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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: 36,585
     June 30, 2024 (Sunday)

    In addition to his comments about Russia in Ukraine, Trump said something else in Thursday’s CNN presentation that should be called out for its embrace of one of the darkest moments in U.S. history.

    In response to a question about what the presidential candidates would say to a Black voter disappointed with racial progress in the United States, President Joe Biden pointed out that, while there was still far to go, more Black businesses were started under his administration than at any other time in U.S. history, that Black unemployment is at a historic low, and that the administration has relieved student debt, invested in historically Black colleges and universities, and is working to provide for childcare costs, all issues that affect Black Americans.

    In contrast, Trump said: “As sure as you’re sitting there, the fact is that his big kill on the Black people is the millions of people that he’s allowed to come in through the border. They're taking Black jobs now and it could be 18. It could be 19 and even 20 million people. They’re taking Black jobs and they’re taking Hispanic jobs and you haven’t seen it yet, but you’re going to see something that’s going to be the worst in our history.”

    Trump was obviously falling back on the point he had prepared to rely on in this election: that immigration is destroying our country. He exaggerated the numbers of incoming migrants and warned that there is worse to come.

    But what jumped out is his phrase: “They’re taking Black jobs and they’re taking Hispanic jobs.”

    In U.S. history it has been commonplace for political leaders to try to garner power by warning their voters that some minority group is coming for their jobs. In the 1840s, Know-Nothings in Boston warned native-born voters about Irish immigrants; in 1862 and 1864, Democrats tried to whip up support by warning Irish immigrants that after Republicans fought to end enslavement, Black Americans would move north and take their jobs. In the 1870s, Californian Denis Kearney of the Workingman’s Party drew voters to his standard by warning that Chinese immigrants were taking their jobs and insisted: “The Chinese Must Go!”

    And those were just the early days.

    But while they are related, there is a key difference between these racist appeals and the racism that Trump exhibited on Thursday. Politicians have often tried to get votes by warning that outsiders would draw from a pool of jobs that potential voters wanted themselves. Trump’s comments the other night drew on that racism but reached back much further to the idea that there are certain jobs that are “Black” or “Hispanic.”

    This is not a new idea in the United States.

    “In all social systems there must be a class to do the menial duties, to perform the drudgery of life,” South Carolina senator James Henry Hammond told his colleagues in 1858. “That is, a class requiring but a low order of intellect and but little skill. Its requisites are vigor, docility, fidelity. Such a class you must have, or you would not have that other class which leads progress, civilization, and refinement. It constitutes the very mud-sill of society and of political government; and you might as well attempt to build a house in the air, as to build either the one or the other, except on this mud-sill.”

    Capital produced by the labor of mudsills would concentrate in the hands of the upper class, who would use it efficiently and intelligently to develop society. Their guidance elevated those weak-minded but strong-muscled people in the mudsill class, who were “happy, content, unaspiring, and utterly incapable, from intellectual weakness, ever to give us any trouble by their aspirations.”

    Southern leaders were smart enough to have designated a different race as their society’s mudsills, Hammond said, but in the North the “whole hireling class of manual laborers and ‘operatives,’ as you call them, are essentially slaves.” This created a political problem for northerners, for the majority of the population made up that lower class. “If they knew the tremendous secret, that the ballot-box is stronger than ‘an army with banners,’ and could combine, where would you be?” Hammond asked his colleagues who insisted that all people were created equal. “Your society would be reconstructed, your government overthrown, your property divided.”

    The only true way to look at the world was to understand that some people were better than others and had the right and maybe the duty, to rule. “I repudiate, as ridiculously absurd, that much-lauded but nowhere accredited dogma of Mr. Jefferson, that ‘all men are born equal’” Hammond wrote, and it was on this theory that some people are better than others that southern enslavers based their proposed new nation.

    “Our new government is founded…upon the great truth that the [Black man] is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical and moral truth,” Alexander Stephens, vice president of the Confederacy, told supporters.

    Not everyone agreed. For his part, rising politician Abraham Lincoln stood on the Declaration of Independence. Months after Hammond’s speech, Lincoln addressed German immigrants in Chicago. Arguments that some races are “inferior,” he said, would “rub out the sentiment of liberty in the country, and…transform this Government into a government of some other form.” The idea that it is beneficial for some people to be dominated by others, he said, is the argument “that kings have made for enslaving the people in all ages of the world…. Turn in whatever way you will—whether it come from the mouth of a King, an excuse for enslaving the people of his country, or from the mouth of men of one race as a reason for enslaving the men of another race, it is all the same old serpent.”

    According to the mudsill theory, he said the following year, “a blind horse upon a tread-mill, is a perfect illustration of what a laborer should be—all the better for being blind, that he could not tread out of place, or kick understandingly. According to that theory, the education of laborers, is not only useless, but pernicious, and dangerous.” He disagreed. “[T]here is not, of necessity, any such thing as the free hired laborer being fixed to that condition for life.”

    He went on to tie the mudsill theory to the larger principles of the United States. “I should like to know if taking this old Declaration of Independence, which declares that all men are equal upon principle and making exceptions to it, where will it stop,” he said. “If that declaration is not the truth, let us get the Statute book, in which we find it and tear it out!” To cries of “No, no,” he concluded to cheers: “Let us stick to it then. Let us stand firmly by it.”

    One hundred and sixty-six years later, Black and Hispanic social media users have answered Trump’s statement about “Black jobs” and “Hispanic jobs” with photos of themselves in highly skilled professional positions. But while they did so with good humor, they were illustrating for the modern world the principle Lincoln articulated: in the United States there should be no such thing as “Black jobs” or “Hispanic jobs.”

    Such a construction directly contradicts the principles of the Declaration of Independence and ignores the victory of the United States in the Civil War. Anyone who sees the world through such a lens is on the wrong side of history.

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    mickeyratmickeyrat up my ass, like Chadwick was up his Posts: 36,585
      July 1, 2024 (Monday)

    Today the United States Supreme Court overthrew the central premise of American democracy: that no one is above the law.

    It decided that the president of the United States, possibly the most powerful person on earth, has “absolute immunity” from criminal prosecution for crimes committed as part of the official acts at the core of presidential powers. The court also said it should be presumed that the president also has immunity for other official acts as well, unless that prosecution would not intrude on the authority of the executive branch.

    This is a profound change to our fundamental law—an amendment to the Constitution, as historian David Blight noted. Writing for the majority, Chief Justice John Roberts said that a president needs such immunity to make sure the president is willing to take “bold and unhesitating action” and make unpopular decisions, although no previous president has ever asserted that he is above the law or that he needed such immunity to fulfill his role. Roberts’s decision didn’t focus at all on the interest of the American people in guaranteeing that presidents carry out their duties within the guardrails of the law.

    But this extraordinary power grab does not mean President Joe Biden can do as he wishes. As legal commentator Asha Rangappa pointed out, the court gave itself the power to determine which actions can be prosecuted and which cannot by making itself the final arbiter of what is “official” and what is not. Thus any action a president takes is subject to review by the Supreme Court, and it is reasonable to assume that this particular court would not give a Democrat the same leeway it would give Trump.

    There is no historical or legal precedent for this decision. The Declaration of Independence was a litany of complaints against King George III designed to explain why the colonists were declaring themselves free of kings; the Constitution did not provide immunity for the president, although it did for members of Congress in certain conditions, and it provided for the removal of the president for “high crimes and misdemeanors”—what would those be if a president is immune from prosecution for his official acts? The framers worried about politicians’ overreach and carefully provided for oversight of leaders; the Supreme Court today smashed through that key guardrail.

    Presidential immunity is a brand new doctrine. In February 2021, explaining away his vote to acquit Trump for inciting an insurrection, Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who had also protected Trump in his first impeachment trial in 2019, said: “Trump is still liable for everything he did while he was in office…. We have a criminal justice system in this country. We have civil litigation, and former presidents are not immune from being held accountable by either one.”

    But it was not just McConnell who thought that way. At his confirmation hearing in 2005, now–Chief Justice John Roberts said: “I believe that no one is above the law under our system and that includes the president. The president is fully bound by the law, the Constitution, and statutes.”

    In his 2006 confirmation hearings, Samuel Alito said: “There is nothing that is more important for our republic than the rule of law. No person in this country, no matter how high or powerful, is above the law.”

    And in 2018, Brett Kavanaugh told the Senate: “No one’s above the law in the United States, that’s a foundational principle…. We’re all equal before the law…. The foundation of our Constitution was that…the presidency would not be a monarchy…. [T]he president is not above the law, no one is above the law.”

    Now they have changed that foundational principle for a man who, according to White House officials during his term, called for the execution of people who upset him and who has vowed to exact vengeance on those he now thinks have wronged him. Over the past weekend, Trump shared an image on social media saying that former Representative Liz Cheney (R-WY), who sat on the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol, was guilty of treason and calling for “televised military tribunals” to try her.

    Today, observers illustrated what Trump’s newly declared immunity could mean. Political scientist Norm Ornstein pointed out that Trump could “order his handpicked FBI Director to arrest and jail his political opponents. He can order the IRS to put liens on the property of media companies who criticize him and jail reporters and editors.” Legal analyst Joyce White Vance noted that a president with such broad immunity could order the assassination of Supreme Court justices, and retired military leader Mark Hertling wrote that he was “trying to figure out how a commander can refuse an illegal order from someone who is issuing it as an official act.”

    Asha Rangappa wrote: “According to the Court, a President could literally provide the leader of a hostile adversary with intelligence needed to win a conflict in which we are involved, or even attack or invade the U.S., and not be prosecuted for treason, because negotiating with heads of state is an exclusive Art. II function. In case you were wondering.” Trump is currently under indictment for retaining classified documents. “The Court has handed Trump, if he wins this November, carte blanche to be a ‘dictator on day one,’ and the ability to use every lever of official power at his disposal for his personal ends without any recourse,” Rangappa wrote. “This election is now a clear-cut decision between democracy and autocracy. Vote accordingly.”

    Trump’s lawyers are already challenging Trump’s conviction in the election interference case in which a jury found him guilty on 34 counts. Over Trump’s name on social media, a post said the decision was “BRILLIANTLY WRITTEN AND WISE, AND CLEARS THE STENCH FROM THE BIDEN TRIALS AND HOAXES, ALL OF THEM, THAT HAVE BEEN USED AS AN UNFAIR ATTACK ON CROOKED JOE BIDEN’S POLITICAL OPPONENT, ME. MANY OF THESE FAKE CASES WILL NOW DISAPPEAR, OR WITHER INTO OBSCURITY. GOD BLESS AMERICA!”

    In a concurring opinion, Justice Clarence Thomas, whose wife was deeply involved in the effort to overturn the 2020 presidential election, also took a shot at the appointment of special counsels to investigate such events. Thomas was not the only Justice whose participation in this decision was likely covered by a requirement that he recuse himself: Alito has publicly expressed support for the attempt to keep Trump in office against the will of voters. Trump appointed three of the other justices granting him immunity—Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett—to the court.

    In a dissent in which Justices Elena Kagan and Ketanji Brown Jackson concurred, Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote that because of the majority’s decision, "[t]he relationship between the President and the people he serves has shifted irrevocably. In every use of official power, the President is now a king above the law."

    “Never in the history of our Republic has a President had reason to believe that he would be immune from criminal prosecution if he used the trappings of his office to violate the criminal law. Moving forward, however, all former Presidents will be cloaked in such immunity. If the occupant of that office misuses official power for personal gain, the criminal law that the rest of us must abide will not provide a backstop. With fear for our democracy,” she wrote, “I dissent.”

    Today’s decision destroyed the principle on which this nation was founded, that all people in the United States of America should be equal before the law.

    The name of the case is “Donald J. Trump v. United States.”

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    mickeyratmickeyrat up my ass, like Chadwick was up his Posts: 36,585
      July 2, 2024 (Tuesday)

    On July 2, 1776, the Second Continental Congress passed a “Resolution for Independence” declaring “That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved.”

    Also known as the “Lee Resolution,” after Virginia delegate Richard Henry Lee, who had proposed it, the resolution was the final break between the king and the thirteen colonies on the North American continent that would later become the United States of America.

    The path to independence had been neither obvious nor easy.

    In 1763, at the end of what was known in the colonies as the French and Indian War, there was little indication that the colonies were about to start their own nation. The war had brought an economic boom to the colonies, and with the French giving up control of land to the west, Euro-American colonists were giddy at the prospect of moving across the Appalachian Mountains. Impressed that the king had been willing to expend such effort to protect the colonies, they were proud of their identity as members of the British empire.

    That enthusiasm soon waned.

    To guard against another expensive war between colonists and Indigenous Americans, the king’s ministers and Parliament prohibited colonists from crossing the Appalachians. Then, to replenish the treasury after the last war, they passed a number of revenue laws. In 1765 they enacted the Stamp Act, which placed a tax on printed material in the colonies, everything from legal documents and newspapers to playing cards.

    The Stamp Act shocked colonists, who saw in it a central political struggle that had been going on in England for more than a century: could the king be checked by the people? Colonists were not directly represented in Parliament and believed they were losing their fundamental liberty as Englishmen to have a say in their government. They responded to the Stamp Act with widespread protests.

    In 1766, Parliament repealed the Stamp Act but linked that repeal to the Declaratory Act, which claimed for Parliament “full power and authority to make laws and statutes…to bind the colonies and people of America…in all cases whatsoever.” This act echoed the 1719 Irish Declaratory Act, which asserted that Ireland was subordinate to the British king and Parliament. It also imposed new taxes.

    As soon as news of the Declaratory Act and the new taxes reached Boston in 1767, the Massachusetts legislature circulated a letter to the other colonies standing firm on the right to equality in the British empire. Local groups boycotted taxed goods and broke into warehouses whose owners they thought were breaking the boycott. In 1768, British officials sent troops to Boston to restore order.

    Events began to move faster and faster. In March 1770, British soldiers in Boston shot into a crowd of men and boys harassing them, killing five and wounding six others. Tensions calmed when Parliament in 1772 removed all but one of the new taxes—the tax on tea—but then, in May 1773, it tried to bail out the failing East India Company by giving it a monopoly on tea sales in the colonies. The result would be cheaper tea in the colonies, convincing people to buy it and thus establishing Parliament’s right to impose the tax.

