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2020 American Political Scene

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  • Albany Rifles
    Originally posted by GVChamp View Post

    Well, I think you being an anti-Semite is vanishingly unlikely. More that, if you are a syndicated columnist complaining about Israel, I am almost certainly ignoring your column. If you're protesting in front of the Israeli embassy or whatever, I'm definitely not listening.

    If you post on WAB, eh, I'll probably read it unless you wrote War and Peace. Which is pretty much what online discussions on Israel almost always devolve into IME.

    But, hey, if you're an idiot on Israel, that's okay, everyone has more dumb opinions than smart opinions. I sure AF can't fix the Middle East.
    So to be clear...if you disagree with the policies of the State of Israel regarding the Occupied Territories you consider that person anti-Semitic?

    See, I am of an age and been a student of foreign policy going close to 50 years and have seen Israel turn from fighting for its survival to pivoting to a darker much less sympathetic policy towards the Palestinians. This comes from studying the situation for decades, interactions with Israeli military personnel during my career and having written my capstone paper in CGSC on the 73 War.

    I think the entire Fundamentalist Christian support of Israel to support the coming of end times is absurd and it is dangerous to base US foreign policy on that goal.

    But you think what you think...but don't try to interpret my terminology for anti-Semitism in my interaction with another WAB member.

    Leave a comment:

  • GVChamp
    Originally posted by Albany Rifles View Post

    So according to you I am either anti-Semitic or an idiot....
    Well, I think you being an anti-Semite is vanishingly unlikely. More that, if you are a syndicated columnist complaining about Israel, I am almost certainly ignoring your column. If you're protesting in front of the Israeli embassy or whatever, I'm definitely not listening.

    If you post on WAB, eh, I'll probably read it unless you wrote War and Peace. Which is pretty much what online discussions on Israel almost always devolve into IME.

    But, hey, if you're an idiot on Israel, that's okay, everyone has more dumb opinions than smart opinions. I sure AF can't fix the Middle East.

    Leave a comment:

  • TopHatter
    Trump's legacy: He changed the presidency, but will it last?

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The most improbable of presidents, Donald Trump reshaped the office and shattered its centuries-old norms and traditions while dominating the national discourse like no one before.

    Trump, governing by whim and tweet, deepened the nation’s racial and cultural divides and undermined faith in its institutions. His legacy: a tumultuous four years that were marked by his impeachment, failures during the worst pandemic in a century and his refusal to accept defeat.

    He smashed conceptions about how presidents behave and communicate, offering unvarnished thoughts and policy declarations alike, pulling back the curtain for the American people while enthralling supporters and unnerving foes — and sometimes allies — both at home and abroad.

    While the nation would be hardpressed to elect another figure as disruptive as Trump, it remains to be seen how much of his imprint on the office itself, occupied by only 44 other men, will be indelible. Already it shadows the work of his successor, President-elect Joe Biden, who framed his candidacy as a repudiation of Trump, offering himself as an antidote to the chaos and dissent of the past four years while vowing to restore dignity to the Oval Office.

    “For all four years, this is someone who at every opportunity tried to stretch presidential power beyond the limits of the law,” said presidential historian Michael Beschloss. “He altered the presidency in many ways, but many of them can be changed back almost overnight by a president who wants to make the point that there is a change.”

    Trump's most enduring legacy may be his use of the trappings of the presidency to erode Americans’ views of the institutions of their own government.

    From his first moments in office, Trump waged an assault on the federal bureaucracy, casting a suspicious eye on career officials he deemed the “Deep State” and shaking Americans' confidence in civil servants and the levers of government. Believing that the investigation into Russian election interference was a crusade to undermine him, Trump went after the intelligence agencies and Justice Department — calling out leaders by name — and later unleashed broadsides against the man running the probe, respected special counsel Robert Mueller.

    His other targets were legion: the Supreme Court for insufficient loyalty; the post office for its handling of mail-in ballots; even the integrity of the vote itself with his baseless claims of election fraud.

    “In the past, presidents who lost were always willing to turn the office over to the next person. They were willing to accept the vote of the American public,” said Richard Waterman, who studies the presidency at the University of Kentucky. “What we’re seeing right now is really an assault on the institutions of democracy.”

    Current polling suggests that many Americans, and a majority of Republicans, feel that Biden was illegitimately elected, damaging his credibility as he takes office during a crisis and also creating a template of deep suspicion for future elections.

