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Trumps Indictment: Historical and Future Implications II

robert43041
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There is just no way out of this unless the GOP gets rid of its MAGA base , pretty much self-destructs and starts on a new basis...               PS:  yes, the domino effect in the Virginia case does not look good at all for Trump.

Ahavati
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robert43041 said:There is just no way out of this unless the GOP gets rid of its MAGA base , pretty much self-destructs and starts on a new basis...               PS:  yes, the domino effect in the Virginia case does not look good at all for Trump.

If they can't do their jobs, they shouldn't be in there getting paid.

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Donald Trump fined $10,000 for second gag order violation in civil fraud case.

Robert, didn't we have a bet?

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October 25, 2023
HEATHER COX RICHARDSON
OCT 26, 2023


Today, the United States House of Representatives elected a new speaker to replace former speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), who was ousted by Republican extremists. The new speaker, Representative Mike Johnson of Louisiana, had an advantage over rivals because he has been a backbencher in the House fewer than eight years, too invisible to have made many enemies. He is the least-experienced speaker in more than a century.

Senate Republicans openly admitted they didn’t know who he was. Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) added: “Apparently experience isn’t necessary for the speaker job…. We’re down to folks who haven’t had leadership or chairmanship roles, which means their administration of the House will be a new experience for them.”

The Republican conference decided to back Johnson after extremists scuttled their first choice after McCarthy, Louisiana representative Steve Scalise, and after a block of Republicans refused to back Trump loyalist Jim Jordan of Ohio. After Jordan, Minnesota representative Tom Emmer got the nod from the conference…until former president Trump expressed his disapproval.

Democrats repeatedly offered to work with Republicans to elect a speaker who accepted the results of the 2020 presidential election and who agreed to bring to the floor for an up-or-down vote legislation that was widely popular in both parties. The Republicans rejected those offers.

Instead, they have elected a pro-Trump extremist as speaker.

Johnson was instrumental in Trump’s attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. Routinely in touch with Trump, he rallied his colleagues to object to counting the electoral votes from states that Democratic candidate Joe Biden won. As Trump’s legal challenges to the results failed, Johnson pushed a Texas lawsuit against the four states that had given Biden the win, calling for the invalidation of millions of his fellow Americans’ ballots, and echoed lies about Venezuelan interference with ballots.

Johnson has also embraced the far right’s culture wars. He is a self-described evangelical Christian who is staunchly anti-abortion, anti-LGBTQ rights, anti-union, and anti-immigration. He has close ties to the Israeli right wing, and he opposes further aid to Ukraine, saying such money would be better spent at home, but he has also called for extensive cuts to domestic spending programs.

When a reporter asked Johnson about his efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election, the colleagues surrounding him booed and told the reporter to “shut up.” On the floor of the House, every single Republican voted for Johnson.

And so, the House Republicans have caved to the MAGA extremists. Representative Pete Aguilar (D-CA) said that for the Republicans, the search for a speaker hadn’t been about looking for someone interested in “growing the middle class, helping our communities, keeping the cost of healthcare lower, and making life for everyday Americans better.” Instead, Aguilar said, “this has been about one thing…who can appease Donald Trump. House Republicans have put their names behind someone who has been called the most important architect of the [2020] electoral college objections.” A Republican yelled back: “Damn right!”

The Republicans appear to be planning to go before the voters in 2024 with a presidential candidate who is deeply enmeshed in trials over allegedly criminal behavior, whose hastily appointed Supreme Court justices overturned the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision recognizing the constitutional right to abortion, and who tried to steal the 2020 election. Alongside him, they have now elevated a fervently anti-abortion House speaker who backed the former president’s effort to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.

Voters resoundingly rejected both of those positions in 2022.

In contrast to his Republican colleagues, in his welcome to the new speaker, House minority leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) outlined his caucus’s efforts to work with Republicans in a bipartisan way, noting that it was the Democrats who provided the votes to raise the debt ceiling, to pass a continuing resolution to fund the government and thus avoid a shutdown, and to secure disaster assistance for Americans suffering from extreme weather events.

Going forward, he said, House Democrats will “continue to push back against extremism in this chamber and throughout the country. House Democrats will continue to protect Social Security, protect Medicare, protect Medicaid, protect our children, protect our climate, protect low-income families, protect working families, protect the middle class, protect organized labor, protect the LGBTQ community, protect our veterans, protect older Americans, protect the Affordable Care Act, protect the right to vote, protect the peaceful transfer of power, protect our democracy, and protect a woman's freedom to make her own reproductive health care decision.”

