and I’ve had too many long nights, so tonight I am going to offer just one explanation about the debt clause in the Fourteenth Amendment:

    The debt ceiling crisis continues to dominate the news, with some speculation now that White House officials are wondering whether the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution might require the government to continue to pay its bills whether Congress actually raises the debt ceiling or not.

    The fourth section of the Fourteenth Amendment reads: “The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned.”

    This statement was a response to a very specific threat.

    During the Civil War, the U.S. Treasury issued more than $2.5 billion in bonds to pay for the war effort. To make those bonds attractive to investors, Congress had made most of them payable in gold, along with their interest. That gold backing made them highly valuable in an economy plagued by inflation.

    In contrast, most working Americans used the nation’s first national currency, the greenbacks, introduced by Congress in 1862 and so called because they were printed with green ink on the back and black ink on the front—as our money still is; check out a dollar bill. Because greenbacks were backed only by the government’s ability to pay, their value tended to fluctuate. As Congress pumped more and more of them into the economy to pay expenses, inflation made their value decrease.

    National taxes funded the bonds, which meant that workers whose salary was paid in the depreciating greenbacks paid taxes to the government, which in turn paid interest to bondholders in rock-solid gold. After the war, workers noted that inflation meant their real wages had fallen during the war, while war contracts had poured money into the pockets of industrialists.

    Workers couldn’t do much about the war years and still faced years of paying off the wartime bonds. They began to call for repaying war bonds not in gold but in depreciated currency, insisting that taxpayers should not be bled dry for rich bondholders. Democrats, furious at wartime policies that had enriched industrialists and favored bankers, promised voters that if voters put them in control of Congress, they would put this policy into law.

    Republican legislators who had created the bonds in the first place were horrified at the idea that Democrats were claiming the right to change the terms under which the debt had been sold. This, they said, was “repudiation” and would turn those who had invested in the United States against it.

    Bonds were about far more than just money. When the war broke out, the Treasury had turned to bankers to underwrite the war. But the bankers were notably reluctant to bet against the cotton-rich South and refused to provide the amount of help necessary. To keep the government afloat, Treasury officers had been forced to turn to ordinary Americans, who for four years had shouldered the financial burden of supporting their government.

    “It is your war,” Treasury Secretary William Pitt Fessenden wrote to the public in 1864. “Much effort has been made to shake public faith in our national credit, both at home and abroad…yet we have asked no foreign aid. Calm and self-reliant, our own means thus far have proved adequate to our wants. They are yet ample to meet those of the present and the future.”

    On April 3, 1865, the day the Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia, fell, bond salesman Jay Cooke hung from his office window a sign that featured the nicknames of the two most popular bond issues, along with an even larger banner that read:

    “The Bravery of our Army
    The Valor of our Navy
    Sustained by our Treasury
    Upon the Faith and
    Substance of
    A Patriotic People.”

    The debt was a symbol of a newly powerful national government that represented ordinary Americans rather than the elite enslavers who had controlled it before the war. “There has never been a national debt so generously distributed among and held by the masses of the people as all the obligations of the United States,” wrote an Indianapolis newspaper in 1865. “This shows at once the strength of popular institutions, and the confidence the people have in their perpetuity.”

    Undermining the value of U.S. bonds was an attack not just on the value of investments, but on the nation itself. When Republican lawmakers wrote the Fourteenth Amendment in 1866, they recognized that a refusal to meet the nation’s financial obligations would dismantle the government, and they defended the sanctity of the commitments the government had made. When voters ratified that amendment in 1868, they added to the Constitution, our fundamental law, the principle that the obligations of the country “shall not be questioned.”

    _____________________________________SIGNATURE________________________________________________

    Not today Sir, Probably not tomorrow.............................................. bayfront arena st. pete '94
    you're finally here and I'm a mess................................................... nationwide arena columbus '10
    memories like fingerprints are slowly raising.................................... first niagara center buffalo '13
    another man ..... moved by sleight of hand...................................... joe louis arena detroit '14
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    mickeyratmickeyrat up my ass, like Chadwick was up his Posts: 36,294
      May 3, 2023 (Wednesday)

    "No one should assume that the Fed can really protect the economy and the financial system and our reputation globally from the damage that [a U.S. default] might inflict," Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said today. "We shouldn't even be talking about a world in which the U.S. doesn't pay its bills. It just shouldn't be a thing," he added.

    Powell commented on the debt ceiling crisis when he was in front of the press to announce an interest rate hike of a quarter of a percentage point intended to reduce inflation further. Interest rate hikes make it more expensive to borrow money, which should cool the economy. At the same time, more expensive borrowing upsets the stock market, which tends to fall after a rate hike, as it did today.

    Interestingly, while Republicans are blaming Democrats for creating inflation by pumping too much money into the economy through social welfare programs, The Wall Street Journal yesterday embraced the argument that a key factor in inflation has been price gouging by corporations. A piece by Paul Hannon noted that businesses are boosting their profit margins, confident that consumers will blame supply chain issues and higher energy prices rather than the companies padding their profits.

    Oil giant Shell just announced almost $9.6 billion in profits in the first three months of 2023.

    But Powell’s management of inflation is a smaller story right now than the debt ceiling. Today, the White House Council of Economic Advisers explained three different scenarios. If the debt ceiling crisis runs right up to the edge of default and is resolved before that default, unemployment would rise by 0.1% and 200,000 jobs would be at risk. A default lasting less than a week would cost 500,000 jobs, creating a 0.3% rise in unemployment. And if the U.S. goes into a longer default, the Council of Economic Advisers says, 8.3 million people will lose their jobs and the stock market will fall by 45%.

    In every case, economic growth will turn negative.

    The White House yesterday released a fact sheet outlining the cuts Republicans are demanding before they will agree to raise the debt ceiling. In addition to costing jobs and throwing the nation into a recession, their demands will cut nearly 7,500 rail inspection days, shut down at least 375 air traffic control towers, and cut $5.2 billion from highway infrastructure projects. The cuts will eliminate nearly 200,000 child care slots, cut 1.7 million people from food security programs, and remove rental assistance from nearly 600,000 families.

    In short, the Republicans’ demands are a way to force the country to accept their vision of the country, one that relies on the markets and private enterprise and slashes government action to provide a basic social safety net, promote infrastructure, regulate business, and protect civil rights.

    So far, Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has stayed out of the fight over raising the debt ceiling, both because he was out of the Senate recovering from a fall, and because he has apparently wanted to let House speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) deal with the far-right extremists in the conference while appearing to give establishment Republicans plausible deniability from the extremists’ demands. But Biden is trying to pull McConnell into the negotiations to emphasize that the fight over the debt ceiling is not about him and McCarthy, but a struggle that involves the whole government.

    While McConnell seems to be trying to hold Senate Republicans apart from the House extremists, a story that has fallen under the radar is that Senator Steve Daines (R-MT), chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the man responsible for the fundraising to get Republicans elected to the U.S. Senate, has endorsed Donald Trump. Daines is in close touch both with Trump and with the wealthiest Republican donors. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) made it clear to Jonathan Swan and Carl Hulse of The New York Times that all the Republicans care about is winning back the majority. “I really don't care what the tactics are,“ he said.

    Not caring about tactics so long as you are in power might well be a problem for another Republican, former Georgia Senate candidate Herschel Walker. Senior political reporter for The Daily Beast Roger Sollenberger dropped a story tonight alleging that Walker solicited hundreds of thousands of dollars from a billionaire industrialist who believed he was donating to Walker’s Senate campaign, only to have Walker take the money personally. If this story pans out, it suggests Walker will be in legal trouble for election finance issues.

    _____________________________________SIGNATURE________________________________________________

    Not today Sir, Probably not tomorrow.............................................. bayfront arena st. pete '94
    you're finally here and I'm a mess................................................... nationwide arena columbus '10
    memories like fingerprints are slowly raising.................................... first niagara center buffalo '13
    another man ..... moved by sleight of hand...................................... joe louis arena detroit '14
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    mickeyratmickeyrat up my ass, like Chadwick was up his Posts: 36,294
      May 4, 2023 (Thursday)

    Today began with another story about yet more ties between Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas and Republican billionaire Harlan Crow. Joshua Kaplan, Justin Elliott, and Alex Mierjeski of ProPublica reported that Crow paid the private school tuition for Thomas’s grandnephew, to the tune of more than $6,000 a month, ultimately adding up to an amount that may have been more than $150,000. Thomas did not report the payments.

    Then news broke that a jury in Washington, D.C., found four members of the far-right extremist group the Proud Boys—Enrique Tarrio, Ethan Nordean, Joseph Biggs and Zachary Rehl—guilty of seditious conspiracy for their participation in the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol. A fifth defendant, Dominic Pezzola, was found not guilty of seditious conspiracy but, like the others, was found guilty of other serious charges including obstructing Congress’s certification of the 2020 presidential election results and conspiring to prevent Congress and federal officers from discharging their duties.

    In a statement, Attorney General Merrick Garland noted that the Department of Justice has secured more than 600 convictions for criminal conduct surrounding the events of January 6, including fourteen ”leaders of both the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers for seditious conspiracy—specifically conspiring to oppose by force the lawful transfer of presidential power. Our work will continue,” he said.

    It is unlikely that Garland’s statement about ongoing work was casual.

    Defense attorneys for the Proud Boys emphasized that their clients believed then-president Trump—who, after all, had told them in September 2020 to “stand back and stand by”—had called them to Washington to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. Although there were no explicit orders to attack the Capitol, members of the Proud Boys testified that they believed there was an implicit agreement to prevent Biden from becoming president.

    Tarrio, convicted today, was not at the Capitol during the attack, but a jury convicted him of seditious conspiracy nonetheless, suggesting that leaders who incited the violence can be found guilty, even if they weren’t present.

    Today attorneys for E. Jean Carroll, who is suing the former president in a civil trial for battery and defamation connected with his alleged rape of her, rested their case. So did Trump’s lawyers, but District Judge Lewis Kaplan gave Trump the weekend to rethink testifying. “He has a right to testify which has been waived but if he has second thoughts, I’ll at least consider it and maybe we’ll see what happens,” Kaplan said.

    Other investigations of the former president continue. The New York Times today broke the story that prosecutors in the office of Special Counsel Jack Smith investigating the storage of classified documents are talking to a confidential witness who worked for Trump at Mar-a-Lago. There are questions about whether Trump deliberately moved boxes containing documents in order to hide them from the Justice Department.

    Meanwhile, the debt ceiling crisis has not gone away. Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines today told a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on global threats that a U.S. default on our debts would enable both Russia and China to say “such an event [demonstrates] the chaos within the United States, that we’re not capable of functioning as a democracy, and the governance issues associated with it." She explained: “It would be…almost a certainty that they would look to take advantage of the opportunity.”  

    Moody’s Analytics has weighed in on the economic effects of House speaker Kevin McCarthy’s (R-CA) plan, noting that with a clean debt limit increase, real gross domestic product is expected to grow 2.25% this year. Under McCarthy's plan, that growth will be 1.6%. “The significant government spending cuts in the [plan] are substantial headwinds to near-term economic growth,” it wrote. “Adding to the economic headwinds created by the legislation is the considerable uncertainty created by having to address the debt limit again a year from now.”

    Weirdly, Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) at a Senate Budget Committee hearing today blamed Democrats for not raising the debt ceiling themselves last year without help from the Republicans. Kate Riga of Talking Points Memo broke down this argument. If the Democrats had raised the debt ceiling through reconciliation, without Republican votes, Republicans would have insisted that it was the Democrats, not them, who had burdened the country with debt when, in fact, the Republicans added almost $8 trillion to the debt under Trump.

    Romney’s complaint amounts to berating the responsible Democrats for not protecting the country against the Republicans, who are willing to burn down the country. As Riga put it: “Darn you Democrats for not taking care of the debt ceiling then, because you knew we’d refuse to raise the limit unless you conceded to our demands, and look what a sticky spot we’re in now.”  

    Meanwhile, the editorial board of the Fresno Bee, from McCarthy’s district, today called out the speaker for approving the huge increases of the Trump years and, now that a Democrat is in the White House, insisting on drastic cuts. The board reiterated that the debt ceiling and the budget are separate issues. “McCarthy is pandering to the hard-right members who only backed him for House speaker on the 15th vote in exchange for concessions on the issues like the debt,” it said. “Speaker McCarthy, don’t take America to the brink of default. Stop the posturing, raise the debt ceiling, then have the honest budget debate the nation needs.”

    Finally, the day ended where it began, with another scandal involving Justice Clarence Thomas.

    This evening, Emma Brown, Shawn Boburg, and Jonathan O'Connell of the Washington Post broke the story that right-wing judicial activist Leonard Leo, who as a leader of the Federalist Society that backs originalist judges has been key to transforming the federal judiciary, a decade ago arranged for payments of tens of thousands of dollars to Thomas’s wife Ginni. Leo and Thomas are close friends.

    In January 2012, Leo told Kellyanne Conway, who was then a Republican pollster, to bill the Judicial Education Project, a nonprofit organization with which he was associated, and then pass the money on to Ginni Thomas. He told Conway to “give” Thomas “another $25K,” and emphasized that she should include “No mention of Ginni, of course,” in the paperwork. She did so. Later that year, the Judicial Education Project filed a brief before the court in the landmark Shelby County v. Holder case, in which the court, by a vote of 5–4, gutted the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

    Thomas voted on the side of the Judicial Education Project.

    And this is the profound national crisis at the heart of the stories emerging about Thomas. His votes were decisive not only in Shelby County v. Holder, but also in the 2010 Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision, also decided by a vote of 5–4, which opened the floodgates for dark money in political campaigns. Those decisions dramatically undermined our democracy. It now seems imperative to grapple with the fact it appears a key vote on the court that decided those cases was compromised.

    _____________________________________SIGNATURE________________________________________________

    Not today Sir, Probably not tomorrow.............................................. bayfront arena st. pete '94
    you're finally here and I'm a mess................................................... nationwide arena columbus '10
    memories like fingerprints are slowly raising.................................... first niagara center buffalo '13
    another man ..... moved by sleight of hand...................................... joe louis arena detroit '14
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    mickeyratmickeyrat up my ass, like Chadwick was up his Posts: 36,294
      May 5, 2023 (Friday)

    Today’s job numbers came in higher than expected, with the U.S. adding 253,000 nonfarm jobs in April. Unemployment fell yet again, to 3.4%, matching a rate not seen since 1969. Black unemployment is at an all-time low of 4.7%. For Hispanics it’s 4.4%, and for Asian Americans, 2.8%. The rate for adult women is 3.1%. Average hourly wages rose 0.5%.

    This good economic news didn’t come from nowhere. The Biden administration has focused on building infrastructure, bringing supply chains home, and bolstering new manufacturing. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Act, the CHIPS and Science Act, and the Inflation Reduction Act have invested in workers.

    At the same time, the administration has taken measures to claw back some of the power the country has ceded to business leaders over the past decades. It has taken steps to promote competition, including Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen’s negotiation of a global minimum corporate tax to stop nations from racing to attract investment by cutting taxes, and the Justice Department’s enforcement of antitrust laws, which has led to a number of directors resigning from interlocking boards.

    The Federal Trade Commission has proposed a ban on noncompete agreements, which prevent people from moving from job to job. The FTC estimates that getting rid of the agreements would increase wages by nearly $300 billion per year and enable about 30 million Americans to move to better jobs.

    Biden’s approach to governance is not just a change in policy from the past forty years. It is a demonstration of the tedious, hard, incremental work of moving the ball forward in a modern democracy.

    The extraordinary work that goes into governance showed last night in a keynote address National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan gave on the administration's approach to Middle East affairs at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Moving away from the nation's previous tight focus on terrorism, Sullivan emphasized a theme that the Biden administration has highlighted since the president took office: “the integration of foreign policy and domestic policy.”
     
    Sullivan emphasized that the administration's template for foreign affairs is “realistic and pragmatic” but also “ambitious and optimistic about [what] the United States and our allies can achieve together over time.” The administration's new framework for U.S. engagement in the Middle East, he said, “is built on five basic elements: partnerships, deterrence, diplomacy and de-escalation, integration, and values.”

    Over the past two years, the U.S. has strengthened partnerships in the Middle East with “strategic dialogues, high-level visits—including two presidential visits—exchanges, and over 200 military exercises,” and it continues to strengthen ties between allies. It has deterred violence through counterstrikes but prefers to rely on diplomacy and de-escalation of tensions. “[E]very day, we are plugging away at proactive and creative diplomacy across the Middle East region,” Sullivan said.

    Most notably, the administration helped to end the war in Yemen by setting the terms for a truce mediated by the United Nations. That truce has held—so far—for fourteen months.  “Humanitarian aid and fuel are flowing through Yemen’s ports, the civilian airport in Sanaa has reopened, and the parties are actively in discussions on a roadmap to ultimately bring this war to an end.”

    Sullivan said that the administration is working to help countries in the Middle East integrate into an interconnected region, and finally, he talked about values. “Just as we always strive to perfect our own democracy at home, we will always raise concerns regarding human rights and fundamental freedoms in our engagements around the world, including in the Middle East,” he said.

    Sullivan noted that U.S. values include women's rights and the ability to criticize leaders without fear. Enabling populations to unleash their full potential means religious tolerance and protection of minorities. It means pressure on other countries to acknowledge freedom, and it means remaining a key source of humanitarian aid.

    As if in illustration of regional partnerships, today Saudi Arabia and the United States issued a joint statement on the start of talks between the warring parties in Sudan. The statement emphasized regional alliances, noting: “The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United States…would like to stress the efforts of the countries and organizations which supported these talks, including Quad countries (The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, The United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and the United States), the League of Arab States, and partners from the Trilateral Mechanism (UNITAMS [U.N. Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan], the African Union, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development).”

    The careful cultivation of allies and complicated pressures enabled Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken to pull together an international coalition to stand against Russian president Vladimir Putin’s invasion of neighboring Ukraine. The pressure of that coalition appears to be helping Ukrainian forces undermine Russia: today, in one of a series of videos, the leader of the mercenary Wagner Group that has been fighting for Putin, Yevgeny Prigozhin, expressed fury at the Kremlin for leaving his men without supplies and vowed to leave the key city of Bakhmut on May 10. Standing surrounded by corpses, he raged: “Those are soldiers we lost today. Their blood is still fresh…. They were someone’s sons or fathers. You, f*ckers, who don’t give us ammo, will burn in hell.”

    Prigozhin could simply be jockeying for power, but a less ambiguous sign that Russia is in trouble is that Belarus has set up new border controls for Russians trying to enter their borders.

    The slow, careful work of governance undertaken by the Biden administration is a very different thing than what is offered by members of a party whose goal for forty years was to slash government and to use the military to make the world conform to U.S. goals, and whose goal now seems to be to ram through minority rule without bothering to follow the laws.

    When asked about Iran’s attempt to develop a nuclear weapon, Sullivan implicitly criticized the impulsivity of the previous president, who abruptly pulled out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear capabilities. “[T]he best way to stop Iran from getting a nuclear weapon is an effective agreement that stops them from getting a nuclear weapon,” he said. He continued: “I regard the decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal, the JCPOA, without anything to replace it or any strategy to deal with it other than the imposition of sanctions—which we have continued and added to actually,” with concern.

    Today, Mississippi governor Tate Reeves illustrated the Republicans' simplistic approach to governance when he announced his reelection campaign with a 12-second campaign video of his face superimposed on cowboy actor Clint Eastwood, shooting at Mexican “bandits.” The imagery tied directly into the history of the modern-day Republican Party, which rose on the image of the cowboy who would cut through the “socialism” of a government that used tax money to keep the playing field level and restore individual men to power.

    But that was always just an image, and now, shown up against the reality of the complicated and hard work of governance, it has become cartoonish.

    _____________________________________SIGNATURE________________________________________________

    Not today Sir, Probably not tomorrow.............................................. bayfront arena st. pete '94
    you're finally here and I'm a mess................................................... nationwide arena columbus '10
    memories like fingerprints are slowly raising.................................... first niagara center buffalo '13
    another man ..... moved by sleight of hand...................................... joe louis arena detroit '14
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    Halifax2TheMaxHalifax2TheMax Posts: 36,935
    mickeyrat said:
      May 5, 2023 (Friday)

    Today’s job numbers came in higher than expected, with the U.S. adding 253,000 nonfarm jobs in April. Unemployment fell yet again, to 3.4%, matching a rate not seen since 1969. Black unemployment is at an all-time low of 4.7%. For Hispanics it’s 4.4%, and for Asian Americans, 2.8%. The rate for adult women is 3.1%. Average hourly wages rose 0.5%.

    This good economic news didn’t come from nowhere. The Biden administration has focused on building infrastructure, bringing supply chains home, and bolstering new manufacturing. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Act, the CHIPS and Science Act, and the Inflation Reduction Act have invested in workers.

    At the same time, the administration has taken measures to claw back some of the power the country has ceded to business leaders over the past decades. It has taken steps to promote competition, including Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen’s negotiation of a global minimum corporate tax to stop nations from racing to attract investment by cutting taxes, and the Justice Department’s enforcement of antitrust laws, which has led to a number of directors resigning from interlocking boards.

