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2022 American Political Scene

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  • #16
    Your intermittent update on how Build Back Better negotiations are going (quite poorly, at the moment).

    A buoyant Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) is back in the Senate Thursday after collaborating with Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) and Senate Republicans to uphold the filibuster and block voting rights legislation.

    Less than pleased with the pressure campaign his fellow Democrats mounted against him, he’s sliding back into his old role smoothly: chief antagonist to Democrats’ attempts to pass the Build Back Better reconciliation bill.

    When asked if his old offer to the White House was still on the table, he cheerfully said no.

    “I’m hoping to talk to everybody — we’ll just start with a clean sheet of paper and start over,” he told reporters. “We’ll just be starting from scratch, whenever we start.”

    At this point, Manchin could craft the reconciliation bill any way he wanted. He could stuff it with goodies for West Virginia, demand it be renamed the “Joe Manchin Is The World’s Sexiest Man Act.” Instead, he’s choosing to start over. After forcing months of delay, he will apparently burn more clock. It sure seems like he’s trying to drag the process out so long that Republicans retake at least one chamber of Congress, killing the bill for good.

    “It’s not just this vote,” an angry Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) said Wednesday after Manchin and Sinema killed the filibuster reform. “These are people who I think have undermined the President of the United States. They have forced us to go through five months of discussions which have gotten absolutely nowhere.”
    Chunk It Up
    • During a press conference to mark his one-year anniversary in office, President Joe Biden suggested that Congress will be able to pass “big chunks” of the reconciliation bill. “It’s clear to me that we’re going to have to probably break it up,” he said.
    • Breaking the package up into a number of smaller bills would likely not work. Without the reconciliation workaround, they’d all crash up against the Republican filibuster.
    • “If you split it up, I think that’s gonna be the challenge,” Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) said. “I think it requires different reconciliation bills.”
    • Biden may have meant winnowing down the package to whatever Manchin will let pass, and breaking off other pieces to (hypothetically) pass separately.
    • “It’s hard, because we have the skinniest possible majority, and that means it takes every vote,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) said. “We’re not going to get one damn vote from the Republicans for childcare, for reducing the cost of prescription drugs, or for making billionaire corporations pay their taxes. So we’ve got to shoulder this by ourselves as Democrats.”
    • The question remains whether one Democrat in particular wants any version of this bill to pass at all. So far, it doesn’t look like it.

      The Sausage Making: Manchin Takes His Revenge (

      Senator Elizabeth "Fauxahontas" Warren still thinks corporations pay taxes rather than collect them..... how cute. Have the same arguments with conservatives about the poor not paying property taxes (they do) since landlords don't pay property taxes they collect them. Taxes are always and only paid by citizens. All taxes are direct or indirect taxes on private consumption or income. Landlords, corporations etc merely collect them as intermediaries for the government.


    • #17
      Originally posted by TopHatter View Post

      When you don't even bother to hide the racism anymore...
      Quintessential Freudian slip right there and there is a huge difference between the two politicians comments which should be obvious to most...


      • #18
        More than half of Americans view right-wing militia groups as a threat to US: poll

        More than half of Americans view right-wing militia groups as a threat to the U.S., with a third saying they pose an "immediate and serious threat" to the country, according to a poll from The Economist/YouGov.

        The poll was taken following the first anniversary of the Jan. 6 insurrection, when Trump supporters stormed the Capitol in an effort to prevent Congress from certifying the results of the 2020 election. Members of known right-wing extremist groups including the Oath Keepers, the Proud Boys and the Three Percenters have been charged in connection with the attack.

        The poll also found that 81 percent of those surveyed view domestic terrorism as a threat.

        Sixty-six percent view right-wing militia groups as at least a minor threat, according to the poll, which surveyed 1,500 people in mid-January.

        Of that number, 13 percent view the militia groups as a minor threat, 20 percent as a somewhat serious threat and 33 percent as an immediate and serious threat.

        Broken down by party affiliation, 57 percent of Democrats polled said they view right-wing militia groups as a serious and immediate threat, while just 15 percent of Republican respondents said the same.

        But the majority of Republicans - 53 percent of those polled - did say that right-wing militia groups posed at least a minor threat to the U.S., with 17 percent saying they viewed them as a somewhat serious threat and 21 saying they viewed them as a minor threat.

        Thirty-one percent of Republicans who responded to the poll said that such groups posed no threat to the country, however, compared with just 1 percent of Democrats.

        The Economist/YouGov poll was conducted Jan. 15-18 among 1,500 American citizens sampled randomly. The poll has a margin of error of 2.8 percentage points for all respondents and 3.1 percent for registered voters.

        The Oath Keepers are among the more well-known right-wing militia groups in the U.S. The group's founder, Stewart Rhodes, was recently arrested and, along with other members, charged with seditious conspiracy for his alleged role in the Jan. 6 uprising.

        The new poll found 52 percent of Americans surveyed who had heard of the Oath Keepers had a very unfavorable opinion of the group.

        Republican respondents who had heard of the group were fairly evenly split, with 36 percent saying they viewed the group either somewhat or very unfavorably and 38 percent saying they viewed them either somewhat or very favorably.

