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Category Archives: Dirty side of Politics


Heather Cox RichardsonAug 12

Since Monday’s search of former president Trump’s Mar-a-Lago property by the FBI, Trump, Trump supporters, and right-wing media have all been accusing the government of executing a political vendetta and speculating that FBI agents might have planted evidence on the property. 

This afternoon, Attorney General Merrick Garland gave a brief press conference in which he announced that the unjustified attacks on the Department of Justice (DOJ) have led it to file a motion to unseal the search warrant the FBI used and a redacted version of the receipt for the things removed from the premises. He also confirmed that copies of the warrant and the property receipt were left with Trump, as regulations require. Had Trump wanted to release them, he could have…and he still can, at any time.

Contrary to right-wing reports, Trump’s lawyer was at Mar-a-Lago during the search, which a federal court authorized after finding probable cause. Garland said that he personally approved the decision to seek a search warrant, and he also pointed out that the Department of Justice did not publicize the search; the former president did. Because of the public interest in the matter—and to clear up confusion over it—the department is asking a judge to unseal the documents.

Garland also defended FBI agents against attacks on them, saying, “The men and women of the FBI and the Justice Department are dedicated, patriotic public servants. Every day they protect the American people from violent crime, terrorism, and other threats to their safety while safeguarding our civil rights. They do so at great personal sacrifice and risk to themselves.” 

Garland explained the principle at stake. “Faithful adherence to the rule of law is the bedrock principle of the Justice Department and of our democracy. Upholding the rule of law means applying the law evenly, without fear or favor. Under my watch that is precisely what the Justice Department is doing. All Americans are entitled to the evenhanded application of the law, to due process of the law, and to the presumption of innocence.” 

He also reminded people that “the Department of Justice will speak through its court filings and its work.”

The DOJ motion to unseal the search warrant tells us a bit more. It was signed by U.S. Attorney Juan Gonzalez and by Jay Bratt, the chief of the department’s counterintelligence section. The motion also throws the ball into Trump’s court, saying “the former President should have an opportunity to respond to this Motion and lodge objections….” This boxes Trump in. He and his supporters have been demanding the documents be released, although  the DOJ cannot release them and Trump can. This motion means that the DOJ has made a strong case to get permission to release them…unless Trump objects. Essentially, the DOJ just called his bluff. 

At the New York Times, Katie Benner reported that already “Trump allies are discussing the possibility of challenging the Justice Department’s motion to unseal the Mar-a-Lago search warrant. They have contacted outside lawyers about helping them.” 

This should play out quickly: a judge this afternoon told the DOJ to discuss with Trump’s lawyer whether Trump objects to unsealing the documents and to let the judge know by 3:00 tomorrow afternoon. Tonight, Trump said he would not oppose the document’s release, but he didn’t release them himself, so we’ll see what tomorrow brings.

Another right-wing talking point about the search fell apart today as well. Fox News Channel personalities have argued that the Justice Department should simply have issued a subpoena for the material. “Get a subpoena, he will give it back,” Jesse Watters said. “It’s not like Trump won’t cooperate.” But in fact it turns out the DOJ did deliver a subpoena two months ago, and the former president did not comply.

For all the loud protests of Trump supporters over the search, other Republicans—even ones who were previously Team Trump—seem to be backing away. Today, Fox News Channel contributor and former White House press secretary for President George W. Bush Ari Fleischer tweeted: “One thing I can’t wrap my arms around: If Trump had classified documents, why didn’t he give them back? Maybe he thought they were declassified. Maybe he thought it was government overreach. But if, for whatever reason, you have a classified document at home, you give it back.” 

For his part, Trump tried to suggest his own retention of documents was not nearly as bad as that of former president Barack Obama, who, Trump alleged, took “33 Million pages of documents…to Chicago.” He is referring to the materials for the Obama presidential library, which have been moved from the National Archives and Records Administration with its permission and cooperation.

Tonight, Devlin Barrett, Josh Dawsey, Perry Stein, and Shane Harris at the Washington Post broke the story that the FBI agents at Mar-a-Lago were looking for documents relating to nuclear weapons, underscoring that the search was imperative. We don’t know any more than that, and heaven knows that’s bad enough. 

But what springs to mind for me is the plan pushed by Trump’s first national security advisor, Michael Flynn, Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, and fundraiser and campaign advisor Tom Barrack, to transfer nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia. In 2019, whistleblowers from the National Security Council worried that their efforts might have broken the law and that the effort to make the transfer was ongoing. The plan was to enable Saudi leaders to build nuclear power plants, a plan that would have yielded billions of dollars to the investors but would have allowed Saudi Arabia to build nuclear weapons.

Meanwhile, Zachary Cohen, Jamie Gangel, Sara Murray, and Pamela Brown of CNN report that the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol has interviewed the former secretary of transportation in the Trump administration, Elaine Chao, and is in discussions with former education secretary Betsy DeVos and former national security advisor Robert O’Brien. Former secretary of state Mike Pompeo met with the committee on Tuesday. At least nine Cabinet-level officials either have talked to the committee or are negotiating the terms of interviews. One of the topics has been the attempt to remove Trump through the 25th Amendment after the events of January 6. 

The lies about the FBI and the January 6th attack on the Capitol came together today and took a life. Ricky Walter Shiffer, who appears to have been at the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, shot into the FBI field office in Cincinnati with a nail gun this morning while brandishing an AR-15-style weapon. After the attack, he took refuge in a cornfield, where law enforcement officers killed him this afternoon.

Notes:

Kyle Cheney @kyledcheneyMORE: The motion to unseal was signed by U.S. Attorney Juan Gonzalez and Jay Bratt, chief of DOJ’s counterintelligence section. DOJ is also moving to unseal a “redacted Property Receipt listing items seized pursuant to the search.”August 11th 2022559 Retweets2,087 Likes

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/armed-man-shoots-fbi-cincinnati-building-nail-gun-flees-leading-inters-rcna42669

https://www.cnn.com/2022/08/11/politics/elaine-chao-trump-cabinet-january-6-25th-amendment/index.html

Ari Fleischer @AriFleischerOne thing I can’t wrap my arms around: If Trump had classified documents, why didn’t he give them back? Maybe he thought they were declassified. Maybe he thought it was government overreach. But if, for whatever reason, you have a classified document at home, you give it back.August 11th 20221,000 Retweets10,579 Likes

Chris Jansing @ChrisJansingThe suspect who attacked the FBI field office in Cincinnati has been killed by law enforcement, according to two officials familiar with the matter. His name is Ricky Walter Shiffer. He was at the Capitol on Jan. 6. @NBCNewsAugust 11th 20229,214 Retweets31,950 Likes

https://www.mediamatters.org/fox-news/fox-complained-feds-should-have-subpoenaed-trumps-documents-seeking-search-warrant-they

Charlie Savage @charlie_savageThe judge says he wants DOJ to give a copy of its motion to Trump’s lawyer and then to tell him by 3 p.m. tomorrow whether Trump objects to unsealing the docs. August 11th 2022399 Retweets1,317 Likes

https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2022/08/11/garland-trump-mar-a-lago/

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/congress/flynn-backed-plan-transfer-nuclear-tech-saudis-may-have-broken-n973021

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https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/5743767-House-Oversight-Whistleblowers-Saudi-Nuclear.html

Maggie Haberman @maggieNYTTrump not opposing warrant release August 12th 20221,007 Retweets3,583 Likes

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Opinion: The propaganda campaign to wreck Social Security is right on track

Last Updated: July 30, 2022 at 12:07 p.m. ETFirst Published: July 29, 2022 at 10:32 a.m. ET

By 

Brett Arends

The defeatism about America’s retirement plan is getting worse

Some 70% of adults now worry about Social Security running out of funding during their lifetimes, including not just 78% of Generation X but even 64% of baby boomers, who are already 57 or older.

