Auto-Save Draft feature temporarily disabled. Please be sure you manually save your post by selecting "Save Draft" if you have that need.

Letter From An American

191011121315»

Comments

  • tempo_n_groovetempo_n_groove Posts: 27,113
    brianlux said:
    brianlux said:
    Lately, reading Heather's blog, I get the distinct feeling that civilization is coming apart at the seems.  On the home front, Biden is doing his best to keep things patched together, but the Republican resistance is unrelenting.  Unsettling times.
    Fear sells Brian.  With Trump gone the reporters have to find something else to complain about, well not gone gone, but gone.  Most of the other stuff has been going on for years and most likely will never stop.

    She is right on her reporting which is good but a little good news like the herring is nice every now and again.
    brianlux said:
    Lately, reading Heather's blog, I get the distinct feeling that civilization is coming apart at the seems.  On the home front, Biden is doing his best to keep things patched together, but the Republican resistance is unrelenting.  Unsettling times.
    Fear sells Brian.  With Trump gone the reporters have to find something else to complain about, well not gone gone, but gone.  Most of the other stuff has been going on for years and most likely will never stop.

    She is right on her reporting which is good but a little good news like the herring is nice every now and again.
    She's not a reporter, she's a historian. 

    True.  And like any good historian, she is at her best when when she lets history speak for itself.  When her blog reads more like an op ed page, I'm not quite as impressed.  And its not that I disagree with her but I just think her writing is better when she is showing more than telling.
    Agreed.
    See, all 3 agree on her writing style.

    She may be a historian but she does write like a reporter with an agenda.
    I agree that good historians are at their best when they let history speak for themselves. 

    I don't agree with your assessment. 
    It's exactly what Brian said and you agreed.  That's exactly what an op-ed is, my assessment.
  • tempo_n_groovetempo_n_groove Posts: 27,113
    dignin said:
    brianlux said:
    brianlux said:
    Lately, reading Heather's blog, I get the distinct feeling that civilization is coming apart at the seems.  On the home front, Biden is doing his best to keep things patched together, but the Republican resistance is unrelenting.  Unsettling times.
    Fear sells Brian.  With Trump gone the reporters have to find something else to complain about, well not gone gone, but gone.  Most of the other stuff has been going on for years and most likely will never stop.

    She is right on her reporting which is good but a little good news like the herring is nice every now and again.
    brianlux said:
    Lately, reading Heather's blog, I get the distinct feeling that civilization is coming apart at the seems.  On the home front, Biden is doing his best to keep things patched together, but the Republican resistance is unrelenting.  Unsettling times.
    Fear sells Brian.  With Trump gone the reporters have to find something else to complain about, well not gone gone, but gone.  Most of the other stuff has been going on for years and most likely will never stop.

    She is right on her reporting which is good but a little good news like the herring is nice every now and again.
    She's not a reporter, she's a historian. 

    True.  And like any good historian, she is at her best when when she lets history speak for itself.  When her blog reads more like an op ed page, I'm not quite as impressed.  And its not that I disagree with her but I just think her writing is better when she is showing more than telling.
    Agreed.
    See, all 3 agree on her writing style.

    She may be a historian but she does write like a reporter with an agenda.
    Yeah, the agenda of saving democracy in the US.


    I was looking at the angle Brian was, doom and gloom.  I'm glad you see that she is saving democracy in her writing...

    Boy people get touchy around here.
  • Merkin BallerMerkin Baller Posts: 5,598
    brianlux said:
    brianlux said:
    Lately, reading Heather's blog, I get the distinct feeling that civilization is coming apart at the seems.  On the home front, Biden is doing his best to keep things patched together, but the Republican resistance is unrelenting.  Unsettling times.
    Fear sells Brian.  With Trump gone the reporters have to find something else to complain about, well not gone gone, but gone.  Most of the other stuff has been going on for years and most likely will never stop.

    She is right on her reporting which is good but a little good news like the herring is nice every now and again.
    brianlux said:
    Lately, reading Heather's blog, I get the distinct feeling that civilization is coming apart at the seems.  On the home front, Biden is doing his best to keep things patched together, but the Republican resistance is unrelenting.  Unsettling times.
    Fear sells Brian.  With Trump gone the reporters have to find something else to complain about, well not gone gone, but gone.  Most of the other stuff has been going on for years and most likely will never stop.

    She is right on her reporting which is good but a little good news like the herring is nice every now and again.
    She's not a reporter, she's a historian. 

    True.  And like any good historian, she is at her best when when she lets history speak for itself.  When her blog reads more like an op ed page, I'm not quite as impressed.  And its not that I disagree with her but I just think her writing is better when she is showing more than telling.
    Agreed.
    See, all 3 agree on her writing style.

    She may be a historian but she does write like a reporter with an agenda.
    I agree that good historians are at their best when they let history speak for themselves. 

    I don't agree with your assessment. 
    It's exactly what Brian said and you agreed.  That's exactly what an op-ed is, my assessment.
    How is that "exactly what Brian said"? 

    Nowhere did he suggest she writes like a reporter with an agenda; the closest he came to that was saying he was unimpressed when the blog read like an op-ed, and that her writing is better when she's showing, not telling, which I don't disagree with. 

    I do however disagree that she writes like a reporter with an agenda. I won't deny that she is biased at times, but it's hard not to be this day in age. 


    Maybe Brian can clarify, but we clearly inferred two very different things. 

  • tempo_n_groovetempo_n_groove Posts: 27,113
    brianlux said:
    brianlux said:
    Lately, reading Heather's blog, I get the distinct feeling that civilization is coming apart at the seems.  On the home front, Biden is doing his best to keep things patched together, but the Republican resistance is unrelenting.  Unsettling times.
    Fear sells Brian.  With Trump gone the reporters have to find something else to complain about, well not gone gone, but gone.  Most of the other stuff has been going on for years and most likely will never stop.

    She is right on her reporting which is good but a little good news like the herring is nice every now and again.
    brianlux said:
    Lately, reading Heather's blog, I get the distinct feeling that civilization is coming apart at the seems.  On the home front, Biden is doing his best to keep things patched together, but the Republican resistance is unrelenting.  Unsettling times.
    Fear sells Brian.  With Trump gone the reporters have to find something else to complain about, well not gone gone, but gone.  Most of the other stuff has been going on for years and most likely will never stop.

    She is right on her reporting which is good but a little good news like the herring is nice every now and again.
    She's not a reporter, she's a historian. 

    True.  And like any good historian, she is at her best when when she lets history speak for itself.  When her blog reads more like an op ed page, I'm not quite as impressed.  And its not that I disagree with her but I just think her writing is better when she is showing more than telling.
    Agreed.
    See, all 3 agree on her writing style.

    She may be a historian but she does write like a reporter with an agenda.
    I agree that good historians are at their best when they let history speak for themselves. 

    I don't agree with your assessment. 
    It's exactly what Brian said and you agreed.  That's exactly what an op-ed is, my assessment.
    How is that "exactly what Brian said"? 

    Nowhere did he suggest she writes like a reporter with an agenda; the closest he came to that was saying he was unimpressed when the blog read like an op-ed, and that her writing is better when she's showing, not telling, which I don't disagree with. 

