New Book Published by The Atlantic: “The American Crisis”

a discussion with some of the contributors…

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Cullen Murphy: The title The American Crisis leans heavily on a word that often gets thrown around. The “crisis” explored in the book is existential—it transcends politics or ideology. How would you describe the condition the country is in?

Anne Applebaum: It’s a very specific kind of crisis: an identity crisis. Many of our current political, economic, cultural, and historical arguments are really about a very fundamental question: Who are we? Are we a multiethnic, multicultural nation that lives in really remarkable harmony? Are we a nation of racists and white supremacists? Are some Americans more “American” than others? And if so, which ones, and why?

It’s not an accident that we’re arguing right now over statues, over dates like 1619 and 1789, over heroes and villains. All of those debates are, at base, about national self-definition. Americans have conducted these kinds of debates before; in the 1860s, they led to the failure of democracy, and ultimately civil war. I’m not saying we’ll end up there again—the conflicts of the 21st century will not resemble the conflicts of the 19th century—but it’s important to remember that failure is possible.

Murphy: The Atlantic articles collected in this book cover a wide range of topics—politics, national security, race, inequality, education, the economy, health, social trends. Together, they reflect the systemic nature of the crisis. Is there one subject that illuminates them all?

Applebaum: The pandemic did present a unique kind of test. Not only has it offered a special challenge for a health-care system that does not cover all citizens; not only has it caused profound problems for America’s precarious labor force; not only has it taken an unusual toll on underfunded school systems—beyond all that, it has also tested our sense of social solidarity. Stopping the spread of the virus requires an enormous degree of cooperation as well as trust in public-health advice. But cooperation, in turn, requires precisely that elusive sense of unity, that feeling of common purpose, we no longer share. Continue reading New Book Published by The Atlantic: “The American Crisis”

Meanwhile – Afghanistan circa Sep 2020

The Washington Post The Daily 202

by James Hohmann with Mariana Alfaro – Sept 11, 2020

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Jeffrey Goldberg’s Article in The Atlantic

Donald Trump greets families of the fallen at Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day 2017.CHIP SOMODEVILLA / GETTY
Trump rejected the idea of the visit because he feared his hair would become disheveled in the rain, and because he did not believe it important to honor American war dead, according to four people with firsthand knowledge of the discussion that day. In a conversation with senior staff members on the morning of the scheduled visit, Trump said, “Why should I go to that cemetery? It’s filled with losers.” In a separate conversation on the same trip, Trump referred to the more than 1,800 marines who lost their lives at Belleau Wood as “suckers” for getting killed.

Belleau Wood is a consequential battle in American history, and the ground on which it was fought is venerated by the Marine Corps. America and its allies stopped the German advance toward Paris there in the spring of 1918. But Trump, on that same trip, asked aides, “Who were the good guys in this war?” He also said that he didn’t understand why the United States would intervene on the side of the Allies.

Trump’s understanding of concepts such as patriotism, service, and sacrifice has interested me since he expressed contempt for the war record of the late Senator John McCain, who spent more than five years as a prisoner of the North Vietnamese. “He’s not a war hero,” Trump said in 2015 while running for the Republican nomination for president. “I like people who weren’t captured.”There was no precedent in American politics for the expression of this sort of contempt, but the performatively patriotic Trump did no damage to his candidacy by attacking McCain in this manner. Nor did he set his campaign back by attacking the parents of Humayun Khan, an Army captain who was killed in Iraq in 2004.

Trump remained fixated on McCain, one of the few prominent Republicans to continue criticizing him after he won the nomination. When McCain died, in August 2018, Trump told his senior staff, according to three sources with direct knowledge of this event, “We’re not going to support that loser’s funeral,” and he became furious, according to witnesses, when he saw flags lowered to half-staff. “What the fuck are we doing that for? Guy was a fucking loser,” the president told aides. Trump was not invited to McCain’s funeral. (These sources, and others quoted in this article, spoke on condition of anonymity. The White House did not return earlier calls for comment, but Alyssa Farah, a White House spokesperson, emailed me this statement shortly after this story was posted: “This report is false. President Trump holds the military in the highest regard. He’s demonstrated his commitment to them at every turn: delivering on his promise to give our troops a much needed pay raise, increasing military spending, signing critical veterans reforms, and supporting military spouses. This has no basis in fact.”)

