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“Late Term Abortion”

The Washington Post points out there is no precise medical or legal definition of “late-term,” and “many doctors and scientists avoid that language, calling it imprecise and misleading.”

The Daily Beast also notes that only 1.3 percent of abortions are performed after 21 weeks of gestation, and the idea that a woman can get an abortion moments before giving birth is “not how medical care works.”

The use of “dog whistles” aka “coded” labels has been common for many years but until recently has been out of the mainstream of conversation. The current administration aided by a neer do well Congress has brought these “coded” statements and words to common use. Along with this common usage the administration has trashed agreements put in place to prevent war and improve trade. Tariffs (taxes) put in place to offset the “tax” policy that was supposed to benefit everyday Americans and threats to bad actors who were in a state of containment with the approval of our now alienated allies. The administration has in a few years undermined our economy, foreign affairs and put us on an isolation footing all because of “dog whistles”.

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Opinion by Richard Galant, CNN  16 mins ago


On November 7, 1962, Richard Nixon met with reporters to concede that he had lost his bid for governor of California — and to grumble about the way the press covered his campaign. It was two years since he had lost his race for president against John F. Kennedy, and few thought Nixon would ever run for office again.

Donald Trump holding a gun: HOLLYWOOD, FLORIDA - SEPTEMBER 11: Former US President Donald Trump speaks after the fight between Evander Holyfield and Vitor Belfort during Evander Holyfield vs. Vitor Belfort presented by Triller at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino on September 11, 2021 in Hollywood, Florida. (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)© Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images HOLLYWOOD, FLORIDA – SEPTEMBER 11: Former US President Donald Trump speaks after the fight between Evander Holyfield and Vitor Belfort during Evander Holyfield vs. Vitor Belfort presented by Triller at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino on September 11, 2021 in Hollywood, Florida. (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)

“Just think how much you’re going to be missing,” the defeated Republican said. “You don’t have Nixon to kick around anymore, because gentlemen, this is my last press conference, and it will be one in which I have welcomed the opportunity to test wits with you.” It turned out to be far from the last press conference for Nixon, who won the presidency in 1968 and in 1972. But its petulant tone made political history.

a close up of a book© David Horsey/Tribune Content Agency

When Larry Elder conceded defeat this week in his bid to unseat California Governor Gavin Newsom, he sounded a different note than Nixon: “Let’s be gracious in defeat,” the talk show host said. Still, at least he and Nixon admitted they were beaten — something former President Donald Trump could never bring himself to do after the 2020 election.

a close up of a sign© Nick Anderson/Tribune Content Agency

Elder’s post-election concession clashed with his earlier embrace of Trump’s “big lie” strategy — the notion of massive election fraud which the former president has been promoting ever since he lost to Joe Biden. “The conservative ecosystem that backed Elder’s run didn’t seem to be simply looking for him to win, even though the uniquely arcane mechanisms of California’s recall politics made it briefly seem as if that might be possible,” wrote Jeff Yang.

“The true goal of Elder’s Republican backers appeared to be for him to at least lose by a margin that would allow them to contest the results in order to claim that Democrats had once again engaged in magical manipulation of ballots, voting machines or the brains of voters themselves, thus making the election seem null and void and expanding already widespread doubt and paranoia about the nature of our democracy.”

That corrosive approach to politics seems certain to survive Elder’s crushing defeat. “Republicans are no longer running against Democrats. They’re running against democracy,” Yang concluded.

Trump’s refusal to concede set the stage for the events of January 6 — a fact that apparently wasn’t lost on former President George W. Bush, who last weekend drew a parallel between the Capitol rioters and the 9/11 attackers. “The 9/11 terrorists and the January 6 attackers do share the same ‘foul spirit,'” Dean Obeidallah wrote, quoting Bush.

But Obeidallah added that “one glaring difference is that the al Qaeda attackers were incited and directed by Osama bin Laden, while the January 6 attackers were incited by an American president, Donald Trump. It was Trump who for the two months after the election radicalized people with a tsunami of lies, claiming that the election was ‘stolen.'”

California’s election results, with Newsom decisively quashing the recall, may have national implications for the 2022 midterms, wrote Lincoln Mitchell. “The recall was a referendum on Newsom, but indirectly on Biden and the Democrats as well. The numbers show that it wasn’t close and that Californians, including the White women whose support is so crucial to the GOP’s future in the state, were not buying whatever the GOP and Elder were selling,” Mitchell noted.

“Who knows what would happen if the GOP were at all interested in trying out good candidates with views that appeal to a wider range of voters, instead of merely identifying the Trumpiest candidate on the menu and letting them run riot,” asked SE Cupp. “But so far, in most cases, the GOP is not interested. It is, in fact, systematically purging those very people from its party. When it comes to 2024, the GOP doesn’t appear to be considering running anyone other than Trump. I wonder how long — and how many failed elections — it will take Republicans to realize that they are shrinking the voter base this way.

It may please the former president, Frida Ghitis observed, but it’s bad news for America: “The example set by Trump — disparaging, assaulting and undercutting a country’s democracy — has now become the template for political players with authoritarian leanings around the globe.”

