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Letters from an American by Heather Cox Richardson

Ahavati
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JohnnyBlaze said:^ Regarding NATO, no country is island. Great to hear.

Right? Because humans are a species, not a geographical area.

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February 21, 2021

On ABC’s This Week this morning, Representative Steve Scalise (R-LA) refused to admit that Democrat Joe Biden had legitimately won the 2020 presidential election.

It’s hard to overestimate how dangerous this lie is. It convinces supporters of the former president that they are actually protecting American democracy when they fight to overturn it. Jessica Watkins is one of 9 members of the right-wing paramilitary group the Oath Keepers indicted for their actions on January 6. Yesterday, her lawyer told the court that Watkins behaved as she did because she believed that then-President Donald Trump would use the military to overturn what he falsely insisted was the rigged election.

“However misguided, her intentions were not in any way related to an intention to overthrow the government, but to support what she believed to be the lawful government. She took an oath to support the Constitution and had no intention of violating that oath…."

Watkins claims she was given a VIP pass to the pro-Trump rally, had met with Secret Service agents, and was charged with providing security for the leaders marching to the Capitol from Trump’s January 6, 2021, rally.

Supporters of the former president are portraying the deadly attack on the Capitol on January 6 as a legitimate expression of anger over an election in which states did not follow their own rules. This is a lie that the Trump wing hopes will resurrect their lost power. Politico’s Gabby Orr and Meridith McGraw report that Trump is planning to “exact vengeance” on the Republicans who have turned against him, running his own candidates in 2022 to undercut them. Earlier this week, he met with Scalise.

Trump’s big lie is deeply cynical, and yet it is falling on the ears of voters primed to believe it.

Republican Party leadership launched the idea that Democrats could not win an election legitimately all the way back in 1986. They began to examine the made-up issue of voter fraud to cut Democrats out of the electorate because they knew they could not win elections based on their increasingly unpopular policies.

In 1986, Republicans launched a “ballot integrity” initiative that they defended as a way to prevent voter fraud, but which an official privately noted “could keep the black vote down considerably.” In 1993, when Democrats expanded voter registration at certain state offices—the so-called Motor Voter Law-- they complained that the Democrats were simply trying to enroll illegitimate Democratic voters in welfare and unemployment offices.

In 1994, Republicans who lost elections charged that Democrats only won through voter fraud, although then, as now, fraud was vanishingly rare. In 1996, House and Senate Republicans each launched year-long investigations into what they insisted were problematic elections, one in Louisiana and one in California. Keeping investigations of alleged voter fraud in front of the media for a year helped to convince Americans that voter fraud was a serious issue and that Democrats were winning elections thanks to illegal voters.

In 1998, the Florida legislature passed a voter ID law that led to a purge of voters from the system before the election of 2000, resulting in what the United States Commission on Civil Rights called “an extraordinarily high and inexcusable level of disenfranchisement,” particularly of Democratic African American voters.

After 2000, the idea that Democrats could win only by cheating became engrained in the Republican Party as their increasing rightward slide made increasing numbers of voters unhappy with their actual policies. Rather than moderating their stance, they suppressed the votes of their opponents. In 2016, Trump operative and self-proclaimed “dirty trickster” Roger Stone launched a “Stop the Steal” website warning that “If this election is close, THEY WILL STEAL IT.” The slogan reappeared briefly in 2018, and in 2021, it sparked an attack on our government.

The idea that Democrats cannot legitimately win an election has been part of the Republican leadership’s playbook now for a generation, and it has worked: a recent survey showed that 65% of Republicans believe the 2020 election was plagued by widespread fraud, although election officials say the election was remarkably clean.

Republican lawmakers are going along with Trump’s big lie because it serves their interests: claiming fraud justifies laws to suppress Democratic votes. Alice O’Lenick, a Republican-appointed election official in Gwinnett County, Georgia, endorsed restrictive measures, saying, “they have got to change the major parts of [laws] so we at least have a shot at winning.”

But that is not the only story right now.