And a third of adults fear they will not see “a dime” of the Social Security benefits they have earned, including 15% of non-retired boomers, 30% of Generation X, and 47% of millennials.

So reports the Nationwide Retirement Institute’s 2022 Social Security Survey, a poll of nearly 2,000 adults conducted by Harris Insights & Analytics.

And the defeatism about America’s retirement plan is getting worse (or, if you consider Social Security akin to communism and want to destroy it, better). The survey shows a big bump compared with last year in the number of people who expect to have to keep working in retirement because Social Security won’t be able to support them, and a big bump in the numbers planning to start claiming benefits early even while working. Some 42% now plan to file for benefits early, up from 36% just a year ago.

If you figure the system is about to go broke, you’d want to start claiming as soon as possible so you at least get something, right? Especially if you are genuinely worried you won’t see “a dime” of the benefits you’ve earned.

The propaganda scam against Social Security is proving to be a master class. It is and has always been a massively popular government program, right from when it was started. Politicians used to call Social Security the third rail of American politics: “Touch it and die.” So how do you persuade people to kill off a popular program? Simple: You persuade them it’s already dead!

Genius!

This is how people like senators Lindsey Graham and Mitt Romney can hold out the prospect of cutting back on Social Security benefits if their party wins the midterm elections and apparently nobody cares.

After all, it’s already dead, right?

(There is something especially ironic about being told that Social Security can’t be saved by a multi, multimillionaire senator who pays 14% tax, while people busing tables pay 15.3% FICA, plus whatever in income tax.)

Actually, this isn’t reality at all. Social Security is still on track to pay about 80% of expected benefits. And even this anticipated funding shortfall is purely political. It could be avoided by ending the cap on incomes subject to payroll taxes, taxing the gigantic sums of untaxed capital gains, or just investing Social Security in stocks like any normal pension plan.

Saving the program would interfere with the campaign to persuade people it’s already dead. And we can’t have that.

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July 29, 2022 Heather Cox Richardson Jul 30

Democrats continue to illustrate the difference between them and the Republicans in the lead-up to the 2022 midterms. Today, Americans continued to spit fury over the Republican senators’ destruction of the Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) bill, which would provide medical benefits for veterans exposed to burn pits and other toxins during their military service, after previously passing the measure.  That destruction has added to the growing list of unpopular positions Republicans are taking as Democrats are forcing votes on them. Republicans have voted against protecting the right to abortion, the right to use birth control, the right to cross state lines to obtain reproductive health care, and gay marriage, all of which are very popular. Today, the House of Representatives passed a measure to ban assault weapons. The vote was 217 to 213, mostly along party lines: two Republicans voted yes, and five Democrats voted no.. Since the horrific massacre of 19 schoolchildren and 2 of their teachers, along with the wounding of 17 others, at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, in May, support for a ban on assault-style weapons has climbed to 67%.  Also today, oil giants ExxonMobil and Chevron reported historic profits from the last three months. Exxon made $17.9 billion (not a typo) last quarter, up 273% from the same time last year, while Chevron made $11.6 billion. Exxon’s rate of income was $2,245.62 every second of every day for the past 92 days; Chevron made $1,462.11 per second. Together, BP, Chevron, ExxonMobil, Shell, and TotalEnergies are expected to announce $60 billion in profits for the past three months. They plan to spend much of the profit not on reinvesting in their businesses, but on stock buybacks, which drives up the price of the stock.  These record profits came at the same time that American consumers were staggering under high gas prices, which made up almost half of the increase in inflation of the past few months.    The record profits of oil companies made a perfect backdrop to early discussions of the Inflation Reduction Act advanced by Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV). If passed, that measure will be a sea change in the nation’s economic policy. Its $385 billion devoted to addressing climate change will be the nation’s largest ever investment in clean energy, and it will incentivize cutting carbon emissions, delivering 40% cuts by 2030, which is close to Biden’s stated goal.  The Inflation Reduction Act will also expand healthcare subsidies, lowering healthcare premiums, and will enable Medicare to negotiate the prices of certain drugs with pharmaceutical producers. It calls for a 15% corporate minimum tax, the closure of the carried interest loophole, and increased spending on the IRS so it can enforce tax laws. It leaves Trump’s 2017 tax cuts for corporations and the wealthiest individuals because Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) insisted they stay in place. But the measure would raise about $470 billion, about $300 billion of which would go toward reducing the federal deficit over the next decade. After decades of tax cuts that have helped wealth to concentrate among the very wealthy, this measure would set out to begin the process of restoring fairness in our revenue system.   Another gulf between Republicans and Democrats is their approach to the events of January 6, 2021. Tonight Maria Sacchetti and Carol D. Leonnig of the Washington Post reported that the inspector general for the Department of Homeland Security, Joseph V. Cuffari, who was appointed by Trump, knew last December that the texts between Secret Service agents had been deleted. Not only did he neglect to tell Congress that those messages were missing, but also when his investigative team set out to recover the messages, he told them not to. Moreover, he neglected to tell Congress that the text messages from the acting homeland security secretary, Chad Wolf, and acting deputy secretary, Ken Cuccinelli, from that same period were also missing. Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL), who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, today said in a statement: “The destruction of evidence that could be relevant to the investigation of the deadly attack on our Capitol is an extremely serious matter.  Inspector General Cuffari’s failure to take immediate action upon learning that these text messages had been deleted makes clear that he should no longer be entrusted with this investigation.” Durbin says he has asked Attorney General Merrick Garland to get to the bottom of what happened to the missing messages and hold those responsible accountable. Finally, today, the Department of Justice unsealed an indictment against Aleksandr Viktorovich Ionov of Moscow, who, along with at least three other Russian officials, it says “engaged in a years-long foreign malign influence campaign targeting the United States.” Allegedly, Ionov recruited political groups in the U.S. and, with the supervision of the Russian government, illegally used their members to “sow division and spread misinformation inside the United States.” The targeted groups were located in Florida, Georgia, and California, and Ionov allegedly worked closely with them, directing and controlling their leaders, who appear to have been aware of his connection to the Russian government, since at least December 2014. FBI special agent in charge David Walker today told reporters that Ionov’s actions were “some of the most egregious and blatant violations that we’ve seen by the Russian government in order to destabilize and undermine trust in American democracy…. The Russian intelligence threat is continuing and unrelenting.” “This indictment is just the first of our responses, but it will not be the last,” Walker said, and before the day was over, the U.S. State Department had placed sanctions on two people and four entities that work with the Russian government to influence other countries and interfere in their elections. These sanctions are separate from those related to the sanctions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.  “The Russian Federation has demonstrated determination in its attempts to undermine the democratic processes and institutions essential to the functioning of our democracy and that of other countries. It is crucial for our democracy, and democracies around the globe, to hold free and fair elections without malign outside interference,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.  The new sanctions come a day after the State Department offered a reward of up to $10 million for information on the Internet Research Agency, a troll farm linked to Yevgeniy Prigozhin, an ally of Russian president Vladimir Putin, and other Russian entities and individuals “for their engagement in U.S. election interference.” The Internet Research Agency, the State Department spokesperson said, “is a Russian entity engaged in political and electoral interference operations. Beginning as early as 2014, IRA began operations to interfere with the U.S. political system, including the 2016 U.S. presidential election, with a strategic goal to sow discord.” The reward offer “is part of [the] United States Government’s wider efforts to ensure the security and integrity of our elections and protect against foreign interference in our elections.”  “The United States will continue to act to deter and disrupt these efforts [in order] to safeguard our democracy, as well as help protect the democracies of our allies and partners,” Blinken said. — Notes: Cory Titus @corytitus For those following the SFC Heath Robinson Honoring Our PACT Act, the comprehensive toxic exposure bill for our veterans, A LOT happened in the past few days. I want to take a minute to break down what happened and why. Here’s a deep dive thread on #PACTAct July 29th 2022 577 Retweets1,284 Likes   https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/russian-national-charged-conspiring-have-us-citizens-act-illegal-agents-russian-government https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2022/07/29/russia-influence-ionov-florida-uhuru/ https://www.state.gov/targeting-russias-global-malign-influence-operations-and-election-interference-activities/ https://www.state.gov/rewards-for-justice-reward-offer-for-information-on-russian-interference-in-u-s-elections/ https://www.cnn.com/2022/07/29/energy/exxonmobil-chevron-earnings/index.html https://www.cnn.com/2022/07/29/politics/us-russia-sanctions/index.html https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2022/07/29/statement-from-president-biden-on-house-passage-of-assault-weapons-ban/ https://www.npr.org/2022/07/29/1114417097/veterans-burn-pit-bill-republican-senators https://www.waaytv.com/news/new-polling-on-guns-shows-majority-of-americans-support-bans-on-assault-style-weapons/article_45dec676-ddff-11ec-9496-a30ac6a6d0af.html https://www.politico.com/newsletters/playbook/2022/05/26/new-poll-shows-huge-support-for-gun-restrictions-00035349 https://www.nytimes.com/2022/07/29/business/oil-company-buybacks.html https://www.businessinsider.com/why-is-inflation-high-causes-gas-price-outlook-forecast-2022-7 https://www.washingtonpost.com/us-policy/2022/07/28/manchin-schumer-climate-deal/ https://www.judiciary.senate.gov/press/dem/releases/durbin-calls-for-justice-department-to-investigate-missing-text-messages-from-trumps-homeland-security-leadership-and-secret-service-in-lead-up-to-january-6-insurrection https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2022/07/29/homeland-inspector-general-texts/