    I do however disagree that she writes like a reporter with an agenda. I won't deny that she is biased at times, but it's hard not to be this day in age. 


    Maybe Brian can clarify, but we clearly inferred two very different things. 
    This is just a pissing match at this point.  You agreed with what Brian said but not with me.

    An op-ed is a writer/reporter writing about what/how they see it which is their agenda.

    The agenda I agree with Brian about was the doom and gloom.
  • Merkin BallerMerkin Baller Posts: 5,598
    brianlux said:
    brianlux said:
    Lately, reading Heather's blog, I get the distinct feeling that civilization is coming apart at the seems.  On the home front, Biden is doing his best to keep things patched together, but the Republican resistance is unrelenting.  Unsettling times.
    Fear sells Brian.  With Trump gone the reporters have to find something else to complain about, well not gone gone, but gone.  Most of the other stuff has been going on for years and most likely will never stop.

    She is right on her reporting which is good but a little good news like the herring is nice every now and again.
    brianlux said:
    Lately, reading Heather's blog, I get the distinct feeling that civilization is coming apart at the seems.  On the home front, Biden is doing his best to keep things patched together, but the Republican resistance is unrelenting.  Unsettling times.
    Fear sells Brian.  With Trump gone the reporters have to find something else to complain about, well not gone gone, but gone.  Most of the other stuff has been going on for years and most likely will never stop.

    She is right on her reporting which is good but a little good news like the herring is nice every now and again.
    She's not a reporter, she's a historian. 

    True.  And like any good historian, she is at her best when when she lets history speak for itself.  When her blog reads more like an op ed page, I'm not quite as impressed.  And its not that I disagree with her but I just think her writing is better when she is showing more than telling.
    Agreed.
    See, all 3 agree on her writing style.

    She may be a historian but she does write like a reporter with an agenda.
    I agree that good historians are at their best when they let history speak for themselves. 

    I don't agree with your assessment. 
    It's exactly what Brian said and you agreed.  That's exactly what an op-ed is, my assessment.
    How is that "exactly what Brian said"? 

    Nowhere did he suggest she writes like a reporter with an agenda; the closest he came to that was saying he was unimpressed when the blog read like an op-ed, and that her writing is better when she's showing, not telling, which I don't disagree with. 

    I do however disagree that she writes like a reporter with an agenda. I won't deny that she is biased at times, but it's hard not to be this day in age. 


    Maybe Brian can clarify, but we clearly inferred two very different things. 
    This is just a pissing match at this point.  You agreed with what Brian said but not with me.

    An op-ed is a writer/reporter writing about what/how they see it which is their agenda.

    The agenda I agree with Brian about was the doom and gloom.
    I inferred two different things from what you each said, that's all. 


    Fuck it, it's Friday. 

    Enjoy your weekend. 

  • mickeyratmickeyrat Posts: 21,321
    to this doom and gloom point, HCR and another historian now have a podcast. heard them together before and they work well off each other.

    I posted a link to their podcast above. It's called Now and Then.

    Heres a link to the episode relevant to doom and gloom.


    _____________________________________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: 34,296
    brianlux said:
    brianlux said:
    Lately, reading Heather's blog, I get the distinct feeling that civilization is coming apart at the seems.  On the home front, Biden is doing his best to keep things patched together, but the Republican resistance is unrelenting.  Unsettling times.
    Fear sells Brian.  With Trump gone the reporters have to find something else to complain about, well not gone gone, but gone.  Most of the other stuff has been going on for years and most likely will never stop.

    She is right on her reporting which is good but a little good news like the herring is nice every now and again.
    brianlux said:
    Lately, reading Heather's blog, I get the distinct feeling that civilization is coming apart at the seems.  On the home front, Biden is doing his best to keep things patched together, but the Republican resistance is unrelenting.  Unsettling times.
    Fear sells Brian.  With Trump gone the reporters have to find something else to complain about, well not gone gone, but gone.  Most of the other stuff has been going on for years and most likely will never stop.

    She is right on her reporting which is good but a little good news like the herring is nice every now and again.
    She's not a reporter, she's a historian. 

    True.  And like any good historian, she is at her best when when she lets history speak for itself.  When her blog reads more like an op ed page, I'm not quite as impressed.  And its not that I disagree with her but I just think her writing is better when she is showing more than telling.
    Agreed.
    See, all 3 agree on her writing style.

    She may be a historian but she does write like a reporter with an agenda.

    Occasionally, yes, but much of her blog writing is very much written as an historian.  I would describe her as an excellent historian writer/teacher who at times veers off into the realm of op ed journalist.  Her main gig is as an educator of history.
    “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










  • brianluxbrianlux Moving through All Kinds of Terrain.Posts: 34,296
    As for the "doom and gloom" part, that was not meant by me to be an assessment of Heather Cox-Richardson but, rather, my occasionally nihilistic viewpoint that the world is going to hell in a hand basket and we should all eat worms.   But right now, it's getting close to Miller Time*, I've got new LPs to listen to, and the air is starting to cool a bit outside. 
    Hold the presses!  Life is good!

    "Miller Time" used to be a phrase used in an ad for Miller draft.  When my folks were alive and living in a retirement home, they sometimes got together for a drink with a couple whose last name was "Miller".  Though the drinks were usually glasses of wine or Manhattans, they nevertheless referred to the occasion as "Miller Time".   I adopted that meaning.  I hereby decree having  tea or coffee, a smoke, or whatever turns you on and helps you relax can also be referred to as "Miller Time".
    “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: 21,321
     June 4, 2021 (Friday)

    Today, Facebook officials announced that they would continue former president Trump’s suspension for at least two years from his February 7 suspension, when he continued to praise the mob in the wake of the January 6 insurrection. After two years, the company will reassess his ban, deciding “whether the risk to public safety has receded.” Facebook promised that it would begin holding political figures to common standards for hate speech, rather than giving them a pass on the grounds their actions are noteworthy. If, in their opinion, noteworthiness requires an exception, they will explain why.

    In their announcement of new standards for the platform, Facebook seemed to accept that bad actors have used it to swing political events. It listed the tens of thousands of accounts it has banned, and promised to continue to stay on top of them, although it blamed the events of January 6 on “the insurrectionists and those who encouraged them.” The new policies are a new development in the world of social media, as a major platform tries to show politicians concerned about the spread of disinformation on the platform that it can police itself.

    Former president Trump reacted angrily to this ongoing suspension. His campaign’s use of social media, especially Facebook, was instrumental in his 2016 win.

    Now without access to Twitter, where he had tens of millions of followers (although not all were real), or Facebook, where he had millions, he is having trouble staying relevant. He tried to move his followers to a webpage where he posted his statements on current affairs, but this Wednesday his team abandoned the page after it failed to gain much of a following.  

    We learned today that a New York state special grand jury in Manhattan has heard testimony from Jeffrey McConney, a senior finance executive at the Trump Organization who has been with the company for 34 years. McConney cannot be charged for anything he reveals on the subject of his testimony, but neither can he refuse to answer questions. (Because he cannot incriminate himself, he cannot use the Fifth Amendment). He can, though, be prosecuted for perjury if he lies.