    The Federal Trade Commission has proposed a ban on noncompete agreements, which prevent people from moving from job to job. The FTC estimates that getting rid of the agreements would increase wages by nearly $300 billion per year and enable about 30 million Americans to move to better jobs.

    Biden’s approach to governance is not just a change in policy from the past forty years. It is a demonstration of the tedious, hard, incremental work of moving the ball forward in a modern democracy.

    The extraordinary work that goes into governance showed last night in a keynote address National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan gave on the administration's approach to Middle East affairs at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Moving away from the nation's previous tight focus on terrorism, Sullivan emphasized a theme that the Biden administration has highlighted since the president took office: “the integration of foreign policy and domestic policy.”
     
    Sullivan emphasized that the administration's template for foreign affairs is “realistic and pragmatic” but also “ambitious and optimistic about [what] the United States and our allies can achieve together over time.” The administration's new framework for U.S. engagement in the Middle East, he said, “is built on five basic elements: partnerships, deterrence, diplomacy and de-escalation, integration, and values.”

    Over the past two years, the U.S. has strengthened partnerships in the Middle East with “strategic dialogues, high-level visits—including two presidential visits—exchanges, and over 200 military exercises,” and it continues to strengthen ties between allies. It has deterred violence through counterstrikes but prefers to rely on diplomacy and de-escalation of tensions. “[E]very day, we are plugging away at proactive and creative diplomacy across the Middle East region,” Sullivan said.

    Most notably, the administration helped to end the war in Yemen by setting the terms for a truce mediated by the United Nations. That truce has held—so far—for fourteen months.  “Humanitarian aid and fuel are flowing through Yemen’s ports, the civilian airport in Sanaa has reopened, and the parties are actively in discussions on a roadmap to ultimately bring this war to an end.”

    Sullivan said that the administration is working to help countries in the Middle East integrate into an interconnected region, and finally, he talked about values. “Just as we always strive to perfect our own democracy at home, we will always raise concerns regarding human rights and fundamental freedoms in our engagements around the world, including in the Middle East,” he said.

    Sullivan noted that U.S. values include women's rights and the ability to criticize leaders without fear. Enabling populations to unleash their full potential means religious tolerance and protection of minorities. It means pressure on other countries to acknowledge freedom, and it means remaining a key source of humanitarian aid.

    As if in illustration of regional partnerships, today Saudi Arabia and the United States issued a joint statement on the start of talks between the warring parties in Sudan. The statement emphasized regional alliances, noting: “The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United States…would like to stress the efforts of the countries and organizations which supported these talks, including Quad countries (The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, The United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and the United States), the League of Arab States, and partners from the Trilateral Mechanism (UNITAMS [U.N. Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan], the African Union, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development).”

    The careful cultivation of allies and complicated pressures enabled Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken to pull together an international coalition to stand against Russian president Vladimir Putin’s invasion of neighboring Ukraine. The pressure of that coalition appears to be helping Ukrainian forces undermine Russia: today, in one of a series of videos, the leader of the mercenary Wagner Group that has been fighting for Putin, Yevgeny Prigozhin, expressed fury at the Kremlin for leaving his men without supplies and vowed to leave the key city of Bakhmut on May 10. Standing surrounded by corpses, he raged: “Those are soldiers we lost today. Their blood is still fresh…. They were someone’s sons or fathers. You, f*ckers, who don’t give us ammo, will burn in hell.”

    Prigozhin could simply be jockeying for power, but a less ambiguous sign that Russia is in trouble is that Belarus has set up new border controls for Russians trying to enter their borders.

    The slow, careful work of governance undertaken by the Biden administration is a very different thing than what is offered by members of a party whose goal for forty years was to slash government and to use the military to make the world conform to U.S. goals, and whose goal now seems to be to ram through minority rule without bothering to follow the laws.

    When asked about Iran’s attempt to develop a nuclear weapon, Sullivan implicitly criticized the impulsivity of the previous president, who abruptly pulled out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear capabilities. “[T]he best way to stop Iran from getting a nuclear weapon is an effective agreement that stops them from getting a nuclear weapon,” he said. He continued: “I regard the decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal, the JCPOA, without anything to replace it or any strategy to deal with it other than the imposition of sanctions—which we have continued and added to actually,” with concern.

    Today, Mississippi governor Tate Reeves illustrated the Republicans' simplistic approach to governance when he announced his reelection campaign with a 12-second campaign video of his face superimposed on cowboy actor Clint Eastwood, shooting at Mexican “bandits.” The imagery tied directly into the history of the modern-day Republican Party, which rose on the image of the cowboy who would cut through the “socialism” of a government that used tax money to keep the playing field level and restore individual men to power.

    But that was always just an image, and now, shown up against the reality of the complicated and hard work of governance, it has become cartoonish.

    Fuck you Brandon! Mississippi is where it’s at!
    09/15/1998 & 09/16/1998, Mansfield, MA; 08/29/00 08/30/00, Mansfield, MA; 07/02/03, 07/03/03, Mansfield, MA; 09/28/04, 09/29/04, Boston, MA; 09/22/05, Halifax, NS; 05/24/06, 05/25/06, Boston, MA; 07/22/06, 07/23/06, Gorge, WA; 06/27/2008, Hartford; 06/28/08, 06/30/08, Mansfield; 08/18/2009, O2, London, UK; 10/30/09, 10/31/09, Philadelphia, PA; 05/15/10, Hartford, CT; 05/17/10, Boston, MA; 05/20/10, 05/21/10, NY, NY; 06/22/10, Dublin, IRE; 06/23/10, Northern Ireland; 09/03/11, 09/04/11, Alpine Valley, WI; 09/11/11, 09/12/11, Toronto, Ont; 09/14/11, Ottawa, Ont; 09/15/11, Hamilton, Ont; 07/02/2012, Prague, Czech Republic; 07/04/2012 & 07/05/2012, Berlin, Germany; 07/07/2012, Stockholm, Sweden; 09/30/2012, Missoula, MT; 07/16/2013, London, Ont; 07/19/2013, Chicago, IL; 10/15/2013 & 10/16/2013, Worcester, MA; 10/21/2013 & 10/22/2013, Philadelphia, PA; 10/25/2013, Hartford, CT; 11/29/2013, Portland, OR; 11/30/2013, Spokane, WA; 12/04/2013, Vancouver, BC; 12/06/2013, Seattle, WA; 10/03/2014, St. Louis. MO; 10/22/2014, Denver, CO; 10/26/2015, New York, NY; 04/23/2016, New Orleans, LA; 04/28/2016 & 04/29/2016, Philadelphia, PA; 05/01/2016 & 05/02/2016, New York, NY; 05/08/2016, Ottawa, Ont.; 05/10/2016 & 05/12/2016, Toronto, Ont.; 08/05/2016 & 08/07/2016, Boston, MA; 08/20/2016 & 08/22/2016, Chicago, IL; 07/01/2018, Prague, Czech Republic; 07/03/2018, Krakow, Poland; 07/05/2018, Berlin, Germany; 09/02/2018 & 09/04/2018, Boston, MA; 09/08/2022, Toronto, Ont; 09/11/2022, New York, NY; 09/14/2022, Camden, NJ; 09/02/2023, St. Paul, MN; 05/04/2024 & 05/06/2024, Vancouver, BC; 05/10/2024, Portland, OR;

    Libtardaplorable©. And proud of it.

    Brilliantati©
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    mickeyratmickeyrat up my ass, like Chadwick was up his Posts: 36,294
      May 6, 2023 (Saturday)

    For years now, after one massacre or another, I have written some version of the same article, explaining that the nation’s current gun free-for-all is not traditional but, rather, is a symptom of the takeover of our nation by a radical extremist minority. The idea that massacres are “the price of freedom,” as right-wing personality Bill O’Reilly said in 2017 after the Mandalay Bay massacre in Las Vegas, in which a gunman killed 60 people and wounded 411 others, is new, and it is about politics, not our history.

    The Second Amendment to the Constitution, on which modern-day arguments for widespread gun ownership rest, is one simple sentence: “A well regulated militia, being necessary for the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” There’s not a lot to go on about what the Framers meant, although in their day, to “bear arms” meant to be part of an organized militia.

    As the Tennessee Supreme Court wrote in 1840, “A man in the pursuit of deer, elk, and buffaloes might carry his rifle every day for forty years, and yet it would never be said of him that he had borne arms; much less could it be said that a private citizen bears arms because he has a dirk or pistol concealed under his clothes, or a spear in a cane.”

    Today’s insistence that the Second Amendment gives individuals a broad right to own guns comes from two places.

    One is the establishment of the National Rifle Association in New York in 1871, in part to improve the marksmanship skills of American citizens who might be called on to fight in another war, and in part to promote in America the British sport of elite shooting, complete with hefty cash prizes in newly organized tournaments. Just a decade after the Civil War, veterans jumped at the chance to hone their former skills. Rifle clubs sprang up across the nation.

    By the 1920s, rifle shooting was a popular American sport. “Riflemen” competed in the Olympics, in colleges, and in local, state, and national tournaments organized by the NRA. Being a good marksman was a source of pride, mentioned in public biographies, like being a good golfer. In 1925, when the secretary of the NRA apparently took money from ammunition and arms manufacturers, the organization tossed him out and sued him.

    NRA officers insisted on the right of citizens to own rifles and handguns but worked hard to distinguish between law-abiding citizens who should have access to guns for hunting and target shooting and protection, and criminals and mentally ill people, who should not. In 1931, amid fears of bootlegger gangs, the NRA backed federal legislation to limit concealed weapons; prevent possession by criminals, the mentally ill and children; to require all dealers to be licensed; and to require background checks before delivery. It backed the 1934 National Firearms Act, and parts of the 1968 Gun Control Act, designed to stop what seemed to be America’s hurtle toward violence in that turbulent decade.

    But in the mid-1970s a faction in the NRA forced the organization away from sports and toward opposing “gun control.” It formed a political action committee (PAC) in 1975, and two years later it elected an organization president who abandoned sporting culture and focused instead on “gun rights.”

    This was the second thing that led us to where we are today: leaders of the NRA embraced the politics of Movement Conservatism, the political movement that rose to combat the business regulations and social welfare programs that both Democrats and Republicans embraced after World War II.

    Movement Conservatives embraced the myth of the American cowboy as a white man standing against the “socialism” of the federal government as it sought to level the economic playing field between Black Americans and their white neighbors.

    Leaders like Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater personified the American cowboy, with his cowboy hat and opposition to government regulation, while television Westerns showed good guys putting down bad guys without the interference of the government.

    In 1972 the Republican platform had called for gun control to restrict the sale of “cheap handguns,” but in 1975, as he geared up to challenge President Gerald R. Ford for the 1976 presidential nomination, Movement Conservative hero Ronald Reagan took a stand against gun control. In 1980, the Republican platform opposed the federal registration of firearms, and the NRA endorsed a presidential candidate—Reagan—for the first time.

    When President Reagan took office, a new American era, dominated by Movement Conservatives, began. And the power of the NRA over American politics grew.

    In 1981 a gunman trying to kill Reagan shot and paralyzed his press secretary, James Brady, and wounded Secret Service agent Tim McCarthy and police officer Thomas Delahanty. After the shooting, then-representative Charles Schumer (D-NY) introduced legislation that became known as the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, or the Brady Bill, to require background checks before gun purchases. Reagan, who was a member of the NRA, endorsed the bill, but the NRA spent millions of dollars to defeat it.

    After the Brady Bill passed in 1993, the NRA paid for lawsuits in nine states to strike it down. Until 1959, every single legal article on the Second Amendment concluded that it was not intended to guarantee individuals the right to own a gun. But in the 1970s, legal scholars funded by the NRA had begun to argue that the Second Amendment did exactly that.

    In 1997, when the Brady Bill cases came before the Supreme Court as Printz v. United States, the Supreme Court declared parts of the measure unconstitutional.

    Now a player in national politics, the NRA was awash in money from gun and ammunition manufacturers. By 2000 it was one of the three most powerful lobbies in Washington. It spent more than $40 million on the 2008 election. In that year, the landmark Supreme Court decision of District of Columbia v. Heller struck down gun regulations and declared that the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to keep and bear arms.

    Increasingly, NRA money backed Republican candidates. In 2012 the NRA spent $9 million in the presidential election, and in 2014 it spent $13 million. Then, in 2016, it spent over $50 million on Republican candidates, including more than $30 million on Trump’s effort to win the White House. This money was vital to Trump, since many other Republican super PACs refused to back him. The NRA spent more money on Trump than any other outside group, including the leading Trump super PAC, which spent $20.3 million.

    The unfettered right to own and carry weapons has come to symbolize the Republican Party’s ideology of individual liberty. Lawmakers and activists have not been able to overcome Republican insistence on gun rights despite the mass shootings that have risen since their new emphasis on guns.

    Tonight, I am, once again, posting yet another version of this article.

    _____________________________________SIGNATURE________________________________________________

    Not today Sir, Probably not tomorrow.............................................. bayfront arena st. pete '94
    you're finally here and I'm a mess................................................... nationwide arena columbus '10
    memories like fingerprints are slowly raising.................................... first niagara center buffalo '13
    another man ..... moved by sleight of hand...................................... joe louis arena detroit '14
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    mickeyratmickeyrat up my ass, like Chadwick was up his Posts: 36,294
      May 7, 2023 (Sunday)

    Spring has arrived here in all its glory, and it feels like a celebration is in order.

    Taking the night off. Will be back at it tomorrow.

    [Photo, "Garland," by Peter Ralston.]

    _____________________________________SIGNATURE________________________________________________

    Not today Sir, Probably not tomorrow.............................................. bayfront arena st. pete '94
    you're finally here and I'm a mess................................................... nationwide arena columbus '10
    memories like fingerprints are slowly raising.................................... first niagara center buffalo '13
    another man ..... moved by sleight of hand...................................... joe louis arena detroit '14
  • Options
    mickeyratmickeyrat up my ass, like Chadwick was up his Posts: 36,294
      May 8, 2023 (Monday)

    The man authorities have identified as the shooter who murdered eight people and wounded at least seven others at a mall in Allen, Texas, on Saturday, Mauricio Garcia, appears to have been a white supremacist. He sported Nazi tattoos and wore a patch on his vest that said “RWDS,” which stands for “Right Wing Death Squad.” (Hispanic-Americans often identify as white, and as scholar of white power movements Kathleen Belew noted on Twitter, today’s militant right holds together largely because of their interest “in hurting vulnerable communities, antisemitism, anti-Islam, anti-trans, misogynist violence.”)

    A search by Aric Toler of the Netherlands-based investigative journalism group Bellingcat turned up what appears to be Garcia’s social media account on an unmoderated Russian site. In his postings, he wrote: “A lot of the stuff going on in f*cking clown world. You better believe their wouldn’t be we’ll convert your children drag queen story hour loser’s running around loose. No [Jewish-controlled government] communist or liberal fake news media under Hitlers watch”.

    Garcia had been dismissed from the Army for mental-health reasons three months after entering the service, but the reference to “drag queen story hour losers” reflects the relationship between the rhetoric of the modern-day Republican Party and his self-declared membership in a RWDS.

    Beginning in the 1980s, Republican leaders found voters to support their “supply-side” economics, which cut taxes and regulations to concentrate wealth so investors could bolster growth, by turning their base against “liberals.” Calling those who opposed their policies “socialists” out to rig the system to redistribute wealth to minorities and women, they began the process of forging a base that considered itself the only real Americans. That process continued over the decades as right-wing media reinforced the idea. Still, though, leaders focused on their economic policies, especially tax cuts, and emphasized culture wars primarily to turn out voters.

    Trump turned that formula on its head, playing directly to the base. He offered its members the anti-Black, anti-immigrant, and antiabortion measures it craved, in exchange for utter commitment to his leadership. His drive for authoritarianism dovetailed with a religious movement to create a new ideology for the Republican Party, one that explicitly rejects democracy.

    That argument, articulated most clearly by Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán, is that the secular principles of democracy—equality before the law, free speech, freedom to go to church or not, academic inquiry, a free press, immigration, companies that can make decisions based on markets rather than morality—destroy virtue by tearing down the sexual and religious guardrails of traditional society. In order to bring that virtue back, right-wing thinkers argue, the government must defend religion and self-sacrifice (although it’s hard to miss that they’re looking for other people to make those sacrifices, not themselves).

    Last week, on May 4 and 5, the Conservative Political Action Conference met in Budapest for the second time, and once again, Orbán delivered the keynote address. The theme was the uniting of the radical right across national boundaries. “Come back, Mr President,” Orbán said of Trump’s 2024 presidential bid. “Make America great again and bring us peace.” Orbán claimed his suppression of LGBTQ+ rights, academic freedom, and the media is a model for the world.

    Plenty of the people there from the U.S. seemed to agree. “Hungary,” Representative Paul Gosar (R-AZ) said, “is a beacon.”

    In a recorded message, Trump said conservatives were “freedom-loving patriots” who are “fighting against barbarians.” “We believe in tradition, the rule of law, freedom of speech and a God-given dignity of every human life. These are ideas that bind together our movement,” he said. He called for the audience to “stand together to defend our borders, our Judeo-Christian values, our identity and our way of life.”

    While conference organizers were celebrating Hungary as the only truly free country in Europe, they were taking advantage of Hungary’s suppression of the media to permit only hand-picked journalists to cover the event. Failed Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake said that “truth-tellers and peacemakers” were being destroyed by “fake news,” as they call every journalist who criticizes them.  

    Jacob Heilbrunn of the National Interest was one of those barred from the conference. He watched from his hotel room and wrote in Politico, “Throughout, the idea was clear: Liberalism is synonymous with tyranny.”

    This ideology is behind the right-wing attacks on immigrants, LGBTQ Americans, the media, reproductive rights, and education. Florida, led by governor Ron DeSantis, has been out front on these issues, but other Republican-dominated states are following suit. Eager to stay at the head of the “movement,” Trump recently claimed that universities are “dominated by marxist maniacs & lunatics” and vowed to bring them under control of the radical right. “He will impose real standards on American colleges and universities,” his website says, “to include defending the American tradition and Western civilization.”

    That formulation is also what enables the very people who are taking away others’ rights to claim that they are the ones being persecuted. The reference to right-wing death squads on Garcia’s vest refers to former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, whose goons murdered thousands of political opponents, often by tossing them from helicopters. Since the 2016 Trump campaign, modern right-wing activists in the U.S. wear T-shirts offering “free helicopter rides,” and saying “Pinochet did nothing wrong.”

    These ideas are embraced only by a minority in the United States, but that minority is working hard to cement its power by gaming the system. Election lawyer Marc Elias recently warned that “we cannot out-organize voter suppression” and that the “myth” that we can “minimizes the real world effects of repeated, targeted suppression laws. It shifts the burden from the suppressors to the voters. It suggests that victims of voter suppression simply need to be better ‘organized.’”

    He notes that Ohio, Arkansas, South Dakota, Idaho, and Florida have all passed voter suppression laws this year and that the new laws put in place after 2020 have worked. Minority and youth voting have dropped significantly. Since 2008, Black voting in states dominated by Democrats has increased by 1.8 points; in Republican-dominated states it has dropped by four points. In Georgia, Black participation rates dropped from 47.8% to 43.2% between 2018 and 2022. Hispanic participation dropped from 27.6% to 25.1%, and the youth vote dropped from 33% to 26%.

    Voter suppression is not “campaign tactics,” Elias warns. It is “the illegal and immoral deprivation of constitutional rights.”

    _____________________________________SIGNATURE________________________________________________

    Not today Sir, Probably not tomorrow.............................................. bayfront arena st. pete '94
    you're finally here and I'm a mess................................................... nationwide arena columbus '10
    memories like fingerprints are slowly raising.................................... first niagara center buffalo '13
    another man ..... moved by sleight of hand...................................... joe louis arena detroit '14
  • Options
    Halifax2TheMaxHalifax2TheMax Posts: 36,935
    mickeyrat said:
      May 8, 2023 (Monday)

    The man authorities have identified as the shooter who murdered eight people and wounded at least seven others at a mall in Allen, Texas, on Saturday, Mauricio Garcia, appears to have been a white supremacist. He sported Nazi tattoos and wore a patch on his vest that said “RWDS,” which stands for “Right Wing Death Squad.” (Hispanic-Americans often identify as white, and as scholar of white power movements Kathleen Belew noted on Twitter, today’s militant right holds together largely because of their interest “in hurting vulnerable communities, antisemitism, anti-Islam, anti-trans, misogynist violence.”)

    A search by Aric Toler of the Netherlands-based investigative journalism group Bellingcat turned up what appears to be Garcia’s social media account on an unmoderated Russian site. In his postings, he wrote: “A lot of the stuff going on in f*cking clown world. You better believe their wouldn’t be we’ll convert your children drag queen story hour loser’s running around loose. No [Jewish-controlled government] communist or liberal fake news media under Hitlers watch”.

