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Thread: Heather Cox Richardson

  1. #1
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    Default Heather Cox Richardson

    Good writer, historian. I liked this.

    Heather Cox Richardson

    10h ·


    September 15, 2021 (Wednesday)

    Today’s news can wait for tomorrow. Tonight, a thank-you.

    Exactly two years ago today, after about a six-week hiatus during the summer, I wrote a Facebook post that started: “Many thanks to all of you who have reached out to see if I'm okay. I am, indeed (aside from having been on the losing end of an encounter with a yellow jacket this afternoon!). I've been moving, setting up house, and finishing the new book. Am back and ready to write, but now everything seems like such a dumpster fire it's very hard to know where to start. So how about a general overview of how things at the White House look to me, today....”

    I went on to explain that the chair of the House Intelligence Committee, Representative Adam Schiff (D-CA), had written a letter to then–acting Director of National Intelligence, Joseph Maguire, on Friday, September 13, telling Maguire he knew that a whistleblower had filed a complaint with the inspector general of the intelligence community, who had deemed the complaint “credible” and "urgent.” This meant that the complaint was supposed to be sent on to the House Intelligence Committee. But, rather than sending it to the House as the law required, Maguire had withheld it. Schiff’s letter told Maguire that he knew about the complaint and that Maguire had better hand it over. Schiff speculated that Maguire was covering up evidence of crimes by the president or his closest advisors.

    Readers swamped me with questions. So I wrote another post answering them and explaining the news, which began breaking at a breathtaking pace.

    And so, these Letters from an American were born.

    In the two years since then, we have lived through the Ukraine scandal—the secret behind the whistleblower complaint in Schiff’s letter—which revealed that then-president Trump was secretly running his own foreign policy team to strong-arm Ukraine into helping the president’s reelection campaign.

    We lived through the abrupt withdrawal of U.S. troops from northern Syria in early October 2019, leaving our former Kurdish allies to be murdered by Turkish troops. ISIS freed compatriots from jails and launched new attacks, and Russian troops moved into the positions we had held in the region.


    We lived through the impeachment hearings, the trial of former president Trump for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, then the president’s acquittal on those charges and his subsequent purge of career government officials and their replacement with Trump loyalists.


    Then, on February 7, just two days after Senate Republicans acquitted him, Trump picked up the phone and called veteran journalist Bob Woodward to tell him there was a deadly new virus spreading around the world. It was airborne, he explained, and was five times “more deadly than even your strenuous flus.” “This is deadly stuff,” he said. He would not share that information with other Americans, though, continuing to play down the virus in hopes of protecting the economy.

    The pandemic, more than 660,000 of us—1 American in 500—have not lived through.

    We have, though, lived through the attempts of the former president to rig the 2020 election, the determination of American voters to make their voices heard, the Black Lives Matter protests after the murder of George Floyd, the election of Democrat Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, and the subsequent refusal of Trump and his loyalists to accept Biden’s win.

    And we have lived through the unthinkable: an attack on the U.S. Capitol by a mob determined to overrule the results of an election and install their own candidate in the White House. For the first time in our history, the peaceful transfer of power was broken.


    Rather than disappearing after the inauguration of President Biden, the reactionary authoritarianism of the former president’s supporters has grown stronger. Senate Republicans acquitted Trump for a second time in his second impeachment trial-- this time for incitement of insurrection-- and in Republican-dominated states across the country, legislatures have passed laws to suppress Democratic voting and to put the counting of votes into partisan hands.


    We have seen the attempts of Biden and the Democratic-controlled Congress to move America past this dark moment by making coronavirus vaccines widely available and passing the American Rescue Plan to rebuild the economy. We have watched the U.S. withdraw from the longest war in our history, losing 13 military personnel in the exit from Afghanistan that brought out more than 130,000 evacuees.

    And we are, today, watching the fight over the survival of our democracy.


    If you are tired, you have earned the right to be.


    And yet, you are still here, reading.

    I write these letters because I love America. I am staunchly committed to the principle of human self-determination for people of all races, genders, abilities, and ethnicities, and I believe that American democracy could be the form of government that comes closest to bringing that principle to reality. And I know that achieving that equality depends on a government shaped by fact-based debate rather than by extremist ideology and false narratives.


    And so I write.


    But I have come to understand that I am simply the translator for the sentiments shared by hundreds of thousands of people who are finding each other and giving voice to the principles of democracy. Your steadfast interest, curiosity, critical thinking, and especially your kindness—to me and to one another—illustrates that we have not only the power, but also the passion, to reinvent our nation.

    To those who read these letters, send tips, proofread, criticize, comment, argue, worry, cheer, award medals (!), and support me and one another: I thank you all for taking me along on this wild, unexpected, exhausting, and exhilarating journey.






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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Heather Cox Richardson

    She is a treasure. I get her essays via email. Nearly every day.
    David G
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    "It was a Sunday morning and Goddard gave thanks that there were still places where one could worship in temples not made by human hands." -- L. F. Herreshoff (The Compleat Cruiser)

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    Default Re: Heather Cox Richardson

    All in all, it's tough to be proud of our country.

    I couldn't find anything above I'd disagree with.
    "Banning books and not guns seems backwards. Can't think of anyone ever shot by a book

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    Default Re: Heather Cox Richardson

    Proud she's a "Mainah" and I do wonder how much worse I'd feel about the past several years if I didn't have her level-headed commentary to consider each day. Putting things in historical perspective helps as do the cogent warnings about the current and ongoing dangers. Her weekly deep-dive zoom sessions into US political and cultural elements of our history have been enlightening also.
    "Be curious, not judgmental." - (Misattributed to Walt Whitman as recalled by) Ted Lasso

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    Default

    Her writings and podcast are terrific.


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  6. #6
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    Default Re: Heather Cox Richardson

    I listen to her twice a week, nearly every week, and pretty much have her shtick down. Her daily comment, which comes in email as well as on her FB page, is more valuable because her interpretations of current events are temperate, and draw a great deal of background into focus. She performed a huge service to a very worried bunch of 20-40 somethings during both sets of impeachment hearings. A lot of those people are a lot less ignorant of American history now than they were when she began her daily letters.

    Sometimes her naivete amazes me. Things which seem obvious she often doesn't get. I remember when Trump dismissed his military staff and replaced them with toadies she didn't immediate grasp what Trump was doing there. In fact she didn't really get it until after the Jan 6 uprising.

    She has a huge following on FB. Almost 1.5 million people. Many of them tune in to her talks, all of them see her daily written dispatch in their FB feed.

    Most of them have come to her teaching with big lacunae in their civics knowledge.
    A society predicated on the assumption that everyone in it should want to get rich is not well situated to become either ethical or imaginative.

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  7. #7
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    Default Re: Heather Cox Richardson



    Heather Cox Richardson

    10h ·




    April 26, 2022 (Tuesday)

    I intended to write tonight about Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s statement today before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee—and I will—but the research for that topic led me elsewhere: into the world of the early years of the Trump administration, when many journalists were trying oh, so hard to pretend that maybe Trump’s gutting of the State Department, for example, was just some part of a new policy approach.

    It’s startling when you compare it with today’s coverage of Biden.

    What got me on this track was Blinken’s offhand comment today that his testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee was “the 100th time that I’ve had an opportunity to brief Congress, which is one of the ways I’ve worked to meet the commitment that I made in my confirmation before this committee to restore Congress’s role as a partner both in our foreign policymaking and in revitalizing the State Department.”

    That reminded me that shortly after Trump took office journalists wrote about how he was sidelining the State Department. “Is the State Department Being Intentionally Gutted?” wondered Michael Fuchs on February 28, 2017, in Just Security. He noted that Trump’s secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, former chief executive officer of ExxonMobil, had not held a single press briefing since he took office and hadn’t been at summit meetings with Trump and foreign leaders. The tradition of daily press briefings from State Department spokespeople had also stopped dead the day Trump took office. The White House had said it was going to cut the State Department budget to offset an increase of $54 billion in defense spending.

