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Trumps Indictment: Historical and Future Implications II

Ahavati
Tyrant of Words
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robert43041 said:Yes, Canada also has universal health care.  Each province runs its own part.  PS:  I had a big operation a while back.  Four months in the hospital.  My total bill was............0$$, as in ZERO$$$$.  

I cannot tell you how . . . jealous that makes me.

Ahavati
Tyrant of Words
United States 115awards
Joined 11th Apr 2015
Forum Posts: 13038

October 30, 2023
HEATHER COX RICHARDSON
OCT 31, 2023


After three weeks without a speaker, the House today tackled one of the key items on its agenda: providing additional funding for Israel and Ukraine. Immediately, the majority under Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) made it clear that they have every intention of pushing their extremist agenda. Despite pressure from Republican Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), they have split funding for Israel away from the funding for Ukraine and funding for humanitarian assistance for Ukraine, Israel, and Gaza that President Biden has requested.

They have gone further, though, to push the far right’s agenda. The House Republicans’ $14.3 billion aid package for Israel claims that it will “offset” that spending by taking $14.3 billion from funding for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) passed by Congress in the Inflation Reduction Act. But this “offset” is nothing of the sort: funding the IRS brings in significantly more than it costs. For each dollar spent auditing the top 1% of U.S. earners, the IRS brought in $3.18; for each dollar spent auditing the top 0.1%, it brought in $6.29.

In September the IRS noted that it recovered $38 million in delinquent taxes from 175 high-income taxpayers within a few months and would be increasing that effort. A 2021 study showed that people whose income is in the top 1% of earners fail to report more than 20% of their earnings to the IRS.

The House measure, providing aid for Israel only if Democrats agree to set aside Ukraine and Gaza and permit rich people to cheat on their taxes, will set up a fight with the Senate.

Tonight, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre released a statement saying the Republicans’ politicization of our national security interests is a “nonstarter. Demanding offsets for meeting core national security needs of the United States—like supporting Israel and defending Ukraine from atrocities and Russian imperialism—would be a break with the normal, bipartisan process and could have devastating implications for our safety and alliances in the years ahead.”

She noted that there is strong bipartisan agreement that it is in our national security interest to stop the suffering of innocent people in Gaza, “help Ukraine defend its sovereignty against appalling crimes being committed by Russian forces against thousands of innocent civilians,” and invest more in border security.

“Threatening to undermine American national security unless House Republicans can help the wealthy and big corporations cheat on their taxes—which would increase the deficit—is the definition of backwards,” she said.

The chaos among the Republicans and the emergence of a Christian nationalist as their choice to lead the House seem to have drawn increased attention to the successes of the president.

Today, for example, the United Auto Workers announced a tentative deal with General Motors, marking the third such agreement in the union’s six-week strike against GM, Ford, and Stellantis. The agreements include a 25% raise in base wages over 4.5 years, after years in which workers’ pay did not keep up with inflation. The agreements will also protect workers against the conversion to electric vehicles, helping unionized workers to make the transition to a green economy, and reopen certain closed plants.

As Jeanne Whalen noted in the Washington Post, this agreement comes after United Parcel Service (UPS) workers this summer won their strongest contract in decades and 75,000 striking Kaiser healthcare workers won strong wage increases.

Biden was the first president to join a picket line when he stood with the UAW. Today, he said: “Today's historic agreement is yet another piece of good economic news showing something I have always believed: Worker power…is critical to building an economy from the middle out and the bottom up…. We’re finally beginning to build an economy that works for working people, for the middle class, for the entire…country, including the companies.  

“Because when we do that, the poor have a ladder up, the middle class does well, and the wealthy still do very well. We all do well.”

As Michael Tomasky put it in The New Republic, “We have a president who takes seriously the fundamental economic fact of American life of the last 40 years, which is that trillions of dollars of wealth have been transferred from the lower and middle classes to the top 1 percent, and even to the top 0.1 percent. Moreover, it’s rivetingly clear that he thinks that it’s long past time to get that river flowing in the other direction.”

In The Bulwark, Jill Lawrence wrote that Biden has a “surprising focus on the future” as he “moves to meet U.S. challenges that former President Donald Trump largely ignored, failed at, or made worse.” She noted Biden’s achievement of infrastructure legislation after Trump failed, and contrasted Biden’s successful CHIPS and Science Act with the trade war of the Trump years, which cost as many as 245,000 jobs and so badly hurt midwestern farmers that 90% of the proceeds from Trump’s tariffs went to bail them out.

Biden also has looked forward by pushing and securing the Inflation Reduction Act, which invests in a transition to a green economy.

