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Carey Wallace- TIME-Thu, January 14, 2021, 10:03 AM

Supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump pray outside the U.S. Capitol Jan. 06 in Washington D.C.
Supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump pray outside the U.S. Capitol Jan. 06 in Washington D.C.

Supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump pray outside the U.S. Capitol Jan. 06 in Washington D.C. Credit – Win McNamee—Getty Images

In the past few days, I’ve seen all kinds of statements from Christian leaders trying to distance themselves from the violent mob at the Capitol. Christian writers known for their thoughtfulness lament that “somehow” white supremacy has crept into our churches, and the faculty of a major evangelical institution put out a manifesto saying that the events at the Capitol “bear absolutely no resemblance to” the Christianity they teach. That mob, they’re telling us, is a fringe element. They’ve radically misunderstood the real message of American Christianity.

This could not be further from the truth.

I believe the mob at the Capitol has radically misunderstood the teachings and life of Jesus. But it is an absolutely logical conclusion of white American Christianity.

Hundreds of years ago, the Church laid the foundation for the theft of the Americas, enslavement of Africans and Native Americans, and centuries of brutal colonization worldwide, with the doctrine that it was O.K. to take land and liberty from people who were not Christian.

Within their first decade on this continent, the holiness movement of the Puritans, who told themselves they’d come to the “new world” to spread the gospel, had virtually exterminated the Pequot people, and enslaved many survivors. And Roger Williams, the Massachusetts minister who became the first advocate for religious freedom and the separation of church and state, was banished from his colony by his fellow Christians for objecting to government attempts to enforce the first four of the Ten Commandments, refusing to swear an oath of loyalty to the government of Massachusetts and saying grace over his meals at the wrong time. Alone and sick, he fled into the New England winter, which almost killed him. Though his fellow Puritans gave lip service to the idea that they had come to the continent to share the light of Christ, he was the only one who bothered to learn local customs or languages. Saved that winter by the Narragansett people, he was without a church home when he died years later.

Williams’ doctrine of the separation of church and state was eventually inscribed in the American Constitution. And Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence reflects the strong influence of Christianity in the American colonies, by rooting the rights it demands in our status as creatures of God. But the Declaration of Independence also describes Native Americans as “merciless Indian savages,” and the Constitution defined African-Americans as only three-fifths of a person. Despite America’s early public piety, this country is explicitly founded on the idea that the people who built its farms, roads, cities and wealth, without freedom or payment, are not quite human. And despite Jefferson’s rousing insistence on the equality of “men” in the eyes of God, his own wealth came mainly from a factory he staffed with enslaved children.

Sentimental depictions of Christian faith among enslaved people are popular with American Christians, and the rich tradition of gospel music, perhaps America’s greatest contribution to world culture or the church, was unquestionably created by people living in American slavery. But people in slavery in America did not start becoming Christian in large numbers until around 1800, because American slave-holders avoided sharing Christian teaching with the people they enslaved, so that they wouldn’t find themselves in the position of holding fellow Christians in slavery, which might force them to give up their “property.”

For early voices that spoke out against slavery within the American church, the price was high. Benjamin Lay, who shamed the Quakers into becoming abolitionists with stunts like standing outside meetinghouses on Sunday morning barefoot in the snow to remind the good Christians of the condition of the people they held in slavery at home, died unwelcome as a member in any Quaker church.

For the vast majority of American history, Christian ministers have spoken with passion and vigor in favor of slaverysegregation, and white supremacy. Not even all Christian abolitionists were convinced of the full humanity of the people they fought to free. The Ku Klux Klan is a movement deeply rooted in the church, in both the North and the South.

When Black Christian clergy organized the 1963 March on Washington, where Martin Luther King, Jr., a Baptist minister, delivered his “I Have A Dream” speech, Christianity Todayfounded not even a decade earlier by Billy Graham, and edited at the time by one of evangelicalism’s most prominent theologians, Carl F.H. Henry, called it “a mob spectacle.”

Today, American neighborhoods are more segregated than they were in the years immediately following the Civil War. But churches are even more segregated than the rest of society. Sunday morning, when people stream into services, is one of the most segregated hours in America.