    The Trump administration had asked the senior career officers running the department’s administration to resign, and several senior diplomats had been recalled before replacements were even nominated. The floor where the secretary of state and the senior team have offices was essentially empty, and the administration was not filling those positions.

    Maybe, Tillerson was “just getting up to speed,” but while he sounded tentative, Fuchs wasn’t willing to believe an innocent explanation. He said there were “strong signs” that “the White House [was] trying to sideline the State Department[.]” Fuchs noted that Trump seemed “enamored of the military” and seemed eager to get rid of the nonpartisan bureaucracy that stabilizes democracies.

    CNN’s Nicole Gaouette had similar observations but wondered if the silence of Tillerson’s State Department was just a reflection of his caution in front of the media. She recorded that the deafening silence from the State Department created confusion as Trump’s tweets rocked long-stable ships. “[T]he President and his Cabinet have given mixed messages on issues like the US commitment to NATO,” she noted.

    And then, for his first trip abroad, Trump went not to Canada or to Mexico, our two largest trading partners, democracies, close allies, and neighbors, but to Saudi Arabia, an oligarchic kleptocracy. There, he and Tillerson appeared to embrace the culture, something previous presidents had been careful to avoid because of its extreme misogyny and occasional extremism. Tillerson did in fact hold a press conference there, but U.S. media was banned: only foreign media was admitted. Foreign affairs expert Anne Applebaum called the trip “bizarre, unseemly, unethical and un-American.”

    Of course, we now know that Trump was centering foreign affairs in the White House—Ivanka Trump went along on that trip to Saudi Arabia to promote “female entrepreneurs”—and among his own cronies like the “Three Amigos” who tried to pressure Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky into launching a fake investigation into Hunter Biden. The plan was, at least in part, to stop looking at foreign affairs as national security—just days ago, Trump told an audience that during his term he had threatened European leaders that the U.S. would not honor the mutual aid pact and defend Europe against incursions by Russia—and instead to pocket huge sums of money. We know now it was Trump friend Tom Barrack who was behind the meeting with the Saudis as he angled for a huge deal to transfer nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia.

    People who seemed nonplussed by the extraordinary actions of the Trump administration were not deliberately giving him a pass, I don’t think. They just couldn’t believe they were seeing the dismantling of centuries of diplomacy to enrich one family and its inner circle.

    So when Blinken now talks about values and national security again, it seems sometimes we are cynically harsh.

    Today, he spoke to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, reminding it that he, the secretary of state, had spoken to the committee 100 times. He thanked it for its support and talked of the recent visit he and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin had made to Kyiv, where they had gone to demonstrate the U.S. commitment to the government and the people of Ukraine. He described the countryside and cities coming back to life after the carnage Russia visited on them, and he hailed the extraordinary determination of the Ukrainians.

    There is a lesson in that determination for the U.S., he suggested. “Moscow’s war of aggression against Ukraine has underscored the power and purpose of American diplomacy. Our diplomacy is rallying allies and partners around the world to join us in supporting Ukraine with security, economic, humanitarian assistance; imposing massive costs on the Kremlin; strengthening our collective security and defense; addressing the war’s mounting global consequences, including the refugee and food crises….”

    Blinken was understating things. The administration’s bolstering of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and other allies and partners, along with its strong effort to keep various nations on board with economic sanctions, has been key to supporting Ukraine. Today, news broke of just how extensive U.S. sharing of intelligence has been with Ukraine, enabling Ukraine not only to protect its own weapons from attack, but also to shoot down a Russian plane transporting troops. Indeed, U.S. intelligence has helped prevent Russia from getting control of the airspace over Ukraine.

    And now the administration has expanded that cooperation to include intelligence sharing to enable Ukraine to take back territory Russia has captured, including in Crimea or the Donbas. This reflects Austin’s statement today that Ukraine can not only survive against Russia, but can “win.” Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby elaborated: “winning is very clearly defined by a Ukraine whose sovereignty is fully respected, whose territorial integrity is not violated by Russia or any other country for that matter.” Kirby also explained Austin’s comment that the U.S. wants “to see Russia weakened to the degree that it can’t do the kinds of things that it has done in invading Ukraine.” Kirby said: “We don’t want a Russia that’s capable of exerting…malign influence in Europe or anywhere around the world.”

    In addition to responding to the urgency of the attack on Ukraine, the State Department “continues to carry out the missions traditionally associated with diplomacy, like responsibly managing great power competition with China, facilitating a halt to fighting in Yemen and Ethiopia, pushing back against the rising tide of authoritarianism and the threat that it poses to human rights,” he said. The State Department will continue to modernize, as well, to address emergence of infectious diseases, the climate crisis, and the digital revolution.

    Blinken noted that the State Department is filling out its ranks as quickly as it can with diplomats that “reflect America’s remarkable diversity, which is one of our greatest strengths, including in our diplomacy,” providing the paid internships that will enable poorer young people to accept them, and finally having State’s “first ever chief diversity and inclusion officer.” The effort is paying off: State is on track for its largest hiring intake in ten years.

    “My first 15 months in this job have only strengthened my own conviction that these and other reforms are not just worthwhile;” Blinken said, “they’re essential to our national security and to delivering for the people we represent.”
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  8. #8
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    Default Re: Heather Cox Richardson

    Heather Cox Richardson

    8h ·





    April 27, 2022 (Wednesday)

    Last night, New York Times reporters Alexander Burns and Jonathan Martin released more of the audio recording of Republican leadership that they obtained in the process of writing their forthcoming book. This recording features a conversation among the House leadership on January 10, 2021. In it, the two top Republicans in the House of Representatives—House minority leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and House minority whip Steve Scalise (R-LA)—agreed that the Trump loyalists calling out other Republicans as “anti-Trump” were endangering lives, including that of the third-top House Republican at the time, Liz Cheney (R-WY), who was also on the call.

    McCarthy noted that Representative Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH) had just sent him a recent tweet from Representative Matt Gaetz (R-FL) about Cheney and that McCarthy was going to talk to Gaetz to get him to stop. “We saw what people would do in the Capitol,” he said. “These people came prepared with rope, with everything else.” Scalise agreed, saying “it’s potentially illegal what he’s doing.”

    McCarthy singled out Representatives Gaetz and Mo Brooks (R-AL) as key culprits, but he and the others on the call also discussed Representatives Louie Gohmert (R-TX), Lauren Boebert (R-CO), and Barry Moore (R-AL). McCarthy said he was going to be talking to those people because “this is serious sh*t,” and they needed “to cut this out.” “The country is too crazy,” he said. “I do not want to look back and think we caused something or we missed something and someone got hurt. I don’t want to play politics with any of that.”

    And yet, of course, they did not cut it out. Instead, McCarthy did play politics with it. He caved, Cheney lost her position in House leadership, and Gonzalez, once seen as a rising star in the party, announced in September 2021 he would not run for reelection. Gonzalez’s vote to impeach Trump for inciting an insurrection and his support for an investigation into the events of January 6 led Trump supporters to threaten him and his family. In his announcement that he was leaving Congress, Gonzalez called Trump “a cancer for the country.”

    Last night, after news broke of the recording, Gaetz issued a statement saying that McCarthy and Scalise “held views about President Trump and me that they shared on sniveling calls with Liz Cheney, not us. This is the behavior of weak men, not leaders…. While I was protecting President Trump, they were protecting Liz Cheney from criticism…. On the bright side, you no longer have to be a lobbyist with a $5,000 check to know what McCarthy and Scalise really think. You just have to listen to their own words as they disparage Trump and the Republicans in Congress who fight for him.”

    Gaetz is clearly throwing himself entirely behind Trump. Even his language here is like that of the former president. While Gaetz’s political loyalty is part of a larger story, it is also worth remembering that Gaetz is still under investigation for sex trafficking, and two of his associates have pleaded guilty in that case. One admitted to sex trafficking, and the other admitted to drug and fraud charges. Both are cooperating with authorities. Seeing Trump back in power could smooth Gaetz’s potential legal troubles.