But Lawrence’s focus was primarily on today’s sweeping executive order on artificial intelligence, an order Politico called “the most significant single effort to impose national order on a technology that has shocked many people with its rapid growth.” The administration has been working to establish responsible AI practices, recognizing the need to address discriminatory algorithms, data privacy violations, and deep fakes.

Today, Biden signed an executive order requiring companies to share safety information about their systems before allowing them to be used, in order to make sure they don’t pose a safety or a national security risk. It orders the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security to secure critical infrastructure. It will require AI-generated content to bear a watermark that clearly labels it. It will protect personal data, and Biden promised he would ask Congress for legislation to pass bipartisan legislation to stop technology companies from collecting the personal data of children and teenagers, to ban advertising directed at children, and to limit companies’ collection of personal data in general.  

The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, a technology think tank, applauded the order, saying its guidelines set “a clear course for the United States…. With this EO, the United States is demonstrating it takes AI oversight seriously.”

Vice President Kamala Harris will attend the two-day AI Safety Summit meeting in the United Kingdom on November 1–2 as the European Union closes in on laws about artificial intelligence that would enable the E.U. to shut down services that harm society. The E.U. has been ahead of the U.S. in its regulation of the internet: in August 2023 its Digital Services Act went into effect, requiring users to agree to the use of their personal data for targeted advertising and requiring digital platforms to police the disinformation on their platforms. Most of the companies it regulates are based in the United States.



Notes: https://heathercoxrichardson.substack.com/p/october-30-2023

Ahavati
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Joined 11th Apr 2015
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October 31, 2023 (Tuesday)
HEATHER COX RICHARDSON
NOV 1, 2023


Today, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin testified before the Senate Appropriations Committee about the need to fund military aid to both Ukraine and Israel, along with humanitarian aid to Ukraine, Israel, and Gaza and increased U.S. border security, rather than accept the new measure from extremist House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA). Johnson wants to split off funding for Israel into its own bill and couple it with cuts to the Internal Revenue Service. Those cuts would dramatically decrease tax audits of those with the highest income and thus decrease revenue for the U.S. Treasury; they are popular with Republicans.

Johnson and other extremist Republicans have made it clear they are not interested in continuing to help Ukraine fight off Russia’s invasion.

Blinken and Austin got strong support not only from Senate Democrats, but also from many Senate Republicans, including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who explained why it is important for the United States to “help Ukraine win the war” in a speech at the University of Louisville where he introduced Ukraine’s ambassador to the United States, Oksana Markarova.

“If Russia prevails, there’s no question that Putin’s appetite for empire will extend to NATO [the North Atlantic Treaty Organization], raising the threat to the U.S. transatlantic alliance and the risk of war for America. Such an outcome would demand greater permanent deployment of our military force in Europe, a much greater cost than the support we have provided to Ukraine. And of course, Russian victory would embolden Putin’s growing alliance with fellow authoritarian regimes in Iran and China.”

“So this is not just a test for Ukraine,” McConnell said. “It’s a test for the United States and the free world.”

But at the Senate hearing, protesters from CodePink, the group that describes itself as “a feminist grassroots organization working to end U.S. warfare and imperialism,” had a different agenda. They held up their hands, covered in red paint, with the word “GAZA” written on their forearms, repeatedly interrupting Blinken and calling for an end to funding for Israel, citing what the organization calls “Israel's genocide of Palestine.”

Over the weekend, as Palestinian militants continued to fire rockets into Israel and skirmish with Israeli troops, Israel began to push into northern Gaza in a ground operation U.S. officials said had been changed from the originally planned massive Israeli ground offensive to “surgical” strikes that would hit high-value Hamas targets but spare Palestinian civilians.

That advance was accompanied by even fiercer airstrikes than previous ones, and today an attack on a Palestinian refugee camp appears to have caused significant civilian loss. The Israeli military said the attack “eliminated many terrorists and destroyed terror infrastructure,” with underground Hamas installations collapsing and taking adjacent buildings down with them.

From the time of Hamas’s initial strike against Israel on October 7, the Biden administration has been keen to stop the crisis from spreading. President Joe Biden was firm in his repeated declarations that the U.S would stand firmly behind Israel, warning “any country, any organization, anyone thinking of taking advantage of this situation, I have one word: Don’t.  Don’t.”