Trump’s understanding of heroism has not evolved since he became president. According to sources with knowledge of the president’s views, he seems to genuinely not understand why Americans treat former prisoners of war with respect. Nor does he understand why pilots who are shot down in combat are honored by the military. On at least two occasions since becoming president, according to three sources with direct knowledge of his views, Trump referred to former President George H. W. Bush as a “loser” for being shot down by the Japanese as a Navy pilot in World War II. (Bush escaped capture, but eight other men shot down during the same mission were caught, tortured, and executed by Japanese soldiers.) Continue reading Jeffrey Goldberg’s Article in The Atlantic

Alternate reality

August 29, 2020 (Saturday)

by Heather Cox Richardson

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With the end of the Republican National Convention on Thursday, the race to the November election is in high gear.

Trump has made it clear he will run on the idea that he has defeated the coronavirus and rebooted the economy, while rioters from the “radical left” are destroying American cities, aided and abetted by Democrats. But the convention’s picture of the president and the nation America were so wildly untrue that fact-checkers have stayed busy ever since.

Vice President Mike Pence rewrote history to argue that Trump managed the pandemic wonderfully. “President Trump marshaled the full resources of our federal government from the outset,” Pence said. “He directed us to forge a seamless partnership with governors across America in both political parties.”

In fact, there is really no debate over the reality that Trump did not acknowledge the magnitude of the crisis for six to eight crucial weeks, despite warnings. He refused to invoke the Defense Production Act to speed up the production of critical medical supplies and instead told states they were on their own. When states then tried to buy their own supplies, the federal government often intercepted the shipments and handed them to private distribution systems to send to places the administration determined needed them most, redistributions that were often attributed to political favoritism.

Most attendees at the president’s speech did not wear masks, and speakers at the convention referred to the pandemic in the past tense. But coronavirus has not gone away. Although the overall number of new cases is declining, hot spots remain, especially as schools and universities have reopened over the past two weeks. At the University of Alabama, 1200 students have tested positive for Covid-19 since classes resumed less than two weeks ago; Florida has seen nearly 900 students testing positive in the same period. America is still suffering close to 1000 deaths a day from Covid-19, bringing our numbers over 180,000 people.

Pence also boasted that we have gained back 9.3 million jobs in the last three months… with no acknowledgment that it is Trump’s mismanagement of the pandemic that devastated the economy in the first place, or that we are still 13 million jobs down from where we were before the coronavirus.

Trump’s narrative that cities are in crisis, and the violence is caused by the “radical left,” is not supported by the evidence, either.

First of all, there is less violence than he suggests. Crime has actually been dropping in the U.S. for a decade, and protests are isolated. American cities are not in flames. On Twitter, a user claimed that: “There’s this creepy vibe in DC right now where it’s obvious how bad the city’s been destroyed by rioters, and yet people are almost afraid to point it out or oppose it. You almost have to whistle past the boarded-up windows as if it’s all just normal.” Other users ridiculed him by posting photographs of peaceful city scenes, noting that a number of places closed early in the summer because of Covid, but that the only “creepy vibe” was the new fortified wall around the White House. Continue reading Alternate reality

Idiot in Chief wants to be on Mt Rushmore !!

by Heather Cox Richardson

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August 10, 2020 (Monday)

The most striking news of the day was not that Trump has suggested he wants his image on Mt. Rushmore but rather that such an outrageous statement has garnered so little attention. That says something about his presidency.

This weekend, the New York Times ran a story by Jonathan Martin and Maggie Haberman laying out Trump’s apparent interest in adding his face to those carved on Mt. Rushmore. He’d like to be up there next to Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt. After Trump told the governor of South Dakota, Kristi Noem, that he hoped to have his likeness there next to his predecessors, an aide reached out to the governor’s office to learn about the process of adding an additional face. When Trump visited the monument last month, Noem greeted him with a four-foot replica of the monument with his faced added.

This entire concept is moot. The rock face cannot support more carving, which answers the question definitively. Even if it could, though, the sculpture is carved on a mountain that is part of land that the United States government took illegally from the Lakota people in 1877. The monument remains embroiled in the legal dispute over this land grab. The chance that anyone would now attempt to add a new carving to it is pretty close to zero.