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Opinion by John Kenneth White, Opinion Contributor – 2h ago

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At the conclusion of the Jan. 6 select committee’s summer hearings, Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) admonished his fellow Republicans supporting former President Trump, saying, “Oaths matter more than party tribalism or the cheap thrill of scoring political points.”

© Provided by The HillMitch McConnell’s historic miscalculation

But one Republican who repeatedly ignored that message during the Trump years is Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). After opposing Trump’s conviction following his impeachment by the House in 2021, McConnell took to the Senate floor and attempted to cast aside his not guilty vote by excoriating Trump: “Jan. 6 was a disgrace. American citizens attacked their own government. They used terrorism to try to stop a specific piece of domestic business they did not like. … There is no question, none, that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day.”

McConnell’s words were just that — words. Instead of convicting Trump, which would have forever disqualified him from holding “any Office of honor, Trust, or Profit under the United States,” McConnell let Trump off on a technicality that a former president could not be impeached and convicted. McConnell also gave Trump other off-ramps, including lobbying against a bipartisan commission to investigate the Capitol riot.

Today, McConnell says of the Jan. 6 hearings, “It will be interesting to reveal all the participants that are involved,” but then immediately changes the subject to other issues he wants to discuss — inflation, crime, immigration and the southern border.

After Jan. 6, an “exhilarated” McConnell concluded that Trump was a spent force who had “totally discredited himself.” This was an error of historic proportions. Today, Trump is the country’s most powerful Republican and the odds-on favorite to be the party’s 2024 presidential nominee. Trump’s imprimatur is a powerhouse in Republican contests. His successes include a Trump acolyte winning the Republican gubernatorial nomination in Maryland over a candidate backed by Trump’s Republican nemesis, Gov. Larry Hogan; Rep. Liz Cheney’s (R-Wyo.) likely defeat at the hands of a Trump-endorsed candidate; and winning Senate nominations for Herschel Walker, J.D. Vance and Mehmet Oz. Sixty percent of Republicans want their party to follow Trump’s leadership, and 55 percent of Republicans have an unfavorable opinion of McConnell — thanks, in part, to Trump’s calling him a “disloyal sleazebag” and an “old, broken down crow.”

Mitch McConnell’s sole focus is power — how to seize it and use it for partisan ends. After the Republican Party’s 2010 landslide victories, McConnell announced that his top priority was to make Barack Obama a one-term president. When a Supreme Court seat became available in February 2016 after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, McConnell kept it in abeyance for a year so Trump could name his successor. And when Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died in September 2020, McConnell rushed the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett, giving conservatives a 6-3 supermajority.

While McConnell would like to be remembered for transforming the federal judiciary, his enduring legacy will be the damage he has done to the institutions of government. For example, public approval of the court has fallen to 38 percent. By contrast, the court’s approval numbers in September 2020, just before McConnell’s Supreme Court packing, stood at a healthy 66 percent.

We have learned that Donald Trump’s dereliction of duty and support for overturning the 2020 presidential election represents the worst betrayal of a president’s constitutional oath since James Buchanan allowed the southern states to secede in 1861. Instead of defending Congress’s institutional prerogatives, McConnell put partisanship above country while cynically hoping that Trump’s actions on Jan. 6, 2021, would ensure his fall from grace.