        In comparison, 75 percent of Democrats polled who had heard of the group said they had a very unfavorable opinion of the Oath Keepers and an additional 5 percent said they had a somewhat unfavorable opinion.
        "Donald Trump is the first seditious president in our history. He decided he would not abide by the election, the duly constituted, free election of Joe Biden as the president of the United States, and staged a coup to keep Biden from taking office." ~ Carl Bernstein


        • #19
          It should be more than 99%.
          Trust me?
          I'm an economist!


          • #20
            Originally posted by DOR View Post

            It should be more than 99%.
            No, 70% at most since the other 30% is, or is in cahoots, with right-wing militia groups since the last century.


            • #21
              Originally posted by DOR View Post

              It should be more than 99%.
              TBM nailed it:
              Originally posted by tbm3fan View Post

              No, 70% at most since the other 30% is, or is in cahoots, with right-wing militia groups since the last century.
              And if they're not in cahoots, then they're in basic agreement or understanding with those right-wing militias, especially when it comes those filthy immigrants and their goal of "western cultural replacement" or whatever the current racist dog whistle is.
              "Donald Trump is the first seditious president in our history. He decided he would not abide by the election, the duly constituted, free election of Joe Biden as the president of the United States, and staged a coup to keep Biden from taking office." ~ Carl Bernstein


              • #22
                Originally posted by TopHatter View Post

                TBM nailed it:

                And if they're not in cahoots, then they're in basic agreement or understanding with those right-wing militias, especially when it comes those filthy immigrants and their goal of "western cultural replacement" or whatever the current racist dog whistle is.
                Plus there is a fair amount of the wealthy who would feel their assets are better protected by a firm conservative law and order government and would have no problem doing business with them.


                • #23
                  The Six Main Strands of the Trump Coup Attempt
                  How did he try to overturn the 2020 election? Let us count the ways.

                  Donald Trump’s actions to overturn the 2020 election were dedicated, intentional, and sustained over time. The insistent notion that Trump and his allies are “too stupid to coup” should not be reassuring. Like the velociraptors in Jurassic Park, shake enough door handles, and eventually one opens. By the end of the 2020 story, Trump had learned just how loose are the dusty old frameworks like the Electoral Count Act.

                  From the summer of 2020 through January 6, 2021, Trump’s buffoonish plans evolved—ultimately taking shape as a multipronged plot to rob Joe Biden of the presidency, one that descended into bloody violence at the United States Capitol. It happened fast, but not all at once: Lawsuits were filed in state and federal courts, up to the U.S. Supreme Court. Strategies changed. Officials inside the Department of Justice clashed over whether to enable Trump or hem him in. His team rallied activists to swarm the homes and workplaces of election officials. Trump pressured state officials to “find the votes.” More than one hundred members of Congress were organized to object to the Electoral College votes on Jan. 6th. In several states that Biden won, Republicans went so far as to submit fake Electoral College paperwork to “certify” Trump as the 2020 winner.

                  It’s a lot to process. Given all the details that have been emerging in recent months from journalists, from the House Jan. 6th Committee and other congressional investigations, from the Department of Justice, and from memoirs, there is a need for an overview that tries to bring it all together—not a comprehensive report on every detail, but an explanation of the six strands of the plot and how they are entwined.

                  Because a sequel may be on its way.

                  1. The Conspiracy Theories
                  Trump began promulgating election-related conspiracy theories at least as early as June 2020, when he and his team started questioning the legality of mail-in voting, especially as the practice was being more widely adopted because of COVID:

                  That month, Attorney General Bill Barr told the New York Times that foreign governments might conspire to mail in fake ballots. Those conspiracy theories escalated dramatically in the wee hours of election night. Before votes were done being counted, as results appeared to be moving in Biden’s favor, Trump stood in the East Room of the White House, declared himself the winner, and warned that fraud was underway:
                  This is a fraud on the American public. This is an embarrassment to our country. We were getting ready to win this election. Frankly, we did win this election. We did win this election. So our goal now is to ensure the integrity for the good of this nation. This is a very big moment. This is a major fraud in our nation. We want the law to be used in a proper manner. So we’ll be going to the US Supreme Court. We want all voting to stop. We don’t want them to find any ballots at four o’clock in the morning and add them to the list. Okay? It’s a very sad moment. To me this is a very sad moment and we will win this. And as far as I’m concerned, we already have won it.

                  Vice President Mike Pence stood beside Trump and gave all indications he agreed. “I truly do believe as you do that we are on the road to victory, and we will make America great again,” Pence said.

                  From there, Trump surrogates blitzed the internet and airwaves, pushing all manner of theories in an attempt to prove the president’s words to be true. The various grab-bag conspiracies were best represented in a wild ninety-minute November 19, 2020 press conference held by Trump’s legal team at the Republican National Committee headquarters (the press conference most famous for Rudy Giuliani’s sweatily dripping hair dye). They alleged that foreign countries were counting votes; that votes were being illegally “manufactured” and “overcounted”; and that Dominion and Smartmatic voting machines could “flip” votes.

                  Much later, we learned that some members of Trump’s own campaign internally warned the lawyers before the press conference that many of their claims, particularly about the voting machines, weren’t true. It didn’t stop them.

                  2. The Lawsuits
                  Many of the conspiracy theories became the basis of courtroom challenges by Trump’s legal team, which filed roughly sixty losing lawsuits, most of them in battleground states that Biden won: Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

                  One of those lawsuits, which went straight to the Supreme Court as Trump foreshadowed, is especially significant.