But Jeffries’s soft speech covered a steely message. He observed that “Joe Biden won the 2020 presidential election,” adding that “[h]e’s doing a great job under difficult circumstances, and no amount of election denialism will ever change that reality.”

Jeffries pointed out that great presidents of both parties have urged House members to “put aside partisan politics for the good of the American people,” and he noted that Americans are “understandably alarmed at the turbulence of the moment, at the chaos, the dysfunction, and the extremism that has been unleashed in this chamber, from the very beginning of this Congress.” But in what amounted to a warning to the newly empowered extremists, he continued: “But this, too, shall pass. Our country has often confronted adversity, and the good news is we always find a way to make it to the other side.”

“We faced adversity in the 1860s, in the middle of the Civil War, when the country was literally tearing itself apart. We faced adversity in October of 1929 when the stock market collapsed, plunging us into a Great Depression. We faced adversity in December of 1941, when a foreign power unexpectedly struck, plunging us into a world war with the evil empire of Nazi Germany.

“We faced adversity in the Deep South in the 1950s and 60s, when the country was struggling to reconcile the inherent contradictions between Jim Crow segregation and the glorious promises of the Constitution. We faced adversity on September 11th, 2001, when the Towers and the Pentagon were unexpectedly struck, killing thousands of lives in an instant.”

And then, by placing House Republicans in this list, Jeffries tied them to the wrong side of history. “We faced adversity right here in the House of Representatives when on January 6, 2021, a violent mob of insurrectionists incited by some in this chamber overran the House floor as part of an effort to halt the peaceful transfer of power,” he said.

And, he concluded, “[e]very time we faced adversity, the good news here in America is that we always overcome….”



Notes: https://heathercoxrichardson.substack.com/p/october-25-2023

robert43041
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The judge went mild on him.   The stakes will be higher next time.....

robert43041
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So:  MAGA rules.   Just imagine if there were a huge tragedy and the president and the VP die.  Then MAGA takes over the country........

Ahavati
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The judge is breaking his back to not appear partisan. Anyone else would've been handed down jailtime. 10,000 is pocket change to him. Or is it. . .

robert43041
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Pocket change, yes. Still and all, the possibilities that he'll end up in jail increase day by day

Ahavati
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They need to "just do it" already and stop pussyfooting around. Though he seems "quieter" today.

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October 26, 2023
HEATHER COX RICHARDSON
OCT 27, 2023


Today, data from the Commerce Department showed that the U.S. economy grew at an astonishing rate of 4.9% in the third quarter, and we learned that in Lewiston, Maine, a single shooter killed at least 18 people—more people than died by gun homicide in Maine in the whole of 2021—and injured at least 13 others.

These two things are the results of two dramatically different worldviews.

President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, and the administration’s other economic advisors have resurrected the idea that the government can promote economic growth by regulating businesses, protecting workers, and investing in ordinary Americans.

That theory reaches back to the liberal consensus of the years from 1933 to 1981, when members of both parties believed that the intricacies of the modern economy required the federal government to keep the playing field level so that a few people could not monopolize resources and power, cutting others out. In those years, Americans used the government to regulate business, provide a basic social safety net, promote infrastructure, and protect civil rights. The system created what economists call the “great compression.” Wealth and income distribution became much more even, and economic inequality fell dramatically. The economy boomed.

The modern-day Republican Party grew out of a rejection of that idea. In the 1950s and 1960s, a faction insisted that such government action was a form of socialism that stopped the economy from responding efficiently to market forces. Individual entrepreneurs should invest their money without government interference, they argued, and their investments would dramatically expand the economy. Putting money at the “supply side” rather than the “demand side” would allow everyone to prosper together, they promised: a rising tide would lift all boats. They vowed to cut taxes and regulations and to restore American individualism.

Those same people championed the image of the American cowboy as the symbol of the country: a man who wanted nothing from the government but to be left alone to work hard and prosper, and who protected himself and his family—if he had one—with a gun.

That image was always a myth, but it was an attractive one to white voters who had come to resent the government’s protection of civil rights, those voters who listened to politicians who assured them that the government’s actions were simply a way to direct tax dollars into the pockets of undeserving minorities.  

The political image of cowboy individualism played into the hands of the National Rifle Association, which had organized in 1871 in New York in part to improve the marksmanship skills of American citizens who might be called on to fight in another war, and in part to promote in America the British sport of elite shooting, complete with quite hefty cash prizes in newly organized tournaments.

By 1920, rifle shooting was a popular American sport, and the NRA worked hard to keep it respectable. In the 1930s the NRA backed federal legislation to limit concealed weapons; prevent possession by criminals, the mentally ill, and children; require all dealers to be licensed, and require background checks before delivery. The NRA backed the 1934 National Firearms Act and parts of the 1968 Gun Control Act, designed to stop what seemed to be America’s hurtle toward violence in that turbulent decade.