    “That’s a cancer,” Waterman said. “I don’t know if the cancer can be removed from the presidency without doing damage to the office itself. I think he’s done tremendous damage in the last several weeks.”

    Jeopardizing the peaceful transfer of power was hardly Trump's first assault on the traditions of the presidency.

    He didn’t release his tax returns or divest himself from his businesses. He doled out government resources on a partisan basis and undermined his own scientists. He rage tweeted at members of his own party and used government property for political purposes, including the White House as the backdrop for his renomination acceptance speech.

    Trump used National Guard troops to clear a largely peaceful protest across from the White House for a photo-op. He named a secretary of defense, Jim Mattis, who needed a congressional waiver to serve because the retired general had not been out of uniform for the seven years required by law. In that one example, Biden has followed Trump's lead, nominating for Pentagon chief retired Gen. Lloyd Austin, who also will need a waiver.

    Trump’s disruption extended to the global stage as well, where he cast doubt on once-inviolable alliances like NATO and bilateral partnerships with a host of allies. His “America First” foreign policy emanated more from preconceived notions of past slights than current facts on the ground. He unilaterally pulled troops from Afghanistan, Somalia, Iraq and Syria, each time drawing bipartisan fire for undermining the very purpose of the American deployment.

    He pulled out of multinational environmental agreements, an action that scientists warn may have accelerated climate change. He stepped away from accords that kept Iran's nuclear ambitions, if not its regional malevolence, in check.

    And his presidency may be remembered for altering, perhaps permanently, the nature of the U.S.-China relationship, dimming hopes for a peaceful emergence of China as a world power and laying the foundation for a new generation of economic and strategic rivalry.

    While historians agree that Trump was a singular figure in the office, it will be decades before the consequences of his tenure are fully known. But some pieces of his legacy already are in place.

    He named three Supreme Court justices and more than 220 federal judges, giving the judiciary an enduring conservative bent. He rolled back regulations and oversaw an economy that boomed until the pandemic hit. His presence increased voter turnout — both for and against him — to record levels. He received unwavering loyalty from his own party but was quick to cast aside any who displeased him.

    “President Trump has been the person who has returned power to the American people, not the Washington elite, and preserved our history and institutions, while others have tried to tear them down,” said White House spokesman Judd Deere. “The American people elected a successful businessman who promised to go to Washington, not to tear it down, but to put them first.”

    At times, Trump acted like a bystander to his own presidency, opting to tweet along with a cable news segment rather than dive into an effort to change policy. And that was one of the many ways Trump changed the way that presidents communicate.

    Carefully crafted policy statements took a back seat, replaced by tweets and off-the-cuff remarks to reporters over the whir of helicopter blades. The discourse hardened, with swear words, personal insults and violent imagery infiltrating the presidential lexicon. And there were the untruths — more than 23,000, according to a count by The Washington Post — that Trump tossed out with little regard for their impact.

    It was that lack of honesty that played a role in his defeat in an election that became a referendum on how he had managed the COVID-19 pandemic, which has now killed more than 300,000 Americans.

    Day after day during his reelection campaign, Trump defied health guidelines and addressed packed, largely mask-less crowds, promising the nation was “rounding the corner” on the virus. He admitted that from the beginning, he set out to play down the seriousness of the virus.

    He held superspreader events at the White House and contracted the virus himself. And while his administration spearheaded Operation Warp Speed, which helped to produce coronavirus vaccines in record time, Trump also undermined his pubic health officials by refusing to embrace mask-wearing and suggesting unproven treatments, including the injection of disinfectant.

    “We have seen that Donald Trump’s style was one of the contributing factors to his failure as a president,
    said Mark K. Updegrove, presidential historian and CEO of the LBJ Foundation. “His successor can look at his presidency as a cautionary tale.”

    Leave a comment:

  • TopHatter
    Trump’s Longtime Banker at Deutsche Bank Resigns
    Rosemary Vrablic, who oversaw hundreds of millions of dollars in loans to President Trump’s company, will leave the bank next week.

    President Trump’s longtime banker at Deutsche Bank, who arranged for the German lender to make hundreds of millions of dollars of loans to his company, is stepping down from the bank.

    Rosemary Vrablic, a managing director and senior banker in Deutsche Bank’s wealth management division, recently handed in her resignation, which the bank accepted, according to a bank spokesman, Daniel Hunter.