                  In early December, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, at the behest of the Trump campaign, filed a suit seeking the nullification of the election results in four key states that Biden won: Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan, and Wisconsin. As Kimberly Wehle summarized:
                  It makes a slew of audacious factual allegations that are unestablished and untested. Basically, he argues that the state defendants shouldn’t have allowed mail-in balloting the way they did, and cites “mysterious late night dumps of thousands of ballots at tabulation centers; illegally backdating thousands of ballots,” and videos of “poll workers erupting in cheers as poll challengers are removed from vote counting centers,” among an avalanche of other unsubstantiated and previously repudiated factual claims. (My favorite is the “expert analysis” that allegedly calculated the “probability of former Vice President Biden winning the popular vote in the four Defendant States” as “less than one in a quadrillion, or 1 in 1,000,000,000,000,000.”)

                  It was a ridiculous gambit, but a shocking number of Republicans took it seriously enough to pledge their names. Trump whipped support, and within a day, 127 Republican House members, including House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy, signed an amicus brief. Seventeen Republican state attorneys general, the chief law enforcers in their respective states, also signed on. Trump asked Texas Sen. Ted Cruz if he would argue the case before the Supreme Court. Cruz agreed.

                  Cruz never had to argue the case, though, because the Supreme Court, which by this point included three Trump appointees, refused to hear it. Yet Paxton’s suit still had a galvanizing effect. It put a convincing number of elected Republican elites on record with their willingness to reject millions of votes without any proven evidence of fraud.

                  3. Fake Federal Investigations
                  As Trump pressed his case in court, he simultaneously pushed government lawyers to launch investigations to lend some credibility to his charges. In an unsettling departure from Department of Justice precedent, Attorney General Bill Barr on November 9, 2020 gave federal prosecutors approval to investigate the president’s unfounded claims.

                  By the next month, Barr said nothing had been found, telling an Associated Press reporter that “we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have effected a different outcome of the election.” Trump reportedly screamed at Barr for this, and soon the attorney general announced his resignation.

                  Around that time, Trump secretly met with Acting Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey B. Clark to discuss a plan for Republican state legislatures to launch their own investigations as a means to eventually overturn Biden’s win.

                  Why did Trump go through Clark instead of Jeffrey Rosen, the man who assumed Barr’s position when he left? Acting Attorney General Rosen wasn’t willing to play ball. Rosen later testified to the Senate Judiciary Committee about how he was pressured by Trump directly. Acting Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue submitted notes he took during one December 27, 2020 phone call between Rosen and the president. According to the notes, Rosen told Trump he must “understand that the DOJ can’t + won’t snap its fingers + change the outcome of the election, doesn’t work that way.”

                  “[I] don’t expect you to do that,” Trump is said to have answered, “just say that the election was corrupt + leave the rest to me and the R. Congressmen.”

                  More worrisome, Rosen also testified that Clark circulated a draft letter on December 28, 2020 he wanted Rosen to approve. It was to be delivered to Republican officials in Georgia, asking them to hold a special legislative session to investigate voter fraud. It said:
                  The Department of Justice is investigating various irregularities in the 2020 election for President of the United States. The Department will update you as we are able on investigatory progress, but at this time we have identified significant concerns that may have impacted the outcome of the election in multiple States, including the State of Georgia.

                  While the Department of Justice believe[s] the Governor of Georgia should immediately call a special session to consider this important and urgent matter, if he declines to do so, we share with you our view that the Georgia General Assembly has implied authority under the Constitution of the United States to call itself into special session for [t]he limited purpose of considering issues pertaining to the appointment of Presidential Electors.

                  Rosen refused to sign the letter, and then, according to Rosen, Clark told him that Trump offered to make Clark attorney general. But Clark said that he would decline if Rosen would sign. On January 3, 2021, Clark told Rosen he would accept Trump’s offer to replace Rosen as acting attorney general. But Rosen quickly organized with others and threatened to resign if Trump did so. Clark’s plan then fell apart.

                  4. “Stop the Steal” Whips Up the Base
                  Initially centered on the lawsuits, activists waged a nationwide grassroots “Stop the Steal” advocacy campaign that embraced the conspiracy theories and pressured Republicans reluctant to go along with Trump’s schemes. It also attracted the more violent parts of Trump’s base and provided them several opportunities to recruit and train members twice in the nation’s capital before Jan. 6th.

                  They mobilized fast. Immediately after the election, protests demanding that election workers “Stop the Count” materialized in Michigan as Trump supporters sought to discount mail-in ballots that took longer to count and largely favored Biden. On November 14, 2020, thousands of Trump supporters rallied in Washington. The events descended into street violence that evening, leaving two officers injured.

                  A group called Women for America First embarked on a multi-week, twenty-city “March for Trump” bus tour to stoke anger and fear over the election nationwide.

                  Later that month, protesters began swarming outside the homes of state officials in Georgia and Michigan. Georgia elections official Gabriel Sterling warned: “Someone’s going to get hurt, someone’s going to get shot, someone’s going to get killed, and it’s not right.”