Gen. Mark Milley’s calls

The continuing cascade of books on the Trump presidency brought forth new revelations this week — some gobsmacking, and others in the “shocking but not surprising” category. As Peter Bergen noted, “in the last few months of Donald Trump’s presidency, Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley made two phone calls to reassure his Chinese counterpart that the US was stable and not considering a military strike against China, according to a new book by reporters Bob Woodward and Robert Costa.” Republicans such as Sen. Marco Rubio were quick to accuse Milley of treason, but that charge is very wide of the mark, Bergen said.

“What Milley did was put his country above his commander-in-chief. Given the irrational rage that Trump was exhibiting after his election loss, Milley made the right call to reassure the Chinese about the stability of the US national security apparatus. But Milley’s actions could set a dangerous precedent and we should carefully consider how high-ranking military officers in future administrations might insert themselves into the chain of command under a different president.”

In the Washington Post, Josh Rogin wrote: “The legitimate criticism of Milley is not that he betrayed the country to China. Milley’s failing was that he believed, according to this and many other recent books, that it was his job to save the Republic from the president. Milley’s offense was not treason, it was hubris.

Milley was just doing his job, wrote retired Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling. “Given that the former president had already made worrisome comments about summarily pulling US forces out of various areas around the world, and given media reports of Trump’s earlier threats to attack other nations, Milley found it necessary to communicate directly with his counterparts overseas, with whom he had a professional relationship.”

“He was right to do so, because he was reacting to the realities on the ground. Straight talk with our allies and partners, lowering the temperature when tensions are rising, is critical to avoiding misunderstandings and perhaps deadly unintentional consequences.”

Melania Trump and Stephanie Grisham’s book

Politico reported that in Stephanie Grisham’s forthcoming book, the former White House press secretary contends that Melania Trump ducked opportunities to condemn the January 6 violence and to invite Jill Biden for the traditional tea provided by outgoing first ladies. (Melania Trump issued a statement condemning the book as untruthful and a “betrayal.”)

“Every word of Grisham’s forthcoming tell-all might be true,” wrote Jill Filipovic. “It might accurately paint Donald, Melania and many of their family members and staffers as among the most deplorable and morally hideous people to ever occupy the White House.

“But don’t forget: Grisham isn’t a light illuminating the Trump administration’s darkness. She is one of them, who pushed Trump’s vile messages and left America cracked and perhaps forever wrecked. …We can be glad the truth about Melania is being told. But we do not have to rehabilitate the reputation of someone who, like the Trumps, has never apologized, never tried to make amends and never been held fully accountable.”

To boost or not to boost?

The Delta variant may finally have peaked in the US, wrote Dr. Kent Sepkowitz. So is it time to declare victory over Covid-19?

“Of course not,” he argued. “The Covid-19 pandemic isn’t going to miraculously disappear…”

“As with the previous claims of victory based on a few weeks of improvement, celebrating any end of the pandemic surely is a mistake. We have new variants to worry about, immunity possibly waning in the elderly, the cruel recalcitrance of those refusing vaccination, the uneven global distribution of the vaccine and roughly 50 million children in the US who aren’t even eligible for vaccine yet.”

Scientists are debating the case for vaccine booster shots. In the Lancet, leading experts, including two scientists who are stepping down from the FDA’s Office of Vaccines Research and Review, said the “current evidence does not … appear to show a need for boosting in the general population, in which efficacy against severe disease remains high.” Other scientists, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, disagreed. On Friday, scientists advising the FDA recommended boosters of the Pfizer vaccine only for those 65 and older or people at high risk of developing a severe case of Covid-19.

Writing for CNN Opinion, William Haseltine, observed that, “for those in the US who received mRNA vaccines, a third dose is the minimum we should pursue for Covid-19 protection, and people should prepare themselves for the possibility that they will need additional doses or annual shots in the months and years to come. For those who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, there is not enough data so far to say with certainty whether a booster is advisable.”

It’s not that the vaccines don’t work well, Haseltine noted, but because “coronaviruses, like influenza viruses, are masters at evading the immune system … SARS-CoV-2 can turn off our body’s ability to mount an innate immune response which means, for protection, vaccine-induced neutralizing antibodies must be significant and powerful.

The school district that serves more than 600,000 students in Los Angeles is requiring vaccinations for in-person classes, as Dr. Smita Malhotra noted. As the district’s medical director, she wrote, “This bold decision by our school board is sound and backed by science. It is one that I hope will spark a trend across the country and the world that emboldens social responsibility. Our school board and superintendent understand that vaccinations will bring back in-person learning in the safest way possible, and more importantly, that it’s the right thing to do for communities and children, especially for those children, like my own, who are too young to receive a vaccine.”

For more:

Nicole HemmerThe tricky agenda behind vaccine resistance

Peggy DrexlerThe real issue with Nicki Minaj

‘Tax the rich’

Covid-19 canceled the Met Gala last year, but it roared back this week as fancifully-dressed celebrities once again dazzled social media at the benefit for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez “made her Met Gala debut in a long white off-shoulder mermaid gown, with ‘Tax The Rich’ scribed across the back in massive, flag-red letters,” wrote Holly Thomas. “It was explicit, as close as you could come to having a placard at the gala without literally bringing one.” It was also controversial. “Donald Trump Jr. led the charge, and Newsmax’s Benny Johnson and actor and comedian Michael Rapaport joined in to complain about the apparent hypocrisy of a politician who’s targeting the rich showing up to a $35,000-per-ticket event almost exclusively populated by the extremely wealthy and/or famous. They appeared unaware of the fact that, as Ocasio-Cortez pointed out on Instagram, New York City’s elected officials are regularly invited to the Met Gala for free,” Thomas noted.