Not to be deterred, on Sunday night Trump tweeted a picture of himself positioned in such a way that his face was superimposed on the structure, beside Lincoln. Yet the story that the president wanted his likeness added to Mt. Rushmore had no sticking power. Continue reading Idiot in Chief wants to be on Mt Rushmore !!

Regarding the USPS

by Heather Cox Richardson

July 31, 2020 (Friday)

“Everything now coming from the White House is about Trump’s reelection. While all presidential candidates want to win, they are usually able to accept the idea of a loss. Trump, though, has gone so far as to suggest delaying the election, an unprecedented step which would buy him some time in the hope a coronavirus vaccine would help the U.S. crawl out of the hole it’s in and turn his popularity around.

In his quest for reelection, he is attacking the idea of mail-in voting, although he himself has used it often—his distinction between mail-in voting and absentee voting is imaginary. While the Republican Party has traditionally applauded mail-in voting, which enables seniors who tend to vote Republican to cast a ballot more easily, this year it runs the risk of permitting Democrats, who are afraid of catching Covid-19 at a polling place, to vote. Low voter turnout favors Republicans. So Trump is pushing the idea that “Mail-In Ballots will lead to MASSIVE electoral fraud and a RIGGED 2020 Election.” There is no evidence that this is true.

When his tweet yesterday about delaying the election backfired, he turned to another angle of attack on mail-in voting, insisting that the election must be decided on Election Day itself, November 3. He tweeted: “Must know Election results on the night of the Election, not days, months, or even years later!”

In fact, there is no law that says election results must come the same day as the election. Historically, they used to take days. Votes need to be counted carefully. Some states permit any ballots that are postmarked by Election Day, and they take time to arrive. Provisional ballots need to be examined. Modern media channels like to see results quickly because it makes for good television, but that opens up the problem of vote tallies changing after an election result is called. This year, since significant numbers of ballots might come in after Election Day, it is reasonable to expect a final tally might come days after November 3.

What appears to be going on in Trump’s tweets is an attempt to rig the mechanics of the election to enable him to win by manipulating the ballots and counting. This, in turn, is leading to an attack on the United States Postal Service in order to delay or prevent the delivery of ballots.

Here’s the story: Continue reading Regarding the USPS

The Republican dream has arrived

As the economy teeters on the brink of collapse, as the death toll from the SARS-CoV-2 virus mounts and threatens to skyrocket far beyond our nation’s ability to control it, many Americans are shaking their heads in dismay, wondering just what has happened to their country. As the crisis prolongs, as our schools struggle vainly to reopen, as businesses continue to founder, it’s as if a curtain is gradually lifting. It’s as if the willful, hopeful blindness of millions of people has finally given way to a collective shock of understanding and recognition of the actual horror that lies before us all.

Paul Krugman, writing for the New York Times,patiently explains that what is happening right here, right now, is nothing more than the natural endgame of all Republican, “conservative” philosophy. This is where it was all headed, and where it has always been headed. And anyone paying the slightest bit of attention should have seen it coming:

You see, the modern U.S. right is committed to the proposition that greed is good, that we’re all better off when individuals engage in the untrammeled pursuit of self-interest. In their vision, unrestricted profit maximization by businesses and unregulated consumer choice is the recipe for a good society.

Only yesterday, it seems, was the fuzzy, generalized push to “deregulate,” to “free the economy” from any constraints that might have held back corporate profits in the name of the public health, safety or welfare, that dominated Republican “philosophy.”  The idea of any collective responsibility—of a social compact between Americans– was always inherently poisonous to that shiny, conservative ideal. And that aversion to any responsibility for the country as a whole has manifested itself in ways we have seen constantly unfolding during the course of this horrific pandemic, as conservative attitudes have been exposed and highlighted over and over under the harsh glare of reality:

This rage is sometimes portrayed as love of freedom. But people who insist on the right to pollute are notably unbothered by, say, federal agents tear-gassing peaceful protesters. What they call “freedom” is actually absence of responsibility.

The Covid-19 pandemic collided head-on with that philosophy because it was unique: it impacted everyone. It may have seemed to some jaundiced eyes to disproportionately attack poorer, “essential” Americans but in the final analysis it was coming for everyone. It simply didn’t care one whit about economic “status,” and even less about philosophy. And the only way to respond to a calamity that affects everyone is by invoking shared responsibility to defeat it. But this is exactly the message that Republicans belligerently, obstinately, even suicidally, have even now refused to accept.