    Fox News Channel personality Tucker Carlson also went after McCarthy, calling him “a puppet of the Democrats…a man who, in private, turns out sounds like an MSNBC contributor. The chyron under his monologue read: “KEVIN MCCARTHY HATES PEOPLE LIKE YOU AND THIS SHOW.” News broke today that Carlson, who has openly supported Hungary’s rising authoritarian Viktor Orbán, will speak this summer at the Iowa Family Leadership Summit, a gathering traditionally used to launch presidential campaigns.

    Meanwhile, excerpts from that same new book say that early in the morning of January 7, after the January 6 insurrection, then–Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell told Martin: “I feel exhilarated by the fact that this fellow [Trump] finally, totally discredited himself.” McConnell said of Trump, “He put a gun to his head and pulled the trigger,” adding, “Couldn’t have happened at a better time.” McConnell vowed to crush the extremist “sons of b*tches…in the primary in ’22.”

    And yet now, a year later, the Trump loyalists are running strong, having abandoned the democratic ideology of the U.S. and replaced it with white Christian nationalism. They are embracing the same idea that Russian president Vladimir Putin advances: that the democratic principle of equality is immoral because it does not privilege white, straight, Christian men. They are trying to stop public discussion of race or gender, end the constitutional right to abortion, and center schools around the Christian religion.

    While pro-business Republicans could live with these ideas in the past if it meant getting the economic legislation they wanted, Florida governor Ron DeSantis and Texas governor Greg Abbott have illustrated that the Trump wing of the party has abandoned Republicans’ traditional support for business. DeSantis infuriated Republicans as well as Democrats when he demanded a new—and evidently illegal—law to break up the independent governing zone under which the Walt Disney Company operates in Florida unless Disney stops supporting LGBTQ rights. And Abbott’s recent shutdown of trade to and from Mexico in order to “search” for drugs and undocumented immigrants cost the U.S. an estimated $9 billion in gross domestic product while turning up no drugs or immigrants.

    Meanwhile, 18 House Republicans, led by Jim Jordan (R-OH), warned Twitter that it could be investigated if it didn’t accept an offer from billionaire Elon Musk for its purchase. This is an uncanny echo of the techniques of the Ukrainian leaders who worked for oligarchs: those leaders used “investigations” to punish opponents, just as Trump hoped to do to Hunter Biden in 2019.

    The business Republicans appear finally to be fighting back, at least a little, likely recognizing that the extremes of the Trump loyalists will hurt them with the “suburban” voters they badly need. (By “suburban voters” they usually mean white middle-class voters, although the last census showed that in 2020, about 54% of Black residents within the 100 biggest American metro areas lived not in the cities themselves but in suburban areas.)

    This week, they went after Representative Madison Cawthorn (R-NC), in what sure looks like a strategic move to distance the party from the Trump loyalists without actually losing the religious base. Cawthorn’s remarks about being invited to orgies with drugs made headlines a few weeks ago, and he has been embarrassed since by photos of him in lingerie, drinking with women, at a party. Perhaps to distract from that story, Cawthorn tried to take a loaded gun on a plane and was caught—this was the second time he was caught doing this—and then complained that the “political establishment” was out to get him.

    Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) called for a “thorough and bipartisan” investigation of Cawthorn’s potential involvement in an insider trading scheme involving the “Let’s Go Brandon” cryptocurrency, which appears to have been a pump-and-dump scheme. (But former president Trump and his son Don, Jr., also promoted the coin, and no one has complained about their participation.) Cawthorn called Tillis a “RINO,” a Republican in Name Only.

    Today, 17 Republicans were the only lawmakers to vote against a House resolution expressing support for Moldova’s democracy. As CNN reporters Melanie Zanona, Manu Raju, and Gabby Orr noted, when Trump loyalists do such a thing, they might be reminding McCarthy of their power to force more concessions on him if he becomes speaker with a small majority, enabling them to move the country in their direction no matter how unpopular they are.

    The chaos in the Republican Party inspired Democratic political consultant Tim Hogan to tweet: “At this point I’m willing to believe Kevin McCarthy accidentally turned on a voice memo for the month of January and when he tried to delete it he accidentally forwarded it to the New York Times.”
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  9. #9
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    Default Re: Heather Cox Richardson

    Even down here in East Tennessee they've heard of and are delighted to vilify HCR. According to the local Political Pundits of the Food City porch, she couldn't do more damage to "Arr Murrika" if she had some way to discredit the almost devine statements of Marjorie, or if she could get that bastion of Senatorial Murrikan Demokraky, Marsha Blackburn, finally held accountable for her (nearly singlehanded) enabling of the Opiate Scandal clan (Sacklers) to profit long and heavily for Tennessee's benefit (according to them, at least).

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Heather Cox Richardson

    Heather Cox Richardson

    9h ·
    July 20, 2022 (Wednesday)

    Today, documents released by the House Oversight and Reform Committee confirmed that the Trump administration’s attempt to include a citizenship question on the 2020 census was a strategy to skew population data to benefit Republicans. Trump had refused to turn over the documents, but the Biden administration agreed to allow the House committee to see them.

    U.S. censuses, which are required every 10 years under our Constitution, have always counted “persons,” and both voting and public monies are proportioned according to those numbers. Under Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, the Trump administration wanted to include a question about citizenship, and administration officials first suggested that they would count citizens, rather than legal residents and undocumented immigrants, for purposes of representation, and then said they needed citizenship information to enforce the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Opponents claimed the proposed new question was designed to scare immigrants, who tend to vote Democratic, away from being counted, which would have shifted representation and government monies toward Republicans.

    A district court said Secretary Ross’s action was “arbitrary and capricious, based on a pretextual rationale, and violated certain provisions of the Census Act,” and the Supreme Court added that the administration’s claim to need citizenship information to enforce the 1965 Voting Rights Act was “contrived.” It blocked the administration from including that question on the census.

    Now, we have documents showing that Ross and other Trump administration officials actively sought to exclude undocumented immigrants from the census in the hope that their erasure would also make legal immigrants avoid being counted, and thus cut representation for and funding to Democratic districts. One handwritten note suggests using the Voting Rights Act as cover.

    This is a stark example of the dangers of turning our government over to an authoritarian leader who will use our fundamental governmental systems to draw power to himself. This census question had the potential to affect our governmental system profoundly. Even without the census question, the U.S. Census Bureau in March 2022 said a quality check revealed that Black Americans, Indigenous Americans, and Hispanic or Latino Americans were undercounted in 2020, while white inhabitants and Asian inhabitants were overcounted.

    This is just the latest example of Trump and his allies trying to use our government to cement their power, among others that reached from Trump’s attempt to weaponize funds approved by Congress for Ukraine to fight off Russian incursions so as to damage likely Democratic opponent Joe Biden, to the January 6 attempt to stop Biden's certification as president-elect.

    These attempts appear to have reached deep into the Secret Service as well, and today we learned that the Department of Homeland Security itself might have played along. Carol D. Leonnig and Maria Sacchetti of the Washington Post today reported that whistleblowers have revealed that DHS inspector general Joseph Cuffari, a Trump appointee, learned in February that nearly all text messages from around the time of the January 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol had been deleted from Secret Service agents’ cell phones but elected to keep that information from Congress. The inspector general’s office also declined to tell Congress that the Secret Service was refusing to turn over records from that period.

    And yet, for all the efforts of officials in the Trump administration to seize power by compromising our national systems, a Trump-era White House aide who testified before the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol claimed that it is he and his colleagues who are victims of a strong state. In a webcast after his testimony, Garrett Ziegler, an aide to trade advisor Peter Navarro who appears to have been the person who admitted Trump allies to the White House for the shocking meeting of December 18 where they discussed martial law, continued to claim that the 2020 election was stolen.