    Garcia had been dismissed from the Army for mental-health reasons three months after entering the service, but the reference to “drag queen story hour losers” reflects the relationship between the rhetoric of the modern-day Republican Party and his self-declared membership in a RWDS.

    Beginning in the 1980s, Republican leaders found voters to support their “supply-side” economics, which cut taxes and regulations to concentrate wealth so investors could bolster growth, by turning their base against “liberals.” Calling those who opposed their policies “socialists” out to rig the system to redistribute wealth to minorities and women, they began the process of forging a base that considered itself the only real Americans. That process continued over the decades as right-wing media reinforced the idea. Still, though, leaders focused on their economic policies, especially tax cuts, and emphasized culture wars primarily to turn out voters.

    Trump turned that formula on its head, playing directly to the base. He offered its members the anti-Black, anti-immigrant, and antiabortion measures it craved, in exchange for utter commitment to his leadership. His drive for authoritarianism dovetailed with a religious movement to create a new ideology for the Republican Party, one that explicitly rejects democracy.

    That argument, articulated most clearly by Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán, is that the secular principles of democracy—equality before the law, free speech, freedom to go to church or not, academic inquiry, a free press, immigration, companies that can make decisions based on markets rather than morality—destroy virtue by tearing down the sexual and religious guardrails of traditional society. In order to bring that virtue back, right-wing thinkers argue, the government must defend religion and self-sacrifice (although it’s hard to miss that they’re looking for other people to make those sacrifices, not themselves).

    Last week, on May 4 and 5, the Conservative Political Action Conference met in Budapest for the second time, and once again, Orbán delivered the keynote address. The theme was the uniting of the radical right across national boundaries. “Come back, Mr President,” Orbán said of Trump’s 2024 presidential bid. “Make America great again and bring us peace.” Orbán claimed his suppression of LGBTQ+ rights, academic freedom, and the media is a model for the world.

    Plenty of the people there from the U.S. seemed to agree. “Hungary,” Representative Paul Gosar (R-AZ) said, “is a beacon.”

    In a recorded message, Trump said conservatives were “freedom-loving patriots” who are “fighting against barbarians.” “We believe in tradition, the rule of law, freedom of speech and a God-given dignity of every human life. These are ideas that bind together our movement,” he said. He called for the audience to “stand together to defend our borders, our Judeo-Christian values, our identity and our way of life.”

    While conference organizers were celebrating Hungary as the only truly free country in Europe, they were taking advantage of Hungary’s suppression of the media to permit only hand-picked journalists to cover the event. Failed Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake said that “truth-tellers and peacemakers” were being destroyed by “fake news,” as they call every journalist who criticizes them.  

    Jacob Heilbrunn of the National Interest was one of those barred from the conference. He watched from his hotel room and wrote in Politico, “Throughout, the idea was clear: Liberalism is synonymous with tyranny.”

    This ideology is behind the right-wing attacks on immigrants, LGBTQ Americans, the media, reproductive rights, and education. Florida, led by governor Ron DeSantis, has been out front on these issues, but other Republican-dominated states are following suit. Eager to stay at the head of the “movement,” Trump recently claimed that universities are “dominated by marxist maniacs & lunatics” and vowed to bring them under control of the radical right. “He will impose real standards on American colleges and universities,” his website says, “to include defending the American tradition and Western civilization.”

    That formulation is also what enables the very people who are taking away others’ rights to claim that they are the ones being persecuted. The reference to right-wing death squads on Garcia’s vest refers to former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, whose goons murdered thousands of political opponents, often by tossing them from helicopters. Since the 2016 Trump campaign, modern right-wing activists in the U.S. wear T-shirts offering “free helicopter rides,” and saying “Pinochet did nothing wrong.”

    These ideas are embraced only by a minority in the United States, but that minority is working hard to cement its power by gaming the system. Election lawyer Marc Elias recently warned that “we cannot out-organize voter suppression” and that the “myth” that we can “minimizes the real world effects of repeated, targeted suppression laws. It shifts the burden from the suppressors to the voters. It suggests that victims of voter suppression simply need to be better ‘organized.’”

    He notes that Ohio, Arkansas, South Dakota, Idaho, and Florida have all passed voter suppression laws this year and that the new laws put in place after 2020 have worked. Minority and youth voting have dropped significantly. Since 2008, Black voting in states dominated by Democrats has increased by 1.8 points; in Republican-dominated states it has dropped by four points. In Georgia, Black participation rates dropped from 47.8% to 43.2% between 2018 and 2022. Hispanic participation dropped from 27.6% to 25.1%, and the youth vote dropped from 33% to 26%.

    Voter suppression is not “campaign tactics,” Elias warns. It is “the illegal and immoral deprivation of constitutional rights.”

    People need to wake the fuck up. But who gives a shit, right?
    09/15/1998 & 09/16/1998, Mansfield, MA; 08/29/00 08/30/00, Mansfield, MA; 07/02/03, 07/03/03, Mansfield, MA; 09/28/04, 09/29/04, Boston, MA; 09/22/05, Halifax, NS; 05/24/06, 05/25/06, Boston, MA; 07/22/06, 07/23/06, Gorge, WA; 06/27/2008, Hartford; 06/28/08, 06/30/08, Mansfield; 08/18/2009, O2, London, UK; 10/30/09, 10/31/09, Philadelphia, PA; 05/15/10, Hartford, CT; 05/17/10, Boston, MA; 05/20/10, 05/21/10, NY, NY; 06/22/10, Dublin, IRE; 06/23/10, Northern Ireland; 09/03/11, 09/04/11, Alpine Valley, WI; 09/11/11, 09/12/11, Toronto, Ont; 09/14/11, Ottawa, Ont; 09/15/11, Hamilton, Ont; 07/02/2012, Prague, Czech Republic; 07/04/2012 & 07/05/2012, Berlin, Germany; 07/07/2012, Stockholm, Sweden; 09/30/2012, Missoula, MT; 07/16/2013, London, Ont; 07/19/2013, Chicago, IL; 10/15/2013 & 10/16/2013, Worcester, MA; 10/21/2013 & 10/22/2013, Philadelphia, PA; 10/25/2013, Hartford, CT; 11/29/2013, Portland, OR; 11/30/2013, Spokane, WA; 12/04/2013, Vancouver, BC; 12/06/2013, Seattle, WA; 10/03/2014, St. Louis. MO; 10/22/2014, Denver, CO; 10/26/2015, New York, NY; 04/23/2016, New Orleans, LA; 04/28/2016 & 04/29/2016, Philadelphia, PA; 05/01/2016 & 05/02/2016, New York, NY; 05/08/2016, Ottawa, Ont.; 05/10/2016 & 05/12/2016, Toronto, Ont.; 08/05/2016 & 08/07/2016, Boston, MA; 08/20/2016 & 08/22/2016, Chicago, IL; 07/01/2018, Prague, Czech Republic; 07/03/2018, Krakow, Poland; 07/05/2018, Berlin, Germany; 09/02/2018 & 09/04/2018, Boston, MA; 09/08/2022, Toronto, Ont; 09/11/2022, New York, NY; 09/14/2022, Camden, NJ; 09/02/2023, St. Paul, MN; 05/04/2024 & 05/06/2024, Vancouver, BC; 05/10/2024, Portland, OR;

    Libtardaplorable©. And proud of it.

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    mickeyratmickeyrat up my ass, like Chadwick was up his Posts: 36,294
     May 9, 2023 (Tuesday)

    President Biden spoke to reporters today after his meeting with House speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), and Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) about raising the debt ceiling. “I just finished, I thought, a productive meeting with the congressional leadership about the path forward to make sure America does not default—I emphasize does not default on its debt for the first time in history,” he began. “And I’m pleased but not surprised to hear [the] Republican minority leader of the United States Senate saying…at our meeting that the United States is not going to default. It never has, and it never will. And he’s absolutely correct.” The teams will continue to meet before the principals reconvene on Friday.

    Biden went on to lay out the differences between his plan and that of the Republicans under McCarthy. He began by warning that a default would create a “significant recession,” devastating retirement accounts and increasing the cost of borrowing. He quoted Moody’s Analytics that nearly 8 million Americans would lose their jobs and added that our international reputation would be ruined.

    “Default is not an option,” he repeated. “America is not a deadbeat nation. We pay our bills.” Congress avoided default three times under Trump “without once—not one time—creating a crisis, rattling the markets, or undermining the unshakable trust the world has in America’s commitment to paying its bills.” Biden noted that Trump drove the debt up significantly and that in his own first two years he had reduced the debt by an unprecedented $1.7 trillion.

    He reiterated that he is happy to negotiate over the budget, which entails future spending, but not over raising the debt ceiling, which enables the government to pay for bills already incurred.

    Then Biden laid out the differences between his budget proposal and the newly released guidelines offered by the House Republicans. He noted that his budget has $3 trillion in cuts that the House Republicans oppose because they end benefits for corporations and the wealthy. His budget saves the country $200 billion by permitting Medicare to negotiate drug prices with pharmaceutical companies, and cuts $30 billion in tax subsidies for oil companies—which, he noted, made $200 billion in profits last year.

    His budget also funds the Internal Revenue Service to enable it to stop tax cheats; the Congressional Budget Office says that will raise $200 billion. Biden also wants to increase the number of inspectors general in the government to watch how money is spent, citing estimates that each dollar spent on inspectors general saves $10 in wasteful spending. The Republican plan would cut all of these measures, making suspect their claim that they want to address the deficit.

    He added that he wants the wealthiest Americans and corporations to “start to pay some of their fair share.”

    In contrast, the House Republicans have called for cuts, without specifying where they would come from. Biden noted that the general cut McCarthy claims to support will hurt Americans badly, and the math simply doesn’t work on his insistence that he won’t cut popular programs. He also pointed out that McCarthy is disingenuous when he says Biden refused to meet with him for 97 days. Biden reminded listeners that he told McCarthy they could meet when McCarthy came up with a plan. Five days after he did so, Biden invited him to a meeting.

    In questions from the press, Biden noted that lawmakers, including Republican lawmakers, don’t want the government to default on its obligations. He also suggested he is considering invoking the Fourteenth Amendment, which declares the national debt inviolable, but worries that invoking it to solve this manufactured crisis will involve lengthy litigation. Finally, after reminding a reporter that McCarthy has not actually offered a specific plan but rather made a general call for cuts without saying where, he offered the favorable sign that all the lawmakers “agreed that…defaulting on the debt is off the table.”

    Also today, a jury in New York reached a decision in the civil case brought against former president Donald Trump for rape, sexual abuse, and defamation. After just three hours of deliberations, the jury found him not liable for rape, but liable for sexual assault and defamation. It awarded accuser E. Jean Carroll $5 million in damages.

    It is a dramatic vindication of Carroll, and it complicates Trump’s run for the presidency in the 2024 election. In his deposition he reaffirmed his words in the Access Hollywood tape about how stars can sexually assault women. While his base supporters will not care about this verdict, lots of women will, and it raises the issue of the many other women who have accused him of assault. In Just Security, Ryan Goodman and Norman L. Eisen reminded readers that “Americans generally consider sexual assault incompatible with serving in elected office or positions of public trust.”

    Also, strikingly, at the end of the trial, U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan advised the jurors not to identify themselves—“not now and not for a long time”—out of concerns for their safety. National security analyst Juliette Kayyem reported the judge’s warning and noted that “Trump’s strongest legacy will always be violence as an extension of our democratic processes.” Legal analyst Joyce White Vance added, “It's a remarkable thing when jurors have to be cautioned that revealing their identities could put them at risk...when the defendant was the former president of the United States.”

    Should Trump get the Republican nomination—and right now he is the frontrunner—the Republican Party will have nominated for the presidency a man a jury found liable for sexual assault and defamation, and against whose followers a judge had to warn a jury to take precautions.

    It’s not a great look.

    Also today,  Mark Morales, Evan Perez, and Gregory Krieg of CNN reported that federal prosecutors have filed criminal charges against Representative George Santos (R-NY), famous for the lies he told in his 2022 campaign for election. The charges are sealed, but we should learn more soon: Santos is expected in court as soon as tomorrow.

    His troubles complicate matters for McCarthy, who badly needs Santos’s vote to hold his slim majority. If Santos has to resign, it seems likely that angry voters in Santos’s district will turn back to a Democratic representative. There is nothing in the House rules that prevent Santos from participating in debates and votes while under indictment. Indeed, he could continue to serve even after a conviction, but McCarthy told the CNN reporters that anyone found guilty of a crime should resign.

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    Not today Sir, Probably not tomorrow.............................................. bayfront arena st. pete '94
    you're finally here and I'm a mess................................................... nationwide arena columbus '10
    memories like fingerprints are slowly raising.................................... first niagara center buffalo '13
    another man ..... moved by sleight of hand...................................... joe louis arena detroit '14
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    mickeyratmickeyrat up my ass, like Chadwick was up his Posts: 36,294
        May 10, 2023 (Wednesday)

    This morning, federal prosecutors charged Representative George Santos (R-NY) with seven counts of wire fraud, three counts of money laundering, two counts of making materially false statements to the House of Representatives, and one count of stealing public funds. The charges are tied to his campaign fundraising and unemployment fraud; prosecutors say he received about $25,000 in unemployment insurance benefits during 2020 and 2021, during the worst of the pandemic, when he was, in fact, making about $120,000 a year.

    Santos pleaded not guilty and was released on $500,000 bail and immediately began to fundraise off his arrest.

    This is another embarrassment for the Republicans. House Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik, the third-ranking Republican in the House, has championed Santos in ads as “the next generation of Republican leadership.” And today, while the House Republicans were in the midst of a press conference about their plan to crack down on unemployment fraud, news broke that one of their own has been charged with it. Ironically, Santos is a co-sponsor of the bill.

    With the news about Santos this morning and the news last night of former president Trump’s liability for sexual abuse and defamation, the release this morning of a report from the House Judiciary Committee, led by Representative Jim Jordan (R-OH), looked as if it was designed to be a distraction.

    The report insisted that “that Hunter Biden’s laptop and emails were real”—by which the Republicans meant to say that the idea there was something incriminating on them was real—rather than possibly Russian disinformation, as a letter from former intelligence officials said when the story first broke. The report promised to prove that “senior intelligence community officials and the Biden campaign worked to mislead American voters.”

    But the report was a bizarre effort. Despite the breathless allegations in it, the 65-page document seems to prove that the former intelligence officials who said the news story about the laptop had the hallmarks of a Russian disinformation effort believed what they were saying and went through the proper channels at the Central Intelligence Agency to clear their statement. The person who did appear to be trying to make a political statement was Trump’s loyalist director of national intelligence, John Ratcliffe.

    Journalist Marcy Wheeler carefully broke the report down piece by piece on Twitter (linked below if anyone’s interested), but she was one of the few media figures even to bother to mention it. Jordan is well known for crafting propaganda for right-wing media; perhaps that was his intention here.

    A press conference the House Oversight Committee also held this morning got more attention than Jordan’s report, but it, too, was a fizzle. The committee announced the conference on Monday, May 8, when committee chair Representative James Comer (R-KY) promised supporters to unleash “judgment day” on the Biden White House. Republican members of the committee have made much of what they call “the Biden family’s influence peddling enterprise,” but today’s conference revealed nothing new: Biden’s son and brother and their associates worked with private companies that received about $10 million in investment from China and Romania. There is no evidence that those payments were illegal.

    The “Biden family” is the term the right-wing Republicans are using to make it sound as if the president was part of the business dealings of his son Hunter and brother James, but they have turned up no evidence that President Joe Biden was part of their businesses or received any money in relation to them. Further, without evidence that the payments were illegal—and the Republicans have not charged that they were—they are relying on innuendo to smear the president.

    The top Democrat on the committee, Jamie Raskin (D-MD), said that “there’s a lot of innuendo and a lot of gossip taking place and much of it is recycled from prior claims.”

    When asked about the lack of evidence tying President Biden to corruption, Oversight Committee chair Representative James Comer (R-KY) said, “I don’t think anyone in America…would think that it’s just a coincidence that nine Biden family members have received money…. We believe that the president has been involved in this from the very beginning.” Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) was clearer. He told Fox News Channel personality Maria Bartiromo, "You have to infer what's happening here...you're not gonna get necessarily hard proof."

    The headline on a New York Times story about the report was hardly what Comer had hoped. It read: “House Republican Report Finds No Evidence of Wrongdoing by President Biden.”

    Indeed, in the Washington Post, Philip Bump wrote, “The wider House Oversight’s net, the more often it catches Trump.” He noted that the Biden family doesn’t, in fact, have a family business. But, of course, the Trump family does have a business, and Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) estimates that Trump’s businesses made as much as $160 million when he was president. That doesn’t include the money his children—who, unlike Hunter Biden, were members of the administration—raked in both during his term and afterward, like the $2 billion investment a Saudi fund overseen by Saudi leader Mohammed bin Salman made in Jared Kushner’s new private equity firm shortly after he left the White House.

    In more substantive news, data released today from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that inflation is continuing to slow down. April marked the tenth month in a row of slower price increases for an annual pace slightly under 5%. Housing prices were the biggest contributor to that inflation.

    Biden was in a Republican-held New York state district today, at SUNY Westchester Community College, to warn about the dangers of the Republican threats to crash the economy by refusing to lift the debt ceiling. He had won that district in 2020, and the Republican who took the seat there in 2022, Mike Lawler, won by less than a percentage point. Biden made it a point to distinguish, yet again, between extremist MAGA Republicans and reasonable Republicans, calling Lawler one of the latter.

    As Jonathan Lemire, Lauren Egan, and Danielle Muoio Dunn wrote in Politico, it seems Biden is hoping to break the Republican phalanx against raising the debt ceiling by reaching out to Republicans whose reelection is in doubt, although Lawler said Biden told him he was not there to pressure him. The journalists noted that the White House recently called out the toll that McCarthy’s recent bill would take on the 18 congressional districts that Biden won and where Republicans were elected in 2022.

    Today, Biden emphasized the enormous costs of the cuts the Republicans insist they require before they will permit a raising of the debt ceiling, including, Biden emphasized, 30,000 federal law enforcement officers: “11,000 FBI agents, 2,000 Border agents, DEA agents, and so on.”

    He warned that the Republican plan will also cut veterans’ benefits and noted that the Republicans keep calling him a liar when he identifies cuts they are demanding. While the vagueness in their language enables them to insist they would not cut particular programs, Biden pointed out that the math doesn’t add up without huge cuts. Anything they intend to protect, they would have identified in writing. Until that happens, the necessary math says that we should assume everything is on the table.

    If they don’t get those cuts, they say, they will crash the economy, costing 8 million Americans their jobs, according to Moody’s Analytics.

    “This is a manufactured crisis,” Biden said. “And there’s no question about America’s ability to pay its bills. America has the strongest economy in the world, and we should be cutting spending and lowering the deficit without a needless crisis, in a responsible way.”

    In contrast, former president Trump tonight pushed the country toward default, ignoring that his own massive tax cuts to the wealthy and corporations sent the deficit skyrocketing and that Congress raised the debt ceiling without conditions three times during his term to cover those shortfalls. "I say to the Republicans out there, Congressmen, Senators: if they don't give you massive cuts, you're going to have to do a default...Democrats will absolutely cave,” he said."

    Trump was speaking at what CNN billed as a “Town Hall” in front of a crowd of Republicans and Republican-leaning Independents, but the event quickly turned into a Trump rally. Trump played to the audience, which laughed at his attacks on E. Jean Carroll and cheered on the constant stream of lies that are by now a set performance. He steamrolled journalist Kaitlan Collins, who tried but could not counter his stream of lies.  When he finished, the audience gave him a standing ovation.

    A CNN media personality told Daily Beast media reporter Justin Baragona, "It is so bad. I was cautiously optimistic despite the criticism. It is awful. It's a Trump infomercial. We're going to get crushed." A senior Trump advisor told senior NBC News Capitol Hill correspondent Garrett Haake that the campaign team “is thrilled with how the night went.” The person called the event a “home run” and said "when the lefts melting down, we know it was a good day."  

    Maybe. But according to legal analyst Andrew Weissman, Trump’s embrace of the January 6 rioters and promise to pardon them if he’s reelected feeds a potential case against him. He made similarly revealing comments about his theft and retention of documents marked classified. It was that very kind of indiscretion that enabled Carroll’s lawyers to beat him in court.

    More important, though, while Trump’s base will love his performance, watching his lies and cruelty while his supporters laugh and cheer him on will remind voters of exactly what they worked so hard to reject in 2020. A Biden campaign advisor told NBC News White House correspondent Mike Memoli: “Weeks worth of damning content in one hour….  It was quite efficient." It might turn out that, as journalist Ana Navarro-Cárdenas tweeted, “[Joe Biden] is the winner of tonight’s town-hall.”

    As Biden tweeted after the performance: “It’s simple, folks. Do you want four more years of that?”