These are not minor aberrations, sidenotes to our history, either as a country or a church. White supremacy, racism and segregation are a cancer running through our major organs. And our apathy toward them, or our comfort with them, compromise and threaten to kill all the other good we hope to do.

We cannot get rid of them by pretending they’re not central to our history, and central to the way we live today. And in our hearts, we know they are. That’s why so many Christian institutions and leaders have failed to speak out directly against racism and white supremacy, instead taking refuge in recent days in vague calls for prayer and healing. We know if we confront these foundational American sins directly, their supporters will cause convulsions that may tear our institutions apart – and knock us from our coveted positions.

But there can be no healing without this direct confrontation. You cannot cure cancer by pretending it is not there.The white American church can’t pretend that the mob at the Capitol is not part of us.

It is us.

To have any hope of healing, we must acknowledge that fact. We must admit our own ignorance. Our own apathy. Our own discomfort with people who are different from us. Our own desire to believe that we’re better than everyone else. Our own willingness to take things that are not ours, and keep things we did not earn. Our profound bent to lie about ourselves. Our willingness to do violence to get what we want. Our willingness to turn away when violence is done to others, because it benefits us.

As Christians, we must forcefully, publicly name and repudiate these things. We must be honest about how long a history they have and how deep they go. And about how much work it will take to eradicate them.

And we must do that work.

Claiming that mob isn’t us might help American Christians beat back the sickening waves of shame and fear we feel at the revelation of the ugly truth of what we’ve been part of all this time.

But it won’t save the life of the American church.

And it will never set us free to be anything better than what we are now.

Read More »


Ben Klayman and Stephen Nellis January 14, 2021, 11:12 PM

(Reuters) – Automakers around the world are shutting assembly lines because of a global shortage of semiconductors that in some cases has been exacerbated by the Trump administration’s actions against key Chinese chip factories, industry officials said.

The shortage, which caught much of the industry off-guard and could continue for many months, is now causing Ford Motor Co, Subaru Corp and Toyota Motor Corp to curtail production in the United States.

Automakers affected in other markets include Volkswagen, Nissan Motor Co Ltd and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.

The problems stem from a confluence of factors as auto manufacturers compete against the sprawling consumer electronics industry for chip supplies. Consumers have stocked up on laptops, gaming consoles and other electronic products during the pandemic, creating tight chip supplies throughout 2020.

They have also bought more cars than industry officials expected last spring, further straining supplies.

In at least one case, the shortage ties back to President Donald Trump’s policies aimed at curtailing technology transfers to China.

One automaker moved chip production from China’s Semiconductor Manufacturing International, or SMIC, which was hit with U.S. government restrictions in December, to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co in Taiwan, which in turn was overbooked, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters.

An auto supplier confirmed TSMC has been unable to keep up with demand.

“The systemic aspect of the crisis is giving us a headache,” said a supplier executive, who asked not to be identified. “In some cases, we find substitution parts that could make us independent from TSMC, only to discover that the alternative wafer manufacturer has no capacity available.”

TSMC and SMIC did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

On an earnings call with investors Thursday, TSMC Chief Executive C.C. Wei said there was a shortage of automotive chips made with “mature technology” and that it is working with customers “to mitigate the shortage impact.”

It only takes the tiniest of chips to throw off production: a Ford plant in Kentucky that makes the Escape sport utility vehicle idled because of a shortage of a chip in the vehicle’s brake system, a union official in the plant said.

Ford also will idle its Focus plant in Saarlouis, Germany, for a month starting next week because of chip shortages.

The situation is unlikely to improve quickly, since all chips, whether bound for a laptop or a Lexus, start life as a silicon wafer that takes about 90 days to process into a chip.

The chipmaking industry has always strained to keep up with sudden demand spikes. The factories that produce wafers cost tens of billions of dollars to build, and expanding their capacity can take up to a year for testing and qualifying complex tools.

“The long and short of it is, demand is up about 50%. And there’s no asset-intensive industry like ours that has 50% capacity lying around,” said Mike Hogan, senior vice president at chip manufacturer GlobalFoundries and head of its automotive unit.

HUAWEI EFFECT

Tight capacity and soaring demand has made it difficult for chip producers to absorb two shocks from the Trump administration.