    As for the January 6 committee: “They're Bolsheviks,” he said, in an echo of Republican rhetoric calling all opponents communists, "so, they probably do hate the American Founders and most White people in general. This is a Bolshevistic anti-White campaign. If you can't see that, your eyes are freaking closed. And so, they see me as a young Christian who they can try to basically scare, right?" He attacked the women who have cooperated with the committee with offensive language.

    Meanwhile, the January 6 committee continues to bear down on the Trump administration. Amy Gardner, Josh Dawsey, and Paul Kane of the Washington Post reported tonight that at tomorrow night’s public hearing, the committee is planning to show outtakes from Trump’s reluctant video of January 7, when there was talk of removing him from office.

    While the struggle between the Trump team and those trying to bring them to justice continues, President Biden is trying to move the country forward to address the existential crisis of climate change. Europe is suffering under a terrible heat wave; Britain has declared a climate emergency and, with airstrips softened by extreme heat, grounded the Royal Air Force; and 100 million Americans are under emergency heat warnings.

    On Monday, the secretary-general of the United Nations, António Guterres, warned world leaders gathered at the Petersberg Climate Dialogue in Berlin, where they are gathered to advance multilateral climate negotiations: “Half of humanity is in the danger zone from floods, droughts, extreme storms and wildfires. No nation is immune. Yet we continue to feed our fossil fuel addiction…. What troubles me most is that, in facing this global crisis, we are failing to work together as a multilateral community. Nations continue to play the blame game instead of taking responsibility for our collective future. We cannot continue this way,” he said. “We have a choice. Collective action or collective suicide. It is in our hands.”

    In the U.S., the recent West Virginia v. EPA decision of the Supreme Court, weakening the ability of the government to shift the country toward clean energy by regulating carbon dioxide emissions, has limited the government’s ability to address climate change. So, too, has the insistence of Republican senators, as well as Democratic senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, that short-term economic interests outweigh the imperatives of climate change. Days ago, Manchin said he would not support new investment in clean energy out of concern over inflation. Without him, the Democrats' plans for addressing climate change through legislation can't move forward, since no Republicans are on board.

    So President Biden is working around them. Today, he traveled to Somerset, Massachusetts, to reiterate that climate change is an emergency and to illustrate that combating it offers us a new, innovative economy. As National Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy explained to reporters, until 2017, Somerset was the site of one of the biggest and oldest coal-fired power plants in New England. Now that plant will be making cable to anchor offshore wind turbines.

    Hoping to bring that innovation to the nation more widely, Biden noted that extreme weather events—wildfires, droughts, hurricanes, and floods—cost the U.S. $145 billion last year alone. They damage our economy and our national security. “As President, I have a responsibility to act with urgency and resolve when our nation faces clear and present danger,” he said today. “And that’s what climate change is about. It is literally, not figuratively, a clear and present danger.”

    Biden is planning to invest more than $2 billion from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and $385 million from the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program to help people cool their homes. In early June, Biden used the Defense Production Act to speed up the domestic manufacture of solar equipment. The bipartisan infrastructure law has added $3.1 billion to the mix to weatherize homes and make them more energy efficient, and the American Rescue Plan provided $16 billion to clean up methane leaking from capped oil wells, abandoned when they stopped making money.

    Biden vowed that addressing the climate crisis would provide good manufacturing jobs, repair supply chains, and clean up the environment. He promised to use the power of the presidency to do what Congress currently is not. “[I]n the coming weeks, I’m going to use the power I have as President to turn these words into formal, official government actions through the appropriate proclamations, executive orders, and regulatory power that a President possesses,” he said.

    “[W]hen it comes to fighting…climate change, I will not take no for an answer. I will do everything in my power to clean our air and water, protect our people’s health, to win the clean energy future,” he said. “We have an opportunity here.”
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  11. #11
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    Default Re: Heather Cox Richardson

    All of it is appalling. But this part in particular seems evil.
    Today, documents released by the House Oversight and Reform Committee confirmed that the Trump administration’s attempt to include a citizenship question on the 2020 census was a strategy to skew population data to benefit Republicans. Trump had refused to turn over the documents, but the Biden administration agreed to allow the House committee to see them.
    ....

    Now, we have documents showing that Ross and other Trump administration officials actively sought to exclude undocumented immigrants from the census in the hope that their erasure would also make legal immigrants avoid being counted, and thus cut representation for and funding to Democratic districts. One handwritten note suggests using the Voting Rights Act as cover.

    This is a stark example of the dangers of turning our government over to an authoritarian leader who will use our fundamental governmental systems to draw power to himself. This census question had the potential to affect our governmental system profoundly. Even without the census question, the U.S. Census Bureau in March 2022 said a quality check revealed that Black Americans, Indigenous Americans, and Hispanic or Latino Americans were undercounted in 2020, while white inhabitants and Asian inhabitants were overcounted.
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    Default Re: Heather Cox Richardson

    This is old news. So many blatant abuses of authority in the Trump era that the public has largely become immune, it seems.

    Tom
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    Default Re: Heather Cox Richardson

    Oh, yeah - undoubtedly this is among the most evil, nastiest bunch we've allowed into power, in decades. We definitely need a purge. Not hyperbole; we need the real deal.
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    Default Re: Heather Cox Richardson

    Quote Originally Posted by George Jung View Post
    Oh, yeah - undoubtedly this is among the most evil, nastiest bunch we've allowed into power, in decades. We definitely need a purge. Not hyperbole; we need the real deal.
    Where is Lucius Cornelius Sulla when you need him, eh?

    Proscribing or outlawing every one of those whom he perceived to have acted against the best interests of the Republic while he was in the east, Sulla ordered some 1,500 nobles (i.e. senators and equites) executed, although as many as 9,000 people were estimated to have been killed.[66] The purge went on for several months. Helping or sheltering a proscribed person was punishable by death, while killing a proscribed person was rewarded with two talents. Family members of the proscribed were not excluded from punishment, and slaves were not excluded from rewards. As a result, "husbands were butchered in the arms of their wives, sons in the arms of their mothers."[67] The majority of the proscribed had not been enemies of Sulla, but instead were killed for their property, which was confiscated and auctioned off. The proceeds from auctioned property more than made up for the cost of rewarding those who killed the proscribed, filling the treasury. Possibly to protect himself from future political retribution, Sulla had the sons and grandsons of the proscribed banned from running for political office, a restriction not removed for over 30 years.
    Err... On the other hand, maybe not...

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    Default Re: Heather Cox Richardson

    I start each day by first doing the Wordle puzzle and then checking my email to read Heather Cox Richardson's Letter from an American. Then I move onto reading the news in a number of daily newspapers to which I have digital subscriptions.
    "I'll tell you why [religion's] not a scam. In my opinion, all right? Tide goes in, tide goes out. Never a miscommunication. You can't explain that."Bill O'Reilly

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    Default Re: Heather Cox Richardson



    Heather Cox Richardson

    9h ·




    July 26, 2022 (Tuesday)

    Today began with Maggie Haberman and Luke Broadwater at the New York Times reporting on previously undisclosed emails from the weeks before the January 6 insurrection, in which advisors openly referred to the slates of alternative electors they had prodded supporters to produce as “fake.”

    “We would just be sending in ‘fake’ electoral votes to Pence so that ‘someone’ in Congress can make an objection when they start counting votes, and start arguing that the ‘fake’ votes should be counted,” Arizona lawyer Jack Wilenchik wrote on December 8, 2020, to Trump advisor Boris Epshteyn. Later, Wilenchik suggested that “‘alternative’ votes is probably a better term than ‘fake’ votes.” He then added a smiley face.

    Wilenchik also said he and Arizona Republican Party chair Kelli Ward had discussed keeping the plan quiet so that “we can can try to ‘surprise’ the Dems and media with it,” and that Representative Andy Biggs (R-AZ) had asked him to testify at a Senate hearing put together by Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI).