    _____________________________________SIGNATURE________________________________________________

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    you're finally here and I'm a mess................................................... nationwide arena columbus '10
    memories like fingerprints are slowly raising.................................... first niagara center buffalo '13
    another man ..... moved by sleight of hand...................................... joe louis arena detroit '14
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    mickeyratmickeyrat up my ass, like Chadwick was up his Posts: 36,294
      May 11, 2023 (Thursday)

    At 11:59 p.m. tonight, the COVID-19 public health emergency ends by order of the Department of Health and Human Services. Today, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre noted that more than 270 million Americans have received at least one shot of COVID-19 vaccine and the U.S. has been the largest single donor of vaccines to the global community, sharing nearly 700 million doses with 117 countries.

    The end of the declared pandemic shifts dealing with COVID away from an emergency status but it does not mean the end of public health concerns about the illness. Vaccines and treatments will still be widely available and, at least in the short term, at little to no cost, while the administration will continue to research long COVID and to help those experiencing it. What will change immediately is the emergency waivers that expanded Medicaid and Medicare telehealth coverage during the worst of the crisis, as well as certain reporting requirements.

    The other thing that will change is that the emergency health authority the Trump administration put in place in March 2020 to turn migrants back at the border will end. That authority is known as Title 42, and it can be invoked to keep out illness. Title 42 will end along with the public health emergency, and the normal, congressionally passed, system of immigration laws will once again be the law of the land. Those laws are known as Title 8.

    Republicans have demanded the continuation of Title 42 as a general immigration measure to keep out migrants, since it overrides the law that individuals are allowed to request asylum in the U.S. Although immigration has been central to the U.S. since the beginning, far-right Republicans now adhere to what is known as the “great replacement theory,” the idea that immigration will destroy a nation’s culture and identity (a theory Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán used with great success to cement his power). But Title 42 is an emergency public health authority, and if the emergency is over, the rule doesn’t apply.

    President Biden sent an immigration bill to Congress on his first day in office to modernize and fund immigration processes during a time of unprecedented global migration, and the Biden administration has continued to beg Congress to pass new legislation that will adequately fund border enforcement and immigration courts—which currently have backlogs of more than 1.6 million people whose cases take an average of five years to get decided—and provide a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants including the “Dreamers” who were brought to the U.S. as children and have known no other home.

    No such measure has passed, as Republicans refuse to accept any bill that allows for a path to citizenship, even for the Dreamers, and Democrats, who would like to expand immigration, refuse at the very least to agree to any bill without that provision in it. Today the House Republicans passed a bill that would fund the border wall that Trump demanded (and last night claimed to have finished) and significantly harden the border with new agents and more restrictive policies. Two Republicans joined Democrats in opposing the measure. Biden said he would veto the bill if it came to him because it “does very little to actually increase border security while doing a great deal to trample on the Nation’s core values and international obligations.”  

    On February 2, 2021, less than two weeks into his term, Biden signed Executive Order 14010 to create a regional framework to address migration by addressing its root causes. The Biden administration says its “approach to border management is grounded in this strategy—expanding legal pathways while increasing consequences for illegal pathways, which helps maintain safe, orderly, and humane border processing.”

    Vice President Kamala Harris took the lead in the “diplomatic efforts to address root causes of migration from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras,” and in July 2021 she released a report on strategies to slow migration from the region. In June 2022, at the 9th Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles, the administration helped to bring to reality a long-standing realization among many countries that migration must be addressed on a regional level rather than with patchwork attempts by individual nations. The U.S. worked to get 21 governments to sign on to “a comprehensive response to irregular migration and forced displacement in the Western Hemisphere,” known as the Los Angeles Declaration on Migration and Protection.

    In an interview today, Secretary of State Antony Blinken emphasized the regional scope of immigration measures, noting Mexico’s commitment to take 1,000 people a day from Venezuela, Nicaragua, Haiti, and Cuba, as well as new rules that migrants cannot apply for asylum in the U.S. if they have not applied for it in other countries they have traveled through, with the hope of building a “shared sense of responsibility…across the hemisphere.” The administration is also backing 100 brick-and-mortar regional processing centers to enable migrants to determine if they are eligible for admission to the U.S. before they leave their home countries.

    It is not entirely clear what the long-term effects of the return to normal immigration law will be. In the short term, it is likely that there will be a surge as human smugglers tell hopeful migrants that the border is now open. At a press conference today, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas tried to undercut them: “I want to be very clear,” he said. “Our borders are not open. People who cross our border unlawfully and without a legal basis to remain will be promptly processed and removed.”

    Still, expecting a surge, the administration has moved personnel to the border, including more than 1,400 Department of Homeland Security staff, 1,000 processing coordinators, and an additional 1,500 troops. They have moved $332 million to communities near the border to help them handle an influx of migrants.

    The return to enforcement of Title 8 will likely not, itself, be a big shock to the system. Between October 2022 and March 2023, only about 40% of migrants were processed under Title 42, and that number has continued to drop. Most were already being processed under Title 8.

    Having more effect was the implementation of a new application system for migrants from Cuba, Haiti, and Nicaragua in January, directing them to apply for an admission interview on their phones and permitting 30,000 a month to enter the U.S. for two years if they pass a background check and have an eligible sponsor. A similar system had been in place for migrants from Venezuela since October.

    An attempt to cross into the U.S. illegally would shut off that option, though, and in the weeks after the policy went into effect, migration from those regions dropped by more than 90%. Those trying to use the app say it is broken and hard to use; the administration counters by saying officers need more resources to handle the volume of calls.

    Yesterday, Florida governor Ron DeSantis, who chartered a plane to fly unsuspecting migrants who were legally in the U.S. to Martha’s Vineyard last fall, signed a measure to rid the state of undocumented immigrants entirely. “This is something that is the responsibility of Joe Biden,” he said. “This is a responsibility that he has defaulted on really from day one of his presidency. Obviously if we had a different administration it would be a lot easier to actually deal with the problem at its source.”

    “We are…a nation of immigrants and a nation of laws,” Mayorkas said today. “We are doing everything possible to enforce those laws in a safe, orderly, and humane way. We are working with countries throughout the region, addressing a regional challenge with regional solutions. We again, yet again, call on Congress to pass desperately needed immigration reform and deliver the resources, clear authorities, and [modernized] processes that we need.”

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    you're finally here and I'm a mess................................................... nationwide arena columbus '10
    memories like fingerprints are slowly raising.................................... first niagara center buffalo '13
    another man ..... moved by sleight of hand...................................... joe louis arena detroit '14
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    mickeyratmickeyrat up my ass, like Chadwick was up his Posts: 36,294
      May 12, 2023 (Friday)

    For all the predictions about what would happen when the Title 42 emergency health authority that prohibited most immigration ended just before midnight yesterday, the reality turned out to be pretty…unremarkable. According to Rachel Treisman, Stephania Corpi, and Emily Olson of NPR, the southern border was not chaotic after midnight last night. Instead there was “a relative sense of calm, if also uncertainty.” The number of crossings remained steady.

    Juan Montes, Alicia A. Caldwell, and Michelle Hackman of the Wall Street Journal suggested that, in fact, crossings dropped when the emergency rule ended and the normal regulations, known as Title 8, resumed. Migrants had rushed to get to the U.S. before the rules changed, the journalists said. They also noted that the relative calm may not last, as the Biden administration is getting criticism in the U.S. from both those who want easier immigration policies and those who want harsher ones.

    The Biden administration has generally barred migrants crossing illegally from requesting asylum, and those deported to their country of origin will face a five-year ban on re-entry. Trying to enter the country again could bring criminal charges. The administration is trying to push asylum requests to an online application, although those trying to use it insist it is hard to use (the administration counters that it is understaffed and so appointments are hard to get). The administration maintains it wants to open up legal pathways to immigration while cracking down on unauthorized crossings.

    The American Civil Liberties Union and immigrant rights organizations have sued the administration over the new restrictions, saying the restrictions on asylum are illegal; the ACLU successfully sued the Trump administration with a similar argument.   

    From the far right, today former Trump advisor Stephen Miller took to Twitter to announce that his organization had just filed a lawsuit “to shut down Biden’s plan to flood America with illegal aliens by the millions.” He called it a “dire, dire hour for the United States of America.” Miller is an adherent of the “great replacement theory,” a white nationalist belief that nonwhite immigration threatens the traditional culture of the nation.

    In Congress, House Republicans have indicated they want to add the immigration bill they passed yesterday to harden the border, including funding to build Trump’s border wall, to their demands for passage of a measure to raise the debt ceiling. Representative Chip Roy (R-TX) today said, “Every day that the President continues to dilly dally, in my mind, the price goes up, not down.… You want a debt ceiling increase? You want to go fund the operations of government? Then fix the damn border, Mr. President.”

    The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office reported today that if the debt ceiling is not raised, there is “a significant risk that at some point in the first two weeks of June, the government will no longer be able to pay all of its obligations.”

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    you're finally here and I'm a mess................................................... nationwide arena columbus '10
    memories like fingerprints are slowly raising.................................... first niagara center buffalo '13
    another man ..... moved by sleight of hand...................................... joe louis arena detroit '14
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    mickeyratmickeyrat up my ass, like Chadwick was up his Posts: 36,294
      May 13, 2023 (Saturday)

    On the day before Mother’s Day, I usually post about the origins of the holiday in the 1870s, when Boston reformer Julia Ward Howe decided she would create a “Mothers' Day” to bring women together to end war. Tonight, though, I have just come from the wedding of our fabulous producer for the Now & Then podcast, where almost the whole team gathered to celebrate, and am thinking about family and how often it has nothing to do with blood and everything to do with chance and affinity.

    And that made me reach back a bit farther this year, to a piece I wrote a few years ago about another kind of family….

    * * * * * *

    Those of us who are truly lucky have more than one mother. They are the cool aunts, the elderly ladies, the family friends, even the mentors who whip us into shape. By my count, I’ve had at least eight mothers. One of the most important was Sally Adams Bascom Augenstern.

    Mrs. A., a widow who had played cutthroat bridge with my grandmother in the 1950s, lived near my family in Maine in the summer. I began vacuuming and weeding and painting for her when I was about 12, but it wasn't long before my time at her house stopped being a job. She was bossy, demanding, sharp as a tack...and funny and thoughtful, and she remembered most of the century. She would sit in her rocking chair by the sunny window in the kitchen, shelling peas and telling me stories while I washed the floor with a hand sponge to spin out the time.

    Sally (not Sarah) Bascom was born on December 25, 1903. (That made her almost a full year older than Millard Robinson, a local fisherman who seemed ancient; she loathed that age gap.) She was the oldest of six children and spent her youth taking care of the younger ones. When I once asked her what was the most important historical event in her lifetime, this woman who had lived through the Depression and both world wars answered without hesitation: "the washing machine." It had freed her and her mother from constant laundry. She could finally have some leisure time, which she spent listening to the radio and driving in cars with boys. Because her mother always needed her at home, it was not she, but all her younger siblings, who went to college. By the time Mrs. A. was an adult, she was certain she wanted no part of motherhood.

    Mrs. A. never forgave her sister for driving her Model T through a field. She saved aluminum foil not because of WWII, but because of WWI. She supported herself and refused to marry until she met an older man who offered to take her traveling; they had a quickie wedding and set off for Banff, where they looked at mountains and watched the bears pilfer trash.

    She destroyed her knees playing tennis, so she would weed the garden by staggering to a lawn chair set up there. She loved snapdragons and nicotiana, veronica and irises and wild roses. After Mr. Augenstern died, she drove herself to and from Florida once a year in a giant old Cadillac with "Arrive Alive" on the license plate holder; she drove like a bat out of hell. She played bridge with terrifying intensity. And she always refused to be seen in public unless she was in a dress with her hair pinned up and her pearls on.

    Mrs. A. laughed at me when I fell in love with history and tried to tell her that people changed the world because of their beliefs. "Follow the money, Heather," said the woman whose income depended on her knowledge of the stock market. "Don't pay attention to what they say; pay attention to who's getting the money." I listened. And then I learned as I watched her lose my grandmother's generation and then work to make friends with my mother's generation. And when they, too, died, she set out, in her eighties, to make friends with my generation. Every day was a new day.

    Mrs. A. left me her linens, her gardening coat, and this photo of her and her siblings: Frances (who died young), Phyllis, Carlton, Guy, and Nathan. She also left me ideas about how to approach both history and life. I've never met a woman more determined never to be a mother, but I'm pretty sure that plan was one of the few things at which she failed.

    Thinking of her, and all the wonderful women like her who mother with or without the title, on this Mother's Day.

    _____________________________________SIGNATURE________________________________________________

    Not today Sir, Probably not tomorrow.............................................. bayfront arena st. pete '94
    you're finally here and I'm a mess................................................... nationwide arena columbus '10
    memories like fingerprints are slowly raising.................................... first niagara center buffalo '13
    another man ..... moved by sleight of hand...................................... joe louis arena detroit '14
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    mickeyratmickeyrat up my ass, like Chadwick was up his Posts: 36,294
      May 14, 2023 (Sunday)

    Lots going on today, but I have been on the road and my battery is down to a tiny sliver of red. Headed for bed to recharge and will be back at it with a will tomorrow.

    The good news is that Buddy has far more time to play with his camera when I'm away. Here is his newest sunrise, taken sometime this week in the wee hours while I was typing in New York City. His office definitely beats mine.

    I'll see you tomorrow.

    [Photo by Buddy Poland.]

    _____________________________________SIGNATURE________________________________________________

    Not today Sir, Probably not tomorrow.............................................. bayfront arena st. pete '94
    you're finally here and I'm a mess................................................... nationwide arena columbus '10
    memories like fingerprints are slowly raising.................................... first niagara center buffalo '13
    another man ..... moved by sleight of hand...................................... joe louis arena detroit '14
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    mickeyratmickeyrat up my ass, like Chadwick was up his Posts: 36,294
      May 15, 2023 (Monday)

    On Saturday, May 13th, President Joe Biden spoke to the graduating class at Howard University, a historically Black university in Washington, D.C. In his speech about “excellence, leadership, and truth and service,” Biden singled out white supremacy “as the most dangerous terrorist threat to our homeland.”

    Biden called for Americans to reject political extremism and violence, and to protect fundamental rights and freedoms for women to choose and for transgender children to be free. He called for affordable healthcare and housing and the right to raise your family and retire with dignity. He urged the graduates to “stand with leaders of your generation who give voice to the people, demanding action on gun violence,” and to stand “against books being banned and Black history being erased…. To stand up for the best in us.”

    While Biden based his remarks on former president Trump’s declaration after the August 2017 Unite the Right Rally that “there are very fine people on both sides,” there were plenty of examples from just this week that he could have used.

    Last night, Hunter Walker of Talking Points Memo broke the story that the digital director for right-wing representative Paul Gosar (R-AZ) appears to be Wade Searle, a devoted follower of white supremacist leader Nick Fuentes. Fuentes has openly embraced Nazism and Russian president Vladimir Putin’s authoritarianism, and he is one of those to whom the alt-right Groypers look up to.

    Although Fuentes calls the Groypers “Christian conservatives,” historian of the far right in the U.S. Nicole Hemmer told Walker: “The Groypers are essentially the equivalent of neo-Nazis…. They are attached to violent events like Jan. 6. Nick Fuentes, as sort of the organizer of the Groypers, expresses Holocaust denialism, white supremacy, white nationalism, pretty strong anti-women bigotry, he calls for a kind of return to Twelfth Century Catholicism. They’re an extremist group that is OK with violence.”

    Walker has also identified an intern in Gosar’s office as another Fuentes follower.

    A February study by the Public Religion Research Institute, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that conducts independent research on religion, culture, and public policy, found that the so-called Christian nationalism at the heart of those like Fuentes is closely linked with a willingness to commit violence to make the U.S. a white Christian nation. The PRRI poll showed that nearly 20% of those who sympathize with Christian nationalism agreed they were “willing to fight” to take the nation back to what they incorrectly believe it always was.  

    Maria Cramer of the New York Times noted yesterday that while no one actually knows much about Daniel Penny, a white man who was recently charged with choking Jordan Neely, a homeless Black man, to death on a subway in New York, right-wing politicians and supporters have rallied around Penny. They seem to see him as a symbol of a powerful man who took matters into his own hands to restore order—although the events that led to the choking are still unclear—much as they lionized Kyle Rittenhouse after he killed two people and wounded another at a Black Lives Matter rally in 2020. Florida governor Ron DeSantis tweeted: “We must defeat the Soros-Funded DAs, stop the Left’s pro-criminal agenda, and take back the streets for law abiding citizens.”

    Historian Thomas Zimmer explained the danger: “All strands of the Right—leading Republicans, the media machine, the reactionary intellectual sphere, the conservative base, the donor class—are openly and aggressively embracing rightwing vigilante violence,” he wrote. “This sends a clear message: It encourages white militants to use whatever force they please to “fight back” against anything and anyone associated with ‘the Left’ by protecting and glorifying those who have engaged in vigilante violence—call it the Kyle Rittenhouse dogma.”

    In Washington this weekend, about 150 masked members of the white supremacist group Patriot Front marched toward the U.S. Capitol, chanting, “life, liberty, victory.”

    Professor of journalism at New York University Jay Rosen noted on MSNBC on May 11, the day after CNN gave Trump the space to hold what amounted to a political rally, that journalists could better cover this moment in our history by focusing not on the horse race strategy, but on the consequences for the country if Trump wins again. How will American life change? Who will benefit? Who will suffer? He says the question should be "not the odds, but the stakes" as a principle for better campaign coverage.

    A lawsuit filed today in New York by Noelle Dunphy, a woman who says Trump ally Rudy Giuliani hired her in January 2019 to manage his media presence, documents the sordid world she observed in her two years working for Giuliani. He promised her a salary of $1 million a year but said he couldn’t pay her until his divorce was final and, ultimately, paid her only small amounts of cash. In her account, he seemed to become obsessed with her, forcing her into sex and trying to dominate her. She is suing Giuliani, his companies, and 10 unidentified individuals over “unlawful abuses of power, wide-ranging sexual assault and harassment, wage theft, and other misconduct” and is asking for $10 million in compensation and damages.

    The story of her time with Giuliani, whom she describes as a chronically alcoholic sexual abuser prone to racist and sexist outbursts, is bad enough—and she claims to have recordings—but her other allegations are politically incendiary. She claims to have heard Giuliani say that he was selling presidential pardons for $2 million a pop, splitting the proceeds with Trump, and that Giuliani told her on February 7, 2019, ”about a plan that had been prepared for if Trump lost the 2020 election." Specifically, Giuliani told Ms. Dunphy that Trump’s team would claim that there was ‘voter fraud’ and that Trump had actually won the election…. That same day, Giuliani had Ms. Dunphy sit in on a speakerphone conversation about a potential business opportunity involving a $72 billion dollar gas deal in China.”

    Also of note is her claim that, since part of her job was managing emails, Giuliani gave her access to his email account. The system stored at least 23,000 emails on her own personal computer, including “privileged, confidential, and highly sensitive” emails from, to, or concerning Trump, his children Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump, and Eric Trump; Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner; Trump’s lawyers and advisors; media figures including Rupert Murdoch, Sean Hannity, and Tucker Carlson; and so on.

    There are a number of stories in the news today that wrap up long-standing issues. John Durham, the special counsel picked by Trump loyalist attorney general William Barr to undermine the FBI investigation into whether Russia interfered in the 2016 election, released a report today finding fault with the categorization of the FBI’s initial investigation into the Russia attempt to swing the 2016 election to Trump.

    Representative George Santos (R-NY) has pleaded guilty to charges of theft in Brazil, but insists he is not guilty of the federal charges against him for financial crimes. He says he will not resign from Congress.  

    As predicted by everyone who correctly attributed the high cost of eggs late last year to the deadly avian flu and price gouging, there are now so many eggs on the market that the wholesale price is $0.94 a dozen, down from $5.46 a dozen six months ago.

    The number of migrants at the southern border has dropped 50% since the end of the pandemic restriction known as Title 42 on May 11.

    And finally, Representative James Comer (R-KY), chair of the House Oversight Committee, yesterday told Fox News Channel personality Maria Bartiromo that the committee has lost track of a top witness to alleged wrongdoing by the Biden family. “Well, unfortunately, we can’t track down the informant,” Comer said. “We’re hopeful that the informant is still there. The whistleblower knows the informant. The whistleblower is very credible.”

    _____________________________________SIGNATURE________________________________________________

    Not today Sir, Probably not tomorrow.............................................. bayfront arena st. pete '94
    you're finally here and I'm a mess................................................... nationwide arena columbus '10
    memories like fingerprints are slowly raising.................................... first niagara center buffalo '13
    another man ..... moved by sleight of hand...................................... joe louis arena detroit '14
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    Halifax2TheMaxHalifax2TheMax Posts: 36,935
    mickeyrat said:
      May 15, 2023 (Monday)

    On Saturday, May 13th, President Joe Biden spoke to the graduating class at Howard University, a historically Black university in Washington, D.C. In his speech about “excellence, leadership, and truth and service,” Biden singled out white supremacy “as the most dangerous terrorist threat to our homeland.”