[ Continued below ]


Ahavati
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Tomorrow, the Senate Judiciary Committee will begin the nomination process for Biden’s prospective attorney general, Merrick Garland. While he was still Judiciary Committee chair, Lindsey Graham (R-SC) seemed curiously resistant to holding a hearing for Garland.

Now, Trump Republicans have made their demands clear in a letter to new Judiciary Committee chair Dick Durbin (D-IL). It is signed by all but two of the Republicans on the committee, illustrating that the Republican contingent on the Senate Judiciary Committee is made up of Trump supporters. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Charles Grassley (R-IA), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), John Cornyn (R-TX), Mike Lee (R-UT), Josh Hawley (R-MO), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Thom Tillis (R-NC), and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) want Garland “to commit the Department of Justice” to investigating New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, for his handling of the coronavirus in his state.

Garland, 68, is well-known as a moderate centrist, who made headlines when he oversaw the prosecution of the Oklahoma City bombers in 1995-1997. On Saturday, he released his opening statement to the committee.

He reaffirmed that the attorney general should be the lawyer for the people of the United States, not for any one individual. He noted that 2020 was the 150th anniversary of the founding of the Department of Justice (DOJ), created during the Ulysses S. Grant administration to protect the rule of law in the southern states where, at the time, Ku Klux Klan members were murdering their Black neighbors to keep them from exercising their rights.

The rules developed in those years are the foundation for the rule of law, Garland wrote in apparent criticism of the previous president’s DOJ. We need the Justice Department to be independent from partisan influence, including that coming from the White House. We need it to provide clear guidelines for FBI intelligence operations. We need it to treat the press respectfully and to be as transparent as possible. We need it to respect the professionalism of the DOJ’s career employees, and to have clear guidelines for prosecutors.

Garland went on to outline what he sees as the crucial mission he would undertake as Attorney General: guaranteeing the equal justice to all Americans promised 150 years ago and still elusive. “Communities of color and other minorities still face discrimination in housing, education, employment, and the criminal justice system; and bear the brunt of the harm caused by pandemic, pollution, and climate change,” he wrote.

He pledged to protect Americans from abuse from those who control our markets, “from fraud and corruption, from violent crime and cybercrime, and from drug trafficking and child exploitation” while also being ever-mindful of terrorist attacks.

Then Garland took head-on the big lie: “150 years after the Department’s founding, battling extremist attacks on our democratic institutions remains central to its mission.”

“If confirmed,” he wrote, “I will supervise the prosecution of white supremacists and others who stormed the Capitol on January 6—a heinous attack that sought to disrupt a cornerstone of our democracy: the peaceful transfer of power to a newly elected government.

—-

Submitted February 22, 2021

Notes:

https://www.cnn.com/2021/02/21/politics/oath-keepers-vip-security-capitol-riot/index.html

https://www.ajc.com/news/atlanta-news/calls-grow-for-republican-gwinnett-elections-board-chair-to-resign/DB56QUPOMJDR5PENQQVJ6XEHPU/

https://www.cruz.senate.gov/files/documents/Letters/2021.02.17%20--%20Letter%20to%20Durbin%20for%20Investigation%20into%20NY%20Coverup%20-%20FSVdocx.pdf

https://beta.documentcloud.org/documents/20489414-sjc-testimony-garland

https://www.nytimes.com/1986/10/25/us/gop-memo-tells-of-black-vote-cut.html

https://www.ajc.com/news/atlanta-news/calls-grow-for-republican-gwinnett-elections-board-chair-to-resign/DB56QUPOMJDR5PENQQVJ6XEHPU/

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/mar/30/trump-republican-party-voting-reform-coronavirus

https://www.cnn.com/2020/11/13/business/stop-the-steal-disinformation-campaign-invs/index.html

https://www.americansurveycenter.org/research/after-the-ballots-are-counted-conspiracies-political-violence-and-american-exceptionalism/

https://www.politico.com/news/2021/02/20/trump-republican-party-midterms-470370

https://www.npr.org/2021/02/21/969385557/merrick-garland-heads-for-confirmation-hearing-5-years-after-he-was-denied-a-vot

https://www.cnn.com/2021/02/20/politics/read-merrick-garland-opening-statement/index.html

https://beta.documentcloud.org/documents/20489414-sjc-testimony-garland

JohnnyBlaze
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Ahavati said:On ABC’s This Week this morning, Representative Steve Scalise (R-LA) refused to admit that Democrat Joe Biden had legitimately won the 2020 presidential election.