                  Thousands of pro-Trump protesters returned to Washington for a December 12 rally, just two days before the Electoral College would be assembling in state capitals across the country to certify the results of the November vote. Trump tweeted his encouragement:

                  The Washington Post reported: “In helmets and bulletproof vests, Proud Boys marched through downtown in militarylike rows, shouting ‘move out’ and ‘1776!’” They clashed with counterprotesters and at least four people were stabbed. The report continued: “D.C. police said that as of 9 p.m., 23 people were arrested Saturday, including 10 who were charged with misdemeanor assaults, six with assaulting police officers and four with rioting. Police said one person had an illegal Taser.”

                  Women for America First secured the permits for both the November and December protests that ended in violence. By the end of December, the same group was working to organize the Jan. 6th rally, which Trump promoted.

                  Meanwhile, the Georgia runoff election became another staging ground for “Stop the Steal” advocacy under the banner of helping Republicans win re-election. Trump made two trips to Georgia ostensibly to campaign for incumbent GOP senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, but in reality to continue to push his grievances about the election. In Valdosta on December 5, 2020 he told the crowd, “Let them steal Georgia again, you’ll never be able to look yourself in the mirror.”

                  That month, after losing so many court cases, Trump’s legal team shifted into public-relations mode. Trump adviser Bernard Kerik recently provided the House Jan. 6th Committee with a 22-page document titled “Strategic Communications Plan” that described how to “educate the public on the fraud numbers, and inspire citizens to call upon legislators and Members of Congress to disregard the fraudulent vote count and certify the duly-elected President Trump.”

                  The timeline for the plan to be carried out was Dec. 27th to Jan. 6th. The campaign’s targets were swing-state Republican senators in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, as well as House Republicans.

                  The memo asserted that “massive corruption in the election process led to a vote tally that is fraudulent” and contained a laundry list of allegations: underage and ineligible people voted, and votes were cast in the name of dead people. It mentioned “illegalities,” fraudulent ballots, mail-in ballot fraud, “Dominion machines fraud,” and “election officials’ illegal actions.”

                  The memo’s recommended messaging emphasized accusatory questions, such as “What do you elections officials have to hide?” and “Why are you defending this corruption?”

                  The memo also called for protests at the homes of members of Congress (among other public officials), something disturbing that had already happened and that the Trump team apparently wanted more of.

                  The pressure worked.

                  For example, Trump returned to Georgia for another rally on January 4, 2021,a day before the runoff. Standing alongside Trump on stage in Dalton, Kelly Loeffler said that she would oppose certifying Biden as president when Congress tallied Electoral College votes the next day.

                  5. Fake Electors and Objectors
                  On December 10, 2020, the Conservative Action Project, headed by Ken Blackwell, proposed a clear-cut way to flip the Biden votes to Trump. A memo detailing the proposal was signed by many well-known conservative leaders, including Al Regnery, Tony Perkins, Jim DeMint, and Brent Bozell.

                  Collectively, this group recommended that legislatures in the battleground states appoint new electors who would provide the Electoral College votes needed for Trump to be certified as president on Jan. 6th:
                  There is no doubt President Donald J. Trump is the lawful winner of the presidential election. Joe Biden is not president-elect.

                  Accordingly, state legislatures in the battleground states of Pennsylvania, Arizona, Georgia, Wisconsin, Nevada, and Michigan should exercise their plenary power under the Constitution and appoint clean slates of electors to the Electoral College to support President Trump. Similarly, both the House and Senate should accept only these clean Electoral College slates and object to and reject any competing slates in favor of Vice President Biden from these states.

                  The idea took hold. Trump flacks Stephen Miller and Kayleigh McEnany confirmed the strategy and pushed it on the airwaves.

                  State legislatures did not take up the idea to appoint new electors, but rogue groups of Republicans in seven states created phony electoral certificates to that effect and sent them to Congress. In two of the states, the phony elector certificates included a caveat saying that the ballots would only take effect if Trump won those states. Not so in the the other five states, as Philip Rotner pointed out this week:
                  The phony Trump electors from each of the other five states—Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada and Wisconsin—certified that they were in fact the “duly elected and qualified Electors for President and Vice President of the United States of America” from their respective states.

                  These phony certificates supposedly from competing slates of electors were not a sideshow, an irrelevant gimmick. They were key to the coup plan, forming the basis of the law professor John Eastman’s infamous memo, first obtained by Robert Costa and Bob Woodwood for their book Peril. The short version of the Eastman memo outlined a six-step “January 6 scenario” to overturn the election, starting with the assertion that “7 states have transmitted dual slates of electors to the President of the Senate.” Eastman envisioned Vice President Pence making an announcement on Jan. 6th that “because of the ongoing disputes in the 7 States, there are no electors that can be deemed validly appointed in those States.” The long version of the Eastman memo is similarly dependent on the fraudulent electoral slates.

                  Looking to the courts to assist on this point, Rep. Louie Gohmert and a slate of fake electors from Arizona filed a suit in late December 2020 that asked for Pence to be given “exclusive authority and sole discretion under the Twelfth Amendment to determine which slates of electors for a State, or neither, may be counted.” The district court tossed out Gohmert’s suit.

                  But Trump still wanted Pence to act. In Oval Office meetings on Jan. 4 and 5, 2021, he tried to foist Eastman’s idea on Pence. In a Jan. 6 tweet, Trump called on Pence to show “extreme courage.” And in his speech at the Ellipse on Jan. 6, he made his expectations of the vice president crystal clear. In addition to encouraging the crowd to “fight like hell,” Trump said:
                  I hope Mike is going to do the right thing. I hope so. I hope so.