To deter militants backed by Iran, the U.S. moved two American aircraft carrier strike groups into the region. After repeated drone strikes against U.S. forces in Iraq and Syria, on Wednesday, October 25, Biden warned Iran that the U.S. would respond if Iran continued to move against U.S. troops. On October 27 the U.S. carried out airstrikes against munitions stockpiles stored at two facilities in eastern Syria linked to militants backed by Iran. Secretary of Defense Austin emphasized that the U.S. actions were “precision self-defense strikes” and were separate from the conflict in Gaza.

Drone attacks on U.S. troops in the area have increased, and the Institute for the Study of War assessed today that Iranian-backed militants, including Lebanon’s Hezbollah, “are creating the expectation in the information environment that Hezbollah will escalate against Israel on or around November 3.” The U.S. today announced it is sending 300 additional troops to U.S. Central Command, whose responsibility includes the Middle East, Central Asia and parts of South Asia, to protect U.S. troops from drone attacks by Iran-backed militant groups. Air Force Brigadier General Pat Ryder told reporters the troops are not going to Israel.

In addition to trying to hold off Iran from expanding the conflict, the U.S. has been trying to support Israel’s right to respond while also demanding that Israel follow the rules of war. The U.S. has firmly condemned the October 7 attack by Hamas on Israeli civilians as “an act of sheer evil.” That evil included the taking of hostages—which is a war crime—including U.S. citizens.

But, all along, the administration has warned Israel that it must not violate international law in its retaliation for the attack. On October 18, in a remarkable admission, Biden advised Israelis not to be consumed by their rage. “After 9/11, we were enraged in the United States. And while we sought justice and got justice, we also made mistakes.”

Responding to the October 7 massacre, he said, “requires being deliberate. It requires asking very hard questions. It requires clarity about the objectives and an honest assessment about whether the path you are on will achieve those objectives.”

cont below

Ahavati
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Despite the administration's warnings, while international eyes are on Gaza, according to the United Nations, settlers in the West Bank encouraged by the policies of Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu have killed at least 115 Palestinians, injured more than 2,000 more, and forcibly displaced almost 1,000. The United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross are concerned that Israel’s pursuit of Hamas militants has led it to commit war crimes of its own, enacting collective punishment on the civilians of Gaza by denying them food, water, and electricity as well as instructing them to leave their homes, displacing well over a million people.

While the U.S. says it does not trust the numbers of casualties asserted by Hamas, it believes from other sources that there have been “many thousands of civilian deaths in Gaza thus far in the conflict…. Way too many.” Today the National Security Council’s coordinator for strategic communications, John Kirby, reminded reporters: “We aren’t on the ground fighting in this war. There’s no intent to do that…. [T]hese are Israeli military operations. They get to decide what their aims and strategy are. They get to decide what their tactics are. They get to decide how they’re going to decide to go after Hamas.

“We’re doing everything we can to support them—including providing our perspectives, including asking them hard questions about their aims and their strategy and—the kind of questions we’d ask ourselves.”

The administration appears to be trying to defend Israel’s right to self-defense in the face of a massacre that took the lives of 1,400 Israelis, while also trying to recover the hostages, get humanitarian aid into Gaza, and prevent U.S. ally Israel from committing war crimes in retaliation for the attack. It is also insisting there must be a long-term plan for Israel and the Palestinians. To that end, it is throwing its weight behind the long-neglected two-state solution.

On October 27, U.S. Representative to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield echoed Biden’s statement that “there is no going back to the status quo as it stood on October 6th. We must not go back to the status quo where Hamas terrorizes Israel and uses Palestinian civilians as human shields,” she said. “And we must not go back to the status quo where extremist settlers can attack and terrorize Palestinians in the West Bank. The status quo is untenable and it is unacceptable.”

“[W]hen this crisis is over,” she said, “there has to be a vision of what comes next. In our view, that vision must be centered around a two-state solution. Getting there will require concerted efforts by all of us—Israelis, Palestinians, regional partners, and global leaders—to put us on a path for peace. To integrate Israel with the region, while insisting that the aspirations of the Palestinian people be part of a more hopeful future.”

The current crisis might have made that two-state solution more possible than it has been for a generation. Neither Hamas nor Netanyahu’s government supports a two-state solution, but other leaders in the region, including Jordan’s King Abdullah II and Egypt’s Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, say they do.

Hamas has little support outside of Iran, and up to 80% of Israelis blame Prime Minister Netanyahu for the October 7 attack. His leadership of a right-wing coalition has shielded him from corruption charges even as his attempts to gain more control over Israeli society sparked the largest protests in Israeli history, and there is no doubt the attack and his response to it have weakened him dramatically. At a news conference yesterday, a reporter asked if he would resign.