First, the White House in September banned Huawei Technologies Co Ltd, the Chinese telecommunications giant and a major smartphone maker, from buying chips made with American technology. Huawei stockpiled chips ahead of the ban in order to keep building what products it could after it took effect. And Huawei’s rivals, eyeing a chance to grab market share, started snapping up chips, analysts said.

Second, the U.S. government enacted rules that bar SMIC from using some U.S. tools to make chips, a move that has prompted at least some of SMIC’s customers to look for a different chip factory because of concerns that production could be disrupted.

“There’s a fear of using a Chinese chip factory if the United States is going to put them on an entity list,” said Daniel Goehl, chief business officer of UltraSense Systems, referring to possible further restrictions.

A Commerce Department spokesman declined to comment on the implications of the SMIC and Huawei blacklistings for the auto sector but said that the top priority was “to ensure the Export Administration Regulation protects U.S. national security, economic security, and foreign policy interests.”

Analysts said the automotive chip shortage is likely to persist for as long as six months. An AutoForecast Solutions report estimated the global auto industry had already experienced lost volume of 202,000 vehicles as of Jan. 13.

Executives at automakers and suppliers said they are adapting production schedules to protect chips used in higher-profit vehicles. And companies are weighing sourcing chips from more suppliers and increasing inventory levels in the future.

“It’s four-dimensional chess all day long,” said one auto official, who asked not to be identified.

(Reporting by Ben Klayman in Detroit, Stephen Nellis in San Francisco and Alexandra Alper in Washington. Editing by Jonathan Weber & Simon Cameron-

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By Andrew Higgins

Jan. 10, 2021

Lying as a political tool is hardly new. But a readiness, even enthusiasm, to be deceived has become a driving force in politics around the world, most recently in the United States.

For President Trump’s supporters, rallying near the Washington Monument on Wednesday, it is enough that he says he won.

MOSCOW — In a cable to Washington in 1944, George F. Kennan, counselor at the United States Embassy in Stalin’s Moscow, warned of the occult power held by lies, noting that Soviet rule “has proved some strange and disturbing things about human nature.”

Foremost among these, he wrote, is that in the case of many people, “it is possible to make them feel and believe practically anything.” No matter how untrue something might be, he wrote, “for the people who believe it, it becomes true. It attains validity and all the powers of truth.”

Mr. Kennan’s insight, generated by his experience of the Soviet Union, now has a haunting resonance for America, where tens of millions believe a “truth” invented by President Trump: that Joseph R. Biden Jr. lost the November election and became president-elect only through fraud.

Lying as a political tool is hardly new. Niccolo Machiavelli, writing in the 16th century, recommended that a leader try to be honest but lie when telling the truth “would place him at a disadvantage.” People don’t like being lied to, Machiavelli observed, but “one who deceives will always find those who allow themselves to be deceived.”

A readiness, even enthusiasm, to be deceived has in recent years become a driving force in politics around the world, notably in countries like Hungary, Poland, Turkey and the Philippines, all governed by populist leaders adept at shaving the truth or inventing it outright.

Janez Jansa, a right-wing populist who in March became prime minister of Slovenia — the home country of Melania Trump — was quick to embrace Mr. Trump’s lie that he won. Mr. Jansa congratulated him after the November vote, saying “it’s pretty clear that the American people have elected” Mr. Trump and lamenting “facts denying” by the mainstream media.

Even Britain, which regards itself as a bastion of democracy,  has fallen prey to transparent but widely believed falsehoods, voting in 2016 to leave the European Union after claims by the pro-Brexit camp that exiting the bloc would mean an extra 350 million pounds, or $440 million, every week for the country’s state health service.

Many of the claims of Brexit backers are demonstrably false, but as Britain officially left the European Union, on Jan. 31, some people in London celebrated.Credit…Andrew Testa for The New York Times

Those who advanced this lie, including the Conservative Party politician who has since become Britain’s prime minister, Boris Johnson, later admitted that it was a “mistake” — though only after they had won the vote.