    The emails appear to show connections between Epshteyn and Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, as well as Epshteyn and John Eastman, the author of the memo calling for alternate slates of electors. Further, they show that Mike Roman, who was director of Election Day operations for Trump’s campaign, organized ways to overturn the election. Epshteyn and Roman corresponded with Trump lawyers Jenna Ellis and Bruce Marks, deputy director of Election Day campaign operations Gary Michael Brown, and Christina Bobb then at One America News Network.

    In an echo of the shadow operation Guiliani ran to pressure Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky to smear Hunter Biden, those trying to overturn the election did not share their conversations with the White House legal counsel’s office, whose lawyers had made it clear there was no evidence for any of their accusations of a stolen election. Haberman and Broadwater remind readers that the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol has established that Trump knew about the plan to create fake electors. So, too, did Republican National Committee chair Ronna McDaniel. In Pennsylvania, the point person to organize fake electors was Doug Mastriano, who is now the Republican nominee for governor.

    On Twitter, lawyer George Conway wrote: “If you had asked me to hypothesize, for illustrative purposes, a set of emails that prosecutors would find helpful in proving a fake-elector fraud conspiracy, I would not have come up with anything nearly as incriminating as the emails that the Times just reported on today.”

    Then the January 6th committee released footage from their interview with former acting defense secretary and Trump loyalist Christopher MIller, who took office on November 9, 2020, after Trump fired Defense Secretary Mark Esper. In the clip, Miller contradicted a statement Trump’s chief of staff Mark Meadows made on the Fox News Channel in February 2021. Meadows claimed that Trump had ordered 10,000 troops to be ready on January 6. Miller said he had received no such order.

    Meanwhile, President Joe Biden continues to try to break Trump’s support. Biden’s predecessor was in Washington today and was expected to lay the groundwork for a “law and order” campaign. In the end, it turned out he mostly rehashed his disproven claims about the 2020 election, but he did promise to execute drug dealers and put homeless people in camps on the outskirts of cities.

    Biden responded by taking the fight right to Trump and the right wing: “Here’s something else wrong with the ex-president’s record on crime,” Biden tweeted; “he opposes action on assault weapons. These military-style weapons kill cops—and they kill school kids. We need to stop selling them in America.” Yesterday he warned law enforcement that supporting insurrection was anti-cop and anti-American; today he is expanding that to support for assault-type weapons, an argument that resonates after the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, in which 376 law enforcement officers declined to confront an 18-year-old gunman equipped with AR-15 style rifles.

    While Biden is trying to break Trump supporters away from the former president, the American right wing is doubling down on authoritarianism.

    On July 15 the European Commission announced that it would sue Hungary over an anti-LGBTQ law and its refusal to renew the license of a broadcaster critical of the government, and today one of Hungarian president Viktor Orbán’s longtime advisors resigned over what she called his recent “pure Nazi” speech about “mixed-race” nations. "I don't know how you didn't notice that the speech you delivered is a purely Nazi diatribe worthy of Joseph Goebbels," she wrote. And yet, Orbán is still scheduled to speak next month at the August 4 meeting of the Conservative Political Action Conference in Dallas, Texas.

    Finally, the day ended with a blockbuster story from Carol D. Leonnig, Devlin Barrett, Josh Dawsey, and Spencer S. Hsu at the Washington Post. Basing their story on conversations with four sources, they reported that the Department of Justice is investigating former president Trump as part of its criminal investigation of efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

    The Department of Justice has already charged more than 850 people in the events surrounding Trump’s attempt to remain in power, but there has been much speculation over whether Attorney General Merrick Garland and the Justice Department were willing to let the former president skate free. There are two possible avenues of criminal prosecutions on the table. One is that Trump participated in the attempt to delay or obstruct an official proceeding, which is the crime for which other participants in the events of January 6 have been indicted. The other is the fraud of setting up the fake electors from the states.

    Conversations with their sources, who have shared the questions they have been asked, have led the Washington Post reporters to conclude that Trump is, in fact, under criminal investigation. Prosecutors are asking questions about the former president and members of his inner circle, about their meetings to overturn the election. And, in April, Justice Department investigators got the phone records of Trump administration officials, including Meadows, which means they convinced a judge they had good reason to look at them.

    Attorney General Garland has said he would “pursue justice without fear or favor.”
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    Heather Cox Richardson

    8h ·





    September 14, 2022 (Wednesday)

    It appears that John Durham’s investigation into why the FBI opened an investigation into the ties between the 2016 Trump campaign and Russian operatives is coming to an end.

    Durham’s investigation was a prime example of Trump’s attempt to use the Department of Justice not to enforce the nation’s laws, but to hurt his enemies, a charge former U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York Geoffrey Berman has made in his new book. Trump, Berman said, wanted his friends protected and his enemies—including former secretaries of state John Kerry and Hillary Clinton—prosecuted.

    In April 2019, the month after Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Report On The Investigation Into Russian Interference in the 2016 Presidential Election finally saw daylight, Attorney General William Barr tapped United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut John Durham to investigate the circumstances under which the FBI began to look into Russian interference in the election in the first place.

    The appointment was clearly an attempt to continue to distract people from the results of the Mueller report, which Barr had had an instrumental role in diminishing. Barr took office on February 14, 2019, just as Mueller was finishing his report. As Mueller’s superior, Barr got a copy of the report before anyone else, and he spun it to the media, claiming it exonerated the president and his team. In fact, Mueller established that Russia had illegally intervened in the election to benefit Trump and that the campaign “expected it would benefit electorally from information stolen and released through Russian efforts.” Mueller complained to Barr about the spin, but it was too late: the public had bought it.

    Trump and his allies jumped on Durham's investigation, promising it would prove that FBI agents were part of a “Deep State” and that Durham would uncover “the crime of the century.” In December 2020, after Trump had lost the election, Barr revealed that he had made Durham a special counsel the previous October so that Durham could continue his work into the next administration.

    But the investigation itself fizzled. Durham pressed charges against only three people. One pleaded guilty to altering an email and was sentenced to probation and community service. A grand jury alleged two others lied to the FBI. One was acquitted of the charges last May. The other is supposed to go on trial next month but has asked a judge to throw out the case for lack of evidence. But Durham’s three-year investigation did provide talking points for those attacking the FBI’s Russia investigation, keeping alive Trump’s false claims that it was just a “witch hunt.”

    Trump’s politicization of the Department of Justice was a profound attack on the principles of democracy. Using the law to attack enemies is a hallmark of authoritarians—just ask opposition leader Alexsei Navalny in Russia, who has been sentenced to incarceration on trumped-up charges to get him out of Russian president Vladimir Putin’s way—while it also encourages lawbreaking from those who don’t fear legal consequences.

    We have seen that sense of being above the law today in stories about the willingness of Mississippi officials, including former governor Phil Bryant, to work with former NFL player Brett Favre to divert about $5 million in federal welfare funds from helping people in poverty to building a volleyball facility at the University of Southern Mississippi, where his daughter was a volleyball player.

    We have seen it in the anger that Trump allies show when law enforcement treats them as it would anyone suspected of lawbreaking. MyPillow chief executive officer Mike Lindell explained by video that yesterday FBI agents took his phone and that “what we’ve done is weaponize the FBI…it’s disgusting….” Agents executed the search warrant as part of a federal investigation into the alleged breach of Colorado voting machines.

    We have seen it in Jeffrey Clark’s response today to ethics charges brought against him by the D.C. Bar. Clark was employed by the Department of Justice in late 2020, when he worked to swing the department behind Trump’s lie that he had won the election, a shift that would have utterly destroyed the rule of law in the U.S. Now he claims the D.C. Bar cannot punish him because normal rules of behavior don’t apply. In a filing today, he told the bar: “[T]the President has an absolute right to seek legal and other forms of advice…and officers of the United States have an absolute duty and corresponding privilege to provide their opinions on a confidential basis.”

