A list of trump’s business failures

Column: A lengthy list of Trump’s disastrous business deals — compiled by his newest business partners

 

trump
Donald Trump, business genius?
(Associated Press)

Donald Trump’s business history has been so filled with disastrous ventures that it’s been hard to keep track of them all.

No longer. Digital World Acquisition Corp., which is the special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC, taking Trump’s “Truth Social” media platform public, has conveniently listed them in a document it is required to file publicly before selling stock. DWAC is aiming to raise at least $875 million.

Some followers of Trumpworld may find that the S-4 registration statement filed Monday in anticipation of the Trump-SPAC merger makes hilarious reading. It’s certainly thorough, though there’s always the chance that a business failure here or there escaped its drafters’ notice.

President Trump is involved in numerous lawsuits and other matters that could damage his reputation, cause him to be distracted from the business or could force him to resign from TMTG’s board of directors.

— Digital World Acquisition Corp. Form 2-4

The litany appears in a section of the S-4 headed “Risk Factors,” specifically “Risks Related to our Chairman President Donald J. Trump.” Continue reading A list of trump’s business failures

Women in Ancient Greece – The Plays

by Jeff Searle – Tuesday, 28 May 2013

AntigoneLysistrata and Medea: Feminism in Classical Greece

It seems a paradox, given the breadth of popular political rights under democracy, that women had fewer rights and less freedom in most Greek cities than in contemporary Egypt and Persia. In the fiercely masculine world of ancient Greece, only males were educated and allowed to vote. The Greek love of athletics and physical perfection, worshipped in the gymnasium and on the Olympic field, was limited to the male body. In Sparta women enjoyed relatively more independence, partly because men spent so much time in barracks: Spartan women competed in gymnastics, could own land and divorce their husbands, and held influence in community matters. Nonetheless, the Greeks’ celebrated thought and inquiry hit a brick wall where gender was concerned.

Though the realities of life meant that lower-class women might work – and slaves certainly would – wealthier Greek women were expected to stay in domestic isolation, limited to childbearing, weaving and managing the household. They had no choice in marriage, becoming an object of exchange between the father and bridegroom, and had little control over property. Greek houses had an andron or men’s room, equipped with a door to the street so that no woman need pass through; here men would recline on seats to sing, drink and talk politics, as recreated in Plato’s Symposium. But the only women permitted in these discourses were servants, entertainers or hetairai (prostitutes).

Women were the targets of various hostile ideas: they were high-pitched, polluting creatures, inferior imitations of men. It was a woman, Pandora, who in Greek mythology was responsible for opening a jar and releasing evil into the world [1]. Aristotle held many sexist views, arguing for example that the female character was “a sort of natural deficiency”. The historian Xenophon wrote that women should “see and hear as little as possible, and ask the fewest possible questions”.

There is always a difference between the world of such statements and life as it was actually lived, but we would not expect female characters and deeds to be celebrated in such an atmosphere. It is typical of the wonderful contradictoriness of real life that in spite of all this misogyny, classical Greek theatre provides us with arguably the world’s first ‘feminist’ plays. Here we shall pick out three outstanding texts: AntigoneLysistrata and Medea. Continue reading Women in Ancient Greece – The Plays

Opposing Putin’s Crime Family is Deadly

For example:

Mikhail Lesin, Alexander Litvinenko, Anna Politkovskaya, Natalia Estemirova, Stanislaw Markelov, Anastasia Baburova, Boris Nemtsov, Boris Berezovsky, Paul Klebnikov, Sergei Yushenkov, Alexei Navalny, Sergei Kkripal, Vladimir Kara-Murza, and the list goes on…