But in the 1970s, a faction in the NRA forced the organization away from sports and toward opposing “gun control.” The NRA formed a political action committee (PAC) in 1975, and in 1980, for the first time, it endorsed a presidential candidate: Republican Ronald Reagan. When Reagan was elected, the NRA became a player in national politics and was awash in money from gun and ammunition manufacturers.

By 2000 the NRA was one of the three most powerful lobbies in Washington. In 2004 the federal assault weapons ban expired, and gun companies began to sell AR-15–style semiautomatic rifles (the AR stands for “ArmaLite Rifle,” which was the name of the military weapon on which the mass-market AR-15 is based). Gun sales had been flat for years, but gun and ammunition sales took off during the administration of Democratic president Barack Obama as advocates told customers that he would confiscate their guns.

Firearms companies played on the politics of the era, advertising their products as tools for heroic figures taking on dangerous threats in society. The firearms industry estimates that about 20 million AR-15s have been sold in the U.S., and mass shootings took off as individual rights trumped the rights of the community.

The NRA spent more than $204 million on the 2008 election. In 2016, NRA spending surged to more than $419 million, with more than $30 million going to support Trump. Since 2020, lawsuits and a dramatic dropoff in funding have dramatically weakened the NRA, but the image of the gun-toting individualist has become so central to the Republican Party that congress members have taken to sending holiday cards showing their families brandishing assault rifles and to wearing AR-15 lapel pins on the floor of Congress.

But now, as the nation reels from another mass shooting, there is yet more proof that Republican economic individualism from which the gun obsession developed doesn’t work as well as the idea of using the government to support the American people. Growth under the Trump administration before the Covid-19 pandemic hit was 2.5%. Trump promised he would get it to 3%, which he claimed was an astonishing rate.

Despite the dire warnings that the economic policies of the Biden administration would cause a terrible recession, Biden and Harris rejected supply-side policies and stood firm on the traditional idea that trying to hold the economic playing field level and investing in workers and infrastructure would nurture the economy. The economy has responded exactly as they predicted, giving the U.S. strong growth for the past five quarters.

Manufacturing has taken off, and the rate of job growth is historic. At the same time, new bargaining power has helped workers make dramatic gains: yesterday the United Auto Workers union and Ford reached a tentative agreement that includes a 25% wage increase over the next 4.5 years, along with cost-of-living adjustments that will bring the increases up to 33%. The union still has to ratify the agreement, but the UAW has called off the strike at Ford plants, suggesting it has faith the union will agree.

A worldview that requires the government to work for the people, rather than handing power to individuals to impose their will on the majority, supports the idea of gun safety laws. Such laws are very popular: in April 2023 a Fox News poll showed that at least 80% of Americans want criminal background checks on gun buyers, better enforcement of existing gun laws, a 21-year age requirement for gun purchases, and mental health checks on gun buyers. Seventy-seven percent wanted a 30-day waiting period to buy a gun; 61% wanted to ban assault rifles and semiautomatic weapons.

cont below

Ahavati
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Those eager to dismantle the government have stood in the way of such measures, but the heartbreaking news out of Maine has changed at least one lawmaker’s stand. Representative Jared Golden (D-ME), who represents Maine’s conservative second district, which includes Lewiston, today apologized for his previous opposition to gun safety laws.

“The time has now come for me to take responsibility for this failure, which is why I now call on the United States Congress to ban assault rifles like the one used by this sick perpetrator of this mass killing," Golden said. "To the families who lost loved ones and to those who have been harmed, I ask forgiveness and support as I seek to put an end to these terrible shootings.”

Maine governor Janet Mills has personal ties to Lewiston, where she worked, met her late husband, and sent their daughters to school. “Lewiston is a special place,” she wrote today. “It is a closeknit community with a long history of hard work, of persistence, of faith, of opening its big heart to people everywhere.

“I love this place, just as I love our whole state with my entire heart. I am so deeply saddened. This city did not deserve this terrible assault on its citizens, on its peace of mind, on its sense of security. No city does. No state. No people.”



Notes: https://heathercoxrichardson.substack.com/p/october-26-2023

robert43041
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Amazing how such shock can so quickly change a person's mind.  But he is the exception:  the new Speaker, as usual with all the MAGA GOP crowd offered prayers............

Ahavati
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. . .

robert43041
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I like the sarcasm in this one................Regards, Robert.