Bigger and more corrosive lies, ones that don’t just fiddle with figures but reshape reality, have found extraordinary traction in Hungary. There, the populist leader Viktor Orban has cast the financier and philanthropist George Soros, a Hungarian-born Jew, as the shadowy mastermind of a sinister plot to undermine the country’s sovereignty, replace native Hungarians with immigrants and destroy traditional values.

The strength of this conspiracy theory, sometimes tinged with anti-Semitism, said Peter Kreko, executive director of Political Capital, a research group in Budapest long critical of Mr. Orban, lies in its appeal to a “tribal mind-set” that sees all issues as a struggle between “good and evil, black and white,” rooted in the interests of a particular tribe.

“The art of tribal politics is that it shapes reality,” Mr. Kreko said. “Lies become truth and explain everything in simple terms.” And political struggles, he added, “become a war between good and evil that demands unconditional support for the leader of the tribe. If you talk against your own camp you betray it and get expelled from the tribe.”

What makes this so dangerous, Mr. Kreko said, is not just that “tribalism is incompatible with pluralism and democratic politics” but that “tribalism is a natural form of politics: Democracy is a deviation.”

In Poland, the deeply conservative Law and Justice Party of Jaroslaw Kaczynski, in power since 2015, has promoted its own multipurpose, reality-shifting conspiracy theory. It revolves around the party’s repeatedly debunked claim that the 2010 death of scores of senior Polish officials, including Mr. Kaczynski’s brother — Poland’s president at the time — in a plane crash in western Russia was the result of a plot orchestrated by Moscow and aided, or at least covered-up by the party’s rivals in Warsaw.

Russian rescue workers inspecting the site of a plane crash that killed Poland’s president, Lech Kaczynski, in 2010.

While Polish, Russian and independent experts have all blamed bad weather and pilot error for the crash, the belief that it was foul play has resonated among die-hard Law and Justice supporters. It has both fed on and reinforced their view that leaders of the previous centrist government are not just political rivals but traitors in cahoots with Poland’s centuries-old foe, Russia, and Poland’s own former communist elite.

The utility of lying on a grand scale was first demonstrated nearly a century ago by leaders like Stalin and Hitler, who coined the term “big lie” in 1925 and rose to power on the lie that Jews were responsible for Germany’s defeat in World War I. For the German and Soviet dictators, lying was not merely a habit or a convenient way of sanding down unwanted facts but an essential tool of government.

It tested and strengthened loyalty by forcing underlings to cheer statements they knew to be false and rallied the support of ordinary people who, Hitler realized, “more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie” because, while they might fib in their daily lives about small things, “it would never come into their heads to fabricate colossal untruths.”

By promoting a colossal untruth of his own — that he won a “sacred landslide election victory” — and sticking to it despite scores of court rulings establishing otherwise, Mr. Trump has outraged his political opponents and left even some of his longtime supporters shaking their heads at his mendacity.

In embracing this big lie, however, the president has taken a path that often works — at least in countries without robustly independent legal systems and news media along with other reality checks.

After 20 years in power in Russia, President Vladimir V. Putin, for example, has shown that Mr. Kennan was right when, writing from the Russian capital in 1944, he said, “Here men determine what is true and what is false.”

Many of Mr. Putin’s falsehoods are relatively small, like the claim that journalists who exposed the role of Russia’s security service in poisoning opposition leader Aleksei A. Navalny were working for the C.I.A. Others are not, like his insistence in 2014 that Russian soldiers played no role in the seizure of Crimea from Ukraine, or in fighting in eastern Ukraine. (He later acknowledged that “of course” they were involved in grabbing Crimea.)

But there are differences between the Russian leader and the defeated American one, said Nina Khrushcheva, a professor and expert on Soviet and other forms of propaganda at the New School in New York. “Putin’s lies are not like Trump’s: They are tactical and opportunistic,” she said. “They don’t try to redefine the whole universe. He continues to exist in the real world.”

Despite his open admiration for Russia’s president and the system he presides over, she said, Mr. Trump, in insisting that he won in November, is not so much mimicking Mr. Putin as borrowing more from the age of Stalin, who, after engineering a catastrophic famine that killed millions in the early 1930s, declared that “living has become better, comrades, living has become happier.”