….which is MBS’s favorite way too…

The midterms hit the runway

April 20, 2022 (Wednesday)
Yesterday, Arizona governor Doug Ducey brought the Republican governors of 26 states together in the “American Governors’ Border Strike Force” to serve as a “force multiplier” in what he says is “criminal activity directly tied to our border.” For all of Ducey’s rhetoric about how the force is supposed to “accomplish what the federal government has failed at, protecting our communities from ruthless transnational criminal organizations,” the “strike force” is supposed to “share intelligence, strengthen analytical and cybersecurity efforts, and improve humanitarian efforts to protect children and families.”
This measure is pretty clearly a political ploy before the midterms. As the Texas Tribune reports, since 2005, Texas governors have launched widely publicized border initiatives during political campaigns, insisting that they would manage what the federal government was ignoring. Billions of dollars later, it is not clear they have accomplished anything.
Most recently, with Operation Lone Star in 2021, Texas Governor Greg Abbott deployed more than 10,000 members of the Texas National Guard and state troopers to the border, at a cost of about $25 million a week for the troopers and $2 billion a year for the National Guard members. That’s almost five times what the legislature had budgeted. While the administration has claimed success, an investigation by ProPublica, the Texas Tribune, and the Marshall Project suggests that it is taking credit for arrests that had nothing to do with border issues and were often handled by law enforcement officers unconnected with Operation Lone Star. Most arrests are not of human traffickers or smugglers but of people accused of trespassing on private property.
And so, it appears, messaging for the midterms is in full swing. Continue reading The midterms hit the runway

On the Corruption Perception Index

The big three of China, India, and Russia all present themselves as federal secular democratic republics; but in practice, none of them meet the standards for such a label.

At best under Modi, India is a federal republic with a parliamentary system, China is best described as “an autocratic capitalist State with one-party rule”, while Russia can only claim to be a Federal authoritarian state.

All employ similar tactics and operating modes of advice, consent, justice, representation, personal freedom, responsibility, and control. For example, India is only slightly more hospitable to journalists than China, while Russia is on record of eliminating those who do not toe the Party line.

All are jealously nativistic, asserting almost a divinity for their citizens which is not shared with their neighbors. While India has Kashmir, China has Tibet, and Russia has Ukraine. All three have made conquest and integration of the subject areas into the home country a primary goal, while the citizens in these subject areas have adamantly refused to voluntarily join their larger neighbor.

All three have a per capita income rate below the World median. All three suffer from endemic corruption, with none rated higher than 50 (out of a possible 100 point score) on the Transparency International Corruption Perception Index, (CPI). with a ranking for China at 78 from the top, India ranked at 86, and Russia at 129. Incidentally, the US is ranked in 25th position as of 2021.

Included in the least corrupt, in rank order are: Denmark, New Zealand, Switzerland, Finland, Singapore, Sweden. Norway, Netherlands, Germany, and Luxembourg. Our friends to the north come in ranked eleventh in the world.

On the notion that America would be better off if we had more nativism

Autocrats like Orban, Modi, Putin, Un, and Xi plus a large segment of the US Right-Wing want to recommend a greater emphasis and cultural focus on the “purity” of their citizens, racially, ethically, and socially.

The 1960’s beat generation emphasized the “melting pot” motif for America; but today’s evangelicals are much more in tune with autocracy than they are with democracy. The following are some considerations if we envision some form of a homogenous society. Biologists and tree-huggers point to a potent flaw in  homogeneity – it lowers the flexibility and adaptability of the organisms to internal and external pressures.

  • Formula One races are predominately won by drivers from the UK (at 14), and Germany (at 11). The US comes in 10th with 2 wins. So cheering for the hometown boys at Sebring is a losing proposition.
  • Without black athletes, who make up 58% of all players, there would be no NFL games as we know it. And then there’s the NBA.
  • Since 1901, there have been 947 individuals recognized as Nobel Laureates. Of those, 432, or 46 percent, have been U.S. based Nobel Laureates; 284 were native-born U.S. citizens and 148 were foreign born. In 2021, seven of the 13 Nobel Laureate winners were from the United States, and five of them were not born in the United States.
  • White’s comprise only 56% of total US Graduate enrollment. Roughly 45% of undergrads in the nation’s colleges and universities are people of color: (POC), while 32% of students in grad school are POC.
  • More than half of all international students in doctoral studies are in STEM fields, whereas their white US brethren are most numerous in education or health care fields Continue reading On the notion that America would be better off if we had more nativism

Eric Boehlert’s last article

Why is the press rooting against Biden?

Burying great news

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Like clockwork, the first Friday of the month brought another blockbuster jobs report. The U.S. economy under President Joe Biden added another 400,000-plus new jobs in March, it was announced last week.