Instead, Trump’s unprecedented dominance of the Republican Party makes it an ongoing danger to our constitutional republic. As Liz Cheney told a captive audience at the Reagan Library, “We are confronting a domestic threat that we have never faced before. And that is a former president who is threatening to unravel the foundations of our constitutional republic. And he is aided by Republican leaders and elected officials who made themselves willing hostages to this dangerous and irrational man.”

When the history books are written, Donald Trump is likely to hover somewhere in James Buchanan territory. And unlike past Republican senatorial giants, including Arthur Vandenberg (R-Mich.), who helped Harry Truman win the Cold War; Everett Dirksen (R-Ill.), who played a vital role in passing the civil rights legislation of the 1960s; Howard Baker (R-Tenn.), whose incisive Watergate questioning — “What did the president know and when did he know it?” — helped end the Nixon presidency; and Bob Dole (R-Kan.), who was instrumental in passing the Americans with Disabilities Act and food stamp school lunch programs, Mitch McConnell will be remembered as the man who helped destroy the Senate. When McConnell decided in 2021 to absolve Trump, he should have heeded Niccolo Machiavelli’s purported advice, “If you’re going to shoot the king, don’t miss.”

John Kenneth White is a professor of politics at The Catholic University of America. His latest book, co-authored with Matthew Kerbel, is “American Political Parties: Why They Formed, How They Function, and Where They’re Headed.”

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Heather Cox RichardsonJul 21

Today, documents released by the House Oversight and Reform Committee confirmed that the Trump administration’s attempt to include a citizenship question on the 2020 census was a strategy to skew population data to benefit Republicans. Trump had refused to turn over the documents, but the Biden administration agreed to allow the House committee to see them.

U.S. censuses, which are required every 10 years under our Constitution, have always counted “persons,” and both voting and public monies are proportioned according to those numbers. Under Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, the Trump administration wanted to include a question about citizenship, and administration officials first suggested that they would count citizens, rather than legal residents and undocumented immigrants, for purposes of representation, and then said they needed citizenship information to enforce the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Opponents claimed the proposed new question was designed to scare immigrants, who tend to vote Democratic, away from being counted, which would have shifted representation and government monies toward Republicans.

A district court said Secretary Ross’s action was “arbitrary and capricious, based on a pretextual rationale, and violated certain provisions of the Census Act,” and the Supreme Court added that the administration’s claim to need citizenship information to enforce the 1965 Voting Rights Act was “contrived.” It blocked the administration from including that question on the census.

Now, we have documents showing that Ross and other Trump administration officials actively sought to exclude undocumented immigrants from the census in the hope that their erasure would also make legal immigrants avoid being counted, and thus cut representation for and funding to Democratic districts. One handwritten note suggests using the Voting Rights Act as cover.

This is a stark example of the dangers of turning our government over to an authoritarian leader who will use our fundamental governmental systems to draw power to himself. This census question had the potential to affect our governmental system profoundly. Even without the census question, the U.S. Census Bureau in March 2022 said a quality check revealed that Black Americans, Indigenous Americans, and Hispanic or Latino Americans were undercounted in 2020, while white inhabitants and Asian inhabitants were overcounted.

This is just the latest example of Trump and his allies trying to use our government to cement their power, among others that reached from Trump’s attempt to weaponize funds approved by Congress for Ukraine to fight off Russian incursions so as to damage likely Democratic opponent Joe Biden, to the January 6 attempt to stop Biden’s certification as president-elect.

These attempts appear to have reached deep into the Secret Service as well, and today we learned that the Department of Homeland Security itself might have played along. Carol D. Leonnig and Maria Sacchetti of the Washington Post today reported that whistleblowers have revealed that DHS inspector general Joseph Cuffari, a Trump appointee, learned in February that nearly all text messages from around the time of the January 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol had been deleted from Secret Service agents’ cell phones but elected to keep that information from Congress. The inspector general’s office also declined to tell Congress that the Secret Service was refusing to turn over records from that period.

And yet, for all the efforts of officials in the Trump administration to seize power by compromising our national systems, a Trump-era White House aide who testified before the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol claimed that it is he and his colleagues who are victims of a strong state. In a webcast after his testimony, Garrett Ziegler, an aide to trade advisor Peter Navarro who appears to have been the person who admitted Trump allies to the White House for the shocking meeting of December 18 where they discussed martial law, continued to claim that the 2020 election was stolen.

As for the January 6 committee: “They’re Bolsheviks,” he said, in an echo of Republican rhetoric calling all opponents communists, “so, they probably do hate the American Founders and most White people in general. This is a Bolshevistic anti-White campaign. If you can’t see that, your eyes are freaking closed. And so, they see me as a young Christian who they can try to basically scare, right?” He attacked the women who have cooperated with the committee with offensive language.

Meanwhile, the January 6 committee continues to bear down on the Trump administration. Amy Gardner, Josh Dawsey, and Paul Kane of the Washington Post reported tonight that at tomorrow night’s public hearing, the committee is planning to show outtakes from Trump’s reluctant video of January 7, when there was talk of removing him from office.

While the struggle between the Trump team and those trying to bring them to justice continues, President Biden is trying to move the country forward to address the existential crisis of climate change. Europe is suffering under a terrible heat wave; Britain has declared a climate emergency and, with airstrips softened by extreme heat, grounded the Royal Air Force; and 100 million Americans are under emergency heat warnings.

On Monday, the secretary-general of the United Nations, António Guterres, warned world leaders gathered at the Petersberg Climate Dialogue in Berlin, where they are gathered to advance multilateral climate negotiations: “Half of humanity is in the danger zone from floods, droughts, extreme storms and wildfires. No nation is immune. Yet we continue to feed our fossil fuel addiction…. What troubles me most is that, in facing this global crisis, we are failing to work together as a multilateral community. Nations continue to play the blame game instead of taking responsibility for our collective future. We cannot continue this way,” he said. “We have a choice. Collective action or collective suicide. It is in our hands.”

In the U.S., the recent West Virginia v. EPA decision of the Supreme Court, weakening the ability of the government to shift the country toward clean energy by regulating carbon dioxide emissions, has limited the government’s ability to address climate change. So, too, has the insistence of Republican senators, as well as Democratic senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, that short-term economic interests outweigh the imperatives of climate change. Days ago, Manchin said he would not support new investment in clean energy out of concern over inflation. Without him, the Democrats’ plans for addressing climate change through legislation can’t move forward, since no Republicans are on board.

So President Biden is working around them. Today, he traveled to Somerset, Massachusetts, to reiterate that climate change is an emergency and to illustrate that combating it offers us a new, innovative economy. As National Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy explained to reporters, until 2017, Somerset was the site of one of the biggest and oldest coal-fired power plants in New England. Now that plant will be making cable to anchor offshore wind turbines.

Hoping to bring that innovation to the nation more widely, Biden noted that extreme weather events—wildfires, droughts, hurricanes, and floods—cost the U.S. $145 billion last year alone. They damage our economy and our national security. “As President, I have a responsibility to act with urgency and resolve when our nation faces clear and present danger,” he said today. “And that’s what climate change is about. It is literally, not figuratively, a clear and present danger.”