The recent peace talks in Egypt excluded Hamas, Iran, and Israel. Instead, the organizers invited Mahmoud Abbas, the head of the Palestinian Authority that oversees the West Bank. President Biden, Secretary of State Blinken, and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan have been meeting with officials from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Jordan. On Friday, Blinken will travel back to Israel to meet with officials there, after which he will make other stops in the region.



Notes: https://heathercoxrichardson.substack.com/p/october-31-2023-tuesday

Ahavati
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If MAGA gains control, spiritual practices outside of Christianity will be under the gavel.

November 1, 2023
HEATHER COX RICHARDSON
NOV 2, 2023


A follow-up to some stories I’ve mentioned:

Egypt has opened its border crossing into Gaza, permitting ambulances to carry 76 badly injured Palestinians to Egypt, while 335 people who hold foreign passports were able to cross.

Jonathan Lemire, Nahal Toosi, and Alexander Ward of Politico reported today that the White House suspects Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanhayu’s days in office are numbered.

Here at home, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has scored the House Republicans’ bill to provide $14.3 billion in aid to Israel and to “offset” that spending with $14.3 billion in cuts to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). As those of us who have followed the economics of adequately funding the IRS predicted, the CBO found that the cuts to the IRS would cost far more than they save. As it is currently constructed, the bill would add $26.8 billion to the national budget deficit.

New House speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) tried to spin this information in a way that can only be described as dishonest: “Only in Washington when you cut spending do they call it an increase in the deficit,” he said.

Johnson rejects the separation of church and state in our government, saying that the framers’ idea “clearly did not mean…to keep religion from influencing issues of civil government. To the contrary, it was meant to keep the federal government from impeding the religious practice of citizens. The Founders wanted to protect the church from an encroaching state, not the other way around.”

Actually, James Madison of Virginia, the key thinker behind the Constitution, had quite a lot to say about why the government and religion must be kept apart.

In 1772, when he was 21, Madison watched as Virginia arrested itinerant preachers for attacking the established church in the state. He was no foe of religion, but by the next year, he had begun to question whether established religion, which was common in the colonies, was good for society. By 1776, many of his broad-thinking neighbors had come to believe that society should “tolerate” different religious practices; he had moved past tolerance to the belief that men had a right of conscience.

In that year, he was instrumental in putting Section 16 into the Virginia Declaration of Rights, on which our own Bill of Rights—the first ten amendments to the Constitution—would be based. It reads: “That religion, or the duty which we owe to our Creator, and the manner of discharging it, can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence; and therefore all men are equally entitled to the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience; and that it is the mutual duty of all to practice Christian forbearance, love, and charity toward each other.”

In 1785, in a “Memorial and Remonstrance against Religious Assessments,” Madison explained that what was at stake was not just religion, but also representative government itself. The establishment of one religion over others attacked a fundamental human right—an unalienable right—of conscience. If lawmakers could destroy the right of freedom of conscience, they could destroy all other unalienable rights. Those in charge of government could throw representative government out the window and make themselves tyrants.

Madison believed that a variety of religious sects would balance each other out, keeping the new nation free of the religious violence of Europe. He drew on that vision explicitly when he envisioned a new political system, expecting that a variety of political expressions would protect the new government. In Federalist #51, he said: “In a free government the security for civil rights must be the same as that for religious rights. It consists in the one case in the multiplicity of interests, and in the other in the multiplicity of sects.”

In order to make sure men had the right of conscience, the First Amendment to the Constitution reads: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof….”

In 1802, President Thomas Jefferson called this amendment “a wall of separation between Church & State.” In a letter of January 1, 1802, he explained to a group of Baptists from Danbury, Connecticut, how that principle made him refuse to call for national religious days of fasting and thanksgiving in his role as head of the government.  

Like Madison, he maintained that “religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship.” “[T]he legitimate powers of government reach actions only,” he wrote, “[and] not [religious] opinions.”

“[T]hat act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’” he wrote, built “a wall of separation between Church & State.” It prevented him even from such religious practices as declaring a day of fasting in times of trouble, or thanksgiving in times of triumph.



Notes: https://heathercoxrichardson.substack.com/p/november-1-2023

Ahavati
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November 2, 2023
HEATHER COX RICHARDSON
NOV 3, 2023


In a speech yesterday in Northfield, Minnesota, President Joe Biden explained his economic vision to rural Americans. “Over the past 40 years or so, we’ve had a practice in America—an economic practice called trickle-down economics, and it hit rural America especially hard,” he said. “It hollowed out Main Street, telling farmers the only path to success was to get big or get out.”