    Rumblings suggest that Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance is hoping to flip Allen Weisselberg, the chief financial officer for the Trump Organization. Information from McConney could help that process.

    Tomorrow night, the former president will address the North Carolina Republican Party, a lead-in to the old campaign-style rallies he plans to start holding next month in Ohio, Alabama, and Florida. Republican officials are begging him to talk about policy and the 2022 election, but he appears to be focused on his conviction that he won in 2020, believing that the so-called “audit” in Arizona and other states will prove he won. He has been telling people he will be “reinstated” in August.

    Having tied the party tightly to the former president because of his ability to reach and rile up voters, Republican leaders now have to deal with the fact that he no longer can reach them effectively, and that his own troubles are, at the very least, distracting.

    _____________________________________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: 21,321
     June 5, 2021 (Saturday)

    Today, Katie Benner of the New York Times broke the story that former president Trump tried to use the Department of Justice to try to overturn the results of the 2020 election. Five emails provided to Congress show Trump’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows, asking the acting attorney general, Jeffrey A. Rosen, in December, to investigate rumors of voter fraud. One of the fantastical stories Meadows wanted investigated was the story that “people in Italy had used military technology and satellites to remotely tamper with voting machines in the United States and switch votes for Mr. Trump to votes for Joseph R. Biden Jr.”

    The Department of Justice is not the president’s to command. It is supposed to enforce the laws of the United States and administer justice. The office of the president has its own lawyer—the White House counsel—and the president can also have their own personal representation. That Trump tried to use our own Department of Justice to overturn the will of the American voters is eye-popping.

    But that was not the only news of the day. We also learned that the Texas attorney general, Ken Paxton, told Trump advisor Steven Bannon on a public show that had he not been able to block a great deal of mail-in voting in 2020, Biden would have won Texas.

    We also learned that Oregon Representative Mike Nearman, who was already in trouble for opening the doors of the Oregon Capitol to anti–coronavirus restriction rioters on December 21, held a meeting beforehand, on December 16, to plot the event. An attendee filmed the talk, which set up “Operation Hall Pass.” That operation ultimately opened the Oregon capitol building to far-right rioters, who endangered the entire legislature. The video, which shows Nearman winking and nodding at setting up the invasion, has raised questions about whether other Republicans worked with insurrectionists in other settings.

    It is an odd day for these stories to come to light.

    Seventy-seven years ago today, on June 5, 1944, General Dwight D. Eisenhower was preparing to send Allied troops, who fought for democracy, across the English Channel to France. There, he hoped, they would push the German troops, who fought for an authoritarian fascist state, back across Europe, securing a victory for democracy over authoritarianism.

    More than 5,000 ships waited to transport more than 150,000 soldiers to France before daybreak the following morning. The fighting to take Normandy would not be easy. The beaches the men would assault were tangled in barbed wire, booby trapped, and defended by German soldiers in concrete bunkers.

    On the afternoon of June 5, as the Allied soldiers, their faces darkened with soot and cocoa, milled around waiting to board the ships, Eisenhower went to see the men he was almost certainly sending to their deaths. He joked with the troops, as apparently upbeat as his orders to them had been when he told them Operation Overlord had launched. “The tide has turned!” his letter read. “The free men of the world are marching together to Victory!”

    But after cheering his men on, he went back to his headquarters and wrote another letter. Designed to blame himself alone if Operation Overlord failed, it read:

    “Our landings in the Cherbourg-Havre area have failed to gain a satisfactory foothold and I have withdrawn the troops. My decision to attack at this time and place was based upon the best information available. The troops, the air and the Navy did all that Bravery and devotion to duty could do. If any blame or fault attaches to the attempt it is mine alone.”

    The letter was, of course, never delivered. Operation Overlord was a success, launching the final assault in which western democracy, defended by ordinary men and women, would destroy European fascism.

    [U.S. Army photograph, 1944, Library of Congress]

    _____________________________________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: 21,321
      June 6, 2021 (Sunday)

    Saturday evening, just in time for the anniversary of D-Day today, President Joe Biden published an op-ed in the Washington Post explaining that his upcoming trip to Europe is part of a larger defense of democracy.

    This week, Biden will be meeting with the Group of Seven—also known as the G7—an informal organization of wealthy democracies including Canada, Japan, Italy, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the U.S. He will meet with leaders of the European Union and with allies in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), a 30-nation military alliance begun in 1949 "to safeguard the freedom, common heritage and civilization of the peoples, founded on the principles of democracy, individual liberty and the rule of law."

    “In this moment of global uncertainty, as the world still grapples with a once-in-a-century pandemic,” Biden wrote, “this trip is about realizing America’s renewed commitment to our allies and partners, and demonstrating the capacity of democracies to both meet the challenges and deter the threats of this new age.”

    Identifying the need for unified effort to end the coronavirus pandemic and to push back against the governments of China and Russia, Biden called for America once again to lead the world from a position of strength. He pointed to America’s rebounding economy, thanks to the vaccine distribution program and the American Rescue Plan, as an indication that the U.S. is recovering, and noted that “we will be stronger and more capable when we are flanked by nations that share our values and our vision for the future—by other democracies.”

    Biden called attention to the fact that Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen pulled off a major deal on Saturday when she led the G7 finance ministers to reverse forty years of corporate tax cuts and agree to a global minimum tax of at least 15% on multinational corporations. After the deal, Spain, which is not part of the G7, endorsed the plan. Negotiators hope to expand the deal to the G20—twenty countries whose economies make up around 80% of world trade—this fall.

    This agreement is a huge deal. If accepted, it would stop countries from trying to attract multinational businesses by cutting taxes on them, a so-called “race to the bottom” that reduces the amount of tax money available for public investment while pumping money into the largest multinational corporations. In 1980, the average global corporate tax rate was about 40%. By 2020, it was about 23%. By 2017, multinational firms had about $700 billion stashed in tax havens.

    Yellen’s plan would help pay for Biden’s domestic agenda by making a domestic tax increase on corporations more acceptable to Republicans. Trump’s 2017 tax cut, passed by a strict partisan vote, slashed domestic corporate taxes from 35 to 21 percent. Trump promised that the cuts would help everyone by supercharging the economy and would pay for themselves. But in fact, according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, 60% of the benefits of the tax cuts went to those in the top 20% of the economy, and corporate tax revenues fell 31% in the first year after congress passed the tax cut. In that year—which was before the coronavirus pandemic—our deficit exploded to $984 billion, unheard of in a time without a recession or a war. The cuts did not produce economic growth, either: the economy grew at 2.9%, the same as it did in 2015.

    Biden wants to take the domestic corporate tax rate back to 28%, hoping to raise $3 billion to pay for infrastructure and education. This plan is popular with 65% of registered voters, while only 21% oppose it, but it faces huge headwinds among Republican lawmakers, who have said that higher domestic corporate taxes would simply send businesses overseas. An international tax floor helps to defang that fear. In addition, some U.S. companies are willing to exchange slightly higher taxes for certainty in international tax rules.  

    Countries have talked about international cooperation on taxes for many years, and Yellen’s fast victory in finding common ground has economic experts calling it “impressive,” although much more work will be necessary to get the plan accepted by national governments both overseas and at home. International treaties require a two-thirds majority in the Senate to pass, and Republicans, who have vowed to oppose any tax increases, are unlikely to approve.

