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Letter From An American

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  • mickeyratmickeyrat Posts: 20,158
     February 8, 2021 (Monday)

    The news today centers on the Senate impeachment trial for the former president, which begins tomorrow, and the Democrats’ maneuvering to pass a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package.

    Both of these issues deal with vital immediate questions. Will there be consequences for Trump’s refusal to accept the results of the 2020 election, a refusal that led to a coup attempt? And will the government help out those suffering from the economic dislocation caused by the pandemic? Behind those immediate questions, though, is a larger question: what direction will the nation take in the years to come?

    In both of these issues, Trump supporters on the one hand, and Democrats on the other, appear to be very aware they will be making an appeal to voters in the future based on their actions today. Trump’s lawyers are teeing up the idea that the former president is a victim of Democratic obsession and that the Democrats are wastrels. The Democrats are setting up the idea that the Republicans are a danger to the nation and its people.

    Today Trump’s lawyers submitted a 78-page trial brief to the Senate, arguing that it is unconstitutional to try a former president on articles of impeachment, that Trump’s speech at the January 6 rally urging his supporters to “fight” was rhetorical, and that the former president was well within his First Amendment rights to speak as he did. It blames the attack on the Capitol not on Trump’s incitement of violence over time—as the article of impeachment does—but on “a small group of criminals.”

    The document seems designed to appeal to an audience of one: Trump himself. It repeatedly uses “Democrat” as a derogatory adjective, accusing “Democrat members” of Congress of “Trump Derangement Syndrome.” It calls the House impeachment managers intellectually dishonest and fact free. Curiously, in what is perhaps a nod either to his vanity or to the QAnon believers who think Trump is still president, it never acknowledges him as a former president, repeatedly referring to him simply as “the 45th President.”

    Trump’s lawyers throw Trump’s supporters under the bus, saying “the people who criminally breached the Capitol did so of their own accord and for their own reason,” and that their actions “were utterly inexcusable and deserve robust and swift investigation and prosecution.”

    They examine Trump’s words at the rally, noting that he used the word “fight” “little more than a handful of times and each time in the figurative sense that has long been accepted in public discourse when urging people to stand and use their voices to be heard on matters important to them: it was not and could not be construed to encourage acts of violence.” “He simply called on those gathered to peacefully and patriotically use their voices” [italics and boldface in original].

    The document blames House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and her allies for trying “to callously harness the chaos of the moment for their own political gain.” Democrats, it says, are “never willing to allow a ‘good crisis’ to go to waste.”

    This document tries to rewrite what we all saw with our own eyes. It will not convince anyone who has been paying attention to what happened on January 6, but that’s clearly not its purpose. Instead, it reinforces the narrative that Trump has been persecuted by his enemies, and that he was not responsible for the most serious attack on Congress and on our democracy in our history. That attack was simply the bad actions of “a small group of criminals.”

    This account will please Trump and those of his supporters it does not throw under the bus, but it puts Republican senators who are not aligned with Trump in a perilous position.

    The Democrats, who are famous for their measured attempts to argue about policy, appear recently to have adopted the Republicans’ advertising tactics, pushing a single, strong narrative theme.

    What if Republican senators vote to acquit Trump, only to have more information drop that associates him even more closely with the insurrection? Today, Georgia’s secretary of state’s office began an investigation into Trump’s phone call pressuring Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to overturn Georgia’s election results, a call mentioned in the House’s impeachment article.

    Also today, Proud Boy Ethan Nordean, under arrest for his role in the January 6 riot, was transferred from the state of Washington to Washington, D.C., to face federal charges. It seems likely that arrests will continue and information will continue to come in. It is unclear how many people will be swept into this story, but it is not impossible that people close to the former president, and even the former president himself, will find themselves in jeopardy.

    If this happens after senators vote to acquit, the Democratic ads in 2022 and 2024 will virtually write themselves.

    Republican senators clearly see this peril. Tonight, conservative writer Bill Kristol noted: “All the Trump supporters saying the outcome’s pre-ordained and that the presentations, evidence and witnesses couldn’t make a difference, seems to be an attempt to make sure Republican senators pay no attention to the presentations, evidence, or witnesses. But what if they do?”

    While the impeachment trial approaches, the Democrats are preparing to write a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief measure along the lines that President Biden has requested. The new coronavirus measure is very popular, despite Republican attempts to argue that it is unnecessary. Since at least 1893, Republicans have insisted that Democrats are bad at managing the nation’s finances, but that myth is suddenly under attack as recent articles, including a New York Times piece by David Leonhardt, have noted that the U.S. economy historically fares much better under Democratic presidents than under Republicans.

    And yet, as of right now, no Republicans have signed on to the coronavirus measure. After four years of endorsing Trump’s explosion of the deficit and the national debt, right on cue, the Republican Party has rediscovered the beauty of reducing the deficit.

    This sudden austerity, too, will not look good in advertisements in 2022, should Democrats choose to point out that Republicans supported Trump’s 2017 tax cuts, which overwhelmingly benefited the wealthy, and then voted against a coronavirus relief bill designed to help ordinary Americans survive the pandemic.

    So while we are looking at the short-term effects of these two major issues—an impeachment trial and a coronavirus relief package—we are also looking at both parties making a case to the American people for why their own approach to the future is the best one.

    The Trump campaign continues to offer only a fierce resentment of those who are trying to hold the former president to account for his refusal to accept the results of an election, which led to the unprecedented attack on the Capitol. The Democrats are offering to make the former president accountable for the fact “he willfully incited violent insurrection against the government,” and offering a way forward for the nation as a whole.

    Over the course of the next week or so, the Republican senators who are not aligned with the Trump wing must choose between these two visions, knowing that in 2022 and 2024, there will be no escaping the consequences of their choices. Democrats will broadcast them to voters relentlessly.

    _____________________________________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
  • brianluxbrianlux Moving through All Kinds of Terrain.Posts: 33,520
    It's going to be an interesting week!
    “In all human affairs there are efforts, and there are results, and the strength of the effort is the measure of the result.”
    -James Allen










  • mickeyratmickeyrat Posts: 20,158
     February 9, 2021 (Tuesday)

    Today began the second impeachment trial for former president Donald J. Trump, this time for incitement of insurrection against the American government.

    Still, the people who are really on trial are the 50 Republican senators judging Trump’s guilt.

    The impeachment trial today covered whether it is constitutional to try a former official. This angle was designed to get Republican senators off the hook: if not, they could avoid voting on the article of impeachment.

    The proceedings went badly for the defense. Lead House impeachment manager Jamie Raskin (D-MD) began the session by pointing out that Trump’s lawyers were arguing for a brand new “January exception to the Constitution of the United States of America.” Constitutional lawyers from across the political spectrum, he pointed out, agree that former officials must be held accountable for their actions after they leave office. Otherwise, officeholders could commit high crimes and misdemeanors and then promptly resign, putting themselves beyond reach of impeachment.

    “It’s an invitation to the president to take his best shot at anything he may want to do on his way out the door, including using violent means to lock that door to hang on the Oval Office at all costs and to block the peaceful transfer of power,” Raskin said. “In other words, the January exception is an invitation to our Founders’ worst nightmare. And if we buy this radical argument… we risk allowing January 6 to become our future.”

    What would that look like? Raskin answered his own question with a thirteen-minute video that revisited exactly what happened on January 6. Using footage and tweets from the attack on the Capitol, the video laid out the direct relationship between Trump’s speech at his rally that day and his supporters’ attack on Congress. It was devastating. Seeing the events of the day laid out in chronological order, with Trump’s words echoing from the mouths of furious insurrectionists attacking the Capitol, was even worse than seeing it happen in real time on January 6.

    After the video, Raskin and the impeachment manager who followed him, Representative Joseph Neguse (D-CO) laid out, in historical detail, that the Framers certainly intended for impeachment to include officials who had already left office. They pointed both to a case that was underway in Britain when the Framers were including impeachment in the Constitution and to the case of Secretary of War William Belknap, who was impeached in 1876 after he resigned from office in the midst of a scandal.

    The goal behind impeachment, Neguse said, is to guarantee accountability and stop corruption. There is, he said, no merit to Trump’s claim that he can incite an insurrection and then insist weeks later that the Senate lacks power to hold a trial.  

    Like Raskin and Neguse, Representative David Cicilline (D-RI) emphasized that there is no “January exception” to the Constitution. He pointed out that Trump committed a terrible constitutional offense when he incited an armed angry mob to riot in the Capitol.

    Cicilline also pointed out that Trump did not back down. At the end of that fateful day, he tweeted: “These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously & viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly & unfairly treated for so long. Go home with love & in peace. Remember this day forever!” It is no wonder Trump’s lawyers want to talk about jurisdiction rather than facts, he said.

    After their presentations, Raskin gave an emotional plea to senators to defend American democracy.

    After a recess, it was Trump’s lawyers’ turn. It didn’t go well.

    The two men, Bruce Castor and David Schoen, only joined the defense team a little over a week ago, after Trump’s original team leaders all quit, and so have had little time to prepare. They were also apparently surprised by the quality of the prosecution’s presentation today, and so tried to change their own presentations on the fly.

    Castor spoke first, coming across as condescending and meandering—Schoen later defended him by saying Castor had not known he would be speaking today. Even Trump supporter Alan Dershowitz, who defended Trump in his first impeachment trial, seemed put off. “I have no idea what he’s doing,” Dershowitz told Newsmax.

    Next up was Schoen, who insisted that the Trump voters whose candidate lost the election must be heard. He appeared to threaten the senators with civil war. “This trial will tear the country apart, perhaps like we’ve only ever seen once in history.”

    The two men seemed badly outmatched, rambling and unprepared. While the Democrats’ presentations were clear, organized, and illustrated with slick videos and graphics, the defense had none of that. Watching from Florida, the former president was allegedly irate. The goal for the defense today was simply to give cover to Republicans who wanted to avoid voting on the merits of the case by giving them room to dismiss the case on the grounds it was unconstitutional. Castor and Schoen did not give them that cover.

    At the end of the presentations, the Senate voted that it was constitutional to proceed with the trial by a vote of 56 to 44. Six Republicans, one more than had voted yes on a similar vote in Congress, joined the Democratic majority. Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA) said the defense lawyers had not provided a convincing argument that such a trial was unconstitutional. When pressed by reporters about why he thought the defense was poor, he said: “Did you listen to it? It was disorganized, random—they talked about many things, but they didn’t talk about the issue at hand.”

    The defense lawyers’ problem, of course, is that they are being asked to defend the indefensible. They know it; we know it; Republican senators who have been defending Trump know it. During the video of the insurrection, Trump supporters Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Tom Cotton (R-AR) looked at papers on their desks, Rick Scott (R-FL) looked at papers on his lap, and Rand Paul (R-KY) doodled.

    Republican Senators willing to excuse Trump for his incitement of an insurrection that attacked our peaceful transfer of power are tying the Republican party to the former president and to an ideology that would end our democracy.

    What led the rioters on January 6, 2021, to try to hurt our elected officials and overturn the legal results of the 2020 election was Trump’s long-time assertion that he won in a landslide and the presidency had been stolen from him.

    This big lie, as observers are calling it, is not one of Trump’s many and random lies, it is the rallying cry for a movement to destroy American democracy. He is building a movement based on the idea that his supporters are the only ones truly defending the nation, because they—not the people who certified the 2020 election—are the ones who know the true outcome of the election. He is creating a narrative in which he is the only legitimate leader of the nation and anyone who disagrees is a traitor to the Constitution.

    As Cicilline noted, even after the riot Trump refused to repudiate that big lie. And now, even in the face of impeachment he has not repudiated it. Indeed, he has doubled down on it, refusing to admit he is a “former” president. His supporters haven’t admitted it, either, including his supporters who sit in Congress. None of those who challenged the counting of the electoral votes on January 6 and 7 has admitted it was a political stunt. Now, they are arguing that impeachment is a partisan attack on the part of Democrats.

    If Republican senators permit Trump to get away with the big lie, it must, logically, take over the Republican Party. It’s no wonder that he lost his first defense team because he insisted they use their media time to argue that he had won the election in a landslide. Trump is not trying to win just this trial: he is trying to win control of the Republican Party and, through it, the country.

    Tomorrow, the House impeachment managers will begin to argue their case.

    _____________________________________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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    another man ..... moved by sleight of hand...................................... joe louis arena detroit '14
  • brianluxbrianlux Moving through All Kinds of Terrain.Posts: 33,520
    Excellent as always... maybe even better than usual this one!
    “In all human affairs there are efforts, and there are results, and the strength of the effort is the measure of the result.”
    -James Allen










  • mickeyratmickeyrat Posts: 20,158
     February 10, 2021 (Wednesday)

    “This case is much worse than someone who falsely shouts fire in a crowded theater. It’s more like a case where the town fire chief, who’s paid to put out fires, sends a mob not to yell fire in a crowded theater, but to actually set the theater on fire.”

    This was how lead House impeachment manager Jamie Raskin (D-MD) explained Trump’s role in the January 6 insurrection to the senators trying the former president Trump for inciting that insurrection.

    Over the course of today, the House impeachment managers laid out a devastating timeline of the former president’s effort, beginning even before the 2020 election, to prime his supporters to believe the only way he could lose was if the Democrats cheated. Manager Joseph Neguse (D-CO) used the rioters’ own words to show that they were responding to Trump’s calls to fight for his reelection. Manager Eric Swalwell (D-CA) pointed out that the Trump camp spent $50 million on national “STOP THE STEAL!” ads that ran until the planned “big protest” on January 6. That presentation alone was powerful, as the managers put videos of rally speeches and tweets together to let the story tell itself.

    But the tale grew riveting when impeachment manager Stacey Plaskett, a Democratic delegate from the U.S. Virgin Islands, took the story into the Capitol building itself. She followed the rioters using footage from their own cellphones and the cameras of journalists who recorded their actions. But she had more than those videos. Plaskett used previously unseen video from security cameras to illustrate just how close the rioters came to capturing Vice President Mike Pence and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, both of whom they were searching for specifically, as well as lawmakers in general. In some cases, the congress members and their staffs were within seconds of being caught.

    The mocking, singsong, drawn out calls for “Nancy” from a rioter searching for the House Speaker as if he were a monster stalking a victim in a horror movie, and the angry chants to “Hang Mike Pence!” from rioters who had hung a noose from a gallows they constructed outside the Capitol, left little doubt the rioters were deadly. Richard Barnett, the man photographed with his feet on Pelosi’s desk, carried a 950,000-volt stun gun.  