Biden is currently on pace, during his first two full years in office, to oversee the creation of 10 million new jobs and an unemployment rate tumbling all the way down to 3 percent. That would be an unprecedented accomplishment in U.S. history. Context: In four years in office, Trump lost three million jobs, the worst record since Herbert Hoover.

Yet the press shrugs off the good news, determined to keep Biden pinned down. “The reality is that one strong jobs report does not snap the administration out of its current circumstances,” Politico stressed Friday afternoon. How about 11 straight strong job reports, would that do the trick? Because the U.S. economy under Biden has been adding more than 400,000 jobs per month for 11 straight months.

The glaring disconnect between reality and how the press depicts White House accomplishments means a key question lingers: Why is the press rooting against Biden? Is the press either hoping for a Trump return to the White House, or at least committed to keeping Biden down so the 2024 rematch will be close and ‘entertaining’ for the press to cover? Is that why the Ginni Thomas insurrection story was politely marched off the stage after just a few days of coverage last week by the same news outlets that are now in year three of their dogged Hunter Biden reporting? (“ABC This Week” included 19 references to Hunter Biden yesterday.)

Just look at the relentlessly dour economic coverage. For the press, inflation remains the dominant, bad-news-for-Dems economic story. Even on Friday, the day the stellar jobs report was released, “inflation” was mentioned on cable news nearly as often as “jobs,” according to TVeyes.com.

Axios contorted itself by claiming Biden’s promise to add “millions” of new jobs (which he’s already accomplished), was being threatened because there aren’t enough workers, because so few people are out of work— or something. Continue reading Eric Boehlert’s last article

When faith dissipates

A Funeral for My Christianity

A friend told me that I seemed angry lately and at first it really pissed me off.  I instantly mounted a spirited, vigorous defense laying out the reasons she had assessed me incorrectly but soon found myself trailing off, resigned to a harsh, unwelcome truth: She was right, or at least she was in the ballpark.

It’s an easy mistake to make. From the outside, grief looks a lot like anger. The external markers tend to be similar: impatience, bitterness, violent outbursts, a loss of optimism—but the difference is that the source of it all is a profound loss. Something or someone has died and this is the mourning that has come to take up residence in your chest cavity in its absence.

Looking around at my country right now I can’t help but grieve at the passing of the faith I used to know, the one I grew up believing would always be home for me, the one I once wanted to make my life’s work. I am witnessing the second death of Jesus here in American Christianity and no I’m not dealing with it well. Continue reading When faith dissipates

Russian lie: “we leave no one left behind”…

Russia’s war dead belie its slogan that no one is left behind

As Russian mothers and widows grieve, countless bodies are unclaimed in Ukraine

Damaged trees and Russian military equipment near a Ukraine military position in Irpin on April 2,2022. (Heidi Levine for The Washington Post)
EDITOR’S NOTE

This story contains graphic images of bodies.

Soon after the invasion began, a hashtag war slogan popped up everywhere in Russia: “We don’t leave ours behind.” But many were.

In Irpin, on the outskirts of the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, two Russian soldiers killed in battle lay on a street corner, covered with a sheet of metal, legs poking out. A third lay a few feet away near a burned-out armored personnel carrier, a lower leg gnawed by dogs. A fourth lay further along the road, the victim of a mine.

In Moshchun, a once-idyllic hamlet northwest of Kyiv, another Russian soldier died inside a dimly lit kitchen, lying on a bench with a gruesome groin wound. Ten others were scattered about, several on the fringes of a forest.

While countless bodies have been abandoned on the battlefield, many more have found their way back to their families, but Russia’s overall death toll, though staggering, remains elusive. At home, the Kremlin has clamped down on news of military casualties, apparently wary of how a nation’s grief could turn volatile. In 2015, Putin signed a decree declaring all military deaths a state secret, and last year Russia criminalized statements discrediting the military. Continue reading Russian lie: “we leave no one left behind”…

On disinformation

Images of Barack Obama and Maria Ressa with Disinformation and the Erosion of Democracy event art between them

(Ian Forsyth / Getty; Joel Saget / AFP / Getty; The Atlantic)

by Jeffrey Goldberg in The Atlantic – Apr 6th, 2022

“Last week, a Michigan congresswoman whose existence had not yet entered the rest of the country’s consciousness credited Donald Trump with having “caught Osama bin Laden,” among other terrorists. It is difficult to forget that night in 2011 when Barack Obama told the world that, on his orders, a team of Navy commandos had killed the al-Qaeda leader. But Representative Lisa McClain, a first-term member of Congress, showed that, with effort, and with a desire to feed Trump’s delusions and maintain her standing among his supporters, anything is possible.