“The general social media backlash also sidestepped the peculiarity in calling a politician who consistently calls for higher taxes on the rich, and is part of the progressive movement pushing a wealth equity agenda as the Democrats’ budget bill moves through Congress, a ‘hypocrite.’ By showing up at the Met showcasing that phrase, she did exactly what she always does when she’s in the spotlight and as a member of the House, hardly new to doing so surrounded by the uber-privileged.”

President Joe Biden is fully in accord with the “tax the rich” idea, but when his allies in the House unveiled their tax proposal this week, it signaled a partial retreat from the President’s agenda.

“Biden’s $400,000 cutoff (which rules out tax hikes on more than 95 percent of Americans) had limited funding options,” wrote Catherine Rampell in the Washington Post. “But Democrats have been reluctant to levy some of the tax hikes that Biden did ask for.

“Yes, Democrats plan to raise top rates on personal and corporate income taxes. That’s not nothing. But it’s not nearly sufficient to pay for the generous welfare state Democrats want to build. Paying for that would ultimately require levying higher taxes on the middle class, too, as other countries with more expansive safety nets do.”

Biden’s trouble

Biden’s declining approval ratings are alarming people on the left and cheering the right.

“For most people Joe Biden was not elected last November to get us out of Afghanistan,” wrote Arick Wierson and Bradley Honan. “His election was not a blank check to oversee a dramatic expansion of the federal government. … Biden’s mandate was to ensure that Trump would never, ever, occupy the White House again — and ideally leave the political stage for good.” But, they added, “through a series of self-inflicted wounds, miscalculations and gaffes, the Biden administration is ‘priming the pump’ for a Trump presidency, part deux.”

Scott Jennings observed that “when you are the president, you have two primary ways to move people to your point of view: inspiration or coercion. It was said that Biden would employ the former, but he has resorted to the latter via a series of executive mandates and scolding speeches as he seeks higher vaccination rates. Gone is the soaring rhetoric of Biden’s campaign, replaced with the kind of bile and disdain many Americans hated about ‘the former guy,’ as Biden would say.”

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Combined conservative salary for Congress is 94,161,000.00 annually. Taxpayers get little value from 535 talking heads whose sole objective is to stay in office until retirement while doing as little as possible and making idiotic statements and playing politics. Our task is to stop retaining them time after time. Many of us (voters) fail to realize that we can get rid of them anytime by voting for someone else. In these times we are too divided to see the power we have to achieve better representation. This divide is what the politicians want and need to continue their nefarious ways. You can be sure that when confronted these tongue waggers will almost never answer a direct question, their main defense is deflection with a smile. There are a few members who can and most of the time tell the truth or their truth but most follow party lines in order to remain in office with the support of the party. When we (voters) stop buying into the established Racial stereotypes and understand that we (the voters) have the power to get and demand proper government no matter the race, religion or gender is when we will begin to get the government we deserve and is insured by the constitution (which is only 4 pages long, amendments add 19 more pages) long a under read and understood document. The past four years of a wannabe dictator should be enough to unite us all to consider who we vote for and which group is really working for us no matter their errant ways.

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There is no denying the facts of the past 4 years and the “antics” of the former guy. What is incredible and still ongoing are the actions of the GOP in general and by extension less moderate members. The ongoing lawsuits over voting rights, abortion and specifically the reinstitution of the “wild west” in Texas are just a few of the recent news making issues. There are the denial of Covid masking mandates in spite of rising Covid infections and deaths. The attempts to gloss over January 6th (another day of infamy) by attacking the facts of live TV coverage seen by millions. The GOP is moving in a direction that at once appalls and shames their party yet not enough moderates are speaking out. Instead the radicals are all over the airwaves with wild and false statements. This reminiscent of actions and talking points that have occurred anytime the elites and politicians want to maintain “their status quo” on the backs of the poor and people of color. The latest volley (beginning 20 years ago) was the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan which cost the taxpayers Trillions of dollars but the Congress and the former guy gave tax breaks to the top 1% while explaining to the 99% that this was good for them! Taxpayers are in the grips of 535 sleight of hand artists whose sole purpose appears to be remaining in office for 20 years and retire comfortably. Of course there are some reasonable enactions that arise but too many others remain and affect us all