“That is what the big lie is,” Ms. Khrushcheva said. “It covers everything and redefines reality. There are no holes in it. You so either accept the whole thing or everything collapses. And that is what happened to the Soviet Union. It collapsed.”

Whether Mr. Trump’s universe will collapse now that some allies have taken flight and Twitter has snatched his most potent bullhorn for broadcasting falsehoods is an open question. Even after the Capitol siege by pro-Trump rioters, more than 100 members of Congress voted to oppose the election outcome. Many millions still believe him, their faith fortified by social media bubbles that are often as hermetically sealed as Soviet-era propaganda.

“Unlimited control of people’s minds,” Mr. Kennan wrote, depends on “not only the ability to feed them your own propaganda but also to see that no other fellow feeds them any of his.”

In Russia, Hungary and Turkey, the realization that the “other fellow” must not be allowed to offer a rival version of reality has led to a steady squeeze on newspapers, television stations and other outlets out of step with the official line.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey has shut down more than 100 media outlets and, through bullying by the tax police and other state agencies, forced leading newspapers and television channels to transfer ownership to government loyalists.

This assault began in 2008 with claims by Mr. Erdogan and his allies that they had discovered a sprawling underground group of coup plotters and subversives comprising senior military officers, writers, professors, editors and many others.

Protesters outside a courthouse in Turkey in 2013 where 275 people were accused of trying to overthrow the government. Turkey’s leader later acknowledged the case was a sham.

“The group was completely invented, a total fabrication,” said Soner Cagaptay, director of the Turkish Research Program at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and author of“The New Sultan: Erdogan and the Crisis of Modern Turkey.”

This big lie, built around a few shards of fact, convinced not only pious Muslims hostile to the country’s secular elite but also liberals, many of whom then viewed the military as the biggest threat to democracy. Trials dragged on for years before Mr. Erdogan acknowledged that the case against the alleged underground group was a sham.

Long before Mr. Trump, Mr. Cagaptay said, the Turkish leader, who has ruled since 2003, “saw the power of nativist and populist politics” rooted in falsehoods and “brought to prominence the idea of the deep state to justify crackdowns on his political opponents.”

Mr. Trump’s ascent also helped empower a cousin of the big lie — a boom in social-media disinformation and far-right conspiracy-theory fiction.

It has most notably been embodied by the global expansion of Qanon, a once-obscure fringe phenomenon that claims the world is run by a cabal of powerful liberal politicians who are sadistic pedophiles. Mr. Trump has not disavowed Qanon disciples, many of whom participated in the Capitol mayhem last Wednesday. In August he praised them as people who “love our country.”

To some extent, each new generation is shocked to learn that leaders lie and that people believe them. “Lying never was more widespread than today. Or more shameless, systematic, and constant,” the Russian-born French philosopher Alexandre Koyré wrote in his 1943 treatise, “Reflections on Lying.”

What most distressed Mr. Koyré, however, was that lies don’t even need to be plausible to work. “On the contrary,” he wrote, “the grosser, the bigger, the cruder the lie, the more readily is it believed and followed.”

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Kimberley Richards·Trends Reporter, HuffPostWed, January 6, 2021, 4:19 PM

The NAACP called out President Donald Trump over his yearslong attack on Colin Kaepernick for peacefully protesting racism, after Trump supporters stormed the grounds of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday.

The Capitol went on lockdown as pro-Trump rioters breached the building, banging on the main entrance of the House chamber and shattering glass windows. Photos and videos posted online show the insurrectionists breaching legislative offices.

Trump, who has often derided Kaepernick’s peaceful protests against racial injustice as unpatriotic, initially responded to the riots by tweeting, “stay peaceful.” He did not tell his supporters to stop rioting in that tweet.

“And you thought ‘Taking A Knee’ was too much!?!” the official Twitter account for the NAACP tweeted.

The civil rights organization has also since called for Trump’s impeachment.

“The pattern of President Trump’s misconduct is unmistakable and has proven time and time again that it is a grave threat and harm to the fragile fabric of our country,” a statement from NAACP President Derrick Johnson read in part.https://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-4&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1346916733915955205&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.yahoo.com%2Fsports%2Fheat-celtics-players-stage-protest-kneel-in-response-to-attack-on-us-capitol-jacob-blake-decision-004735929.html&theme=light&widgetsVersion=ed20a2b%3A1601588405575&width=550px

Kaepernick, a former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, famously led peaceful protests against racial injustice by kneeling during the national anthem at NFL games. The league has been widely accused of blackballing the activist, who has remained unsigned by any team since he became a free agent after the 2016 season.