    Nonetheless, Biden is continuing to press forward. His op-ed makes the case for clean energy and infrastructure investment to enable democracies both to compete with China and to protect their people against unforeseen threats. He plans to reiterate U.S. support for our allies “who see the world through the same lens as the United States” before he meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Geneva.

    Biden’s administration has broken the recent U.S. policy of seeing Russia as a monolith. He has pressured Putin over human rights, election interference, and cybersecurity, but has indicated he is willing to work with him on arms control and international stability. He promises to stand firm on the issue of human rights as a defining feature of his foreign policy.

    Biden recognizes that we are at a defining moment in world history. In his op-ed, he asks: “Can democracies come together to deliver real results for our people in a rapidly changing world? Will the democratic alliances and institutions that shaped so much of the last century prove their capacity against modern-day threats and adversaries?”

    Autocratic leaders, including Chinese President Xi Jinping and Putin, have said that democracy is obsolete and autocracy is the form of government that will dominate the future. Biden is dedicating his presidency to the defense of democracy. Can democracy stand firm in the modern day?

    Says Biden: “I believe the answer is yes. And this week in Europe, we have the chance to prove it.”

    _____________________________________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: 27,946
    So much for that 4% gdp growth quarter over quarter for ten years we were promised. Hey Joe, that tax cut was passed with a partisan vote, still think the repubs want to play along? Deluded.
    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.

    Brilliantati©
  • tempo_n_groovetempo_n_groove Posts: 27,113
    Autocratic governments are totalitarian.  I guess if you are at the top of the pecking order this works just fine.
  • mickeyratmickeyrat Posts: 21,321
     June 7, 2021 (Monday)

    Complaining that “the fundamental right to vote has itself become overtly politicized,” Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) published an op-ed in the Charleston Gazette-Mail yesterday saying that he would vote against S1, the For the People Act, arguing that protecting the right to vote should “never be done in a partisan manner.” Because Republicans do not support federal voting rights, he says, passing such a measure would “all but ensure partisan divisions continue to deepen.”

    Critics immediately jumped on this declaration, noting that the For the People Act would address state laws enacted by Republicans alone to restrict voting and gerrymander states in a partisan fashion. Voting rights scholar Ari Berman tweeted: “I don’t recall Republicans asking for bipartisan support before they introduced 400 voter suppression bills & enacted 22 new voter suppression laws in 14 states so far this year.”

    Essentially, Manchin appears to be blaming the person calling the fire department, rather than the arsonist, and then saying the firefighters need to work with the guys holding the gasoline cans and matches.

    There are currently two election reform bills before the Senate. The For the People Act covers a wide range of reforms. It sets standards for federal voting in each state, including online and same day voter registration, early voting, and mail-in ballots. It also would end the ability to invest “dark money” in politics, the system by which nonprofits, which do not have to disclose their donors, give money to political causes (this is not small change: in 2020, more than $1 billion—with a “B”—went into the election, most of it helping Democrats). It would end partisan gerrymandering—something some Democrats also oppose—and would strengthen rules about lobbying.

    And here’s a twist to this story: according to political consulting firm Lake Research Partners, 68% of Americans, including a majority of Republicans, support the For the People Act. In a March 2021 article in the New Yorker, Jane Mayer, who is simply a crackerjack investigative reporter, broke the story that Republicans were privately dismayed at how overwhelmingly popular the For the People Act is.

    In a private conference call on January 8, 2021, between one of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) policy advisers and the leaders of several prominent conservative groups, the speakers “expressed alarm at the broad popularity of the bill’s provision calling for more public disclosure about secret political donors.” They concluded it wasn’t worth trying to convince voters to oppose the bill. Instead, they decided to kill it in the Senate, through strategies like the filibuster. “When it comes to donor privacy, I can’t stress enough how quickly things could get out of hand,” McConnell’s policy adviser Steve Donaldson said.

    The other major piece of election reform legislation before the Senate is the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, which would restore the pieces of the 1965 Voting Rights Act gutted in 2013 by the Supreme Court in the Shelby County v. Holder decision. In 2006, the Senate renewed the Voting Rights Act by a vote of 98-0. Today, 70% of Americans support the John Lewis Act.

    In his op-ed, Manchin advocated the John Lewis Act and noted that Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) has joined him in calling for passing the bill through the regular order. But while the Senate renewed the Voting Rights Act unanimously in 2006, it is not clear that even ten Republicans will vote to support it in 2021. Although several of the Republicans who voted for the Voting Rights Act in 2006 are still in the Senate, they now oppose the John Lewis Act. Today, Murkowski, who is the only Republican on record for the new measure, admitted it would be hard to find ten yes votes.

    Jennifer Rubin in the Washington Post points out that if there ever were a reason to come together, it was on the bill for the creation of an independent, bipartisan commission to investigate the January 6 insurrection, and only six Republicans joined that effort, enabling their party to kill the measure. So the idea that there will be ten votes for the voting rights bill seems optimistic.

    But there is a weird twist in all these gyrations over protecting the fundamental right of citizens to vote. In his op-ed, Manchin also said he will not agree to eliminate the filibuster, which is the Senate rule that enables the minority to block legislation simply by saying they will not permit a vote on it. People have pointed out that protecting a Senate rule rather than democracy is, well, odd…but the story might well be more complicated.

    Manchin has indicated his willingness to reform the filibuster, either taking it back to the traditional form of the talking filibuster, or perhaps excluding election bills in the same way that financial bills and judicial nominees are currently not covered by the filibuster. One of the things at stake here might be that, as a Democrat in a strongly Republican state, Manchin likes that the filibuster protects him from having to vote on Democratic bills that Republicans hate. But might he be willing to do a carve out to protect voting?

    Well, McConnell today said that Democrats were teeing up votes this month on paycheck fairness, gun control, and voting that are “designed to fail” in order to convince lawmakers to gut the filibuster. But what’s interesting about that declaration is that those measures are all actually popular among voters. At the same time, McConnell appeared to win the filibuster over the January 6 commission only by appealing to his caucus to vote against it as a personal favor to him. Even so, lots of senators chose to be absent on that day. It is not clear to me that McConnell is confident he can hold the filibuster wall as he was able to in the past, and having continually to defend filibusters of popular measures can only hurt the Republicans.

    This afternoon, Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) tweeted that she would continue to fight to get voting, ethics reform, and campaign finance reform passed through the Senate, suggesting that there is wheeling and dealing to be done.

    While the fight over voting and the filibuster is taking up a lot of oxygen, there are a few other big stories breaking today. A newly released recording of a call between Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky in July 2019 shows Giuliani quite clearly trying to trade an investigation into Hunter Biden for the U.S. aid Congress had approved for Ukraine, and Vice President Kamala Harris is in Guatemala, where she warned migrants not to try to come to the United States without following formal procedures.

    Also… the U.S. has recovered several million dollars paid to cyberhackers who held an East Coast oil pipeline hostage last month. At the time, the company, Colonial Pipeline, told reporters they had paid the ransom to get their operations back up and running quickly, but they had actually turned quickly to the FBI, which apparently asked them to pay the ransom so its officials could follow the money trail. The hackers apparently operated out of Russia, although they were not affiliated with the Russian government.