Biden is planning to invest more than $2 billion from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and $385 million from the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program to help people cool their homes. In early June, Biden used the Defense Production Act to speed up the domestic manufacture of solar equipment. The bipartisan infrastructure law has added $3.1 billion to the mix to weatherize homes and make them more energy efficient, and the American Rescue Plan provided $16 billion to clean up methane leaking from capped oil wells, abandoned when they stopped making money.

Biden vowed that addressing the climate crisis would provide good manufacturing jobs, repair supply chains, and clean up the environment. He promised to use the power of the presidency to do what Congress currently is not. “[I]n the coming weeks, I’m going to use the power I have as President to turn these words into formal, official government actions through the appropriate proclamations, executive orders, and regulatory power that a President possesses,” he said.

“[W]hen it comes to fighting…climate change, I will not take no for an answer. I will do everything in my power to clean our air and water, protect our people’s health, to win the clean energy future,” he said. “We have an opportunity here.”

Notes:

https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2022/06/06/fact-sheet-president-biden-takes-bold-executive-action-to-spur-domestic-clean-energy-manufacturing/

https://www.cnn.com/2022/07/18/politics/us-climate-change-inaction-what-matters/index.html

https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/2022/07/18/climate-change-manchin-math/

https://www.npr.org/2019/08/14/749930756/do-trump-officials-plan-to-break-centuries-of-precedent-in-divvying-up-congress

​​https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/18pdf/18-966_bq7c.pdf

https://www.npr.org/2022/07/20/1044944618/census-citzenship-question-history-oversight-committee

https://www.npr.org/2022/05/19/1099810793/census-undercount-by-state-arkansas-florida-illinois-mississippi-tennessee-texas

https://www.npr.org/2022/03/10/1083732104/2020-census-accuracy-undercount-overcount-data-quality

https://www.cnn.com/2022/07/20/politics/garrett-ziegler-rant/index.html

https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2022/07/20/secret-service-national-archives/

https://www.cnbc.com/2022/07/18/guterres-warns-against-climate-suicide-as-heat-wave-grips-europe.html

https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/press-briefings/2022/07/20/press-gaggle-by-press-secretary-karine-jean-pierre-and-national-climate-advisor-gina-mccarthy-en-route-somerset-ma/

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-drilling-abandoned-specialreport/special-report-millions-of-abandoned-oil-wells-are-leaking-methane-a-climate-menace-idUSKBN23N1NL

https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/speeches-remarks/2022/07/20/remarks-by-president-biden-on-actions-to-tackle-the-climate-crisis/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2022/07/20/even-day-after-jan-6-trump-balked-condemning-violence/

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It is apparent that The GOP will stick together at the cost of Democracy. This is all about power pure and simple. If the GOP gains control of the House and Senate we will have real problems, look at the most vocal members who ignore the desires of the voters. A better government begins with the voters (us). MA

Jackie Kucinich

Sat, May 28, 2022, 10:21 PM

Tom Williams/Getty
Tom Williams/Getty

The mass murder of 19 children and two of their teachers in Texas last week prompted Senator Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to say he’s hopeful Senators can find “a bipartisan solution” to the problem. But if that sort of response sounds familiar—and not particularly inspiring—that’s because he’s said it before, only to close the door later.

McConnell told CNN that he “encouraged” Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) to engage with Democrats Sens. Chris Murphy (CT) and Sen. Krysten Sinema (AZ) about potential areas of agreement on new gun laws.

“I am hopeful that we could come up with a bipartisan solution,” he said.

While it is notable that McConnell signaled his willingness to talk about changes to laws that regulate gun ownership in the United States, in McConnell’s case, it’s only a small step above immediately dismissing action on guns.

Texas Cops Labeled ‘Great Actors’ by Furious Uvalde Families

Time and again, McConnell’s “hope” for a bipartisan solution has simply prolonged the inevitable: inaction.

In June 2016, after a man with a gun murdered 49 people at the Pulse Night Club in Orlando, McConnell told reporters “nobody wants terrorists to have firearms.”

“We’re open to serious suggestions from the experts as to what we might be able to do to be helpful,” he said.

But when a bill that would have given the Department of Justice the ability to “deny the transfer of firearms or the issuance of firearms and explosives licenses to known or suspected dangerous terrorists” was put for a vote, it failed along party lines with the exception of one vote. McConnell was one of the 53 Republican senators who voted no.

In August 2019, after mass shootings within 24 hours at a Walmart in El Paso and a nightclub in Dayton, then-President Donald Trump expressed support for “really common-sense, sensible, important background checks.”

“Today, the president called on Congress to work in a bipartisan, bicameral way to address the recent mass murders which have shaken our nation,” McConnell said in a statement on Aug. 5. “Senate Republicans are prepared to do our part.”

Shooter’s Classmate: ‘We Saw Him Beating a Little Dog’

“Only serious, bipartisan, bicameral efforts will enable us to continue this important work and produce further legislation that can pass the Senate, pass the House, and earn the president’s signature,” he said. “Partisan theatrics and campaign-trail rhetoric will only take us farther away from the progress all Americans deserve.”

“What we can’t do is fail to pass something,” McConnell said during an interview on WHAS radio a few days later. “The urgency of this is not lost on any of us.”

Even Trump bought into McConnell’s words.

“I am convinced that Mitch wants to do something,” Trump told reporters on Aug. 13, 2019.

But a month later, as Trump’s passion for the issue faded, McConnell changed course.

“My members know the very simple fact that to make a law you have to have a presidential signature,” he told reporters on Sept. 10.

No vote was ever taken.

McConnell’s office declined to comment for this report.

McConnell’s habit of deferring to some theoretical, distant concept of a bipartisan solution has the same effect as politicians offering their “thoughts and prayers” to victims—only it’s less recognizable as an empty gesture of change. McConnell, however, hasn’t always been above offering those thoughts and prayers.

Mitch McConnell Never Puts America First

In June 2015, after a white supremacist shot and killed nine people at a church in Charleston, South Carolina, McConnell took to the Senate floor to let “the American people to know the Senate is thinking of them today and the victims that they loved.”

“We’re also thinking of the entire congregation at this historic church,” he said.

No legislative change ever came from the Charleston shooting.

The same can be said of the mass shootings later in 2015 at the Umpqua Community College in Oregon that killed 10 and the San Bernardino shooting that killed 16. McConnell was sympathetic for the victims and their families, but he was quick to criticize President Barack Obama’s proposed solutions in early 2016 as partisan.

“In the wake of the President’s vow to ‘politicize’ shootings, it’s hard to see today’s announcement as being about more than politics,” McConnell said.

In the days after the Las Vegas shooting, when 59 people were killed at a concert, McConnell told reporters it was “inappropriate to politicize an event like this.”

“The investigation has not even been completed, and I think it’s premature to be discussing legislative solutions if there are any,” he said.