Yep, I watch that show every Sunday morning.

Unbelievable, but hardly surprising.

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This Big Lie is becoming a cancer nibbling away at democracy that will assuredly contribute to the unrest, and, unfortunately, more deaths.

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February 22, 2021

Today the United States passed the heartbreaking marker of 500,000 official deaths from COVID-19. President Biden held a ceremony tonight to remember those lost, saying "On this solemn occasion, we reflect on their loss and on their loved ones left behind. We, as a Nation, must remember them so we can begin to heal, to unite, and find purpose as one Nation to defeat this pandemic." The South Portico of the White House was illuminated with 500 candles—one for every thousand lives lost—and the president will order flags on federal property lowered to half staff for five days in their memory.

And yet, there is good news on the horizon: By the end of March, Pfizer plans to ship more than 13 million vaccine doses per week to the United States; Moderna plans to deliver 100 million doses; and Johnson & Johnson expects to ship at least 20 million doses. This means that by the end of March, the United States is on track to receive 240 million doses. By mid-year, we should receive about 700 million doses, which is enough to vaccinate our entire population. By the end of the year there should be 2 billion doses for the whole world.

Sixty-seven percent of Americans, including 34% of Republicans, approve of Biden’s response to the coronavirus.

Aside from the pandemic news, there were two important developments today on the national level: a series of Supreme Court decisions and Merrick Garland’s confirmation hearings for the position of attorney general. Together, these showed quite strikingly that Trump supporters are retreating into a politics of grievance while Democrats are embracing policy and governance.

The Supreme Court (often abbreviated SCOTUS, for Supreme Court of the United States), today denied former president Trump’s request to block a grand jury subpoena for his financial records. In its investigation into hush money allegedly paid by the Trump Organization to Stormy Daniels during the 2016 presidential race, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance’s office subpoenaed eight years of financial information from Trump’s accountant, Mazars USA. Trump has fought the subpoena all the way to SCOTUS, but today the court upheld the decision of the lower court that his accountant must produce the information. Mazars USA should turn over the documents, which run to millions of pages, this week.

The former president issued a statement rehashing his usual litany of complaints about how he is treated, saying this was “a continuation of the greatest political Witch Hunt in the history of our Country.” He said the decision, made by a court on which three of his own appointees sit, was “all Democrat-inspired.” It is, he said, “political persecution.”

SCOTUS also refused to hear eight cases Trump or his allies had brought over the 2020 presidential election. It appears SCOTUS is done with the former president.

But Trump is not done with politics. He will be speaking this Sunday at the annual conference of the Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC), which has turned into a pro-Trump gathering. Senators Mike Lee (R-UT), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Josh Hawley (R-MO), Tom Cotton (R-AR), and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) are all scheduled to speak at the convention, on topics like “Why the Left Hate the Bill of Rights… and We Love It,” and “Fighting for Freedom of Speech at Home and Across the World.”

Mike Allen of Axios heard from a longtime Trump advisor that, in his speech on Sunday, Trump will indicate that he is the Republicans’ “presumptive 2024 nominee” and is in control of the party. He is eager to take revenge on those who have not supported him, and plans to encourage primary challengers to them in 2022. He is expected to lay into President Biden as a failure of the Washington, D.C., swamp, and to promise to take on that swamp again from the outside.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) reported today that Trump reported his earnings from his businesses during his four years as president at $1.6 billion.

Today, the Senate Judiciary Committee held hearings for the confirmation of Judge Merrick Garland as attorney general. Garland is famously a moderate, and his confirmation is expected to sail through. The senators questioning him could use their time as they wished, and the results were revealing.