    Impeachment manager David Cicilline (D-RI) took the baton from Plaskett, hammering home that Trump had continued to stoke the crowd’s anger against Pence even as the vice president was in lockdown at the Capitol, and that he refused to stop the riot despite pleading from his aides and allies. Manager Joaquin Castro (D-TX) brought the argument home: “On January 6, President Trump left everyone in this Capitol for dead.”

    It was a riveting, damning presentation, showing just how close we came to an event even worse than the day turned out to be. In one particularly dramatic new scene from the security cameras, we saw Capitol Police Officer Eugene Goodman, who later lured the rioters away from the Senate chamber to give the lawmakers enough time—barely—to get to safety, prevent Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) from walking into the mob, likely saving his life.

    The story the managers told set out quite clearly that the insurrection was not only planned, it was timed to disrupt the counting of the electoral votes that would make Joe Biden president. As impeachment manager Ted Lieu (D-CA) put it, Trump “ran out of nonviolent options to maintain power…. What you saw was a man so desperate to try to cling to power that he tried everything he could to keep it, and when he ran out of nonviolent measures, he turned to the violent mob that attacked your Senate chamber on January 6.”

    The House managers tried to make it possible for Republican senators to convict Trump. They focused on him alone, leaving untouched the fact that some of the senators in the chamber had themselves spread the lie that the election had been marred by massive fraud. (The one apparently in deepest, Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri, refused to watch the presentation.)

    They held up Vice President Pence as a principled leader attacked while trying to do his constitutional duty, offering Republican senators a choice not between their party and the Democrats, but rather between Trump and Pence, Republicans both. They also detailed the attack on Capitol police officers, offering the chance for Republicans to side against Trump and with the officers.

    In their defense of Pence, the impeachment managers made clear a curious thing: the popular anger at Pence was entirely manufactured. Pence’s role on January 6 was largely ceremonial; he could not challenge the counting of the electoral votes, and he said so, both in person and in writing, as Trump continued to pressure him to. Trump’s deliberate stoking of fury at the vice president meant the crowd was actively hunting for Vice President Pence and House Speaker Pelosi, the next two people in line for the presidency should Trump be removed from office.

    And yet, there are signs that none of this matters to the Republican senators who have already decided to acquit the president. On Twitter, Senator Lindsey Graham tonight called the day’s presentation “offensive and absurd.”
     
    Still others say that, even if what happened is horrific, the trial is unconstitutional because Trump is no longer president, although the fact the Senate voted that it is constitutional should mean that point is settled. Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) told CNN correspondent Ryan Nobles, “I’m learning things. But, again, my basic point is we shouldn’t have having this trial.”

    It seems likely that they are contemplating the experience of Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA), whose state Republican Party pounced on his vote yesterday in favor of the constitutionality of the trial, saying it was “profoundly disappointed.”

    But those doubling down on Trump’s leadership of the party have their own troubles. In the 25 states that have accessible data, nearly 140,000 Republicans have left the party since January 6, and tonight, Reuters broke the story that “former elected Republicans, former officials in the Republican administrations of Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush and Trump, ex-Republican ambassadors and Republican strategists,” are in talks to form a new center-right political party. While Trump spokesman Jason Miller called the people involved “losers,” they are savvy enough at political strategy to plan to make their influence felt not necessarily by running third-party candidates, but by endorsing the non-Trump candidate in a race, regardless of party.

    While almost all eyes are on the Senate impeachment trial, Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill is working its way through the relevant House committees. Today, by a party-line vote, the House Education and Labor Committee moved its portion along with a provision to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025.

    At the White House, Biden spoke on the telephone for the first time with Chinese President Xi Jinping, whom he knows from his days as vice president. The two discussed areas of shared interest, such as the pandemic, global health, and climate change. Biden also called the Chinese leader out for “coercive and unfair economic practices,” as well as the anti-democratic crackdown in Hong Kong and, in Xinjiang, human rights abuses.

    _____________________________________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
  • mickeyratmickeyrat Posts: 20,158
     February 11, 2021 (Thursday)

    Today the House impeachment managers wrapped their case against former president Donald Trump. Using the words of the insurgents themselves, the managers argued that he incited the insurrection of January 6, spurring an armed and violent mob to storm the Capitol while Congress was counting the certified electoral votes that awarded the 2020 presidential election to Democrat Joe Biden.

    After yesterday’s dramatic illustrated timeline of the insurrection itself, the managers used their time today establishing that Trump was responsible for sparking that insurrection. They showed the insurrectionists repeating his words—one man read one of his tweets through a bullhorn at the Capitol riot—and insisting that they were acting according to the former president’s instructions.

    The managers’ case was reinforced by the fact that the Department of Justice this morning filed a memorandum establishing that Jessica Watkins, a member of the right-wing Oath Keepers paramilitary group, delayed her planned assault on Washington, D.C., until she was certain Trump was behind it. “I am concerned this is an elaborate trap,” she texted on November 9, 2020. “Unless the POTUS himself activates us, it’s not legit. The POTUS has the right to activate units too. If Trump asks me to come, I will. Otherwise, I can’t trust it.”  

    Again and again, the managers tried to distinguish between Trump and his violent supporters, on the one hand, and the lawmakers of both parties who were their prey, on the other. Again and again, they focused on Trump as the perpetrator of the big lie that the election had been rigged and that he, not Biden, was the rightful victor.

    They warned that Trump’s attack on our democracy is not over. Even after all that has happened, he has still not conceded that he lost the election. This refusal to abandon the big lie keeps it potent, enabling him to rally supporters with the argument that fighting for Trump means defending American democracy. It is a deadly inversion of reality.

    The House impeachment managers have given Republican senators multiple ways to justify a vote for conviction to their constituents. They have shown how Trump began to incite violence even before the election, in plain sight, and how that led to an assault on the Capitol that came close to costing the lives of our elected officials, including Vice President Mike Pence—a Republican—and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the two people next in line for the presidency if Trump were to be removed from office.

    The riot threatened the representatives and senators—including them!—their staffers, and many of their family members who were at the Capitol that day. And yet, even as lawmakers begged Trump to call the rioters off, he did the opposite. He attacked Pence in a tweet even as the vice president was being rushed to safety from the mob.

    The managers focused, too, on the terrible toll the attack took on Capitol police. Three of them are now dead, with more than 100 wounded physically and others wounded mentally. Senators could vote to convict out of a determination to protect law enforcement officers, something their constituents say is important to them.

    Today, the managers emphasized the many Republican lawmakers who condemned Trump in the wake of the insurrection, including the Cabinet members who resigned their posts, the state governors who called him out, and fellow lawmakers who expressed dismay at his incitement of the rioters.

    Finally, the managers warned that, unless Trump is stopped, he will absolutely do such a thing again. They pointed out that the riot in Charlottesville, Virginia, after which the president condoned the white supremacists who killed Heather Heyer, was a rehearsal for the attack on the Michigan state house this summer. That, in turn, was a rehearsal for the attack on the Capitol. As manager Diana DeGette (D-CO) said: “In 2017, it was unfathomable to most of us to think that Charlottesville could happen, just as it was unfathomable to most of us that the Capitol could have been breached on January 6…. Frankly, what unfathomable horrors await us if we do not stand up now and say, no, this is not America.”

    Senators were apparently shocked to see how close they came to falling into the hands of the rioters, and yet, although many Republican senators concede that the House managers mounted a compelling case, they continue to say that they do not believe they have the power to convict a former president. This suggests they are looking for an excuse, since the Senate’s vote on this question, which should be definitive, passed on Tuesday by a vote of 56-44. At one point today, at least 18 Republican senators were absent from their desks as the managers were making their case.

    It’s unlikely that any of the senators want to acquit Trump because they want him to stay in the political scene. Some of them want his voters, but that itself cuts against wanting him to stay around: they want his voters to elect them, not to reelect him or elect his chosen successor. It’s likely they simply hoped he would fade away as he lost his social media presence and became occupied with the financial and legal troubles that are already piling up.

    After all, bankers have distanced themselves from the former president, his businesses appear to be losing money, and a $100 million tax dispute with the IRS is now likely to come to a conclusion after being put on hold for four years. Yesterday, District Attorney Fani Willis, Fulton County, Georgia’s top prosecutor, announced that she is launching a wide-ranging criminal investigation into Trump’s January 2 phone call to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a call that lawyers have suggested broke election laws.

    But the Senate trial has shown that maybe he’s not going to fade away. The House impeachment managers have laid out a damning case. The scenes from the insurrection were shocking, and they established a pretty strong sense that Trump is deeply involved in an ongoing attempt to overturn our democracy. It looks possible that the Department of Justice might, in fact, go after the former president and perhaps others with the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act.

    After the past two days, senators who were planning to let Trump off the hook might be worrying they will have to answer to constituents furious that they didn’t do their jobs and instead associated the entire party with a criminal president and the rioters that attacked the Capitol. Already the editorial board of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch has lambasted Missouri Senators Josh Hawley and Roy Blunt: “There is no way to credibly argue that Trump protected and defended the Constitution when video evidence shows him directing a mob to storm the Capitol and interrupt constitutionally mandated proceedings to certify the Electoral College result.”

    The senators need Trump’s lawyers to do a good enough job tomorrow to give them cover to acquit, and it seems likely those lawyers are not skilled enough to do so. Tonight, Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX), Mike Lee (R-UT), and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) visited Trump’s defense team. Cruz said they were “sharing our thoughts” about their legal strategy: it is of note that Cruz was the Solicitor General of Texas before being elected to the Senate, and Lee was an assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Utah. Also a lawyer, Graham is the former chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

    The Republican senators who will vote either to convict or acquit the former president must do so knowing that trials associated with the insurrection between now and the next election will keep the story in the news. The question is whether the American people will interpret the story as the impeachment team has framed it, or whether Trump’s lawyers and later Trump himself, if he regains a political foothold, can somehow knock that interpretation aside.

    Lead impeachment manager Jamie Raskin (D-MD), who was a constitutional law professor before he went to Congress, seems to understand their dilemma. “Tyranny, like Hell, is not easily conquered,” he told the senators today, quoting political theorist Thomas Paine, “but we have this saving consolation: The more difficult the struggle, the more glorious ... our victory.”

    He told them, “Good luck in your deliberations.”

    _____________________________________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
  • mickeyratmickeyrat Posts: 20,158
     February 12, 2021 (Friday)

    Today was the the fourth day of former president Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial. The president’s legal team attempted to answer the arguments of the House impeachment managers, who outlined the horrific events of January 6, 2021, when a violent mob stormed the U.S. Capitol while a joint session of Congress was counting the certified electoral votes to make Democrat Joe Biden president and blamed the former president for inciting the insurrectionists.

    The House impeachment managers had put together a damning presentation over the past two days, leaving Trump’s lawyers with the goal simply of providing enough cover for Republican senators to vote to acquit. They had 16 hours to present their case.

    They took less than four.

    Led by a new spokesman, Michael van der Veen, a former personal injury lawyer from Philadelphia, Trump’s lawyers brought to the floor of the Senate the same tactics the former president used for his four years in office. Rather than engaging in substantive discussion of the merits of the case—which, in fairness, ran pretty heavily against them—they delivered sound bites for right-wing media. They lied about facts, insisted that Trump’s language leading to the riot was the same sort of rhetoric all politicians use, insulted and talked back to the senators, and claimed Trump was the victim of years of witch hunts by Democrats who hate him.

    This approach had been enough to make one of his lawyers, David Schoen, quit briefly, but Trump allegedly “loved” it. He had been angry at his lawyers’ meandering defense earlier in the week, but this was more his style. “His base will be pleased,” a former aide told Meridith McGraw and Gabby Orr of Politico. “[H]e had four hours of free television to pitch [to the public].” Defending the former president, his team even reached back to defend his embrace of the white supremacist rioters at the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. “Charlottesville was shown because it gave free airtime to explain it. Previously nobody in media would run with the excuse. Now it’s out there,” said the former aide.

    After the presentation, though, the senators questioned the former president’s lawyers, and revealed two key pieces of information.

    First, Trump’s lawyers refused to say that he lost the election. Trump’s big lie, the lie that has driven his attack on our democracy, is that the outcome of the 2020 election was rigged and that, in reality, he won it in a landslide. There is no merit to this argument. It has been dismissed by state election boards across the country and by our courts, including the Supreme Court. But he continues to refuse to concede the election, fueling a movement that threatens to create a long-term domestic insurgency. His lawyers today endorsed that position.

    The other key information centered on what Trump did during the attack on the Capitol.

    Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) asked: “Exactly when did President Trump learn of the breach of the Capitol? And what specific actions did he take to bring the rioting to an end? And when did he take them? Please be as detailed as possible.”

    Van der Veen responded by blaming the House managers for not answering that question although, of course, it is his client who knows the answer and who refused to testify.

    Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) then joined Collins in asking whether Trump knew Pence was in danger when he sent a tweet saying: "Mike Pence didn't have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution, giving States a chance to certify a corrected set of facts, not the fraudulent or inaccurate ones which they were asked to previously certify. USA demands the truth!"

    Van der Veen said definitively, “The answer is no, at no point was the President informed the vice president was in any danger.” He then turned back to blaming the House managers for the lack of information.

    But Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA) noted that, according to Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL), Trump had been on the phone with him just before he sent the tweet, and Tuberville had told Trump that Pence had been evacuated. “The tweet and lack of response suggest that President Trump did not care that Vice President Pence was endangered, or that law enforcement was overwhelmed,” Cassidy noted. “Does this show that President Trump was tolerant of the intimidation of Vice President Pence?”

    Van der Veen disagreed with Tuberville’s statement, and pivoted again to the House managers’ lack of an investigation.

    At the end of the day, it was clear a number of Republican senators were troubled by the lawyers’ refusal to engage with the facts of the case or with the House managers’ argument, but it seemed as if Trump’s lawyers had provided enough cover for them to be able to vote to acquit.

    And then someone threw a spanner in the works.

    Just after the Senate adjourned for the day, CNN broke the story that gave details about a phone call between House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Trump as the rioters were breaching the Capitol. As McCarthy begged the then-president to call off his supporters, who were at that point breaking into his office, Trump allegedly said, “Well, Kevin, I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are.” The two men began to shout at each other, with McCarthy demanding: “Who the f*ck do you think you are talking to?”