Still, after 17 people at a high school were murdered in Parkland, Florida, McConnell was instrumental in passing one piece of reform legislation: the so-called Fix NICS Act, which helped ensure criminal record information was entered into the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) by state and federal authorities. McConnell also oversaw the passage of a STOP School Violence Act, which provided funding to help prepare and prevent school gun violence.

Uvalde Gunman: ‘Everyone in This World Deserves to Get Raped’

But those reforms were far from the sweeping changes that most advocates believe are necessary to actually reduce gun violence. And more often than not, McConnell’s willingness to engage on issues that might regulate or augment current firearms laws has been fleeting.

Of course, McConnell doesn’t always just defer to a bipartisan solution that doesn’t exist.

After the shocking Sandy Hook shooting in 2012, McConnell told reporters days later that the entire Congress was “united in condemning the violence in Newtown and on the need to enforce our laws. As we continue to learn the facts, Congress will examine whether there is an appropriate and constitutional response that would better protect our citizens.”

But by January, in an interview on ABC, McConnell made it clear his focus was elsewhere when asked by host George Stephanopoulos about whether Republicans would be open to suggestions by a new task force on gun violence headed by then-Vice President Joe Biden.

“Well, first, we need to concentrate on Joe Biden’s group, and what are they going to recommend?,” McConnell said. “And after they do that, we’ll decide what, if anything, is appropriate to do in this area.”

“But the biggest problem we have at the moment is spending and debt,” he continued. “That’s going to dominate the Congress between now and the end of March. None of these issues, I think, will have the kind of priority that spending and debt are going to have over the next two or three months.”

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 It is unfortunate that we have allowed ourselves to be polarized by folks who have a platform that is widely read and distributed, their dis and mis information has cost LIVES, jobs and increased the suffering of the neediest of Americans. While all of this is occurring, the Right including the GOP is still pursuing their agenda where big business is more important than the consumers and voters. The current assault on Women’s health and abortion which is just small part of the anti-abortion issue. The right aka GOP and Trumpists abetted by FAUX news in the persons of _ ucker Carlson and S. Hannity et all. Have one goal in mind and that is power and using the strength of the extreme right, the Trump followers who are no more than the same type of folks who revel in the actions viewed on the “Jerry Springer Show” (Mr. Springer has stated that his show is staged). These followers are unfortunately aware of their duplicity in the problem by following and exhorting the misinformation the belies the facts. It might be well to point out that these promoters of the misinformation are out to enhance their lives and not ours. It is our (the voters) duty to look closely at the folks who are providing information and look behind the curtain of outright lies and understand that this is not what we want. We (the voters) must have a firm grasp on reality and the underlying reasons for our elected official’s reluctance to do the work we elected them to do and what they promised to do for us. If we (the voters) take a bit of time and read some history we will find that save a few, our elected folks have taken care of themselves and continually promised us that they would take care of us. As an example, why do we have high court judges who lied under oath about “settled” law? There is a method of relieving high court judged only if we the people push for it rather than hope or suppose our lack luster representatives will do their job. Our politics is about power and money, pure and simple. If you have money, you have power and using both to get what you want rather than being magnanimous in your actions. Simply put: why are millions spent to gain an office that pays Thousands? WE have had many “wake up” calls but we have failed to wash the sleep out of our eyes. Our only recourse is the vote and that requires us to avoid the “rhetoric” of politics and look at the facts. One fact that is apparent: “All politicians Lie!!”

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ABC News

McConnell, when asked, fails to denounce racist ‘replacement theory’

ALLISON PECORIN

Tue, May 17, 2022, 7:28 p.m.·6 min read

As Democrats have ratcheted up condemnation of “replacement theory” in the wake of Saturday’s mass shooting in Buffalo, New York, some Republicans on Capitol Hill have shied away from rejecting the racist idea that some members of their own party have espoused.

At a news conference Tuesday afternoon, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was asked repeatedly about his views of “replacement theory,” a conspiracy theory that holds that Democrats are trying to replace white Americans with undocumented immigrants and people of color in order to win elections.

He repeatedly avoided denouncing it outright.

PHOTO: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell speaks during a news conference after a closed-door lunch with Senate Republicans at the U.S. Capitol, on May 17, 2022, in Washington, D.C. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
PHOTO: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell speaks during a news conference after a closed-door lunch with Senate Republicans at the U.S. Capitol, on May 17, 2022, in Washington, D.C. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

MORE: How ‘replacement theory’ became prominent in mainstream US politics

McConnell was asked whether he, as the party leader, had a responsibility to speak out against the theory, which authorities say was adopted by the 18-year-old white man accused of killing 10 Black people at a local food market.

He responded by denouncing the actions of the suspect, calling him a “deranged young man,” but making no mention of “replacement theory.”

Pressed again by reporters on whether the Republican Party is obligated to denounce the theory, McConnell condemned racism generally.

“Look — racism of any sort is abhorrent in America and ought to be stood up to by everybody, both Republicans, Democrats, all Americans,” McConnell said.

MORE: Biden labels Buffalo shooting ‘domestic terrorism’ after visiting scene

He then was asked whether he believed that Democrats are seeking amnesty for undocumented immigrants for the purpose of influencing and changing the electorate. He responded by criticizing the Biden administration’s policy at the southern border.

McConnell’s comments Tuesday came as the Senate GOP conference hosted Ohio Republican Senate candidate J.D. Vance, who has used language similar to the theory on multiple occasions​​.

Vance secured the GOP nomination during Ohio’s primary race earlier this month after a late endorsement from former President Donald Trump, who has supported multiple Republicans who echo the theory’s main points, if not its outright racist basis.

In a March 17 appearance on Fox News, according to the news monitoring site Mediaite, Vance told Fox News host Tucker Carlson that Democrats are intentionally creating a surge in undocumented immigration.

“You have to ask yourself who is benefiting from this and who is getting rich from it? First of all Chamber of Commerce-style Republicans and Democrats who love the cheap labor who love the fact that these immigrants are displacing America’s workers but also Democrat politicians who have decided that they can’t win reelection in 2022 unless they bring in a large number of new voters to replace the voters that are already here,” he said.

Vance’s campaign declined to comment to ABC News and he did not answer a barrage of reporter questions as he left the Senate GOP luncheon.

McConnell was not the only Republican leader to avoid calls to denounce replacement theory Tuesday.

PHOTO: President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden visit a memorial near a Tops supermarket in Buffalo, New York, after the May 14 mass shooting at the store on May 17, 2022. (Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images)
PHOTO: President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden visit a memorial near a Tops supermarket in Buffalo, New York, after the May 14 mass shooting at the store on May 17, 2022. (Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images)

Rep. Elise Stefanik, House GOP Conference Chair, has faced renewed criticism in recent days for her campaign ads echoing replacement theory. Her campaign released a statement about the attack, and another from her senior adviser calling the focus on the ads a “disgusting low for the left, their Never Trump allies and the sycophant stenographers in the media.”