Pro-Trump Republican Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Josh Hawley (R-MO) seemed to be creating sound bites for right-wing media. They complained that the Democrats under the “Obama-Biden” administration had politicized the Department of Justice, including the Russia investigation, and demanded that the abuses they alleged had occurred under Obama be addressed. They made no mention of Attorney General William Barr and his use of the office as an arm of Trump’s White House.

It was striking to hear long-debunked complaints about 2016 reappear in 2021. Honestly, it felt like they were just rehashing an old script. They are clearly pitching for 2024 voters, but will their politics of grievance resonate in three more years?

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[ Continued below ]

Senators Tom Cotton (R-AR) and Ben Sasse (R-NE) tried to carve out their own space in the presidential pack, as well. Cotton tried to get Garland to admit that Biden’s call for racial equity, rather than racial equality—by which Biden means that some historically marginalized groups may need more than equal treatment—was itself racist. It was an obscure point that didn’t land. Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE), who voted to convict Trump in his impeachment trial, pressed Garland somewhat interestingly on the president’s power, then nodded to QAnon with a statement against the notorious sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein.

In contrast to them was the performance of the new Democratic senator from Georgia, Jon Ossoff, who asked Garland first about protecting voting rights, then about funding public defenders, then about civil rights investigations, using the specific example of Ahmaud Arbery, murdered in 2020 in Georgia while jogging. Ossoff’s focus on policy and governance illustrated the difference between Senate Republicans and Democrats.

For his part, Garland hammered home his conviction that the Department of Justice should represent the people of the United States and should enforce the rule of law for all. When Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) asked him to explain why he wanted to give up a lifetime appointment as a judge to take the job of attorney general to fight “hate and discrimination in American history,” Garland answered:

“I come from a family where my grandparents fled anti-Semitism and persecution. The country took us in and protected us. And I feel an obligation to the country to pay back. And this is the highest, best use of my own set of skills to pay back. And so, I want very much to be the kind of attorney general that you’re saying I could become. I’ll do my best to try to be that kind of attorney general.”

—-

Submitted February 23, 2021

Notes:

https://www.democracydocket.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/45/2020/11/File-Stamped-11-13-20-Complaint-00583801xA4094.pdf

https://www.npr.org/sections/coronavirus-live-updates/2021/02/22/970233291/as-u-s-death-toll-nears-half-a-million-biden-plans-to-order-flags-to-half-staff

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2021/02/22/trump-taxes-supreme-court-refuses-step-halt-turnover/3685217001/

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2021/02/22/trump-taxes-supreme-court-refuses-step-halt-turnover/3685217001/

Trump statement is at:

Brian J. Karem
@BrianKarem
In response, former president Trump claims he's a victim of "political persecution".  
SCOTUSblog @SCOTUSblog

BREAKING: After 4 months of inaction, SCOTUS in a one-sentence unsigned order declines Trump's request to further postpone enforcement of a Manhattan DA subpoena for his financial records. The order clears the way for a NY grand jury to obtain the records & review them in secret.
February 22nd 2021

45 Retweets297 Likes
Ossoff:


Chris Geidner
@chrisgeidner
Sen. Jon Ossoff (D-GA) is up in the Garland hearing, and his first question is about DOJ protecting voting rights; his second question is about public defender funding; and his third is about civil rights pattern and practice investigations, referencing the South Fulton Jail.
February 22nd 2021


1,035 Retweets7,552 Likes
https://www.cnn.com/politics/live-news/trump-tax-returns-scotus-2-22-20/index.html

https://news.gallup.com/poll/329948/biden-gets-high-marks-covid-response.aspx

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/22/us/politics/supreme-court-trump-taxes-financial-records.html

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-court-election/u-s-supreme-court-formally-pulls-the-plug-on-election-related-cases-idUSKBN2AM1S1

https://www.businessinsider.com/trump-says-hes-being-persecuted-scotus-ruling-tax-returns-2021-2

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2021/02/22/daily-202-attorney-general-nominee-merrick-garland-faces-cpac-speaker-grilling/

https://www.axios.com/trump-2024-republican-party-cpac-b687bd9f-6702-47cb-b1ac-d112deb23880.html

https://www.citizensforethics.org/reports-investigations/crew-investigations/trump-reported-making-more-than-1-6-billion-while-president/

https://www.cnn.com/videos/health/2021/02/22/coronavirus-deaths-us-pandemic-gupta-pkg-lead-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/top-news-videos/

JohnnyBlaze
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^ It's about time we get a clear look at those tax returns. The repeated excuse that they couldn't be released while he was being audited was flimsy enough over 4 years ago.