In ordinary times, McClain’s claim would have been mocked and then forgotten. But because these are not ordinary times—these are times in which citizens of the same country live in entirely different information realities—I put her assertion about bin Laden on a kind of watch list. In six months, I worry, we may learn that a provably false claim made by a single unserious congressional backbencher has spread into MAGA America, a place where Barack Obama is believed to be a Kenyan-born Muslim and Donald Trump is thought to be the victim of a coup.

Disinformation is the story of our age. We see it at work in Russia, whose citizens have been led to believe the lies that Ukraine is an aggressor nation and that the Russian army is winning a war against modern-day Nazis. We see it at work in Europe and the Middle East, where conspiracies about hidden hands and occult forces are adopted by those who, in the words of the historian Walter Russell Mead, lack the ability to “see the world clearly and discern cause and effect relations in complex social settings.” We see it weaponized by authoritarians around the globe, for whom democracy, accountability, and transparency pose mortal threats. And we see it, of course, in our own country, in which tens of millions of voters believe that Joe Biden is an illegitimate president because the man he beat in 2020 specializes in sabotaging reality for personal and political gain. This mass delusion has enormous consequences for the future of democracy. As my colleague Yoni Appelbaum has noted, “Democracy depends on the consent of the losers.” Sophisticated, richly funded, technology-enabled disinformation campaigns are providing losers with other options. Continue reading On disinformation

The state of the War today: Apr 5th, 2022

How can the world respond to Russian atrocities?

The destruction in Bucha, Ukraine, on Sunday.
Ivor Prickett for The New York Times

Weapons and sanctions
Civilians lay dead in the middle of the street. Others lay by the side of the road, next to or underneath their bicycles. Often, the victims had been shot in the head. Some of them had their hands tied.

 

These are the scenes that the world is discovering as Russian troops retreat from the area around Kyiv. In one suburb, Bucha, President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine alleged that Russia had tortured and killed more than 300 people, with the death count still rising. In another town, Nova Basan, residents told The Times’s Carlotta Gall about being beaten, tortured and subjected to mock executions. In response to these atrocities against Ukrainian civilians, President Biden and European leaders vowed yesterday to take new measures against Russia. Today’s newsletter explains their options. They fall into two main categories: weapons for Ukrainian troops and economic sanctions against Russia.

 

Weapons
The West is already providing Ukraine with a large number of weapons, especially shoulder-fired missile systems like Javelins and NLAWs. Those systems have helped Ukraine repel Russian troops in several parts of the country, including around Kyiv.

 

But Zelensky has criticized the West for not sending a broader array of weapons. He has also asked for fighter jets and S-300 missile systems, which are based on the back of trucks and can shoot down airplanes and missiles. “If we don’t have heavy weapons, how can we defend ourselves?” he said last week. “Just give us missiles. Give us airplanes.”The West has refused. Some Western military officials argue that these weapons will not help Ukraine as much as Zelensky thinks. But the main reason seems to be a fear that Vladimir Putin might see the weapons as a precursor to a Western invasion of Russia and respond by widening the war, including potentially with nuclear weapons.

 

It is a difficult balance for the West, as I described in an earlier newsletter. A wider war could be even more horrific. On the other hand, the refusal to give Ukraine what it wants also brings a big downside: Without more planes and missile systems, Ukraine may struggle to recapture territory in the east and south that Russia now occupies.“Putin is in control of large parts of Ukraine, and we know atrocities are occurring there,” Frederick Kagan, a military expert at the American Enterprise Institute, told me. So far, Kagan said, the West has mostly been providing Ukraine with smaller weapons that help defend territory. But for Ukraine to retake territory — and to stop the violence there — it also needs weapons that are useful on offense. Continue reading The state of the War today: Apr 5th, 2022

Republic or Democracy?