    Trump did not call off the rioters for several more hours.

    The story is explosive, showing that Trump did indeed know of the lawmakers’ danger and that he refused to help them.
     
    Also interesting, though, is that this story came from “multiple” Republican lawmakers, who provided detailed information to the journalists at this crucial moment. They said that Trump had no intention of stopping the riot. “He is not a blameless observer,” one said, “he was rooting for them.” One of the sources named in the story, Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA), said, "That line right there demonstrates to me that either he didn't care, which is impeachable, because you cannot allow an attack on your soil, or he wanted it to happen and was OK with it, which makes me so angry."

    Another source, Representative Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH) said, “He was not sorry to see his unyieldingly loyal vice president or the Congress under attack by the mob he inspired. In fact, it seems he was happy about it or at the least enjoyed the scenes that were horrifying to most Americans across the country."

    Herrera Beutler had shared the details of the story before, but it had not gotten traction. Now, apparently, a number of Republicans are so concerned that the Senate will vote to acquit the former president they have gone to the press.

    And then someone from Pence’s team told reporters that van der Veen was lying when he said the president did not know about Pence’s danger.

    So, as Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) wrote tonight, “Tomorrow just got a lot more interesting.”

    _____________________________________SIGNATURE________________________________________________

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    another man ..... moved by sleight of hand...................................... joe louis arena detroit '14
  • mickeyratmickeyrat Posts: 20,158
     February 13, 2021 (Saturday)

    Today the Senate acquitted former president Donald Trump of the charge of inciting an insurrection. Fifty-seven senators said he was guilty; 43 said he was not guilty. An impeachment conviction requires a two-thirds majority of the Senate, so he was acquitted, but not before seven members of his own party voted to convict him.

    The only real surprise today was this morning, when five Republicans joined 50 Democrats to vote in favor of calling witnesses.

    That vote came after Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA) last night released a statement recounting an angry conversation between House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and Trump during the violence, in which Trump refused to call off the rioters and appeared to taunt McCarthy by telling him that the rioters were “more upset about the election than you are.” Herrera Beutler’s statement suggested that Trump had deliberately abandoned Vice President Mike Pence and the lawmakers to the insurrectionists, although Trump’s lawyer had definitively declared during the trial that Trump had not been told that Vice President Mike Pence was in danger.

    The vote to hear witnesses threw the Senate into confusion as senators were so convinced the trial would end today that many had already booked flights home. The House impeachment managers said they wanted to call Herrera Beutler to testify; Republican supporters of Trump warned they would call more than 300 witnesses, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Vice President Kamala Harris.

    After the two sides conferred, the House managers gave up demands for witnesses in exchange for reading Herrera Beutler’s statement into the record as evidence. While there was a widespread outcry at what seemed to be a Democratic capitulation, there were reasons the Democrats cut this deal. Witnesses to Trump’s behavior, like McCarthy, did not want to testify and would have been difficult. The Republicans as a group would have dragged the process on well into the spring, muddying the very clear story the impeachment managers told. They allegedly said that if the Democrats called witnesses, they would use the filibuster to block all Democratic nominees and legislation.

    So much pundits have noted.

    But today was not just about Trump; it was part of a longer struggle for the future of the country.

    Trump’s lawyers proceeded in the impeachment trial with the same rhetorical technique Trump and his supporters use: they flat-out lied. Clearly, they were not trying to get at the truth but were instead trying to create sound bites for right-wing media, the same way Trump and the rest of his cabal convinced supporters of the big lie that he had won, rather than lost, the 2020 election. In that case, they lied consistently in front of the media, but could not make anything stick in a courtroom, where there are penalties for not telling the truth.

    In the first impeachment hearings, Trump supporters did the same thing, shouting and lying to create sound bites, and while the sworn testimony was crystal clear, their antics left many Americans convinced not of the facts but that then-President Trump was being persecuted by Democrats who were trying to protect Hunter Biden. So, while it’s reasonable to imagine that witnesses would illustrate Trump’s depravity, it seems entirely likely that, as Trump’s lawyers continued simply to lie and their lies got spread through right-wing media as truth, Americans would have learned the opposite of what they should have.

    Instead, the issue of Trump’s guilt on January 6 will play out in a courtroom, where there are actual rules about telling the truth. Trump’s own lawyers suggested he should answer for his actions in a court of law, and in a fiery speech after the vote, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell set up the same idea. But even if that does not happen, the Capitol rioters will be in court, keeping in front of Americans both the horrific events of January 6 and their contention that they showed up to fight because their president asked them to.

    The constant refrain of the January 6 insurrection mirrors the Republicans’ use of sham investigations to convince people that Democrats are criminals—think, for example, of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s emails—except, this time, the cases are real. This should address the problem of manufactured sound bites, and should benefit the Democrats with voters, especially as Republicans are now openly the Party of Trump.

    McConnell tried to address the party’s capitulation immediately after the vote with a speech blaming Trump for the insurrection and saying that his own vote to acquit was because he does not think the Senate can try a former president. This is posturing, of course; McConnell made sure the Senate did not take up the House’s article of impeachment while Trump was still in office, and now says that, because it did not do so, it does not have jurisdiction.

    McConnell is trying to have it both ways. He has made it clear he wants to free the Republican Party from its thralldom to Trump, and he needs to do so in order to regain both voters and the major donors who have distanced themselves from party members who support the big lie. But he needs to keep Trump voters in the party. So he has bowed to the Trump wing in the short term, hoping to retain its goodwill, and then, immediately after the vote, gave a speech condemning Trump to reassure donors that he and the party are still sane. He likely hopes that, as the months go by and the Republicans block President Biden’s plans, alienated voters and donors will come back around to the party. From this perspective, the seven Republican votes to convict Trump provide excellent cover.

    It’s a cynical strategy and probably the best he can do, but it’s a long shot that it alone will enable the Republicans to regain control of the House and the Senate in 2022. For that, the Republicans need to get rid of Democratic votes.

    That need was part of what was behind the party’s support for Trump’s big lie. The essence of that lie was that Trump won the 2020 election because the votes of Democrats, especially people of color, were illegitimate. Republican lawmakers were happy to sign on to that big lie: it is a grander version of their position since 1986. Even now, those Republicans who backed the big lie have not admitted it was false. Instead, they are using the myth of fraudulent Democratic votes to push a massive attack on voting rights before the 2022 election.

    But they are no longer setting the terms of the country’s politics. By refusing to engage with the impeachment trial, Biden and his team escaped the trap of letting Trump continue to drive the national narrative. Instead, they are making it a priority to protect voting rights. At the same time, they are pushing back against the Republican justification for voter suppression: that widespread voting leads to Black and Brown voter fraud that elects “socialists” who redistribute money from “makers” to “takers.” Biden’s team is using the government in ways that are popular with voters across the board: right now, for example, 79% of Americans either like Biden’s coronavirus relief package or think it is too small.

    It was disheartening today to see that even trying to destroy the American government was not enough to get more than seven Republican senators to convict the former president. But it is not at all clear that tying their party to Trump is a winning strategy.

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  • mickeyratmickeyrat Posts: 20,158
     February 14, 2021 (Sunday)

    I took this photo on a hot summer day, hiking on a Maine island with my daughter, my nephews and their friends, and one of my besties, as we explored an old cemetery, complete with the nineteenth-century grave of a man who, according to his headstone, dropped dead shortly after preaching a sermon.

    This world is a funny place, but there is love here, even in the oddest places.

    Taking the night off. Will pick it all up tomorrow.

    H.


    _____________________________________SIGNATURE________________________________________________

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    another man ..... moved by sleight of hand...................................... joe louis arena detroit '14
  • mickeyratmickeyrat Posts: 20,158
     February 15, 2021 (Monday)

    Monday federal holidays generally mean that not much gets done. Today was a bit of an exception, since we are dealing with the fallout from the Senate’s refusal to convict former president Trump for the January 6 insurrection.

    For the Republicans, that acquittal simply makes the split in the party worse. First of all, it puts the Republicans at odds with the majority of Americans. According to a new ABC/Ipsos poll, 58% of us think Trump should have been convicted, and more than three-quarters of us—77%-- think the senators’ votes reflected partisanship rather than the facts.

    But Republicans disagree. Trump packed state Republican positions with his supporters because he was afraid he would face primary challengers in 2020, and those loyalists are now defending him. State Republican parties have censured a number of the House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump; of the seven Republican senators who voted to convict, Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Richard Burr (R-NC) have already been censured, and a censure effort is underway against Susan Collins (R-ME), Ben Sasse (R-NE), and Pat Toomey (R-PA). According to a new Quinnipiac poll, 75% of Republicans want Trump to continue to lead the party.

    But 21% don’t, and between 24% and 28% blame him for the January 6 riot.

    That split means the Republican Party, which was already losing members over the insurrection, stands to lose even more of its members if it continues to defer to the former president. Already, the Democratic National Committee has prepared a video advertisement to circulate on digital platforms, highlighting Republicans leaving their party. It includes a clip from former Republican National Committee Chair Michael Steele saying that “when you’re losing Republican members and you’re left with QAnon and Proud Boys, you’ve got to reassess whether or not you are even close to being a viable party.” The video ends with Biden urging Americans to come together and to “help us unite America and build back better.”

    For Democrats, the Senate trial put on display for the American public an impressive group. Representative Jamie Raskin (D-MD) gave the lead impeachment manager from Trump’s first Senate trial, Representative Adam Schiff (D-CA) a run for his money as a model for brains and morals. But Raskin was not alone. Delegate Stacey Plaskett (D-US Virgin Islands) and Representative Joseph Neguse (D-CO), relatively unknown outside of their home districts, got significant positive national attention during the trial, suddenly becoming household names. The entire Democratic team shone and indicated that the young Democrats have quite a deep bench of talent, especially in contrast to the younger Republicans, who seem to excel in media appearances more than in policy.

    Democrats recognize that the Senate acquittal means there is considerable interest in an actual accounting of what happened in the insurrection. Today, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that she will urge the House to establish an independent commission, like the one that investigated the 9/11 attacks, to study what led to the storming of the Capitol on January 6. Members of both parties have asked for such a commission.

    The Senate trial also gave powerful proof of just how undemocratic the Senate has become. Voting rights journalist Ari Berman noted that the “57 senators who voted to convict Trump represent 76.7 MILLION more Americans than 43 senators who voted to acquit.”

    Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne noted that the adherence of all but seven senators to Trump “should end the absurd talk that there is a burden on President Biden to achieve a bipartisan nirvana in Washington. If most Republicans can’t even admit that what Trump did is worthy of impeachment, how can anyone imagine that they would be willing and trustworthy governing partners?”

    Dionne added that the acquittal made an overwhelming case for getting rid of the filibuster, which in its current incarnation effectively means that no legislation can pass without support from 60 senators. Thanks to the 50-50 split in the Senate, getting to 60 means getting 10 Republican votes. This is impossible, Dionne says, because clearly “There are not 10 Republican Senate votes to be had on anything that really matters.”

    Meanwhile, President Joe Biden is simply working around Republican lawmakers, starting with the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package. Republicans in Congress overwhelmingly stand against the bill, in part because it calls for $350 billion to provide aid to states and cities. But Republican governors and mayors are desperate for the assistance. Republican voters like it, too.

    Last Friday, Biden invited governors and mayors from both parties to the White House to ask them what they needed most. The Republican mayor of Miami, Francis Suarez, told reporters that he had had more contact with Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris in the first weeks of their administration “than I had spoken to the prior administration in the entirety.”

    Biden is about to hit the road to try to convince Senate Republicans to support the relief package, going directly to the people to sell his ideas.

    The Democrats also have another trick to lay on the table to get Republican support. Today, Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), the chair of the House Appropriations Committee, and Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), the chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, announced they would back the return of a new version of so-called “earmarks,” more formally known as “member-directed spending,” in legislation.

    These “Community-Focused Grants,” as the new lingo calls them, are funds that individual congress members can direct toward their districts. In the past, earmarks were made by lawmakers and were occasionally havens for corruption—which is what people remember—but even at their worst, they made up less than 1.1% of federal spending and tended to actually produce things that districts needed.

    Democrats cleaned the system up before then-House Speaker John Boehner declared a moratorium on it in 2011. After the ban, the government still targeted federal money to get votes, but the power to make those calls shifted to the executive branch rather than Congress. For much federal spending, Congress appropriates the amounts but the executive branch decides where to spend it. A 2020 congressional study established that presidents use that money “to influence policy and support their preferred projects without receiving approval from Congress.” To that, we can add that a president targeted federal money to try to buy reelection.  

    In the past, congressional earmarks were a key feature in bipartisanship: they gave reluctant lawmakers a reason to support legislation they might otherwise hesitate about. The new rules will likely be different than the old ones in that they apparently will be targeted to public entities that ask for a grant. They will provide a challenge for Republicans—who actually like these grants, normally—because they will undercut Republicans’ stance against appropriation bills. They might also swing some Republicans behind the coronavirus bill.

    Biden demonstrated national unity yesterday when he issued a Federal Emergency Declaration for Texas in response to a request from Republican Governor Greg Abbott. Such a declaration frees up the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and federal funds to provide help to the region, which is suffering from bitter cold temperatures that have shut down power and left residents without electricity in unheated homes—a dangerous and potentially deadly situation. Biden’s quick response recalls the way presidents have traditionally responded to state crises, and the governor of the state in which Trump supporters tried to run Biden’s campaign bus off the road acknowledged Biden’s response.

    “I thank President Biden for quickly issuing a Federal Emergency Declaration for Texas as we continue to respond to severe winter weather conditions throughout the state,” Abbott’s press release stated.

    _____________________________________SIGNATURE________________________________________________

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    another man ..... moved by sleight of hand...................................... joe louis arena detroit '14
  • mickeyratmickeyrat Posts: 20,158
     February 16, 2021 (Tuesday)

    History was in the news today in three very different ways.

    First up is the deep freeze in Texas, which overwhelmed the power grid and knocked out electricity for more than 3.5 million people, leaving them without heat. It has taken the lives of at least 23 people.

    Most of Texas is on its own power grid, a decision made in the 1930s to keep it clear of federal regulation. This means both that it avoids federal regulation and that it cannot import more electricity during periods of high demand. Apparently, as temperatures began to drop, people turned up electric heaters and needed more power than engineers had been told to design for, just as the ice shut down gas-fired plants and wind turbines froze. Demand for natural gas spiked and created a shortage.

    Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R) told Sean Hannity that the disaster “shows how the Green New Deal would be a deadly deal” for the United States, but Dan Woodfin, a senior director for the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), the organization in charge of the state’s power grid, told Bloomberg that the frozen wind turbines were the smallest factor in the crisis. They supply only about 10% of the state’s power in the winter.

    Frozen instruments at gas, coal, and nuclear plants, as well as shortages of natural gas, were the major culprits. To keep electricity prices low, ERCOT had not prepared for such a crisis. El Paso, which is not part of ERCOT but is instead linked to a larger grid that includes other states and thus is regulated, did, in fact, weatherize their equipment. Its customers lost power only briefly.

    With climate change expected to intensify extremes of weather, the crisis in Texas indicates that our infrastructure will need to be reinforced to meet conditions it was not designed for.

    Second, there was an interesting development today with regard to the January 6 insurrection. Representative Bennie Thompson (D-MS), in his personal capacity, not as a member of Congress, sued Donald Trump—in his personal capacity—Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani; Proud Boys International, LLC; and Oath Keepers. The lawsuit is backed by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and argues that these four people or entities each “intended to prevent, and ultimately delayed, members of Congress from discharging their duty commanded by the United States Constitution to approve the results of the Electoral College in order to elect the next President and Vice President of the United States.”

    That language is significant. While the lawsuit lays out in detail the actions of the former president and Giuliani and the domestic terrorists in the lead-up to January 6, as well as the events of that day (making its 32 pages an excellent synopsis of the material the House impeachment managers laid out in the Senate trial), Thompson is making a very specific claim.

    Thompson accuses the four defendants of “conspiring to prevent him and other Members of Congress from discharging… official duties.” This puts them afoul of the 1871 Ku Klux Klan Act, designed to break that deadly organization in the years after the Civil War when its members were intimidating and assaulting Black and white Republicans in the South. The law makes anyone who has “conspire[d] to prevent, by force, intimidation, or threat, any person from… discharging any duties [of an officer of the United States]” “liable to the party injured.”

    Thompson points out that he is 72, within the age group hardest hit by the coronavirus, and the lockdown precautions put his health at risk. This speaks to the part of the law that calls out perpetrators who “injure [an officer] in his person or property on account of his lawful discharge of the duties of his office, or while engaged in the lawful discharge thereof… so as to molest, interrupt, hinder, or impede him in the discharge of his official duties.”

    The law allows a successful plaintiff to claim money not only to make up for the damages the perpetrators caused, but also to punish the perpetrators and to try to warn others against trying anything similar. And that is what Thompson has asked for.

    Thompson appears to be trying to defang the insurrectionists by going after their bank accounts. Bleeding white supremacist gangs dry through lawsuits has proved surprisingly effective in the past. In 1999, a lawsuit bankrupted the Idaho Aryan Nations white supremacists; in 2008, the Southern Poverty Law Center sued a Ku Klux Klan group in Kentucky and won a $2.5 million settlement. Going after Trump, Giuliani, and the organizations central to the January 6 insurrection by taking their money would likely make insurrectionists think twice before they tried such a thing again.

    Third, President Joe Biden held a televised town hall tonight to sell the idea of his $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package. He answered in detail questions about domestic insurrection, the minimum wage, white supremacy, coronavirus, and vaccines. But what stood out was an exchange between the president and the mother of a young man with health issues who cannot get on a list in Wisconsin to get the coronavirus vaccine. Biden told the woman that he could make recommendations to the states, but the order in which they chose to administer the vaccine was up to them.

    “But here’s what I’d like to do,” he continued. ”If you’re willing, I’ll stay around after this is over and maybe we can talk a few minutes and see if I can get you some help.”

    This is a powerful echo of an exchange President Franklin Delano Roosevelt had with a Black farmer, Sylvester Harris, in 1934. In the depths of the Great Depression, Harris was about to lose his Mississippi cotton farm because he couldn’t make the mortgage payments. In desperation, he traveled a dozen miles into town, picked up a telephone, and called the White House. News stories told readers that Harris had reached FDR, who had promised to stop the impending foreclosure of Harris’s mortgage, and within days, the bank gave him an extension.

    In the exchange, Americans saw a president who cared, and a government that finally, after its previous leaders had told them to get out of a terrible catastrophe on their own, responded to their needs.

    _____________________________________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
  • Halifax2TheMaxHalifax2TheMax Posts: 26,942
    mickeyrat said:
     February 16, 2021 (Tuesday)

    History was in the news today in three very different ways.

    First up is the deep freeze in Texas, which overwhelmed the power grid and knocked out electricity for more than 3.5 million people, leaving them without heat. It has taken the lives of at least 23 people.

    Most of Texas is on its own power grid, a decision made in the 1930s to keep it clear of federal regulation. This means both that it avoids federal regulation and that it cannot import more electricity during periods of high demand. Apparently, as temperatures began to drop, people turned up electric heaters and needed more power than engineers had been told to design for, just as the ice shut down gas-fired plants and wind turbines froze. Demand for natural gas spiked and created a shortage.

    Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R) told Sean Hannity that the disaster “shows how the Green New Deal would be a deadly deal” for the United States, but Dan Woodfin, a senior director for the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), the organization in charge of the state’s power grid, told Bloomberg that the frozen wind turbines were the smallest factor in the crisis. They supply only about 10% of the state’s power in the winter.

    Frozen instruments at gas, coal, and nuclear plants, as well as shortages of natural gas, were the major culprits. To keep electricity prices low, ERCOT had not prepared for such a crisis. El Paso, which is not part of ERCOT but is instead linked to a larger grid that includes other states and thus is regulated, did, in fact, weatherize their equipment. Its customers lost power only briefly.

    With climate change expected to intensify extremes of weather, the crisis in Texas indicates that our infrastructure will need to be reinforced to meet conditions it was not designed for.

    Second, there was an interesting development today with regard to the January 6 insurrection. Representative Bennie Thompson (D-MS), in his personal capacity, not as a member of Congress, sued Donald Trump—in his personal capacity—Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani; Proud Boys International, LLC; and Oath Keepers. The lawsuit is backed by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and argues that these four people or entities each “intended to prevent, and ultimately delayed, members of Congress from discharging their duty commanded by the United States Constitution to approve the results of the Electoral College in order to elect the next President and Vice President of the United States.”

    That language is significant. While the lawsuit lays out in detail the actions of the former president and Giuliani and the domestic terrorists in the lead-up to January 6, as well as the events of that day (making its 32 pages an excellent synopsis of the material the House impeachment managers laid out in the Senate trial), Thompson is making a very specific claim.

    Thompson accuses the four defendants of “conspiring to prevent him and other Members of Congress from discharging… official duties.” This puts them afoul of the 1871 Ku Klux Klan Act, designed to break that deadly organization in the years after the Civil War when its members were intimidating and assaulting Black and white Republicans in the South. The law makes anyone who has “conspire[d] to prevent, by force, intimidation, or threat, any person from… discharging any duties [of an officer of the United States]” “liable to the party injured.”

    Thompson points out that he is 72, within the age group hardest hit by the coronavirus, and the lockdown precautions put his health at risk. This speaks to the part of the law that calls out perpetrators who “injure [an officer] in his person or property on account of his lawful discharge of the duties of his office, or while engaged in the lawful discharge thereof… so as to molest, interrupt, hinder, or impede him in the discharge of his official duties.”

    The law allows a successful plaintiff to claim money not only to make up for the damages the perpetrators caused, but also to punish the perpetrators and to try to warn others against trying anything similar. And that is what Thompson has asked for.

    Thompson appears to be trying to defang the insurrectionists by going after their bank accounts. Bleeding white supremacist gangs dry through lawsuits has proved surprisingly effective in the past. In 1999, a lawsuit bankrupted the Idaho Aryan Nations white supremacists; in 2008, the Southern Poverty Law Center sued a Ku Klux Klan group in Kentucky and won a $2.5 million settlement. Going after Trump, Giuliani, and the organizations central to the January 6 insurrection by taking their money would likely make insurrectionists think twice before they tried such a thing again.

    Third, President Joe Biden held a televised town hall tonight to sell the idea of his $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package. He answered in detail questions about domestic insurrection, the minimum wage, white supremacy, coronavirus, and vaccines. But what stood out was an exchange between the president and the mother of a young man with health issues who cannot get on a list in Wisconsin to get the coronavirus vaccine. Biden told the woman that he could make recommendations to the states, but the order in which they chose to administer the vaccine was up to them.

    “But here’s what I’d like to do,” he continued. ”If you’re willing, I’ll stay around after this is over and maybe we can talk a few minutes and see if I can get you some help.”

    This is a powerful echo of an exchange President Franklin Delano Roosevelt had with a Black farmer, Sylvester Harris, in 1934. In the depths of the Great Depression, Harris was about to lose his Mississippi cotton farm because he couldn’t make the mortgage payments. In desperation, he traveled a dozen miles into town, picked up a telephone, and called the White House. News stories told readers that Harris had reached FDR, who had promised to stop the impending foreclosure of Harris’s mortgage, and within days, the bank gave him an extension.

    In the exchange, Americans saw a president who cared, and a government that finally, after its previous leaders had told them to get out of a terrible catastrophe on their own, responded to their needs.

    Fucking commies.
    09/15/1998, 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; 06/29/08, 06/30/08, Mansfield, MA; 08/18/08, 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;

    "If you're looking down on someone, it better be to extend them a hand to lift them up."

    Libtardaplorable©. And proud of it.

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  • mickeyratmickeyrat Posts: 20,158
     February 17, 2021 (Wednesday)

    The crisis in Texas continues, with almost 2 million people still without power in frigid temperatures. Pipes are bursting in homes, pulling down ceilings and flooding living spaces, while 7 million Texans are under a water boil advisory.

    Tim Boyd, the mayor of Colorado City, Texas, put on Facebook: “The City and County, along with power providers or any other service owes you NOTHING! I’m sick and tired of people looking for a damn handout!... If you are sitting at home in the cold because you have no power and are sitting there waiting for someone to come rescue you because your lazy is direct result of your raising! [sic]…. This is sadly a product of a socialist government where they feed people to believe that the FEW will work and others will become dependent for handouts…. I’ll be damned if I’m going to provide for anyone that is capable of doing it themselves!... Bottom line quit crying and looking for a handout! Get off your ass and take care of your own family!” “Only the strong will survive and the weak will parish [sic],” he said.

    After an outcry, Boyd resigned.

    Boyd’s post was a fitting tribute to talk radio host Rush Limbaugh, who passed today from lung cancer at age 70. It was Limbaugh who popularized the idea that hardworking white men were under attack in America. According to him, minorities and feminists were too lazy to work, and instead expected a handout from the government, paid for by tax dollars levied from hardworking white men. This, he explained, was “socialism,” and it was destroying America.

    Limbaugh didn’t invent this theory; it was the driving principle behind Movement Conservatism, which rose in the 1950s to combat the New Deal government that regulated business, provided a basic social safety net, and promoted infrastructure. But Movement Conservatives' efforts to get voters to reject the system that they credited for creating widespread prosperity had little success.

    In 1971, Lewis Powell, an attorney for the tobacco industry, wrote a confidential memo for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce outlining how business interests could overturn the New Deal and retake control of America. Powell focused on putting like-minded scholars and speakers on college campuses, rewriting textbooks, stacking the courts, and pressuring politicians. He also called for “reaching the public generally” through television, newspapers, and radio. “[E]very available means should be employed to challenge and refute unfair attacks,” he wrote, “as well as to present the affirmative case through this media.”

    Pressing the Movement Conservative case faced headwinds, however, since the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) enforced a policy that, in the interests of serving the community, required any outlet that held a federal broadcast license to present issues honestly, equitably, and with balance. This “Fairness Doctrine” meant that Movement Conservatives had trouble gaining traction, since voters rejected their ideas when they were stacked up against the ideas of Democrats and traditional Republicans, who agreed that the government had a role to play in the economy (even though they squabbled about the extent of that role).

    In 1985, under a chair appointed by President Ronald Reagan, the FCC stated that the Fairness Doctrine hurt the public interest. Two years later, under another Reagan-appointed chair, the FCC abolished the rule.

    With the Fairness Doctrine gone, Rush Limbaugh stepped into the role of promoting the Movement Conservative narrative. He gave it the concrete examples, color, and passion it needed to jump from think tanks and businessmen to ordinary voters who could help make it the driving force behind national policy. While politicians talked with veiled language about “welfare queens” and same-sex bathrooms, and “makers” and “takers,” Limbaugh played “Barack the Magic Negro,” talked of “femiNazis,” and said “Liberals” were “socialists,” redistributing tax dollars from hardworking white men to the undeserving.

    Constantly, he hammered on the idea that the federal government threatened the freedom of white men, and he did so in a style that his listeners found entertaining and liberating.

    By the end of the 1980s, Limbaugh’s show was carried on more than 650 radio stations, and in 1992, he briefly branched out into television with a show produced by Roger Ailes, who had packaged Richard Nixon in 1968 and would go on to become the head of the Fox News Channel. Before the 1994 midterm elections, Limbaugh was so effective in pushing the Republicans’ “Contract With America” that when the party won control of the House of Representatives for the first time since 1952, the Republican revolutionaries made him an honorary member of their group.

    Limbaugh told them that, under House Speaker Newt Gingrich, the Republicans must “begin an emergency dismantling of the welfare system, which is shredding the social fabric,” bankrupting the country, and “gutting the work ethic, educational performance, and moral discipline of the poor.” Next, Congress should cut capital gains taxes, which would drive economic growth, create hundreds of thousands of jobs, and generate billions in federal revenue.

    Limbaugh kept staff in Washington to make sure Republican positions got through to voters. At the same time, every congressman knew that taking a stand against Limbaugh would earn instant condemnation on radio channels across the country, and they acted accordingly.

    Limbaugh saw politics as entertainment that pays well for the people who can rile up their base with compelling stories—Limbaugh’s net worth when he died was estimated at $600 million—but he sold the Movement Conservative narrative well. He laid the groundwork for the political career of Donald Trump, who awarded Limbaugh the Presidential Medal of Freedom in a made-for-tv moment at Trump’s 2020 State of the Union address. His influence runs deep in the current party: former Mayor Boyd, an elected official, began his diatribe with: “Let me hurt some feelings while I have a minute!!”