And Ted Cruz . . . that little trip to Cancun may have ended his career.

Ahavati
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JohnnyBlaze said:^ It's about time we get a clear look at those tax returns. The repeated excuse that they couldn't be released while he was being audited was flimsy enough over 4 years ago.

And Ted Cruz . . . that little trip to Cancun may have ended his career.


What are you talking about?

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Ahavati said:

What are you talking about?


LOLOLOL

Ahavati
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February 23, 2021

Someone asked me today why former president Trump seems still to get more news coverage than President Biden. My answer was that Trump is still a powerful force and explodes into the news because he is so unpredictable, while Biden is behaving like presidents always did before Trump, holding meetings and letting Congress get on with its own business, which is much less immediately newsworthy for all that it matters in the longer term.

I am reminded of the 2012 Calvin and Hobbes cartoon by Bill Watterson in which Calvin wonders why comic book superheroes don’t go after more realistic bad guys. “Yeah,” Hobbes answers. “The superhero could attend council meetings and write letters to the editor, and stuff…. ‘Quick! To the bat-fax!’”

“Hmm…” Calvin answers. “I think I see the problem.”

Today was a bat-fax kind of day.

The Senate committees on rules and homeland security today organized into a joint session to hear testimony about what happened on January 6, the day of the deadly insurrection in which rioters attacked the U.S. Capitol to stop the counting of electoral votes that would make Democrat Joe Biden president. The testimony told us mostly that what happened that day is still contested. Former U.S. Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund and former House Sergeant-at-Arms Paul D. Irving disagreed about what happened when, and on what they said about deploying the National Guard.

Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Josh Hawley (R-MO), who encouraged the rioters by their willingness to challenge the counting of the certified ballots, questioned the law enforcement officials about their actions during the insurrection. While Cruz drew criticism for scrolling through his phone during opening testimony, Hawley drew attention by appearing to refer to himself when he said that suggestions that Capitol Police leadership were “complicit” in the insurrection were “disrespectful” and “really quite shocking.”

The only firm information that came out of the hearing was that Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) used his time to read into the record an account of the January 6 insurrection that laid blame for the violence not on right-wing supporters of former president Trump, but on “provocateurs” and “fake Trump protesters.” The account came from a far-right website. Johnson is trying to convince Americans that, contrary to what our eyes and the testimony of the rioters tell us, the attack on our government came not from Trump supporters but from the left. It is a lie, and it is worth questioning why Johnson feels that lie is important to read into the Congressional Record.

The Senate, meanwhile, voted to confirm Linda Thomas-Greenfield as the United States ambassador to the United Nations by a vote of 78 to 21. The no votes were all Republicans, prompting conservative columnist Jennifer Rubin to tweet: “[T]hat 20 Rs could oppose diplomat Linda Thomas-Greenfield—an African American woman with decades of career experience tells you just how extreme and beyond reason these people are.” Thomas-Greenfield served in the Foreign Service from 1982 and was the U.S. assistant secretary of state for African affairs from 2013 to 2017, when she was fired by the Trump administration as part of a general purge. Just next week, on March 1, Thomas-Greenfield will assume the leadership of the U.N. Security Council, the top decision-making body for the organization.

President Biden had his first bilateral meeting today with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada, and Biden made it a point to say it was his first bilateral meeting. Both leaders focused on democratic values, ending racism, and addressing climate change. Biden expressed American support for the release of Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, who have been held for two years by the Chinese government. The men were accused without evidence of being spies, likely in retaliation for Canada’s decision to detain Meng Wanzhou, a Chinese technology executive, at the request of American prosecutors.