    Later today, news broke that major global crime networks have been broken open as criminals were communicating on an encrypted network broken into by the Australian Federal Police and then run by the FBI. The operation involved the cooperation of 16 different countries, and it targeted some of the world’s leading criminals. Europol, the European Union’s law enforcement agency, called it the “most sophisticated effort to date to disrupt the activities of criminals operating from all four corners of the world.”

    Guessing this particular story has quite long legs….

    _____________________________________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: 21,321
     June 8, 2021 (Tuesday)

    After Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) announced this weekend that he would not support either the For the People voting act or an attempt to break the filibuster for a voting measure, but would work to get bipartisan agreement on the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, today Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell pulled the rug out from under him.

    McConnell said today that restoring the provisions of the 1965 Voting Rights Act that protect minority voting would give too much power to the federal government and that such protection was unnecessary anyway. “The Supreme Court concluded that conditions that existed in 1965 no longer existed,” McConnell said. “So there’s no threat to the voting rights law. It’s against the law to discriminate in voting on the basis of race already. And so I think it’s unnecessary.”

    To say there is no threat to the voting rights law is delusional. The reality is that In 2013, within 24 hours of the Supreme Court’s Shelby County v. Holder decision ending the Justice Department’s oversight of certain states’ voting requirements, Texas enacted a strict voter ID law. Other states quickly followed suit. And now, in the wake of the 2020 election, Republican-dominated state legislatures across the country are drastically curtailing voting access.

    Today, more than 300 “advocacy, civic, faith and labor groups representing nearly 2.5 million Americans from 43 states and the District of Columbia” asked the president and vice president to fight for the For the People Act. “[F]air representation and voter access in America are under direct attack,” the letter read. “We are extremely worried about the very survival of our democracy.  We ask that you place the urgent passage of this bill at the top of your administration's agenda.”

    This afternoon, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said that the Senate will still vote on the For the People Act, as scheduled, in late June. He says he is open to changes to the measure if they will help get Manchin on board. But he is going to force senators to go on record for or against voting rights.

    Gone are the days when McConnell could protect his caucus from unpopular votes simply by refusing to bring anything to a vote. Republicans have had to vote on the bipartisan, independent January 6 commission, which was popular, and voted to go before the country as a party protecting insurrection. Now they will have to take a stand on other popular measures like voting rights and, if the Senate breaks up the bill, getting big money out of politics, which is even more popular, and so on.

    Today, Republicans filibustered a measure designed to prohibit discrimination in pay based on sex. The bill would have limited pay differentials to things like education, training, and experience, and would have prohibited employers from retaliating against workers who compared their salaries. Blaming the Democrats for advancing what he calls “partisan” bills, McConnell pointed to the equal pay act as a sign that the "era of bipartisanship is over.”

    In fact, we had an illustration of what “bipartisanship” means in today’s Senate when the Senate Rules and Administration and the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs committees that investigated the January 6 insurrection today produced a bipartisan report on the events of that day. Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee chair Gary Peters (D-MI) told reporters: “There were significant, widespread and unacceptable breakdowns in the intelligence gathering. . . . The failure to adequately assess the threat of violence on that day contributed significantly to the breach of the Capitol… The attack was, quite frankly, planned in plain sight.”

    To gain bipartisan support, the report focused on communications failures. It did not explore the roles of government officials, including former president Trump, in the January 6 crisis, and it did not use the word “insurrection” apart from quotations of witness testimony. The result was a curiously sanitized rendition of the events of January. Representative Ted Lieu (D-CA) commented: "January 6th didn't happen because there were security failures, it happened because there was a violent mob that attacked the Capitol, and we need to know why that happened."

    McConnell’s comment about the end of bipartisanship was a sweeping declaration that he would lead Republicans in opposing the Democratic program, and that includes the American Jobs Act, the extensive infrastructure bill that President Biden initially pegged at $2.3 trillion. Biden has been negotiating with Republicans, led by Senator Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, on the measure, but today called it quits after they refused to raise their offer more than $150 billion despite his offer to cut more than $1 trillion off his initial ask. Republicans blamed Biden for ending the talks.

    Biden has not, in fact, ended the talks, though: he has handed them to a different group of lawmakers who have shown a willingness to work across the aisle. That group includes Joe Manchin and Krysten Sinema (D-AZ), who might be persuaded to be more reliable Democratic votes if they have a bigger hand in the infrastructure bill. If this group does manage to hammer out a bipartisan infrastructure package, a vote on it could undercut McConnell’s ability to hold his caucus in opposition to the Democrats.

    The biggest sticking point in negotiations is that Democrats want to fund much of the American Jobs Act by increasing corporate taxes from the lows of the 2017 tax cuts (although not to the level they were before those cuts), while Republicans are adamant they will not sign on to any such increases.

    The Republican position took a hit this morning, when ProPublica published an investigation based on leaked tax documents. It revealed that America’s 25 richest people—some with more than $100 billion in wealth—pay remarkably little in federal income taxes…sometimes nothing. They can avoid taxes through various accounting methods, while ordinary Americans pay full fare.

    Also this morning, Biden tweeted: “I’m working hard to find common ground with Republicans when it comes to the American Jobs Plan, but I refuse to raise taxes on Americans making under $400,000 a year to pay for it. It’s long past time for the wealthy and corporations to pay their fair share.”

    _____________________________________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: 21,321
     June 9, 2021 (Wednesday)

    Today, President and Dr. Biden left for their first trip abroad since he took office. In the next eight days, President Biden will meet with U.S. allies in Europe before meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on June 16. “We’re going to make it clear that the United States is back,” Biden said. “And democracies of the world are standing together to tackle the toughest challenges and the issues that matter most to our future.”

    Biden is the most experienced president in foreign affairs since President George H. W. Bush and has longstanding relationships with a number of the leaders with whom he will meet. He has made it clear that he understands the global stakes of this current political moment. He intends to shore up democracies around the world as they face off with autocracies. Biden has announced that the U.S. will try to enforce international law and human rights not with military force but through sanctions and soft power, but that he is willing to work with other countries within those parameters.

    At a meeting of the G7, an informal organization of wealthy democracies including Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States, Biden is expected to announce that the U.S. will purchase 500 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine and donate them to other countries in a bid to help vaccinate the world against the coronavirus. Currently, wealthier countries are far more likely to have access to vaccines than poorer countries. In Africa, fewer than 2% of people have received any doses.

    In addition to the continuing coronavirus pandemic, the G7 is expected to focus on the climate change crisis and the rise of China as a world power. National Security adviser Jake Sullivan said the U.S. wants to be sure “that democracies and not anyone else, not China or other autocracies, are writing the rules for trade and technology for the 21st century."

    After reinforcing traditional U.S. alliances at the G7, Biden will meet on Monday with allies in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the military alliance formed in the wake of World War II and from which former president Trump threatened to withdraw. NATO allies were taken aback by Biden’s abrupt withdrawal from Afghanistan, and the Monday meeting will address that withdrawal, among other issues.