    Like Boyd, other Texas politicians are also falling back on the Movement Conservative narrative to explain the disaster in their state. The crisis was caused by a lack of maintenance on Texas’s unregulated energy grid, which meant that instruments at coal, natural gas, and nuclear plants froze, at the same time that supplies of natural gas fell short. Nonetheless, Governor Greg Abbott and his allies in the fossil fuel industry went after “liberal” ideas. They blamed the crisis on the frozen wind turbines and solar plants which account for about 13% of Texas’s winter power. Abbott told Fox News Channel personality Sean Hannity that “this shows how the Green New Deal would be a deadly deal for the United States of America.” Tucker Carlson told his viewers that Texas was “totally reliant on windmills.”

    The former Texas governor and former Secretary of Energy under Trump, Rick Perry, wrote on House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s website to warn against regulation of Texas’s energy system: “Texans would be without electricity for longer than three days to keep the federal government out of their business,” he said. The website warned that “Those watching on the left may see the situation in Texas as an opportunity to expand their top-down, radical proposals. Two phrases come to mind: don’t mess with Texas, and don’t let a crisis go to waste.”

    At Abbott’s request, President Biden has declared that Texas is in a state of emergency, freeing up federal money and supplies for the state. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has sent 60 generators to state hospitals, water plants, and other critical facilities, along with blankets, food, and bottled water. It is also delivering diesel fuel for backup power.

    _____________________________________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
  • tbergstbergs Posts: 7,645
    The GOP response to this crisis is mind numbing and ridiculous. Blame the left for something they aren't responsible for. Meanwhile Ted Cruz took vacation. 
    It's a hopeless situation...
  • Halifax2TheMaxHalifax2TheMax Posts: 26,942
    mickeyrat said:
     February 17, 2021 (Wednesday)

    The crisis in Texas continues, with almost 2 million people still without power in frigid temperatures. Pipes are bursting in homes, pulling down ceilings and flooding living spaces, while 7 million Texans are under a water boil advisory.

    Tim Boyd, the mayor of Colorado City, Texas, put on Facebook: “The City and County, along with power providers or any other service owes you NOTHING! I’m sick and tired of people looking for a damn handout!... If you are sitting at home in the cold because you have no power and are sitting there waiting for someone to come rescue you because your lazy is direct result of your raising! [sic]…. This is sadly a product of a socialist government where they feed people to believe that the FEW will work and others will become dependent for handouts…. I’ll be damned if I’m going to provide for anyone that is capable of doing it themselves!... Bottom line quit crying and looking for a handout! Get off your ass and take care of your own family!” “Only the strong will survive and the weak will parish [sic],” he said.

    After an outcry, Boyd resigned.

    Boyd’s post was a fitting tribute to talk radio host Rush Limbaugh, who passed today from lung cancer at age 70. It was Limbaugh who popularized the idea that hardworking white men were under attack in America. According to him, minorities and feminists were too lazy to work, and instead expected a handout from the government, paid for by tax dollars levied from hardworking white men. This, he explained, was “socialism,” and it was destroying America.

    Limbaugh didn’t invent this theory; it was the driving principle behind Movement Conservatism, which rose in the 1950s to combat the New Deal government that regulated business, provided a basic social safety net, and promoted infrastructure. But Movement Conservatives' efforts to get voters to reject the system that they credited for creating widespread prosperity had little success.

    In 1971, Lewis Powell, an attorney for the tobacco industry, wrote a confidential memo for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce outlining how business interests could overturn the New Deal and retake control of America. Powell focused on putting like-minded scholars and speakers on college campuses, rewriting textbooks, stacking the courts, and pressuring politicians. He also called for “reaching the public generally” through television, newspapers, and radio. “[E]very available means should be employed to challenge and refute unfair attacks,” he wrote, “as well as to present the affirmative case through this media.”

    Pressing the Movement Conservative case faced headwinds, however, since the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) enforced a policy that, in the interests of serving the community, required any outlet that held a federal broadcast license to present issues honestly, equitably, and with balance. This “Fairness Doctrine” meant that Movement Conservatives had trouble gaining traction, since voters rejected their ideas when they were stacked up against the ideas of Democrats and traditional Republicans, who agreed that the government had a role to play in the economy (even though they squabbled about the extent of that role).

    In 1985, under a chair appointed by President Ronald Reagan, the FCC stated that the Fairness Doctrine hurt the public interest. Two years later, under another Reagan-appointed chair, the FCC abolished the rule.

    With the Fairness Doctrine gone, Rush Limbaugh stepped into the role of promoting the Movement Conservative narrative. He gave it the concrete examples, color, and passion it needed to jump from think tanks and businessmen to ordinary voters who could help make it the driving force behind national policy. While politicians talked with veiled language about “welfare queens” and same-sex bathrooms, and “makers” and “takers,” Limbaugh played “Barack the Magic Negro,” talked of “femiNazis,” and said “Liberals” were “socialists,” redistributing tax dollars from hardworking white men to the undeserving.

    Constantly, he hammered on the idea that the federal government threatened the freedom of white men, and he did so in a style that his listeners found entertaining and liberating.

    By the end of the 1980s, Limbaugh’s show was carried on more than 650 radio stations, and in 1992, he briefly branched out into television with a show produced by Roger Ailes, who had packaged Richard Nixon in 1968 and would go on to become the head of the Fox News Channel. Before the 1994 midterm elections, Limbaugh was so effective in pushing the Republicans’ “Contract With America” that when the party won control of the House of Representatives for the first time since 1952, the Republican revolutionaries made him an honorary member of their group.

    Limbaugh told them that, under House Speaker Newt Gingrich, the Republicans must “begin an emergency dismantling of the welfare system, which is shredding the social fabric,” bankrupting the country, and “gutting the work ethic, educational performance, and moral discipline of the poor.” Next, Congress should cut capital gains taxes, which would drive economic growth, create hundreds of thousands of jobs, and generate billions in federal revenue.

    Limbaugh kept staff in Washington to make sure Republican positions got through to voters. At the same time, every congressman knew that taking a stand against Limbaugh would earn instant condemnation on radio channels across the country, and they acted accordingly.

    Limbaugh saw politics as entertainment that pays well for the people who can rile up their base with compelling stories—Limbaugh’s net worth when he died was estimated at $600 million—but he sold the Movement Conservative narrative well. He laid the groundwork for the political career of Donald Trump, who awarded Limbaugh the Presidential Medal of Freedom in a made-for-tv moment at Trump’s 2020 State of the Union address. His influence runs deep in the current party: former Mayor Boyd, an elected official, began his diatribe with: “Let me hurt some feelings while I have a minute!!”

    Like Boyd, other Texas politicians are also falling back on the Movement Conservative narrative to explain the disaster in their state. The crisis was caused by a lack of maintenance on Texas’s unregulated energy grid, which meant that instruments at coal, natural gas, and nuclear plants froze, at the same time that supplies of natural gas fell short. Nonetheless, Governor Greg Abbott and his allies in the fossil fuel industry went after “liberal” ideas. They blamed the crisis on the frozen wind turbines and solar plants which account for about 13% of Texas’s winter power. Abbott told Fox News Channel personality Sean Hannity that “this shows how the Green New Deal would be a deadly deal for the United States of America.” Tucker Carlson told his viewers that Texas was “totally reliant on windmills.”

    The former Texas governor and former Secretary of Energy under Trump, Rick Perry, wrote on House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s website to warn against regulation of Texas’s energy system: “Texans would be without electricity for longer than three days to keep the federal government out of their business,” he said. The website warned that “Those watching on the left may see the situation in Texas as an opportunity to expand their top-down, radical proposals. Two phrases come to mind: don’t mess with Texas, and don’t let a crisis go to waste.”

    At Abbott’s request, President Biden has declared that Texas is in a state of emergency, freeing up federal money and supplies for the state. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has sent 60 generators to state hospitals, water plants, and other critical facilities, along with blankets, food, and bottled water. It is also delivering diesel fuel for backup power.

    Thanks for your contributions to society there Rush. And if I were POTUS, I would have told Abbott&Costello to stop being takers, pull themselves up by their bootstraps and stop sucking off of the teat of government. Or at least to publicly apologize and retract their false statements regarding the cause of their problems prior to my sending aid. They suck.


    Over a two-decade career in the white-collar think tank world, I’ve continually wondered: Why can’t we have nice things?

    By “we,” I mean America at-large. As for “nice things,” I don’t picture self-driving cars, hovercraft backpacks or laundry that does itself. Instead, I mean the basic aspects of a high-functioning society: well-funded schools, reliable infrastructure, wages that keep workers out of poverty, or a comprehensive public health system equipped to handle pandemics — things that equally developed but less wealthy nations seem to have.

    In 2010, eight years into my time as an economic policy wonk at Demos, a progressive policy research group, budget deficits were on the rise. The Great Recession had decimated tax revenue, requiring more public spending to restart the economy.

    But both the Tea Party and many in President Barack Obama’s inner circle were calling for a “grand bargain” to shrink the size of government by capping future public outlays and slashing Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare. Despite the still-fragile recovery and evidence that corporations were already paring back retirement benefits and ratcheting down real wages, the idea gained steam.

    On a call with a group of all-white economist colleagues, we discussed how to advise leaders in Washington against this disastrous retrenchment. I cleared my throat and asked: “So where should we make the point that all these programs were created without concern for their cost when the goal was to build a white middle class, and they paid for themselves in economic growth? Now these guys are trying to fundamentally renege on the deal for a future middle class that would be majority people of color?”

    Nobody answered. I checked to see if I was muted.

    Finally, one of the economists breached the awkward silence. “Well, sure, Heather. We know that — and you know that — but let’s not lead with our chin here,” he said. “We are trying to be persuasive.”

    The sad truth is that he was probably right. Soon, the Tea Party movement, harnessing the language of fiscal responsibility and the subtext of white grievance, would shut down the federal government, win across-the-board cuts to public programs and essentially halt the legislative function of the federal government for the next six years. The result: A jobless recovery followed by a slow, unequal economic expansion that hurt Americans of all backgrounds.

    The anti-government stinginess of traditional conservatism, along with the fear of losing social status held by many white people, now broadly associated with Trumpism, have long been connected. Both have sapped American society’s strength for generations, causing a majority of white Americans to rally behind the draining of public resources and investments. Those very investments would provide white Americans — the largest group of the impoverished and uninsured — greater security, too: A new Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco study calculated that in 2019, the country’s output would have been $2.6 trillion greater if the gap between white men and everyone else were closed. And a 2020 report from analysts at Citigroup calculated that if America had adopted policies to close the Black-white economic gap 20 years ago, U.S. G.D.P would be an estimated $16 trillion higher.

    To understand what stops us from uniting for our mutual benefit, I’ve spent the past three years traveling the country from California to Mississippi to Maine, visiting churches and worker centers and city halls, in search of on-the-ground answers.

    In Montgomery, Ala., I walked the grounds of what was once a grand public pool, one of more than 2,000 such pools built in the early 20th century. However, much like the era’s government-backed suburban developments or G.I. Bill home loans, the pool was for whites only. Threatened with court action to integrate its pool in 1958, the town drained it instead, shuttering the entire parks and recreation department. Even after reopening the parks a decade later, they never rebuilt the pool. Towns from Ohio to Louisiana lashed out in similar ways.

    The civil rights movement, which widened the circle of public beneficiaries and could have heralded a more moral, prosperous nation, wound up diminishing white people’s commitment to the very idea of public goods. In the late 1950s, over two-thirds of white Americans agreed with the now-radical idea that the government ought to guarantee a job for anyone who wants one and ensure a minimum standard of living for everyone in the country. White support for those ideas nose-dived from around 70 to 35 percent from 1960 to 1964, and has remained low ever since.

    It’s no historical accident that this dip coincided with the 1963 March on Washington, when white Americans saw Black activists demanding the same economic guarantees, and when Democrats began to promise to extend government benefits across the color line. It’s also no accident that, to this day, no Democratic presidential candidate has won the white vote since the Democrat Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts.

    Racial integration portended the end of America’s high-tax, high-investment growth strategy: Tax revenue hit its peak as a percentage of the economy in 1965. Now, America’s per capita government spending is near the bottom among industrialized countries. Our roads, bridges and water systems get a D+ from the American Society of Civil Engineers. Unlike our peers, we don’t have high-speed rail, universal broadband, mandatory paid family leave or universal child care.

    And while growing corporate power and money in politics have certainly played a role, it’s now clear that racial resentment is the key uncredited actor in our economic backslide. White people who exhibit low racial resentment against Black people are 60 percentage points more likely to support increased government spending than are those with high racial resentment. At the base of this resentment is a zero-sum story: the default framework for conservative arguments, rife with references to “makers and takers,” “taxpayers and freeloaders.”

    In my travels, I also realized that those seeking to repair America’s social divides can invoke this sort of zero-sum framing as well. Progressives often end up talking about race relations through a prism of competition — every advantage for whites, mirrored by a disadvantage for people of color.

    In my research and writing on disparities, I learned to focus on how white people benefited from systemic racism: Their schools have more funding, they have less contact with the police, they have greater access to health care. These hallmarks of white privilege are not freedoms that racial justice activists want to take away from white people, however — they’re basic human rights and dignities that everyone should enjoy. And the right wing is eager to fill the gap when we don’t finish the sentence.

    For an entire generation of American politics, racist stereotypes and dog whistles have strengthened the hand that beat progressives in the fight against rising inequality. But did white people win? No: Many of them lost good jobs, benefits and social mobility along with the rest of us not born into wealth.

    The task ahead, then, is to unwind this idea of a fixed quantity of prosperity and replace it with what I’ve come to call Solidarity Dividends: gains available to everyone when they unite across racial lines, in the form of higher wages, cleaner air and better-funded schools.

    I’ll never forget Bridget, a white woman I met in Kansas City who had worked in fast food for over a decade. When a co-worker at Wendy’s first approached her about joining a local Fight for $15 group pushing for a livable minimum wage, she was skeptical. “I didn’t think that things in my life would ever change,” she told me. “They weren’t going to give $15 to a fast food worker. That was just insane to me.”

    But Bridget attended the first organizing meeting anyway. And when a Latina woman rose and described her life — three children in a two-bedroom apartment with bad plumbing, the feeling of being “trapped in a life where she didn’t have any opportunity to do anything better” — Bridget, also a mother of three, said she was struck by how “I was really able to see myself in her.”