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September 6, 2021Heather Cox RichardsonSep 7This week, lawmakers will begin to construct the details of the $3.5 trillion infrastructure package they declared their intention to pass. On August 11, the Senate approved a budget resolution telling committees to hammer out the details of a bill that will deal with the “soft” infrastructure not covered in the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill that dealt with roads, bridges, broadband, and other “hard” infrastructure needs. The larger bill will focus on child care, education, elder care, health care, and climate change.If this measure passes, it will expand the ways in which the government addresses the needs of ordinary Americans. It updates the measures put in place during the New Deal of the 1930s, when Democrats under President Franklin Delano Roosevelt shored up nuclear families—usually white nuclear families—by providing unemployment insurance, disability coverage, aid to children, and old age insurance.After World War II, people of both parties accepted this new system, believing that it was the job of a modern government to level the economic playing field between ordinary men and those at the top of the economic ladder. Republican presidents Dwight Eisenhower and Richard Nixon expanded government action into civil rights and protection of the environment; Democrats Harry S. Truman, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Jimmy Carter expanded education initiatives, health care, anti-poverty programs, civil rights, and workers’ rights.But opponents insisted that such government action was “socialism.” In America, this word comes not from international socialism, in which the government owns the means of production, but rather from the earlier history of Reconstruction, when white opponents of Black voting insisted that the money to pay for programs like schools, which helped ordinary and poorer people, must come from those with wealth, and thus redistributed wealth. They demanded an end to the taxes that supported public programs.They elected Ronald Reagan president in 1980 to reject the post–World War II “liberal consensus” that used the government to level the economic playing field, focusing instead on cutting taxes to return power to individuals to make their own decisions about how to run their own economic lives. Over the past forty years, that ideology has cut the national safety net and moved economic power dramatically upward.True to that ideology, opponents of the $3.5 trillion infrastructure package are already calling it, as Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) said, a “freight train to socialism.” But more than 60% of Americans want to invest our money in our people, as lawmakers of both parties did from 1933 to 1981.Grover Norquist, a former spokesman for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce who rose to power by pushing the opposite idea, that economic development depended on consistent and complete tax cuts, told Michael Scherer of the Washington Post, “We are really on this precipice, this knife’s edge, and each party goes, ‘If I just push a little bit harder I can control politics for the next 20 years.’” The conservative activist added, “And it’s true.”But what Norquist didn’t spell out was that Democrats are trying to win control by protecting the ability of Americans to have a say in their government, while Republicans are trying to make their ideology the law of the land by skewing the mechanics of our democracy to permit a minority to rule over the majority.Scherer laid out what this skewing looks like. Since 1988—the year George H. W. Bush was elected—Democrats have won the popular vote in seven of nine presidential elections. And yet, Republicans have taken the White House through the Electoral College and have appointed 6 of the 9 justices now on the Supreme Court.The concentration of Republicans in rural states with smaller populations means that the Senate is also skewed toward the Republican Party. Public policy scholars Michael Ettlinger and Jordan Hensley crunched the numbers to show that today’s 50 Democratic senators represent 26% more people than Republican senators: 202 million compared to 160 million. They go on to say: “A Black American is 16% less represented in the Senate than an American on average; [a] Latinx American 32% less.”Ettlinger and Hensley note that, as the Senate has become less representative, Republican senators have relied on arcane rules to let a minority stop popular legislation. “In the current Senate,” they report, “41 Republican senators representing as few as 75 million people can block most legislation from even coming to a vote—thwarting the will of a group of Democratic and Republican senators representing as many as 270 million Americans.”In the House of Representatives, gerrymandering allows Republicans to hold more seats than their share of the popular vote. In 1996 and 2012, Republicans lost the national vote tally but controlled Congress nonetheless.The skew in state legislatures is also large. Scherer points out that the Michigan legislature, for example, has a Republican majority although Democrats have won a majority of the popular vote there for a decade. In North Carolina in 2018, Democrats won 51% of the popular vote but got only 45% of the seats.After the 2020 election, Republican-dominated legislatures in states where Democrats likely make up the majority—Georgia, Texas, and Florida, for example—have worked aggressively to restrict voting rights. More than a dozen states have enacted more than 30 new laws to suppress votes. Tonight, Texas governor Greg Abbott announced that tomorrow he will sign another major voter suppression measure in his state.Noting “how far the [Republican] party has fallen on fundamental matters of democracy,” the Washington Post editorial board today called on Democrats to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, which would restore and expand the Department of Justice’s protection of the right to vote, gutted by the Supreme Court in 2013 and 2021.The board continued: “They should merge it with other provisions designed to promote fairness at the ballot box, such as universal voter registration, protections for absentee voters, standards to guard against rampant gerrymandering and restrictions on partisan interference with vote counting. They should dare Republicans to vote down a package that unambiguously enhances democracy, with no extraneous measures. If Republicans continue to unify against it, they should consider ways to reform the filibuster rule blocking urgent democracy reform.”At stake is whether our government will work for ordinary Americans who make up the majority of our population—including in 2021 women and minorities as well as white men—or whether it will serve an entrenched minority.—-Notes:https://www.npr.org/2021/08/10/1026081880/senate-passes-bipartisan-infrastructure-billhttps://mettlinger.medium.com/the-2021-senate-is-exceedingly-unrepresentative-in-multiple-ways-899ceedf064ahttps://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/abortion-republican-victories/2021/09/04/c7a0b8da-0c23-11ec-a6dd-296ba7fb2dce_story.htmlhttps://www.nytimes.com/2021/09/06/us/politics/democrats-biden-social-safety-net.htmlMarc E. Elias
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US Capitol attack

Hugo Lowell in Washington

Mon 6 Sep 2021 02.00 EDT 

 

Top Republicans under scrutiny for their role in the events of 6 January have embarked on a campaign of threats and intimidation to thwart a Democratic-controlled congressional panel that is scrutinizing the Capitol attack and opening an expanded investigation into Donald Trump.

The chairman of the House select committee into the violent assault on the Capitol, Bennie Thompson, in recent days demanded an array of Trump executive branch records related to the insurrection, as members and counsel prepared to examine what Trump knew of efforts to stop the certification of Joe Biden’s election win.