Rational policy in a pandemic, however, is all about taking responsibility. The main reason you shouldn’t go to a bar and should wear a mask isn’t self-protection, although that’s part of it; the point is that congregating in noisy, crowded spaces or exhaling droplets into shared air puts others at risk. And that’s the kind of thing America’s right just hates, hates to hear.

So now we have a Republican-dominated Senate pathologically hamstrung by its ideological refusal to accept that responsibility towards other Americans. But rather than face its shortcomings, they don’t want to acknowledge the bankruptcy of their philosophy. In fact, they’d rather die than acknowledge it. Krugman cites the zombie-esque, Republican mantra that providing further benefits to distressed American workers will incentivize their desire to remain unemployed. It’s a mantra that in fact ignores their own belief system (because it repudiates the inherent nature of all Americans to better their own lives), but they have fixated on it, like an illusory totem. Continue reading The Republican dream has arrived

AOC’s rebuke to misogyny

WASHINGTON – Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., took to the House floor Thursday morning, July 23rd, 2020 to deliver a candid rebuke of sexism in Congress and beyond in response to comments from Rep. Ted Yoho, R-Fla., who had reportedly called her a vulgar insult.
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“I would also like to thank many of my colleagues for the opportunity to not only speak today but for the many members from both sides of the aisle who have reached out to me in support following an incident earlier this week.About two days ago I was walking up the steps of the Capitol when Representative Yoho suddenly turned a corner, and he was accompanied by Representative Roger Williams. And accosted me on the steps right here in front of our nation’s capitol.

I was minding my own business, walking up the steps, and Representative Yoho put his finger in my face, he called me disgusting, he called me crazy, he called me out of my mind. And he called me dangerous. And then he took a few more steps and after I had recognized his – after I had recognized his comments as rude, he walked away and said, I’m rude, you’re calling me rude. I took a few steps ahead and I walked inside and cast my vote.Because my constituents send me here each and every day to fight for them. And to make sure that they are able to keep a roof over their head. That they are able to feed their families. And that they are able to carry their lives with dignity.

I walked back out and there were reporters in the front of the Capitol, and in front of reporters, Representative Yoho called me, and I quote, a f—— b—-. These are the words Representative Yoho levied against a congresswoman. A congresswoman that not only represents New York’s 14th district but every congresswoman in this country because all of us have had to deal with this in some form, some way, some shape at some point in our lives.And I want to be clear that Representative Yoho’s comments were not deeply hurtful or piercing to me.

Because I have worked a working-class job. I have waited tables in restaurants. I have ridden the subway. I have walked the streets in New York City. And this kind of language is not new. I have encountered words uttered by Mr. Yoho and men uttering the same words as Mr. Yoho while I was being harassed in restaurants. I have tossed men out of bars that have used language like Mr. Yoho’s, and I have encountered this type of harassment riding the subway in New York City. This is not new. And that is the problem. Continue reading AOC’s rebuke to misogyny

Federal Agents being sent to several Democratic cities…why?

July 22, 2020 (Wednesday)

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Today Trump announced that he will send federal agents to Chicago and Albuquerque, New Mexico, as part of his push to advance the idea that he is a “LAW & ORDER” president. Trump insists that “violent anarchists” allied with “radical left” Democrats have launched “a shocking explosion of shootings, killings, murders and heinous crimes of violence.” “This bloodshed must end,” he said. “This bloodshed will end.”

To hear the president tell it, the country is at war against a leftist enemy that is destroying us from within.

But his dark vision is simply not true.

While crime is indeed up in some cities in the last month or so since the stay-at-home orders lifted, crime is nonetheless down overall for 2020. Indeed, violent crime has trended downward now for decades. And more crime in the short term is not exactly a surprise, as we are in an unprecedented time of social upheaval, with a pandemic locking us in our homes, the economy falling apart, and police violence—particularly against Black people—in the news day after day.