    “I had been fed this whole line of, ‘These immigrant workers are coming over here and stealing our jobs — not paying taxes, committing crimes and causing problems,’” Bridget admitted. “You know, us against them.”

    Soon after she began organizing, the cross-racial movement had won a convert. “In order for all of us to come up, it’s not a matter of me coming up and them staying down,” she said. “It’s the matter of: In order for me to come up, they have to come up too. Because honestly, as long as we’re divided, we’re conquered.”

    Ms. McGhee is the author of “The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together,” from which this essay is adapted.

    Opinion | The Way Out of America’s Zero-Sum Thinking on Race and Wealth - The New York Times (nytimes.com)

    09/15/1998, 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; 06/29/08, 06/30/08, Mansfield, MA; 08/18/08, 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;

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  • mickeyratmickeyrat Posts: 20,158
     February 18, 2021 (Thursday)

    Today felt like a breather between the real, final end of the Trump presidency and the ramping up of the Biden years.

    The Senate acquitted Trump of incitement of insurrection on Saturday. In response, the former president issued a statement reiterating all his lies in the months since the election. Then, last Tuesday, he lambasted Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell for blaming him for the insurrection. McConnell, clearly the winner in this exchange, didn’t even bother to answer.

    Trump broke his post-trial silence yesterday, calling in to the Fox News Channel to acknowledge the death of talk radio host Rush Limbaugh. “He was with me right from the beginning. And he liked what I said and he agreed with what I said. And he was just a great gentleman. Great man," Trump said.

    Limbaugh’s passing felt like the end of an era.

    Meanwhile, Democrats in Congress and the Biden administration are unveiling proposals for the future. Today, Democrats offered a proposal for providing a path to citizenship for most of the nation’s 11 million undocumented immigrants, and Secretary of State Antony Blinken formally offered to restore the Iran nuclear deal that Trump abandoned.

    As we dive into the Biden presidency, I have some observations:

    It is much harder and more complicated to build something, as the Democrats are trying to do, than it is to destroy something. This means it will be harder to give a clear daily picture of the Biden administration than it was of the previous administration. The status of the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package, for example, is not clear right now because it is being marked up in committees, as such a bill should be. While the contours are likely what they were when they went in, what will emerge and then be put into a draft bill is not yet clear enough that we can talk about it definitively.

    Biden also appears to favor making a number of changes in different programs to achieve a goal, rather than moving a single large piece. On the table right now, for example, is the question of the forgiveness of up to $50,000 in student loan debt. Biden said yesterday he did not favor excusing more than $10,000, but White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said tonight he has asked the Department of Justice to look into whether he has the constitutional power to excuse the debt, something that is not at all clear.

    My guess is that his administration will try to avoid legal questions by getting rid of predatory lending and chipping away at debt in limited, clearly legal ways, rather than facing the issue in one fell swoop. So, for example, the coronavirus relief bill contains rules that will prevent for-profit colleges from taking advantage of military veterans. It will be important to look at the big picture of Biden's policies, rather than taking stock of them in pieces.

    There are two big questions the Biden administration is going to have to negotiate. One is the conflict between the constitutional role of Congress and the increasingly powerful presidency. In our system, it is Congress that is supposed to pass the nation’s laws. The president’s job is to make sure the laws are executed. But the presidency has taken on more and more power since at least the time of Richard Nixon’s administration, using the president’s direction of the executive branch to determine where the money Congress appropriates goes, for example, and sending troops to engage in military actions without a congressional declaration of war. As the Senate under McConnell has increasingly refused to act, more and more power has flowed to the White House.

    Biden is an institutionalist who values the role of Congress—he was, after all, a senator for more than 35 years-- and yet the refusal of Senate Republicans to agree to any Democratic legislation means that he has launched his presidency with a sweeping range of executive actions. This runs the risk of alienating not only Republicans, but also those of his supporters who worry about the concentration of power in the presidency. His apparent refusal to use an executive order to cancel student debt without a firm declaration of legality from the Department of Justice suggests he’s trying not to push this boundary too far.  

    And yet, how can he preserve the power of Congress to pass legislation if it refuses to? How can the Democrats pass popular legislation if the Republican senators refuse to budge? Observers note that Biden’s coronavirus plan is exceedingly popular: 64% of voters want to see it happen. But Republican lawmakers are all opposed to it. It’s a conundrum: how can the Democrats both preserve the power of Congress and, at the same time, actually pass popular legislation over the obstructionist Republicans who appear to be out of step with the American people?

    Democrats are committed to passing the coronavirus relief measure with or without Republican votes, and they predict they can do so by the end of next week. But then they are hoping to pass a $3 trillion infrastructure package, and there is little hope of finding Republican votes for it. The Democrats can pass an infrastructure bill through the budget reconciliation process or by getting rid of the filibuster, but doesn’t it set a bad precedent to spend almost $5 trillion by partisan votes alone? They would prefer to negotiate with Republicans.

    The question of how—or if—that can happen is tied to the other big question the Biden administration will have to deal with, and that is whether it will be the Democrats or the Republicans who manage to advance their plan for voting rights. While the first measures Democrats introduced in this session of Congress were bills to expand and protect voting, Republicans in state legislatures across the nation are considering measures to limit voting. Expanded voting rights will encourage lawmakers to vote for laws that are popular; voter suppression will make that less important. What happens in state legislatures will echo at the national level.

    So there is a lot on the table going forward.

    But for today, it is a bit of a wonder that the news is no longer absorbed by the latest outrage from the presidential administration. The big story continues to be the disaster in Texas… along with the landing of NASA’s Perseverance rover on Mars, where it will explore the Jezero Crater. Almost four billion years ago, this was the site of a lake, and the rover will look for microfossils to bring back to Earth. It will also look for signs of life, and record sound on the planet for the first time ever.

    Biden was quick to claim the theme of Perseverance for today’s nation. “Congratulations to NASA and everyone whose hard work made Perseverance’s historic landing possible,” he tweeted. “Today proved once again that with the power of science and American ingenuity, nothing is beyond the realm of possibility.”

    _____________________________________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
  • mickeyratmickeyrat Posts: 20,158
     February 19, 2021 (Friday)

    Speaking virtually today to the Munich Security Conference, the world’s largest gathering to discuss international security policy, President Biden promised that “America is back.” He assured the world that the U.S. will work with our European partners. We are, he said, committed to NATO, which the previous president tried to undermine, and we will honor Article 5 of that compact, which says that an attack on any one NATO ally will be considered an attack on all of them. He noted that the only time this article has ever been invoked was after the 9/11 attacks on the United States.

    Biden noted that “the past few years have strained and tested our transatlantic relationship, but the United States is determined… to reengage with Europe, to consult with you, to earn back our position of trusted leadership.” He said we must work together to address the coronavirus pandemic, the global economic crisis, and the climate crisis.

    Then he cut to the core of what is at stake.

    Democracy is under assault around the world, he said. “We are in the midst of a fundamental debate about the future and direction of our world.  We’re at an inflection point between those who argue that, given all the challenges we face — from the fourth industrial revolution to a global pandemic — that autocracy is the best way forward, they argue, and those who understand that democracy is essential — essential to meeting those challenges.”

    “…  [D]emocracy will and must prevail.  We must demonstrate that democracies can still deliver for our people in this changed world.  That, in my view, is our galvanizing mission.”

    It shows. Democrats are setting out to demonstrate that democracy works. While Republicans have become the party of obstruction, starving the government while turning the nation over to business leaders in the belief that the market will most effectively order society, Biden is advancing government policies that are hugely popular among Democrats and Republicans both. Timothy Egan of the New York Times today compared Biden to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who oversaw the creation of a government that regulated business, provided a basic social safety net, and promoted infrastructure.

    More than 72% percent of Americans like Biden’s American Rescue Plan, the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package. Sixty-one percent want a $15 federal minimum wage, which is currently in the American Rescue Plan. Sixty-three percent want the U.S. to be in the Paris climate agreement (which we officially rejoined today), and 83% want undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children, the so-called Dreamers, to have a path to citizenship. Biden promised 100 million vaccines in his first 100 days; we should actually hit that goal by late March— a month early-- even if the pace stays where it is.

    Biden is making a clear contrast between his approach and that of his predecessor. Speaking at a Pfizer vaccine plant in Michigan today, he said: “"My predecessor -- as my mother would say, God love him -- failed to order enough vaccines, failed to mobilize the effort to administer the shots, failed to set up vaccine centers. That changed the moment we took office."

    Sixty-one percent of Americans say they are optimistic about the next four years.

    Not just Biden, but other Democrats are also working to show that our government can reflect the community values of our people. Yesterday, when Texas Senator Ted Cruz (R) was being roasted for taking his family on a vacation to Cancun when his constituents were suffering without heat, power, and supplies, former Representative Beto O’Rourke (D), who ran against Cruz in 2018 and lost, was running a phone bank to connect hundreds of thousands of older Texans with services.

    New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a Democrat who is often demonized by Republicans, also worked to demonstrate unity and government working for the people: she launched a fundraiser on social media and raised $2 million for the red state of Texas.  

    In contrast to Democrats and Independents, who are optimistic about the future, 65% of Republicans say they are pessimistic about it, and they seem determined to stop Biden in his tracks. They seem to be planning on regaining power by stopping people from voting, thus abandoning democracy altogether.

    Republican state legislatures across the country are using the former president’s big lie to insist that they must change voting laws to stop voter fraud. The idea behind the attack on the Capitol on January 6 was that Democrats had stolen the election from the Republican incumbent. This was a lie, disproven in courts, recounts, and state legislatures, but it is now the excuse for suppressing the popular vote. This week, the Republican State Leadership Committee announced it was creating a commission to examine election laws “to restore the American people's confidence in the integrity of their free and fair elections" by "making it easier to vote and harder to cheat."

    Republican state lawmakers are attacking the expanded access to voting put in place in 2020, especially mail-in voting. Although there was no evidence of widespread voter fraud in 2020, and repeated studies have shown voter fraud is vanishingly rare, 33 states are considering more than 165 bills to restrict voting, more than four times the number from last year. These bills are intended to stop mail-in voting, increase voter ID requirements, make it harder to register to vote, and expand purges of voter rolls.

    But, even as Republicans are trying to curtail voting, Democrats are trying to expand it. Lawmakers in 37 states have introduced 541 bills to expand mail-in voting, expand early voting, promote voter registration, and restore the right to vote for those who have lost it. At the national level, the first measure Democrats introduced into Congress this year was the “For the People Act,” which embraces the policies in the state bills and also reforms campaign financing, requires candidates to disclose the previous ten years of their tax returns, and ends gerrymandering.  

    The current struggle over our government and our democracy is in the news in another way today, too. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia announced that a grand jury had indicted six more people for “conspiring to obstruct the United States Congress’s certification of the result of the 2020 U.S. Presidential Election, among other charges.” They join three others already charged for trying to “corruptly obstruct, influence, or impede an official proceeding."

    In his speech, Biden emphasized not just the importance of democracy, but also how much work it is to keep it. “Democracy doesn’t happen by accident,” he said. “We have to defend it, fight for it, strengthen it, renew it.  We have to prove that our model isn’t a relic of our history; it’s the single best way to revitalize the promise of our future.”

    He did indeed sound like FDR when he concluded: “if we work together with our democratic partners, with strength and confidence, I know that we’ll meet every challenge and outpace every challenger.”

    _____________________________________SIGNATURE________________________________________________

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  • mickeyratmickeyrat Posts: 20,158
     February 20, 2021 (Saturday)

    It was just a week ago that the Senate acquitted the former president of incitement of insurrection.

    Since then, the Republican Party has continued to split apart, Texas has frozen and its people are suffering, Rush Limbaugh has died, coronavirus vaccinations have ramped up, and the Biden administration has told the world that America is back.

    Calling an early night. Will be back tomorrow.

    [Photo by Buddy Poland]

    _____________________________________SIGNATURE________________________________________________

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  • mickeyratmickeyrat Posts: 20,158
      February 21, 2021 (Sunday)

    On ABC’s This Week this morning, Representative Steve Scalise (R-LA) refused to admit that Democrat Joe Biden had legitimately won the 2020 presidential election.

    It’s hard to overestimate how dangerous this lie is. It convinces supporters of the former president that they are actually protecting American democracy when they fight to overturn it. Jessica Watkins is one of 9 members of the right-wing paramilitary group the Oath Keepers indicted for their actions on January 6. Yesterday, her lawyer told the court that Watkins behaved as she did because she believed that then-President Donald Trump would use the military to overturn what he falsely insisted was the rigged election.

    “However misguided, her intentions were not in any way related to an intention to overthrow the government, but to support what she believed to be the lawful government. She took an oath to support the Constitution and had no intention of violating that oath…."

    Watkins claims she was given a VIP pass to the pro-Trump rally, had met with Secret Service agents, and was charged with providing security for the leaders marching to the Capitol from Trump’s January 6, 2021, rally.

    Supporters of the former president are portraying the deadly attack on the Capitol on January 6 as a legitimate expression of anger over an election in which states did not follow their own rules. This is a lie that the Trump wing hopes will resurrect their lost power. Politico’s Gabby Orr and Meridith McGraw report that Trump is planning to “exact vengeance” on the Republicans who have turned against him, running his own candidates in 2022 to undercut them. Earlier this week, he met with Scalise.

    Trump’s big lie is deeply cynical, and yet it is falling on the ears of voters primed to believe it.

    Republican Party leadership launched the idea that Democrats could not win an election legitimately all the way back in 1986. They began to examine the made-up issue of voter fraud to cut Democrats out of the electorate because they knew they could not win elections based on their increasingly unpopular policies.

    In 1986, Republicans launched a “ballot integrity” initiative that they defended as a way to prevent voter fraud, but which an official privately noted “could keep the black vote down considerably.” In 1993, when Democrats expanded voter registration at certain state offices—the so-called Motor Voter Law-- they complained that the Democrats were simply trying to enroll illegitimate Democratic voters in welfare and unemployment offices.

    In 1994, Republicans who lost elections charged that Democrats only won through voter fraud, although then, as now, fraud was vanishingly rare. In 1996, House and Senate Republicans each launched year-long investigations into what they insisted were problematic elections, one in Louisiana and one in California. Keeping investigations of alleged voter fraud in front of the media for a year helped to convince Americans that voter fraud was a serious issue and that Democrats were winning elections thanks to illegal voters.