    Biden called for Americans to reject political extremism and violence, and to protect fundamental rights and freedoms for women to choose and for transgender children to be free. He called for affordable healthcare and housing and the right to raise your family and retire with dignity. He urged the graduates to “stand with leaders of your generation who give voice to the people, demanding action on gun violence,” and to stand “against books being banned and Black history being erased…. To stand up for the best in us.”

    While Biden based his remarks on former president Trump’s declaration after the August 2017 Unite the Right Rally that “there are very fine people on both sides,” there were plenty of examples from just this week that he could have used.

    Last night, Hunter Walker of Talking Points Memo broke the story that the digital director for right-wing representative Paul Gosar (R-AZ) appears to be Wade Searle, a devoted follower of white supremacist leader Nick Fuentes. Fuentes has openly embraced Nazism and Russian president Vladimir Putin’s authoritarianism, and he is one of those to whom the alt-right Groypers look up to.

    Although Fuentes calls the Groypers “Christian conservatives,” historian of the far right in the U.S. Nicole Hemmer told Walker: “The Groypers are essentially the equivalent of neo-Nazis…. They are attached to violent events like Jan. 6. Nick Fuentes, as sort of the organizer of the Groypers, expresses Holocaust denialism, white supremacy, white nationalism, pretty strong anti-women bigotry, he calls for a kind of return to Twelfth Century Catholicism. They’re an extremist group that is OK with violence.”

    Walker has also identified an intern in Gosar’s office as another Fuentes follower.

    A February study by the Public Religion Research Institute, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that conducts independent research on religion, culture, and public policy, found that the so-called Christian nationalism at the heart of those like Fuentes is closely linked with a willingness to commit violence to make the U.S. a white Christian nation. The PRRI poll showed that nearly 20% of those who sympathize with Christian nationalism agreed they were “willing to fight” to take the nation back to what they incorrectly believe it always was.  

    Maria Cramer of the New York Times noted yesterday that while no one actually knows much about Daniel Penny, a white man who was recently charged with choking Jordan Neely, a homeless Black man, to death on a subway in New York, right-wing politicians and supporters have rallied around Penny. They seem to see him as a symbol of a powerful man who took matters into his own hands to restore order—although the events that led to the choking are still unclear—much as they lionized Kyle Rittenhouse after he killed two people and wounded another at a Black Lives Matter rally in 2020. Florida governor Ron DeSantis tweeted: “We must defeat the Soros-Funded DAs, stop the Left’s pro-criminal agenda, and take back the streets for law abiding citizens.”

    Historian Thomas Zimmer explained the danger: “All strands of the Right—leading Republicans, the media machine, the reactionary intellectual sphere, the conservative base, the donor class—are openly and aggressively embracing rightwing vigilante violence,” he wrote. “This sends a clear message: It encourages white militants to use whatever force they please to “fight back” against anything and anyone associated with ‘the Left’ by protecting and glorifying those who have engaged in vigilante violence—call it the Kyle Rittenhouse dogma.”

    In Washington this weekend, about 150 masked members of the white supremacist group Patriot Front marched toward the U.S. Capitol, chanting, “life, liberty, victory.”

    Professor of journalism at New York University Jay Rosen noted on MSNBC on May 11, the day after CNN gave Trump the space to hold what amounted to a political rally, that journalists could better cover this moment in our history by focusing not on the horse race strategy, but on the consequences for the country if Trump wins again. How will American life change? Who will benefit? Who will suffer? He says the question should be "not the odds, but the stakes" as a principle for better campaign coverage.

    A lawsuit filed today in New York by Noelle Dunphy, a woman who says Trump ally Rudy Giuliani hired her in January 2019 to manage his media presence, documents the sordid world she observed in her two years working for Giuliani. He promised her a salary of $1 million a year but said he couldn’t pay her until his divorce was final and, ultimately, paid her only small amounts of cash. In her account, he seemed to become obsessed with her, forcing her into sex and trying to dominate her. She is suing Giuliani, his companies, and 10 unidentified individuals over “unlawful abuses of power, wide-ranging sexual assault and harassment, wage theft, and other misconduct” and is asking for $10 million in compensation and damages.

    The story of her time with Giuliani, whom she describes as a chronically alcoholic sexual abuser prone to racist and sexist outbursts, is bad enough—and she claims to have recordings—but her other allegations are politically incendiary. She claims to have heard Giuliani say that he was selling presidential pardons for $2 million a pop, splitting the proceeds with Trump, and that Giuliani told her on February 7, 2019, ”about a plan that had been prepared for if Trump lost the 2020 election." Specifically, Giuliani told Ms. Dunphy that Trump’s team would claim that there was ‘voter fraud’ and that Trump had actually won the election…. That same day, Giuliani had Ms. Dunphy sit in on a speakerphone conversation about a potential business opportunity involving a $72 billion dollar gas deal in China.”

    Also of note is her claim that, since part of her job was managing emails, Giuliani gave her access to his email account. The system stored at least 23,000 emails on her own personal computer, including “privileged, confidential, and highly sensitive” emails from, to, or concerning Trump, his children Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump, and Eric Trump; Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner; Trump’s lawyers and advisors; media figures including Rupert Murdoch, Sean Hannity, and Tucker Carlson; and so on.

    There are a number of stories in the news today that wrap up long-standing issues. John Durham, the special counsel picked by Trump loyalist attorney general William Barr to undermine the FBI investigation into whether Russia interfered in the 2016 election, released a report today finding fault with the categorization of the FBI’s initial investigation into the Russia attempt to swing the 2016 election to Trump.

    Representative George Santos (R-NY) has pleaded guilty to charges of theft in Brazil, but insists he is not guilty of the federal charges against him for financial crimes. He says he will not resign from Congress.  

    As predicted by everyone who correctly attributed the high cost of eggs late last year to the deadly avian flu and price gouging, there are now so many eggs on the market that the wholesale price is $0.94 a dozen, down from $5.46 a dozen six months ago.

    The number of migrants at the southern border has dropped 50% since the end of the pandemic restriction known as Title 42 on May 11.

    And finally, Representative James Comer (R-KY), chair of the House Oversight Committee, yesterday told Fox News Channel personality Maria Bartiromo that the committee has lost track of a top witness to alleged wrongdoing by the Biden family. “Well, unfortunately, we can’t track down the informant,” Comer said. “We’re hopeful that the informant is still there. The whistleblower knows the informant. The whistleblower is very credible.”

    BUH, buh, BUH, HUNTER’S LAPTOP!
    09/15/1998 & 09/16/1998, Mansfield, MA; 08/29/00 08/30/00, Mansfield, MA; 07/02/03, 07/03/03, Mansfield, MA; 09/28/04, 09/29/04, Boston, MA; 09/22/05, Halifax, NS; 05/24/06, 05/25/06, Boston, MA; 07/22/06, 07/23/06, Gorge, WA; 06/27/2008, Hartford; 06/28/08, 06/30/08, Mansfield; 08/18/2009, O2, London, UK; 10/30/09, 10/31/09, Philadelphia, PA; 05/15/10, Hartford, CT; 05/17/10, Boston, MA; 05/20/10, 05/21/10, NY, NY; 06/22/10, Dublin, IRE; 06/23/10, Northern Ireland; 09/03/11, 09/04/11, Alpine Valley, WI; 09/11/11, 09/12/11, Toronto, Ont; 09/14/11, Ottawa, Ont; 09/15/11, Hamilton, Ont; 07/02/2012, Prague, Czech Republic; 07/04/2012 & 07/05/2012, Berlin, Germany; 07/07/2012, Stockholm, Sweden; 09/30/2012, Missoula, MT; 07/16/2013, London, Ont; 07/19/2013, Chicago, IL; 10/15/2013 & 10/16/2013, Worcester, MA; 10/21/2013 & 10/22/2013, Philadelphia, PA; 10/25/2013, Hartford, CT; 11/29/2013, Portland, OR; 11/30/2013, Spokane, WA; 12/04/2013, Vancouver, BC; 12/06/2013, Seattle, WA; 10/03/2014, St. Louis. MO; 10/22/2014, Denver, CO; 10/26/2015, New York, NY; 04/23/2016, New Orleans, LA; 04/28/2016 & 04/29/2016, Philadelphia, PA; 05/01/2016 & 05/02/2016, New York, NY; 05/08/2016, Ottawa, Ont.; 05/10/2016 & 05/12/2016, Toronto, Ont.; 08/05/2016 & 08/07/2016, Boston, MA; 08/20/2016 & 08/22/2016, Chicago, IL; 07/01/2018, Prague, Czech Republic; 07/03/2018, Krakow, Poland; 07/05/2018, Berlin, Germany; 09/02/2018 & 09/04/2018, Boston, MA; 09/08/2022, Toronto, Ont; 09/11/2022, New York, NY; 09/14/2022, Camden, NJ; 09/02/2023, St. Paul, MN; 05/04/2024 & 05/06/2024, Vancouver, BC; 05/10/2024, Portland, OR;

    Libtardaplorable©. And proud of it.

    Brilliantati©
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    mickeyratmickeyrat up my ass, like Chadwick was up his Posts: 36,294
       May 16, 2023 (Tuesday)

    Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky has been on a tour of visits with European leaders. On May 13 he met with Pope Francis, who offered help finding the Ukrainian children kidnapped by the Russians and returning them to Ukraine, and with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni. The next day he met with German chancellor Olaf Scholz before flying to France to meet with President Emmanuel Macron. On Monday, Zelensky made a surprise visit to the United Kingdom, where he met with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

    The European Parliament and the Foundation of the International Charlemagne Prize of Aachen awarded the Ukrainian people and Zelensky the Charlemagne Prize “for their fight for freedom and democracy against the unjustified Russian war of aggression. This award underscores the fact that Ukraine is part of Europe and that its people and its government—headed by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy—support and defend European values, and therefore deserve encouragement to enter swiftly into accession negotiations with the European Union.”

    Leaks linked to Air National Guardsman Jack Teixeira have revealed a dynamic landscape. On the basis of those leaks, on May 13 the Washington Post reported that Zelensky’s calm public demeanor is different from his private positions, which have called for a much more aggressive stance toward Russia. On May 14 the Washington Post reported on a leaked document revealing that Yevgeniy Prigozhin had offered in January to tell Ukraine where Russian forces were positioned if it would pull back from the front in Bakhmut, where Prigozhin’s Wagner Group mercenaries were getting pounded.

    On Sunday, as Zelensky was receiving promises of more European support, Ukraine said it had captured more than ten key Russian positions near Bakhmut. Last week, Germany announced its largest aid package to Ukraine since the war began—a package of nearly $3 billion—and U.S. Abrams tanks arrived in Germany ahead of schedule for training Ukrainian troops. Rumors are swirling about the health of Belarus president Alexander Lukashenko, one of Putin’s key allies, who has not been seen recently and has skipped important public events.

    In July, leaders of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) will gather in Vilnius, Lithuania, to discuss strengthening the organization’s defenses against Russia, and the relationship of NATO to Ukraine.

    Meanwhile, the U.S. and the European Council have been hosting peace talks between Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan of Armenia and President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan after Russian peacekeepers have become ineffective. And U.S. Deputy Secretary for Management and Resources Richard Verma is currently on a trip to Poland, Moldova, and Romania to “emphasize the United States’ commitment to our European Allies and partners, Transatlantic security, and our shared democratic values” even as Russia seeks to destabilize Moldova.

    Elections in Turkey have produced a runoff between President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his main challenger, Kemal Kilicdaroglu. Kilicdaroglu has promised to move Turkey closer to Europe than would Erdogan, who has swung toward Russia and authoritarianism. Turkey is a member of NATO, and Erodgan has ruled it for two decades, eroding its democracy. Opponents of Erdogan have coalesced behind Kilicdaroglu, who is popular enough that he managed to get within striking distance of Erdogan despite the leader’s attempt to rig the vote.

    Expert on Turkish foreign policy and fellow at the Brookings Institution Asli Aydintasbas told Jared Malsin and Elvan Kivilcim of the Wall Street Journal: “A Turkey that tilts a little more toward Europe or NATO, even if it’s not a full pivot, that would be a huge change for the global balance of power, particularly with Russia’s war on Ukraine.”

    U.S. senior officials are in Detroit this week for one of a series of meetings of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, a group of 21 countries with nearly 40 percent of the global population— almost 3 billion people— and nearly 50 percent of global trade.  APEC members account for more than 60 percent of U.S. goods exports and seven of our top ten overall trading partners.

    Hosting APEC this year was supposed to show “U.S. economic leadership and multilateralism in the Indo-Pacific and highlight the direct impact of international economic engagement on prosperity here in the United States,” an illustration of the Biden administration’s outreach in the Indo-Pacific.  

    But just as Biden’s attempts to counter Russia and China and shore up democracy globally are bearing fruit, he has to cut short his visit to Australia and Papua New Guinea, where he was scheduled to travel after this weekend’s meeting of the Group of Seven (G7) in Hiroshima, Japan. The G7 is a forum of the leaders of France, the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, Italy, and Canada, along with the European Union, to discuss economic and governmental policies. The debt ceiling crisis is forcing Biden to come home early rather than continue to strengthen ties in the region.

    Today, more than 140 leaders of the biggest U.S. companies published an open letter to the president and congressional leaders “to emphasize the potentially disastrous consequences of a failure by the federal government to meet its obligations.” They noted that when the government approached a default in 2011 under similar circumstances, the U.S. lost its AAA bond rating (which it has never regained), the stock market lost 17% of its value for more than a year, and “Moody’s reported that the heightened uncertainty from this crisis resulted in 1.2 million fewer jobs, a 0.7 percentage point higher unemployment rate, and a $180 billion smaller economy than it otherwise would have—dire impacts that occurred without an actual default.”

    House Republicans, led by Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), are refusing to raise the debt ceiling, which is a limit to how much money the Treasury can raise to pay existing obligations, in order to extract budget cuts they cannot get through the normal process of legislation. While Republicans claim to be concerned about spending, it is notable that they have flat-out refused to help reduce the deficit by closing tax loopholes that would raise $40 billion. They also refuse to consider any measure that would raise taxes, focusing solely on spending cuts.

    Meanwhile, Americans for Prosperity, a group funded by billionaire Charles Koch, has rolled out an ad campaign putting pressure on Biden and Democratic senators in the battleground states of Arizona, Montana, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Wisconsin to give in to Republican demands rather than insist on the same clean debt ceiling Congress passed three times under Trump.

    _____________________________________SIGNATURE________________________________________________

    Not today Sir, Probably not tomorrow.............................................. bayfront arena st. pete '94
    you're finally here and I'm a mess................................................... nationwide arena columbus '10
    memories like fingerprints are slowly raising.................................... first niagara center buffalo '13
    another man ..... moved by sleight of hand...................................... joe louis arena detroit '14
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    mickeyratmickeyrat up my ass, like Chadwick was up his Posts: 36,294
      May 17, 2023 (Wednesday)

    The debt ceiling crisis is already affecting our national security. Because President Biden has pulled out of his trip to Australia so he can come home to address the crisis, a planned meeting of the Quad will not go forward. The Quad, whose official name is the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, is a security group consisting of  Australia, India, Japan and the United States that organized in 2007 as a response to China’s rising power.

    Biden’s visit to Australia and to Papua New Guinea was designed to cement the interest of the U.S. in the Indo-Pacific region. Daniel Hurst of The Guardian was quite clear what it meant to have Biden forced to cancel because of the Republicans’ debt ceiling demands. His article on the issue was titled: “The cancelled Quad summit is a win for China and a self-inflicted blow to the US’s Pacific standing.” “Chinese state media outlets won’t need to muster much creative energy to weave together some of Beijing’s preferred narratives,” Hurst wrote, “that the US is racked by increasingly severe domestic upheaval and is an unreliable partner, quick to leave allies high and dry.”

    In the Sydney Morning Herald, Matthew Knott called Biden’s forced withdrawal “a disappointment, a mess and a gift to Beijing.”“The US wants to remain the leader of the free world but domestic divisions mean it now regularly struggles to keep its government from shutting down and defaulting on its debts,” he wrote. “The Quad summit in Sydney should have provided a powerful symbol of four proud democracies working together to get things done. Instead, it will serve to highlight the systemic problems plaguing the world’s longest-standing democracy and its aspirations for ongoing global leadership.”

    And, astonishingly, stepping on this global rake is an unforced error. The debt ceiling is not about future spending, it is about paying bills Congress has already incurred. If it comes to that, failing to raise the debt ceiling—the amount of money the Treasury can borrow to meet its obligations—so that Republicans, led by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), can get concessions they cannot win through normal legislative procedures, will be an unforced error of truly epic proportions, a larger version of undercutting years of work building U.S. standing in the Indo-Pacific region.

    Senate Democrats have begun to push for honoring the nation’s debts without trying to bring Republicans along. They are circulating a letter urging President Biden to invoke the fourth section of the Fourteenth Amendment to override the debt ceiling. That section reads: “The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned.”

    Republican congressmen wrote that section to prevent Democratic opponents, who hated the newly powerful government that had won the Civil War, from changing the terms of repayment of the debt. Democrats called for turning gold interest payments into payments in paper money. That change would have significantly degraded the value of the debt. It would also have destroyed confidence in the government, a result those who had just lost the Civil War quite liked.

    Congress intended the Fourteenth Amendment to assert the power of the federal government over the states once and for all, making sure that no one could discriminate against individuals within the states or make war on the United States from within. It was an attempt to make it impossible for those trying to destroy the nation to carry out their plans.

    Senator Peter Welch (D-VT) told Burgess Everett and Sarah Ferris of Politico, “It’s not about being comfortable with Biden or anyone else. It’s about the House. Kevin’s in shackles. He’s in leg, arms and hand cuffs. And frankly I don’t think he’s got much capacity to negotiate. And very little capacity to advance a deal.” Welch, who served eight terms in the House before moving to the Senate in 2023, added, “I’m quite pessimistic about McCarthy. He’s very constrained…. I think we’re heading toward a decision on the 14th Amendment.”

    Interestingly, Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) has indicated he’s on board with the idea of Biden invoking the Fourteenth Amendment. “I think if I were president, I would be tempted” to use the Fourteenth Amendment, Hawley said. “Because I would just be like, ‘Listen, I’m not gonna let us default. So end of story. Y’all will do whatever you want to do.’ But I’m not necessarily giving him that advice. It’s against my interest.” Hawley’s defense of the idea suggests that Republicans are eager to find a solution to the crisis that does not involve them, so that they can then condemn the Democrats for whatever they do.

    _____________________________________SIGNATURE________________________________________________

    Not today Sir, Probably not tomorrow.............................................. bayfront arena st. pete '94
    you're finally here and I'm a mess................................................... nationwide arena columbus '10
    memories like fingerprints are slowly raising.................................... first niagara center buffalo '13
    another man ..... moved by sleight of hand...................................... joe louis arena detroit '14
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    mickeyratmickeyrat up my ass, like Chadwick was up his Posts: 36,294
      May 18, 2023 (Thursday)

    Citing “changing business conditions,” Disney leadership today canceled plans to build an office complex near Orlando, Florida. The construction was estimated to cost about $1 billion, and the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity projected it would bring to Florida more than 2,000 jobs with an average salary of $120,000. In his email to employees, Disney’s theme park and consumer products chair Josh D’Amaro made it clear that even more was on the line. He noted that Disney has planned more than $17 billion of construction in Florida, bringing about 13,000 jobs, over the next ten years but suggested that, too, was being reexamined. “I hope we’re able to,” he said.

    Disney is locked in a battle with Florida governor Ron DeSantis that began when, under pressure from employees, then–Disney chief executive officer Bob Chapek spoke out against Florida’s Parental Rights in Education Act. This law, dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” law because its vague language prohibiting instruction on gender identity and sexual orientation seems designed to silence any acknowledgement of LGBTQ Americans in grades K–3, was DeSantis’s pet project.

    In retaliation, DeSantis led Florida Republicans to strip Disney of its ability to govern itself as if it were a county—as it has done since its inception in 1967—putting the board that controlled Disney under the control of a team hand-picked by DeSantis. But before the new board took over, the old board quietly and legally handed control of the parks over to Disney.

    Apparently furious, DeSantis suggested he would build a competing state park or a prison next to Disney’s Florida theme park. In April, the new board set out to claw power from Disney, while the company announced it will hold its first gay-themed pride event in California and that it will build an affordable housing development in its Florida district, a move that Floridians will like. Meanwhile, with DeSantis’s blessing, the Florida state board of education approved expanding the ban on classroom mention of LGBTQ people to include grades 4–12.

    On April 26, Disney sued the governor and those of his top advisors behind the attacks on Disney. The lawsuit noted that for more than 50 years, Disney “has made an immeasurable impact on Florida and its economy, establishing Central Florida as a top global tourist destination and attracting tens of millions of visitors to the State each year.” But, it said, “[a] targeted campaign of government retaliation—orchestrated at every step by Governor DeSantis as punishment for Disney’s protected speech— now threatens Disney’s business operations, jeopardizes its economic future in the region, and violates its constitutional rights.”