                  Because if Mike Pence does the right thing, we win the election. All he has to do, all this is, this is from the number one, or certainly one of the top, Constitutional lawyers in our country. He has the absolute right to do it. We’re supposed to protect our country, support our country, support our Constitution, and protect our constitution.

                  States want to revote. The states got defrauded, They were given false information. They voted on it. Now they want to recertify. They want it back. All Vice President Pence has to do is send it back to the states to recertify and we become president and you are the happiest people.

                  And I actually, I just spoke to Mike. I said: “Mike, that doesn’t take courage. What takes courage is to do nothing. That takes courage.” And then we’re stuck with a president who lost the election by a lot and we have to live with that for four more years. We’re just not going to let that happen.

                  Pence didn’t go through with it.

                  Ultimately, on Jan. 6th some 147 Republican senators and representatives—more than half of the Republicans in Congress—joined in objecting to the final certification of the Arizona and Pennsylvania electoral slates. Trump adviser Peter Navarro bragged about having provided ”research” to members to back up their objections. Donald Trump approved; he ordered Navarro’s reports to be issued to House and Senate offices.

                  6. Pressure on State and Local Officials
                  Trump also worked furiously behind the scenes to get state and local Republicans to do his bidding.

                  In mid-November 2020, he phoned two members of a local canvassing board in Detroit, Michigan after they rescinded their votes to certify the election. Elated, Trump’s legal adviser Jenna Ellis tweeted:
                  BREAKING: This evening, the county board of canvassers in Wayne County, MI refused to certify the election results. If the state board follows suit, the Republican state legislator will select the electors. Huge win for @realDonaldTrump

                  This was one of the first public indications that Team Trump was thinking about using state legislators to select alternate slates of electors.

                  Ahead of Michigan’s deadline to certify the election, Trump invited a group of Michigan Republican lawmakers to the White House. A meeting was held, but afterward the lawmakers said they were committed to letting the certification process play out.

                  Trump’s main focus, however, was on Georgia.

                  On December 23, 2020, Trump called Georgia’s lead elections investigator, Frances Watson, and encouraged her to find the “dishonesty” in Cobb County’s mail-in ballot signatures audit. “The people of Georgia are so angry at what happened to me,” he told her. “They know I won, won by hundreds of thousands of votes. It wasn’t close.”

                  He then called Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger on January 2, 2021 and was far more aggressive. During the one-hour call, Trump demanded that Raffensperger “recalculate” the vote totals and “find” enough votes to award him the win in Georgia.

                  “All I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have. Because we won the state,” Trump said.

                  And that’s just what happened during the calls that were leaked.

                  Many questions, both big and small, about the Trump coup remain unanswered—including questions about how much (if any) of the mob violence at the Capitol was anticipated by Trump’s advisers; who (if anyone) coordinated the efforts of the Republicans who submitted fraudulent Electoral College certificates; and why it took more than three hours for the Capitol to be secured.

                  But enough is known already that we can say this: Although Trump wasn’t successful in overturning the election, his schemes captured the hearts and minds of the Republican base, many members of the Republican elite, conservative media, and fringe militia groups alike. Those groups worked in concert toward an end goal of rejecting Electoral College votes on Jan 6th.

                  Hardly anyone could have predicted that after the election was called for Biden, such a sweeping GOP machine would insist that Trump won and work to make the fantasy come true. Especially after each state met to certify their elections on December 14, 2020. What should have been a moment to make a firm break from Trump, to repudiate the defeated president, instead became a reason to unite behind his losing cause.

                  Don’t think they won’t try again.

                  This shit isn't going away just because conservatives want it to.
                  "Donald Trump is the first seditious president in our history. He decided he would not abide by the election, the duly constituted, free election of Joe Biden as the president of the United States, and staged a coup to keep Biden from taking office." ~ Carl Bernstein


                  • #24
                    Totally normal behavior in the United States.

                    An email address to report teachers who don't teach a theory which has not and has never been taught in Virginia schools that let's you go full Stasi on teachers....


                    Virginia's new Republican governor, who banned critical race theory in schools, is launching a tip line for parents to report their kids' teachers

                    Sophia Ankel

                    Virginia's newly elected Republican governor, who has banned critical race theory in public schools, is launching a tip line to report teachers of "divisive subjects."

                    In a Monday interview with the conservative radio host John Fredericks, Gov. Glenn Youngkin said parents could email the state government to report any public-school teachers they believed to be "behaving objectionably."

                    Youngkin said: "We're asking for folks to send us reports and observations that they have that will help us be aware of things like privilege bingo, be aware of their child being denied their rights that parents have in Virginia. And we're going to make sure we catalog it all.

                    "This gives us a great insight into what's happening at a school level, and that gives us further ability to make sure we're rooting it out."

                    Youngkin, the first Republican to win the state in more than 10 years, was sworn into office earlier this month.

                    He made critical race theory — an academic practice developed by legal scholars to examine the ongoing effects of racism in American policies and institutions — a key component of his 2021 campaign.

                    Youngkin banned the teaching of "inherently divisive concepts" on his first day in office. The order didn't define "divisive concepts," but it cited critical race theory as an example.

                    The order was issued even though critical race theory was never part of the state's public-school curriculum, The Washington Post reported.