Here we go again. A commentator online asserts “America is a Republic, not a Democracy”, and depending on a person’s political orientation the notion could be partially true, or totally false
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The United States, like most modern nations, is neither a pure republic nor a pure democracy. Instead, it is a hybrid democratic republic. The main difference between a democracy and a republic is the extent and the means by which the people control the process of making and enforcing rules and laws under each form of government.

 

But in modern practice, it has more to do with HOW the representatives are chosen. In Russia, some countries in Africa and Latin America, or the DPRK, representatives are selected by the ruling Party which makes the laws and rules all citizens must follow. In a democracy ALL the eligible citizens select their representatives from a multi-party offering in a fair and just manner.

 

So America has been, at times, more oriented toward republicanism, like when women, non-property owners, and black people could not select their preferred representatives. Other times, like during the second and third FDR administrations or the Kennedy/Johnson years there was a strong movement in support of “The Commons”, meaning everyone.

 

The word ‘democracy’ has its origins in the Greek language. It combines two shorter words: ‘demos’ meaning whole citizen living within a particular city-state and ‘kratos’ meaning power or rule. On the contrary, “republic” is derived from the Latin expression res publica (“the public thing”), the category of “republic” could encompass not only democratic states but also oligarchies, aristocracies, and monarchies.

 

See the difference?

“Fair and Balanced” – a’int

Fair & Balanced A'int

by Heather Cox Richardson – Mar 30, 2022

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“CBS News has hired Mick Mulvaney as a paid on-air contributor. In his first official appearance on Tuesday morning to talk about President Joe Biden’s budget proposal, anchor Anne-Marie Green introduced Mulvaney as “a former Office of Management and Budget director,” and said, “So happy to have you here…. You’re the guy to ask about this.”

Mulvaney was a far-right U.S. representative from South Carolina from 2011 to 2017, when he went to work for then-president Trump as the director of the Office of Management and Budget. While in that position, he also took over as acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the government organization organized by Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) after the financial crisis of 2008. In its first five years, the CFPB recovered about $11.7 billion for about 27 million consumers, but in Congress, Mulvaney introduced legislation to abolish it. At its head, Mulvaney zeroed out the bureau’s budget and did his best to dismantle it.

While retaining his role at the head of the Office of Management and Budget, Mulvaney took on the job of acting White House chief of staff on January 2, 2019. This unprecedented dual role put him in a key place to do an end-run around official U.S. diplomats in Ukraine and to set up a backchannel to put pressure on newly elected Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky to announce he was launching an investigation into the actions of Joe Biden’s son, Hunter.

As director of OMB, Mulvaney okayed the withholding of almost $400 million Congress had appropriated for Ukraine’s protection against Russia. In May 2019, he set up “the three amigos,” Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland, special envoy Kurt Volker, and Energy Secretary Rick Perry, to pressure Zelensky. When the story came out, Mulvaney told the press that Trump had indeed withheld the money to pressure Zelensky to help him cheat in the 2020 election. “I have news for everybody,” he said. “Get over it. There’s going to be political influence in foreign policy.” He immediately walked the story back, but there it was.

This event was the basis for Trump’s first impeachment. While Republican senators refused to hold Trump accountable, the Government Accountability Office found that withholding the money was illegal. Ironically, the GAO report came out during Trump’s second impeachment.

And yet, CBS News hired Mulvaney and simply introduced him as a former director of the OMB, saying he was the guy to explain Biden’s budget. (After the episode, the CBS News standards department reminded staffers they should always identify people with their relevant biographical information.) Continue reading “Fair and Balanced” – a’int

Democracy vs Authoritarianism

Heather Cox Richardson  

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“Today, Russia continued its offensive against Ukraine, striking hard at civilians in Kyiv and Mariupol. The Russian army is gaining ground, but it appears to be sustaining massive losses of personnel and equipment which, in turn, is making leaders focus on grinding Ukraine into submission through sheer brutality.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) announced that Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky will speak virtually to Congress on Wednesday morning. They said: “The Congress remains unwavering in our commitment to supporting Ukraine as they face [Russian president Vladimir] Putin’s cruel and diabolical aggression, and to passing legislation to cripple and isolate the Russian economy as well as deliver humanitarian, security and economic assistance to Ukraine. We look forward to the privilege of welcoming President Zelenskyy’s address to the House and Senate and to convey our support to the people of Ukraine as they bravely defend democracy.”