    “I’ve chosen to resign my position with the bank effective Dec. 31 and am looking forward to my retirement,” Ms. Vrablic, 60, said in a statement.

    The reasons for the abrupt resignation of Ms. Vrablic, as well as that of a longtime colleague, Dominic Scalzi, were not clear. Deutsche Bank in August opened an internal review into a 2013 real estate transaction between Ms. Vrablic and Mr. Scalzi and a company owned in part by Jared Kushner, the son-in-law of Mr. Trump and a client of Ms. Vrablic’s.

    Ms. Vrablic and Mr. Scalzi joined Deutsche Bank in 2006 from Bank of America. Ms. Vrablic quickly made a name for herself as one of her division’s leading rainmakers. In 2011, she landed a prominent new client: Mr. Trump, who for decades had been mostly off-limits to the mainstream banking world because of his tendency to default on loans. With her bosses’ approval, Ms. Vrablic agreed to a series of loans, totaling well over $300 million, for his newly acquired Doral golf resort in Florida, for his troubled Chicago skyscraper and for the transformation of the Old Post Office building in Washington into a luxury hotel.

    When Mr. Trump became president, his relationship with Deutsche Bank came under a microscope by regulators, prosecutors and congressional Democrats. Ms. Vrablic’s starring role in the suddenly controversial relationship — she was a V.I.P. guest at Mr. Trump’s inauguration — pushed the publicity-shy banker into the spotlight.

    The relationship between Mr. Trump and the German bank is the subject of congressional, civil and criminal investigations. The Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus Vance, has been investigating whether Mr. Trump committed financial crimes as he sought to get loans from Deutsche Bank.

    Mr. Scalzi didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

    Wow that's odd....I wonder if it has anything to do with that investigation from just a few months back they mentioned:

    Deutsche Bank Opens Review Into Personal Banker to Trump and Kushner
    The bank will examine a 2013 transaction between the banker, Rosemary Vrablic, and a company part-owned by Jared Kushner.
    Aug. 2, 2020

    Deutsche Bank has opened an internal investigation into the longtime personal banker of President Trump and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, over a 2013 real estate transaction between the banker and a company part-owned by Mr. Kushner.

    In June 2013, the banker, Rosemary Vrablic, and two of her Deutsche Bank colleagues purchased a Park Avenue apartment for about $1.5 million from a company called Bergel 715 Associates, according to New York property records.

    Mr. Kushner, a senior adviser to the president, disclosed in an annual personal financial report late Friday that he and his wife, Ivanka Trump, had received $1 million to $5 million last year from Bergel 715. A person familiar with Mr. Kushner’s finances, who wasn’t authorized to speak publicly, said he held an ownership stake in the entity at the time of the transaction with Ms. Vrablic.

    When Ms. Vrablic and her colleagues bought the apartment on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, Mr. Trump and Mr. Kushner were her clients at Deutsche Bank. They had received roughly $190 million in loans from the bank and would seek hundreds of millions of dollars more.

    Typically banks restrict employees from doing personal business with clients because of the potential for conflicts between the employees’ interests and those of the bank.

    Deutsche Bank said it had not been aware that Ms. Vrablic and her colleagues had done business with a company part-owned by Mr. Kushner until being contacted by The New York Times.
    “The bank will closely examine the information that came to light on Friday and the fact pattern from 2013,” said Daniel Hunter, a bank spokesman.

    A lawyer for Ms. Vrablic, a senior private banker and managing director at Deutsche Bank, declined to comment.

    The White House referred questions to the Kushner family’s real estate company. Christopher Smith, the general counsel at Kushner Companies, said: “Kushner is not the managing partner of that entity and has no involvement with the sales of the apartments.”

    Ms. Vrablic bought the apartment, in a brick building at 715 Park Avenue, with Dominic Scalzi and Matthew Pontoriero. They worked for Ms. Vrablic in Deutsche Bank’s private-banking division, which caters to wealthy clients. Mr. Scalzi and Mr. Pontoriero didn’t respond to requests for comment on Sunday.

    The size of Mr. Kushner’s stake in Bergel 715 is unclear. The company has sold dozens of condo units in the Park Avenue building since the 1980s, according to public records. At least one apartment was sold to the Kushner family’s real estate company.

    Mr. Kushner and Ms. Trump had not previously disclosed their stake in Bergel 715. (They did list the entity used to make the investment in Bergel 715.) The income they reported in 2019 wasn’t related to the transaction with Ms. Vrablic.