                    As one of his first moves in office, Youngkin also removed school mask requirements statewide, allowing parents to opt out of compulsory mask rules in classrooms and prompting several school districts to defy the move.
                    You'd think a state that introduced slavery to British America....
                    “Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.”
                    Mark Twain


                    • #25
                      Originally posted by Albany Rifles View Post
                      Totally normal behavior in the United States.

                      An email address to report teachers who don't teach a theory which has not and has never been taught in Virginia schools that let's you go full Stasi on teachers....

                      You'd think a state that introduced slavery to British America....
                      This full-on slide to right-wing authoritarianism is incredibly depressing.

                      "inherently divisive concepts".... i.e. American history.
                      "Donald Trump is the first seditious president in our history. He decided he would not abide by the election, the duly constituted, free election of Joe Biden as the president of the United States, and staged a coup to keep Biden from taking office." ~ Carl Bernstein


                      • #26
                        Pro-Trump death threats prompt bills in 3 states to protect election workers

                        (Reuters) - In Vermont, lawmakers are considering bills to make it easier to prosecute people who threaten election officials. In Maine, proposed legislation would stiffen penalties for such intimidation. In Washington, state senators voted this month to make threatening election workers a felony.

                        The measures follow a Reuters series of investigative reports documenting a nationwide wave of threats and harassment against election administrators by Donald Trump supporters who embrace the former president’s false voting-fraud claims. Sponsors and supporters of the legislation in all three states cited Reuters reporting as an impetus for proposing tougher enforcement.

                        Washington state Senator David Frockt, a Seattle Democrat, said the reports “gave us more evidence” to build support for legislation to hold accountable those who threaten election officials.

                        In Maine, a bill authored by Democratic state Representative Bruce White would enhance penalties for anyone who “intentionally interferes by force, violence or intimidation” with election administration. Secretary of State Shenna Bellows cited the Reuters reporting in testimony supporting the bill.

                        “This is unacceptable,” she said, noting that two municipal clerks in Maine were threatened with violence.

                        In all, Reuters documented more than 850 threats and hostile messages to U.S. election officials and workers. Nearly all the communications echoed Trump’s baseless claims that he lost the 2020 election because of fraud. More than 100 of the threats could meet the federal threshold for criminal prosecution, according to law professors and attorneys who reviewed them.

                        Prosecutions in such cases have been rare But on Friday, a U.S. Department of Justice task force on election threats announced its first indictment, charging a Texas man for posting online threats against three officials in Georgia An assistant attorney general said the case is among “dozens” being investigated by the task force, which was formed shortly after Reuters in June published the first in the series of reports on election-related threats.

                        In Vermont, menacing voicemails to Secretary of State Jim Condos and his staff – and a decision by police and prosecutors not to seek charges – spurred lawmakers to reconsider state laws that enshrine some of America’s oldest and strongest free-speech protections. Two measures introduced this month would make it easier to charge suspects for criminal threats and toughen penalties when they target public officials.

                        An unidentified man left a first round of hostile messages for Condos' office shortly after the 2020 election. Then, last fall, the same man left voicemails threatening Condos and his staff, along with two Reuters journalists who had interviewed the man about his earlier threats.

                        “Justice is coming,” the man warned in an October message. “All you dirty cocksuckers are about to get fucking popped. I fucking guarantee it.”

                        Condos said in an interview that he expected the threatener would face no consequences under state law. Police and prosecutors already had reviewed the caller’s earlier messages and decided they were protected speech.

                        Frustrated, Condos wrote to a half-dozen lawmakers, urging them to consider legislation to align state law more closely with federal statutes and to set a clearer standard for prosecution.

                        “These voicemails do cross the line,” Condos wrote in an October 27 email to lawmakers, which was reviewed by Reuters.

                        Federal officials considered the threats serious enough to investigate. After Reuters asked Vermont officials about the October threat, the Federal Bureau of Investigation began an inquiry into the matter, according to two local law enforcement officials.

                        Condos said the email reflected his concern that the intimidation could escalate to violence. “It also was recognizing the world we are in,” he said, “and understanding we had to do something.”

                        Public calls for stronger legislation in Vermont emerged after Reuters published the October threats in a Nov. 9 story along with details of the caller’s earlier messages. State authorities declined to pursue the case, saying the anonymous calls amounted to protected speech and were “essentially untraceable.” Reuters journalists, however, were able to contact and interview the man, who admitted to making the threats but declined to identify himself. He said he believed he had done nothing wrong.

                        The week after the Reuters report, Vermont Governor Phil Scott, a Republican, and state Senator Richard Sears, a Democrat, told reporters that they would consider changes to state laws governing criminal threats.

                        Newspaper editorials also urged new legislation. “This case makes it clear that Vermont law needs to change,” the Manchester Journal said in a Nov. 11 editorial, referring to the threats reported by Reuters against Condos and his staff.

                        THREATS VS. FREE SPEECH

                        The bills in Vermont and other states wouldn’t alter the free-speech protections guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution to all Americans. Advocates for the Vermont legislation say the intent is to bring state laws in line with federal standards, which make it easier to prosecute threats of violence.

                        The Vermont bills would sharpen the definition of a criminal threat and remove several hurdles to prosecution, including a requirement that a threat must target a specific individual and an additional burden of proving the suspect has the means and ability to carry out any threatened violence. Another measure would impose stiffer sentences for threats to public officials.