At the same time, he said, “[t]ax cuts for big corporations encouraged companies to grow bigger and bigger, move jobs and production overseas for cheaper labor, and undercut local small businesses. Meat-producing companies and the retail grocery chains consolidated, leaving farmers [and] ranchers with few choices about where to sell their products, reducing their bargaining power. Corporations that sell seed, fertilizer, and even farm equipment used their outsized market power to change farmers and charge them and ranchers unfair prices.”

Biden noted that the U.S. has lost more than 400,000 family farms in the past 40 years, an area of more than 140 million acres of farmland, equivalent to an area the size of Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota combined. Family farms have failed, and as they did so, small businesses, hospitals, schools, and communities also suffered.

Young people feel they have no choice but to leave home “in search of good-paying jobs and a chance at the American Dream.”

Biden explained that his plan to invest in America would create new and better markets and new income streams to help rural areas thrive. He noted that $20 billion of the Inflation Reduction Act will go to helping farmers and ranchers adjust to climate change by changing cover crops and managing nutrients and grazing, while urging farmers to diversify from single crops and sell in local markets.

Biden emphasized that the administration is promoting competition in agricultural markets, noting that currently just four big corporations control more than half the market in beef, pork, and poultry. If just one of their processing plants goes offline, it can cause massive supply chain disruptions (as the closing of a baby formula plant did in 2022). “[T]here’s something wrong,” he said, “when just 7% of the American farms get nearly 90% of the farm income.”

In addition to the existing national investments in power grids and broadband that will help rural communities, Biden announced $1 billion to fix aging rural infrastructure systems like electricity, water, and waste water systems that haven’t been updated in decades; $2 billion to help farmers fight climate change; $145 million for clean energy technologies like solar panels that will help lower electric bills; and $274 million for rural high-speed internet expansion.

The administration’s vision for rural America appears to be part of a larger vision for restoring competition to the U.S. economy and thus is closely tied to the administration’s push to break up monopolies. In July 2021, Biden promised to interpret antitrust laws in the way they had been understood traditionally, not as the U.S. government began to interpret them in the 1980s. Then, following the argument advanced by the solicitor general of the United States at the time, Robert Bork, the government concluded that economic consolidation was fine so long as it promoted economic efficiencies that, at least in the short term, cut costs for consumers.

Biden vowed to return to the traditional understanding of antitrust principles championed by presidents all the way back to Theodore Roosevelt at the turn of the last century, arguing that protecting economic competition protects workers, promotes innovation, and keeps consumer prices down. To that, the coronavirus pandemic added an awareness of the need to protect supply chains.

“Bidenomics is just another way of saying ‘the American Dream,’” Biden said. “Forty years ago, trickle-down economics limited the dream to those at the top. But I believe every American willing to work hard should be able to get a job, no matter where they live—in the heartland, in small towns—to raise their kids on a good paycheck and keep their roots where they grew up.”

In contrast to Biden’s outreach to farmers, House speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) is facing a dilemma over the nation’s next farm bill, which must be passed by the end of the year. According to Clark Merrefield of The Journalist’s Resource, Congress usually debates and renews the farm bill every five years, and the last one passed in 2018.

Farm bills include price support for farm products, especially corn, soybeans, wheat, cotton, rice, peanuts, dairy, and sugar. It also includes crop insurance, conservation programs, and a wide variety of other agricultural programs, making the farm bill hugely popular in rural areas that focus on farming.

Also included in the measure are nutritional programs for low-income Americans, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps. SNAP serves 41 million low-income Americans, but as a member of the far-right Republican Study Committee, Johnson called for cutting SNAP benefits. Now his far-right colleagues are echoing his position, saying that the need to renew the farm bill is a great opportunity to make significant cuts to SNAP, especially since the farm bill is expected to bear a price tag of more than $1 trillion for the first time in our history.

“I can’t imagine the Mike Johnson that we know would pass up the opportunity to secure as many conservative wins as possible in this farm bill,” a Republican aide told Meredith Lee Hill of Politico, “[a]nd that means serious SNAP reforms.”

But even some Republicans—primarily those who hail from agricultural states—object to loading the farm bill up with the poison pill of SNAP cuts, knowing such a tactic would repel Democrats, whose votes will be necessary to pass the measure as far-right Republicans balk.

It will take a deft hand to get the measure through Congress, and its failure at Johnson’s hands will infuriate hard-hit rural areas. It is one more thing to add to the new speaker’s to-do list, as the deadline for funding the government is looming. The continuing resolution funding the government at 2023 levels, the measure that cost Representative Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) his speakership, expires in just over two weeks, on November 17.