When pressed by reporters, Stefanik didn’t respond directly, saying she didn’t want to make the Buffalo shooting political.

“Our nation is heartbroken and sad and of the horrific loss of life in Buffalo. This was an act of pure evil and the criminal should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” Stefanik said. “It is not the time to politicize this tragedy. We mourn together as a nation.”

PHOTO: Representative Elise Stefanik speaks during a news conference outside the US Capitol in Washington, D.C., May 12, 2022. (Bloomberg via Getty Images)
PHOTO: Representative Elise Stefanik speaks during a news conference outside the US Capitol in Washington, D.C., May 12, 2022. (Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Republican reticence to reject replacement theory comes as President Joe Biden traveled to Buffalo on Tuesday and in a speech called on Americans, to “reject the lie” and condemn those “who spread the lie for power, for political gain and for profit.”

MORE: Biden labels Buffalo shooting ‘domestic terrorism’ after visiting scene

Later, speaking to reporters, Biden declined to name names but was blunt when asked if he thinks members of the Republican Party, and cable news pundits like Fox News host Tucker Carlson, deserve blame for violence.

“I believe anybody who echoes a replacement is to blame not for this particular crime, but it’s for no purpose, no purpose, except profit and or political benefit,” Biden said. “And it’s wrong. It’s just simply wrong,”

Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer has gone further, calling out Fox News and pundits like Carlson by name.

Schumer penned a direct appeal to media tycoon Rupert Murdoch, his son, and the heads of Fox News Tuesday urging them to “to immediately cease all dissemination of false white nationalist, far right conspiracy theories on your network.”

CES Letter 5.17.22 by ABC News Politics on Scribd

Invoking massacres with racial motivations in Pittsburgh and El Paso, Schumer wrote about his Buffalo constituents, saying that they’ll “be forced to relive this tragic event every single time they visit the supermarket for a loaf of bread or a gallon of milk” —- asking that Fox take into consideration the very real impacts of the dangerous rhetoric…”

Carlson has denied that discussing what he claims is a political matter is racist.

A spokesperson for Fox pointed to a comment Carlson made on his show earlier this week regarding the Buffalo shooting. Carlson, she said, called the shooter “racist” and “immoral” and “called for a de-emphasis of racial tensions and working toward a “colorblind meritocracy” adding “all people have equal moral value, no matter what they look like” and quoted Martin Luther King, Jr.”

She did not directly address Schumer’s letter.

The shooting has revealed a divide in the Republican ranks. While McConnell and Stefanik have fallen short of denouncing “replacement theory,” others have been outspoken on condemning it.

MORE: Enter headline of content here

Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., had no qualms about rejecting the theory outright.

“Oh, it’s … an outrageous theory. I totally reject it as any reasonable discussion to be had.”

Blunt, who is retiring, is from a state where two GOP politicians have openly espoused the racist theory.

MORE: In wake of Buffalo shooting, Liz Cheney says House GOP leaders ‘enabled white nationalism’

On Monday, GOP Rep. Liz Cheney, whose role as GOP conference chair was usurped by Stefanik, called her colleagues out directly in a tweet.

“The House GOP leadership has enabled white nationalism, white supremacy, and anti-semitism,” Cheney tweeted. “History has taught us that what begins with words ends in far worse. @GOP leaders must renounce and reject these views and those who hold them.”

“Despite sickening and false reporting, Congresswoman Stefanik has never advocated for any racist position or made a racist statement,” Alex DeGrasse, a senior adviser to Stefanik, said in a statement. “The shooting was an act of evil and the criminal should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” he added.

ABC News’ Ben Siegel, Lalee Ibssa and Trish Turner contributed to this report.

McConnell, when asked, fails to denounce racist ‘replacement theory’ originally appeared on abcnews.go.com