    Ships carrying the East India tea sailed for the colonies in fall 1773, but mass protests convinced the ships headed to every city but Boston to return to England. In Boston the royal governor was determined to land the cargo. On December 16, 1773, men dressed as Indigenous Americans boarded the Dartmouth, tied to a wharf in Boston Harbor, and tossed the tea overboard. Parliament promptly closed the port of Boston, strangling its economy.

    In fall 1774, worried colonial delegates met as the First Continental Congress in Carpenters’ Hall in Philadelphia to figure out how to stand together against tyranny. In Massachusetts a provincial congress stockpiled weapons and supplies in Concord and called for towns to create companies of men who could be ready to fight on a minute’s notice.

    British officials were determined to end the rebellion once and for all. They ordered General Thomas Gage to arrest Boston leaders Samuel Adams and John Hancock, who were rumored to be in Lexington, and to seize the supplies in Concord. On the night of April 18, 1775, the soldiers set out. The next morning, on the Lexington town green, the British regulars found several dozen minutemen waiting for them. The locals began to disperse when ordered to, but then a shot cracked through the darkness. The regulars opened fire. Eight locals were killed, another dozen wounded.

    The regulars marched on to Concord, where they found that most of the supplies had been removed. Then, when they turned to march back to Boston, they found their retreat cut off by minutemen firing from behind boulders, trees, and farmhouses. Seventy-three regular soldiers were killed, another 174 were wounded, and 26 were missing. There were 96 colonial casualties: 49 killed, 41 wounded, and 5 missing.

    Before disbanding the year before, the First Continental Congress had agreed to meet again if circumstances seemed to require it. After the events at Lexington and Concord, the delegates regrouped in Philadelphia in late spring 1775, down the street from Carpenters’ Hall in the Pennsylvania State House, a building that we now know as Independence Hall.

    The Second Continental Congress agreed to pull the military units around Boston into a Continental Army and put George Washington of Virginia in charge of it. But delegates also wrote directly to the king, emphasizing that they were “your Majesty’s faithful subjects.” They blamed the trouble between him and the colonies on “many of your Majesty’s Ministers,” who had “dealt out” “delusive presences, fruitless terrors, and unavailing severities” and forced the colonists to arm themselves in self-defense. They begged the king to use his power to restore harmony with the colonies. By the time the Olive Branch Petition made it to England in fall 1775, the king had already declared the colonies to be in rebellion.

    In January 1776 a 47-page pamphlet, published in Philadelphia by newly-arrived immigrant Thomas Paine, provided the spark that inspired his new countrymen to make the leap from blaming the king’s ministers for their troubles to blaming the king himself. “In the following pages I offer nothing more than simple facts, plain arguments, and common sense,” Paine wrote.

    Paine rejected the idea that any man could be born to rule others, and he ridiculed the idea that an island should try to govern a continent. “Where…is the King of America?” Paine asked in Common Sense. “I’ll tell you Friend…so far as we approve of monarchy…in America THE LAW IS KING. For as in absolute governments the King is law, so in free countries the law ought to be King; and there ought to be no other.

    “A government of our own is our natural right: And when a man seriously reflects on the precariousness of human affairs, he will become convinced, that it is infinitely wiser and safer, to form a constitution of our own in a cool deliberate manner, while we have it in our power, than to trust such an interesting event to time and chance. If we omit it now, some [dictator] may hereafter arise, who laying hold of popular disquietudes, may collect together the desperate and the discontented, and by assuming to themselves the powers of government, may sweep away the liberties of the continent like a deluge.”

    “We have it in our power,” Paine wrote, “to begin the world over again.”

    As Common Sense swept the colonies, people echoed Paine’s call for American independence. By April 1776, states were writing their own declarations of independence, and a Virginia convention asked the Second Continental Congress to consider declaring “the United Colonies free and independent States, absolved from all allegiance to, or dependence upon, the Crown or Parliament of Great Britain.” On June 7, Lee put the resolution forward. Four days later, the Congress appointed a committee to draft such a declaration.  

    Congress left time for reluctant delegates to come around to the resolution, so it was not until July 2 that the measure passed. “The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America,” Massachusetts delegate John Adams wrote to his wife, Abigail, on July 3. While we celebrate the signing of the final form of the declaration two days later, the adoption of the Lee Resolution marked the delegates’ ultimate conviction that a nation should rest not on the arbitrary rule of a single man and his hand-picked advisors, but on the rule of law.

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    mickeyratmickeyrat up my ass, like Chadwick was up his Posts: 36,585
      July 3, 2024 (Wednesday)

    And on July 4, 1776, the Second Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence, declaring: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.”

    For all the fact that the congressmen got around the sticky little problem of Black and Indigenous enslavement by defining “men” as “white men,” and for all that it never crossed their minds that women might also have rights, the Declaration of Independence was an astonishingly radical document. In a world that had been dominated by a small class of rich men for so long that most people simply accepted that they should be forever tied to their status at birth, a group of upstart legislators on the edges of a continent declared that no man was born better than any other.

    America was founded on the radical idea that all men are created equal.

    What the founders declared self-evident was not so clear eighty-seven years later, when southern white men went to war to reshape America into a nation in which African Americans, Indigenous Americans, Chinese, and Irish were locked into a lower status than whites. In that era, equality had become a “proposition,” rather than “self-evident.”

    “Four score and seven years ago,” Abraham Lincoln reminded Americans, “our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.” In 1863, Lincoln explained, the Civil War was “testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure.”

    It did, of course. The Confederate rebellion failed. The United States endured, and Americans began to expand the idea that all men are created equal to include Black men, men of color, and eventually women.

    But just as in the 1850s, we are now, once again, facing a rebellion against our founding principle, as a few people seek to reshape America into a nation in which certain people are better than others.

    The men who signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, pledged their “Lives, [their] Fortunes and [their] sacred Honor” to defend the idea of human equality. Ever since then, Americans have sacrificed their own fortunes, honor, and even their lives, for that principle. Lincoln reminded Civil War Americans of those sacrifices when he urged the people of his era to “take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

    Words to live by in 2024.

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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: 36,585
      July 4, 2024 (Thursday)

    Monday, July 1, was a busy day. That morning the Supreme Court handed down a decision in Donald J. Trump v. United States that gives the president absolute immunity for committing crimes while engaging in official acts. On the same day, Trump White House strategist Steve Bannon began a four-month sentence for contempt of Congress at a low-security federal prison in Danbury, Connecticut. Before he began serving his sentence, he swore he would “be more powerful in prison than I am now.”

    On July 2, Kevin Roberts, president of the Heritage Foundation, went onto Bannon’s webcast War Room to hearten Bannon’s right-wing followers after Bannon’s incarceration. Former representative Dave Brat (R-VA) was sitting in for Bannon and conducted the interview.  

    “[W]e are going to win,” Roberts told them. “We're in the process of taking this country back…. We ought to be really encouraged by what happened yesterday. And in spite of all of the injustice, which, of course, friends and audience of this show, of our friend Steve know, we are going to prevail.”

    “That Supreme Court ruling yesterday on immunity is vital, and it's vital for a lot of reasons,” Roberts said, adding that the nation needs a strong leader because “the radical left…has taken over our institutions.” “[W]e are in the process of the second American Revolution,” he said, “which will remain bloodless if the left allows it to be.”

    Roberts took over the presidency of the Heritage Foundation in 2021, and he shifted it from a conservative think tank to an organization devoted to “institutionalizing Trumpism.” Central to that project for Roberts has been working to bring the policies of Hungary’s president Viktor Orbán, a close ally of Russia’s president Vladimir Putin, to the United States.

    In 2023, Roberts brought the Heritage Foundation into a formal partnership with Hungary’s Danube Institute, a think tank overseen by a foundation that is directly funded by the Hungarian government; as journalist Casey Michel reported, it is, “for all intents and purposes, a state-funded front for pushing pro-Orbán rhetoric.” The Danube Institute has given grants to far-right figures in the U.S., and, Michel noted in March, “we have no idea how much funding may be flowing directly from Orbán’s regime to the Heritage Foundation.” Roberts has called modern Hungary “not just a model for conservative statecraft but the model.”

    Orbán has been open about his determination to overthrow the concept of western democracy and replace it with what he has, on different occasions, called “illiberal democracy” or “Christian democracy.” He wants to replace the multiculturalism at the heart of democracy with Christian culture, stop the immigration that he believes undermines Hungarian culture, and reject “adaptable family models” in favor of “the Christian family model.” He is moving Hungary away from the stabilizing international systems supported by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

    No matter what he calls it, Orbán’s model is not democracy at all. As soon as he retook office in 2010, he began to establish control over the media, cracking down on those critical of his far-right political party, Fidesz, and rewarding those who toed the party line. In 2012 his supporters rewrote the country’s constitution to strengthen his hand, and extreme gerrymandering gave his party more power while changes to election rules benefited his campaigns. Increasingly, he used the power of the state to concentrate wealth among his cronies, and he reworked the country’s judicial system and civil service system to stack it with his loyalists, who attacked immigrants, women, and the rights of LGBTQ+ individuals. While Hungary still holds elections, state control of the media and the apparatus of voting means that it is impossible for the people of Hungary to remove him from power.

    Trump supporters have long admired Orbán’s nationalism and centering of Christianity, while the fact that Hungary continues to have elections enables them to pretend that the country remains a democracy.

    The tight cooperation between Heritage and Orbán illuminates Project 2025, the blueprint for a new kind of government dictated by Trump or a Trump-like figure. In January 2024, Roberts told Lulu Garcia-Navarro of the New York Times that Project 2025 was designed to jump-start a right-wing takeover of the government. “[T]he Trump administration, with the best of intentions, simply got a slow start,” Roberts said. “And Heritage and our allies in Project 2025 believe that must never be repeated.”

    Project 2025 stands on four principles that it says the country must embrace: the U.S. must “[r]estore the family as the centerpiece of American life and protect our children”; “[d]ismantle the administrative state and return self-governance to the American people”; “[d]efend our nation’s sovereignty, borders, and bounty against global threats”; and “[s]ecure our God-given individual rights to live freely—what our Constitution calls ‘the Blessings of Liberty.’”

    In almost 1,000 pages, the document explains what these policies mean for ordinary Americans. Restoring the family and protecting children means using “government power…to restore the American family.” That, the document says, means eliminating any words associated with sexual orientation or gender identity, gender, abortion, reproductive health, or reproductive rights from any government rule, regulation, or law. Any reference to transgenderism is “pornography” and must be banned.

    The overturning of the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that recognized the right to abortion must be gratefully celebrated, the document says, but the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision accomplishing that end “is just the beginning.”

    Dismantling the administrative state starts from the premise that “people are policy.” Frustrated because nonpartisan civil employees thwarted much of Trump’s agenda in his first term, the authors of Project 2025 call for firing much of the current government workforce—about 2 million people work for the U.S. government—and replacing it with loyalists who will carry out a right-wing president’s demands.

    The plan asserts “the existential need” for an authoritarian leader to dismantle the current government that regulates business, provides a social safety net, and protects civil rights. Instead of the government Americans have built since 1933, the plan says the national government must “decentralize and privatize as much as possible” and leave “the great majority of domestic activities to state, local, and private governance.”

    It attacks “America’s largest corporations, its public institutions, and its popular culture,” for their embrace of international organizations like the United Nations and the European Union and for their willingness to work with other countries. It calls for abandoning all of those partnerships and alliances.

    Also on July 1, Orbán took over the rotating presidency of the European Union. He will be operating for six months in that position under a slogan taken from Trump and adapted to Europe: “Make Europe Great Again.” The day before taking that office, Orbán announced that his political party was forming a new alliance with far-right parties in Austria and the Czech Republic in order to launch a “new era of European politics.”

    Tomorrow, Orbán will travel to Moscow to meet with Russian president Vladimir Putin. On July 2, Orbán met with Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv, where he urged Zelensky to accept a “ceasefire.” In the U.S., Trump’s team has suggested that, if reelected, Trump will call for an immediate ceasefire and will negotiate with Putin over how much of Ukraine Putin can keep while also rejecting Ukraine for NATO membership and scaling back U.S. commitment to NATO.

    “I would expect a very quick end to the conflict,” Kevin Roberts said. Putin says he supports Trump’s plan.

    Roberts’s “second American revolution,” which would destroy American democracy in an echo of a small-time dictator like Orbán and align our country with authoritarian leaders, seems a lot less patriotic than the first American Revolution.

    For my part, I will stand with the words written 248 years ago today, saying that “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.—That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

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    Halifax2TheMaxHalifax2TheMax Posts: 37,111
    mickeyrat said:
      July 4, 2024 (Thursday)

    Monday, July 1, was a busy day. That morning the Supreme Court handed down a decision in Donald J. Trump v. United States that gives the president absolute immunity for committing crimes while engaging in official acts. On the same day, Trump White House strategist Steve Bannon began a four-month sentence for contempt of Congress at a low-security federal prison in Danbury, Connecticut. Before he began serving his sentence, he swore he would “be more powerful in prison than I am now.”

    On July 2, Kevin Roberts, president of the Heritage Foundation, went onto Bannon’s webcast War Room to hearten Bannon’s right-wing followers after Bannon’s incarceration. Former representative Dave Brat (R-VA) was sitting in for Bannon and conducted the interview.  

    “[W]e are going to win,” Roberts told them. “We're in the process of taking this country back…. We ought to be really encouraged by what happened yesterday. And in spite of all of the injustice, which, of course, friends and audience of this show, of our friend Steve know, we are going to prevail.”

    “That Supreme Court ruling yesterday on immunity is vital, and it's vital for a lot of reasons,” Roberts said, adding that the nation needs a strong leader because “the radical left…has taken over our institutions.” “[W]e are in the process of the second American Revolution,” he said, “which will remain bloodless if the left allows it to be.”

    Roberts took over the presidency of the Heritage Foundation in 2021, and he shifted it from a conservative think tank to an organization devoted to “institutionalizing Trumpism.” Central to that project for Roberts has been working to bring the policies of Hungary’s president Viktor Orbán, a close ally of Russia’s president Vladimir Putin, to the United States.