Biden’s meeting with Trudeau emphasized that American foreign policy will return to its traditional alliances. Trudeau thanked Biden for “stepping up in such a big way in tackling climate change.”

“U.S. leadership has been sorely missed over the past years,” Trudeau said.
—-

Submitted February 24, 2021

Notes:

https://www.gocomics.com/calvinandhobbes/2012/12/01

https://www.forbes.com/sites/jemimamcevoy/2021/02/23/top-capitol-security-officials-disagree-over-basic-facts-of-national-guard-delays-on-jan-6/

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/09/world/asia/china-canada-michael-kovrig-spavor.html

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2021/02/23/joe-biden-seeks-reinvigorate-us-canada-relations/4546288001/

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2021/02/23/joe-biden-seeks-reinvigorate-us-canada-relations/4546288001/

Aaron Rupar @atrupar
Ron Johnson is using his questioning time during the Capitol security hearing to promote a conspiracy theory that the January 6 insurrectionists weren't actually Trump supporters, but were "provocateurs" and "fake Trump protesters"
February 23rd 2021

3,883 Retweets12,144 Likes


https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2021/02/23/how-effort-deny-reality-jan-6-attack-is-evolving/

https://www.politico.com/news/2021/02/23/un-ambassador-linda-thomas-greenfield-471172

https://www.baltimoresun.com/opinion/columnists/zurawik/bs-ed-zontv-0223-insurrection-hearing-20210223-qkzoucc54vgpxkaxvfq5zadkpe-story.html

https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/josh-hawley-capitol-insurrection-complicity-questioning-police-1132266/

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/ted-cruz-phone-capitol-riots-hearing-b1806270.html

https://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=117&session=1&vote=00064#position

Jennifer 'pro-reality' Rubin @JRubinBlogger
that 20 Rs could oppose diplomat Linda Thomas-Greenfield - an African American woman with decades of career experience tells you just how extreme and beyond reason these people are
February 23rd 2021

2,849 Retweets11,978 Likes

JohnnyBlaze
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^ Ron Johnson insisted his last term was to be his last term.

Apparently he's planning on running again and wants the pro Trump crowd at his back. Otherwise there is no point in bothering with this conspiracy baloney ... unless truly he went off the deep end.

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February 24, 2021

At 4:42 p.m., exactly a year ago, then-President Trump tweeted: “The Coronavirus is very much under control in the USA. We are in contact with everyone and all relevant countries. CDC & World Health have been working hard and very smart. Stock Market starting to look very good to me!”

On February 7, Trump had told journalist Bob Woodward something very different. “This is deadly stuff,” he said. The coronavirus is “more deadly than your, you know, your, even your strenuous flus.”

And now, here we are. As of February 24, 2021, the United States has suffered more than 503,000 official deaths from COVID-19. We have 4% of the world’s population and have suffered 20% of deaths from coronavirus. On Monday, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the chief medical advisor to President Joe Biden, blamed political divisions for the horrific death toll.

Vaccinations rates are picking up, and now nearly 1 in 5 adults have had their first shot. Today, the Biden administration announced it will be distributing “no cost, high quality, washable” masks to community health centers and food pantries across the country, supplying masks for 12-15 million Americans. Dr. Fauci announced $1.15 billion in funding for studying those whose Covid-19 symptoms are not going away.

The pandemic has crippled the nation’s economy, and a new The Economist/YouGov poll reveals that 66% of Americans said they support Biden’s $1.9 billion American Rescue Plan; 25% of Americans said they oppose it. This means it is the most popular piece of legislation since the 2007 minimum wage hike. Also popular is the proposed $15 minimum wage hike, which is supported by 56% of Americans and opposed by 38%, making it more popular than anything former president Trump did while in office.

More than 150 of the nation’s business leaders are now backing the rescue plan, saying it is necessary for “a strong, durable recovery.”