    The lawsuit called out DeSantis’s actions as “patently retaliatory, patently anti-business, and patently unconstitutional. But,” it said, “the Governor and his allies have made it clear they do not care and will not stop.” The company said it felt forced to sue for protection “from a relentless campaign to weaponize government power against Disney in retaliation for expressing a political viewpoint unpopular with certain State officials.”

    The fight between DeSantis and Disney illustrates the dramatic ideological change in the Republican Party in the last two years. No longer committed to keeping the government weak to stay out of the way of business development, the party is now committed to creating a strong government that enforces Christian nationalism.

    This is a major and crucially important political shift.

    From the earliest days of the Reagan Revolution, those leaders who wanted to slash the federal government to end business regulation and cut the social safety net recognized that they did not have the votes to put their program in place. To find those votes, they courted racists and traditionalists who hated the federal government’s protection of civil rights. Over time, that base became more and more powerful until Trump openly embraced it in August 2017, when he said there were “very fine people on both sides.”

    As he moved toward the techniques of authoritarians, his followers began to champion the system that Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán called “illiberal democracy” or “Christian democracy” in his own country. Orbán argued that the principle of equality in liberal democracy undermines countries by attacking the national culture. Instead, he called for an end to multiculturalism—including immigration—and any lifestyle that is not based on the “Christian family model.” He seized control of universities to make them preach his values.

    Today’s Republican leaders openly admire Orbán and appear to see themselves as the vanguard of a “post-liberal order.” They believe that the central tenets of democracy—free speech, religious liberty, academic freedom, equality before the law, and the ability of corporations to make decisions based on markets rather than religious values—have destroyed national virtue. Such a loss must be combated by a strong government that enforces religious values.

    Right-wing thinkers have observed with approval that DeSantis’s Florida is “our American Hungary.” Indeed, DeSantis’s “Don’t Say Gay” law appears to have been modeled on Orbán’s attacks on LGBTQ rights, which he has called a danger to “Western civilization.” DeSantis’s attack on the New College of Florida, turning a bastion of liberal thought into a right-wing beachhead, imitated Orbán’s attack on Hungary’s universities; on Monday, DeSantis signed three more bills that undermine the academic freedom of all the state universities in Florida by restricting what subjects can be taught and by weakening faculty rights.

    DeSantis’s attack on Disney is yet another attack on the tenets of liberal democracy. He is challenging the idea that Disney leaders can base business decisions on markets rather than religion and exercise free speech.

    There is another aspect of the Republicans’ turn against democracy in the news today. If democracy is a threat to their version of the nation, it follows that any institution that supports democracy should be destroyed. Today, the House Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government, led by Representative Jim Jordan (R-OH), continued its attack on the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Ranking member Representative Stacey Plaskett (D-VI) pointed out that Jordan was violating committee rules by refusing to let Democrats on the committee see the transcripts he claims to have from a whistleblower. Other committee members noted that two of the witnesses have been paid by Trump loyalist Kash Patel.

    Plaskett warned: "The rules don't apply when it comes to the Republicans.... It's all part and parcel of the Republicans' attempt to make Americans distrust our rule of law so that when 2024 comes around and should their candidate not win, more and more people will not believe the truth. The truth matters."

    And so does power. Although House Republicans are trying to protect Representative George Santos (R-NY), who was just indicted on 13 counts, by sending his case to the Republican-dominated Ethics Committee rather than allowing a vote on whether to expel him, Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) introduced articles of impeachment against President Biden.

    Also today, the far-right House Freedom Caucus has called for an end to any discussions of raising the debt ceiling until the Senate passes its bill calling for extreme budget cuts. Forcing the nation into default will cause a global economic panic and, asked if they should compromise with the White House, Representative Bob Good (R-VA) said: “Why would we? We have a winning hand.”

    _____________________________________SIGNATURE________________________________________________

    Not today Sir, Probably not tomorrow.............................................. bayfront arena st. pete '94
    you're finally here and I'm a mess................................................... nationwide arena columbus '10
    memories like fingerprints are slowly raising.................................... first niagara center buffalo '13
    another man ..... moved by sleight of hand...................................... joe louis arena detroit '14
  • Options
    Halifax2TheMaxHalifax2TheMax Posts: 36,935
    mickeyrat said:
      May 18, 2023 (Thursday)

    Citing “changing business conditions,” Disney leadership today canceled plans to build an office complex near Orlando, Florida. The construction was estimated to cost about $1 billion, and the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity projected it would bring to Florida more than 2,000 jobs with an average salary of $120,000. In his email to employees, Disney’s theme park and consumer products chair Josh D’Amaro made it clear that even more was on the line. He noted that Disney has planned more than $17 billion of construction in Florida, bringing about 13,000 jobs, over the next ten years but suggested that, too, was being reexamined. “I hope we’re able to,” he said.

    Disney is locked in a battle with Florida governor Ron DeSantis that began when, under pressure from employees, then–Disney chief executive officer Bob Chapek spoke out against Florida’s Parental Rights in Education Act. This law, dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” law because its vague language prohibiting instruction on gender identity and sexual orientation seems designed to silence any acknowledgement of LGBTQ Americans in grades K–3, was DeSantis’s pet project.

    In retaliation, DeSantis led Florida Republicans to strip Disney of its ability to govern itself as if it were a county—as it has done since its inception in 1967—putting the board that controlled Disney under the control of a team hand-picked by DeSantis. But before the new board took over, the old board quietly and legally handed control of the parks over to Disney.

    Apparently furious, DeSantis suggested he would build a competing state park or a prison next to Disney’s Florida theme park. In April, the new board set out to claw power from Disney, while the company announced it will hold its first gay-themed pride event in California and that it will build an affordable housing development in its Florida district, a move that Floridians will like. Meanwhile, with DeSantis’s blessing, the Florida state board of education approved expanding the ban on classroom mention of LGBTQ people to include grades 4–12.

    On April 26, Disney sued the governor and those of his top advisors behind the attacks on Disney. The lawsuit noted that for more than 50 years, Disney “has made an immeasurable impact on Florida and its economy, establishing Central Florida as a top global tourist destination and attracting tens of millions of visitors to the State each year.” But, it said, “[a] targeted campaign of government retaliation—orchestrated at every step by Governor DeSantis as punishment for Disney’s protected speech— now threatens Disney’s business operations, jeopardizes its economic future in the region, and violates its constitutional rights.”

    The lawsuit called out DeSantis’s actions as “patently retaliatory, patently anti-business, and patently unconstitutional. But,” it said, “the Governor and his allies have made it clear they do not care and will not stop.” The company said it felt forced to sue for protection “from a relentless campaign to weaponize government power against Disney in retaliation for expressing a political viewpoint unpopular with certain State officials.”

    The fight between DeSantis and Disney illustrates the dramatic ideological change in the Republican Party in the last two years. No longer committed to keeping the government weak to stay out of the way of business development, the party is now committed to creating a strong government that enforces Christian nationalism.

    This is a major and crucially important political shift.

    From the earliest days of the Reagan Revolution, those leaders who wanted to slash the federal government to end business regulation and cut the social safety net recognized that they did not have the votes to put their program in place. To find those votes, they courted racists and traditionalists who hated the federal government’s protection of civil rights. Over time, that base became more and more powerful until Trump openly embraced it in August 2017, when he said there were “very fine people on both sides.”

    As he moved toward the techniques of authoritarians, his followers began to champion the system that Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán called “illiberal democracy” or “Christian democracy” in his own country. Orbán argued that the principle of equality in liberal democracy undermines countries by attacking the national culture. Instead, he called for an end to multiculturalism—including immigration—and any lifestyle that is not based on the “Christian family model.” He seized control of universities to make them preach his values.

    Today’s Republican leaders openly admire Orbán and appear to see themselves as the vanguard of a “post-liberal order.” They believe that the central tenets of democracy—free speech, religious liberty, academic freedom, equality before the law, and the ability of corporations to make decisions based on markets rather than religious values—have destroyed national virtue. Such a loss must be combated by a strong government that enforces religious values.

    Right-wing thinkers have observed with approval that DeSantis’s Florida is “our American Hungary.” Indeed, DeSantis’s “Don’t Say Gay” law appears to have been modeled on Orbán’s attacks on LGBTQ rights, which he has called a danger to “Western civilization.” DeSantis’s attack on the New College of Florida, turning a bastion of liberal thought into a right-wing beachhead, imitated Orbán’s attack on Hungary’s universities; on Monday, DeSantis signed three more bills that undermine the academic freedom of all the state universities in Florida by restricting what subjects can be taught and by weakening faculty rights.

    DeSantis’s attack on Disney is yet another attack on the tenets of liberal democracy. He is challenging the idea that Disney leaders can base business decisions on markets rather than religion and exercise free speech.

    There is another aspect of the Republicans’ turn against democracy in the news today. If democracy is a threat to their version of the nation, it follows that any institution that supports democracy should be destroyed. Today, the House Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government, led by Representative Jim Jordan (R-OH), continued its attack on the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Ranking member Representative Stacey Plaskett (D-VI) pointed out that Jordan was violating committee rules by refusing to let Democrats on the committee see the transcripts he claims to have from a whistleblower. Other committee members noted that two of the witnesses have been paid by Trump loyalist Kash Patel.

    Plaskett warned: "The rules don't apply when it comes to the Republicans.... It's all part and parcel of the Republicans' attempt to make Americans distrust our rule of law so that when 2024 comes around and should their candidate not win, more and more people will not believe the truth. The truth matters."

    And so does power. Although House Republicans are trying to protect Representative George Santos (R-NY), who was just indicted on 13 counts, by sending his case to the Republican-dominated Ethics Committee rather than allowing a vote on whether to expel him, Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) introduced articles of impeachment against President Biden.

    Also today, the far-right House Freedom Caucus has called for an end to any discussions of raising the debt ceiling until the Senate passes its bill calling for extreme budget cuts. Forcing the nation into default will cause a global economic panic and, asked if they should compromise with the White House, Representative Bob Good (R-VA) said: “Why would we? We have a winning hand.”

    Fucking repubs haven’t even submitted a budget. It’s like Brandon shows up for the exam and gets a C. The repubs don’t even show up, never mind take the exam.

    But let’s go Brandon, Amirite? Good fucking luck ‘Murica, you’re going to need it. And Flo Rida? If you don’t live there, who gives a fuck?
    09/15/1998 & 09/16/1998, Mansfield, MA; 08/29/00 08/30/00, Mansfield, MA; 07/02/03, 07/03/03, Mansfield, MA; 09/28/04, 09/29/04, Boston, MA; 09/22/05, Halifax, NS; 05/24/06, 05/25/06, Boston, MA; 07/22/06, 07/23/06, Gorge, WA; 06/27/2008, Hartford; 06/28/08, 06/30/08, Mansfield; 08/18/2009, O2, London, UK; 10/30/09, 10/31/09, Philadelphia, PA; 05/15/10, Hartford, CT; 05/17/10, Boston, MA; 05/20/10, 05/21/10, NY, NY; 06/22/10, Dublin, IRE; 06/23/10, Northern Ireland; 09/03/11, 09/04/11, Alpine Valley, WI; 09/11/11, 09/12/11, Toronto, Ont; 09/14/11, Ottawa, Ont; 09/15/11, Hamilton, Ont; 07/02/2012, Prague, Czech Republic; 07/04/2012 & 07/05/2012, Berlin, Germany; 07/07/2012, Stockholm, Sweden; 09/30/2012, Missoula, MT; 07/16/2013, London, Ont; 07/19/2013, Chicago, IL; 10/15/2013 & 10/16/2013, Worcester, MA; 10/21/2013 & 10/22/2013, Philadelphia, PA; 10/25/2013, Hartford, CT; 11/29/2013, Portland, OR; 11/30/2013, Spokane, WA; 12/04/2013, Vancouver, BC; 12/06/2013, Seattle, WA; 10/03/2014, St. Louis. MO; 10/22/2014, Denver, CO; 10/26/2015, New York, NY; 04/23/2016, New Orleans, LA; 04/28/2016 & 04/29/2016, Philadelphia, PA; 05/01/2016 & 05/02/2016, New York, NY; 05/08/2016, Ottawa, Ont.; 05/10/2016 & 05/12/2016, Toronto, Ont.; 08/05/2016 & 08/07/2016, Boston, MA; 08/20/2016 & 08/22/2016, Chicago, IL; 07/01/2018, Prague, Czech Republic; 07/03/2018, Krakow, Poland; 07/05/2018, Berlin, Germany; 09/02/2018 & 09/04/2018, Boston, MA; 09/08/2022, Toronto, Ont; 09/11/2022, New York, NY; 09/14/2022, Camden, NJ; 09/02/2023, St. Paul, MN; 05/04/2024 & 05/06/2024, Vancouver, BC; 05/10/2024, Portland, OR;

    Libtardaplorable©. And proud of it.

    Brilliantati©
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    mickeyratmickeyrat up my ass, like Chadwick was up his Posts: 36,294
      May 19, 2023 (Friday)

    Yesterday the far-right House Freedom Caucus called for an end to any discussions of raising the debt ceiling until the Senate passes its bill calling for extreme budget cuts. Today, former president Trump announced on his social media channel that “REPUBLICANS SHOULD NOT MAKE A DEAL ON THE DEBT CEILING UNLESS THEY GET EVERYTHING THEY WANT (Including the ‘kitchen sink’).” THAT’S THE WAY THE DEMOCRATS HAVE ALWAYS DEALT WITH US. DO NOT FOLD!!!”

    (In reality, Congress raised the debt ceiling without conditions three times when Trump was president as Trump added an astonishing almost $7.8 trillion to the national debt, much of it thanks to his tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations before the coronavirus pandemic hit.)

    Immediately after Trump’s demand, the Republicans walked away from negotiations over the budget that they are demanding before they will vote to raise the debt ceiling.

    Then, hours later, they came back to the table.

    Meanwhile, the headline in the Washington Post read: “World watches in disbelief and horror as U.S. nears possible default.” The story by Rachel Siegel and Jeff Stein revealed that at the meeting of the G7 leaders in Hiroshima, Japan, this week, the finance ministers for the G7—Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the European Union—have been pulling U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen aside to ask her what is going to happen.

    “Around the world,” Siegel and Stein write, “experts have been watching in disbelief as the U.S. flirts with its first default, fearful of the potential international economic ramifications—and astonished by the global superpower’s brush with self-sabotage.”

    “[T]he debate over the debt ceiling is unnerving,” Michal Baranowski, managing director of the German Marshall Fund of the U.S. told Siegel and Stein. “We really need the U.S. as a strong leader in world affairs during this time of deep global instability. I worry that the debt ceiling debate burns up valuable political oxygen that I would rather the U.S. spend for leadership abroad. It makes the U.S. look inward-looking, at best.”

    Time is running out for Congress to pass a measure that will raise the debt ceiling.

    Meanwhile, today at the G7 meeting—which Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky will attend—leaders announced a new slate of sanctions on more than 300 targets designed to block workarounds that have permitted Russia to continue its war against Ukraine. "Today’s actions will further tighten the vise on [Russian president Vladimir] Putin’s ability to wage his barbaric invasion and will advance our global efforts to cut off Russian attempts to evade sanctions," Treasury Secretary Yellen said in a statement.  

    In retaliation, Russia announced that it would not allow consular access to Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, who was arrested in March on false charges of espionage. It also banned a somewhat random list of 500 Americans from entering Russia, including former president Barack Obama, comedian Stephen Colbert, 45 members of the House of Representatives, former ambassadors to Russia, various journalists, and me (!), accusing us of being hostile to Russia.

    The statement also aligned Putin with far-right Republicans who back Trump, blaming those on the list for being “directly involved in the persecution of dissidents in the wake of the so-called ‘storm of the Capitol.’” One of those banned was Michael Byrd, the Capitol Police officer who killed Ashley Babbitt as she attempted to break into the chamber of the House of Representatives, where more than 60 representatives and staffers were holed up, on January 6, 2021.

    Also today, Washington, D.C., police lieutenant Shane Lamond was arrested on charges that he warned Enrique Tarrio, the leader of the Proud Boys, that he was about to be arrested just before January 6, 2021, and then lied about it to investigators. As head of the department’s intelligence unit, Lamond monitored extremist groups but appeared to support the Proud Boys. “Of course I can’t say it officially,” Lamond told Tarrio in a message on January 8, “but personally I support you all and don’t want to see your group’s name or reputation dragged through the mud.”

    The Republicans’ threat to blow up the U.S. economy—and, with it, the global economy—comes at a time when the economy is, in fact, quite strong and President Biden’s measures have significantly reduced the deficit after Republican tax cuts exploded it. Destroying the economy on Biden’s watch would undoubtedly help to hamstring his reelection campaign. It would also kill popular support for his return to a government that supports ordinary Americans rather than concentrating wealth at the top of the economy, as Republicans insist—contrary to economic studies—will expand the economy and benefit everyone.   

    Their attack on the economy is more than that, though: it is an attack on the nation’s global standing. Yesterday, Christopher Chivvis, the director of the American Statecraft Program at the Carnegie Endowment, wrote that the debt ceiling crisis brings into question “how serious Washington is about leading the world…. In an era of global strategic competition, the United States will be entering the ring with one hand tied behind its back if its leaders can’t make progress on their domestic disagreements and moderate vicious political polarization.”

    “Foreign leaders will doubt American reliability more and more, hurting Washington’s relationships with the very countries whose loyalty it’s competing for with Beijing,” he wrote, as other countries doubt that the U.S. can commit to a program for longer than a single administration. Moreover, the crisis will hurt the power of the dollar, whose domination of the international monetary system has brought the U.S. extraordinary advantages.

    “Washington’s dysfunction also helps its autocratic adversaries in the global contest over ideology,” Chivvis notes.

    Indeed.

    _____________________________________SIGNATURE________________________________________________

    Not today Sir, Probably not tomorrow.............................................. bayfront arena st. pete '94
    you're finally here and I'm a mess................................................... nationwide arena columbus '10
    memories like fingerprints are slowly raising.................................... first niagara center buffalo '13
    another man ..... moved by sleight of hand...................................... joe louis arena detroit '14
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    mickeyratmickeyrat up my ass, like Chadwick was up his Posts: 36,294
      May 20, 2023 (Saturday)

    Grades are in and summer is on the way. I cannot wait.

    Taking the night off. Will be back at it tomorrow.

    [Photo by Buddy Poland.]

    _____________________________________SIGNATURE________________________________________________

    Not today Sir, Probably not tomorrow.............................................. bayfront arena st. pete '94
    you're finally here and I'm a mess................................................... nationwide arena columbus '10
    memories like fingerprints are slowly raising.................................... first niagara center buffalo '13
    another man ..... moved by sleight of hand...................................... joe louis arena detroit '14
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    mickeyratmickeyrat up my ass, like Chadwick was up his Posts: 36,294
      May 21, 2023 (Sunday)

    The list of 500 banned Americans that Russian president Vladimir Putin released on Friday makes it clear that Putin is openly aligning himself with Trump and today’s MAGA Republicans. The people on the list are not necessarily involved with U.S. policy toward Russia; they are Americans who are standing in the way of the Trump movement’s takeover of our country.

    Notably, one of the names on the list is Georgia’s Republican secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, who refused to “find” the 11,780 votes Trump needed to win Georgia in 2020 and thus take the state’s electoral votes from Democratic winner Joe Biden. Also on the list was Michael Byrd, the Capitol Police officer who killed Ashli Babbitt as she attempted to break into the chamber of the House of Representatives, where more than 60 representatives and staffers were holed up, on January 6, 2021. Others made the “500 list,” according to the statement, for being part of “power or law-enforcement structures directly involved in the persecution of dissidents in the wake of the so-called ‘storm of the Capitol.’”

    Since Trump’s attempt to overthrow the will of the voters on January 6, 2021, his supporters have imitated the language and the laws that enabled Putin to destroy representative democracy in Russia and Viktor Orbán to undermine liberal democracy in Hungary.

    Attempting to set a new kind of imperial Russia up as a challenger to the liberal democracies that have held the majority of global power since World War II, Putin in 2019 declared liberal democracy “obsolete.” At a time when his own economic and social troubles at home threatened his continuing hold on power, he lashed out at democracy’s emphasis on equality before the law, saying that immigrant rights, gay rights, and women’s rights undermine “the culture, traditions and traditional family values of millions of people making up the core population.”

    Like Putin, Orbán cemented power with attacks on immigrants, LGBTQ people, and abortion rights while claiming to be shoring up traditional religion. Not surprisingly, both Putin and Orbán have praised Trump, with the overlap between the former U.S. president and the autocratic leaders becoming more pronounced as Trump’s followers work to undermine U.S. support for Ukraine in its fight to push back Russia’s invasion and in the Conservative Political Action Conference’s decision to hold a second meeting in Budapest, Hungary, this month.

    That overlap is also visible in the anti-immigrant, anti-LBGTQ, and antiabortion legislation spreading through U.S. states dominated by Trump loyalists.