    But the visit is mainly a show of solidarity. "This summit will be a strong demonstration of trans-Atlantic unity, of Europe and North America standing together in NATO," said Secretary-General of NATO Jens Stoltenberg. "Because we are stronger, we are safer together in a more unpredictable world."

    Riding on a week of meetings that illustrate the strong ties between the U.S. and its traditional allies, Biden will confer with Putin. Biden has taken a stand against Russia’s cyberhacking and violations of human rights but has offered to negotiate on nuclear weapons as well as other areas of mutual interest.

    But he has been firm in his determination to hold Putin responsible for attacking our elections. In a speech to U.S. troops and their families when he arrived in England, Biden was greeted with loud applause when he said: "I'm meeting with Putin to let him know what I want him to know…. The United States will respond in a robust and meaningful way when the Russian government engages in harmful activities. That there are consequences for violating the sanctity of democracy."

    For his part, Putin today demonstrated his faith in autocracy when a Moscow court announced after a secret hearing that those who work with opposition leader Alexei Navalny to expose Russian government corruption in any of his three organizations are “extremists.” After being poisoned last summer, Navalry returned to Russia in January, only to be tried and sentenced to prison. Now, those continuing his work, donating to it, or sharing the anti-corruption videos that have made Navalny so popular face prison sentences. The ruling will help to quell opposition to Putin before Russia’s September elections.

    State Department spokesperson Ned Price condemned the move. “With this action, Russia has effectively criminalized one of the country’s few remaining independent political movements,” he said in a statement. “The Russian people, like all people, have the right to speak freely, form peaceful associations to common ends, exercise religious freedom, and have their voices heard through free and fair elections.”

    Biden is trying to reinforce democracy even while it is under threat at home. For the first time in our history, the office of the presidency did not change hands peacefully, and former president Trump continues to rally his supporters by insisting—falsely—that he won the 2020 election. Rather than reinforcing the rules of our democracy, the leaders of his party have chosen to throw their weight behind the former president.

    Biden’s message about the strength of the world’s democracies is a hopeful one, but it is not necessarily one on which European allies can rely.

    _____________________________________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: 21,321
     June 10, 2021 (Thursday)

    You might have noticed that I wrote through the weekend rather than posting a photo on Saturday, thinking that I was sort of banking time and I would take a break during the week. Well, today was my day. Lots of ongoing stories but nothing big. Went to dinner with my brother and sister-in-law (going to be their 40th this year!) and thought to call it an early night.

    You know where this is going, right?

    Came home and opened Twitter.

    Katie Benner, Nicholas Fandos, Michael S. Schmidt, and Adam Goldman of the New York Times broke a major story tonight:

    Under former president Trump, the Department of Justice secretly investigated key Democratic lawmakers.

    In February 2018, the House Intelligence Committee was investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election, and the president became obsessed with figuring out who was apparently leaking information to the press about contacts between his people and Russia.

    Under then–Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the Department of Justice subpoenaed from Apple the records of the communications of California Democrats Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the committee, and—we learned at about 11:00 tonight—Eric Swalwell, both of whom were key critics of Trump. The department also investigated members of their families, including one child. The government seized the records of at least a dozen people.

    “[G]ood God,” journalist Jennifer Rubin tweeted. “They were running a police state.” For the Department of Justice to subpoena records from congressional lawmakers is extraordinary. For it to investigate their families, as well, is mind boggling.

    Department officials did not find anything, and the investigations slowed down.

    Remember back in May 2019, when the Senate was interviewing William Barr, who replaced Sessions as attorney general, after his delayed release of the Mueller Report, and then-Senator Kamala Harris asked him if then-president Trump or anyone else in the White House had ever asked him to open an investigation into anyone? Barr danced around the question and then refused to answer it.

    It turns out that when Barr became attorney general in February 2019, he revived the languishing investigations, moving personnel around to ramp up the inquiry. Even after the Trump administration itself declassified some of the information that had been leaked, undercutting the argument for continuing an investigation, Barr insisted on keeping it going.  

    The Justice Department did not find that the Democrats they were investigating were connected with the leaks.

    The DOJ also subpoenaed the records of journalists from the Washington Post, the New York Times, and CNN to try to find leakers, a serious threat to freedom of the press.

    Meanwhile, of course, as journalist Chris Hayes pointed out on Twitter, at the same time the White House and its operatives at the Department of Justice were secretly subpoenaing the records of members of Congress, they were refusing to answer congressional subpoenas of White House personnel.

    In a statement tonight, Schiff said: “The politicization of the department and the attacks on the rule of law are among the most dangerous assaults on our democracy carried out by the former president.” On CNN, he said: “While I can’t go into who received these subpoenas … I can say that this was extraordinarily broad – people having nothing to do with the intelligence matters that are at least being reported on. It just shows what a broad fishing expedition it was.” Schiff has called for the department’s inspector general to “investigate this and other cases that suggest the weaponization of law enforcement by a corrupt president."

    Swalwell’s statement was less restrained: “Like many of the world’s most despicable dictators, former President Trump showed an utter disdain for our democracy and the rule of law.”

    While there are many layers to this story, it increases the political tension in the country. When Republican leaders tied themselves to Trump after he lost the 2020 election, they tied themselves to whatever came out about his actions. They have tried to explain away the January 6 insurrection and recently refused to investigate what happened on and around that day. Will they now say that it is okay for a president to use the Department of Justice secretly to investigate members of Congress who belong to the opposing party?

    _____________________________________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: 34,296
    Just when Heather thinks she's got the night off...  she's back at it.  A real trooper.  I hope people are reading.
    “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: 21,321
     June 11, 2021 (Friday)

    Letting Buddy take the wheel tonight, with a picture from a few days ago.

    See you tomorrow.

    [photo by Buddy Poland]