And yet, Republicans are, so far, united against the proposal. While the party remains split, party leaders appear to be lining up behind Trump and the big lie that Biden stole the election, entrenching them as a hostile opposition rather than giving them any room to work with Democrats to move the country forward. They are devoting their energies for the future primarily to voter suppression.

Studies of Republican voters suggest that they continue to support former President Trump and are turning against anyone who accepts Biden’s victory as legitimate. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) popularity has dropped 29 points among Kentucky Republicans since he broke with Trump.

Republicans appear to be solidifying their identity with the former president, at the state level, at least. In Virginia, Republicans have decided to nominate candidates for November elections simply with a drive-up convention held on May 8 on the campus of Liberty University, a private evangelical Christian school founded by Jerry Falwell, Sr. Voters will choose candidates for governor, lieutenant governor, and attorney general at that time and location.

The internal fight over the swing into Trump’s corner was on display today when Republican House leadership was asked whether they thought Trump should speak at this weekend’s Conservative Political Action Committee conference (CPAC). Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) responded: “Yes, he should.” Immediately, Republican Conference Chair Liz Cheney (R-WY), who voted to impeach Trump in January over his incitement of the insurrection, said: “That's up to CPAC. I’ve been clear on my views about President Trump. I don't believe that he should be playing a role in the future of the party or the country."

Trump is scheduled to speak at CPAC, where there will be seven panels echoing his insistence that voter fraud plagues our elections. And yet, as Trump and his supporters continue to insist that the election was stolen, news broke this week that two separate audits of the 2020 election in Maricopa County, Arizona, found no fraud.

Today, in the interest of stopping voter fraud, which is virtually nonexistent, the Iowa Senate passed a bill shortening the period of early voting and creating a strict cutoff for absentee ballots. All the Republicans voted in favor; all the Democrats voted against.

Georgia lawmakers, too, are advancing measures to slash mail-in voting to protect against voter fraud, even as two counties in the Atlanta area want attorneys’ fees from Trump and the chair of the Georgia Republican Party for frivolous lawsuits designed to overturn the 2020 election. “Given the number of failed lawsuits filed by the former president and his campaign, petitioners apparently believed that they could file their baseless and legally deficient actions with impunity, with no regard for the costs extracted from the taxpayers’ coffers or the consequences to the democratic foundations of our country,” wrote lawyers for Cobb County.

In Congress today, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, a Trump backer whose reorganization of the United States Postal Service last summer appeared linked to an effort to hamper the delivery of mail-in ballots, testified about those delays. Representative Jim Jordan (R-OH), whose approach to hearings is generally to try to manufacture sound bites for right-wing news shows, accused Democrats of attacking DeJoy to score points before the election. “It was all a charade,” he said. “It was all part of the predicate for laying the groundwork for the mail-in balloting, and all of the chaos and confusion the Democrats wanted.”

[ Continued below ]

Ahavati
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Representative Gerry Connolly (D-VA) noted that a number of federal judges prevented DeJoy from implementing the changes he wanted, and that Trump had lied to supporters for months that mail-in ballots would create fraud. Then he pushed back angrily against Jordan’s accusations of partisanship. “I didn’t vote to overturn an election,” Connolly said, referring to Jordan’s objection to counting electoral votes on January 6 and 7. “And I will not be lectured by people who did.”

News broke today that a close friend of new Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), Anthony Aguero, was part of the January 6 insurrection, breaching the Capitol. “We were all there,” Aguero said in a video posted the day after the riot. “It was not Antifa and it was not BLM. It was Trump supporters that did that yesterday. I'm the first to admit it, being one myself.”

He said: “We need to stand up for our country. So patriots stand up for their country and they come out here to physically try to take back their house. The House of the people…. Now you have people on the right acting like they’re holier than thou, holier than holy…. ‘Oh, I'm appalled. I don’t condone this.’ What the h*ll do you expect conservatives to do? Do you want us to continue to sit there? Complacent, continue to take the higher route and keep getting f**ked in the a**. I’m sorry for using that language, but I’m sick and tired of the hypocrisy.”