What has changed in the last few months, though, is Trump’s strategy for the 2020 election. It is notable how desperate he appears to be to win reelection. While all presidents running for a second term want to win, most of them are also willing to lose if that’s what voters decide. Trump, though, has withheld military funding from an ally to try to rig the election—that was what the Ukraine scandal was about—and, according to John Bolton, begged Chinese leader Xi Jinping to make a trade deal to help get Trump reelected. The insistence that he absolutely must win sets the stage for the federal troops in our cities.

Trump had planned to run on what he believed to be a strong economy, for which he took the credit (although he inherited a growing economy from his predecessor, President Barack Obama). But then the coronavirus hit.

Determined to keep the economy humming along, Trump downplayed the dangers of the virus, convincing his supporters that it was not as serious as Democrats insisted it was; they were, he said, hoping to sabotage his reelection. Then, when it was clear the disease was not a hoax, he was unwilling to use the federal government to address the crisis, and his administration botched early testing and isolation. Death rates spiked as we locked down, but then, as it seemed that infections were leveling off, states reopened quickly, despite warnings from experts that they were opening too soon. Continue reading Federal Agents being sent to several Democratic cities…why?

The Goon Squad Goes to Chicago

by Heather Cox Richardson

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July 20, 2020 (Monday)

The big news today—and it is indeed big news—is that the Trump administration has announced it will be sending federal officers into Chicago, and perhaps other cities run by Democrats, ostensibly to fight crime there.

The move mirrors what the administration has done in Portland, Oregon, where unidentified officers from Customs and Border Protection operating under Trump’s Executive Order to protect monuments and federal property have clashed with local protesters, sometimes grabbing them off the streets and forcing them into unmarked vans. They have fractured a man’s skull and broken another man’s hand; both men were protesting peacefully. The official Department of Homeland Security’s own list of complaints about what it calls “violent anarchists” runs heavily to graffiti and minor vandalism, which local police say they can handle without federal intervention.

“We’re looking at Chicago, too,” Trump said, “We’re looking at New York. All run by very liberal Democrats. All run, really, by the radical left.” He continued: “This is worse than anything anyone’s ever seen. And you know what? If Biden got in, that would be true for the country. The whole country would go to hell.” (While there has been a recent increase in criminal activity, in fact, most major cities have seen a long-term decrease in crime, especially violent crime.) Continue reading The Goon Squad Goes to Chicago

Privatized governance explained

July 12, 2020 (Sunday)

by Heather Cox Richardson

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“The big news today was the administration’s escalating insistence that our public schools must reopen on schedule for the fall. Today, on Fox News Sunday, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos told Chris Wallace (who is one of the Fox News Channel’s actual reporters), “We know that children contract and have the virus at far lower incidence than any other part of the population, and we know that other countries around the world have reopened their schools and have done so successfully and safely.”

Wallace asked her if it was fair to compare countries that have as few as 20 new cases a day with the U.S., which is currently seeing 68,000. DeVos dodged the question.

She vowed to cut off federal funding for public schools that do not reopen. Wallace asked “Under what authority are you and the president going to unilaterally cut off funding, funding that’s been approved from Congress and most of the money goes to disadvantaged students or students with disabilities?” “You can’t do that,” he continued.

Then DeVos said something interesting: “Look, American investment in education is a promise to students and their families. If schools aren’t going to reopen and not fulfill that promise, they shouldn’t get the funds, and give it to the families to decide to go to a school that is going to meet that promise,” she said.

This is the best explanation I’ve seen for why the administration is so keen on opening up the schools. DeVos is not an educator or trained in education or school administration. She is a billionaire Republican donor and former chair of the Michigan Republican Party. She is a staunch proponent of privatizing the public school system, replacing our public schools with charter schools, as her wealthy family managed to do with great success in Michigan, which has been flooded with low-performing charter schools, which have very little oversight.

It seems she is hoping to use the coronavirus pandemic to privatize education across the nation. Continue reading Privatized governance explained

July 4th, 2020 – in review

The real history of Mt. Rushmore
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July 4, 2020 (Saturday)

“Today, on a day presidents traditionally use to avoid politics and reinforce Americans’ shared values, Trump gave a speech dividing Americans into two groups: his supporters and “the radical left, the Marxists, the anarchists, the agitators, the looters, and people who in many instances have absolutely no clue what they are doing.” Trying to get people to look away from the devastating toll of coronavirus on this country—our official death toll is approaching 130,000— Trump is staking out a position as the leader of a culture war.