Trump has often used Twitter as a medium to complain about NFL protests. In September 2017, he encouraged fans to protest the league to get players to stop kneeling.

“If NFL fans refuse to go to games until players stop disrespecting our Flag & Country, you will see change take place fast,” he tweeted. “Fire or suspend!”

Trump also called NFL players who peacefully protested sons of bitches during a stump speech for former Sen. Luther Strange in Huntsville, Alabama, that same month.

In May, the president tweeted a threat that people protesting the police killing of George Floyd would have been met with the “most vicious dogs, and most ominous weapons” if they had breached the White House fence.

Many people on social media Wednesday called out the Trump administration’s response to the rioters at the Capitol, saying that the police response would have been profoundly different if they had been Black Lives Matter protesters.


Congresswoman Marie Newman@RepMarieNewman·The Trump Admin’s response to a peaceful Black Lives Matter protest in D.C. vs. The Trump Admin’s response to violent domestic terrorists breaching and vandalizing our nation’s Capitol. Remind me again how there aren’t two criminal justice systems in America?

🤔

Trump has, for months, spread false claims about widespread voter fraud. He had urged his supporters to march to the U.S. Capitol during a rally earlier on Wednesday, and since November, has repeatedly lied that the election was somehow stolen.

The president eventually told supporters in a video message tweeted later on Wednesday to “go home,” but he again falsely claimed that the election was stolen.

The Twitter account for the NAACP later responded to a tweet by The Grio’s White House correspondent April D. Ryan describing efforts to remove Trump from office. “Get him out of OUR office”!

NAACP@NAACP·Get him out of OUR office!Quote Tweet

AprilDRyan@AprilDRyan · 13hCongressional leaders are in the undisclosed location and focusing on the 25th Amendment to get @realDonaldTrump out of office!

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Ken Catalino Comic Strip for January 05, 2021
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Apparently the party’s quest for power overshadowed common sense and now the misstep returns to bite them. MA

Amanda Marcotte  17 hrs ago


Trump’s call for $2K checks puts squeeze on Georgia GOP senatorsThe One Place You Really Shouldn’t Go Now, Says Dr. FauciRepublicans enabled Trump for four years — of course he’s betraying them in the 11th hour

Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell are posing for a picture: Donald Trump; Mitch McConnell© Provided by Salon Donald Trump; Mitch McConnell

Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell Photo illustration by Salon/Getty Images

Let’s get one thing straight: Donald Trump does not care about the American people. Whatever Trump may say, he is not threatening to blow up the coronavirus stimulus bill Senate Republicans finally agreed to pass because the bill isn’t generous enough. Trump could not care less if all Americans starve to death, and he certainly isn’t breaking a sweat trying to get the COVID-19 vaccine out to the public. He was not defending working Americans when he released a video calling the GOP-endorsed coronavirus bill a “disgrace” and pushing for a Democrat-friendly plan to send out $2,000 checks instead of the $600 ones Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell agreed to. 

No, what’s likely going on is that Trump, the self-identified master negotiator, is turning to the only negotiation tactic he’s ever really known: Extortion.

Trump likely thinks he’s blackmailing McConnell into stealing the election for him. While we have no direct proof this is an extortion scheme, the circumstantial evidence is abundant and compelling. Here’s what we know: 

Trump really does believe that Republicans know some super secret method for nullifying the election he just lost, and that they’re just not revealing it to him for some reason. In reality, Republicans probably would help him steal the election if they could, but they can’t. But Trump refuses to accept this so he is constantly wheedling GOP officials to do more and whining publicly that they’re holding out on him. He’s even considering canceling a Mar-A-Lago trip and staying in D.C. for Christmas, probably because he’s talked himself into believing he can strike a “deal” to nullify the election. 