House select committee investigators then asked a slew of technology companies to preserve the social media records of hundreds of people connected to the Capitol attack, including far-right House Republicans who sought to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

The select committee said that its investigators were merely “gathering facts, not alleging wrongdoing by any individual” as they pursued the records in what amounted to the most aggressive moves taken by the panel since it launched proceedings in July.

But the twin actions, which threatened to open a full accounting of Trump’s moves in the days and weeks before the joint session of Congress on 6 January, has unnerved top House Republicans, according to a source familiar with the matter.

The House minority leader, Kevin McCarthy, decried the select committee’s investigation as a partisan exercise and threatened to retaliate against any telecommunications company that complied with the records requests.

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“A Republican majority will not forget,” he warned, in remarks that seemed to imply some future threat against the sector.

The warning from the top Republican in the House amounted to a serious escalation as he seeks to undermine a forensic examination of the attack perpetrated by Trump supporters and domestic violent extremists that left five dead and nearly 140 injured.

But his remarks – which members on the select committee privately consider to be at best, harassment, and at worst, obstruction of justice – reflects McCarthy’s realization that he could himself be in the crosshairs of the committee, the source said.

Most of McCarthy’s efforts to undercut the inquiry to date, such as sinking the prospects of a 9/11-style commission to scrutinize the Capitol attack, have been aimed at shielding Trump and his party from what the select committee might uncover.

But deeply alarmed at the efforts by House select committee investigators to secure his personal communications records for the fraught moments leading up to and during the Capitol attack, McCarthy went on the offensive to pre-emptively protect himself, the source said.

McCarthy was among several House Republicans who desperately begged Trump to call off the rioters as they stormed the Capitol in his name, only to be rebuffed by Trump, who questioned why McCarthy wasn’t doing more to overturn the election.

Thompson previously told the Guardian in an interview that such conversations with Trump would be investigated by the select committee, raising the prospect that McCarthy could be forced to testify about what Trump appeared to be thinking and doing on 6 January.

The statement from McCarthy asserted, without citing any law, that it would be illegal for the technology companies to comply with the records requests – even though congressional investigators have obtained phone and communications records in the past.

The threat is unlikely to be viewed as a violation of federal witness tampering law, which, as part of a broader obstruction of justice statute, makes it a felony under some circumstances to try to dissuade or hinder cooperation with an official proceeding.

Congressman Jamie Raskin, a member of the select committee and the former lead impeachment manager in Trump’s second trial, said that he was appalled by McCarthy’s remarks, which he described as tantamount to obstruction of justice.

“He is leveling threats against people cooperating with a congressional investigation,” Raskin said. “Why would the minority leader of the House of Representatives not be interested in our ability to get all of the facts in relation to the January 6th attack?”

Meanwhile, other members on the select committee have also seized on McCarthy’s threat as a reminder that Republicans could not be trusted to engage in the inquiry in good faith, according to a source connected to the 6 January investigation.

It also underscored to them, the source said, the nervousness among top Republicans as the select committee ramps up its work, even though the inquiry is still in its early days and has yet to sift through thousands of pages of expected evidence.

Emboldened by McCarthy’s combative stance, Trump denounced the select committee as a “partisan sham”, while Republicans under scrutiny by the panel such as Marjorie Taylor Greene threatened any companies that complied with the records requests would be “shut down”.

The chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, Andy Biggs, is now also asking McCarthy to remove from the Republican conference Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger – the two vocal critics of Trump appointed to the select committee – whom he called “spies” for Democrats.

Biggs on Thursday suggested in a letter, first reported by CNN, that Cheney and Kinzinger should be ejected because they are involved in investigating Republicans over 6 January and the party should be able to strategize without having the pair present at conference meetings.

Still, McCarthy remains unable to shape an investigation likely to prove politically damaging to Trump and to Republicans at the ballot box at the midterms next year, a reality that has come largely as a result of his own strategic miscalculations.

The proposed 9/11-style commission into the Capitol attack had envisioned a panel with equal power between Democrats and Republicans, and McCarthy’s decision to boycott the select committee in a flash of anger inadvertently left Trump without any defenders.

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Rob Rogers Comic Strip for September 03, 2021
Stuart Carlson Comic Strip for September 03, 2021
Mike Luckovich Comic Strip for September 02, 2021
Chris Britt Comic Strip for September 03, 2021