    In 2023, Roberts brought the Heritage Foundation into a formal partnership with Hungary’s Danube Institute, a think tank overseen by a foundation that is directly funded by the Hungarian government; as journalist Casey Michel reported, it is, “for all intents and purposes, a state-funded front for pushing pro-Orbán rhetoric.” The Danube Institute has given grants to far-right figures in the U.S., and, Michel noted in March, “we have no idea how much funding may be flowing directly from Orbán’s regime to the Heritage Foundation.” Roberts has called modern Hungary “not just a model for conservative statecraft but the model.”

    Orbán has been open about his determination to overthrow the concept of western democracy and replace it with what he has, on different occasions, called “illiberal democracy” or “Christian democracy.” He wants to replace the multiculturalism at the heart of democracy with Christian culture, stop the immigration that he believes undermines Hungarian culture, and reject “adaptable family models” in favor of “the Christian family model.” He is moving Hungary away from the stabilizing international systems supported by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

    No matter what he calls it, Orbán’s model is not democracy at all. As soon as he retook office in 2010, he began to establish control over the media, cracking down on those critical of his far-right political party, Fidesz, and rewarding those who toed the party line. In 2012 his supporters rewrote the country’s constitution to strengthen his hand, and extreme gerrymandering gave his party more power while changes to election rules benefited his campaigns. Increasingly, he used the power of the state to concentrate wealth among his cronies, and he reworked the country’s judicial system and civil service system to stack it with his loyalists, who attacked immigrants, women, and the rights of LGBTQ+ individuals. While Hungary still holds elections, state control of the media and the apparatus of voting means that it is impossible for the people of Hungary to remove him from power.

    Trump supporters have long admired Orbán’s nationalism and centering of Christianity, while the fact that Hungary continues to have elections enables them to pretend that the country remains a democracy.

    The tight cooperation between Heritage and Orbán illuminates Project 2025, the blueprint for a new kind of government dictated by Trump or a Trump-like figure. In January 2024, Roberts told Lulu Garcia-Navarro of the New York Times that Project 2025 was designed to jump-start a right-wing takeover of the government. “[T]he Trump administration, with the best of intentions, simply got a slow start,” Roberts said. “And Heritage and our allies in Project 2025 believe that must never be repeated.”

    Project 2025 stands on four principles that it says the country must embrace: the U.S. must “[r]estore the family as the centerpiece of American life and protect our children”; “[d]ismantle the administrative state and return self-governance to the American people”; “[d]efend our nation’s sovereignty, borders, and bounty against global threats”; and “[s]ecure our God-given individual rights to live freely—what our Constitution calls ‘the Blessings of Liberty.’”

    In almost 1,000 pages, the document explains what these policies mean for ordinary Americans. Restoring the family and protecting children means using “government power…to restore the American family.” That, the document says, means eliminating any words associated with sexual orientation or gender identity, gender, abortion, reproductive health, or reproductive rights from any government rule, regulation, or law. Any reference to transgenderism is “pornography” and must be banned.

    The overturning of the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that recognized the right to abortion must be gratefully celebrated, the document says, but the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision accomplishing that end “is just the beginning.”

    Dismantling the administrative state starts from the premise that “people are policy.” Frustrated because nonpartisan civil employees thwarted much of Trump’s agenda in his first term, the authors of Project 2025 call for firing much of the current government workforce—about 2 million people work for the U.S. government—and replacing it with loyalists who will carry out a right-wing president’s demands.

    The plan asserts “the existential need” for an authoritarian leader to dismantle the current government that regulates business, provides a social safety net, and protects civil rights. Instead of the government Americans have built since 1933, the plan says the national government must “decentralize and privatize as much as possible” and leave “the great majority of domestic activities to state, local, and private governance.”

    It attacks “America’s largest corporations, its public institutions, and its popular culture,” for their embrace of international organizations like the United Nations and the European Union and for their willingness to work with other countries. It calls for abandoning all of those partnerships and alliances.

    Also on July 1, Orbán took over the rotating presidency of the European Union. He will be operating for six months in that position under a slogan taken from Trump and adapted to Europe: “Make Europe Great Again.” The day before taking that office, Orbán announced that his political party was forming a new alliance with far-right parties in Austria and the Czech Republic in order to launch a “new era of European politics.”

    Tomorrow, Orbán will travel to Moscow to meet with Russian president Vladimir Putin. On July 2, Orbán met with Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv, where he urged Zelensky to accept a “ceasefire.” In the U.S., Trump’s team has suggested that, if reelected, Trump will call for an immediate ceasefire and will negotiate with Putin over how much of Ukraine Putin can keep while also rejecting Ukraine for NATO membership and scaling back U.S. commitment to NATO.

    “I would expect a very quick end to the conflict,” Kevin Roberts said. Putin says he supports Trump’s plan.

    Roberts’s “second American revolution,” which would destroy American democracy in an echo of a small-time dictator like Orbán and align our country with authoritarian leaders, seems a lot less patriotic than the first American Revolution.

    For my part, I will stand with the words written 248 years ago today, saying that “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.—That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

    Meh, Project 2025 is FEMA camps for liberals. And we were told it couldn’t happen here.
    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: 36,585
      July 5, 2024 (Friday)

    For all that certain members of the media continue their freakout over Biden’s electability after his appearance in last Thursday’s event on CNN, it is Trump and his Republicans who appear to be nervous about the upcoming election.

    Journalist Jennifer Schulze of Heartland Signal noted today that as of 8:00 this morning, the New York Times had published 192 pieces on Biden’s debate performance: 142 news articles and 50 opinion pieces. Trump was covered in 92 stories, about half of which were about the Supreme Court’s immunity ruling. Although Trump has frequently slurred his words or trailed off while speaking and repeatedly fell asleep at his own criminal trial, none of the pieces mentioned Trump’s mental fitness.

    But for all of what independent journalists are calling a “feeding frenzy,” egged on by right-wing media figures, it seems as if the true implications of Project 2025 are starting to gain traction and the Trump campaign recognizes that the policies that document advocates are hugely unpopular.

    On July 2, Heritage Foundation president Kevin Roberts assured Trump ally Steve Bannon’s followers that they are winning in what he called “the second American Revolution, which will remain bloodless if the left allows it to be.” In March, Roberts told former Trump administration official and now right-wing media figure Sebastian Gorka about Project 2025: “There are parts of the plan that we will not share with the Left: the executive orders, the rules and regulations. Just like a good football team we don’t want to tip off our playbook to the Left.”

    This morning, although Roberts has described Project 2025 as “institutionalizing Trumpism,” Trump’s social media feed tried to distance the former president from Project 2025. “I know nothing about Project 2025. I have no idea who is behind it,” the post read. Despite this disavowal of any knowledge of the project, it continued: “I disagree with some of the things they’re saying and some of the things they’re saying are absolutely ridiculous and abysmal. Anything they do, I wish them luck, but I have nothing to do with them.”

    In what appeared to be a coordinated statement, the directors of Project 2025 wrote on social media less than two hours later that they “do not speak for any candidate.”  

    Aside from the fact that “[a]nything they do, I wish them luck,” sounds much like the signaling Trump did to the Proud Boys when he told them to “stand back and stand by,” Trump’s assertion and Project 2025’s response can’t possibly erase the many and deep ties of the Trump camp to Project 2025. Juliet Jeske of Decoding Fox News noted that Trump’s name shows up on more than 190 pages of the Project 2025 playbook.

    Rebekah Mercer, who sits on the board of the Heritage Foundation, was one of Trump’s top donors in 2016; her family founded and operated Cambridge Analytica, the company that misused the data of millions of Facebook users to push pro-Trump and anti-Clinton material in 2016. Trump’s national press secretary, Karoline Leavitt, has appeared in a Project 2025 video. Trump’s own super PAC has been running ads promoting Project 2025, calling it “Trump’s Project 2025,” and many of its policies—killing the Department of Education, erasing the separation of church and state, ending renewable energy programs and ramping up use of fossil fuels, deporting immigrants—are also Trump’s.

    Project 2025’s director, Paul Dans, as well as both of its associate directors, Spencer Chretien and Troup Hemenway, were in charge of personnel in Trump’s White House, and the theme of Project 2025 is that “people are policy,” by which they mean that hand-picked loyalists must replace civil servants. Trump’s former body man John McEntee, who reentered the White House as a senior advisor after having to leave because he failed a background check, was in charge of hiring in the last months of the Trump White House; he helped to draft Project 2025. Key Trump ally Russell Vought wrote the section of Project 2025 that called for an authoritarian leader; he is also on the platform committee of the Republican National Convention.

    If indeed Trump knows nothing about Project 2025 and has no idea who is behind it, his cognitive ability is rotten. As former chair of the Republican National Committee Michael Steele wrote, “Since [Project 2025] is designed to institutionalize Trumpism and you know nothing about it, then why do you echo some of its policy priorities during your rallies? Coincidence? And how exactly don’t you know that Project 2025 Director Paul Dans served as your chief of staff at the Office of Personnel Management, and Associate Director Spencer Chretien served as your special assistant and associate director of presidential personnel? And folks say we should be worried about Biden.”

    Trump’s attempt to distance himself from Project 2025 indicates just how toxic that plan is with voters. As political scientist Ian Bremmer dryly noted, it seems that “the second [A]merican revolution apparently [is] not polling as well as the first in internal focus groups.” Former Republican strategist Rick Wilson was even more direct, saying that Trump was trying to distance himself from Project 2025 because “most of it polls about like Ebola,” the deadly virus that causes severe bleeding and organ failure, and has a mortality rate of 80 to 90%.

    The extremism of the MAGA Republicans was on display in another way today as well after The New Republic published a June 30 video of North Carolina lieutenant governor Mark Robinson, currently the Republican nominee for governor of North Carolina, saying to a church audience about their opponents—whom he identified in a scattershot speech as anything from communists to “wicked people” to those standing against “conservatives”—"Kill them! Some liberal somewhere is gonna say that sounds awful. Too bad!... Some folks need killing! It's time for somebody to say it.”

    Today the Vatican turned against one of those extremists when it excommunicated pro-Trump archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, who was the Vatican’s diplomat to the U.S. from 2011 to 2016, for “schism” after he refused to recognize the authority of Pope Francis. Viganò has repeatedly attacked Francis’s Catholic Church for being “inclusive, immigrationist, eco-sustainable, and gay-friendly.”

    Also today, Trump’s lawyers asked Judge Aileen Cannon, who is overseeing Trump’s criminal trial for retaining hundreds of classified documents, to dismiss charges that can no longer be prosecuted in light of the Supreme Court’s decision that a president cannot be charged for crimes committed while engaging in “official acts.” They also called the case “politically motivated” and asked Cannon to stop the case entirely in light of Justice Clarence Thomas’s suggestion that Special Counsel Jack Smith was not properly appointed.

    The other big news today was that the U.S. added 206,000 jobs in June, bringing the total number of jobs created under this administration to 15.7 million. Last month’s numbers were, once again, higher than economists expected and, according to economic analyst Steven Rattner, above job growth levels before the pandemic. He added that these jobs are not simply a bounceback from the depths of the pandemic: 6.2 million more Americans are employed now than before Covid hit.

    Poking fun at the calls for Biden to step down, conservative lawyer George Conway posted: “Biden needs to RESIGN NOW before any more of these terrible job things are created.”

    In a speech today in Madison, Wisconsin, Biden vowed to stay in the race, and the speech appeared strong enough that right-wing extremists, including Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) and activist Laura Loomer, posted on social media—falsely—that he was having a medical emergency aboard Air Force One. Tonight, George Stephanopoulos of ABC interviewed Biden without a teleprompter or notes, focusing only on Biden’s age without any questions about policy. ABC News posted the interview transcript with the president’s conversation portrayed with the "g"s dropped off the words and with other colloquial pronunciations spelled out, as if it were dialect. Trump, whose words the press tends to turn into clean prose, has refused to do an interview under the same conditions.

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    mickeyratmickeyrat up my ass, like Chadwick was up his Posts: 36,585
      July 6, 2024 (Saturday)

    Happy July 4 weekend, from my town to yours.

    Going to sleep for a week. (A nice thought, but actually will be back at it tomorrow.)

    _____________________________________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: 36,585
      July 7, 2024 (Sunday)

    I have spent the weekend struggling mightily with a new manuscript and have had little time to study the news.

    The most notable event from the day is that in a stunning upset, French voters have rejected members of Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Rally party in legislative elections. After the first round of votes, National Rally candidates appeared to be comfortably ahead, but left-wing and centrist candidates combined forces to prevent splitting the vote, and voters then flooded the polls to elect the candidates that coalition fielded.

    Le Pen has said her policies are the same ones advanced by Russian president Vladimir Putin and former president Trump.

    On Thursday, elections in the United Kingdom saw a landslide victory for the center-left Labour Party for the first time in 14 years. Lauren Frayer and Fatima Al-Kassab of NPR noted that it was the worst defeat for the Conservatives in their almost 200-year history.

    There are always many factors that go into any election, but these results at least raise the question of whether western politicians are finding effective ways to counter the techniques of Russian disinformation. France has been flooded with Russian disinformation trying to create divisions in society as Putin seeks to break European support for Ukraine. Russia openly supports Le Pen.    

    The U.K. also has been similarly flooded with Russian disinformation for years now. Russian trolls lie on social media websites and populate the comments sections of popular websites both to end support for Ukraine and to exploit wedge issues to split people apart.

    These efforts were part of what Russian political theorists called “political technology”: the construction of a virtual political reality through modern media. Political theorists developed several techniques in this approach to politics: blackmailing opponents, abusing state power to help favored candidates, sponsoring “double” candidates with names similar to those of opponents in order to confuse voters on the other side and thus open the way for their own candidates, creating false parties to split the opposition, and, finally, creating a false narrative around an election or other event in order to control public debate.

    These techniques perverted democracy, turning it from the concept of voters choosing their leaders into the concept of voters rubber-stamping the leaders they had been manipulated into backing.

    This system made sense in former Soviet republics, where it enabled leaders to avoid the censorship that voters would recoil from by instead creating a firehose of news until people became overwhelmed by the task of trying to figure out what was real and simply tuned out. But those techniques dovetailed with the rhetoric of homegrown far-right figures as well.