    When Trump was in the White House, his team worked hard to put loyal supporters into power in state Republican parties before the 2020 election, possibly aware that he was likely to lose the vote and would have to turn to loyalists to steal it for him. (Recall that on October 31, 2020, Trump ally Stephen Bannon told an audience that the plan was simply to say he had won, and now, in a lawsuit filed last week against Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, Noelle Dunphy alleges Giuliani told her of the scheme on February 7, 2019.) Packing the state parties with loyalists did indeed pay off: according to a study by Nick Corasaniti, Karen Yourish, and Keith Collins of the New York Times, at least 357 sitting Republican legislators in battleground states used their official positions either to discredit or to try to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

    Radicalizing the state parties has continued since Trump left office, strengthening his base in state legislatures. Those legislators are now advancing the illiberal Christian democracy embraced by Putin and Orbán, using the same language and politics of fear to pass laws that explicitly reject the principle of a nation based in the idea that is central to democracy: that everyone is equal before the law.

    The attempt to demonize immigrants has been central to the Trump base since he announced his presidential campaign with the statement that “the U.S. has become a dumping ground for everybody else’s problems” and went on to say that Mexican immigrants are “bringing drugs…bringing crime. They’re rapists.” (In fact, undocumented immigrants are less than half as likely as native-born Americans to be arrested for violent crimes or drug offenses.)

    Republicans have refused to consider bipartisan legislation that would fund immigration courts and border security, and instead have hammered on the idea that immigrants are “flooding” our borders. They fought to keep the pandemic-related Title 42 in place, insisting that its end would create, as Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) put it, an “Imminent Invasion.” When, in fact, the end of Title 42 led to a 60% decrease in unauthorized crossings, Greene still pushed forward, calling for Biden’s impeachment for his handling of immigration issues.

    This same antidemocratic extremism explains the anti-trans, anti-drag, and anti-LGBTQ legislation, all of which are an attack on equality before the law. A March 8 article in Mother Jones by Madison Pauly exposed how the wave of anti-trans legislation passing through Republican-dominated state legislatures is written and pushed by well-funded Christian activists and organizations who argue, like Orbán, that they are protecting children (although 86% of trans or nonbinary young people have reported the attacks on them are affecting their mental health, and nearly half have seriously considered suicide).

    Advocates for those laws inaccurately claim that they are protecting children from genital mutilation, but as Nancy Goldstein of the Texas Observer pointed out, the American Academy of Pediatrics stands behind gender-affirming care. Dr. Joshua Safer, the executive director of the Mount Sinai Center for Transgender Medicine and Surgery in New York City, explains: No other countries “are reconsidering the use of hormones and surgeries as first-line treatment for transgender children because hormones and surgeries are not first-line treatment for transgender children…. First-line interventions include mental health intakes and social adjustments…. Puberty blockers sometimes follow.” Those treatments are reversible if a patient changes their mind.

    Nonetheless, the rhetoric of demonization is working: Brian Tyler Cohen reports (with video) that “Christian” pastor Jason Graber recently called for the execution of all LGBTQ people as well as the parents of transgender people: “They just need to be shot in the back of the head and then we can string them up above a bridge.”

    Goldstein points out that the language of demonization Republicans are using mimics that of the “southern strategy,” by which Republican leaders from President Richard Nixon onward solidified their base by creating the idea that Black Americans threatened the well-being of white people. That strategy, too, is ongoing in the Republican Party. On Monday, May 15, Florida governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill that defunds any state college or university with a diversity, equity, and inclusion program and that bans courses that "distort significant historical events or include a curriculum that teaches identity politics," a reference to courses that acknowledge racism or sexism. Texas, Tennessee, North Dakota, Iowa, and Ohio are considering similar legislation.

    The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), a Latino civil rights organization; Equality Florida, a gay rights advocacy group; and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) have all issued advisories warning against travel to Florida. “Florida is openly hostile toward African Americans, people of color and LGBTQ+ individuals,” the NAACP said. “Before traveling to Florida, please understand that the state of Florida devalues and marginalizes the contributions of, and the challenges faced by African Americans and other communities of color.”

    With its antiabortion legislation, the MAGA movement is also signaling its abandonment of the idea that everyone should be equal before the law. Since the Supreme Court overturned the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision last June, fifteen states have banned or severely restricted abortion rights. On Tuesday a supermajority of the North Carolina legislature, established when Tricia Cotham, a Democrat who ran on abortion rights, switched parties, overrode the veto of the Democratic governor Roy Cooper to ban virtually all abortions after 12 weeks of pregnancy.

    In Sumner County, Tennessee, these antidemocratic Republicans have taken over the county government and, as Christina A. Cassidy wrote today in the Associated Press, promptly changed the county’s official documents to say that operations would be “most importantly reflective of the Judeo-Christian values inherent in the nation’s founding.” They are trying to shape the county, including election rules, according to their ideology.

    It is these same MAGA Republicans who are threatening to force the United States to default on its debt for the first time in our history, with catastrophic consequences, unless the Democrats agree to protect all tax cuts and slash the domestic spending that protects ordinary Americans. It’s important to remember that the global autocratic movement is not solely about creating a traditional religious society; it is about destroying democracy to concentrate wealth and power in a small group of men, usually white men, who will dominate the rest of us.

    For all the talk of House speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) negotiating over a budget that Republicans will then approve before they are willing to raise the debt ceiling, he has never had the votes of the extremists that he needs to make that happen. They are demanding that the Democrats dismantle the government programs that protect ordinary Americans in exchange for agreeing not to blow up the world economy.

    And so, the battle over democracy has come down to the debt ceiling.

    Today, Biden told reporters that he would not agree to the extremists’ demands. “We put forward a proposal that cuts spending by more than a trillion dollars, and on top of the nearly $3 trillion in deficit reduction that I previously proposed through the combination of spending cuts and new revenues,” he said.

    “Let me be clear,” he said. “I’m not going to agree to a deal that protects, for example, a $30 billion tax break for the oil industry, which made $200 billion last year—they don’t need an incentive of another $30 billion—while putting healthcare of 21 million Americans at risk by going after Medicaid.
     
    “I’m not going to agree to a deal that protects $200 billion in excess payments for pharmaceutical industries and refusing to count that while cutting over 100,000 schoolteachers and…assistants’ jobs, 30,000 law enforcement officers’ jobs cut across…the entire United States of America.
     
    “And I’m not going to agree to a deal that protects wealthy tax cheats and crypto traders while putting food assistance at risk for nearly... 1 million Americans.
     
    “And it’s time for Republicans to accept that there is no bipartisan deal to be made solely—solely—on their partisan terms. They have to move as well.
     
    “All four congressional leaders agree with me that…default is not—let me say it again—default is not an option. And I expect each of…these leaders…to live up to that commitment.
     
    “America has never defaulted—never defaulted on our debt, and it never will.”

    _____________________________________SIGNATURE________________________________________________

    Not today Sir, Probably not tomorrow.............................................. bayfront arena st. pete '94
    you're finally here and I'm a mess................................................... nationwide arena columbus '10
    memories like fingerprints are slowly raising.................................... first niagara center buffalo '13
    another man ..... moved by sleight of hand...................................... joe louis arena detroit '14
  • Options
    Halifax2TheMaxHalifax2TheMax Posts: 36,935
    mickeyrat said:
      May 21, 2023 (Sunday)

    The list of 500 banned Americans that Russian president Vladimir Putin released on Friday makes it clear that Putin is openly aligning himself with Trump and today’s MAGA Republicans. The people on the list are not necessarily involved with U.S. policy toward Russia; they are Americans who are standing in the way of the Trump movement’s takeover of our country.

    Notably, one of the names on the list is Georgia’s Republican secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, who refused to “find” the 11,780 votes Trump needed to win Georgia in 2020 and thus take the state’s electoral votes from Democratic winner Joe Biden. Also on the list was Michael Byrd, the Capitol Police officer who killed Ashli Babbitt as she attempted to break into the chamber of the House of Representatives, where more than 60 representatives and staffers were holed up, on January 6, 2021. Others made the “500 list,” according to the statement, for being part of “power or law-enforcement structures directly involved in the persecution of dissidents in the wake of the so-called ‘storm of the Capitol.’”

    Since Trump’s attempt to overthrow the will of the voters on January 6, 2021, his supporters have imitated the language and the laws that enabled Putin to destroy representative democracy in Russia and Viktor Orbán to undermine liberal democracy in Hungary.

    Attempting to set a new kind of imperial Russia up as a challenger to the liberal democracies that have held the majority of global power since World War II, Putin in 2019 declared liberal democracy “obsolete.” At a time when his own economic and social troubles at home threatened his continuing hold on power, he lashed out at democracy’s emphasis on equality before the law, saying that immigrant rights, gay rights, and women’s rights undermine “the culture, traditions and traditional family values of millions of people making up the core population.”

    Like Putin, Orbán cemented power with attacks on immigrants, LGBTQ people, and abortion rights while claiming to be shoring up traditional religion. Not surprisingly, both Putin and Orbán have praised Trump, with the overlap between the former U.S. president and the autocratic leaders becoming more pronounced as Trump’s followers work to undermine U.S. support for Ukraine in its fight to push back Russia’s invasion and in the Conservative Political Action Conference’s decision to hold a second meeting in Budapest, Hungary, this month.

    That overlap is also visible in the anti-immigrant, anti-LBGTQ, and antiabortion legislation spreading through U.S. states dominated by Trump loyalists.

    When Trump was in the White House, his team worked hard to put loyal supporters into power in state Republican parties before the 2020 election, possibly aware that he was likely to lose the vote and would have to turn to loyalists to steal it for him. (Recall that on October 31, 2020, Trump ally Stephen Bannon told an audience that the plan was simply to say he had won, and now, in a lawsuit filed last week against Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, Noelle Dunphy alleges Giuliani told her of the scheme on February 7, 2019.) Packing the state parties with loyalists did indeed pay off: according to a study by Nick Corasaniti, Karen Yourish, and Keith Collins of the New York Times, at least 357 sitting Republican legislators in battleground states used their official positions either to discredit or to try to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

    Radicalizing the state parties has continued since Trump left office, strengthening his base in state legislatures. Those legislators are now advancing the illiberal Christian democracy embraced by Putin and Orbán, using the same language and politics of fear to pass laws that explicitly reject the principle of a nation based in the idea that is central to democracy: that everyone is equal before the law.

    The attempt to demonize immigrants has been central to the Trump base since he announced his presidential campaign with the statement that “the U.S. has become a dumping ground for everybody else’s problems” and went on to say that Mexican immigrants are “bringing drugs…bringing crime. They’re rapists.” (In fact, undocumented immigrants are less than half as likely as native-born Americans to be arrested for violent crimes or drug offenses.)

    Republicans have refused to consider bipartisan legislation that would fund immigration courts and border security, and instead have hammered on the idea that immigrants are “flooding” our borders. They fought to keep the pandemic-related Title 42 in place, insisting that its end would create, as Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) put it, an “Imminent Invasion.” When, in fact, the end of Title 42 led to a 60% decrease in unauthorized crossings, Greene still pushed forward, calling for Biden’s impeachment for his handling of immigration issues.

    This same antidemocratic extremism explains the anti-trans, anti-drag, and anti-LGBTQ legislation, all of which are an attack on equality before the law. A March 8 article in Mother Jones by Madison Pauly exposed how the wave of anti-trans legislation passing through Republican-dominated state legislatures is written and pushed by well-funded Christian activists and organizations who argue, like Orbán, that they are protecting children (although 86% of trans or nonbinary young people have reported the attacks on them are affecting their mental health, and nearly half have seriously considered suicide).

    Advocates for those laws inaccurately claim that they are protecting children from genital mutilation, but as Nancy Goldstein of the Texas Observer pointed out, the American Academy of Pediatrics stands behind gender-affirming care. Dr. Joshua Safer, the executive director of the Mount Sinai Center for Transgender Medicine and Surgery in New York City, explains: No other countries “are reconsidering the use of hormones and surgeries as first-line treatment for transgender children because hormones and surgeries are not first-line treatment for transgender children…. First-line interventions include mental health intakes and social adjustments…. Puberty blockers sometimes follow.” Those treatments are reversible if a patient changes their mind.

    Nonetheless, the rhetoric of demonization is working: Brian Tyler Cohen reports (with video) that “Christian” pastor Jason Graber recently called for the execution of all LGBTQ people as well as the parents of transgender people: “They just need to be shot in the back of the head and then we can string them up above a bridge.”

    Goldstein points out that the language of demonization Republicans are using mimics that of the “southern strategy,” by which Republican leaders from President Richard Nixon onward solidified their base by creating the idea that Black Americans threatened the well-being of white people. That strategy, too, is ongoing in the Republican Party. On Monday, May 15, Florida governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill that defunds any state college or university with a diversity, equity, and inclusion program and that bans courses that "distort significant historical events or include a curriculum that teaches identity politics," a reference to courses that acknowledge racism or sexism. Texas, Tennessee, North Dakota, Iowa, and Ohio are considering similar legislation.

    The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), a Latino civil rights organization; Equality Florida, a gay rights advocacy group; and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) have all issued advisories warning against travel to Florida. “Florida is openly hostile toward African Americans, people of color and LGBTQ+ individuals,” the NAACP said. “Before traveling to Florida, please understand that the state of Florida devalues and marginalizes the contributions of, and the challenges faced by African Americans and other communities of color.”

    With its antiabortion legislation, the MAGA movement is also signaling its abandonment of the idea that everyone should be equal before the law. Since the Supreme Court overturned the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision last June, fifteen states have banned or severely restricted abortion rights. On Tuesday a supermajority of the North Carolina legislature, established when Tricia Cotham, a Democrat who ran on abortion rights, switched parties, overrode the veto of the Democratic governor Roy Cooper to ban virtually all abortions after 12 weeks of pregnancy.

    In Sumner County, Tennessee, these antidemocratic Republicans have taken over the county government and, as Christina A. Cassidy wrote today in the Associated Press, promptly changed the county’s official documents to say that operations would be “most importantly reflective of the Judeo-Christian values inherent in the nation’s founding.” They are trying to shape the county, including election rules, according to their ideology.

    It is these same MAGA Republicans who are threatening to force the United States to default on its debt for the first time in our history, with catastrophic consequences, unless the Democrats agree to protect all tax cuts and slash the domestic spending that protects ordinary Americans. It’s important to remember that the global autocratic movement is not solely about creating a traditional religious society; it is about destroying democracy to concentrate wealth and power in a small group of men, usually white men, who will dominate the rest of us.

    For all the talk of House speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) negotiating over a budget that Republicans will then approve before they are willing to raise the debt ceiling, he has never had the votes of the extremists that he needs to make that happen. They are demanding that the Democrats dismantle the government programs that protect ordinary Americans in exchange for agreeing not to blow up the world economy.

    And so, the battle over democracy has come down to the debt ceiling.

    Today, Biden told reporters that he would not agree to the extremists’ demands. “We put forward a proposal that cuts spending by more than a trillion dollars, and on top of the nearly $3 trillion in deficit reduction that I previously proposed through the combination of spending cuts and new revenues,” he said.

    “Let me be clear,” he said. “I’m not going to agree to a deal that protects, for example, a $30 billion tax break for the oil industry, which made $200 billion last year—they don’t need an incentive of another $30 billion—while putting healthcare of 21 million Americans at risk by going after Medicaid.
     
    “I’m not going to agree to a deal that protects $200 billion in excess payments for pharmaceutical industries and refusing to count that while cutting over 100,000 schoolteachers and…assistants’ jobs, 30,000 law enforcement officers’ jobs cut across…the entire United States of America.
     
    “And I’m not going to agree to a deal that protects wealthy tax cheats and crypto traders while putting food assistance at risk for nearly... 1 million Americans.
     
    “And it’s time for Republicans to accept that there is no bipartisan deal to be made solely—solely—on their partisan terms. They have to move as well.
     
    “All four congressional leaders agree with me that…default is not—let me say it again—default is not an option. And I expect each of…these leaders…to live up to that commitment.
     
    “America has never defaulted—never defaulted on our debt, and it never will.”

    Some folks need to look in the mirror.

    Its 1933.
    09/15/1998 & 09/16/1998, Mansfield, MA; 08/29/00 08/30/00, Mansfield, MA; 07/02/03, 07/03/03, Mansfield, MA; 09/28/04, 09/29/04, Boston, MA; 09/22/05, Halifax, NS; 05/24/06, 05/25/06, Boston, MA; 07/22/06, 07/23/06, Gorge, WA; 06/27/2008, Hartford; 06/28/08, 06/30/08, Mansfield; 08/18/2009, O2, London, UK; 10/30/09, 10/31/09, Philadelphia, PA; 05/15/10, Hartford, CT; 05/17/10, Boston, MA; 05/20/10, 05/21/10, NY, NY; 06/22/10, Dublin, IRE; 06/23/10, Northern Ireland; 09/03/11, 09/04/11, Alpine Valley, WI; 09/11/11, 09/12/11, Toronto, Ont; 09/14/11, Ottawa, Ont; 09/15/11, Hamilton, Ont; 07/02/2012, Prague, Czech Republic; 07/04/2012 & 07/05/2012, Berlin, Germany; 07/07/2012, Stockholm, Sweden; 09/30/2012, Missoula, MT; 07/16/2013, London, Ont; 07/19/2013, Chicago, IL; 10/15/2013 & 10/16/2013, Worcester, MA; 10/21/2013 & 10/22/2013, Philadelphia, PA; 10/25/2013, Hartford, CT; 11/29/2013, Portland, OR; 11/30/2013, Spokane, WA; 12/04/2013, Vancouver, BC; 12/06/2013, Seattle, WA; 10/03/2014, St. Louis. MO; 10/22/2014, Denver, CO; 10/26/2015, New York, NY; 04/23/2016, New Orleans, LA; 04/28/2016 & 04/29/2016, Philadelphia, PA; 05/01/2016 & 05/02/2016, New York, NY; 05/08/2016, Ottawa, Ont.; 05/10/2016 & 05/12/2016, Toronto, Ont.; 08/05/2016 & 08/07/2016, Boston, MA; 08/20/2016 & 08/22/2016, Chicago, IL; 07/01/2018, Prague, Czech Republic; 07/03/2018, Krakow, Poland; 07/05/2018, Berlin, Germany; 09/02/2018 & 09/04/2018, Boston, MA; 09/08/2022, Toronto, Ont; 09/11/2022, New York, NY; 09/14/2022, Camden, NJ; 09/02/2023, St. Paul, MN; 05/04/2024 & 05/06/2024, Vancouver, BC; 05/10/2024, Portland, OR;

    Libtardaplorable©. And proud of it.

    Brilliantati©
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    mickeyratmickeyrat up my ass, like Chadwick was up his Posts: 36,294
      May 22, 2023 (Monday)

    The debt ceiling crisis has deflected attention from actual work of the federal government, which continues.

    The meeting of the Group of Seven (G7) in Hiroshima, Japan, which began on May 19 and ended yesterday, emphasized the Biden administration’s focus on preventing the rise of dominant authoritarian powers by ruining Russia’s imperial ambitions and by creating regional partnerships to counter the rise of China. The G7 is a forum made up of democracies with advanced economies and includes Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The European Union is also a member.

    The meeting demonstrated the strength of the G7’s support for Ukraine. The leaders agreed to increase financial and military support for the beleaguered country after Russia’s February 2022 invasion. G7 leaders also announced they would take new steps to isolate Russia economically from the rest of the world, thus weakening its ability to wage war. New sanctions on more than 70 companies and more than 300 individuals and entities around the globe are designed to close off the loopholes and workarounds that have enabled Russian president Vladimir Putin to continue to raise money. (Hence Russia’s retaliatory ban of those who have stood in Trump’s way as an open declaration of solidarity with Trump, who has threatened to cut support for Ukraine if he regains power.)

    Gathered in the historic city of Hiroshima, where an American B-29 bomber dropped an atomic bomb on August 6, 1945, ultimately killing more than 140,000 people, members of the G7 condemned Putin’s threats to use nuclear weapons against Ukraine and called for a return to nuclear disarmament. The G7 also said it would hold Russia financially accountable for the damage it has done to Ukraine.

    Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky was a surprise visitor to the meeting, his presence a powerful illustration to Putin that the leaders of the G7 are firmly behind Ukraine’s cause. U.K. prime minister Rishi Sunak noted that the G7 was briefly the G8 when Russia was a member before being expelled in 2014 for its illegal annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea. Zelensky’s presence, Sunak said, “demonstrates that brute force and oppression will not triumph over freedom and sovereignty.”

    G7 leaders indicated they are united in the attempt to stand up to China. While they reiterated that their countries will continue to trade with China, they vowed to push to establish a level economic playing field between China and other countries, and to “foster resilience to economic coercion.” Just days after the Department of Justice charged a Chinese national—as well as two Russian people and a Greek man working for Russia—with stealing sensitive technologies, the G7 also vowed to protect technologies that could threaten our national security.   

    The leaders also expressed concerns about China’s record on human rights and “called on China not to conduct interference activities or undermine the integrity of our democratic institutions.”