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It is apparent the the GOP has continued to push for re civil war and 50’s and 60’s policies that benefit their agenda while keeping a foot on the necks of anyone of color and more directly now women and their health. These so called religious rightists have emerged and reemerged several times with the backing of political types whose sole objective is control of the government at any cost. MA
September 3, 2021Heather Cox RichardsonSep 4The new anti-abortion law in Texas is not just about abortion; it is about undermining civil rights decisions made by the Supreme Court during the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. The Supreme Court declined to stop a state law that violates a constitutional right.Since World War II, the Supreme Court has defended civil rights from state laws that threaten them. During the Great Depression, Democrats under President Franklin Delano Roosevelt began to use the government to regulate business, provide a basic social safety net—this is when we got Social Security—and promote infrastructure. But racist Democrats from the South balked at racial equality under this new government.After World War II, under Chief Justice Earl Warren, a Republican appointed by President Dwight Eisenhower, and Chief Justice Warren Burger, a Republican appointed by Richard Nixon, the Supreme Court set out to make all Americans equal before the law. They tried to end segregation through the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, decision prohibiting racial segregation in public schools. They protected the right of married couples to use contraception in 1965. They legalized interracial marriage in 1967. In 1973, with the Roe v. Wade decision, they tried to give women control over their own reproduction by legalizing abortion.They based their decisions on the due process and the equal protection clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment, passed by Congress in 1866 and ratified in 1868 in the wake of the Civil War. Congress developed this amendment after legislatures in former Confederate states passed “Black Codes” that severely limited the rights and protections for formerly enslaved people. Congress intended for the powers in the Fourteenth to enable the federal government to guarantee that African Americans had the same rights as white Americans, even in states whose legislatures intended to keep them in a form of quasi-slavery.Justices in the Warren and Burger courts argued that the Fourteenth Amendment required that the Bill of Rights apply to state governments as well as to the federal government. This is known as the “incorporation doctrine,” but the name matters less than the concept: states cannot abridge an individual’s rights, any more than the federal government can. This doctrine dramatically expanded civil rights.From the beginning, there was a backlash against the New Deal government by businessmen who objected to the idea of federal regulation and the bureaucracy it would require. As early as 1937, they were demanding an end to the active government and a return to the world of the 1920s, where businessmen could do as they wished, families and churches managed social welfare, and private interests profited from infrastructure projects. They gained little traction. The vast majority of Americans liked the new system.But the expansion of civil rights under the Warren Court was a whole new kettle of fish. Opponents of the new decisions insisted that the court was engaging in “judicial activism,” taking away from voters the right to make their own decisions about how society should work. That said that justices were “legislating from the bench.” They insisted that the Constitution is limited by the views of its framers and that the government can do nothing that is not explicitly written in that 1787 document.This is the foundation for today’s “originalists” on the court. They are trying to erase the era of legislation and legal decisions that constructed our modern nation. If the government is as limited as they say, it cannot regulate business. It cannot provide a social safety net or promote infrastructure, both things that cost tax dollars and, in the case of infrastructure, take lucrative opportunities from private businesses.It cannot protect the rights of minorities or women.Their doctrine would send authority for civil rights back to the states to wither or thrive as different legislatures see fit. But it has, in the past, run into the problem that Supreme Court precedent has led the court to overturn unconstitutional state laws that deprive people of their rights (although the recent conservative courts have chipped away at those precedents).The new Texas law gets around this problem with a trick. It does not put state officers in charge of enforcing it. Instead, it turns enforcement over to individual citizens. So, when opponents sued to stop the measure from going into effect, state officials argued that they could not be stopped from enforcing the law because they don’t enforce it in the first place. With this workaround, Texas lawmakers have, as Justice Stephen Breyer noted in his dissent, “delegate[d] to private individuals the power to prevent a woman from…[exercising]…a federal constitutional right.”Justice Sonia Sotomayor was more forceful, calling the measure “a flagrantly unconstitutional law engineered to prohibit women from exercising their constitutional rights and evade judicial scrutiny.” And yet, the Supreme Court permitted that state law to stand simply by refusing to do anything to stop it. As Sotomayor wrote in her dissent: “Last night, the Court silently acquiesced in a State’s enactment of a law that flouts nearly 50 years of federal precedents.”A state has undermined the power of the federal government to protect civil rights. It has given individuals who disagree with one particular right the power to take it away from their neighbors. But make no mistake: there is no reason that this mechanism couldn’t be used to undermine much of the civil rights legislation of the post–World War II years.On September 4, 1957, three years after the Brown v. Board of Education decision, a crowd of angry white people barred nine Black students from entering Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. The white protesters chanted: “Two, four, six, eight, we ain’t gonna integrate.”In 1957, Republican President Dwight Eisenhower used the federal government to protect the constitutional rights of the Little Rock Nine from the white vigilantes who wanted to keep them second-class citizens. In 2021, the Supreme Court has handed power back to the vigilantes.—-
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Botch McConnell is criticizing Biden for the withdrawal (it is chaotic) yet said nothing when TOTUS negotiated the release of 5 thousand Taliban from jail if they wouldn’t attack American soldiers but they went on full attack on the Afghan army who we were training. Disrupting that training and creating a group of under trained and sometimes illiterate defenders. How about commenting on that! It is remarkable how the GOP has botched the opportunity to do something really important but chose to follow a reality TV star who does not live in reality or perhaps in his own fabricated reality plus using his insanity to cover their political machinations which have allowed the myriad of voting restrictions and continued influence of Covid infections. The Bible (which I am reluctant to cite) states that Jesus fed 5000 with with 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish, but TOTUS released 5000 criminals based on the word of criminals not to attack the U.S and set the original date for withdrawal of our troops. Now the GOP and TOTUS (who has virtually no platform) are concerned about the millions or billions of dollars in hardware we are leaving in the hands of the Taliban which he essentially insured they would get when the Afghan Army and government collapsed. When you consider his residency (he never was President except in name) it was failed from the start as long he had willing accomplices in the Congress. Biden may have made a miscalculation in this withdrawal but at least he is honest and sincere (or as far as a politician can be)

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Salon

Chauncey DeVega  21 hrs ago


I had not seen my mother for two years, for reasons we all understand too well. Several weeks ago, I was finally able to journey home.