“I stand with people like Marjorie Taylor Greene proudly,” Aguero said. “That woman has more courage than most of the men that were in that building. No, not most. That woman has more courage than every single man that was in that Capitol yesterday.”

Although Republican lawmakers might not admit publicly that Biden is president, they met with him today in the Oval Office to discuss something of interest to members of both parties: bringing vital supply chains home. Today, the president signed an executive order to review our national supply chains of vital materials to bring outsourced chains back to the U.S. Both Biden and Republican lawmakers spoke highly of their meeting. Representative Michael McCaul (R-TX) told the Wall Street Journal: “It was very substantive and they want follow-up meetings to move with some speed on this.” Moving supply chains home from China, among other places, should create jobs.

—-

Submitted February 25, 2021

Notes:


G. Elliott Morris
@gelliottmorris
#NEW: 66% of Americans in a new The Economist/YouGov poll said they support Biden's economic/covid-19 relief plan. 25% said they oppose it.

According to data from @cwarshaw, this makes Biden's bill the most popular key legislative/executive action since the min wage hike of 2007
February 24th 2021

669 Retweets1,812 Likes


https://www.politico.com/news/2020/09/09/trump-coronavirus-deadly-downplayed-risk-410796

https://www.abc15.com/news/region-phoenix-metro/central-phoenix/results-two-audits-find-no-issues-with-maricopa-county-elections

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-fauci-idUSKBN2AM2O9

https://www.cnn.com/2021/02/24/politics/business-leaders-biden-covid-plan/index.html

https://www.cnn.com/2021/02/24/politics/business-leaders-biden-covid-plan/index.html

https://www.ajc.com/politics/election/cobb-dekalb-want-attorneys-fees-for-meritless-trump-lawsuit/56XP3IZCQBHUDMEU2RYN2CKOAU/

https://richmond.com/news/state-and-regional/govt-and-politics/state-gop-leaders-opt-for-drive-up-convention-at-liberty-university-to-nominate-candidates/article_d4ae16f9-2c44-5872-8a1d-5d2ba18fef62.html#tracking-source=home-the-latest

Judd Legum
@JuddLegum
In case you were wondering why Trump agreed to speak at CPAC this year the conference features SEVEN PANELS dedicated to perpetuating Trump's lies about election fraud
February 24th 2021

1,703 Retweets5,446 Likes


https://www.gpb.org/news/2021/02/24/new-omnibus-georgia-senate-proposal-would-severely-restrict-absentee-voting

https://www.wsj.com/articles/biden-to-address-chip-shortages-supply-chain-problems-with-executive-action-11614160803

https://www.cnn.com/2021/02/24/politics/biden-25-million-masks-community-health-centers/index.html

https://morningconsult.com/2021/02/16/gop-senate-approval-2022-polling/

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/congress/mccarthy-cheney-clash-over-whether-trump-should-speak-cpac-n1258743

https://www.cnn.com/2021/02/24/politics/kfile-marjorie-taylor-greene-close-ally-in-capitol-mob/index.html

https://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/politics/2021/02/22/iowa-legislature-public-hearing-elections-bill-shorten-early-voting-county-auditor-charges/4542108001/

https://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/politics/2021/02/22/iowa-legislature-public-hearing-elections-bill-shorten-early-voting-county-auditor-charges/4542108001/

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2021/01/07/us/elections/electoral-college-biden-objectors.html

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/get-used-to-me-defiant-dejoy-previews-more-cost-cutting-measures

Andy Slavitt
@aslavitt46
20 million Americans (1 in 12 adults) are now fully vaccinated with 2 doses.

Nearly 1 in 5 have adults have had their first shot, including 45% of people over 65.

The pace is picking up now. More vaccines, vaccination locations, and vaccinators are on the way.
February 25th 2021

718 Retweets4,524 Likes


JohnnyBlaze
JohnnyBlaze
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^ All encouraging so far. It's so great that Richardson weaves it altogether, because there are elements in these letters that are falling through the cracks of nationally televised news. Like the story of Greene's friend at the Capitol insurrection.

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