    The meeting also demonstrated support for regional partnerships in the Indo-Pacific and Africa that will counterbalance China. The leaders included in their deliberations guests from Australia, Brazil, and India. They also reached out to countries in Africa by including Comoros, an island nation off southeastern Africa, which is currently chairing the African Union. They included the Cook Islands, an island nation in the South Pacific that is currently chairing the Pacific Islands Forum, a group of 18 nations including Australia and New Zealand. And they included key G7 partners Indonesia, Vietnam, and the Republic of Korea.

    The World Bank, an international financial institution with 189 member nations cooperating to make loans and grants to enable low- and middle-income countries to develop capital projects, was at the meeting. So were a number of leaders from private financial, communications, and IT infrastructure institutions, including Citi, Global Infrastructure Partners, Japan Foreign Trade Council, and Nokia. They discussed ways to unlock public and private capital to fund projects in the developing world as part of a way to relieve the mounting debt obligations of low- and middle-income countries, often a result of Chinese investment, and to counter Chinese investment in those regions.

    Biden was supposed to go from Hiroshima to Australia for a meeting of leaders of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (known as the Quad), a strategic security group that includes Australia, India, Japan, and the U.S. He had to cancel because of the debt ceiling crisis, so the group met in Japan at the G7, where they issued a statement reaffirming “our steadfast commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific that is inclusive and resilient…. We believe all countries have a role in contributing to regional peace, stability, and prosperity, as well as upholding international law, including the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity, and the rules-based international order. We seek a region where no country dominates and no country is dominated—one where all countries are free from coercion, and can exercise their agency to determine their futures.”

    They said they see the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, a political and economic group made up of 10 member states, as the central leader of the effort to create a strong Indo-Pacific regional partnership, and they reiterated their support for Pacific island nations, especially those in the Pacific Islands Forum.

    Biden was also supposed to go to Papua New Guinea after the G7 for a meeting with the leaders of the Pacific Islands Forum but had to cancel the trip to come home and deal with the debt ceiling crisis. Secretary of State Antony Blinken went instead and today signed a security agreement with the strategically located nation, as well as confirming that the administration is seeking $7.1 billion for 20 years of investments in the region through diplomatic and cultural ties, including new embassies; infrastructure projects; and addressing climate change.

    The Pacific Islands Forum responded by reaffirming “our shared vision for a resilient Pacific region of peace, harmony, security, social inclusion, and prosperity. We are committed to bolstering Pacific regionalism,” it said, “with a strong and united Pacific Islands Forum at its center.”

    A domestic emphasis on regional cooperation appears to have paid off today, at least temporarily as, working with the Department of the Interior, the governors of Arizona, California, and Nevada have agreed on a plan to conserve water in the Colorado River system over the next three years in an effort to rebuild the depleted reservoirs on which 40 million people depend. All seven of the states in the Colorado River Lower Basin have agreed in principle to the plan, which will require the three states to cut about 13% of their water usage in exchange for about $1.2 billion in federal grant money funded by the Inflation Reduction Act. Had the states not come up with their own plan, the administration threatened bigger, unilateral cuts in water usage.

    In a statement, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said: “Today’s announcement is a testament to the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to working with states, tribes and communities throughout the west to find consensus solutions in the face of climate change and sustained drought.”

    Also today, Vice President Kamala Harris was in Sunnyvale, California, on a visit to Applied Materials, which has just announced it will invest up to $4 billion in a new research and development facility for designing semiconductor-manufacturing tools in collaboration with the chipmakers who will use the tools in their factories. Since the CHIPS and Science Act became law last August, the White House noted, “private companies have announced nearly $140 billion in investments in semiconductor production, supply chains, and R&D to be made over the next decade.”

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    mickeyratmickeyrat up my ass, like Chadwick was up his Posts: 36,294
     May 23, 2023 (Tuesday)

    Both President Joe Biden and House speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) have stated publicly that the U.S. will not default. They are negotiating over the budget. For my part, I’ve started to wonder if the whole debt ceiling crisis isn’t about Republicans’ determination to cut taxes for the wealthy at all costs.

    When Ronald Reagan called for tax cuts in 1980, he argued that tax cuts would concentrate money in private hands, enabling investors flush with cash to build the economy. That growth would keep tax revenues stable even with the lower rates. That was the argument, but it never came to pass. In fact, a 2022 study by political economists David Hope and Julian Limberg shows that “tax cuts for the rich…do not have any significant effect on economic growth or unemployment,” but they do “lead to higher income inequality in both the short- and medium-term.”

    Indeed, Estelle Sommeiller and Mark Price of the Economic Policy Institute, an independent, nonprofit think tank, noted in 2018 that 1% of all families in the U.S. take home 21% of all the income in the U.S., making 26.3 times more than the bottom 99%, whose average income is slightly more than $50,000 a year. On average in the U.S., someone would need an annual income of slightly more than $420,000 to be a member of that top 1%. In 2020, annual wages for the top 1% grew by 7.3% while those in the bottom 90% grew just 1.7%.

    A 2020 study by Carter C. Price and Kathryn A. Edwards of the RAND Corporation showed that the changing economic distribution systems of the past forty years have moved a staggering $50 trillion upward, out of the hands of the bottom 90% of Americans. (The national debt is currently about $31.5 trillion.)

    Nonetheless, today’s Republicans continue to insist that cutting taxes promotes growth. Today, Representative Bob Good (R-VA) talked over journalist Katy Tur to defend his support for extending the Trump tax cuts, which are due to expire in 2025 and which the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates will add $3.5 trillion to the debt. Good insisted that tax cuts are “incentivizing the right things.”

    Leaving the White House today, McCarthy told reporters that he would not entertain rolling back the 2017 Trump tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations. “[T]he problem is not revenue,” he insisted. “The problem is spending.”

    But the Trump tax cuts and Trump's increased spending even before the pandemic ultimately added $7.8 trillion to the national debt, about $23,500 for every person in the country. The increase in the annual deficit under Trump was the third-biggest increase of any administration, relative to the size of the economy. He was beaten out only by George W. Bush and Abraham Lincoln. Bush, of course, led the U.S. into two foreign conflicts that were financed almost entirely through debt (in the past, the U.S. paid for war through taxes and war bonds), after Congress cut taxes by about 8% for the wealthiest Americans. Lincoln fought the Civil War.

    “It’s not that Americans are taxed too little, it’s that Washington spends too much,” Russ Vought, Trump’s acting budget director, wrote in 2019. He was defending Trump’s 5% budget cuts to nondefense discretionary spending .

    President Biden’s 2024 budget proposes to reduce the federal deficit by $3 trillion over the next decade by raising taxes on those who make more than $400,000 a year. His budget would effectively repeal the Trump tax cuts for the wealthy, restoring the top tax rate to 39.6% rather than the 37% the 2017 cuts established. It would also raise corporate taxes from 21%, to which the 2017 tax cuts dropped them, to 28%, lower than the high of 35% before the Trump tax cuts.

    Biden’s budget also calls for taxing capital gains at about the same rate as income for those making more than $1 million, and it calls for a new tax on unrealized capital gains. It also seeks to close loopholes that enable high earners to avoid taxes. Funding for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) that was passed in the Inflation Reduction Act will enable the IRS to go after tax cheats who make more than $400,000 a year, netting an estimated $204 billion through 2031.

    But the Republicans say they will not agree to any tax hikes of any sort, and the right-wing extremists in the Freedom Caucus have said they would not agree to anything but the bill McCarthy muscled through the House by promising it would never become law. That bill, called Limit, Save, Grow, would cut discretionary government programs by at least 18%—more if Social Security, Medicare, and veterans’ benefits aren’t included. “My conservative colleagues for the most part support Limit, Save, Grow, and they don’t feel like we should negotiate with our hostage,” said right-wing Representative Matt Gaetz (R-FL).

    As Catherine Rampell of the Washington Post pointed out last week, the bill also forces Congress to approve every “major” regulation proposed by a government agency, with the recognition that Congress is unlikely to agree to any such regulation, thus unraveling the federal government.

    Senator Rick Scott (R-FL), who before the 2022 election called for sunsetting all laws every five years, forcing Congress to repass all discretionary spending, today fell back on the idea that Democrats calling for addressing the deficit through taxation are socialists. Poking fun at the recent travel advisories by LGBTQ, immigrant, and Black rights organizations warning against visiting Florida, he issued a “formal travel advisory” for “socialists” “in direct response to the Biden Administration attempts to erase capitalism and the system that has brought prosperity to Florida and the entire United States.”

    And yet it was the Republican Party that originally established the pattern of turning to increasing revenue to enable the government to meet its financial obligations, a pattern members of both parties relied on until 1981. Faced in 1861 with funding the Civil War, members of the Republican Party invented the U.S. income tax and graduated it to make sure that “the burdens will be more equalized on all classes of the community, more especially on those who are able to bear them,” as Senator William Pitt Fessenden (R-ME) put it.

    Justin Smith Morrill (R-VT) agreed. “The weight [of] taxation must be distributed equally,” he said, “Not upon each man an equal amount, but a tax proportionate to his ability to pay.” The government had a right to “demand” 99 percent of a man’s property for an urgent necessity, Morrill said. When the public required it, “the property of the people…belongs to the Government.”

    Far from objecting to taxes, Americans asked their congressmen to raise them, out of concern about the growing national debt. In 1864, Senator John P. Hale (R-NH) said: “The condition of the country is singular…I venture to say it is an anomaly in the history of the world. What do the people of the United States ask of this Congress? To take off taxes? No, sir, they ask you to put them on. The universal cry of this people is to be taxed.”

    Those taxes helped to pay for the war and, after it, to repay the debt. And in 1866, when Confederate-sympathizing Democrats tried to undermine support for the government by changing the terms of that debt to make it less valuable, Republicans wrote into the Constitution that “the validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned.”

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    Not today Sir, Probably not tomorrow.............................................. bayfront arena st. pete '94
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    mickeyratmickeyrat up my ass, like Chadwick was up his Posts: 36,294
      May 24, 2023 (Wednesday)

    The Department of Homeland Security today issued a bulletin warning, “Lone offenders and small groups motivated by a range of ideological beliefs and personal grievances continue to pose a persistent and lethal threat to the Homeland.” Both domestic extremists and foreign terrorists are using online extremist messaging and calls for violence to motivate supporters to launch attacks. Individuals upset about the 2024 election and new laws or court decisions might attack “US critical infrastructure, faith-based institutions, individuals or events associated with the LGBTQIA+ community, schools, racial and ethnic minorities, and government facilities and personnel, including law enforcement.” The advisory is in force for six months.

    The announcement warned that a key factor in potential violence is “perceptions of the 2024 general election cycle,” a reference to disinformation suggesting that U.S. elections are rigged. This false allegation is a staple of former president Trump’s political messaging.  

    That disinformation led to the January 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol, of course, although many of those who have stood trial for participating in that attack have expressed regret—at least in front of the judge. But not all of them. Today Judge Christopher Cooper noted that Richard “Bigo” Barnett had “not shown any acceptance of responsibility” for his actions before sentencing him to four and a half years in prison. Barnett is an Arkansas man who was convicted on eight counts for his participation in the attack, during which he was famously photographed with his foot on then–House speaker Nancy Pelosi’s desk.   

    White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre informed reporters about the budget negotiations and averting default, calling it a “manufactured crisis.” She called out members of the far-right Freedom Caucus for referring to the full faith and credit of the United States as a hostage, and reiterated that it is the duty of every member of Congress to avert the default that will cost millions of jobs lost, devastate retirement accounts, and throw the United States—and the world—into a recession.

    “Let's be clear about what Republicans are demanding in exchange for doing their job and preventing a default,” she said. “Earlier this year, they put forward an extreme package of devastating cuts that would slash…support for education, law enforcement, food assistance—the list goes on and on and on and on—by what now would be about 30 percent.”
     
    While Jean-Pierre didn’t say it, the Republicans’ insistence that spending is out of control does not reflect reality. In fact, discretionary spending has fallen more than 40% in the past 50 years as a percentage of gross domestic product, from 11% to 6.3%. What has driven rising deficits are the George W. Bush and Donald Trump tax cuts, which will have added $8 trillion and $1.7 trillion, respectively, to the debt by the end of the 2023 fiscal year.

    The U.S. is far below the average of the 37 other nations in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, an intergovernmental forum of democracies with market economies, in our tax levies. According to the Center for American Progress, if we taxed at the average OECD level, over ten years we would have an additional $26 trillion in revenue. If we taxed at the average of European Union nations, we would have an additional $36 trillion.

    What Jean-Pierre did say is that the Republicans’ demand for cuts in the name of fiscal responsibility and deficit reduction is belied by their protection of tax breaks skewed for the wealthy and corporations. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said those tax cuts would add $3.5 trillion to the debt over the next decade.

    As the credit rating of the United States totters, House speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) repeatedly told reporters the debt ceiling crisis is not his fault. Indeed, he cannot corral the votes of members of the right-wing Freedom Caucus, who say they will not agree to raise the debt ceiling unless the Senate passes the extremist bill McCarthy got through the House by assuring party members that it was designed only to increase his bargaining power with Biden and that it would never become law. That passage is a nonstarter for Democrats and also for a number of vulnerable Republicans. And yet without it, McCarthy can’t get the votes he needs from the Freedom Caucus. And yet, the Republicans refuse to work with the Democrats, so the extremists can dictate what the House Republicans do.

    We’re right back to the same fight we saw over McCarthy’s speakership, where extremists held the trump cards. “We’re not going to default,” McCarthy insisted.

    In contrast, all the House Democrats have backed a discharge petition that would force a bill to increase the debt ceiling to the floor, but they need five Republicans to sign on to it. So far, no Republican has publicly stepped up.

    Florida governor Ron DeSantis’s announcement today that he is running for president was awkward. He made the announcement on Twitter, whose owner, Elon Musk, has said he supports DeSantis, but the technology didn’t work and Twitter crashed repeatedly, leaving DeSantis’s audience unimpressed.

    The campaign of rival Republican candidate Trump scoffed. A spokesperson said: “Glitchy. Tech issues. Uncomfortable silences. A complete failure to launch. And that’s just the candidate!” His commentary later in the day was even harsher.

    President Joe Biden also threw shade. His team tweeted: “This link works.” The link went to the Biden-Harris campaign donation site.

    On a more serious note, the president today used the one-year anniversary of the massacre at the Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, where 19 children and 2 teachers died and 17 more were injured, to call for gun safety measures. Since the Uvalde murders, Biden said, the U.S. has experienced 650 mass shootings and well over 40,000 deaths from gun violence. Guns are the top killers of children in the U.S.

    Biden called for a ban on AR-15-type firearms and high-capacity magazines, and for the establishment of universal background checks, national red-flag laws, required safe storage of firearms, and an end to the immunity from liability that gun manufacturers enjoy. He noted that these commonsense measures are popular.

    “To the families of the children and to the educators…we know that, one year later, it’s still so raw for you. A year of missed birthdays and holidays, school plays, soccer games, just that smile. A year of everyday joys gone forever. The bend in his smile. The perfect pitch of her laugh.

    “God bless those 21 blessed souls lost on this day in Uvalde,” Biden said. “And may God bless their families. We’re thinking of you.”

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    mickeyratmickeyrat up my ass, like Chadwick was up his Posts: 36,294
      May 25, 2023 (Thursday)

    U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta today sentenced the leader of the right-wing Oath Keepers organization, Elmer Stewart Rhodes III, to 18 years in prison, followed by 3 years of supervised release. In November a jury found Rhodes guilty of seditious conspiracy, obstruction of an official proceeding, and tampering with documents and proceedings, for his role in organizing people to go to Washington in January 2021 and try to stop the counting of the electoral votes that would make Joe Biden president.

    Rhodes told the court that his only crime was standing against those who are “destroying our country.” He says he believes he is a “political prisoner” and that he hopes Trump will win the presidency in 2024. “You are not a political prisoner, Mr. Rhodes,” Judge Mehta said. “You, sir, present an ongoing threat and a peril to this country and to the republic and to the very fabric of this democracy.”

    And yet, former president Trump has said he would not only pardon the January 6 offenders, but would apologize to them for their treatment by the government. Today, Florida governor Ron DeSantis, who yesterday announced he is running for president, said he, too, would consider pardoning them, promising to be “aggressive in issuing pardons.”

    Rhodes struck at our elections. Today in the Sackett v. Environmental Protection Agency decision, the Supreme Court struck at the government regulations that underpin modern America.

    Michael and Chantell Sackett bought land near Priest Lake, Idaho, and backfilled the wetlands on the property to build a home. The EPA found they had violated the Clean Water Act, which prohibits putting pollutants into “the waters of the United States.” Officials told them to restore the site or face penalties of more than $40,000 a day. By a vote of 5–4, the Supreme Court found that “waters” refers only to “‘streams, oceans, rivers, and lakes’ and to adjacent wetlands that are ‘indistinguishable’ from those bodies of water due to a continuous surface connection.”

    This decision will remove federal protection from half of the currently protected wetlands in the U.S, an area larger than California. Homeowners, farmers, and developers will have far greater latitude to intrude on wetlands than they did previously, and that intrusion has already wrought damage as wetlands act like a sponge to absorb huge amounts of water during hurricanes. From 1992 to 2010, Houston, for example, lost more than 70% of its wetlands to development, leaving it especially vulnerable to Hurricane Harvey, a category 4 hurricane that in 2017 left 107 people dead and caused $125 billion in damage.  

    The decision said that the EPA had overreached in its protection of wetlands as part of the Clean Water Act, and that Congress must “enact exceedingly clear language” on any rules that affect private property. This court seems eager to gut federal regulation, suggesting that Congress cannot delegate regulatory rulemaking to the executive branch. As investigative journalist Dave Troy put it, “If [the] EPA can’t enforce its rules, what federal agency can?”

    Justice Elena Kagan warned that by destroying the authority of the EPA, both now and in the West Virginia v. EPA decision last June that restricted the agency's ability to regulate emissions from power plants, the court had appointed itself “as the national decision maker on environmental policy.”

    The Clean Water Act passed by an overwhelming bipartisan vote in 1972, during the administration of Republican president Richard M. Nixon. Nixon backed the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency in 1970 after a massive oil spill off the coast of Santa Barbara, California, over ten days in January–February 1969 poured between 80,000 and 100,000 barrels of oil into the Pacific, fouling 35 miles of California beaches and killing seabirds, dolphins, sea lions, and elephant seals, and then, four months later, in June 1969, the chemical contaminants that had been dumped into Cleveland’s Cuyahoga River caught fire. In February 1970, Nixon told Congress “[W]e…have too casually and too long abused our natural environment. The time has come when we can wait no longer to repair the damage already done, and to establish new criteria to guide us in the future.”

    Nixon called for a 37-point program with 23 legislative proposals and 14 new administrative measures to control water and air pollution, manage solid waste, protect parklands and public recreation, and organize for action. At Nixon’s urging, Congress created the EPA in 1970, and two years later, Congress passed the Clean Water Act, establishing protections for water quality and regulating pollutant discharges into waters of the United States.

    House speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) tweeted that “[t]oday’s Supreme Court ruling is a win for farmers, businesses, and Americans across the nation by rejecting, yet again, the Biden administration’s costly and burdensome regulatory overreach.” But it sure looks like the story is not about Biden, but rather is about an extremist SCOTUS overturning 50 years of law that gave us clean water because it is determined to slash federal authority to regulate business.

    McCarthy is trying to manage his conference while members of the far-right Freedom Caucus strike at our economy. White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre reiterated today that defaulting on the national debt is not an option. “The President has said that, the Speaker has said that, and we want the American people to understand that as well…. What is up for debate, though, is the budget,” she said. “And that’s what these discussions are about: two very different fiscal visions for our country and our economy.”

    Biden’s proposed budget invests in ordinary Americans and over 10 years is projected to reduce the deficit by nearly $3 trillion by “asking the wealthy and corporations to pay their fair share and by slashing wasteful spending on special interests.” In contrast, “House Republicans…want to slash programs millions of hardworking Americans count on, while also protecting tax breaks skewed to the wealthy and corporations that will add $3.5 trillion to the debt. That’s where these negotiations began,” she said.  

    Finally, there is news today about the man that Rhodes is going to prison for, concerning his strike at our national security. Devlin Barrett, Josh Dawsey, Spencer S. Hsu, and Perry Stein of the Washington Post reported that on June 2, 2022, the day one of Trump’s lawyers contacted the Justice Department to say that officials were welcome to come to Mar-a-Lago to retrieve the classified documents the department had subpoenaed, two of Trump’s employees moved boxes of papers. The next day, when FBI agents arrived, Trump’s lawyers gave them 38 documents, said they had conducted a “diligent search,” and claimed that all the relevant documents had been turned over. Yet, when FBI agents conducted a search two months later, they found more than 100 additional classified documents.

    The timing of the moved boxes suggests that Trump was deliberately hiding certain documents. The Washington Post article also says that more than one witness has told prosecutors that Trump sometimes kept classified documents out in the open and showed them to people.

    Trump spokesperson Steven Cheung said in a statement: “This is nothing more than a targeted, politically motivated witch hunt against President Trump that is concocted to meddle in an election and prevent the American people from returning him to the White House.”

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