    In 1998, the Florida legislature passed a voter ID law that led to a purge of voters from the system before the election of 2000, resulting in what the United States Commission on Civil Rights called “an extraordinarily high and inexcusable level of disenfranchisement,” particularly of Democratic African American voters.

    After 2000, the idea that Democrats could win only by cheating became engrained in the Republican Party as their increasing rightward slide made increasing numbers of voters unhappy with their actual policies. Rather than moderating their stance, they suppressed the votes of their opponents. In 2016, Trump operative and self-proclaimed “dirty trickster” Roger Stone launched a “Stop the Steal” website warning that “If this election is close, THEY WILL STEAL IT.” The slogan reappeared briefly in 2018, and in 2021, it sparked an attack on our government.

    The idea that Democrats cannot legitimately win an election has been part of the Republican leadership’s playbook now for a generation, and it has worked: a recent survey showed that 65% of Republicans believe the 2020 election was plagued by widespread fraud, although election officials say the election was remarkably clean.

    Republican lawmakers are going along with Trump’s big lie because it serves their interests: claiming fraud justifies laws to suppress Democratic votes. Alice O’Lenick, a Republican-appointed election official in Gwinnett County, Georgia, endorsed restrictive measures, saying, “they have got to change the major parts of [laws] so we at least have a shot at winning.”

    But that is not the only story right now.

    Tomorrow, the Senate Judiciary Committee will begin the confirmation process for Biden’s prospective attorney general, Merrick Garland. While he was still Judiciary Committee chair, Lindsey Graham (R-SC) seemed curiously resistant to holding a hearing for Garland.

    Now, Trump Republicans have made their demands clear in a letter to new Judiciary Committee chair Dick Durbin (D-IL). It is signed by all but two of the Republicans on the committee, illustrating that the Republican contingent on the Senate Judiciary Committee is made up of Trump supporters. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Charles Grassley (R-IA), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), John Cornyn (R-TX), Mike Lee (R-UT), Josh Hawley (R-MO), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Thom Tillis (R-NC), and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) want Garland “to commit the Department of Justice” to investigating New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, for his handling of the coronavirus in his state.

    Garland, 68, is well-known as a moderate centrist who made headlines when he oversaw the prosecution of the Oklahoma City bombers in 1995-1997. On Saturday, he released his opening statement to the committee.

    He reaffirmed that the attorney general should be the lawyer for the people of the United States, not for any one individual. He noted that 2020 was the 150th anniversary of the founding of the Department of Justice (DOJ), created during the Ulysses S. Grant administration to protect the rule of law in the southern states where, at the time, Ku Klux Klan members were murdering their Black neighbors to keep them from exercising their rights.

    The rules developed in those years are the foundation for the rule of law, Garland wrote in apparent criticism of the previous president’s DOJ. We need the Justice Department to be independent from partisan influence, including that coming from the White House. We need it to provide clear guidelines for FBI intelligence operations. We need it to treat the press respectfully and to be as transparent as possible. We need it to respect the professionalism of the DOJ’s career employees, and to have clear guidelines for prosecutors.

    Garland went on to outline what he sees as the crucial mission he would undertake as Attorney General: guaranteeing the equal justice to all Americans promised 150 years ago and still elusive. “Communities of color and other minorities still face discrimination in housing, education, employment, and the criminal justice system; and bear the brunt of the harm caused by pandemic, pollution, and climate change,” he wrote.

    He pledged to protect Americans from abuse from those who control our markets, “from fraud and corruption, from violent crime and cybercrime, and from drug trafficking and child exploitation” while also being ever-mindful of terrorist attacks.

    Then Garland took head-on the big lie: “150 years after the Department’s founding, battling extremist attacks on our democratic institutions remains central to its mission.”

    “If confirmed,” he wrote, “I will supervise the prosecution of white supremacists and others who stormed the Capitol on January 6—a heinous attack that sought to disrupt a cornerstone of our democracy: the peaceful transfer of power to a newly elected government.”

    _____________________________________SIGNATURE________________________________________________

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  • brianluxbrianlux Moving through All Kinds of Terrain.Posts: 33,520
    Once again, Heather leaves me feeling wary about where we as a country and where we are headed.  This is no slam on HC-R, not at all, she has the pulse of this country and at times, that pulse feels like the threat of a coronary is ever present.  No way are we out of the woods.
    “In all human affairs there are efforts, and there are results, and the strength of the effort is the measure of the result.”
    -James Allen










  • mickeyratmickeyrat Posts: 20,158
     February 22, 2021 (Monday)

    Today the United States passed the heartbreaking marker of 500,000 official deaths from COVID-19. President Biden held a ceremony tonight to remember those lost, saying "On this solemn occasion, we reflect on their loss and on their loved ones left behind. We, as a Nation, must remember them so we can begin to heal, to unite, and find purpose as one Nation to defeat this pandemic." The South Portico of the White House was illuminated with 500 candles—one for every thousand lives lost—and the president will order flags on federal property lowered to half staff for five days in their memory.

    And yet, there is good news on the horizon: By the end of March, Pfizer plans to ship more than 13 million vaccine doses per week to the United States; Moderna plans to deliver 100 million doses; and Johnson & Johnson expects to ship at least 20 million doses. This means that by the end of March, the United States is on track to receive 240 million doses. By mid-year, we should receive about 700 million doses, which is enough to vaccinate our entire population. By the end of the year there should be 2 billion doses for the whole world.

    Sixty-seven percent of Americans, including 34% of Republicans, approve of Biden’s response to the coronavirus.

    Aside from the pandemic news, there were two important developments today on the national level: a series of Supreme Court decisions and Merrick Garland’s confirmation hearings for the position of attorney general. Together, these showed quite strikingly that Trump supporters are retreating into a politics of grievance while Democrats are embracing policy and governance.

    The Supreme Court (often abbreviated SCOTUS, for Supreme Court of the United States), today denied former president Trump’s request to block a grand jury subpoena for his financial records. In its investigation into hush money allegedly paid by the Trump Organization to Stormy Daniels during the 2016 presidential race, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance’s office subpoenaed eight years of financial information from Trump’s accountant, Mazars USA. Trump has fought the subpoena all the way to SCOTUS, but today the court upheld the decision of the lower court that his accountant must produce the information. Mazars USA should turn over the documents, which run to millions of pages, this week.

    The former president issued a statement rehashing his usual litany of complaints about how he is treated, saying this was “a continuation of the greatest political Witch Hunt in the history of our Country.” He said the decision, made by a court on which three of his own appointees sit, was “all Democrat-inspired.” It is, he said, “political persecution.”

    SCOTUS also refused to hear eight cases Trump or his allies had brought over the 2020 presidential election. It appears SCOTUS is done with the former president.

    But Trump is not done with politics. He will be speaking this Sunday at the annual conference of the Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC), which has turned into a pro-Trump gathering. Senators Mike Lee (R-UT), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Josh Hawley (R-MO), Tom Cotton (R-AR), and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) are all scheduled to speak at the convention, on topics like “Why the Left Hate the Bill of Rights… and We Love It,” and “Fighting for Freedom of Speech at Home and Across the World.”

    Mike Allen of Axios heard from a longtime Trump advisor that, in his speech on Sunday, Trump will indicate that he is the Republicans’ “presumptive 2024 nominee” and is in control of the party. He is eager to take revenge on those who have not supported him, and plans to encourage primary challengers to them in 2022. He is expected to lay into President Biden as a failure of the Washington, D.C., swamp, and to promise to take on that swamp again from the outside.

    Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) reported today that Trump reported his earnings from his businesses during his four years as president at $1.6 billion.

    Today, the Senate Judiciary Committee held hearings for the confirmation of Judge Merrick Garland as attorney general. Garland is famously a moderate, and his confirmation is expected to sail through. The senators questioning him could use their time as they wished, and the results were revealing.

    Pro-Trump Republican Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Josh Hawley (R-MO) seemed to be creating sound bites for right-wing media. They complained that the Democrats under the “Obama-Biden” administration had politicized the Department of Justice, including the Russia investigation, and demanded that the abuses they alleged had occurred under Obama be addressed. They made no mention of Attorney General William Barr and his use of the office as an arm of Trump’s White House.

    It was striking to hear long-debunked complaints about 2016 reappear in 2021. Honestly, it felt like they were just rehashing an old script. They are clearly pitching for 2024 voters, but will their politics of grievance resonate in three more years?

    Senators Tom Cotton (R-AR) and Ben Sasse (R-NE) tried to carve out their own space in the presidential pack, as well. Cotton tried to get Garland to admit that Biden’s call for racial equity, rather than racial equality—by which Biden means that some historically marginalized groups may need more than equal treatment—was itself racist. It was an obscure point that didn’t land. Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE), who voted to convict Trump in his impeachment trial, pressed Garland somewhat interestingly on the president’s power, then nodded to QAnon with a statement against the notorious sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein.

    In contrast to them was the performance of the new Democratic senator from Georgia, Jon Ossoff, who asked Garland first about protecting voting rights, then about funding public defenders, then about civil rights investigations, using the specific example of Ahmaud Arbery, murdered in 2020 in Georgia while jogging. Ossoff’s focus on policy and governance illustrated the difference between Senate Republicans and Democrats.

    For his part, Garland hammered home his conviction that the Department of Justice should represent the people of the United States and should enforce the rule of law for all. When Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) asked him to explain why he wanted to give up a lifetime appointment as a judge to take the job of attorney general to fight “hate and discrimination in American history,” Garland answered:

    “I come from a family where my grandparents fled anti-Semitism and persecution. The country took us in and protected us. And I feel an obligation to the country to pay back. And this is the highest, best use of my own set of skills to pay back. And so, I want very much to be the kind of attorney general that you’re saying I could become. I’ll do my best to try to be that kind of attorney general.”

    _____________________________________SIGNATURE________________________________________________

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  • mickeyratmickeyrat Posts: 20,158
     February 23, 2021 (Tuesday)

    Someone asked me today why former president Trump seems still to get more news coverage than President Biden. My answer was that Trump is still a powerful force and explodes into the news because he is so unpredictable, while Biden is behaving like presidents always did before Trump, holding meetings and letting Congress get on with its own business, which is much less immediately newsworthy for all that it matters in the longer term.

    I am reminded of the 2012 Calvin and Hobbes cartoon by Bill Watterson in which Calvin wonders why comic book superheroes don’t go after more realistic bad guys. “Yeah,” Hobbes answers. “The superhero could attend council meetings and write letters to the editor, and stuff…. ‘Quick! To the bat-fax!’”

    “Hmm…” Calvin answers. “I think I see the problem.”

    Today was a bat-fax kind of day.

    The Senate committees on rules and homeland security today organized into a joint session to hear testimony about what happened on January 6, the day of the deadly insurrection in which rioters attacked the U.S. Capitol to stop the counting of electoral votes that would make Democrat Joe Biden president. The testimony told us mostly that what happened that day is still contested. Former U.S. Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund and former House Sergeant-at-Arms Paul D. Irving disagreed about what happened when, and on what they said about deploying the National Guard.

    Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Josh Hawley (R-MO), who encouraged the rioters by their willingness to challenge the counting of the certified ballots, questioned the law enforcement officials about their actions during the insurrection. While Cruz drew criticism for scrolling through his phone during opening testimony, Hawley drew attention by appearing to refer to himself when he said that suggestions that Capitol Police leadership were “complicit” in the insurrection were “disrespectful” and “really quite shocking.”

    The only firm information that came out of the hearing was that Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) used his time to read into the record an account of the January 6 insurrection that laid blame for the violence not on right-wing supporters of former president Trump, but on “provocateurs” and “fake Trump protesters.” The account came from a far-right website. Johnson is trying to convince Americans that, contrary to what our eyes and the testimony of the rioters tell us, the attack on our government came not from Trump supporters but from the left. It is a lie, and it is worth questioning why Johnson feels that lie is important to read into the Congressional Record.

    The Senate, meanwhile, voted to confirm Linda Thomas-Greenfield as the United States ambassador to the United Nations by a vote of 78 to 21. The no votes were all Republicans, prompting conservative columnist Jennifer Rubin to tweet: “[T]hat 20 Rs could oppose diplomat Linda Thomas-Greenfield—an African American woman with decades of career experience tells you just how extreme and beyond reason these people are.” Thomas-Greenfield served in the Foreign Service from 1982 and was the U.S. assistant secretary of state for African affairs from 2013 to 2017, when she was fired by the Trump administration as part of a general purge. Just next week, on March 1, Thomas-Greenfield will assume the leadership of the U.N. Security Council, the top decision-making body for the organization.

    President Biden had his first bilateral meeting today with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada, and Biden made it a point to say it was his first bilateral meeting. Both leaders focused on democratic values, ending racism, and addressing climate change. Biden expressed American support for the release of Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, who have been held for two years by the Chinese government. The men were accused without evidence of being spies, likely in retaliation for Canada’s decision to detain Meng Wanzhou, a Chinese technology executive, at the request of American prosecutors.

    Biden’s meeting with Trudeau emphasized that American foreign policy will return to its traditional alliances. Trudeau thanked Biden for “stepping up in such a big way in tackling climate change.”

    “U.S. leadership has been sorely missed over the past years,” Trudeau said.

    _____________________________________SIGNATURE________________________________________________

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  • mickeyratmickeyrat Posts: 20,158
     February 24, 2021 (Wednesday)

    At 4:42 p.m., exactly a year ago, then-President Trump tweeted: “The Coronavirus is very much under control in the USA. We are in contact with everyone and all relevant countries. CDC & World Health have been working hard and very smart. Stock Market starting to look very good to me!”

    On February 7, Trump had told journalist Bob Woodward something very different. “This is deadly stuff,” he said. The coronavirus is “more deadly than your, you know, your, even your strenuous flus.”

    And now, here we are. As of February 24, 2021, the United States has suffered more than 503,000 official deaths from COVID-19. We have 4% of the world’s population and have suffered 20% of deaths from coronavirus. On Monday, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the chief medical advisor to President Joe Biden, blamed political divisions for the horrific death toll.

    Vaccinations rates are picking up, and now nearly 1 in 5 adults have had their first shot. Today, the Biden administration announced it will be distributing “no cost, high quality, washable” masks to community health centers and food pantries across the country, supplying masks for 12-15 million Americans. Dr. Fauci announced $1.15 billion in funding for studying those whose Covid-19 symptoms are not going away.