    Bergel 715’s main owners include George Gellert, a close friend of the Kushner family and an investor in numerous deals with Kushner Companies.

    There is no indication that the three Deutsche Bank employees bought the apartment — described on Zillow as a 908-square-foot, one-bedroom, one-bath unit with a balcony overlooking Park Avenue — at a below-market price.

    In 2014, the deed for the apartment, Unit 12A, was transferred to a limited liability company registered to Ms. Vrablic’s home address, according to property records. The next year, the apartment was sold for $1.85 million — a not-unheard-of 22 percent increase from the 2013 purchase price.

    Ms. Vrablic has worked in the Deutsche Bank private-banking division since 2006. She has a reputation as one of New York’s leading private bankers, generating tens of millions of dollars of annual revenue for the bank.

    The Kushner family has been a client of Ms. Vrablic’s since before she joined Deutsche Bank. In 2011, Mr. Kushner brought Ms. Vrablic to meet his father-in-law. At the time, most mainstream banks refused to do business with Mr. Trump because of his history of defaults and bankruptcies.

    “I introduced him to this woman Rosemary,” Mr. Kushner said in closed-door testimony to the House Intelligence Committee in 2017. “She is one of the biggest private wealth bankers, probably in the world. Amazing banker, amazing woman. Very smart banker. And she banked my family for a long time.”

    Ms. Vrablic and her superiors soon agreed to take Mr. Trump on as a client, even though he had defaulted on a loan from the bank three years earlier. In 2012, Deutsche Bank lent Mr. Trump a total of about $175 million for his newly acquired Doral golf resort outside Miami and for his Trump International Hotel & Tower in Chicago.

    Mr. Trump soon came back for more. In 2014 he sought a $1 billion commitment from Ms. Vrablic to buy the Buffalo Bills football team. (Mr. Trump’s bid was rejected, making the loan unnecessary.) The bank agreed to lend Mr. Trump’s company $170 million for its transformation of the Old Post Office building into the Trump International Hotel in Washington. And Mr. Kushner and his mother received a $15 million personal line of credit from Ms. Vrablic’s division, the largest credit line to which Mr. Kushner or his parents had access, according to financial records reviewed by The Times.

    Ms. Vrablic was thrust into the spotlight when Mr. Trump boasted to The Times in 2016 about his strong relationship with Deutsche Bank — and inflated Ms. Vrablic’s role at the bank. “Why don’t you call the head of Deutsche Bank? Her name is Rosemary Vrablic,” he said in the interview. “She is the boss.”

    Yeah, probably unrelated....

    And almost certainly unrelated to anything going on in the various New York State's attorney's offices.

    Leave a comment:

  • TopHatter
    The Scary Spectacle of Trump’s Last Month in Office
    Mixed signals about the pandemic, silence about the Russian cyberattack, and toying with martial law.

    Some may think of these as “the last days of Pompeii.”

    If that reference strikes you as too erudite to be fitting, you might prefer to think of the month ahead as “the last days of chaos in a blender.”

    Whatever you call them, the final days of the Donald Trump administration are upon us, and they look much like every other day at the White House for the last four years.

    From the point of view of the White House press corps, it goes something like this: You start each day having little guidance from the White House as to what will happen, something batshit nuts will occur, people will become irate, Trump’s fans will circle the wagons and start shooting at mirages, and the press corps will sigh and keep going.

    Friday was no different.

    It started with Vice President Mike Pence getting his coronavirus vaccination on television. In theory, this should have been a moment of joy in the country—an opportunity to celebrate scientific ingenuity and the beginning of the end of the pandemic that has dominated this annus horribilis.

    However, the moment was filled with contradictions. Outside the Brady Press Briefing Room in the White House is a sign that tells anyone who proceeds into the staff offices in the rest of the West Wing to wear a mask. Yet the White House staff routinely does not—even though dozens of White House staffers, Secret Service officers, and campaign personnel have been infected by the coronavirus. The Trump team routinely calls people who wear masks “Karens” or “snowflakes” or other words you admonish young children not to use.

    Making matters worse, many Trump fans are QAnon supporters and believe that vaccines are ineffective, or will leave patients with autism, or are an attempt at mind control, or other things you tell young children are mere fiction.