The American focus on the horrors unleashed on Ukraine has clarified our own struggle between democracy and authoritarianism here at home.

In the Freedom House 2022 report on the dire threat to global freedom, released last month, authors Sarah Repucci and Amy Slipowitz noted that “democracies are being harmed from within by illiberal forces, including unscrupulous politicians willing to corrupt and shatter the very institutions that brought them to power.” Their primary example was that of the United States, which “has fallen below its traditional peers on key democratic indicators, including [presidential] elections, freedom from improper political influence, and equal treatment of minority groups.”

Repucci and Slipowitz explained that in the U.S. and elsewhere, “Undemocratic leaders and their supporters… have worked to reshape or manipulate political systems, in part by playing on voters’ fears of change in their way of life…. They have promoted the idea that, once in power, their responsibility is only to their own demographic or partisan base, disregarding other interests and segments of society and warping the institutions in their care so as to prolong their rule. Along the way, the democratic principles of pluralism, equality, and accountability—as well as basic stewardship and public service—have been lost, endangering the rights and well-being of all residents.” Continue reading Democracy vs Authoritarianism

The argument for a hierarchical society by Andrew Carnegie

Originally titled simply “Wealth” and published in the North American Review in June 1889, Andrew Carnegie’s essay “The Gospel of Wealth” is considered a foundational document in the field of philanthropy. Carnegie believed in giving wealth away during one’s lifetime, and this essay includes one of his most famous quotes, “The man who dies thus rich dies disgraced.” Carnegie’s message continues to resonate with and inspire leaders and philanthropists around the world.

Download a PDF COPY of “The Gospel of Wealth”

 

 

“The Gospel of Wealth”

By Andrew Carnegie

The problem of our age is the proper administration of wealth, so that the ties of brotherhood may still bind together the rich and poor in harmonious relationship. The conditions of human life have not only been changed, but revolutionized, within the past few hundred years. In former days there was little difference between the dwelling, dress, food, and environment of the chief and those of his retainers. The Indians are today where civilized man then was. When visiting the Sioux, I was led to the wigwam of the chief. It was just like the others in external appearance, and even within the difference was trifling between it and those of the poorest of his braves. The contrast between the palace of the millionaire and the cottage of the laborer with us today measures the change which has come with civilization.

This change, however, is not to be deplored, but welcomed as highly beneficial. It is well, nay, essential for the progress of the race, that the houses of some should be homes for all that is highest and best in literature and the arts, and for all the refinements of civilization, rather than that none should be so. Much better this great irregularity than universal squalor. Without wealth there can be no Mæcenas. The “good old times ” were not good old times. Neither master nor servant was as well situated then as to-day. A relapse to old conditions would be disastrous to both—not the least so to him who serves—and would sweep away civilization with it. But whether the change be for good or ill, it is upon us, beyond our power to alter, and therefore to be accepted and made the best of. It is a waste of time to criticize the inevitable. Continue reading The argument for a hierarchical society by Andrew Carnegie

The U.S. Midterm Election Risks

Risk 3: US midterms

EURASIA GROUP
3 JANUARY 2022

The 2022 midterms will be one of the most important in US history. The votes will take place amid allegations of fraud by both Democrats and Republicans, and they will set up a 2024 presidential election that Donald Trump, if he runs, will either win outright or try to steal. This year’s vote will not itself provoke a crisis, but it represents a historic tipping point.

GOP midterm success is baked in. Opposition parties usually win big in the midterms following the election of a first-time president, and Joe Biden’s poll numbers are sagging beneath the weight of the pandemic and failed election promises that he would “end the virus.” Republicans will almost certainly take back majority control of the House of Representatives and potentially the Senate as well. But if Democrats lose, they will blame the Republican victory on the suppression of minority voters and on partisan redistricting. If Republicans underperform, they will claim fraudulent election procedures and dishonest vote counting. Either way, tens of millions of Americans will view the midterms as rigged.