    _____________________________________SIGNATURE________________________________________________

    Not today Sir, Probably not tomorrow.............................................. bayfront arena st. pete '94
    you're finally here and I'm a mess................................................... nationwide arena columbus '10
    memories like fingerprints are slowly raising.................................... first niagara center buffalo '13
    another man ..... moved by sleight of hand...................................... joe louis arena detroit '14
  • mickeyratmickeyrat Posts: 21,321
     June 12, 2021 (Saturday)  Yesterday, David Ignatius had a piece in the Washington Post that uncovered the attempt of the Trump administration to reorder the Middle East along an axis anchored by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudia Arabia (more popularly known as MBS),  Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, and Jared Kushner of the U.S.  To make the deal, the leaders involved apparently wanted to muscle Jordan out of its role as the custodian of Muslim and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem, a role carved out in the 1994 peace treaty between Israel and Jordan that was hammered out under President Bill Clinton. The new dealmakers apparently wanted to scuttle the U.S.-backed accords and replace them with economic deals that would reorder the region.  This story has huge implications for the Middle East, for American government, for religion, for culture, and so on, but something else jumps out to me here: this story is a great illustration of the principles behind Critical Race Theory, which is currently tearing up the Fox News Channel. Together, the attempt to bypass Jordan and the obsession with Critical Race Theory seem to make a larger statement about the current sea change in the U.S. as people increasingly reject the individualist ideology of the Reagan era.  When Kushner set out to construct a Middle East peace plan, he famously told Aaron David Miller, who had negotiated peace agreements with other administrations, that he didn’t want to know about how things had worked in the past. “He said flat out, don’t talk to me about history,” Miller told Chris McGreal of The Guardian, “He said, I told the Israelis and the Palestinians not to talk to me about history too.”  Kushner apparently thought he could create a brand new Middle East with a brand new set of alliances that would begin with changing long standing geopolitics in Jerusalem, the city three major world religions consider holy. It is eye-popping to imagine what would have happened if we had torn up decades of agreements and tried to graft onto a troubled area an entirely new way of interacting, based not on treaties but on the interests of this new axis. Apparently, the hope was that throwing enough money at the region would have made the change palatable. But most experts think that weakening Jordan, long a key U.S. ally in the region, and removing its oversight of the holy sites, would have ushered in violence.  The heart of the American contribution to the idea of reworking the Middle East along a new axis with contracts, rather than treaties, seems to have been that enough will and enough money can create new realities.  The idea that will and money could create success was at the heart of the Reagan Revolution. Its adherents championed the idea that any individual could prosper in America, so long as the government stayed out of his (it was almost always his) business.  Critical Race Theory challenges this individualist ideology. CRT emerged in the late 1970s in legal scholarship written by people who recognized that legal protections for individuals did not, in fact, level the playing field in America. They noted that racial biases are embedded in our legal system. From that, other scholars noted that racial, ethnic, gender, class, and other biases are embedded in the other systems that make up our society.   Historians began to cover this ground long ago. Oklahoma historian Angie Debo established such biases in the construction of American law in her book, “And Still the Waters Run: The Betrayal of the Five Civilized Tribes” back in 1940. Since then, historians have explored the biases in our housing policies, policing, medical care, and so on, and there are very few who would suggest that our systems are truly neutral.   So why is Critical Race Theory such a flashpoint in today’s political world? Perhaps in part because it rejects the Republican insistence that an individual can create a prosperous life by will alone. It says that, no matter how talented someone might be, or how eager and dedicated, they cannot always contend against the societal forces stacked against them. It argues for the important weight of systems, established through time, rather than the idea that anyone can create a new reality.  It acknowledges the importance of history.
    _____________________________________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: 21,321
     June 13, 2021 (Sunday)

    President Joe Biden is currently in England, participating in a meeting of the G7, an informal group of wealthy democracies including Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States. Today, the participants issued a statement reinforcing their shared commitment to “democracy, freedom, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights to answer the biggest questions and overcome the greatest challenges.” They promised to value individuals and promote equality, especially gender equality.

    The document recognizes that the world is at a critical juncture for both humanity and the planet, and affirms that democracy, rather than autocracy, is best suited to tackle the crises at hand. To illustrate the ability of democracies to answer the world’s needs, the G7 focused on helping the world recover from the coronavirus. It pledged another billion doses of vaccine over the next year in addition to the billion already pledged—likely an attempt to rival the 260 million doses of vaccine China has sent to 95 countries—and it called for more investment across the globe to recover from the pandemic “so that no place or person, irrespective of age, ethnicity or gender is left behind.”

    The G7 leaders offered a visible show of solidarity, with leaders talking and laughing together. Its statement repeated U.S. President Joe Biden’s slogan that we will “build back better,” and it painted a world that addresses climate change, prevents the exploitation of labor, demands gender equality, and protects human rights.  

    Right now, these promises are hopeful statements more than realities, but the show of solidarity in defense of democracy is no small thing.

    Today, the New York Times broke yet more eye-popping news about the administration of former president Trump. In 2018, the Department of Justice subpoenaed Apple for information about White House counsel Don McGahn and his wife. This means that we now know that Trump’s people secretly investigated journalists, Democratic lawmakers and their families and staff… and the president’s own lawyer and his wife, apparently out of concerns about leaks.

    Today, Israel’s legislature, the Knesset, voted 60 to 59 to support a new coalition and oust right-wing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has been in power for 12 years and who is currently under indictment for bribery, fraud, and breach of trust. The session was heated, with people yelling and at least seven members escorted out. In Netanyahu’s final speech, he pledged to “topple this dangerous government and return to lead the country in our way.”

    In Peru, right-wing presidential candidate Keiko Fujimori is challenging her recent defeat in the presidential election, claiming election fraud, although international observers say the election was clean.

    Ahead of his meeting this week with President Biden, Russian President Vladimir Putin has reinforced his power, outlawing three organizations associated with opposition leader Alexei Navalny and putting troops on the Ukraine border.

    But Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who spent the past several years building ties to Putin, appears to be moving back toward his country’s longstanding NATO allies.

    There are lots of moving pieces in the world right now.

    _____________________________________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: 21,321
     June 14, 2021 (Monday)

    Today, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) told radio personality Hugh Hewitt that it is “highly unlikely” that he would permit President Biden to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court if the Republicans win control of the Senate in 2022.

    While it seems certain that, if returned to his leadership role in the Senate, McConnell would block any Biden nominee, the fact he said it right now suggests that he is hoping to keep evangelical voters firmly in the Republican camp. In 2016, after Justice Antonin Scalia died in February, McConnell refused even to hold hearings for President Obama’s nominee for the Supreme Court, Merrick Garland. McConnell’s justification for this unprecedented obstruction was that Obama’s March nomination was too close to an election—a rule he ignored four years later when he rushed through Amy Barrett’s appointment to the Court in late October when voting in the upcoming election was already underway—and yet the underlying reason for the 2016 delay was at least in part his recognition that hopes of pushing the Supreme Court to the right, especially on the issue of abortion, were likely to push evangelical voters to the polls.

    McConnell’s stance was at least in part directed to the changing nature of the judiciary under President Biden. Last week, the Senate confirmed the first Muslim American federal judge in U.S. history, a truly astonishing first since Muslims have been part of the U.S. since the earliest days of African enslavement in the early 1600s. By a vote of 81 to 16, the Senate confirmed Zahid Quraishi, the son of Pakistani immigrants and veteran of two tours of duty in Iraq, to the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.

    More to the point, perhaps, for McConnell, is that the Senate today confirmed Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Jackson takes the place of Merrick Garland, who is now the attorney general. This post is generally seen as a stepping stone to the Supreme Court. Biden has suggested he would appoint a Black woman to the Supreme Court, and Jackson is widely thought to be a top contender.

    Aside from its implications for the Supreme Court, McConnell’s stand makes a mockery of Senator Joe Manchin’s (D-WV) insistence on bipartisan support for legislation that protects voting rights. Manchin is demanding that bills protecting voting win bipartisan support because he says he fears that increasing partisanship will injure our democracy. McConnell’s flaunting of his manipulation of Senate rules to cement Republican control of our courts leaves Manchin twisting in the wind.

    States, too, are passing voter suppression legislation along strictly partisan lines. The Brennan Center for Justice keeps tabs on voting legislation. It writes that “Republicans introduced and drove virtually all of the bills that impose new voting restrictions, and the harshest new laws were passed with almost exclusively Republican votes and signed into law by Republican governors.”