    The turning of the courts into a tool for partisan advantage has been part of the Republican project since 1986, when Reagan’s attorney general Edwin Meese vowed to “institutionalize the Reagan revolution so it can’t be set aside no matter what happens in future presidential elections.” That partisan use of the courts inspired then–Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to help Trump replace about 30% of the federal bench and to swing the Supreme Court to the far right with three new justices.

    An examination by Politico’s Josh Gerstein and Kyle Cheney shows that Trump’s judges were less experienced on the bench and had spent more time in politics than the judges appointed by other presidents, and that Trump expected them to side with him, calling them “my judges.” “If it’s my judges, you know how they’re gonna decide,” he told evangelical leaders in 2016. And some of them have, indeed, sided with the former president in surprising ways, most recently when Judge Aileen Cannon, confirmed after Trump lost the 2020 election, agreed with his request for a special master to review the government documents recovered by the government from Mar-a-Lago.

    Trump’s judges have revealed a willingness to break precedent to achieve political ends, and nowhere is that clearer than in the willingness of the Supreme Court to replace long-settled law with their own preferences, most notably in their Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health decision overturning the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision protecting the right to abortion, but also in West Virginia v. EPA, limiting Congress’s ability to delegate regulatory authority to agencies, and so on.

    That replacement of settled law with what looks to be political preferences has tanked popular faith in the Supreme Court. On Monday, Justice Elena Kagan noted that, ​​“Judges create legitimacy problems for themselves…when they instead stray into places where it looks like they’re an extension of the political process or when they’re imposing their own personal preferences.” People should be able to expect that “changes in personnel don’t send the entire legal system up for grabs.”

    President Joe Biden appears to be trying to restore the rule of law to the Department of Justice, going out of his way to note that he is not involved with Attorney General Merrick Garland’s decisions. Increasingly, it looks like Garland’s Justice Department is bearing down on those who considered themselves untouchable.

    The trials and convictions of those who participated in the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol continue. Yesterday, three more rioters were found guilty of multiple charges. Twenty-five year old Patrick McCaughey III, of Ridgefield, Connecticut, who crushed Metropolitan Police Department officer Daniel Hodges in a doorway, faces decades in prison.

    Also today, Pamela Brown, Evan Perez, Jeremy Herb, and Kristen Holmes reported at CNN that not all of Trump’s loyalists are still acting as if they are above the law. Trump’s White House chief of staff Mark Meadows has complied with a Department of Justice subpoena.

    Perhaps most revealing of the restoration of the rule of law at the Justice Department is that former attorney general Barr has been on the television circuit defending the FBI and Biden’s Department of Justice from Trump’s fury over the FBI’s execution of a search warrant at Mar-a-Lago that yielded documents—or empty folders—bearing the highest classified markings.

    That is, the same man who sponsored Durham’s political mission has recently begun to speak up for the rule of law.
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    Default Re: Heather Cox Richardson

    Quote Originally Posted by David G
    She is a treasure. I get her essays via email. Nearly every day.
    Ditto.
    "I'll tell you why [religion's] not a scam. In my opinion, all right? Tide goes in, tide goes out. Never a miscommunication. You can't explain that."Bill O'Reilly

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    Default Re: Heather Cox Richardson

    I take it you think she's been wrong.

    I haven't seen / recognized that. Examples?
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    Default Re: Heather Cox Richardson

    Quote Originally Posted by L.W. Baxter View Post
    I read her regularly while she was providing a coherent synopsis of current events with little commentary or judgment. Walter Cronkite for the Facebook age.

    Over time she has developed a stronger op-ed style.

    She has become a print version of Maddow. Which doesn't mean she's wrong. But how many echo chambers do we need?
    lots!

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    Default Re: Heather Cox Richardson

    You agree with LW's assessment, LeeG?

    My take - I wasn't really following her much, pre-Jan 6th; and since then, she's really been dealing with a $hit$torm. The amt of info everyday - not sure it lends itself to 'revealing and tying, without prognostication/assessments. I'd disagree with your assessment, and personally, find her among the best sources for todays events, esp in an historical context.

    LW, 'I'm assuming' your being facetious in your first sentence of #21. Not sure why the bitterness.
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    Default Re: Heather Cox Richardson

    man, lee baxter will **** on anything
    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

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    Default Re: Heather Cox Richardson

    Quote Originally Posted by George Jung View Post
    You agree with LW's assessment, LeeG?

    My take - I wasn't really following her much, pre-Jan 6th; and since then, she's really been dealing with a $hit$torm. The amt of info everyday - not sure it lends itself to 'revealing and tying, without prognostication/assessments. I'd disagree with your assessment, and personally, find her among the best sources for todays events, esp in an historical context.

    LW, 'I'm assuming' your being facetious in your first sentence of #21. Not sure why the bitterness.
    it was just a driveby snarky comment on echo chambers. First time I read HCR was this year. I am too lazy and forgetful to follow a writer that long. Pardon the distraction. I’m not so sure the Cronkite era was echo free..

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    Default Re: Heather Cox Richardson

    I defy any of you to write and edit a book, orchestrate your wedding and keep up with two online lectures and a podcast panel and do what she's doing with the daily letter. She even managed to have lunch with a Financial Times profiler last week in the middle of all that.
    A society predicated on the assumption that everyone in it should want to get rich is not well situated to become either ethical or imaginative.

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    Default Re: Heather Cox Richardson

    I went to the dump and played with babies. That’s it for my days effort.

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    Default Re: Heather Cox Richardson

    My bad, LeeG; totally mis-read your comment. I blame low caffeine levels.... but I could just be 'at that age!'

    todays missive is troubling - esp the number of troops putin is impressing into service. Going for broke, it seems.

    Heather Cox Richardson

    9h ·


    September 22, 2022 (Thursday)

    Big stories in different parts of the world today.

    The Russian mobilization—the first since World War II—appears to be aiming at 1 million new soldiers, rather than the 300,000 suggested yesterday. Officials are scouring villages to conscript men, especially ethnic minorities, to fill the quotas the government has established. Stories are circulating of men given only an hour to appear at recruitment centers, students being given draft notices while they were sitting in class, and workers taken off the job.

    Meanwhile, the U.S. government has officially condemned Russia’s attacks on the civilian population of Ukraine: the forced deportations, disappearances, detainments, torture, and other abuses. The State Department said that “President Putin must be held accountable for these atrocities.” Indeed, even North Korea has distanced itself from Russia, saying in an official statement that it has never supplied Russia with weapons and has no plans to do so.

    The U.S. today also imposed sanctions on Iran’s morality police and other government leaders after the death in custody of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who was arrested for wearing her head covering too loosely. Her death has prompted protests in Tehran and other areas, with Iranians seeing her death as a sign of the extremism of the country’s religious leaders.

    And yet, not everyone is on board with distancing themselves from authoritarian governments. Today, Jared Kushner received the Hungarian Order of Merit at the Hungarian consulate in New York.

    Here at home, President Biden has rushed help to Puerto Rico. The island is reeling from Hurricane Fiona, which knocked out a power grid not fully recovered from Hurricane Maria almost exactly five years ago. On Sunday he issued an emergency declaration, freeing up federal money to help the region, and yesterday he issued a major disaster declaration, which allows the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) to pay for debris removal, water restoration, temporary housing and home repairs, and crisis counselors; to provide low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses; and so on.

    When he ran for president, Biden promised he would provide aid to Puerto Rico, which was still rebuilding after Hurricane Maria killed 3000 people and left hundreds of thousands of people without power for months. Today, at FEMA’s Region 2 headquarters at One World Trade Center in New York City, Biden indicated he sees his response to Hurricane Fiona as a test of the federal government. He recalled President Ronald Reagan’s famous line: “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: I'm from the Government, and I'm here to help.” “But we really are,” Biden said, “[a]nd…I hope you’re satisfied with the response so far. We’ll be with the…folks of Puerto Rico now and until this is done and we recover.”