    It has always been a question what people who have embraced a virtual world will do when they figure out that the narrative on which they have based their government is fake. It seems possible that they create centrist coalitions and turn out to vote in huge numbers to reassert control over their politics and their country.

    The United States has had a similarly contentious relationship with political technology, Russian disinformation, and far-right leaders echoing that disinformation as they seek to take power by dividing the American people.

    And long before anyone had begun to call disinformation political technology, the United States had a small group of elite enslavers seeking to take control of the nation by hammering on their narrative that the only true basis for society was racial slavery and using racism to divide their opponents.

    When they managed to get Congress and the Supreme Court to give them the right to move slavery into the American West, where new slave states could work with southern slave states to make slavery national, voters woke up. Disagreeing about immigration, internal improvements, public education, tariffs, and finance—all hot-button issues in the 1850s—they nonetheless built a centrist coalition to stop elite enslavers from replacing democracy with an oligarchy.

    Indeed, their coalition was so effective that Illinois senator Stephen A. Douglas, who had sponsored the 1854 Kansas-Nebraska Act that permitted enslavement to move west, objected that it was unseemly for abolitionists who opposed human enslavement in principle to work with those like Illinois lawyer Abraham Lincoln, who focused on the Constitution and argued that it protected enslavement in the slave states.

    In 1854, Lincoln answered Douglas: “Our Senator…objects that those who oppose him in this measure do not entirely agree with one another…. [H]e…says it is not quite fair to oppose him in this variety of ways. He should remember that he took us by surprise—astounded us—by this measure. We were thunderstruck and stunned; and we reeled and fell in utter confusion. But we rose each fighting, grasping whatever he could first reach—a scythe—a pitchfork—a chopping axe, or a butcher's cleaver. We struck in the direction of the sound; and we are rapidly closing in upon him. He must not think to divert us from our purpose, by showing us that our drill, our dress, and our weapons, are not entirely perfect and uniform. When the storm shall be past, he shall find us still Americans; no less devoted to the continued Union and prosperity of the country than heretofore.”

    Six years later, that coalition of voters elected Lincoln to the White House.

    The French elections left no party in an absolute majority, so governance will be messy. Spanish prime minister Pedro Sánchez nonetheless cheered tonight’s results: “This week, two of the largest countries in Europe have chosen the same path that Spain chose a year ago: rejection of the extreme right and a decisive commitment to a social left that addresses people’s problems with serious and brave policies,” Sánchez posted on social media.

    “The United Kingdom and France have said YES to progress and social advancement and NO to the regression in rights and freedoms. There is no agreement or government with the extreme right.”

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    mickeyratmickeyrat up my ass, like Chadwick was up his Posts: 36,585
      July 8, 2024 (Monday)

    On July 9, 1868, Americans changed the U.S. Constitution for the fourteenth time, adapting our foundational document to construct a new nation without systematic Black enslavement.

    In 1865 the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution had prohibited slavery on the basis of race, but it did not prevent the establishment of a system in which Black Americans continued to be unequal. Backed by President Andrew Johnson, who had taken over the presidency after actor John Wilkes Booth had murdered President Abraham Lincoln, white southern Democrats had done their best to push their Black neighbors back into subservience. So long as southern states had abolished enslavement, repudiated Confederate debts, and nullified the ordinances of secession, Johnson was happy to readmit them to full standing in the Union, still led by the very men who had organized the Confederacy and made war on the United States.

    Northern Republican lawmakers refused. There was no way they were going to rebuild southern society on the same blueprint as existed before the Civil War, especially since the upcoming 1870 census would count Black Americans as whole persons for the first time in the nation’s history, giving southern states more power in Congress and the Electoral College after the war than they had had before it. Having just fought a war to destroy the South’s ideology, they were not going to let it regrow in peacetime.

    Congress rejected Johnson’s plan for Reconstruction.

    But then congressmen had to come up with their own. After months of hearings and debate, they proposed amending the Constitution to settle the outstanding questions of the war. Chief among these was how to protect the rights of Black Americans in states where they could neither vote nor testify in court or sit on a jury to protect their own interests.

    Congress’s solution was the Fourteenth Amendment.

    It took on the infamous 1857 Dred Scott v. Sandford decision declaring that Black men "are not included, and were not intended to be included, under the word 'citizens' in the Constitution, and can therefore claim none of the rights and privileges which that instrument provides for and secures to citizens.”

    The Fourteenth Amendment provides that “[a]ll persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.”

    The amendment also addressed the Dred Scott decision in another profound way. In 1857, southerners and Democrats who were adamantly opposed to federal power controlled the Supreme Court. They backed states’ rights. So the Dred Scott decision did more than read Black Americans out of our history; it dramatically circumscribed Congress’s power.

    The Dred Scott decision declared that democracy was created at the state level, by those people in a state who were allowed to vote. In 1857 this meant white men, almost exclusively. If those people voted to do something widely unpopular—like adopting human enslavement, for example—they had the right to do so. People like Abraham Lincoln pointed out that such domination by states would eventually mean that an unpopular minority could take over the national government, forcing their ideas on everyone else, but defenders of states’ rights stood firm.

    And so the Fourteenth Amendment gave the federal government the power to protect individuals even if their state legislatures had passed discriminatory laws. “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws,” it said. And then it went on to say that “Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.”

    The principles behind the Fourteenth Amendment were behind the 1870 creation of the Department of Justice, whose first job was to bring down the Ku Klux Klan terrorists in the South.

    Those same principles took on profound national significance in the post–World War II era, when the Supreme Court began to use the equal protection clause and the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment aggressively to apply the protections in the Bill of Rights to the states. The civil rights decisions of the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, including the Brown v. Board of Education decision outlawing segregation in public schools, come from this doctrine. Under it, the federal government took up the mantle of protecting the rights of individual Americans in the states from the whims of state legislatures.

    Opponents of these new civil rights protections quickly began to object that such decisions were “legislating from the bench,” rather than permitting state legislatures to make their own laws. They began to call for “originalism,” the idea that the Constitution should be interpreted only as the Framers had intended when they wrote it, an argument that focused on the creation of law at the state level. Famously, in 1987, President Ronald Reagan nominated Robert Bork, an originalist who had called for the rollback of the Supreme Court’s civil rights decisions, for a seat on that court.

    Reacting to that nomination, Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA) recognized the importance of the Fourteenth Amendment to equality: “Robert Bork's America is a land in which women would be forced into back-alley abortions, blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters, rogue police could break down citizens' doors in midnight raids, schoolchildren could not be taught about evolution, writers and artists could be censored at the whim of the Government, and the doors of the Federal courts would be shut on the fingers of millions of citizens for whom the judiciary is—and is often the only—protector of the individual rights that are the heart of our democracy….”

    From the perspective of 2024, Kennedy’s comments seem prescient, but the country could go even further backward. The 2024 Republican Party platform, released today, calls for using the Fourteenth Amendment not to protect equal rights for Americans from discriminatory laws, as those who wrote, passed, and ratified the amendment intended. Instead it calls for using the Fourteenth Amendment to protect the rights of fetuses from the time of fertilization. It says that states should start passing laws protecting those rights: so-called fetal personhood laws that have their roots in the 1960s and were considered a fringe idea until about fifteen years ago. Those laws prohibit all abortion, in vitro fertilization (IVF), and several forms of contraception.  

    Saying states should pass such laws echoes the language Trump has used to try to avoid the Republicans’ extreme and unpopular abortion stance by claiming, as the Supreme Court did in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision, that states alone should write laws covering abortion. But in its reaction to the Republican platform today, the antiabortion Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America organization made it clear that the platform’s reference to the Fourteenth Amendment was designed to open the way for a national abortion ban. The Fourteenth Amendment, after all, gives Congress  “power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.”

    “It is important that the [Republican Party] reaffirmed its commitment to protect unborn life today through the 14th Amendment,” the organization said in a statement. “Under this amendment, it is Congress that enacts and enforces its provisions. The Republican Party remains strongly pro-life at the national level.”

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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
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    mickeyratmickeyrat up my ass, like Chadwick was up his Posts: 36,585
      July 9, 2024 (Tuesday)

    In this morning’s Talking Points Memo, David Kurtz observed that “much of political journalism is divorced from policy and the substance of politics.” It’s all about a horse race, he wrote, while complex questions, competing public interests, and the history of an issue get distilled to “whether it’s good or bad politically.”

    Today, he noted, that horse-race coverage means that “[a]n election about whether the United States will continue its two and half century long experiment in representative democracy, where a convicted felon is running to return to the office he tried to seize through extralegal means, where the specter of a new form of fascism looms on the horizon is suddenly consumed by a political death watch for the only person at present standing between democracy and another Trump term in the White House.”

    Yesterday, President Joe Biden tried to quell that political death watch by sending a letter to congressional Democrats stating that “despite all the speculation in the press and elsewhere, I am firmly committed to staying in this race, to running this race to the end, and to beating Donald Trump.” He noted that 14 million voters in the Democratic primary chose him, rather than a challenger, adding, “It was their decision to make. Not the press, not the pundits, not the big donors, not any selected group of individuals, no matter how well intentioned…. How can we stand for democracy in our nation if we ignore it in our own party?”

    In an apparent attempt to get beyond the horse-race politics Kurtz identified and to make clear the substance of this election, Biden explained: “We have an historic record of success to run on.” He cited his administration’s creation of more than 15 million jobs, leading to historic unemployment lows; revitalization of American manufacturing; expansion of affordable health care; rebuilding the country’s infrastructure; lowering the cost of prescription drugs; providing student debt relief; and making a historic investment in combating climate change.

    That vision, Biden wrote, “soundly beats” that of Trump and the MAGA Republicans, who are “siding with the wealthy and big corporations,” while the Democrats are “siding with the working people of America.” Trump and his people want another $5 trillion in tax cuts for the rich, he noted, and they plan to cut Social Security and Medicare, as well as end the ability of the government to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies to bring drug prices into line with prices in other countries. “We are the ones lowering costs for families,” he wrote, “from health care to prescription drugs to student debt to housing. We are the ones protecting Social Security and Medicare. Everything they’re proposing raises costs for most Americans—except their tax cuts which will go to the rich.”

    He went on to note that the Democrats are “protecting the freedoms of Americans,” while Trump’s people are “taking them away.” He pointed to the right-wing attacks on abortion rights, IVF, contraception, and gay marriage. Biden reiterated that he will sign a law making Roe v. Wade the law of the land if the nation elects a Democratic House and Senate. Finally, he pointed out that Democrats are protecting the rule of law and democracy, while Trump is actively working to destroy both. Trump, he wrote, has proven himself “unfit ever to hold the office of President.” “My fellow Democrats,” Biden wrote, “we have the record, the vision, and the fundamental commitment to America’s freedoms and our Democracy to win.”

    Hours later, the New York Times joined the tabloid New York Post in noting that visitor logs showed that Dr. Kevin Cannard, an expert on Parkinson’s disease, visited the White House eight times between July 2023 and March 2024. After pressing White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre for information beyond her statements that Biden is not being, and has not been, treated for Parkinson’s and that he sees a neurologist as part of his annual physical exams, a CBS News White House reporter accused Jean-Pierre of deliberately withholding information. Jean-Pierre pointed out that “personal attacks” are not appropriate from the press corps and that the press team does its best to give the information they have. She said she took offense at the reporter’s tone.

    Last night, White House physician Dr. Kevin O’Connor sent to Jean-Pierre a letter clarifying that the White House Medical Unit serves thousands of patients, many of whom are military personnel with neurological issues related to their service. Cannard was one of the team of specialists that annually examine the president. O’Connor’s office released the results of that examination in a letter dated February 28, he pointed out. It said, “An extremely detailed neurologic exam was again reassuring in that there were no findings which would be consistent with any cerebellar or other central neurological disorder, such as stroke, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s or ascending lateral sclerosis, nor are there any signs of cervical myelopathy.” The president does have “peripheral neuropathy in both feet. No motor weakness was detected. He exhibits no tremor, either at rest or with activity.”

    As media attention remains focused on Biden, a Supreme Court decision from last week that upends the modern American state and another that overturns the central concept of our democracy have disappeared from public discussion. In Loper Bright Enterprises v. Raimondo, the court overruled the longstanding legal precedent establishing that courts should defer to a government agency’s reasonable interpretation of a law. Instead, it said, judges themselves will decide on the legality of an agency’s actions.

    In Public Notice, Lisa Needham noted that right-wing judges have already blocked Biden administration rules that protect overtime pay for workers, prohibit noncompete clauses for truckers, and prohibit discrimination based on gender identity. As right-wing plaintiffs launch suits challenging rules they dislike, she notes, we should expect to see many more federal judges “deploying junk science and personal opinions to get to their preferred conclusion while ignoring the expertise of agency employees.”

    Loper Bright was a slashing blow at the federal regulations that make up the framework of today’s government, but it paled in comparison to the Supreme Court’s decision in Donald J. Trump v. United States. In that stunning decision, the six right-wing justices—three of whom Trump himself appointed—declared that a president is immune from prosecution for crimes committed as part of his “official duties.”

    This astonishing decision overturned the bedrock principle of the United States of America: that no one is above the law. But to be clear, the court did not give this power to Biden. Because it is not clear what official acts are—since no one has ever before made this distinction—it claimed for itself the right to decide what illegal behaviors are official acts and which are not. Since at least one of the justices (Samuel Alito) has flown flags demonstrating support for overthrowing Biden’s government and putting Trump back into office, and the wife of another (Clarence Thomas) worked with those trying to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, it seems likely that their decisions will reinforce Trump’s immunity alone.

    An extraordinary effort to use the courts to set up a Trump dictatorship appears largely to have been hidden under the horse race.

    And now that this scaffolding is in place, Trump’s team has begun to try to make him look more moderate than he is. On July 5, Trump claimed not to know anything about the extremist Project 2025, which calls for an authoritarian leader to impose Christian nationalism on the United States, despite the fact that his own appointees wrote it, his own political action committee advertised it as his plan, and his name appears in it 312 times.