    The Republican domination of the government over the past four years is on the table today as Democratic lawmakers try to get to the bottom of who authorized the FBI under former president Trump to spy on reporters, Democratic lawmakers and their families and staff members, and on White House Counsel Don McGahn and his wife. CNN chief congressional reporter Manu Raju tweeted that Adam Schiff (D-NY) who chairs the House Intelligence Committee, says after speaking with Garland that he still doesn’t know who started the investigation. “We discussed the need to really do a full scale review of what went on in the last four years, and make sure that steps are taken to re-establish the independence of the department,” he said.

    While Attorney General Merrick Garland has referred the issue to the inspector general of the Justice Department, the chair of the House Judiciary Committee, Jerry Nadler (D-NY), tonight announced the committee would open a formal investigation into the department’s secret seizure of data.  “It is…possible that these cases are merely our first glimpse into a coordinated effort by the Trump Administration to target President Trump’s political opposition,” the committee members said in a statement. “If so, we must learn the full extent of this gross abuse of power, root out the individuals responsible, and hold those individuals accountable for their actions.”

    In the midst of the uproar over the news that the Trump Department of Justice investigated Democratic lawmakers, the top national security official in the Justice Department, John Demers, a Trump appointee, has retired. Demers ran the department that had a say in each of the leak investigations.

    Meanwhile, in Brussels, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, organized as a military alliance after WWII, met today. The heads of state of the 30 participating countries issued a communique reaffirming “our unity, solidarity, and cohesion,” and reiterating that, in case of attack, each nation would come to the aid of another. The members reiterated their commitment to a rules-based international order.

    While the statement said NATO members remained open to a periodic, focused, and meaningful dialogue,” it singled out Russia as a threat and called for it to withdraw its forces from Ukraine, Georgia, and the Republic of Moldova. It condemned Russia’s “illegal and illegitimate annexation of Crimea.” It warned that NATO countries would, in certain circumstances, recognize a cyberattack as “amounting to an armed attack” and would treat it as such, rising to each other’s defense.

    The statement was less strident against China, noting its “growing influence and international policies can present challenges.”

    NATO leaders vowed to stand against terrorism and to continue to support Afghanistan despite the U.S. withdrawal. They reiterated that they did not want Iran to develop a nuclear weapon. In a reflection of the new era, the signatories’ statement called for addressing climate change. It also affirmed “the critical importance of women’s full, equal, and meaningful participation in all aspects of peace and stability, as well as the disproportionate impact that conflict has on women and girls, including conflict-related sexual violence.”

    Biden says he promises to prove "that democracy and that our Alliance can still prevail against the challenges of our time and deliver for the needs and the needs of our people." With this strong statement of NATO solidarity in hand, Biden will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday.

    _____________________________________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: 21,321
      June 15, 2021 (Tuesday)

    This morning, the Democrats on the House Oversight Committee released a series of emails and documents that show just how hard former president Trump worked to overturn the 2020 election and retain an illegal grip on power.

    On December 14, 2020, which was the day electors in each state certified the votes of the Electoral College, then-president Trump’s assistant wrote an email to then–Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen talking about alleged voter fraud in Michigan. The email was titled “From POTUS”—that is, from the President of the United States—and it included a long list of talking points to offer about why the votes should not be certified. That email had a number of documents that allegedly proved voter fraud.

    Minutes after that email went out, another Justice Department official, Richard Donoghue, sent the same documents to the U.S. Attorneys for the Eastern and Western Districts of Michigan. Forty minutes later, then-president Trump tweeted that Attorney General William Barr would be stepping down and would be replaced by Rosen. Donoghue would become Rosen’s deputy.

    On December 29, then-president Trump’s assistant emailed Rosen, Donoghue, and Acting Solicitor General Jeffrey Wall with a draft of a legal brief to file in the Supreme Court. It demanded that the court declare that the Electoral College votes of six states—ones that Trump lost—“cannot be counted” and asked the court to order a redo of the election in those states.

    From then on, Trump and his aides, including White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, repeatedly pressured officials at the Department of Justice to overturn the election results. Meadows forwarded information suggesting, among other things, that Italians changed U.S. votes through satellite technology and that Trump clearly won the election. Their complaints were so far-fetched that Rosen and Donoghue referred to them as “Pure insanity.”

    And yet, the Big Lie that Trump won the 2020 election continues to poison our country. On January 6, that lie led Trump’s supporters to try to stop the counting of the certified electoral votes by storming the Capitol and threatening the lawmakers there. Just hours after the insurrection, 147 Republicans voted to challenge the election results.

    And some of them remain firmly in the camp of the Big Lie, now downplaying the events of January 6. Today, 21 House Republicans voted against awarding the Congressional Gold Medal, Congress’s highest award, to all the law enforcement officers who protected the Capitol on January 6. The measure passed with 406 lawmakers of both parties voting in favor. Republican Adam Kinzinger of Illinois said to those voting no: “How you can vote no to this is beyond me.”

    But some have gone further in challenging the seriousness of the attack on the Capitol. Today at a hearing of the House Oversight Committee, a number of the Republicans spent their time expressing concern for the insurrectionists. Representative Glenn Grothman (R-WI) suggested that as many as 1000 of the people in the Capitol on January 6 were tourists who had wandered into the building inadvertently (the Capitol was closed to tourists because of the pandemic). Representative Paul Gosar (R-AZ) argued that the Capitol police officers were “lying in wait” for Ashli Babbitt, who was shot as she tried to break into a secure area. According to Gosar’s construction, Babbitt was “executed” by police. He demanded to know the name of the officer involved in the shooting.

    Today, Attorney General Merrick Garland released the nation’s first ever National Strategy for Countering Domestic Terrorism. It emphasized that the Department of Justice would seek to prevent violence, not protected expression, and would be evenhanded: “The definition of ‘domestic terrorism’ in our law makes no distinction based on political views—left, right, or center—and neither should we,” it said. The plan calls for streamlined information sharing among law enforcement officials, a focus on the transnational elements of domestic terrorism, an effort to reduce access to recruitment materials and weapons, and screening of government employees—including military and law enforcement—before hiring to make sure they do not harbor illegal and violent views.

    The new plan also takes a longer view, saying that conquering our long tradition of domestic terrorism will require tackling racism, gun violence, and mass murders. Ending domestic terrorism means paying better attention to mental health and creating “the type of civics education that promotes tolerance and respect for all and investing in policies and programs that foster civic engagement and inspire a shared commitment to American democracy.” And, the document continues, “it means ensuring that there is simply no governmental tolerance—and instead denunciation and rejection—of violence as an acceptable mode of seeking political or social change.”

    Also today, Senator John Barrasso of Wyoming, the third ranking Republican in the Senate, told a right-wing society that he wants to make President Biden “a one-half-term president” by retaking power in Congress in 2022 and blocking Biden’s agenda.

    The president is in Europe, of course, but his spokesperson Andrew Bates illustrated that the administration intends to move beyond the Trump loyalists. In a statement, Bates said: “The President looks forward to continuing to deliver for the American people, continuing to make government work for them again, and continuing to bring our country together—after having reduced cases of the worst public health crisis in over a century by more than 90%, signed historic economic legislation that helped fuel unprecedented job growth for any administration’s first 100 days in office, protected Americans’ health care, and restored our leadership and competitiveness in the world.”

    _____________________________________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
Sign In or Register to comment.