    The pandemic has crippled the nation’s economy, and a new The Economist/YouGov poll reveals that 66% of Americans said they support Biden’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan; 25% of Americans said they oppose it. This means it is the most popular piece of legislation since the 2007 minimum wage hike. Also popular is the proposed $15 minimum wage hike, which is supported by 56% of Americans and opposed by 38%, making it more popular than anything former president Trump did while in office.

    More than 150 of the nation’s business leaders are now backing the rescue plan, saying it is necessary for “a strong, durable recovery.”

    And yet, Republicans are, so far, united against the proposal. While the party remains split, party leaders appear to be lining up behind Trump and the big lie that Biden stole the election, entrenching them as a hostile opposition rather than giving them any room to work with Democrats to move the country forward. They are devoting their energies for the future primarily to voter suppression.

    Studies of Republican voters suggest that they continue to support former President Trump and are turning against anyone who accepts Biden’s victory as legitimate. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) popularity has dropped 29 points among Kentucky Republicans since he broke with Trump.

    Republicans appear to be solidifying their identity with the former president, at the state level, at least. In Virginia, Republicans have decided to nominate candidates for November elections simply with a drive-up convention held on May 8 on the campus of Liberty University, a private evangelical Christian school founded by Jerry Falwell, Sr. Voters will choose candidates for governor, lieutenant governor, and attorney general at that time and location.

    The internal fight over the swing into Trump’s corner was on display today when Republican House leadership was asked whether they thought Trump should speak at this weekend’s Conservative Political Action Committee conference (CPAC). Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) responded: “Yes, he should.” Immediately, Republican Conference Chair Liz Cheney (R-WY), who voted to impeach Trump in January over his incitement of the insurrection, said: “That's up to CPAC. I’ve been clear on my views about President Trump. I don't believe that he should be playing a role in the future of the party or the country."

    Trump is scheduled to speak at CPAC, where there will be seven panels echoing his insistence that voter fraud plagues our elections. And yet, as Trump and his supporters continue to insist that the election was stolen, news broke this week that two separate audits of the 2020 election in Maricopa County, Arizona, found no fraud.  

    Today, in the interest of stopping voter fraud, which is virtually nonexistent, the Iowa Senate passed a bill shortening the period of early voting and creating a strict cutoff for absentee ballots. All the Republicans voted in favor; all the Democrats voted against.

    Georgia lawmakers, too, are advancing measures to slash mail-in voting to protect against voter fraud, even as two counties in the Atlanta area want attorneys’ fees from Trump and the chair of the Georgia Republican Party for frivolous lawsuits designed to overturn the 2020 election. “Given the number of failed lawsuits filed by the former president and his campaign, petitioners apparently believed that they could file their baseless and legally deficient actions with impunity, with no regard for the costs extracted from the taxpayers’ coffers or the consequences to the democratic foundations of our country,” wrote lawyers for Cobb County.

    In Congress today, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, a Trump backer whose reorganization of the United States Postal Service last summer appeared linked to an effort to hamper the delivery of mail-in ballots, testified about those delays. Representative Jim Jordan (R-OH), whose approach to hearings is generally to try to manufacture sound bites for right-wing news shows, accused Democrats of attacking DeJoy to score points before the election. “It was all a charade,” he said. “It was all part of the predicate for laying the groundwork for the mail-in balloting, and all of the chaos and confusion the Democrats wanted.”

    Representative Gerry Connolly (D-VA) noted that a number of federal judges prevented DeJoy from implementing the changes he wanted, and that Trump had lied to supporters for months that mail-in ballots would create fraud. Then he pushed back angrily against Jordan’s accusations of partisanship. “I didn’t vote to overturn an election,” Connolly said, referring to Jordan’s objection to counting electoral votes on January 6 and 7. “And I will not be lectured by people who did.”

    News broke today that a close friend of new Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), Anthony Aguero, was part of the January 6 insurrection, breaching the Capitol. "We were all there,” Aguero said in a video posted the day after the riot. “It was not Antifa and it was not BLM. It was Trump supporters that did that yesterday. I'm the first to admit it, being one myself.”

    He said: “We need to stand up for our country. So patriots stand up for their country and they come out here to physically try to take back their house. The House of the people…. Now you have people on the right acting like they're holier than thou, holier than holy…. 'Oh, I'm appalled. I don't condone this.' What the hell do you expect conservatives to do? Do you want us to continue to sit there? Complacent, continue to take the higher route and keep getting f**ked in the a**. I'm sorry for using that language, but I'm sick and tired of the hypocrisy."

    "I stand with people like Marjorie Taylor Greene proudly," Aguero said. "That woman has more courage than most of the men that were in that building. No, not most. That woman has more courage than every single man that was in that Capitol yesterday."

    Although Republican lawmakers might not admit publicly that Biden is president, they met with him today in the Oval Office to discuss something of interest to members of both parties: bringing vital supply chains home. Today, the president signed an executive order to review our national supply chains of vital materials to bring outsourced chains back to the U.S. Both Biden and Republican lawmakers spoke highly of their meeting. Representative Michael McCaul (R-TX) told the Wall Street Journal: “It was very substantive and they want follow-up meetings to move with some speed on this.” Moving supply chains home from China, among other places, should create jobs.

    _____________________________________SIGNATURE________________________________________________

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    you're finally here and I'm a mess................................................... nationwide arena columbus '10
    memories like fingerprints are slowly raising.................................... first niagara center buffalo '13
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  • mickeyratmickeyrat Posts: 20,158
     February 25, 2021 (Thursday)

    There are lots of stories in the news tonight, but most of them seem like preludes. What happened today will eventually be overridden by the stories’ outcomes.

    So, for example, we learned that former president Trump’s accountants, Mazars USA, turned over Trump’s financial information to the Manhattan district attorney’s office on Monday. This got a lot of headlines, but we had a pretty good sense they would turn over the information just as soon as the Supreme Court said they must, so this part of the story will get forgotten.

    What is of more interest is that the district attorney’s office has hired a high-powered outside forensic accounting firm to review the documents, indicating it thinks there is something there.

    There is news in the investigation of what happened on January 6 that might lead to later insights. Today, the House Appropriations Committee, which oversees the Capitol Police, heard testimony from acting Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman. One thing the hearing established was that ex-Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund had requested backup from the National Guard by 12:58 pm on January 6, and had continued to call for the next hour. On Tuesday, the former House sergeant at arms, Paul Irving, insisted he had not received a request for National Guard backup until 1:28.

    Pittman also said that 35 officers are being investigated for their behavior on the day of the insurrection. Six have been suspended and had their police powers revoked. The Capitol Police union opposes the investigations, saying they are an attempt to distract from the failures of leadership on January 6.

    Also offering hope for future information is news that came from the communications director for Tim Ryan (D-OH), the chair of the committee. Michael Zetts said that security videos of Capitol tours before the insurrection have been turned over to the office of the U.S. Attorney General.

    There are stories from today, though, that do have staying power. One is the passage through the House of Representatives of the Equality Act, which prohibits discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation. The bill passed by a vote of 224 to 206. Three Republicans joined the Democratic majority to pass the bill.  

    Another is that the Biden administration launched an airstrike today on Syrian facilities used by Iran-backed militias that have been attacking U.S. troops in Iraq. The strike was a response to a rocket attack in Iraq that killed a U.S. contractor and wounded coalition troops earlier this month. The airstrike, coming at a time that the U.S. is hoping to get Iran to rejoin talks about the 2015 nuclear deal Trump rejected, was likely a sign that Iran should expect that the U.S. will remain engaged in talks but will still respond to attacks.

    Another development that has staying power is the attempt of Democrats to guarantee the right to vote. In the face of voter suppression legislation in Republican legislatures around the country, Democrats in Congress are trying to pass a law, called the For the People Act, to stop partisan gerrymandering, limit money in politics, and expand voting access.

    The For the People Act, numbered in Congress as H.R. 1 and S. 1, would provide for automatic voter registration across the country and would require paper ballots. It would require that early voting be made available, and would expand mail-in voting. It would authorize $1 billion for upgrades to state voting systems.

    Polling by Data for Progress and Vote Save America shows that the principles in H.R. 1 are very popular, across parties. Sixty-eight percent of Americans approve of the reforms in the bill. Sixteen percent oppose the measure. The items within the bill are also popular. Eighty-six percent of Americans support a plan to prevent foreign interference in our elections; 7% oppose it. Eighty-five percent of us want to limit the amount of politics; 8% oppose that idea. Eighty-four percent of us want more election security; 8 percent do not.

    Seventy-four percent of us want to see nonpartisan redistricting; 11% do not. Sixty-eight percent want to see 15 days of early voting; 19% do not. Sixty percent want same-day voter registration; 29% do not. Fifty-nine percent want automatic voter registration; 29% do not. Even with the Republican attacks on mail-in voting, fifty-eight percent of us want to be able to vote by mail; 35% do not.

    Democrats passed a version of H.R. 1 in the previous Congress, but then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to take it up. Now, every House Democrat supports the bill, while Republican lawmakers oppose it.

    To try to stop the bill from becoming law, Republicans are launching a full-throated defense of the filibuster, a tradition that enables a minority in the Senate to stop legislation unless it can command 60 votes. Republican objections to this popular, and seemingly vital, measure will test whether the Senate will protect the filibuster or continue to chip away at it.

    Of all today’s news, then, this issue—the fate of the For the People Act—is one that most certainly will matter in the future.

    _____________________________________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
  • mickeyratmickeyrat Posts: 20,158
     February 26, 2021 (Friday)

    There are a number of very different stories swirling out there this Friday. I have been trying to make sense of them and will tell you what I see, with the warning that I could very easily be wrong, so ignore at will.

    One of today’s biggest stories is that the Office of the Director of National Intelligence today released its assessment of the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in October 2018 at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey. Khashoggi was a Saudi Arabian journalist whose criticism of his country’s government had driven him into exile in the U.S., where he worked for the Washington Post. The DNI placed blame for the murder on Saudi Arabia’s current crown prince, Muhammad bin Salman, whose name is often abbreviated as MBS.

    By law, the Trump administration was supposed to release the intelligence community’s assessment of the killing, but it refused. In her confirmation hearings, Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines promised she would do so. The report was delayed until President Biden could speak to King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, the king of Saudi Arabia. MBS is the king’s son and is the third crown prince Salman has named since becoming king in 2015. Biden has made it a point to refuse to communicate with MBS, despite the Trump administration’s willingness to treat him as the country’s de facto ruler. Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner apparently considered MBS a friend. Biden will talk only with the king.

    The readout of the conversation said Biden spoke with the king “to address the longstanding partnership between the United States and Saudi Arabia.” They discussed ending the war in Yemen, “and affirmed the importance the United States places on universal human rights and the rule of law.” Earlier this month, Biden ended U.S. support for Saudi Arabia’s military engagement in Yemen, a fight launched by MBS, which has led to a humanitarian crisis there. The Trump administration’s huge arms sales to Saudi Arabia, including top-line F-35 fighters, were widely seen as a way to support the Saudi war effort; Biden has frozen the sales for review.

    Now he has added sanctions to the former deputy Saudi intelligence chief and to the Saudi Royal Guard’s rapid intervention force, whose members have been identified as those behind the murder. Their assets in the U.S. are frozen, and they cannot deal with Americans. The U.S. also restricted the visas of 76 Saudi citizens and some of their family members.

    Also yesterday, Biden launched an air strike against the facilities of Iran-backed militias in Syria that have been launching rocket attacks against U.S. targets in Iraq. When asked today what message he was sending, he said: “You can’t act with impunity. Be careful.”

    Also yesterday, the FBI Washington Field Office tweeted a thread noting that 13 Russians are wanted by the FBI for participating in a “conspiracy to defraud US by impairing, obscuring & defeating the lawful functions of FEC [Federal Election Commission], DOJ [Department of Justice] & Dept of State” between 2014 and 2018. It explained: “These individuals allegedly took actions to reach significant numbers of Americans for the purposes of interfering w/ US political system, includ[ing] the 2016 Presidential Election.”

    The FBI also offered $250,000 for information leading to the arrest of Ukrainian Konstantin V. Kilimnick, whom the Senate Intelligence Committee identified as a Russian operative. Kilimnick is wanted by the FBI for obstruction of justice and for engaging in a conspiracy to obstruct justice between February and April 2018, persuading someone not to testify in an official proceeding.

    Kilimnick was the business partner of Paul Manafort, Trump’s 2016 campaign manager; Manafort handed over detailed and private campaign polling data to Kilimnick in 2016.

    So, what have we got going on here?

    At the very least, it seems the Biden administration is sending a signal to other countries that there is a new administration in America, one that will not tolerate foreign intrusions into U.S. affairs the same way its predecessor did.

    But I wonder if the inclusion of the wanted posters on those Russians accused of interfering with the 2016 election, including one who worked closely with Trump’s campaign manager, is a signal to the Saudis, along with the rest of the world, not to support Trump’s continuing attempt to undermine our democracy.

    Today, the White House issued a statement noting that it was seven years ago that Russia violated international law by invading Ukraine. President Biden reiterated that the U.S. stands with Ukraine and its attempt to shore up democracy to withstand the aggression of oligarchy.

    “The United States does not and will never recognize Russia’s purported annexation of the peninsula, and we will stand with Ukraine against Russia’s aggressive acts.  We will continue to work to hold Russia accountable for its abuses and aggression in Ukraine,” the statement reads.

    But it is a message not just of warning, but also of hope:

    “We will also continue to honor the courage and hope of the Revolution of Dignity, in which the Ukrainian people faced down sniper fire and enforcers in riot gear on the Maidan and demanded a new beginning for their country. The United States still believes in the promise of Ukraine and we support all those working towards a peaceful, democratic, and prosperous future for their country.”

    _____________________________________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
  • mickeyratmickeyrat Posts: 20,158
     February 27, 2021 (Saturday)

    I am halfway done with a piece I really want to write, but having just slept the whole way through My Octopus Teacher, will admit defeat and go to bed.

    The ice is breaking up here, and spring is definitely on the way.

    [Photo by Buddy Poland.]

    _____________________________________SIGNATURE________________________________________________

    Not today Sir, Probably not tomorrow.............................................. bayfront arena st. pete '94
    you're finally here and I'm a mess................................................... nationwide arena columbus '10
    memories like fingerprints are slowly raising.................................... first niagara center buffalo '13
    another man ..... moved by sleight of hand...................................... joe louis arena detroit '14
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