    So Trump telling us that he is responsible for a quick and easy vaccine and Pence getting his so quickly comes across as just more mixed messaging of the sort the administration has offered all year. If the pandemic is a serious problem, why isn’t mask-wearing strictly enforced in the White House? If it isn’t a serious problem, why take credit for a vaccine?
    As it turns out, Trump has lived in a world of fiction and alternate facts for four years—and that does no one any good.

    Early Friday morning, Larry Kudlow gaggled on the North Lawn driveway. He thanked the press—“I appreciate our discussions and relationships”—leaving the impression that at least he had a grasp on reality and accepted that a new administration would be arriving in January. Less than four minutes after Kudlow arrived, however, there was a sudden call for the presidential press pool to assemble and enter the Oval Office. A few minutes later it was called off. We never found out why.

    Trump, meanwhile, still hasn’t conceded. Friday a staffer told me he was “stewing” and “angry.” Another staffer said “It’s just a normal Friday”—that is, you would not have the impression that the administration is winding up its work.

    By the afternoon, new details were emerging about Russia’s massive hacking attack on the U.S. federal government—an attack that included vital defense installations and key components of our nuclear arsenal.

    Trump said nothing. (When he finally did remark on the hacking—in tweets over the weekend, of course—he downplayed and distorted what happened, contradicting remarks from his own secretary of state.)

    Another big story that broke on Friday reported that Jared Kushner created a shell corporation that funneled millions from the Trump campaign into private coffers.

    Trump said nothing.

    Meanwhile, that same afternoon, in a private interview in front of a West Wing fireplace with a Daily Caller reporter, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany criticized activist journalists—including a Playboy reporter (that would be me) for “heckling” and shouting out questions at the end of briefings.

    Harry Truman had it right: If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. So it’s odd that the Trump administration is full of people complaining about the heat, but you’ll have to drag them kicking and screaming from the kitchen.

    The child-like efforts of the Trump administration on Friday were, in a nutshell, everything the administration has been about for four years.

    But wait, there’s more.

    Rudy Giuliani showed up before lunch. We all caught a glimpse of him walking without a mask into the West Wing. Speculation was he was on the hunt for a pre-emptive pardon, or—more than likely—he was there for additional “campaign” strategy.

    Late Friday afternoon, Trump reportedly had an Oval Office meeting with Giuliani, Sidney Powell, Michael Flynn, and others about strategy going into his final month in office. There were screaming matches, one White House source said, regarding martial law and hoax investigations. Other sources said nothing happened in the Oval on Friday. But the talk of invoking martial law scared enough who heard it that it was passed to several of us in the press.

    “This is nuts,” I was told.

    “What in this administration hasn’t been?” I responded.

    By the end of the day on Friday, some of the photographers and technicians from the press pool returned from a Pence appearance with “Space Force” cookies that looked just like Star Trek comm badges and announced that the administration was stealing from Guardians of the Galaxy with the name “guardians” for the members of Space Force.

    So all in all, it was a typical day in this White House.

    Trump never showed. He tweeted.

    McEnany never briefed—she whined to a favorable news organization.

    The pandemic raged. Hundreds of thousands have died. Millions have been infected.

    And tens of millions of Americans carry on in confusion about reality—regarding the pandemic and the election. Like Trump, they are willfully ignorant or inconceivably obtuse about the truth. They cannot digest facts that don’t fit their preconceived notions.
    If we were to be told by scientists today that an asteroid like the one that killed the dinosaurs is plummeting toward Earth, perhaps half the American population would deny it was real. (I guess our Space Force guardians would have their work cut out for them.)

    Mix Trump’s incompetence with his anti-democratic desire to overturn the election and his anti-republican willingness to consider doing so through martial law, and you have a recipe for an unprecedented and profoundly dangerous moment in American political history.

    This last month in office will be historic, that is all we know.

    Leave a comment:

  • Albany Rifles
    Originally posted by GVChamp View Post

    You can be against all these things without wearing the label "anti-Zionist." Even the US doesn't agree with the settlement practices. Taking up the label of "anti-zionist" is a choice that means a whole lot of stuff besides "I support the current US position on Israel."

    I dismiss anyone who says they are an anti-zionist out of hand. There is no value in trying to sort wheat from chaff. Anyone who has spent more than 5 minutes online knows that there are a whole bunch of moronic Israel-bashers flying the anti-zionist label, and even if they aren't anti-semitic AT THEIR CORE, in practice they are just useful idiots for the anti-semitic crowd.
    So according to you I am either anti-Semitic or an idiot....