Johnson’s willingness to load bills with poison pills that his conference likes showed today in the House’s passage of Republicans’ aid bill for Israel—Ukraine aid had been cut away—along with dramatic cuts to funding the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), a provision that the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office warned would add to the deficit rather than reducing it. Knowing that the measure will not pass the Senate, a number of Democrats voted for it, likely to avoid attacks from conservative opponents.

Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) says the Senate won’t even take up the House bill. Instead, the Senate continues to work on its own strongly bipartisan bill that ties together aid to Israel and Ukraine.

As Kate Riga of Talking Points Memo put it, if the Senate continues to work in this bipartisan way, we will continue to see the same pattern we’ve seen throughout this Congress: “Senate Democrats, Senate Republicans and House Democrats all supporting more or less the same thing, with a chunk of House Republicans out on a branch alone.”

continued below

Ahavati
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After an angry fight last night over Senator Tommy Tuberville’s (R-AL) holds on military promotions, in which Republican senators joined Democrats in confronting him, the Senate today confirmed General David Allvin to be Air Force chief of staff and Admiral Lisa Franchetti as chief of naval operations, by votes of 95 to 1. Franchetti is the first woman to serve on the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Wednesday’s fight appears to have been prompted by the hospitalization of acting Marines Commandant General Eric Smith after an apparent heart attack. Smith was holding down two high-level positions at once owing to Tuberville’s holds, and he had warned his schedule was “not sustainable.” Although the Pentagon says Tuberville is endangering national security, Tuberville insists that his hold on almost 400 military promotions is not hurting the military.

The new additions mean there are no vacancies on the Joint Chiefs of Staff for the first time since July.



Notes: https://heathercoxrichardson.substack.com/p/november-2-2023

Ahavati
Tyrant of Words
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Joined 11th Apr 2015
Forum Posts: 13038

WTF?! Ban Palestine?!

November 3, 2023
HEATHER COX RICHARDSON
NOV 4, 2023


Today, Representative Ryan Zinke (R-MT), who was former president Trump’s Interior Secretary until he left under accusations of misconduct, introduced a bill to ban Palestinians from the United States and to revoke any visas issued to Palestinians since October 1 of this year. Although the U.S. has resettled only about 2,000 Palestinians in the last 20 years, ten other far-right members of the House signed onto Zinke’s bill, which draws no distinction between Hamas and Palestinian civilians.

This blanket attack on a vulnerable population echoes Trump’s travel ban of January 27, 2017, just a week after he took office. Executive Order 13769 stopped travel from primarily Muslim countries—Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen—for ninety days. The list of countries appeared random—Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, countries from which terrorists have sometimes come directly to the U.S., weren’t on the list—and appeared to fulfill a campaign promise and assert a new view of executive power.

Insisting that immigrants endanger the country is a key tactic of authoritarians. Excluding them is a central principle of those eager to tear down democracy: they insist that immigration destroys a nation’s traditions and undermines native-born Americans. With tensions in the nation mounting over the crisis in the Middle East, this measure, introduced now with inflammatory language, seems designed to whip up violence.

Representative Greg Landsman (D-OH) called out his Republican colleagues on social media. “Un-American and definitely NOT in the Bible, [Speaker Johnson],” he wrote. “You going to tell them to pull this bill?”

But, far from trying to work across the aisle, Johnson has been throwing red meat to his base. In the last two days, for example, the House has voted to slash 39% of the budget of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and 13% of the budget of the National Park Service. It voted to require the Biden administration to advance oil drilling off the Alaska coast. It has voted on reducing the salary of the EPA administrator, the director of the Bureau of Land Management, and the Secretary of the Interior to $1 each.

Yesterday, Johnson told reporters he considers extremists Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) and Thomas Massie (R-KY) close friends and said “I don’t disagree with them on many issues and principles.”

To direct his communications team, Johnson has tapped Raj Shah, a former executive from the Fox News Corporation, who was a key player in promoting the lie that Trump won the 2020 presidential election. As the head of the “Brand Protection Unit,” Shah demanded that the Fox News Channel continue to lie to viewers who would leave the station if it told the truth. Johnson has hired Shah to be his deputy chief of staff for communications and, according to Alex Isenstadt of Politico, “help run messaging for House Republicans.”

The extremists are doubling down on Trump and his election lies even as his allies are admitting in court that they are, indeed, lies. Trump’s former chief of staff Mark Meadows is in trouble with the publisher of his memoir after admitting that under oath that the election had been fair. The publisher is suing him for millions in damages for basing his book on the idea that the election had been stolen and representing that “all statements contained in the Work are true.”