Today’s speech was an echo of the one he gave yesterday at Mt. Rushmore, where the faces of American presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln are carved into rocks sacred to the Lakota people.

There, Trump set himself up as a defender of American history and culture against a “new far-left fascism” trying to destroy America. “Our nation is witnessing a merciless campaign to wipe out our history, defame our heroes, erase our values and indoctrinate our children,” Trump said. “Angry mobs are trying to tear down statues of our founders, deface our most sacred memorials and unleash a wave of violent crime in our cities.”

Giving such a speech at Mt. Rushmore enabled Trump to illustrate his promise to dominate the enemies he insists threaten his version of America. He superimposed himself, with the commanding power of the U.S. government behind him, over the sacred lands of the Lakota, who have tried since the 1860s to protect those lands, and who now suffer the nation’s highest levels of poverty, as well as the devastating social ills that go with that poverty, including terrible susceptibility to coronavirus as well as horrific numbers of missing and murdered women.
Trump’s performance at Mt. Rushmore was a carefully crafted image of the most powerful man in America dominating the most marginalized people.
Ironically, given his laments about the rewriting of history, his insistence that Mt. Rushmore is “an eternal tribute to our forefathers and to our freedom,” is a pretty huge rewriting of why there is a Mt. Rushmore in the first place.

Continue reading July 4th, 2020 – in review

Compete vs Cooperate

Administration knew about the bounties paid by Russia for the killing of US personnel in Afghanistan

The Administration knew about the bounties in early 2019, and did nothing about it !!!

https://www.startribune.com/ap-sources-white-house-aware-of-russian-bounties-in-2019/571555292/

You will remember this…

“Thanking God”

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“I will never forget hearing the testimonial from a survivor on the large screen at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum during my fifth grade trip to Washington, D.C. The impact that this man’s quote had on me, a young Jewish boy, still remains even years later and will probably stay with me forever.

A man tells of watching another inmate in the camp praying.
“Why are you praying,” he asks.
The man answers, “I am thanking God.”
The first man is stunned. “For what could you be thanking God? What is there to thank God for in this hell?”
And the second man calmly responds, “I am thanking God that he did not make me like them.”

What does this mean to me? It means that the second man doesn’t see himself as someone who should be pitied. He actually considers himself lucky and blessed for the kind of person God created him to be. Even though Jews were being beaten, brutalized, starved and murdered at the hands of the Nazis, this man still believed that the Nazis were actually worse off than he was and they were the ones to be pitied for they had evil in their hearts.

Even as he looked around at his people dying around him and struggling to survive in a situation whose outcome was bleak, he still found gratitude in knowing that he was a kind and humane being in this life. For that, as small as it may seem, he thanked God.

If this prisoner who had been demoralized, enslaved and robbed of his freedom could find something for which to be thankful and could still see something good in a terribly horrific situation, then I can always find the good and the positive in the course of the events in my life.

This man’s outlook will serve as a guide to my own outlook on life. The Nazis could take away the belongings, the freedoms and even the lives of so many Jews, but the Nazis could not steal
who they were inside. To be able to hold your head high and to be at peace with who you are as a human being is truly what is important and is something that no one can take away from you. ” – anon

DoJ Whistleblower at the House Judiciary Committee – June 24th, 2020

 

Barr’s alleged interference in Stone case makes Trump’s potential pardon more scandalous

via WaPo Daily 202 – By James Hohmann with Mariana Alfaro

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Lady Justice is not blind in Bill Barr’s Justice Department. That is the central takeaway from sworn testimony submitted ahead of a congressional hearing this afternoon by star federal prosecutor Aaron Zelinsky, who is speaking out publicly for the first time about the attorney general’s hands-on intervention to scale back the sentencing recommendation for Roger Stone, President Trump’s longtime confidant and political consigliere.

Zelinsky plans to tell the House Judiciary Committee that Barr and his top deputies issued inappropriate orders “based on political considerations,” that prosecutors faced “heavy pressure from the highest levels of the Department of Justice to cut Stone a break,” and that there was an expectation Stone should be treated “differently and more leniently” because of his “relationship with the president.”

A mountain of evidence shows that Stone briefed Trump and other senior campaign officials during the 2016 campaign on what he knew about plans by WikiLeaks to release damaging information about Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. The emails the group released had been hacked by Russian military intelligence. Stone was convicted by a federal jury on seven counts of lying to Congress and witness tampering.