Trump is particularly incensed at McConnell right now for not doing more to make Trump’s failed coup successful. On Monday, Trump’s office sent out emails to congressional Republicans in which Trump took credit (falsely) for McConnell’s successful re-election, and implied that McConnell should show his gratitude by doing more to steal the presidential election for Trump. Trump believes that Congress will have an opportunity to overturn the election on January 6, by refusing to certify the Electoral College vote. We know he believes this, even though it’s false because he’s been scheming with House Republicans on how to do it. We also know — because Trump keeps tweeting about it — that Trump believes Senate Republicans are, for whatever reason, not doing enough to help him and need so more threats to get motivated to back his coup.

McConnell believes that this $900 billion coronavirus bill is needed to help Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, the two Georgia Republicans trying to retain their Senate seats in the January 5 run-offs. McConnell told Senate Republicans last week that “Kelly and David are getting hammered” by their Democratic opponents for not passing a bill. This $900 billion package, which is only a fraction of the spending Democrats in the House passed months ago, is the smallest bill McConnell can get away with while still saving those two Senate seats he needs to keep his majority. Trump’s most ardent supporters have singled out the Republicans’ desire to win in Georgia as a leverage point, and keep threatening to tank that race if Republicans don’t do more to help Trump steal the election

To be clear, this isn’t 11th level chess. It’s actually Trump employing junior high school bully logic: McConnell wants a thing (this paltry coronavirus relief bill), and so Trump is threatening to take it away unless Trump gets what he wants (a successful coup). Trump, being very dumb, has not considered the possibility that McConnell couldn’t give in to the extortion if he tried because there’s actually no secret file in McConnell’s office labeled “How To Steal Any Election.” Nor has Trump apparently given much consideration to how Democrats might react to him threatening McConnell by pretending that he wants a more generous bill. 

Democrats have called Trump’s bluff.https://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-0&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1341557535732604935&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.salon.com%2F2020%2F12%2F23%2Frepublicans-enabled-trump-for-four-years–of-course-hes-betraying-them-in-the-11th-hour%2F&theme=light&widgetsVersion=ed20a2b%3A1601588405575&width=550pxhttps://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-1&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1341599067516907520&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.salon.com%2F2020%2F12%2F23%2Frepublicans-enabled-trump-for-four-years–of-course-hes-betraying-them-in-the-11th-hour%2F&theme=light&widgetsVersion=ed20a2b%3A1601588405575&width=550px

Washington Post reporter Mike DeBonis confirmed that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is planning the unanimous consent vote Christmas Eve, which will force Republicans to go on the record against mailing $2,000 checks to Americans. Considering that McConnell is hoping $600 checks will be enough to buy off Georgia voters on January 5, a vote against a more generous bill is clearly something Republican politicians likely hope to avoid. 

In no way does this theory require believing Trump is crafty, clever, or heaven forbid, intelligent. Trump is a moron who is employing what he thinks is a clever Roy Cohn-style scheme to blackmail McConnell. It is, however, an idiotic misfire, because he’s trying to extort something McConnell simply doesn’t have, that is some deeply buried secret method to steal the election. 

The best part about this is that Democrats handed Republicans a chance to get rid of Trump a year ago, when the Democratic-controlled House impeached Trump for, yep, another one of Trump’s many extortion schemes to keep himself in office. (As a refresher, Trump threatened to withdraw military aid from Ukraine if the Ukrainian president didn’t help him cheat in the 2020 election.) But rather than accept this golden opportunity to rid themselves of an erratic and disloyal narcissist in favor of a more easily controlled President Mike Pence, Senate Republicans chose to acquit Trump and keep him around. 

To thank them, Trump is now blowing up their spot on this coronavirus bill. Because Trump is loyal to no one and can only be failed. To him, you’re only as good as the last illegal or unethical thing you did to help him. 

And boy, it’s hard not to wonder if McConnell isn’t regretting his choice to acquit Trump. Because if he’d just taken the chance Democrats gave him back then, he’d have President Pence happily just doing what he’s told. But no, like so many discarded lawyers, staffers, and other Trump enablers, McConnell made the mistake of thinking he could somehow protect and enable Trump without Trump screwing him over. But Trump will always betray his allies in the end. It’s like the moral of the story Trump loved telling at campaign rallies: Republicans knew Trump was a snake when they picked him up. 