    Leave a comment:

  • TopHatter
    ‘I’m Haunted by What I Did’ as a Lawyer in the Trump Justice Department
    No matter our intentions, lawyers like me were complicit. We owe the country our honesty about what we saw — and should do in the future.

    I was an attorney at the Justice Department when Donald Trump was elected president. I worked in the Office of Legal Counsel, which is where presidents turn for permission slips that say their executive orders and other contemplated actions are lawful. I joined the department during the Obama administration, as a career attorney whose work was supposed to be independent of politics.

    I never harbored delusions about a Trump presidency. Mr. Trump readily volunteered that his agenda was to disassemble our democracy, but I made a choice to stay at the Justice Department — home to some of the country’s finest lawyers — for as long as I could bear it. I believed that I could better serve our country by pushing back from within than by keeping my hands clean. But I have come to reconsider that decision.

    My job was to tailor the administration’s executive actions to make them lawful — in narrowing them, I could also make them less destructive. I remained committed to trying to uphold my oath even as the president refused to uphold his.

    But there was a trade-off: We attorneys diminished the immediate harmful impacts of President Trump’s executive orders — but we also made them more palatable to the courts.

    This burst into public view early in the Trump administration in the litigation over the executive order banning travel from several predominantly Muslim countries, which my office approved. The first Muslim ban was rushed out the door. It was sweeping and sloppy; the courts quickly put a halt to it. The successive discriminatory bans benefited from more time and attention from the department’s lawyers, who narrowed them but also made them more technocratic and therefore harder for the courts to block.

    After the Supreme Court’s June 2018 decision upholding the third Muslim ban, I reviewed my own portfolio — which included matters targeting noncitizens, dismantling the Civil Service and camouflaging the president’s corruption — overcome with fear that I was doing more harm than good. By Thanksgiving of that year, I had left my job.

    Still, I felt I was abandoning the ship. I continued to believe that a critical mass of responsible attorneys staying in government might provide a last line of defense against the administration’s worst instincts. Even after I left, I advised others that they could do good by staying. News reports about meaningful pushback by Justice Department attorneys seemed to confirm this thinking.

    I was wrong.

    Watching the Trump campaign’s attacks on the election results, I now see what might have happened if, rather than nip and tuck the Trump agenda, responsible Justice Department attorneys had collectively — ethically, lawfully — refused to participate in President Trump’s systematic attacks on our democracy from the beginning. The attacks would have failed.

    Unlike the Trump Justice Department, the Trump campaign has relied on second-rate lawyers who lack the skills to maintain the president’s charade. After a recent oral argument from Rudy Giuliani, Judge Matthew Brann (a Republican) wrote that the campaign had offered “strained legal arguments without merit and speculative accusations, unpled in the operative complaint and unsupported by evidence.” Even judges appointed by Mr. Trump have refused to throw their lots in with lawyers who can’t master the basic mechanics of lawyering.

    After four years of bulldozing through one institution after another on the backs of skilled lawyers, the Trump agenda hit a brick wall.

    The story of the Trump campaign’s attack on our elections could have been the story of the Trump administration’s four-year-long attack on our institutions. If, early on, the Justice Department lawyers charged with selling the administration’s lies had emptied the ranks — withholding our talents and reputations and demanding the same of our professional peers — the work of defending President Trump’s policies would have been left to the types of attorneys now representing his campaign. Lawyers like Mr. Giuliani would have had to defend the Muslim ban in court.

    Had that happened, judges would have likely dismantled the Trump fašade from the beginning, stopping the momentum of his ugliest and most destructive efforts and bringing much-needed accountability early in his presidency.

    Before the 2020 election, I was haunted by what I didn’t do. By all the ways I failed to push back enough. Now, after the 2020 election, I’m haunted by what I did. The trade-off wasn’t worth it.

    In giving voice to those trying to destroy the rule of law and dignifying their efforts with our talents and even our basic competence, we enabled that destruction. Were we doing enough good elsewhere to counterbalance the harm we facilitated, the way a public health official might accommodate the president on the margins to push forward on vaccine development? No.

    No matter our intentions, we were complicit. We collectively perpetuated an anti-democratic leader by conforming to his assault on reality. We may have been victims of the system, but we were also its instruments. No matter how much any one of us pushed back from within, we did so as members of a professional class of government lawyers who enabled an assault on our democracy — an assault that nearly ended it.