The publisher says it has pulled the book off the market.

House extremists continue to back Trump even as he is openly calling for an authoritarian second term. In September, former chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley had to take “appropriate measures” for his own security after Trump accused him of disloyalty to him, personally, and suggested that in the past, such “treason” would have been punished with death.

On Wednesday, Jonathan Swan, Charlie Savage, and Maggie Haberman of the New York Times reported that Trump was frustrated in his first term by lawyers who refused to go along with his wishes, trying to stay within the law, so Trump's allies are making lists of lawyers they believe would be “more aggressive” on issues of immigration, taking over the Department of Justice, and overturning elections.

They are looking, they say, for “a different type of lawyer” than those supported by the right-wing Federalist Society, one “willing to endure the personal and professional risks of association with Mr. Trump” and “to use theories that more establishment lawyers would reject to advance his cause.”

John Mitnick, who served in Trump’s first term, told the reporters that “no qualified attorneys with integrity will have any desire to serve as political appointees” in a second Trump term. Instead, the lawyers in a second term would be “opportunists who will rubber-stamp whatever Trump and his senior White House staff want to do.”

Trump has also made it clear he and his allies want to gut the nonpartisan civil service and fill tens of thousands of government positions with his own loyalists. Led by Russell Vought, who served as Trump’s director of the Office of Management and Budget, Trump’s allies believe that agencies like the Federal Communications Commission, the Federal Trade Commission, and the Securities and Exchange Commission should not be independent but should push the president’s agenda.

This week, Trump vowed to take over higher education too. In a campaign video, he promised to tax private universities with large endowments to fund a new institution called “American Academy.” The school, which would be online only, would award free degrees and funnel students into jobs with the U.S. government and federal contractors.

“We spend more money on higher education than any other country, and yet they’re turning our students into communists and terrorists and sympathizers of many, many different dimensions,” Trump said. “We can’t let this happen.” In his university, “wokeness or jihadism” would not be allowed, he said.

In admirable understatement, Politico’s Meridith McGraw and Michael Stratford noted: “Using the federal government to create an entirely new educational institution aimed at competing with the thousands of existing schools would drastically reshape American higher education.”

Trump has made no secret of his future plans for the United States of America.

cont below

Ahavati
Tyrant of Words
United States 115awards
Joined 11th Apr 2015
Forum Posts: 13038

Meanwhile, Republicans appear determined to push their agenda over the wishes of voters. In Ohio, where voters on Tuesday will decide whether to amend the state constitution to make it a constitutional right to “make and carry out one’s own reproductive decisions,” Republicans first tried to make it harder to amend the state constitution, and then, when voters rejected that attempt, the Republican-dominated state senate began to use an official government website to spread narratives about the constitutional amendment that legal and medical experts called false or misleading.

Adding reproductive health protections to the state constitution is popular, but In an unusual move, the Republican secretary of state, Frank LaRose, quietly purged more than 26,000 voters from the rolls in late September. LaRose is a staunch opponent of the constitutional amendment and is himself running for a seat in the U.S. Senate.

In Virginia, where Republicans are hoping to take control of the state legislature to pass new abortion restrictions as well as the rest of Republican governor Glenn Youngkin’s agenda, a study by the Democratic Party of Virginia shows that officials are flagging the mail-in ballots of non-white voters for rejection much more frequently than those of white voters. As of today, 4.82% of ballots cast by Black voters have gotten flagged, while only 2.79% of the ballots of white voters have been flagged.

In Richmond, The Guardian’s Sam Levine reported, city officials flagged more than 11% of ballots returned by Black voters but only about 5.5% of ballots cast by white voters. After the ballots are fixed, or cured, the rate of rejection for Black voters remains more than twice as high as that of white voters.

Virginia officials also reported last week that they had accidentally removed more than 3,400 eligible voters from the rolls.



Notes: https://heathercoxrichardson.substack.com/p/november-3-2023

Josh
Joshua Bond
Tyrant of Words
Palestine 40awards
Joined 2nd Feb 2017
Forum Posts: 1379

[quote-571350-Ahavati]WTF?! Ban Palestine?!

November 3, 2023
HEATHER COX RICHARDSON
NOV 4, 2023




................
......
Insisting that immigrants endanger the country is a key tactic of authoritarians[/b]. Excluding them is a central principle of those eager to tear down democracy: they insist that immigration destroys a nation’s traditions and undermines native-born Americans. With tensions in the nation mounting over the crisis in the Middle East, this measure, introduced now with inflammatory language, seems designed to whip up violence.
......
........................