    While Biden is trying to demonstrate that the government works, the former president is finding that out.

    Yesterday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit in Atlanta overturned the decision of Judge Aileen Cannon saying that the Department of Justice could not use the materials seized in the August 8 search of Mar-a-Lago until a special master had reviewed them. The 11th Circuit agreed with the Department of Justice that the 100 or so classified documents should be exempt from that decision. It ruled that the Department of Justice and the FBI can proceed with both the national security investigation of the documents with classified markings that Trump stole from the national government and the criminal investigation of that theft, including those documents.

    Legal commenter Teri Kanefield noted that Trump was likely most concerned about the documents with classification markings because while all the material belonged to the United States—that is, to us—it is the classified material that threatens our national security and thus puts him in the greatest legal jeopardy. That, she suggests, is why he is making such a fuss about whether he declassified the material.

    But the court has removed those documents from the special master’s review. “So now,” Kanefield notes, “[Trump] can pay for a special master to look through everything else while the DOJ continues a criminal investigation of the doc[ument]s that matter.”

    Today that special master, U.S. District Judge Raymond Dearie—who was Trump’s pick for the job, by the way—ordered Trump’s lawyers to back up Trump’s wild claims in court. The former president has alleged that the FBI planted documents at Mar-a-Lago, that some of the recovered documents were actually his, and that he had, in fact, secretly declassified some of the materials with classified markings. Dearie gave his lawyers until September 30 to tell him which documents, if any, on the Justice Department’s inventory of the material they recovered from Mar-a-Lago on August 8 have been described incorrectly.

    “This submission shall be Plaintiff’s final opportunity to raise any factual dispute as to the completeness and accuracy of the Detailed Property Inventory,” Dearie wrote.

    This morning, former Trump attorney Sidney Powell was supposed to testify before a grand jury in Fulton County, Georgia, about her involvement in a breach of election systems in Coffee County. The data firm whose operatives gained access to the system says it was hired by Powell. She did not appear for today’s scheduled interview.
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeeG View Post
    I went to the dump and played with babies. That’s it for my days effort.
    They keep the babies at the dump in the hills? I suppose that keeps things a bit quieter at home...

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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by George Jung View Post
    Todays missive is troubling - esp the number of troops putin is impressing into service. Going for broke, it seems.
    But . . . logistics!

    Russia is seemingly having a hard time keeping the 100k-150k men that they've currently got in the field in supply. Increasing the number by a factor of 3x to 9x isn't going to improve things. It will be exponentially worse.

    And their rail-based logistics system requires rail depots near the front where matériel can be loaded onto trucks and delivered to the units that need it. That system is subject disruption by artillery. And with 3x-9x more men, you'll need lots more trucks.

    As of May last, Russian truck manufacturing is down some 40%, car manufacturing down some 97%, probably due to sanctions and the lack of required components.

    https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2022/...-in-may-a78151
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    Default Re: Heather Cox Richardson

    North Korea, BTW, is now denying that they're going to sell ammunition to Russia. You know things are pretty desperate when you have to buy stuff from North Korea, and they don't want to sell it to you, or at least to admit it in public.

    I seriously pity those poor bastards getting conscripted - badly trained, badly equipped cannon fodder facing modern western weapons. God knows how it's going to turn out, but one thing we can say for sure is that unless something big changes, there are going to be a LOT more dead Russians. You can win a war that way, but it's hard on your citizens.
    Last edited by Keith Wilson; 09-23-2022 at 11:04 AM.
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    Heather Cox Richardson

    9h ·


    October 12, 2022 (Wednesday)

    Today, a jury in a civil trial in Connecticut determined that conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and Free Speech Systems, the parent company of his “InfoWars” network, must pay $965 million to the families of eight of those murdered at Sandy Hook and an FBI agent who responded to the shooting. A previous decision in a similar case left Jones with an order to pay almost $50 million to the parents of one of the other Sandy Hook victims, and a third Sandy Hook damages trial is pending.

    Twenty first-graders and six educators died in the 2012 attack, but Jones insisted the massacre was a hoax and the victims’ families actors, all part of a plot to create an excuse for confiscating guns.

    Jones’s followers have harassed the families ever since. Jones has admitted his theories were wrong and the massacre happened, but he says that he is not to blame for the actions of his followers and that the harassment was not as bad as the plaintiffs claim.

    A judge earlier ruled that Jones is liable for defamation, invasion of privacy, inflicting emotional distress, and violating Connecticut’s Unfair Trade Practices Act by lying about the massacre to sell his products on InfoWars. A representative from Free Speech Systems testified that Jones and the company made at least $100 million in the last ten years.

    Jones was not at the court today. He was broadcasting, making fun of the proceedings, and begging his followers for money, promising it would not go to pay the damages because he had declared bankruptcy and, in any case, he intended to appeal.

    What we are seeing is what happens when the MAGA narrative meets a legal system that requires sworn testimony and recognizes perjury as a crime.

    Jones and InfoWars pushed the lies that fueled the rise of today’s Republican extremists, and Jones is a prominent Trump supporter who was part of the events in Washington on January 5 and 6, 2021. Tonight, Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) defended him, saying that “all he did was speak words,” and suggesting the case against him was “political persecution.” Like others on the right, Greene suggests this case is about free speech, when in fact, the First Amendment to the Constitution protects us only from the government silencing us. It does not stop legal responsibility for damage our words cause, for which Jones has been found liable. A jury—not the government—has assigned the $965 million award to those whose lives Jones harmed.

    This legal reckoning is a significant blow to Jones’s ability to continue spreading lies.

    Meanwhile, the $1.6 billion lawsuit in which Dominion Voting Systems is suing the Fox News Corporation for its lies about Dominion’s voting machines in the 2020 election is moving forward. The FNC is apparently planning to argue that FNC personalities were simply expressing opinions when they said the machines were rigged, much as FNC has argued to defend host Tucker Carlson from lawsuits, saying that he was not reporting facts and that no “reasonable viewer” would take him seriously.

    Dominion’s $1.3 billion lawsuit against Trump lawyer Sidney Powell, who was a leading figure in pushing the lies that the voting machines were rigged, is also moving forward, although in March she asked a federal judge to dismiss the case against her, saying that “no reasonable person would conclude that [her] statements were truly statements of fact.” On September 28, a federal judge dismissed her countersuit, in which Powell claimed Dominion was suing her “to punish and make an example of her.”

    The clash between reality and image was in the news again tonight when Devlin Barrett and Josh Dawsey of the Washington Post reported that a Mar-a-Lago employee has placed Trump directly at the center of the retention of government documents in defiance of a subpoena. The employee told federal agents that Trump himself supervised the moving of boxes of documents, and that the shift happened after Trump’s team received a subpoena to return any documents bearing classified markings that were still at Mar-a-Lago.

    Security camera footage backed up the employee's story.

    Trump spokesperson Taylor Budowich tried to spin the news by telling Barrett and Dawsey: “The Biden administration has weaponized law enforcement and fabricated a Document Hoax in a desperate attempt to retain political power,” but that narrative is running up against the rush of Trump’s lawyers to get away from this case.

    Trump lawyer Christina Bobb, a former commentator on the right-wing One America News Network, signed a letter on June 3 certifying that Trump had returned all the records marked “classified,” “based upon the information that has been provided to me.” But the August 8 search of Mar-a-Lago turned up more than 100 more.

    Bobb has hired a criminal defense attorney and is cooperating with the Department of Justice. She told investigators that Trump lawyer Evan Corcoran had drafted the letter and told her to sign it; she insisted on the disclaimer. Now Corcoran, too, has an incentive to work with the Department of Justice and to tell the truth, rather than doubling down on a lie.

    Trump has ridden a false narrative in the past by managing to delay legal reckonings.