                        “This is about not tying our hands” with statutes that are “too narrow or unduly restrictive,” says Rory Thibault, a state’s attorney who advised lawmakers in crafting the legislation.

                        Striking that balance is delicate in Vermont, which codified its expansive free-speech protections nearly 250 years ago, more than a decade before the U.S. Constitution.

                        In 1777, the independent Vermont Republic enacted a constitution that guaranteed “a right to freedom of speech, and of writing and publishing their sentiments” – language that remains in the state’s constitution today. In 1798, one of the state’s first members of Congress, Matthew Lyon, was re-elected while jailed under the Sedition Act for criticism of President John Adams, whom Lyon had described as having “an unbounded thirst for ridiculous pomp.”

                        When state lawmakers tried several years ago to make it easier to prosecute criminal threats, the legislation died amid concerns that it might infringe on speech rights. But Vermont, like much of America, has wrestled recently with violent anti-government sentiment, white nationalism and political extremism, straining its free-speech tradition.

                        In 2018, Vermont’s Supreme Court overturned the conviction of a Ku Klux Klan member on two counts of disturbing the peace. The defendant had placed pro-Klan flyers on the cars of two women, one Black and one Hispanic. The court ruled the flyers constituted protected speech under Vermont law.

                        Last year, the town of Bennington paid $137,500 to a Black state legislator and apologized publicly for a police failure to sufficiently respond to racial harassment against her by a self-described white nationalist. The legislator, Kiah Morris, resigned in 2018.

                        So far, the criminal-threats legislation has not drawn significant public opposition, although proponents expect that might change once hearings begin. The American Civil Liberties Union of Vermont said it is monitoring the bills but has not taken a position.

                        Sears, who is also Judiciary Committee Chairman, plans hearings on the legislation this month. Passing the legislation wouldn’t ensure that people threatening public officials will go to jail, said Sears, who sponsored one of the bills. “But we know that if we don’t make these changes, there’s no chance anything will happen.”
                        "Donald Trump is the first seditious president in our history. He decided he would not abide by the election, the duly constituted, free election of Joe Biden as the president of the United States, and staged a coup to keep Biden from taking office." ~ Carl Bernstein


                        • #27
                          Threatened for doing your job. Tragic absurdity. We are becoming a banana republic.
                          “Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.”
                          Mark Twain


                          • #28
                            Poll: Nearly 6 in 10 Republicans say they will not vote for any candidate who admits Biden won 'fair and square'
                            Despite a mountain of evidence showing the 2020 presidential contest wasn’t rigged against Donald Trump, nearly 6 in 10 Republicans and Republican-leaning independents (57 percent) now say they will not vote in upcoming elections for any candidate who admits that Joe Biden won the presidency "fair and square."

                            Only 17 percent say they would consider voting for a candidate who accurately characterizes Biden’s victory as legitimate.

                            These numbers underscore the degree to which Trump’s “big lie” claiming Biden cheated his way into the White House — a falsehood that three-quarters of Trump voters (74 percent) now believe — has become a litmus test for the entire GOP, crowding out other issues and strengthening Trump’s grip on the party ahead of the 2022 midterms.

                            For his part, Trump has made it clear that supporting his election fabrications is key to his own personal endorsement. Indeed, the former president is backing primary candidates against state officials who bucked his attempts to overturn the election.

                            The poll data also helps explain why Republican presidential hopefuls such as Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis now want to spend millions of dollars on special “election crimes” police units tasked with finding fraud where they previously insisted there was none.

                            “The way Florida did it, I think, inspired confidence,” DeSantis said immediately after the 2020 election. “That’s how elections should be run.”

                            The survey of 1,568 U.S. adults, which was conducted from Jan. 20 to 24, found that when asked which issue they want future candidates to focus on the most, the share of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents who say “stopping Democrats from rigging and stealing elections” (17 percent) — something that Democrats are not doing — is statistically equivalent to the share who say “bringing down inflation” (19 percent).

                            Other core conservative policies don’t even come close: “ending COVID restrictions” (10 percent), “fighting crime” (8 percent), “outlawing abortion” (5 percent), “cutting taxes” (5 percent), “appointing Supreme Court justices” (2 percent) and “giving parents more controls over schools” (2 percent). Only “securing the border” (23 percent) ranks higher.

                            Likewise, if the GOP wins control of Congress in November, 56 percent of Republicans say they want the party to launch yet another investigation of the 2020 presidential election — twice the number (28 percent) who say the opposite.

                            Trump remains the GOP’s most powerful and influential figure. Looking ahead, 56 percent of Republicans and Republican leaners say Trump’s endorsement is more important than that of “other Republican leaders” (23 percent) when they are deciding how to vote. Half (50 percent) say Trump was “the best Republican president” — far better than George H.W. Bush (4 percent) and his son George W. Bush (9 percent), and significantly better even than conservative icon Ronald Reagan (37 percent). Eighty-two percent rate Trump favorably, and 83 percent say they would vote for him in a rematch with Biden.

                            For the broader population of voters, Biden's job approval rating continues to sink. Fifty-three percent of Americans disapprove of how he’s handling the presidency, compared with 40 percent who approve, and a mere 2 points now separate him (42 percent) and Trump (40 percent) in a hypothetical head-to-head matchup. In the Dec. 13 Yahoo News/YouGov poll, Biden (45 percent) led Trump (38 percent) by 7.