Obviously the MAGA psychos are not aware there were any "native-born Americans" before the European whites arrived in the 1600s and thereafter. The blatant lies and inconsistencies should wake the American people up - but like the U.K, a general dumbed-downness allows authoritarians a foot in the door.


runaway-mindtrain
Dangerous Mind
United States 8awards
Joined 30th July 2017
Forum Posts: 694

Josh said:[quote-571350-Ahavati]WTF?! Ban Palestine?!

November 3, 2023
HEATHER COX RICHARDSON
NOV 4, 2023




................
......
Insisting that immigrants endanger the country is a key tactic of authoritarians[/b]. Excluding them is a central principle of those eager to tear down democracy: they insist that immigration destroys a nation’s traditions and undermines native-born Americans. With tensions in the nation mounting over the crisis in the Middle East, this measure, introduced now with inflammatory language, seems designed to whip up violence.
......
........................

Obviously the MAGA psychos are not aware there were any "native-born Americans" before the European whites arrived in the 1600s and thereafter. The blatant lies and inconsistencies should wake the American people up - but like the U.K, a general dumbed-downness allows authoritarians a foot in the door.



It is consistent with leftist hypocrisy that all current immigrants have a "right" to come undocumented into the U.S. but those same poor immigrants that came 250 years ago are all racist colonizers....As if only whites came here instead of ALL cultures as actual history shows...And of course they were all evil Republicans even though that party was not founded until the mid 1800s....Using revisionist history to attack modern political groups is the only way Marxists can deceive....

runaway-mindtrain
Dangerous Mind
United States 8awards
Joined 30th July 2017
Forum Posts: 694

Why don't we just change the title of this thread to Heather Cox Richardson and the Harvard book of revised history since the Bidenista get copied and pasted everyday....I just love white Marxists Jim Crow Democrats in segregationist Harvard slingin' ad hominem attacks due to not having an actual position or any real world facts....

Carpe_Noctem
Dangerous Mind
Spain 8awards
Joined 3rd Mar 2013
Forum Posts: 2880

runaway-mindtrain said:Why don't we just change the title of this thread to Heather Cox Richardson and the Harvard book of revised history since the Bidenista get copied and pasted everyday....I just love white Marxists Jim Crow Democrats in segregationist Harvard slingin' ad hominem attacks due to not having an actual position or any real world facts....

The Heather Cox Richardson propaganda hour

Ahavati
Tyrant of Words
United States 115awards
Joined 11th Apr 2015
Forum Posts: 13038

Josh said:[quote-571350-Ahavati]WTF?! Ban Palestine?!

November 3, 2023
HEATHER COX RICHARDSON
NOV 4, 2023


................
......
Insisting that immigrants endanger the country is a key tactic of authoritarians[/b]. Excluding them is a central principle of those eager to tear down democracy: they insist that immigration destroys a nation’s traditions and undermines native-born Americans. With tensions in the nation mounting over the crisis in the Middle East, this measure, introduced now with inflammatory language, seems designed to whip up violence.
......
........................

Obviously the MAGA psychos are not aware there were any "native-born Americans" before the European whites arrived in the 1600s and thereafter. The blatant lies and inconsistencies should wake the American people up - but like the U.K, a general dumbed-downness allows authoritarians a foot in the door.



What the European whites and subsequent US Citizens by virtue of birth did to the "native-born Americans" was atrocious: theft, rape, murder, kidnapping, destruction of property, exile. . .it's endless. Total and utter authoritarian domination. And yes, it's history, but it's a history we need to learn from, and I don't think we as a country have.

If these other countries who are current allies of the U.S. think this political spectrum won't affect them if Trump is re-elected and this MAGA sideshow continues, they're very mistaken.

Josh
Joshua Bond
Tyrant of Words
Palestine 40awards
Joined 2nd Feb 2017
Forum Posts: 1379

runaway-mindtrain said:

It is consistent with leftist hypocrisy that all current immigrants have a "right" to come undocumented into the U.S. but those same poor immigrants that came 250 years ago are all racist colonizers....As if only whites came here instead of ALL cultures as actual history shows...And of course they were all evil Republicans even though that party was not founded until the mid 1800s....Using revisionist history to attack modern political groups is the only way Marxists can deceive....


This thread is about the rise of authoritarianism: Republican/Democrat, Left/Right, Blue/Red, Conservative/Labour, Marxist/Fascist, Theocratic/Royalist -- it doesn't matter what face is worn, the trajectory is always the same - a few extremists taking over and causing misery for the many - and using any means to get there.

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