Career prosecutors recommended that Stone serve between seven and nine years based on a number of aggravating factors, including threats to harm a witness who could incriminate him if he cooperated with authorities. “Prepare to die,” Stone messaged the witness, Randy Credico. Prosecutors concluded that Stone’s perjury also resulted in “substantial interference in the administration of justice,” and they said that he continued trying to obstruct justice after he was indicted. Continue reading DoJ Whistleblower at the House Judiciary Committee – June 24th, 2020

Associated Press Fact Check of trump’s False Statements this Week

yesterday
Saturday, June 20, 2020, in Tulsa, Okla. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump falsely said at his rally Saturday night that Democratic rival Joe Biden apologized for opposing his restrictions on travel from China early in the coronavirus pandemic. Scrambling to explain an unusually thin rally crowd, his campaign wrongly pinned blame on blockades by protesters for driving the masses away.

Trump spoke in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in an arena with thousands of empty seats, a striking disconnect from the million people he had said wanted to come. It was his first rally in months and played out as coronavirus infections have been rising in Tulsa and the state.

Trump’s remarks followed days of self-congratulation as well as trashing of the Obama administration in which Biden served as vice president. Many of the president’s statements — on the pandemic, public unrest over police brutality, his record on veterans and more — were inaccurate.

A sampling from his statements Saturday night and the past week: Continue reading Associated Press Fact Check of trump’s False Statements this Week

Police violence videos during Floyd protests

One might think that protests against police brutality would show extreme examples – and yes, they have…

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https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/u/1/d/1YmZeSxpz52qT-10tkCjWOwOGkQqle7Wd1P7ZM1wMW0E/htmlview?pru=AAABcql6DI8%2AmIHYeMnoj9XWUp3Svb_KZA

https://tinyurl.com/GFProtestPoliceBrutality

Gen. Mattis commentary on trump circa June 2020

He “does not even pretend to try” to unite Americans, the former defense secretary said, breaking his long public silence on the president amid protests across the nation.

 

Credit…Pablo Martinez Monsivais/Associated Press

By Eric Schmitt and   June 3, 2020

WASHINGTON — Former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, breaking months of public silence on President Trump since resigning in protest in December 2018, on Wednesday offered a withering critique of the president’s leadership amid growing protests across the country.

“Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people — does not even pretend to try,” Mr. Mattis wrote in a statement issued late Wednesday. “Instead he tries to divide us. We are witnessing the consequences of three years of this deliberate effort. We are witnessing the consequences of three years without mature leadership.”

Mr. Mattis, a retired four-star Marine Corps general, also criticized comments by the current defense secretary, Mark T. Esper, who in recent days has described protest sites across the nation as a “battle space” to be cleared.

“We must reject any thinking of our cities as a ‘battle space’ that our uniformed military is called upon to ‘dominate,’” Mr. Mattis wrote. “At home, we should use our military only when requested to do so, on very rare occasions, by state governors. Militarizing our response, as we witnessed in Washington, D.C., sets up a conflict — a false conflict — between the military and civilian society.” Continue reading Gen. Mattis commentary on trump circa June 2020

History Will Judge the Complicit – via Anne Applebaum in The Atlantic

History Will Judge the Complicit

Why have Republican leaders abandoned their principles in support of an immoral and dangerous president?

Borja Alegre

Story by Anne Applebaum 

On a cold march afternoon in 1949, Wolfgang Leonhard slipped out of the East German Communist Party Secretariat, hurried home, packed what few warm clothes he could fit into a small briefcase, and then walked to a telephone box to call his mother. “My article will be finished this evening,” he told her. That was the code they had agreed on in advance. It meant that he was escaping the country, at great risk to his life. Though only 28 years old at the time, Leonhard stood at the pinnacle of the new East German elite. The son of German Communists, he had been educated in the Soviet Union, trained in special schools during the war, and brought back to Berlin from Moscow in May 1945, on the same airplane that carried Walter Ulbricht, the leader of what would soon become the East German Communist Party. Leonhard was put on a team charged with re‑creating Berlin’s city government. Continue reading History Will Judge the Complicit – via Anne Applebaum in The Atlantic