    Agenda 47, the official Trump campaign website, has offered more information about how he will wield the absolute power he now claims. As Judd Legum pointed out today in Popular Information, a key author of Project 2025, Christian nationalist Russell Vought, has advanced a plan for killing any aspects of government his people dislike, and Trump has adopted that plan, vowing to cancel agencies or laws he dislikes by refusing to spend money Congress appropriates. This is known as “impoundment,” and Congress made it illegal in 1974 after President Richard Nixon used it to try to bend the government to his will. Trump says the 1974 Impoundment Control Act is unconstitutional because it interferes with the power of the presidency. He promised to use it to “crush the Deep State.” First on the chopping block will be the Department of Education.  

    The effort to make Trump sound more moderate continued yesterday, when the Republican National Committee released the party’s 2024 platform, in which it tried to fudge the issue of abortion while leaving language that supported a national abortion ban. The New York Times published an article reinforcing the idea that Trump is moderating, reporting: “Following Trump’s Lead, Republicans Adopt Platform That Softens Stance on Abortion.”

    In the midst of this political coverage, a key story has been largely overlooked. Not only does the stock market continue to set record highs, but also, as Jim Tankersley of the New York Times reported, the so-called left-behind counties, distressed after the collapse of manufacturing in them, have “added jobs and new businesses at their fastest pace since Bill Clinton was president.” “That turnaround,” he notes, “has shocked experts.” More than 1,000 counties, mostly in the Southeast and Midwest, that grew at less than half the national rate in terms of both people and income from 2000 to 2016, have surged. From 2016 to 2019—mostly during Trump’s administration—those rural left-behind counties, which make up about 18% of the U.S. population, added 10,000 jobs. In 2023 alone, they added 104,000.

    Tankersley notes that Trump overwhelmingly won the support of voters in these counties, but their circumstances did not improve during his administration. Under Biden, they added jobs five times faster than they did under Trump. Still, voters there appear to continue to back Trump.

    Now that’s a story. Are they backing Trump because they care more about culture wars than their economic security? Or are they ill informed?

    Meanwhile, Republicans in the House today passed the Refrigerator Freedom Act and the Stop Unaffordable Dishwasher Standards (SUDS) Act, prohibiting the Secretary of Energy from prescribing or enforcing energy efficiency standards for residential refrigerators, freezers, and dishwashers.

    After noting that the average monthly cost of operating a dishwasher is two to four dollars, and establishing that the people pushing this measure had no idea how much a dishwasher costs, Representative Katie Porter (D-CA) said: “This bill… Congress at its worst. A bunch of people who haven’t unloaded a dishwasher ever telling the American people what dishwashers they should or should not have.”

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    mickeyratmickeyrat up my ass, like Chadwick was up his Posts: 36,585
       July 10, 2024 (Wednesday)

    “In 1949, when leaders of 12 countries, including President Truman, came together in this very room, history was watching,” President Joe Biden said yesterday evening at the opening of the 2024 NATO Summit, being held from July 9 through July 12, in Washington, D.C.

    “It had been four years since the surrender of the Axis powers and the end of the most devastating world war the world had ever, ever known,” Biden continued.

    “Here, these 12 leaders gathered to make a sacred pledge to defend each other against aggression, provide their collective security, and to answer threats as one, because they knew to prevent future wars, to protect democracies, to lay the groundwork for a lasting peace and prosperity, they needed a new approach. They needed to combine their strengths. They needed an alliance.”

    That alliance was the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the “single greatest, most effective defensive alliance in the history of the world,” as Biden said.

    The NATO collective defense agreement has stabilized the world for the past 75 years thanks to its provision in Article 5 that each of the NATO allies will consider an attack on one as an attack on all, and respond accordingly.

    Biden looked back at the alliance’s 75 years. “Together, we rebuilt Europe from the ruins of war, held high the torch of liberty during long decades of the Cold War,” he said. “When former adversaries became fellow democracies, we welcomed them into the Alliance. When war broke out in the Balkans, we intervened to restore peace and stop ethnic cleansing. And when the United States was attacked on September 11th, our NATO Allies—all of you—stood with us, invoking Article 5 for the first time in NATO history, treating an attack on us as an attack on all of us—a breathtaking display of friendship that the American people will never ever, ever forget.”

    Biden celebrated that the alliance has continually adapted to a changing world and noted that it has changed its strategies to stay ahead of threats and reached out to new partners to become more effective. Biden noted that leaders from countries in the Indo-Pacific region had joined the leaders of the 32 NATO countries at this year’s summit. So did the leaders of NATO’s partner countries, including Ukraine, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea, and the European Union. “They’re here because they have a stake in our success and we have a stake in theirs,” Biden said.

    The promise of collective defense was daunting for opponents in 1949, when the treaty had 12 signatories: Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, the United Kingdom and the United States. It is even more daunting now that there are 32, with both Finland and Sweden having joined the alliance after Russia’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine. Together, the NATO countries can marshal about 3,370,000 active-duty military personnel and have a collective defense budget of more than $1.2 trillion.

    In addition, as Jim Garamone of Department of Defense News noted, the NATO countries share intelligence, training, tactics, and equipment, as well as agreements for permitting the use of airspace and bases. “[O]ur commitment is broad and deep,” Biden said. “[W]e’re willing, and we’re able to deter aggression and defend every inch of NATO territory across every domain: land, air, sea, cyber, and space.”

    When NATO formed, the main concern of the countries backing it was resisting Soviet aggression, but with the fall of the Soviet Union and the rise of Russian president Vladimir Putin, NATO turned to resisting Russian aggression. “[H]istory calls for our collective strength,” Biden said. “Autocrats want to overturn global order, which has by and large kept for nearly 80 years and counting.”

    Biden called out Putin’s war of aggression against Ukraine and recalled that NATO had built a global coalition to stand behind Ukraine, providing weapons and aid while also moving troops into the surrounding NATO countries. He announced that the U.S., Germany, the Netherlands, Romania, and Italy are donating more air defense equipment.

    “All the Allies knew that before this war, Putin thought NATO would break,” Biden said. “Today, NATO is stronger than it’s ever been in its history.” Biden noted that the world is in a pivotal moment, and reminded his listeners: “The fact that NATO remains the bulwark of global security did not happen by accident. It wasn’t inevitable. Again and again, at critical moments, we chose unity over disunion, progress over retreat, freedom over tyranny, and hope over fear.
    Again and again, we stood behind our shared vision of a peaceful and prosperous transatlantic community.”

    He assured the attendees that an “overwhelming bipartisan majority of Americans understand that NATO makes us all safer…. The American people know that all the progress we’ve made in the past 75 years has happened behind the shield of NATO,” understanding that without it, we would face “another war in Europe, American troops fighting and dying, dictators spreading chaos, economic collapse, catastrophe.” He assured allies that Americans understand our “sacred obligation” to NATO, and quoted Republican president Ronald Reagan, who said: “If our fellow democracies are not secure, we cannot be secure. If you are threatened, we are threatened. And if you are not at peace, we cannot be at peace.”

    And then Biden surprised NATO secretary general Jens Stoltenberg, the former Norwegian prime minister who is stepping down from his NATO position after serving since 2014, with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. “Today, NATO is stronger, smarter, and more energized than when you began,” Biden said. “And a billion people across Europe and North America and, indeed, the whole world will reap the rewards of your labor for years to come in the form of security, opportunity, and greater freedoms.”

    Today, Biden reiterated the theme that alliances happen not “by chance but by choice.” Before the attendees got to work, he explained that the NATO countries must strengthen their home industrial bases and capacity in order to produce critical defense equipment more quickly, a deficiency made clear in the struggle to get armaments to Ukraine. Such readiness will strengthen security, he said, as well as creating “stronger supply chains, a stronger economy, stronger military, and a stronger nation.”

    The Washington Summit Declaration released today reaffirms NATO as “the unique, essential, and indispensable transatlantic forum to consult, coordinate, and act on all matters related to our individual and collective security,” saying “[o]ur commitment to defend one another and every inch of Allied territory at all times, as enshrined in Article 5…is iron-clad.”

    It warns that “Russia remains the most significant and direct threat to Allies’ security” and pledges “unwavering solidarity” with Ukraine. It says that “Ukraine’s future is in NATO” and calls out Belarus, North Korea, Iran, and China for enabling Putin’s war. Indeed, the declaration calls out China even more directly, warning that it “continues to pose systemic challenges to Euro-Atlantic security,” especially by flooding other countries with disinformation.

    Russian aggression is a deep concern for NATO countries; so is Trump, who worked to take the U.S. out of NATO when he was in office, vowed he will accomplish that in a second term, and in February 2024 told an audience that if he thought NATO countries weren’t contributing enough to their own defense he would tell Russia to “do whatever the hell they want.” (Biden noted yesterday that when he took office, only nine NATO countries met their target goal of spending 2% of their gross domestic product on their defense, while this year, 23 will.)

    Biden was key to rebuilding the NATO alliance after Trump weakened it, and the leaders at the NATO summit told foreign policy journalist for The Daily Beast David Rothkopf that they were “not concerned with Biden’s ability to play a leading role in NATO during his second term.” They “express confidence in his judgment” and “have a great deal of confidence in the foreign policy team around him.” But they worry about Trump.

    Shortly after Biden gave his powerful speech opening the summit, Trump had his first public event since the June 27 CNN event, at his Doral golf club. It was a wandering rant packed, as usual, with wild lies, but he did touch on the topic of NATO. “I didn’t even know what the hell NATO was too much before, but it didn’t take me long to figure it out, like about two minutes,” he said. Trump’s former national security advisor John Bolton told a reporter that Trump’s willingness to undermine NATO is “a demonstration of the lack of seriousness of the way Trump treats the alliance, because he doesn't understand it."

    Following the NATO summit, Hungary’s right-wing prime minister, Viktor Orbán, who remains an ally of Russian president Vladimir Putin, will visit former president Trump at Mar-a-Lago, just days after meeting with Putin in Moscow and with Chinese leader Xi Jinping in Beijing. There is speculation that Orbán is acting as an intermediary between Trump and Putin, for whom the destruction of NATO is a key goal.

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    mickeyratmickeyrat up my ass, like Chadwick was up his Posts: 36,585
      July 11, 2024 (Thursday)

    Yesterday, Raw Story reported that Ivan Raiklin, Trump’s self-declared “Secretary of Retribution” has compiled a “Deep State target list” of 350 people he wants to see arrested and punished for “treason” if Trump is reelected. The list includes Democratic and Republican elected officials, journalists he considers to be Trump’s enemies, U.S. Capitol Police officers, and witnesses against Trump in his impeachment trials and the hearings concerning the events of January 6, 2021.

    Representative Jamie Raskin (D-MD) told Raw Story: “His hit list is a vigilante death warrant for hundreds of Americans and a clear and present danger to the survival of American democracy and freedom.” The Trump campaign did not respond to requests for comment. Raiklin said the list was just the beginning. “This is the scratching of the surface of who is going to be criminalized for their treason, okay?”

    Former president Donald Trump, the presumptive 2024 Republican presidential nominee, has tried to distance himself from the radical extremist blueprint outlined in Project 2025, spearheaded by the Heritage Foundation. Today, videos surfaced of Trump cheering the project on from the start. At a Heritage Foundation dinner in 2022, Trump, slurring his words, said: “Our country is going to hell…. This is a great group and they’re going to lay the groundwork and detail plans for exactly what our movement will do...when the American people give us a colossal mandate to save America. And that’s coming.”

    On a right-wing podcast yesterday, Heritage Foundation president Kevin Roberts said that Trump’s agenda and Project 2025 have “tremendous” overlap. “There are some quibbles and differences of opinion here and there, which not only is okay, but it's actually good,” Roberts said. “I mean, we're gonna be able to sort those out once the presidential administration declares what their priorities are.” He said that Trump’s attempt to distance himself from the project was “a political tactical decision.” Media Matters uncovered a video in which Project 2025 director Paul Dans said that Trump is “very bought in with this.”

    The Heritage Foundation, the key author of Project 2025, is a sponsor of the Republican National Convention.

    Today the Heritage Foundation preemptively accused the Biden administration of cheating in the 2024 election and warned that Biden might try to hold the White House “by force.” It said that Biden and his administration could “circumvent constitutional limits and disregard the will of the voters should they demand a new president.”

    There is no indication that Biden, who has repeatedly said he will accept the election results, will try to launch a coup against the United States government. In contrast, Trump, who has refused to say he will accept the election result unless he agrees with it, has already done exactly what Heritage is trying to pin on Biden: Trump tried to stay in office against the will of the voters in 2021.

    Trump is currently under criminal indictment for that attempt, although the Supreme Court’s eye-popping July 1 decision in Trump v. U.S. declaring that a president cannot be prosecuted for crimes committed as part of a president’s “official duties” means Trump can challenge those indictments. Indeed, in the wake of that decision, Trump’s lawyers have filed a motion to vacate the jury’s conviction of Trump on 24 felony counts related to the falsification of business records in his attempt to skew the 2016 election, and to dismiss the indictment.

    While the U.S. and our allies celebrated the seventy-fifth anniversary of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Erin Banco of Politico reported yesterday that Trump advisors have told foreign officials that Trump plans to scale back U.S. cooperation and support for NATO, including reducing the sharing of intelligence with NATO countries.

    This seems likely to be related to the news that the U.S. intelligence discovered a series of Russian plots to assassinate executives from European defense companies that are supplying arms to Ukraine. Americans took that intelligence to Germany and foiled a Russian plot to kill the chief executive officer of a German arms manufacturer.

    Trump has stayed home playing golf for the past two weeks, but on Tuesday he held a rally at his Doral golf club outside of Miami, where he kept the audience waiting outside in 90-degree heat before he showed up an hour late. His 75-minute speech was, as The Guardian’s Richard Luscombe reported, “full of evidence-free claims that his 2020 election defeat was fraudulent; baseless accusations that overseas nations were sending to the US ‘most of their prisoners’; and a laughable assertion that a gathering of supporters numbering in the hundreds was really a crowd of 45,000.” He also claimed that Biden had quadrupled the price of bacon and said, “We don’t eat bacon any more.”

    Trump did not mention his vice presidential pick. For the first time since 1988, it appears the Republicans will go into their convention without knowing who that pick will be.

    Luscombe reported that the crowd “appeared mostly subdued,” yawning and playing on their phones.