                            There are signs that at least some Republicans are open to alternatives to Trump. More than a quarter (27 percent) say he should not run again. Sixteen percent say they would consider voting for centrist West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin if he were to run for president as an independent, more than the number of Democrats (10 percent) or independents (15 percent) who say the same. And 21 percent already say they would vote for DeSantis over Trump in the GOP primary; other potential candidates — including former Vice President Mike Pence (6 percent), former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley (6 percent) and Fox News host Tucker Carlson (2 percent) — combine for another 19 percent of the vote, and 12 percent say they’re not sure.

                            DeSantis’s unfavorable rating among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents (12 percent) is also lower than Trump’s (15 percent). More than half (51 percent) rate the Florida governor “very” favorably, on par with the far more familiar Trump (57 percent).

                            As a result, less than half of Republicans and GOP-aligned independents (46 percent) currently say they would vote for Trump in the 2024 GOP primaries. Still, it’s worth noting how close that number is to the 45 percent of the popular vote that Trump won across all Republican primaries in 2016 — enough to secure him the nomination and ultimately propel him to the White House.

                            The Yahoo News survey was conducted by YouGov using a nationally representative sample of 1,568 U.S. adults interviewed online from Jan. 20 to 24, 2022. This sample was weighted according to gender, age, race and education based on the American Community Survey, conducted by the U.S. Bureau of the Census, as well as 2020 presidential vote (or nonvote) and voter registration status. Respondents were selected from YouGov’s opt-in panel to be representative of all U.S. adults. The margin of error is approximately 2.8 percent.

                            The derangement continues....complete with a Praetorian Election Guard.

                            10 bucks says DeSantis' "election police" will be wearing shirts of a brownish color....
                            "Donald Trump is the first seditious president in our history. He decided he would not abide by the election, the duly constituted, free election of Joe Biden as the president of the United States, and staged a coup to keep Biden from taking office." ~ Carl Bernstein


                            • #29
                              Originally posted by TopHatter View Post

                              10 bucks says DeSantis' "election police" will be wearing shirts of a brownish color....
                              Everyone knows it's too hot in Florida to wear black ... and high leather boots.
                              Trust me?
                              I'm an economist!


                              • #30
                                Bill Would Allow Arizona Legislature to Overturn Election
                                (CNN)In the wake of the 2020 election, a number of Republican-controlled state legislatures have made moves to make it harder to vote. But even amid this cavalcade of voter restrictions, a new bill proposed by a GOP legislator in Arizona stands out -- and not in a good way.

                                GOP state Rep. John Fillmore introduced legislation this week that would, among other things, get rid of almost all absentee and early voting in the state and mandate all votes be HAND-counted within 24 hours of polling sites being closed.

                                "We should have voting, in my opinion, in person, one day on paper, with no electronic means and hand counting that day," Fillmore said on Wednesday in support of his bill. "We need to get back to 1958-style voting."

                                Uh, ok. Worth noting here: So-called "literacy tests" were still legal in the late 1950s, as were poll taxes. Both measures were aimed at limiting the votes -- and influence -- of African American voters.

                                But Fillmore's bill would go even further than putting strictures on when and how you can vote. It would also empower the state legislature to accept or reject election results in the state. Yes, really. As CNN's Fredreka Schouten reports:

                                "Under [Fillmore's] proposal, lawmakers would meet to either 'accept or reject election results' following primary and general elections. If legislators reject the results, any qualified voter 'may file an action in the Superior Court to request that a new election be held,' according to the bill. Fillmore said lawmakers should possess authority as 'representatives of the people' to review the vote count."

                                Er, that feels, how to say it, totally un-democratic? The legislature would be able to overturn the election results based only on an ill-defined review of the process? The potential to abjure the will of the people in order to advance a partisan agenda seems vast.

                                Lest you think Fillmore is on a lonely quest to subvert democracy, well, he's not. Fifteen Republican legislators have signed on to Fillmore's bill, including Rep. Mark Finchem, the Trump-endorsed candidate for Arizona secretary of state.

                                Remember too that this is Arizona, the state in which Trump-aligned Republicans pushed a sham audit of the 2020 presidential election vote. Despite the many irregularities in the process, it still failed to produce any evidence that the result -- Joe Biden beat Trump by just under 11,000 votes -- was incorrect. "The ballots that were provided to us to count in the coliseum very accurately correlate with the official canvass numbers," said one of the men charged with overseeing the so-called audit.

                                It's not clear whether Fillmore's bill can pass either chamber; Republicans hold single-seat edges in both the state House and state Senate. And while Gov. Doug Ducey is a Republican, he has not been someone willing to go along with Trump's lie that the 2020 election was stolen.

                                That legislation like this is even proposed, however, speaks to how far down the rabbit hole Republicans have gone when it comes to Trump's conspiracy theories about the last election.

                                And conservative slide into outright authoritarianism marches on.

                                "Audits" clearly didn't work, so let's just let the Republican-controlled legislature decide how they want the election to turn out.
                                "Donald Trump is the first seditious president in our history. He decided he would not abide by the election, the duly constituted, free election of Joe Biden as the president of the United States, and staged a coup to keep Biden from taking office." ~ Carl Bernstein