Presuming Republicans retake at least one chamber of Congress, Democrats will view GOP control as illegitimate and reject Republican oversight and subpoena power. Republicans will view their 2022 success not as a validation of the integrity of American elections but as further evidence that the 2020 race was stolen from them. Bipartisan cooperation will be snuffed out quickly in this historically polarized environment, especially because beginning impeachment proceedings against Biden will be at the top of the Republican agenda. Worse, public trust in American political institutions will take yet another hit.
Continue reading The U.S. Midterm Election Risks

It’s time to confront the Trump-Putin network

It’s time to confront the Trump-Putin network

A stunning number of Trump’s closest associates had deep ties to the Kremlin. The significance of this cannot be overstated

President Trump Speaks at Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, Florida - 26 Feb 2022<br>Mandatory Credit: Photo by Joe Marino/UPI/REX/Shutterstock (12825143s) President Donald Trump pumps his fist following his speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC22) in Orlando, Florida on Saturday, February 26, 2022. President Trump Speaks at Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, Florida - 26 Feb 2022
‘The most striking role of the Russian government in the 2016 US election was its many, many ties with the Trump campaign.’ Photograph: Joe Marino/UPI/Rex/Shutterstock

In 2014, the Putin regime invaded Ukraine’s Crimea. In 2016, the same regime invaded the United States. The former took place as a conventional military operation; the latter was a spectacular case of cyberwarfare, including disinformation that it was happening at all and promulgation of a lot of talking points still devoutly repeated by many. It was a vast social-media influencing project that took many forms as it sought to sow discord and confusion, even attempting to dissuade Black voters from voting.

Additionally, Russian intelligence targeted voter rolls in all 50 states, which is not thought to have had consequences, but demonstrated the reach and ambition of online interference. This weekend, British investigative journalist Carole Cadwalladr said on Twitter, “We failed to acknowledge Russia had staged a military attack on the West. We called it ‘meddling.’ We used words like ‘interference.’ It wasn’t. It was warfare. We’ve been under military attack for eight years now.”

Lt Colonel Alexander Vindman Interview

By CHAUNCEY DEVEGA

PUBLISHED FEBRUARY 28, 2022 6:00AM (EST) in Salon

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Given the state of the world and this country, how are you feeling?

It depends on the day. In general, I remain optimistic. As a historian, I look at the scope of the challenges the United States has had to overcome. On the day to day, we are in the heat of battle, and it is hard to maintain that optimism. It is really disturbing that the events of Jan. 6 were not sufficient to correct the direction this country is going in terms of political polarization.

Your tone of voice suggests that even in the face of all these challenges you are hopeful about the country. How do you maintain that?

America has faced many challenges. At the time it was hard to see that light at the end of the tunnel when we were in the midst of seismic events such as the Vietnam War, for example, or the 1960s more generally. But we persevered and made incremental progress as a country. We are on one of those trajectories where we make a few steps forward and then take a step back. The country has not been properly prepared for the changes and challenges of the 21st century. Large swaths of the population have been left behind and that has left fertile grounds for radicalization.

Nativism and racism and ethnocentric nationalism were able to gain purchase there. We find ourselves in a really difficult moment right now. What I find so fascinating about the American people is their deep sense of patriotism, especially when they perceive a threat to the country. At present, the country is so divided that those different audiences and groups see a completely different set of threats. Nefarious political actors, both domestically and overseas, have been able to exploit those differences to drive a wedge between us. Continue reading Lt Colonel Alexander Vindman Interview

Ukraine – Day Three

by Heather Cox Richardson, Sat Feb 26th, 2022
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We are in what feels like a moment of paradigm shift.

On this, the third day of Russia’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine, it appears the invasion is not going the way Russian president Vladimir Putin hoped. The Russians do not control the airspace over the country, and, as of tonight, despite fierce fighting that has taken at least 198 Ukrainian lives, all major Ukrainian cities remain in Ukrainian hands. Now it appears that Russia’s plan for a quick win has made supply lines vulnerable because military planners did not anticipate needing to resupply fuel and ammunition. In a sign that Putin recognizes how unpopular this war is at home, the government is restricting access to information about it.