    But today, New York federal judge Lewis A. Kaplan denied former president Donald Trump’s attempt to delay his deposition, set for October 19, in the defamation case brought against him by writer E. Jean Carroll.

    Carroll has sued Trump for defaming her by claiming she lied when she said Trump raped her in the mid-1990s. Trump has appealed to substitute the United States for himself as the defendant in the case, since he was president when he said he had not committed the assault. A previous attempt on the part of Trump’s attorney general Bill Barr to substitute the U.S. for Trump failed, so, the judge pointed out, “this is a second bite at that apple.” Still, Trump wanted to pause the case while that appeal is pending.

    “As this Court previously has observed,” Judge Kaplan wrote, “Mr. Trump has litigated this case since it began in 2019 with the effect and probably the purpose of delaying it.” He denied the attempt to stop Trump’s deposition, saying Trump “should not be permitted to run the clock out.”

    The judge also pointed out that New York has recently passed the Adult Survivors Act, providing a one-year window for civil lawsuits based on sex crimes that are otherwise outside the statute of limitations, and that Carroll might want to sue Trump for damages under that law.

    After Kaplan’s decision, Trump called the U.S. legal system a “broken disgrace,” claimed he had no idea who Carroll is, and called her story “a Hoax and a lie, just like all the other Hoaxes that have been played on me for the past seven years.” But he will have to testify.

    Tomorrow, in yet another example of the power of reality, the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol will hold another public hearing at 1:00 Eastern time.
    There's a lot of things they didn't tell me when I signed on with this outfit....

  31. #31
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    Default Re: Heather Cox Richardson

    Tomorrow, in yet another example of the power of reality, the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol will hold another public hearing at 1:00 Eastern time.
    It seems like it takes forever and the bad guys keep getting away with it, and their bad shirt keeps happening (like the turd still holding rallies, FFS), but now it's catching up to at least some of them.

    Way back at the last hearing, (have there really been nine hearings?) they promised that there would be this last public hearing before concluding, making their recommendations and publishing their report, and that it would reveal powerful stuff. Gonna be some serious finding out going forward from today.


  32. #32
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    Default Re: Heather Cox Richardson

    I read elsewhere the judge responsible, has denied trumps latest attempts to avoid testifying next week. I'll be surprised if he shows up.
    There's a lot of things they didn't tell me when I signed on with this outfit....

  33. #33
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    Default Re: Heather Cox Richardson

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Mahan View Post
    It seems like it takes forever and the bad guys keep getting away with it, and their bad shirt keeps happening (like the turd still holding rallies, FFS), but now it's catching up to at least some of them.
    You want to see the shards fly, put 10% of the money spent on the MIC into law enforcement, and I don't mean Derek Chauvin responding to calls from convenience stores. I mean an army of forensic accountants, with submarines, fighter jets and satellites. 4x as many prosecutors and courts.

    The thing is to attack the crime that really pays, not shoplifting FFS. Let's get serious.
    If Russia wins, there will be no Ukraine; if Ukraine wins, there will be a new Russia.

    -- Dmytro Kuleba, Foreign Minister of Ukraine

  34. #34
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    Default Re: Heather Cox Richardson

    Heather Cox Richardson

    7h ·





    October 23, 2022 (Sunday)

    Over the weekend, the Maricopa County Elections Department announced that two people, both armed and dressed in tactical gear, stationed themselves near a ballot drop box in Mesa, Arizona. They left when law enforcement officers arrived. At least two voters later filed complaints of voter intimidation, both complaining that they were filmed dropping off ballots. One complained of being accused of “being a mule,” a reference to people who are allegedly paid to gather ballots and stuff drop boxes for Democratic candidates.

    Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Gates and Recorder Stephen Richer issued a statement: "We are deeply concerned about the safety of individuals who are exercising their constitutional right to vote and who are lawfully taking their early ballot to a drop box.... [V]igilantes outside Maricopa County's drop boxes are not increasing election integrity. Instead they are leading to voter intimidation complaints.”

    The presence of armed vigilantes outside of voting places is a scene directly out of the 1876 “redemption” of the South.

    During the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln and the fledgling Republican Party used the federal government to defend equality before the law and to expand opportunity for ordinary Americans. After the war, they included the newly emancipated southern Black population in their vision of an economy based on legal equality and free labor. When white southerners tried to force their Black neighbors back into submission, Congress passed the 1867 Military Reconstruction Act, establishing the right of Black men to vote for delegates to write new state constitutions.

    White southerners who hated the idea that Black men could use the vote to protect themselves terrorized their Black neighbors to keep them from voting. Pretending to be the ghosts of dead Confederate soldiers and calling themselves the Ku Klux Klan, they dressed in white robes with hoods to cover their faces and warned formerly enslaved people not to show up at the polls.

    Members of the Ku Klux Klan tried to stop southern Republicans—both Black and white—from voting in favor of the new state constitutions. They killed nearly a thousand Unionists before the 1868 elections, terrorizing their neighbors and undercutting democracy in the South.

    Even more effective than Ku Klux Klan ropes and clubs and bullets in the long run, though, were the new tactics to which white Democrats turned when they realized that the violence of the Ku Klux Klan simply hardened Republican resolve. They insisted that government policies promoting black equality were simply a redistribution of wealth as poor men—especially poor Black men—voted for lawmakers who would agree to fund roads and schools and hospitals with tax money. In the postwar South, the people most likely to own taxable property were white men.

    Black voting, they insisted, was “Socialism in South Carolina.”

    In 1876, “Redeemers” set out to put an end to the southern governments that were elected in systems that allowed Black men to vote. “Rifle clubs” held contests outside Republican political rallies, “Red Shirts” marched with their guns in parades.

    Their intimidation worked. Democrats took over the South and created a one-party system that lasted virtually unbroken until 1965. Without the oversight that a healthy multiparty system provides, southern governments became the corrupt tools of a few wealthy men, and the rest of the population fell into a poverty from which it could not escape until the federal government began to invest in the region in the 1930s.

    The great triumph of Movement Conservatives in the 1980s was to convince Republican voters to ditch the ideology of their founding and instead embrace the ideology of the old Confederacy.

    After World War II, the vast majority of Americans in both parties agreed that the government should protect equality before the law and promote equal access to resources. That system gave us highways, business regulation, world-class universities, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, clean air and water, labor protections, and a narrowing gap between rich and poor.

    But the Supreme Court’s 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision opened the way for those opposed to the so-called liberal consensus to claim that white tax dollars were paying for Black benefits. After the 1965 Voting Rights Act and the subsequent shift of Black voters to the Democratic Party, Republicans increasingly accused Black voters of looking for handouts. By 1980, Ronald Reagan made it to the White House with stories of a Black “welfare queen,” promising to put money back in the pockets of taxpayers. After the Democrats passed the 1993 National Voter Registration (Motor Voter) Act, Republicans began to insist that Democrats won only by cheating. They began to rewrite election laws to make it harder for Democratic-leaning populations to vote.

    And now, we are in the next stage of that pattern: Republicans are using intimidation to keep Democrats from voting. In addition to the direct intimidation in Arizona, Florida governor Ron DeSantis’s new Office of Election Crimes and Security in August arrested 19 people who had been assured by state officials that they could vote; Georgia Republicans are launching mass challenges to Democratic voters, overwhelming election offices; and in several states, pro-Trump activists have hounded election officials out of office.

    If we continue in this direction, we already know how it turns out: with a corrupt one-party government that favors an elite few and mires the rest of us in a world without recourse to legal equality or economic security.

    It doesn’t have to be this way, of course. At our most successful moments, Americans have backed not the vision of the Confederates but that of Lincoln, working to create a government of laws, not of men, and of equal access to opportunity for all.
    There's a lot of things they didn't tell me when I signed on with this outfit....

  35. #35
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    Default Re: Heather Cox Richardson

    Definitely one of her better ones. I posted it here already, but there's nothing wrong with twice
    "For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations,
    for nature cannot be fooled."

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