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October 27, 2023
HEATHER COX RICHARDSON
OCT 28, 2023


An article this morning jumped out at me. Catherine Rampell of the Washington Post noted that the U.S. economy “looks remarkably good.” A recent stunning jobs report, showing that the economy continues to add jobs at record rates—more than 13.9 million since President Joe Biden took office—along with yesterday’s stunning report that U.S. economic growth grew at an annual pace of 4.9% in the third quarter of this year, puts the U.S. economy at the forefront of most of the world. And inflation is back in the range that the Federal Reserve prefers—it’s at 2.4%, close to the Fed’s target of 2%.

The U.S. is outperforming forecasts made even before the pandemic began for where the economy would be now, even as other countries are worse off.

And yet, Rampell notes, Americans are about as negative about the economy today as they were during the Great Recession after 2008, when mortgage foreclosures were forcing people out of their homes and unemployment rested at about 9%, more than twice what it is today. In contrast, consumers give high marks to the Trump years, when average growth before the pandemic was 2.5% and the U.S. added only about 6.4 million jobs.

There is a crucial divorce here between image and reality. Americans think our economy, currently the strongest in the world, is in poor shape. They mistakenly believe it was better under Trump.

That profound and measurable disjunction ought to make us sit up and take notice, especially as the Biden administration continues to try to make the economy responsive to ordinary Americans and the country continues to pay little attention. Today, for example, the White House announced an effort to turn the dual problems of empty office buildings and a shortage of affordable housing into a win-win. It announced a series of actions to convert vacant commercial properties to residential buildings. Their efforts are designed to create affordable, energy-efficient housing near public transportation and jobs.  

The importance of identifying the contrast between image and reality in today’s politics showed recently as the meticulous work of Nashville investigative reporter Phil Williams of Tennessee’s NewsChannel 5 appears to have had an important effect on the mayoral election in Franklin, Tennessee.

While far-right Christian nationalist mayoral candidate Alderman Gabrielle Hanson promised she was “committed to restoring and upholding the wholesome values that have long been the foundation of our city’s identity,” Williams exposed to voters Hanson’s shady history. He showed that Hanson had lied about having multiracial supporters and her ties to white supremacists, highlighted her bizarre behavior, and noted her embrace of Christian nationalism.

On Tuesday, voters overwhelmingly rejected Hanson and other far-right candidates. Hanson won just 20.6% of the vote to 79.4% for the incumbent mayor. Then, after losing, Hanson apparently had her husband drop off her computer and ID badge at City Hall, abandoning her term as alderman before its November 14th end.

Such deep investigation stands out in an increasingly turbulent sea of disinformation. Shayan Sardarizadeh of the BBC explained to Hanaa’ Tameez of Neiman Journalism Lab that social media posters on platforms like TikTok, YouTube, or Twitter can make significant sums of money from “engagement farming.” Posting outrageous material that engages viewers pumps up a user’s brand, making them able to command high prices from marketers.  

Sardarizadeh notes that the Israel-Hamas war is a particularly attractive situation for engagement farmers, and rumors and fake videos are flying.

But there are plenty of opportunities for disinformation at home, too, for political purposes. In Ohio, the Republican-controlled Ohio Senate is using its official government website to push what Associate Press legal and medical experts say is “false or misleading” information against the proposed constitutional amendment the state’s voters will consider in the November 7 election. Their inflammatory language warns, for example, that the measure will “legalize abortion on demand at any stage of pregnancy” and permit “the dismemberment of fully conscious children,” the rhetoric of anti-abortion activists.

Julie Carr Smyth and Christine Fernando of the Associated Press report that Republicans began their “On the Record” blog on the state Senate website after Ohio voters rejected their attempts to make it much harder to pass constitutional amendments. The Republicans bill the blog as an “online newsroom” where voters can find “the views the news excludes.” Republican Senate president Matt Huffman denied that the blog was a news service, but it sits under the “News” tab on the Senate’s website.

“My [Republican] colleagues say that this is done because the mainstream media won’t print their stuff,” Democratic state senator Bill DeMora told the reporters. “But of course, the mainstream media won’t pick this up because it’s factually incorrect and basically lies.”

But because the blog appears on an official government website, internet searches turn it up as a reliable source. Laura Manley, executive director of the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, told Smyth and Fernando: “It’s a really strategic way to make something appear to be neutral information and fact when that’s not the reality…. I’ve never seen anything like that.”

Finally, after a two-day manhunt, law enforcement officers found Maine mass murder suspect Robert Card dead tonight from a self-inflicted gunshot. Reports suggest that Card had at least a recent history of mental illness and note that his social media accounts show a history of engagement with right-wing and Republican political content.



Notes: https://heathercoxrichardson.substack.com/p/october-27-2023

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