    Today, the editorial board of the Los Angeles Times wrote that Trump is “the only candidate in the race who is patently unfit for office—any office—and an imminent threat to democracy.” “If the [Republicans] had any decency left,” it wrote, they would dump him. Voters, the board said, must see the election as “a referendum on our 248-year democracy, and a choice between a trustworthy public servant who upholds American values and a serial liar who wants to push the country into authoritarianism.”

    Almost two weeks after calling for Biden to step out of the 2024 race for the presidency, the editorial board of the New York Times also said that Trump is unfit to lead the United States of America, and urged voters “to see the dangers of a second Trump term clearly and to reject it.”

    There was continued good news today about the American economy. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen announced that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) had collected more than $1 billion in overdue tax bills from millionaires. That crackdown was possible thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act, which funded an initiative to pursue high-income, high-wealth individuals who have an income of more than $1 million and owe more than $250,000 to the IRS.

    Republicans have repeatedly tried to cut the funding that made this enforcement possible.

    Today’s inflation report for June showed that inflation continues to cool, falling in June for the first time since the start of the pandemic. It declined in June by –0.1%, as gas and electricity prices dropped and as rent had its smallest monthly increase since August 2021. Statistics also show that workers’ wages continue to grow more quickly than prices.
     
    Yesterday, the AFL-CIO executive council voted unanimously to reaffirm its support for President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, saying: “Unions have never wavered in our support of them because they’ve never wavered in their commitment to working people.” The Bricklayers & Allied Craftworkers Union quoted that statement and added: “BAC is proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with our brothers and sisters across the labor movement in supporting the Biden-Harris re-election campaign.”

    In a press conference this evening, Biden championed the economic boom his policies created for the middle class and reminded attending journalists that “none of you thought that would happen.”

    In that press conference, held after he presided over the three-day NATO summit and thus focused on foreign affairs, Biden answered press questions directly and fully, not only on his health but also on foreign affairs. He reiterated the importance of NATO and reminded reporters that he was key to reinforcing the alliance after Trump weakened it, then went on to talk about foreign affairs more broadly. He also noted that “I’ve spent more time with Xi Jinping than any other president,” adding: “And by the way I handed in my notes.” This was a reference to the fact that in an unprecedented move, Trump infamously refused to disclose the notes from one of his conversations with Russian president Vladimir Putin.

    At the same time that Biden was holding a press conference that focused on NATO and foreign affairs, Trump was meeting at Mar-a-Lago with Putin ally Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán. On social media this evening, Trump indicated that he is trying to conduct his own foreign policy, although the Logan Act prohibits private citizens from negotiating with foreign governments, and reiterated his support for Putin’s call for “peace” in Ukraine. Their plan calls for giving Putin the western regions of Ukraine that were central to his 2016 support for Trump; Trump’s 2016 campaign manager promised Trump would look the other way as Putin absorbed them.

    Orbán, who has openly called for Trump’s reelection, posted: “Peace mission 5.0[.] It was an honour to visit President [Trump] at Mar-a-Lago today. We discussed ways to make [peace]. The good news of the day: he’s going to solve it!”

    _____________________________________SIGNATURE________________________________________________

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    Halifax2TheMaxHalifax2TheMax Posts: 37,111
    mickeyrat said:
      July 11, 2024 (Thursday)

    Yesterday, Raw Story reported that Ivan Raiklin, Trump’s self-declared “Secretary of Retribution” has compiled a “Deep State target list” of 350 people he wants to see arrested and punished for “treason” if Trump is reelected. The list includes Democratic and Republican elected officials, journalists he considers to be Trump’s enemies, U.S. Capitol Police officers, and witnesses against Trump in his impeachment trials and the hearings concerning the events of January 6, 2021.

    Representative Jamie Raskin (D-MD) told Raw Story: “His hit list is a vigilante death warrant for hundreds of Americans and a clear and present danger to the survival of American democracy and freedom.” The Trump campaign did not respond to requests for comment. Raiklin said the list was just the beginning. “This is the scratching of the surface of who is going to be criminalized for their treason, okay?”

    Former president Donald Trump, the presumptive 2024 Republican presidential nominee, has tried to distance himself from the radical extremist blueprint outlined in Project 2025, spearheaded by the Heritage Foundation. Today, videos surfaced of Trump cheering the project on from the start. At a Heritage Foundation dinner in 2022, Trump, slurring his words, said: “Our country is going to hell…. This is a great group and they’re going to lay the groundwork and detail plans for exactly what our movement will do...when the American people give us a colossal mandate to save America. And that’s coming.”

    On a right-wing podcast yesterday, Heritage Foundation president Kevin Roberts said that Trump’s agenda and Project 2025 have “tremendous” overlap. “There are some quibbles and differences of opinion here and there, which not only is okay, but it's actually good,” Roberts said. “I mean, we're gonna be able to sort those out once the presidential administration declares what their priorities are.” He said that Trump’s attempt to distance himself from the project was “a political tactical decision.” Media Matters uncovered a video in which Project 2025 director Paul Dans said that Trump is “very bought in with this.”

    The Heritage Foundation, the key author of Project 2025, is a sponsor of the Republican National Convention.

    Today the Heritage Foundation preemptively accused the Biden administration of cheating in the 2024 election and warned that Biden might try to hold the White House “by force.” It said that Biden and his administration could “circumvent constitutional limits and disregard the will of the voters should they demand a new president.”

    There is no indication that Biden, who has repeatedly said he will accept the election results, will try to launch a coup against the United States government. In contrast, Trump, who has refused to say he will accept the election result unless he agrees with it, has already done exactly what Heritage is trying to pin on Biden: Trump tried to stay in office against the will of the voters in 2021.

    Trump is currently under criminal indictment for that attempt, although the Supreme Court’s eye-popping July 1 decision in Trump v. U.S. declaring that a president cannot be prosecuted for crimes committed as part of a president’s “official duties” means Trump can challenge those indictments. Indeed, in the wake of that decision, Trump’s lawyers have filed a motion to vacate the jury’s conviction of Trump on 24 felony counts related to the falsification of business records in his attempt to skew the 2016 election, and to dismiss the indictment.

    While the U.S. and our allies celebrated the seventy-fifth anniversary of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Erin Banco of Politico reported yesterday that Trump advisors have told foreign officials that Trump plans to scale back U.S. cooperation and support for NATO, including reducing the sharing of intelligence with NATO countries.

    This seems likely to be related to the news that the U.S. intelligence discovered a series of Russian plots to assassinate executives from European defense companies that are supplying arms to Ukraine. Americans took that intelligence to Germany and foiled a Russian plot to kill the chief executive officer of a German arms manufacturer.

    Trump has stayed home playing golf for the past two weeks, but on Tuesday he held a rally at his Doral golf club outside of Miami, where he kept the audience waiting outside in 90-degree heat before he showed up an hour late. His 75-minute speech was, as The Guardian’s Richard Luscombe reported, “full of evidence-free claims that his 2020 election defeat was fraudulent; baseless accusations that overseas nations were sending to the US ‘most of their prisoners’; and a laughable assertion that a gathering of supporters numbering in the hundreds was really a crowd of 45,000.” He also claimed that Biden had quadrupled the price of bacon and said, “We don’t eat bacon any more.”

    Trump did not mention his vice presidential pick. For the first time since 1988, it appears the Republicans will go into their convention without knowing who that pick will be.

    Luscombe reported that the crowd “appeared mostly subdued,” yawning and playing on their phones.

    Today, the editorial board of the Los Angeles Times wrote that Trump is “the only candidate in the race who is patently unfit for office—any office—and an imminent threat to democracy.” “If the [Republicans] had any decency left,” it wrote, they would dump him. Voters, the board said, must see the election as “a referendum on our 248-year democracy, and a choice between a trustworthy public servant who upholds American values and a serial liar who wants to push the country into authoritarianism.”

    Almost two weeks after calling for Biden to step out of the 2024 race for the presidency, the editorial board of the New York Times also said that Trump is unfit to lead the United States of America, and urged voters “to see the dangers of a second Trump term clearly and to reject it.”

    There was continued good news today about the American economy. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen announced that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) had collected more than $1 billion in overdue tax bills from millionaires. That crackdown was possible thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act, which funded an initiative to pursue high-income, high-wealth individuals who have an income of more than $1 million and owe more than $250,000 to the IRS.

    Republicans have repeatedly tried to cut the funding that made this enforcement possible.

    Today’s inflation report for June showed that inflation continues to cool, falling in June for the first time since the start of the pandemic. It declined in June by –0.1%, as gas and electricity prices dropped and as rent had its smallest monthly increase since August 2021. Statistics also show that workers’ wages continue to grow more quickly than prices.
     
    Yesterday, the AFL-CIO executive council voted unanimously to reaffirm its support for President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, saying: “Unions have never wavered in our support of them because they’ve never wavered in their commitment to working people.” The Bricklayers & Allied Craftworkers Union quoted that statement and added: “BAC is proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with our brothers and sisters across the labor movement in supporting the Biden-Harris re-election campaign.”

    In a press conference this evening, Biden championed the economic boom his policies created for the middle class and reminded attending journalists that “none of you thought that would happen.”

    In that press conference, held after he presided over the three-day NATO summit and thus focused on foreign affairs, Biden answered press questions directly and fully, not only on his health but also on foreign affairs. He reiterated the importance of NATO and reminded reporters that he was key to reinforcing the alliance after Trump weakened it, then went on to talk about foreign affairs more broadly. He also noted that “I’ve spent more time with Xi Jinping than any other president,” adding: “And by the way I handed in my notes.” This was a reference to the fact that in an unprecedented move, Trump infamously refused to disclose the notes from one of his conversations with Russian president Vladimir Putin.

    At the same time that Biden was holding a press conference that focused on NATO and foreign affairs, Trump was meeting at Mar-a-Lago with Putin ally Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán. On social media this evening, Trump indicated that he is trying to conduct his own foreign policy, although the Logan Act prohibits private citizens from negotiating with foreign governments, and reiterated his support for Putin’s call for “peace” in Ukraine. Their plan calls for giving Putin the western regions of Ukraine that were central to his 2016 support for Trump; Trump’s 2016 campaign manager promised Trump would look the other way as Putin absorbed them.

    Orbán, who has openly called for Trump’s reelection, posted: “Peace mission 5.0[.] It was an honour to visit President [Trump] at Mar-a-Lago today. We discussed ways to make [peace]. The good news of the day: he’s going to solve it!”

    https://youtu.be/kLUktJbp2Ug?si=YfQEtZh8UppRNZcD
    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: 36,585
       American Conversations: Secretary of State Antony Blinken

    On February 4, 2021, in a speech at the State Department, President Joe Biden talked about the importance of diplomacy and the different actions he had taken in the two weeks since taking office. Then he said: “There’s no longer a bright line between foreign and domestic policy. Every action we take in our conduct abroad, we must take with American working families in mind.  Advancing a foreign policy for the middle class demands urgent focus on our domestic…economic renewal.”

    The speech made me sit up and take notice. The popular division of foreign policy and domestic policy is relatively recent, and the president seemed to be at least nodding to a more traditional vision. At the same time, it was not clear to me exactly what the underlying theory behind his statement might be and how that theory might translate to policy.

    I began to pay close attention to the State Department—especially its focus on the Indo-Pacific region and Africa—and to watch Vice President Kamala Harris’s many trips to those regions and to Latin America. As she and others met with their counterparts in other countries, it was possible to see a new kind of U.S. foreign policy taking shape based primarily on creating communities centered around a shared interest, but I still was not clear on what the administration meant by integrating foreign and domestic affairs.

    Then, on September 13, 2023, Secretary of State Antony Blinken delivered remarks to the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. In his speech, titled “The Power and Purpose of American Diplomacy in a New Era,” Blinken argued that the world is witnessing the end of the Cold War era and must find a new approach to foreign policy.

    The end of the Cold War, he said, had promised greater peace and stability, international cooperation, economic trade, political liberalization and human rights. Some of that had happened, but the era had also, unexpectedly, seen the rise of authoritarianism.  

    The huge scale of modern problems like the climate crisis, mass human displacement and migration, and food insecurity had made international cooperation more complex, while people were losing faith in the post–World War II international order in which institutions like the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization provided a framework of rules through which countries could work out differences without resorting to war.

    That order had systematic flaws that exacerbated wealth inequality, Blinken said, noting that in the forty years between 1980 and 2020 the richest .1 percent accumulated the same amount of wealth as the poorest fifty percent. That disparity fueled distrust of international systems and political polarization.

    Those tensions, in turn, threaten the survival of democracies. They are “[c]hallenged from the inside by elected leaders who exploit resentments and stoke fears; erode independent judiciaries and the media; enrich cronies; crack down on civil society and political opposition. And,” Blinken said, they are “challenged from the outside, by autocrats who spread disinformation, who weaponize corruption, who meddle in elections.”

    A few weeks ago, I got the chance to sit down with Secretary of State Blinken and ask him to explain both the theory and the details of what the administration means when they set out to protect democracy both at home and abroad through a new foreign policy.

    I’ll be posting the video from that interview in two sections. Here is the first.

    And, finally, just a note that this interview does not replace tonight’s letter.

    https://youtu.be/4KyJ9YKoCkI?si=G0uk1SBv_ZCJAqvf

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    mickeyratmickeyrat up my ass, like Chadwick was up his Posts: 36,585
       July 12, 2024 (Friday)

    Representative Glenn Grothman (R-WI) said yesterday that if Trump wins reelection, the U.S. should work its way back to 1960, before “the angry feminist movement…took the purpose out of the man’s life.” Grothman said that President Lyndon Baines Johnson’s War on Poverty was actually a “war on marriage,” in a communist attempt to hand control of children over to the government.

    Grothman was waxing nostalgic for a fantasy past when laws and society discriminated against women, who could not get credit cards in their own name until 1974—meaning that, among other things, they could not build credit scores to borrow money on their own—and who were forced into dependence on men. The 1960 date Grothman chose was notable in another way, too: it was before the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1965 Voting Rights Act with which Congress tried to make the racial equality promised in the 1868 Fourteenth Amendment and the voting rights promised in the 1870 Fifteenth Amendment become real.

    At stake in Grothman’s erasure of the last sixty years is the equality of women and minorities to the white men who previously exercised virtually complete control of American society. That equality translates into a struggle over the nature of the American government. Since the 1870s, during the reconstruction of the American government after the Civil War, white reactionaries insisted that opening the vote to anyone but white men would result in socialism.