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Lou Dobbs Airs Segment Refuting Election Fraud Claims — Including His Own — In Wake Of Legal Threat

Ted Johnson  14 hrs ago


5 Warning Signs COVID is In Your Lungs, According to a DoctorWeekly Trump Report Card: Republican leaders, Electoral College say it’s overLou Dobbs Airs Segment Refuting Election Fraud Claims — Including His Own — In Wake Of Legal ThreatLou Dobbs wearing a suit and tie© (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

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Fox Business host Lou Dobbs aired a segment on Friday that amounted to a fact-checking refutation of claims that he and guests have made about an election tech company Smartmatic and its role in the 2020 presidential election, after the company threatened legal action.

Other similar segments will be shown on Justice with Judge Jeanine on Saturday and Sunday Morning Futures with Maria Bartiromo, a Fox News spokesperson said. Lisa Boothe will host Judge Jeanine, as Jeanine Pirro is off for the holidaysMore from Deadline

Earlier this week, Smartmatic announced that it had threatened legal action against Fox News, Newsmax and One America News Network “for publishing false and defamatory statements,” after talking heads on the outlets have pushed claims of election fraud, including unfounded conspiracy theories of rigged voting machine companies.

Smartmatic sent legal demand letters to the networks, arguing that “these organizations could have easily discovered the falsity of the statements and implications made about Smartmatic by investigating their statements before publishing them to millions of viewers and readers.” The company said that its role in the 2020 election was limited to working on Los Angeles County’s publicly owned voting system, even though anchors and guests have advanced claims that it had a much greater role.

On Friday, Dobbs opened a segment by saying that there were “lots of opinions about the integrity of the elections, the irregularities of mail-in voting, of election voting machines and software.” He then went to Eddie Perez, global director of technology development and open standard for the Open Source Election Technology Institute.

In the segment, an unidentified off-camera voice asks Perez, “Have you seen any evidence that Smartmatic software was used to flip votes anywhere in the U.S. in this election?”

Perez responded, “I have not seen any evidence that Smartmatic software was used to delete, change, alter anything related to vote tabulation.” He also said that he was not aware of them having any other direct customers with election officials beyond Los Angeles this cycle. He also said that Smartmatic and another company that has been targeted by President Donald Trump, Dominion Voting Systems, are “two completely separate companies.”

“The ballots that are cast in the United States are tabulated in the United States,” Perez said, refuting another claim about votes being tabulated overseas.

In its 20-page letter, Smartmatic’s attorney J. Erik Connolly cited statements made by Dobbs and Bartiromo, as well as guests who have appeared on their shows including two lawyers who have been claiming election fraud, Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell, who have represented the Trump campaign.

Among other things, Connolly cited comments that Dobbs has made, including a Nov. 18 show in which he said, “I am alarmed because of what is occurring in plain sight during this 2020 election for president of the United States. The circumstances and events are eerily reminiscent of what happened with Smartmatic software electronically changing votes in the 2013 presidential election in Venezuela.”

In the letter, Connolly wrote that Smartmatic has no operations in Venezuela, but did election projects in the country from 2004 to 2017. It said that it stopped doing business in the country after the National Electoral Counsel announced results “that differed from results reflected in Smartmatic’s voting systems.” It then publicly condemned election authorities and ceased operations there.

Connolly wrote that the network “would have easily discovered the falsity of statements and implications being made about Smartmatic by performing even a modicum of investigation.”

Smartmatic demanded a retraction “with the same intensity and level of coverage that you used to defame the company in the first place,” including that it be published on multiple occasions and across network platforms.

“Beyond the financial harm you have done to Smartmatic, your disinformation campaign has created personal risk for the men and women who work at the company,” Connolly wrote. “Smartmatic and its employees and management have received countless threats in the wake of your reports.”

A Smartmatic spokesperson declined to comment “due to potential litigation.”

Dominion Voting Systems, meanwhile, has demanded that Powell retract her statements about their voting systems. “You reckless disinformation campaign is predicated on lies that have endangered Dominion’s business and the lives of its employees,” Thomas A. Clare and Megan L. Meier, two attorneys for the company, wrote in their letter.

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