It was wonderful to see my mother again. Blessed are those who can experience unconditional love, even if for only a few days. As I sat in that old, crooked, comfortable lounge chair in the den I noticed all the friendly “ghosts,” those memories that populate a home.

I was sure I saw the ghosts of our two dogs who passed away almost 10 years ago. I am even more sure I heard one of them bark in the middle of night. He always protected my mother. I’m sure he still is.

A home also consists of the objects that accumulate there. As I always do when I come back home, I hunted through the closets. I found a picture of my father, then 19 or 20-years-old, wearing his World War II U.S. Army service uniform.  

His Colt M1911 service pistol rests in a box nearby along with some ammunition. My father rarely talked about the war. But if prompted he would humbly brag that he was lethal with that pistol, an “A-plus” as he would explain it. Once I asked him to watch “Saving Private Ryan” with me. A few minutes into the film he said, “I saw stuff like this in person” and that there was no purpose in him watching it on TV. My father stood up and walked out of the room. I didn’t bring up the war again. 

I am not sure if we have truly forgotten those things which we “find” in our childhood homes. It seems more likely that our minds “forget” so that we can have the joy of rediscovering those objects again.

After 40 years, my father’s employer “advised” him to “retire.” I told my father that he would be dead in a year from loneliness and boredom and that he should fight to keep his job. Better to die at work while feeling useful than lying in a hospital bed. Almost 80 at the time, my father was tired and convinced himself that “retirement” was a good thing. But I was right: He did not last a year after being forced out of his job.

One day, shortly after that “retirement”, my father was in the kitchen having an enthusiastic conversation with someone on the phone. I thought it was his best friend. I watched until he acknowledged me. “Who was that?” I asked. He said it was a telemarketer and told me they are nice people who have interesting things to say. I realized my father had become one of those older folks who are so lonely they make friends with the telemarketers. I walked into the den, sat down in that old lounge chair and went to sleep.

There are many such people who instead of being “nice” are selling pain, anger, misery, rage, hate and fear to the lonely among us. These voices also promise “solutions,” offering a life of meaning through feelings of community, loyalty and “patriotism”.

I receive dozens of email newsletters and updates every day from right-wing news sources, political action committees, interest groups, think tanks and other parts of the right-wing propaganda machine. I seek out these sources and always make sure to subscribe.

In my public warnings about the Age of Trump and America’s descent into fascism, I have often been far ahead of the hope-peddlers, stenographers and professional centrists of the mainstream news media. But I am no Cassandra or otherwise possess any preternatural gifts. I simply pay close attention to what the Jim Crow Republicans, Trumpists and other neofascists say and do — and I take them at their word.

As a black working-class person in America I do not have the privilege and luxury that many white folks do — especially those with money — of pretending that everything is going to magically be fine, that “the institutions are strong,” that the “norms” of democracy will hold, or that “we are a good people.” I know for certain that the Trumpists and other neofascists are not “exaggerating” or engaging in “hyperbole” in their threats to create a new American apartheid.

To deny reality and embrace such fictions is an example of a particular type of white freedom. On this James Baldwin wrote, “People who shut their eyes to reality simply invite their own destruction and anyone who insists on remaining in a state of innocence long after that innocence is dead turns himself into a monster.”  

What have I “learned” from reading right-wing propaganda emails and other missives in recent weeks and months?

I have learned Joe Biden should be impeached because he is a traitor and perhaps mentally incompetent. Biden and Kamala Harris hate America and are responsible for every “crisis” from Afghanistan to “the border” and the overall downfall of American society. “Critical race theory” is the equivalent of the Taliban. “Liberals,” Democrats and other “America-haters” should be dealt with by “patriots.” 

Donald Trump is perfect and a great leader. America is perfect and divine and should never be criticized.

Trump had a plan to defeat the Taliban, but Biden, the Democrats and the liberal media stabbed our military in the back.

Evil socialists are everywhere. They are plotting and scheming against America and our freedom.

I have also learned, of course, that Democrats and their allies stole the 2020 election from Donald Trump. Black Lives Matter and antifa are terrorists working to destroy the country. Trump’s followers who attacked the Capitol were originally said not to exist at all, but are now described as noble patriots being unjustly incarcerated as political prisoners.

There are also great schools I can enroll in online that will teach me the true history and facts of America and the Constitution from a patriotic perspective.

Through these emails I now know that there are Black conservatives who are not on the Democratic Party’s “plantation.” They love America and are smart enough to know that the Republican Party represents Abraham Lincoln while the Democrats are the party of the Ku Klux Klan and slavery.

COVID-19 is not really a danger to the country or the world — yet somehow Donald Trump also helped create vaccines to defeat the disease.

Donald Trump loves his followers and has issued membership cards that they should carry to prove their loyalty to him. Trump also needs true American patriots to give him their money to defend the country. 

In total, the right-wing echo chamber is a powerful reality-altering propaganda lying-machine for those who choose to live in it. It constitutes a lifeworld, existing in a state of epistemic closure where facts and reality are rejected in favor of lies and myths.

In this most recent iteration, the right-wing echo chamber is now TrumpWorld, revolving around its high priest and cult leader. Its doctrines include fascism, authoritarianism, white supremacy, Christian nationalism, ignorance, misogyny, a veneration of violence and other antisocial beliefs and values.