    Their argument was that poor voters—by which they meant Black men—would elect leaders who would promise them roads and schools and hospitals, and so on. Those public benefits could be paid for only with tax levies, and since white men held most of the property in the country in those days, they insisted such benefits amounted to a redistribution of wealth from hardworking white men to undeserving Black Americans, even though poor white people would benefit from those public works as much as or more than Black people did.

    This argument resurfaced after World War II as an argument against Black and Brown voting and, in the 1970s, against the electoral power of “women’s libbers,” that is, women who called for the federal government to protect the rights of women equally to those of men. Beginning in 1980, when Republican presidential candidate Ronald Reagan called for rolling back the government regulations and social safety net that underpinned society, a gap appeared in voting behavior. Women, especially Black women, tended to back the Democrats, while men moved toward Republican candidates. Increasingly, Republican leaders used racist and sexist tropes to undermine the active government whose business regulations they hated.

    For the radical extremists who have taken over the Republican Party, getting rid of the modern government that regulates business, provides a basic social safety net, promotes infrastructure, and protects civil rights is now gospel as they try to replace it with Christian nationalism. But that active government remains popular.

    That popularity was reflected today as Republicans continued to take credit for laws passed by Democrats to maintain or expand an active government. In Tennessee, Republican Governor Bill Lee boasted that the state had “secured historic funding to modernize Memphis infrastructure with the single-largest transportation investment in state history.” All the Republicans in the Tennessee delegation opposed the measure, leaving Democratic representative Steve Cohen to provide the state’s only yes vote. Indeed, Tennessee senator Marsha Blackburn posted on social media that “Americans do not want [Biden’s] ‘socialist Build Back Broke’ plan.”

    In Alabama, Senator Tommy Tuberville boasted about a bridge project funded by a $550 million Department of Transportation grant, writing: “Since I took office, I have been working to secure funding for the Mobile bridge and get this project underway.” But as Representative Terri Sewell, an Alabama Democrat, pointed out, Tuberville voted against the bill that provided the money.

    Like Governor Lee and Senator Blackburn, Tuberville knows such government policies are enormously popular and so takes credit for them, even while voting against them.

    Union workers also historically have supported a government that regulates business and provides a social safety net and infrastructure investment, but those workers turned to Reagan in 1980 and have tended to make their home in the Republican Party ever since. Now they appear to be shifting back.

    Today the president of the 600,000-member International Association of Machinist and Aerospace Workers urged Biden to stay in the race, writing: “For the first time in decades, we have an Administration that has leveled the playing field for workers trying to organize. The IAM is one of the fastest growing unions in the labor movement because we have a President who goes toe to toe with corporations on behalf of working people.”

    Union president Brian Bryant noted that Biden “saved hundreds of thousands of our members’ jobs” and thanked him for “strengthen[ing] the Buy American regulations that have helped to create millions of jobs, including nearly 800,000 in manufacturing.” Bryant also credited Biden with helping to save 83 pension plans that covered more than a million workers and retirees. Bryant noted that “[i]n the IAM, we value seniority.”

    United Auto Workers president Shawn Fain told Netroots Nation today that “humanity is at stake” in the 2024 election. “This has everything to do with our shot at life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Our wages. Having health care. Our retirement security, and our time…. Those are the four core issues that unite the entire working-class people in a fight against the billionaire class as we saw in our contract campaign last fall when 75% of Americans supported us in that fight, for those reasons.”

    "The dream and the scheme of a man like Donald Trump is that the vast majority of working-class people, who literally make our country run, will remain divided. That's how they win. They want us to not unite in a common cause to take on the billionaire class…. They divide us by race. They divide us by gender, by who we love. They divide us by what language we speak or where we were born….”

    Today, in Detroit, in a barnburner of a speech, President Joe Biden pitched his plan for the first 100 days of a second term with a Democratic Congress. He promised to restore Roe v. Wade, eliminate medical debt, raise the minimum wage, protect workers’ right to organize, ban assault weapons, and to “keep leading the world” on clean energy and addressing climate change. He also vowed to sign into law the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, which would end voter suppression, and the Freedom to Vote Act, which would protect voter rights and election systems, as well as end partisan gerrymandering.

    Biden forcefully contrasted his own record with Trump’s. He reminded the audience that he was the first president to walk a picket line, because “when labor does well, everybody does well.” “When Trump comes here to tell you how great he is for the auto industry, remember this: when Trump was president we lost 86,000 jobs in unions. I created 275,000 auto jobs in America. In fact, what’s been true in the auto industry is true all over America: since I became president, we created nearly 16 million new jobs nationwide, 390,000 of those jobs right here in Michigan. We’ve created 800,000 manufacturing jobs nationwide, including 24,000 in Michigan.”

    Biden hammered Trump, saying “no more free passes.” He reminded that audience that Trump is a convicted criminal and that a judge had found him liable for sexual abuse. Biden quoted the judge: “Mr. Trump raped her.” Biden reminded the audience that Trump lost his license to do business in New York state and is still facing criminal charges for retaining classified documents and trying to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, as well as charges in Georgia for election interference. Biden said: “It’s time for us to stop treating politics like entertainment and reality TV.”

    Today the European Union charged Trump donor Elon Musk’s social media company X, formerly Twitter, for failing to curb disinformation and illegal hate speech.

    Also today, a judge ruled that Trump ally Rudy Giuliani is not entitled to bankruptcy protection. The judge cited Giuliani’s “lack of financial transparency” and noted that Giuliani “has engaged in self-dealing.” This decision means that election workers Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss, as well as other creditors, are free to collect what they can of the $150 million he owes them. A lawyer for the two said: “We’re pleased the Court saw through Mr. Giuliani’s games and put a stop to his abuse of the bankruptcy proceeding. We will move forward as quickly as possible to begin enforcing our judgment against him.”

    Meanwhile, Trump appeared to be trying to recapture attention by teasing an unveiling of his vice presidential nominee at next week’s Republican National Convention. He compared the selection process to “a highly sophisticated version of The Apprentice,” the reality TV show in which he appeared before he became president and which centered around firing people.

    _____________________________________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
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    mickeyratmickeyrat up my ass, like Chadwick was up his Posts: 36,585
      July 13, 2024 (Saturday)

    As Maine writer E. B. White famously wrote to a man who said he had lost faith in humanity: "Hang on to your hat. Hang on to your hope. And wind the clock, for tomorrow is another day."

    I'll see you all then.

    _____________________________________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
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    mickeyratmickeyrat up my ass, like Chadwick was up his Posts: 36,585
      July 14, 2024 (Sunday)

    Shortly after 6:00 yesterday evening at a Trump rally in Butler, Pennsylvania, a shooter on the roof of a building about 400 feet from the stage appears to have shot eight bullets at the former president and into the crowd. Trump appeared to flinch and reach for his right ear as Secret Service agents crouched over the former president. When the agents got word the shooter was “down,” they lifted Trump to move him out. He asked to get his shoes and then to put them on.

    With that apparently accomplished, Trump stood up with blood on his face, exposed to the crowd, and told the agents to wait. He raised his fist in the air in front of an American flag in what instantly became an iconic image. He appeared to yell, “Fight, fight, fight!” to the crowd before being ushered offstage.

    Pennsylvania firefighter Corey Comperatore, 50, was killed. David Dutch, 57, was injured and is hospitalized in stable condition. James Copenhaver, 74, was also injured and is in stable condition.

    The FBI has identified the shooter as 20-year-old Thomas Matthew Crooks, who was killed by a Secret Service agent. Crooks used an AR-type semiautomatic rifle that apparently belonged to his father. Crooks was wearing a gray Demolition Ranch tee shirt advertising a YouTube channel for gun enthusiasts and people interested in explosive devices. The channel has more than 11 million followers. Crooks appears to have been a registered Republican.   

    Trump said he had been “shot with a bullet that pierced the upper part of my right ear.” So far, no doctors have briefed the public.

    In the confusion immediately after the shooting, MAGA Republicans blamed the Democrats for the violence. “Today is not just some isolated incident,” Ohio senator J.D. Vance, who is in the running to be Trump’s vice presidential pick, posted on social media. “The central premise of the Biden campaign is that President Donald Trump is an authoritarian fascist who must be stopped at all costs. That rhetoric led directly to President Trump’s attempted assassination.” Representative Mike Collins of Georgia called for a Republican district attorney to “immediately file charges against Joseph R. Biden for inciting an assassination.” Indeed, he said, “Joe Biden sent the orders.”  

    Edward Luce of the Financial Times noted, “Almost any criticism of Trump is already being spun by Maga as an incitement to assassinate him. This is an Orwellian attempt to silence what remains of the effort to stop him from regaining power.” Indeed, MAGA Republicans appear to be trying to stop discussion of their extremist plans— which are enormously unpopular— by claiming that such a discussion is polarizing.

    The idea that Democratic opposition to authoritarian plans like those outlined in Project 2025 caused violence might convince MAGA Republicans, but it will likely be a hard sell for Americans who remember things like:

    •Trump’s own suggestion in 2016 that “Second Amendment people” could solve the problem of Hillary Clinton picking judges; or his 2020 attacks on Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer, who became the target of a kidnapping plot; or election workers bombarded with death threats as Trump lied that the 2020 election was stolen;

    •the October 2022 tweet by Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr. mocking then–House speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband Paul after a home intruder hit him in the head with a hammer; or Georgia representative Marjorie Taylor Greene’s 2022 campaign video in which she promised to “blow away the Democrats’ socialist agenda” as she took aim with a rifle;

    •in 2023, House Republicans wearing AR-15 lapel pins on the floor of Congress; Representative Don Bacon (R-NE) saying his wife slept with a loaded gun after he voted against Representative Jim Jordan (R-OH) for House speaker; or Republican representatives sending Christmas cards showing the whole family toting guns;

    •in 2024, the Kansas Republican Party’s March fundraiser where attendees could donate to kick and punch an effigy of President Biden; or Don Jr.’s reposting an image of Biden bound and gagged in the back of a pickup truck;

    •or Lieutenant Governor Mark Robinson of North Carolina, who is running for the governorship and who is scheduled to speak at the Republican National Convention starting tomorrow, saying just two weeks ago: “Some folks need killing! It’s time for somebody to say it.”

    Indeed, in March 2024, in Vance’s home state, Trump said: if I don’t get elected, it’s going to be a bloodbath for the whole…country,” and a 2022 campaign ad by Representative Collins himself showed him shooting a rifle at Nancy Pelosi’s “agenda” and at a cardboard rhinoceros he says is a “RINO,” a Republican in Name Only.

    Republicans under Trump have increasingly advocated violence as a way to gain power because they know their unpopular positions cannot lead their candidates to victory in free and fair elections. In this moment, when there is still little evidence about yesterday’s tragedy, it appears they are projecting their own behavior onto Biden and the Democrats, blaming them for advocating violence when in fact, Biden and the Democrats have tried hard to enact commonsense gun safety laws and have consistently condemned the violent language and normalizing of political violence by Republicans.

    Republicans’ embrace of violence is a hallmark of authoritarian leaders; by definition it  undermines democracy. In Nashville, Tennessee, today, neo-Nazis shouting “Hitler was right!” were involved in fights in the streets. Ending that resort to violence, which never advances society and always injures it, is key to restoring the guardrails of democracy.

    Biden spoke to the nation tonight, warning that Americans need to “lower the temperature in our politics and to remember, while we may disagree, we are not enemies. We’re neighbors. We’re friends, coworkers, citizens. And, most importantly, we are fellow Americans. And we must stand together.” He condemned yesterday’s violence, noting that “[a] former president was shot” and “an American citizen killed while simply exercising his freedom to support the candidate of his choosing…. There is no place in America for this kind of violence or for any violence ever. Period. No exceptions. We can’t allow this violence to be normalized.”

    The framers of the Constitution, he said, “created a democracy that gave reason and balance a chance to prevail over brute force. That’s the America we must be, an American democracy where arguments are made in good faith, an American democracy where the rule of law is respected, an American democracy where decency, dignity, fair play aren’t just quaint notions, but living, breathing realities.”

    Biden rejected the idea that criticizing the Republicans’ extremism was polarizing. While they can “criticize my record and offer their own vision for this country,” he said, “I’ll continue to speak out strongly for our democracy, stand up for our Constitution and the rule of law, to call for action at the ballot box, no violence on our streets. That’s how democracy should work.”

    Biden paused all campaign ads and events after the shooting and told staffers to “refrain from issuing any comments on social media or in public.” Trump is fundraising off the attempt on his life, but he spent the day golfing rather than campaigning.

    The Secret Service has launched an investigation of how a shooter could get so close to Trump; Biden has ordered an independent investigation as well. Biden said he has also directed the Secret Service to review the security measures in place for the Republican National Convention, which starts tomorrow in Milwaukee.

    Within hours of the shooting, House speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) announced that “THE HOUSE WILL CONDUCT A FULL INVESTIGATION OF THE TRAGIC EVENTS TODAY,” saying, “The American people deserve to know the truth.” Although the FBI investigation has barely gotten underway and Congress has no law enforcement power, Johnson promised to have officials from the Secret Service, the Department of Homeland Security, and the FBI “appear for a hearing before our committees ASAP.”

    Observers noted that it sounded like MAGA plans to have yet another investigation designed to spread a narrative, in this case, that the so-called "Deep State” was involved in the shooting.

    _____________________________________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
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    Halifax2TheMaxHalifax2TheMax Posts: 37,111
    edited July 15
    mickeyrat said:
      July 14, 2024 (Sunday)

    Shortly after 6:00 yesterday evening at a Trump rally in Butler, Pennsylvania, a shooter on the roof of a building about 400 feet from the stage appears to have shot eight bullets at the former president and into the crowd. Trump appeared to flinch and reach for his right ear as Secret Service agents crouched over the former president. When the agents got word the shooter was “down,” they lifted Trump to move him out. He asked to get his shoes and then to put them on.

    With that apparently accomplished, Trump stood up with blood on his face, exposed to the crowd, and told the agents to wait. He raised his fist in the air in front of an American flag in what instantly became an iconic image. He appeared to yell, “Fight, fight, fight!” to the crowd before being ushered offstage.