Russia needed to win before other countries had time to protest or organize and impose the severe economic repercussions they had threatened; the delay has given the world community time to put those repercussions into place.

Today, the U.S. and European allies announced they would block Russia’s access to its foreign currency reserves in the West, about $640 billion, essentially freezing its assets. They will also bar certain Russian banks from the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication system, known as SWIFT, which essentially means they will not be able to participate in the international financial system. Lawmakers expect these measures to wreak havoc on Russia’s economy.

The Ukrainian people have done far more than hold off Putin’s horrific attack on their country. Their refusal to permit a corrupt oligarch to take over their homeland and replace their democracy with authoritarianism has inspired the people of democracies around the world.

The colors of the Ukrainian flag are lighting up buildings across North America and Europe and musical performances are beginning with the Ukrainian anthem. Protesters are marching and holding vigils for Ukraine. The answer of the soldier on Ukraine’s Snake Island to the Russian warship when it demanded that he and his 12 compatriots lay down their weapons became instantly iconic. He answered: “Russian warship: Go f**k yourself.”

That defiance against what seemed initially to be an overwhelming military assault has given Ukraine a psychological edge over the Russians, some of whom seem bewildered at what they are doing in Ukraine. It has also offered hope that the rising authoritarianism in the world is not destined to destroy democracy, that authoritarians are not as strong as they have projected. Continue reading Ukraine – Day Three

Just change a few names and we’re at the same place here in America !!!

The Saboteurs

Posted: 25 Feb 2022 07:38 AM PST

If the UK government had set out to undermine and degrade our country, it couldn’t have done a better job.

By George Monbiot, published in the Guardian 23rd February 2022

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Imagine that a hostile power managed to infiltrate the UK’s government. Imagine that it set out to demoralise and debilitate this country, destroying our sense of common purpose, undermining our stability and trashing the lives of many of our citizens.

Imagine that it had to operate below the radar, within the structures of a nominally democratic system. Let’s follow this thought experiment for a moment. What would such a hostile force set out to do?

It would seek, first of all, to destroy trust. The people it planted in the government would lie prolifically, then lie about the lies, until we were so disoriented we no longer knew what to believe. They would damage our sense of national cohesion with a blatant disregard for the rules the rest of us must follow. They would seek to ensure that we lost faith in the political system and ceased to believe that those who govern us have our best interests at heart.

The hostile power would also set out to destroy, through subtle and insidious cuts, our social infrastructure: the effective delivery of health, education, social, environmental and local services. It would allow our physical infrastructure – public transport, sewerage, public buildings and other essential services – to deteriorate until, in some cases, it came close to collapse.

It would attack and undermine crucial symbols of national pride, such as the NHS, the BBC, the National Trust and the universities. It would further harm our sense of nationhood by trashing much of what we treasure and love, such as clean rivers, the green beltand well-planned cities.

It would sow division by promoting inequality, enabling a prosperous elite to accumulate ever more of the country’s wealth. After all, as George Orwell remarked during the second world war, “the lady in the Rolls-Royce car is more damaging to morale than a fleet of Goering’s bombing planes”.

It would impede trading relations with our neighbours and major economic partners, in the hope of cutting us off from the world. It would undermine peace agreements and impose internal borders. It would allow crime to run rampant, permitting an explosion of devastating fraud and financial crimes such as money laundering that further harm our international standing and the concept of equality before the law.

Far from stamping out profiteering during a national crisis, the hostile power would create a special channel, enabling favoured interests to guzzle public money. It’s hard to think of a better policy for destroying trust in public life and the sense that we are all in this together.

You can see where this is going. It sometimes seems to me that if this government had set out to harm our country, it could scarcely have done a better job. It seems perversely committed to the destruction of civic life, national pride and a sense of belonging. You can more or less predict Tory policy on any issue by asking yourself: “What’s the most toxic and harmful strategy they could hope to get away with?” Continue reading Just change a few names and we’re at the same place here in America !!!