Liberals, progressives, Democrats and other rational thinkers must accept one crucial reality if they are to save America’s democracy (and themselves): Those who live in the right-wing echo chamber really do believe what they are being told. Those beliefs are now extensions of their core identities.

On the question of such society-wide collective madness, psychologist Erich Fromm warned in his 1955 book “The Sane Society”: “Just as there is a folie à deux there is a folie à millions — the fact that millions of people share the same mental pathology does not make these people sane.”

In a new essay for Mother Jones, Kevin Drum explores the extreme political polarization in America and the role played by Trump’s Republican Party and the right-wing hate media in creating it. He points first of all at Fox News:

And as anyone who’s watched Fox knows, its fundamental message is rage at what liberals are doing to our country. Over the years the specific message has changed with the times — from terrorism to open borders to Benghazi to Christian cake bakers to critical race theory — but it’s always about what liberal politicians are doing to cripple America, usually with a large dose of thinly veiled racism to give it emotional heft. …

Drum observes that the “Fox effect” is real, and that “rage toward Democrats means more votes for Republicans”:

As far back as 2007 researchers learned that the mere presence of Fox News on a cable system increased Republican vote share by nearly 1 percent. A more recent study estimates that a minuscule 150 seconds per week of watching Fox News can increase the Republican vote share. In a study of real-life impact, researchers found that this means the mere existence of Fox News on a cable system induced somewhere between 3 and 8 percent of non-Republicans to vote for the Republican Party in the 2000 presidential election.

The Fox pipeline is pretty simple. Fox News stokes a constant sense of outrage among its base of viewers, largely by highlighting narratives of white resentment and threats to Christianity. This in turn forces Republican politicians to follow suit. It’s a positive feedback loop that has no obvious braking system, and it’s already radicalized the conservative base so much that most Republicans literally believe that elections are being stolen and democracy is all but dead if they don’t take extreme action.

Drum observes that “this is not an exciting conclusion” and that it may sound “more interesting to go after something new, like social media or lunatic conspiracy theories.” But Fox News is the No. 1 perpetrator in stoking discord, division and far-right ideology. 

Tens of millions of Americans are now lost to the right-wing cult. As repeatedly shown throughout the Age of Trump and beyond many of those people are willing to kill or die for a man who in fact despises them. (That is only one of the important facts they do not understand, but a highly salient one.) In that way, Trumpism is a license for a particular type of white rage, directed toward nonwhite people in particular and the other more generally.

Trumpism and other forms of fascism are not abstractions of political theory and philosophy. In practice, they are a force that lives through, by and against actual human beings. As I navigate and document the right-wing echo chamber (and the larger political madhouse of which it is a part), I repeatedly return to the human costs.

In a 2018 interview with Salon, Jen Senko, director of the documentary “The Brainwashing of My Dad” discussed this with me in a conversation that merits extensive quotation. My comment is in bold. We discussed the fact that in Fox News programming, everything is presented as “breaking news” or some kind of “alert.”

This is exciting for older people and it can actually become addictive. Young people are watching Fox News too of course, but it really is targeted at older people. Just think about it. You are an older person, you don’t have that much of a social life and you’re at home. Fox News provides excitement. It provides a purpose. Fox News viewers are on a team. They feel special. There’s like an in-group. Fox News is also like a cult because it’s exclusive and the other side isn’t just wrong, they’re evil. That’s what they have going for them.

After making the documentary you have likely had many people reach out to you. They see their relatives acting like your father.

Every day I get emails from people who want to help their parents or grandparents and other relatives. It is really heartbreaking. People reach out to me after watching my documentary, because for them it was like watching their own family. Most people are relieved that they’re not alone. They tell me, “Now I understand why they’re so angry.” Now these people who have relatives addicted to Fox News know that they don’t have the problem, they are not crazy. It’s like when you’re sick and you have a diagnosis and it makes you feel better. The same applies here.

An acquaintance told me about how when Obama first got in office she went to her uncle and aunt’s house on Thanksgiving. She thought she could talk about the economy, because obviously Obama had just gotten in and he couldn’t have had anything to do with the state of the economy at that point. Her uncle got so mad. He said, “Don’t you talk about that man in my house. Get out!” She said, “No. I’m not leaving.” He goes upstairs, gets a pistol, comes down, points it at her. She’s scared to death. He lowers the gun and then shoots the floor.

Donald Trump’s followers are no longer content with shooting the floor. 

Law enforcement and other experts have warned that the United States is likely to experience a violent right-wing insurgency that could last for years. The FBI and Department of Homeland Security have warned that white supremacists are now a greater threat to the U.S. than Islamic terrorists.

There will be blood. There has already been much blood spilled.

American democracy is facing an existential threat, as seen on Jan. 6, in Trump’s extended coup attempt and in the nationwide campaign by Republicans and the larger white right to restrict the voting rights of Black and brown people. Almost none of this is happening in secret. It is announced and loudly promoted almost every second of every day across the right-wing propaganda echo chamber. You can look away, but you do so at your own peril.

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Unfortunately we have 535 plus serving legislators (save a few) whose sole objective is to stay in office until retirement while feathering their nest for post legislative life. There is some good (not great) work being done but not enough since it takes so much time to overcome objections and rewrites rather than coalesce and do what is correct for the voters and the country. It seems that doing the job is more trouble since the deep
pockets hold more sway than millions of voters who are affected by good and bad decisions. The real patriots?- not these 535!

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