    Pennsylvania firefighter Corey Comperatore, 50, was killed. David Dutch, 57, was injured and is hospitalized in stable condition. James Copenhaver, 74, was also injured and is in stable condition.

    The FBI has identified the shooter as 20-year-old Thomas Matthew Crooks, who was killed by a Secret Service agent. Crooks used an AR-type semiautomatic rifle that apparently belonged to his father. Crooks was wearing a gray Demolition Ranch tee shirt advertising a YouTube channel for gun enthusiasts and people interested in explosive devices. The channel has more than 11 million followers. Crooks appears to have been a registered Republican.   

    Trump said he had been “shot with a bullet that pierced the upper part of my right ear.” So far, no doctors have briefed the public.

    In the confusion immediately after the shooting, MAGA Republicans blamed the Democrats for the violence. “Today is not just some isolated incident,” Ohio senator J.D. Vance, who is in the running to be Trump’s vice presidential pick, posted on social media. “The central premise of the Biden campaign is that President Donald Trump is an authoritarian fascist who must be stopped at all costs. That rhetoric led directly to President Trump’s attempted assassination.” Representative Mike Collins of Georgia called for a Republican district attorney to “immediately file charges against Joseph R. Biden for inciting an assassination.” Indeed, he said, “Joe Biden sent the orders.”  

    Edward Luce of the Financial Times noted, “Almost any criticism of Trump is already being spun by Maga as an incitement to assassinate him. This is an Orwellian attempt to silence what remains of the effort to stop him from regaining power.” Indeed, MAGA Republicans appear to be trying to stop discussion of their extremist plans— which are enormously unpopular— by claiming that such a discussion is polarizing.

    The idea that Democratic opposition to authoritarian plans like those outlined in Project 2025 caused violence might convince MAGA Republicans, but it will likely be a hard sell for Americans who remember things like:

    Trump’s own suggestion in 2016 that “Second Amendment people” could solve the problem of Hillary Clinton picking judges; or his 2020 attacks on Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer, who became the target of a kidnapping plot; or election workers bombarded with death threats as Trump lied that the 2020 election was stolen;

    •the October 2022 tweet by Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr. mocking then–House speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband Paul after a home intruder hit him in the head with a hammer; or Georgia representative Marjorie Taylor Greene’s 2022 campaign video in which she promised to “blow away the Democrats’ socialist agenda” as she took aim with a rifle;

    •in 2023, House Republicans wearing AR-15 lapel pins on the floor of Congress; Representative Don Bacon (R-NE) saying his wife slept with a loaded gun after he voted against Representative Jim Jordan (R-OH) for House speaker; or Republican representatives sending Christmas cards showing the whole family toting guns;

    •in 2024, the Kansas Republican Party’s March fundraiser where attendees could donate to kick and punch an effigy of President Biden; or Don Jr.’s reposting an image of Biden bound and gagged in the back of a pickup truck;

    •or Lieutenant Governor Mark Robinson of North Carolina, who is running for the governorship and who is scheduled to speak at the Republican National Convention starting tomorrow, saying just two weeks ago: “Some folks need killing! It’s time for somebody to say it.”


    Indeed, in March 2024, in Vance’s home state, Trump said: if I don’t get elected, it’s going to be a bloodbath for the whole…country,” and a 2022 campaign ad by Representative Collins himself showed him shooting a rifle at Nancy Pelosi’s “agenda” and at a cardboard rhinoceros he says is a “RINO,” a Republican in Name Only.

    Republicans under Trump have increasingly advocated violence as a way to gain power because they know their unpopular positions cannot lead their candidates to victory in free and fair elections. In this moment, when there is still little evidence about yesterday’s tragedy, it appears they are projecting their own behavior onto Biden and the Democrats, blaming them for advocating violence when in fact, Biden and the Democrats have tried hard to enact commonsense gun safety laws and have consistently condemned the violent language and normalizing of political violence by Republicans.

    Republicans’ embrace of violence is a hallmark of authoritarian leaders; by definition it  undermines democracy. In Nashville, Tennessee, today, neo-Nazis shouting “Hitler was right!” were involved in fights in the streets. Ending that resort to violence, which never advances society and always injures it, is key to restoring the guardrails of democracy.

    Biden spoke to the nation tonight, warning that Americans need to “lower the temperature in our politics and to remember, while we may disagree, we are not enemies. We’re neighbors. We’re friends, coworkers, citizens. And, most importantly, we are fellow Americans. And we must stand together.” He condemned yesterday’s violence, noting that “[a] former president was shot” and “an American citizen killed while simply exercising his freedom to support the candidate of his choosing…. There is no place in America for this kind of violence or for any violence ever. Period. No exceptions. We can’t allow this violence to be normalized.”

    The framers of the Constitution, he said, “created a democracy that gave reason and balance a chance to prevail over brute force. That’s the America we must be, an American democracy where arguments are made in good faith, an American democracy where the rule of law is respected, an American democracy where decency, dignity, fair play aren’t just quaint notions, but living, breathing realities.”

    Biden rejected the idea that criticizing the Republicans’ extremism was polarizing. While they can “criticize my record and offer their own vision for this country,” he said, “I’ll continue to speak out strongly for our democracy, stand up for our Constitution and the rule of law, to call for action at the ballot box, no violence on our streets. That’s how democracy should work.”

    Biden paused all campaign ads and events after the shooting and told staffers to “refrain from issuing any comments on social media or in public.” Trump is fundraising off the attempt on his life, but he spent the day golfing rather than campaigning.

    The Secret Service has launched an investigation of how a shooter could get so close to Trump; Biden has ordered an independent investigation as well. Biden said he has also directed the Secret Service to review the security measures in place for the Republican National Convention, which starts tomorrow in Milwaukee.

    Within hours of the shooting, House speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) announced that “THE HOUSE WILL CONDUCT A FULL INVESTIGATION OF THE TRAGIC EVENTS TODAY,” saying, “The American people deserve to know the truth.” Although the FBI investigation has barely gotten underway and Congress has no law enforcement power, Johnson promised to have officials from the Secret Service, the Department of Homeland Security, and the FBI “appear for a hearing before our committees ASAP.”

    Observers noted that it sounded like MAGA plans to have yet another investigation designed to spread a narrative, in this case, that the so-called "Deep State” was involved in the shooting.

    As per usual, CRICKETS.
    Post edited by Halifax2TheMax on
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    mickeyratmickeyrat up my ass, like Chadwick was up his Posts: 36,585
      July 15, 2024 (Monday)

    This morning, after a day of Republicans insisting that it is political polarization to suggest that Trump is a danger to our democracy, U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon, who was appointed by Trump in the last days of his presidency, dismissed the classified documents case against the former president. She wrote that “Special Counsel Smith’s appointment violates the Appointments Clause of the United States Constitution.”

    Other federal courts have tested this argument and dismissed it, but Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas, whose wife Ginni was part of the attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, suggested earlier this month that it could be the basis for getting rid of Jack Smith. Cannon cited Thomas repeatedly in her decision.

    When he left office in January 2021, Trump took with him to Mar-a-Lago hundreds of pages of classified national security documents, some of which bore the highest level of classification. The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), where by law presidential papers must be deposited, noted that many documents were missing from the materials Trump released to them and, in May 2021, emailed Trump’s lawyers to get them back.

    When his lawyers tried to push him to do as the law required, they told FBI investigators, Trump answered: “It’s not theirs, it’s mine.” Finally, in December 2021, after Trump had personally gone through the documents, a Trump representative told NARA that they had found “some records,” and in January 2022, NARA retrieved 15 boxes from Mar-a-Lago. Archivists found more than 150 documents marked classified, making up hundreds of pages of classified national security information.

    By April the Justice Department had convened a grand jury to investigate Trump’s removal of the documents. Trump’s lawyers tried to keep those documents out of the hands of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) by claiming they were covered by executive privilege, but in May 2022, NARA gave the FBI access to the records. In June 2022, Trump representative Christina Bobb certified that “a diligent search” at Mar-a-Lago had turned up nothing more and that they were returning “any and all documents” they had found. Concerned about the sheer number of documents turning up, the Department of Justice subpoenaed security video tapes, which showed people moving the documents.

    Federal officials obtained a search warrant for Mar-a-Lago. When they executed it in August 2022, they found 13 more boxes with classified documents: a total of more than 11,000 government documents and photographs. They also found 48 empty folders labeled “classified,” but they did not check a locked closet on which Trump had recently changed the lock, or a “hidden room” in Trump’s bedroom. They found that the boxes, which contained the most valuable intelligence of the United States government, had been stored haphazardly in public areas, including a ballroom stage and a bathroom.

    In November 2022, after Trump announced his presidential candidacy—an early announcement that many thought was an attempt to avoid criminal prosecution—Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed a special counsel to oversee the two federal investigations that touched on the former president, thus deliberately moving those investigations outside the department so they could not be seen as part of the presidential race.

    In June 2023 a federal grand jury indicted Trump on 37 criminal counts under the Espionage Act, including scheming to conceal documents; three more charges were added the following month. Trump allegedly compromised national security documents from the Central Intelligence Agency, the Department of Defense, the National Security Agency, the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (surveillance imagery), the National Reconnaissance Office (surveillance and maps), the Department of Energy (nuclear weapons), and the Department of State and Bureau of Intelligence and Research (diplomatic intelligence). He was a one-man wrecking ball, aimed at our national security.

    The case fell randomly to Cannon, who has appeared to be trying to delay the case since it came into her hands. Today, she threw it out altogether.

    Former attorney general Eric Holder called Cannon’s dismissal “so bereft of legal reasoning as to be utterly absurd.” Legal analyst Mark Joseph Stern called it “an extreme outlier view with no basis in precedent” and noted that “Cannon’s indefensible opinion will still serve its purpose of delaying this trial indefinitely.”

    Global politics scholar Brian Klaas wrote “Trump appoints judge. Trump does something that virtually all legal experts—including Trump’s own former Attorney General—see as a clear-cut felony. Judge that Trump appointed dismisses case.” Washington Post global affairs columnist Ishaan Tharoor wrote: “if this happened in another country, the DC establishment would immediately point to the erosion of the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary.”

    Special Counsel Jack Smith has said he will appeal Cannon’s ruling.

    Trump responded to the news exactly as yesterday’s Republican demands that Trump’s opponents stop calling out his lawlessness suggested he would. He posted: “As we move forward in Uniting our Nation after the horrific events on Saturday, this dismissal of the Lawless Indictment in Florida should be just the first step, followed quickly by the dismissal of ALL the Witch Hunts—the January 6th Hoax in Washington, D.C., the Manhattan D.A.’s Zombie Case, the New York A.G. Scam, Fake Claims about a woman I never met (a decades old photo in a line with her then husband does not count), and the Georgia “Perfect” Phone Call charges. The Democrat Justice Department coordinated ALL of these Political Attacks, which are an Election Interference conspiracy against Joe Biden’s Political Opponent, ME. Let us come together to END all Weaponization of our Justice System, and Make America Great Again!”

    The Thomas opinion on which Cannon relied was his concurrence in the July 1, 2024, decision in Donald J. Trump v. United States. In that decision, the Supreme Court overturned the central principle of American democracy when it said that the U.S. president cannot be prosecuted for crimes committed as part of a president’s “official duties.” Cannon’s decision echoes the idea that Trump cannot be held accountable even for what is allegedly the most serious breach of our national security in our history. Indeed, MAGA Representative Matt Gaetz (R-FL) posted a picture of Cannon on social media with the heading: “Future Supreme Court Justice Cannon.”

    Legal analyst Keith Boykin listed the many excuses and arguments Trump enablers have made over the years. “He can’t be prosecuted in office,” Boykin wrote. “He can’t be impeached because the courts should decide. He’s immune from prosecution after office. He can’t be prosecuted by Biden’s DOJ because that’s ‘lawfare.’ And he can’t be prosecuted by a special counsel. We have created a dictator.”

    Legal analyst Norm Eisen noted that Cannon’s decision will boost Trump on the first day of the Republican National Convention, held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, from Monday through Thursday of this week. So will the weekend’s shooting, which has inspired MAGA Republicans to insist that all their party members must rally around Trump.

    While Trump has been the presumptive nominee for years, that anointment was contested. Around 20% of Republican primary voters, who tend to be the most loyal and fervent partisans, consistently voted for former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley rather than Trump. Those voters seemed to be concentrated in the suburbs, thus making up a constituency Trump needs to win.

    On the other end of the party’s spectrum, the fringe right has been saying that Trump is too soft for them. Antisemitic white nationalist Nick Fuentes has told his followers that he and his “groypers” are fed up with Trump because they are sick of “battling the Jews in the White House, battling the neocons, battling the Israel-firsters.”

    Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and right-wing provocateur Ivan Raiklin have speculated for months that removing Trump from the running—they speculated about assassination—would open the way for Trump’s far-right former national security advisor Michael Flynn, and appeared to be putting pressure on Trump to name Flynn as vice president. Yesterday, Raiklin posted on social media a “Trump/Flynn 2024” graphic with the legend “FAFO,” under the words “Assassination-Proof.”

    This afternoon, perhaps in hopes of avoiding an embarrassing floor fight, Trump dashed the hopes of both ends of the Republican spectrum by naming Ohio senator J.D. Vance as his vice presidential pick. Vance is 39 and was elected to the Senate in 2022 with the help of $10 million from right-wing billionaire Peter Thiel. In the short time he has been in office, he has echoed Trump’s Big Lie that the 2020 presidential race was stolen, has said that he does not believe in rape or incest exceptions for abortion bans and that people should stay in violent marriages, and has praised Project 2025. He is pro-Russia and against the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

    It “will be interesting to see how the RNC attempts to spin Vance as a candidate of Unity,” journalist Anne Applebaum wrote. The Fox News Channel helpfully reminded viewers that Vance has, in the past, said that Trump “might be America’s Hitler,” “might be a cynical a**hole,” and is “cultural heroin,” “noxious,” and “reprehensible.”

    Still, factional differences might not matter in today’s Republican Party. This afternoon, in the hall of the RNC convention, attendees chanted, “Fight, fight, fight,” as they punched an arm in the air, in an eerie echo of Germany in the 1930s.

    _____________________________________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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