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April 13, 2022
(Wednesday)
Heather Cox Richardson
Apr 14“Democrats need to make more noise,” Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI) told Greg Sargent of the Washington Post. “We have to scream from the rooftops, because this is a battle for the free world now.”Sargent interviewed Schatz after the senator called out Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) on the floor of the Senate on April 7 for the profound disconnect between the Republican senator’s speeches and his actions. Hawley has placed a hold on President Joe Biden’s uncontroversial nominee for an assistant secretary of defense, saying that Biden’s support for Ukraine was “wavering” and that he wasn’t doing enough.Of course, the Biden administration has been central to world efforts to support Ukraine in its attempt to hold off Russia’s invasion. Just today, Biden announced an additional $800 million in weapons, ammunition, and other security assistance to Ukraine. In contrast, Hawley voted to acquit former president Trump of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress when he withheld $391 million of congressionally approved aid to Ukraine in order to pressure Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky to cook up a story about Hunter Biden.Hawley’s bad-faith argument goes beyond misleading statements about aid to Ukraine. Hawley has vowed that he will use his senatorial prerogative to hold up “every single civilian nominee” for the Defense Department unless Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin resigns. He has vowed the same for the State Department, demanding the resignation of Secretary of State Antony Blinken.Hawley says his demands are because of the withdrawal from Afghanistan; he also said that Biden should resign. This is a highly unusual interference of the legislative branch of government with the executive branch. It also means that key positions in the departments responsible for managing our national security are not being filled, since Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer must use up valuable floor time to get nominations around Hawley’s holds.In February, for example, Hawley blocked the confirmation of the uncontroversial head of the Pentagon’s international security team, Celeste Wallander, a Russia expert and staunch advocate for fighting Russian aggression, even while Russian troops were massing on the Ukraine border. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) noted in frustration: “He’s complaining about the problems we have in Russia and Ukraine and he’s making it worse because he’s not willing to allow those nominees who can help with that problem to go forward.” (The Senate eventually voted 83–13 to confirm Wallander.)Hawley is not the only Republican to be complaining about the administration even as he gums up the works.Texas governor Greg Abbott has ordered Texas state troops to inspect all commercial trucks coming from Mexico after the federal government has already inspected them. Normally, Mexican authorities inspect a commercial driver’s paperwork and then officers from U.S. Customs and Border Protection thoroughly inspect the vehicle on the U.S. side of the international bridge, using dogs, X-ray machines, and personal inspections. At large crossings, officials from the Food and Drug Administration and the Department of Transportation will make sure that products and trucks meet U.S. standards. Sometimes after that, the state will spot-check a few trucks for roadworthiness. Never before has Texas inspected the contents of each commercial vehicle.Abbott instituted the new rule after the Biden administration announced it would end the pandemic emergency health order known as Title 42. This is a public health authority used by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to protect against the spread of disease. It was put in place by the Trump administration in March 2020. Title 42 allows the U.S. government to turn migrants from war-torn countries away at the border rather than permitting them to seek asylum as international law requires.Abbott said the new rule would enable troopers to search for drugs and smuggled immigrants, which he claims the administration is not doing. But journalists Mitchell Ferman, Uriel J. García, and Ivan Pierre Aguirre of the Texas Tribune report that officers from the Texas Department of Public Safety do not appear to be examining the trucks and have not announced any captured drugs or undocumented immigrants.Wait times at border crossings have jumped from minutes to many hours, with Mexican truckers so frustrated they blocked the roads from the southern side, as well. Truckers report being stuck in their trucks for as much as 30 hours without food or water. About $440 billion worth of goods cross our southern border annually, and Abbot’s stunt has shut down as much as 60% of that trade. The shutdown will hammer those businesses that depend on Mexican products. It will also create higher prices and shortages across the entire country, especially as perishable foods rot in transit.On Twitter, Democratic candidate for Texas governor Beto O’Rourke showed a long line of trucks behind him in Laredo and said: “What you see behind me is inflation.” White House press secretary Jen Psaki issued a statement today saying: “Governor Abbott’s unnecessary and redundant inspections of trucks transiting ports of entry between Texas and Mexico are causing significant disruptions to the food and automobile supply chains, delaying manufacturing, impacting jobs, and raising prices for families in Texas and across the country. Local businesses and trade associations are calling on Governor Abbott to reverse this decision…. Abbott’s actions are impacting people’s jobs, and the livelihoods of hardworking American families.”Tonight, Abbott backed down on his rule, and normal traffic seems to be resuming over one of the key bridges between Mexico and the U.S., but his stunt indicates that Republicans plan to use inflation and immigration as key issues to turn out their base for the 2022 midterm elections. Today, pro-Trump Representative Elise Stefanik (R-NY), who replaced Representative Liz Cheney (R-WY) as the House Republican Conference Chair, the third-highest Republican in the House, tweeted: “We must SECURE our southern border.”Abbott has also ordered the Texas National Guard to the U.S. border with Mexico to conduct “migration drills” in preparation for an influx of migrants. But Abbott’s use of the 10,000 National Guard personnel last fall for a border operation to prevent an influx of migrants seemed to be a political stunt: it led to complaints from National Guard personnel of lack of planning, lack of pay, lack of housing, and lack of reason to be there.Abbott has deployed troops in the past while he was under fire for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic and the February 2021 winter storm that left millions of Texans without heat or electricity for days and killed 246. This deflection seemed to be at work last February, too, when Abbott issued a letter saying that the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services should investigate any instances of care for transgender children as child abuse. That letter appeared just as it came to light that Abbott was behind the extraordinarily high electricity prices in the 2021 storm. Although Abbott’s office had said he was not involved in the decision to charge maximum electricity prices, in February, Bill Magness, the former CEO of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas that runs the state’s electrical grid, said Abbott had personally ordered him to keep prices at their maximum: $9,000 per megawatt hour.And so Abbott grabbed headlines with a bill attacking transgender children.Today, Abbott sent a bus of migrants seeking asylum to Washington, D.C., where they were set down right outside the offices of the Fox News Channel, which filmed them disembarking. These migrants have been processed by federal authorities and are awaiting decisions from federal judges about whether they will be allowed to remain in the U.S. “I think it’s pretty clear this is a publicity stunt,” Psaki said.And finally, tonight, under the category of bad-faith arguments, it is clear that the current Supreme Court has run amok. Republicans attack “activist judges” who want to protect civil rights in the states by using the Fourteenth Amendment’s rule that the states cannot deprive a citizen of the equal protection of the laws. But Republican justices are making up their own law outside the normal boundaries of the court.On April 6, five Supreme Court justices agreed to reinstate a Trump-era rule that limits the ability of states to block projects that pollute their rivers and streams. The court did so under the so-called “shadow docket,” a form of decision previously used to address emergencies, in which the court makes a decision without arguments or written explanations. Last week, Chief Justice John Roberts indicated just how far off the rails the current Supreme Court has slid when he joined the dissent against the majority’s decision out of concern for the use of this shadow docket as a way to hand down unbriefed and unexplained decisions.
Hawley is not the only Republican these days operating in bad faith.—
Notes: https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2022/04/13/statement-by-press-secretary-jen-psaki-on-the-impact-of-texas-border-delays/https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/03/17/republicans-ukraine-aid-vote/https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/04/08/brian-schatz-josh-hawley-ukraine-loudness-gap/https://www.kwtx.com/2022/04/12/abbott-orders-texas-national-guard-conducts-mass-migration-drills-us-mexico-border/https://www.cnn.com/2021/09/14/politics/josh-hawley-state-defense-nominees/index.htmlhttps://www.politifact.com/article/2022/apr/12/fact-checking-sen-brian-schatz-vs-sen-josh-hawley-/https://www.ft.com/content/d34d45a7-9adb-4e30-94da-88a3fa53f8b5https://www.politico.com/news/2022/02/16/senate-advances-long-stalled-pentagon-nominees-wallander-and-honey-00009479https://www.npr.org/2022/04/13/1092652164/after-voting-in-virginia-mark-meadows-is-removed-as-north-carolina-registered-vohttps://www.texastribune.org/2022/04/13/texas-mexico-border-inspections-delays/https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2022/04/13/texas-truck-abbott-mexico/https://www.texastribune.org/2022/02/01/texas-national-guard-border-operation-lone-star-abbott/https://www.businessinsider.com/gov-greg-abbott-at-fault-for-overcharging-electric-companies-ex-ercot-chief-says-2022-2https://www.liberationnews.org/texas-governor-orders-state-to-report-families-of-trans-children-for-child-abuse/https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/21272649-abbott-letter-to-mastershttps://www.liberationnews.org/texas-governor-orders-state-to-report-families-of-trans-children-for-child-abuse/https://www.cnn.com/2022/04/13/politics/texas-migrants-arrive-in-dc/index.htmlhttps://www.nytimes.com/2022/04/13/opinion/john-roberts-supreme-court.htmlhttps://www.nbcnews.com/politics/immigration/migrants-arrive-dc-buses-sent-gop-texas-gov-greg-abbott-rcna24229
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since before the civil war the political right, conservatives and other “small” government folks have made it their business to reduce the government’s actions in the lives of the voters. To be clear, no one wants a heavy-handed government however there are things that the Government can do that the states and municipalities cannot do. If we as citizens fail to look beyond the trees and look at the forest, then we will repeat the failures of the past namely the events that preceded the Civil War. Totus aka Donald Trump, Numpty or whatever you want to call him purposely used racial slurs, inuendo and outright lies to and about everyone to get what he wanted no matter the consequences. The Rightists religious, who have for years wanted to return America to the days of the religious extremists who thought the church should have a bigger say in Government no matter the consequences eagerly followed and supported Numpty as his support allowed them to push their agenda, consequences on the nation as a whole does not matter. This along with the Extreme Liars we call Congress are pushing us to a familiar and infamous split that was the precursor of the past “Civil War” only now it is no longer just about Race, it is about money and power, power to make laws that restrict voting, control the right to proper Heathcare and instill what “they” consider correct as opposed to what is correct from a medical viewpoint. The politricks has taken over reasonable government all for $$$ and power with nothing left for the voters.

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