    We owe the country our honesty about that and about what we saw. We owe apologies. I offer mine here.

    And we owe our best efforts to restore our democracy and to share what we learned to help mobilize and enact reforms — to remind future government lawyers that when asked to undermine our democracy, the right course is to refuse and hold your peers to the same standard.

    To lead by example, and do everything in our power to ensure this never happens again. If we don’t, it will.

    Leave a comment:

  • JRT
    Originally posted by CNN_News

    Former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger calls for new Voting Rights Act
    Published on 19 December 2020

    Former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger tells CNN's Michael Smerconish that the Biden administration needs to work on a new Voting Rights Act, and that it is irresponsible to not have one.



    Last edited by JRT; 20 Dec 20,, 02:28.

    Leave a comment:

  • TopHatter
    Judge says Michael Flynn may not avoid prison in scathing remarks: ‘I can’t hide my disgust’

    A federal judge has unloaded on Donald Trump’s ex-National Security Adviser Michael Flynn during a court hearing on Tuesday over an agreement he and his lawyers made seeking no jail time in exchange for his cooperation — while leaving the door open for his incarceration.

    Judge Emmett Sullivan, who has presided over Flynn’s sentencing for lying to the FBI about his secret work for the Turkish government before joining the Trump administration, suggested the retired three-star general can still face a harsh sentence despite his military service.

    The judge said Flynn’s secretive work for a foreign government “arguably” undermined “everything this flag over here stands for” while motioning towards a US flag in the Washington courtroom.

    “I am going to be frank with you, this crime is very serious,” Judge Sullivan said to Flynn. “I can’t hide my disgust, my disdain, at this criminal offense.”

    Flynn was one of the several dozen Trump associates caught up in former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, along with other allies of the president ensnared on tax crimes and other various bank and money laundering scams, from former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his former personal lawyer Michael Cohen, to former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon and Rick Gates, the president’s former campaign chairman.

    He has since attempted to claim that he was tricked into having a conversation with FBI investigators which he described as a “chat” rather than an interrogation — a point the judge skewered as a falsity while rebuking the former general.

    According to The Guardian, which covered the court hearing, the judge appeared to want to make clear that Flynn could certainly still face jail time for his crimes, and that he was not immediately planning to approve the agreement his lawyers had apparently arranged for him.

    Flynn agreed to postpone the sentencing, though Judge Sullivan once again echoed that jail time could very much still be in his future.

    “I didn’t say ‘wink, wink, nod, nod’,” the judge said. “I’m not promising anything.”

    Flynn, who was recently pardoned by the president, has stirred controversy in recent days over his calls for Mr Trump to overturn his electoral defeat with the help of the US military.

    “There is no way in the world we are going to be able to move forward as a nation,” Flynn said. “[The president] could immediately, on his order, seize every single one of these machines.”

    “Within the swing states,” he added, “if he wanted to, he could take military capabilities, and he could place those in states and basically rerun an election in each of those states.”

    Leave a comment:

  • GVChamp
    Originally posted by Albany Rifles View Post

    Nope. Not even.

    Today, in the 21st Century, being anti-Zionist usually means you are against the expansionist policies of the State of Israel, especially at the cost of Palestinian populations on the West Bank, Golan and Gaza.

    It is an opposition to the policies of the government of Israel not an opposition to the State of Israel. As with all beliefs there are outliers but anti semitism is not at its core. And where is this "wide scale" anit-semitism you see on university campuses? Because I believe you are conflating the two above incorrectly.

    It was like the anti-apartheid movement and South was not an anti-South African movement as it was an anti-white minority government which oppressed the majority native population movement.
    You can be against all these things without wearing the label "anti-Zionist." Even the US doesn't agree with the settlement practices. Taking up the label of "anti-zionist" is a choice that means a whole lot of stuff besides "I support the current US position on Israel."

    I dismiss anyone who says they are an anti-zionist out of hand. There is no value in trying to sort wheat from chaff. Anyone who has spent more than 5 minutes online knows that there are a whole bunch of moronic Israel-bashers flying the anti-zionist label, and even if they aren't anti-semitic AT THEIR CORE, in practice they are just useful idiots for the anti-semitic crowd.

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  • Firestorm
    Originally posted by Albany Rifles View Post
    I want to see some serious fines and disbarments....
    Starting with that nutjob Sidney Powell.

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  • Albany Rifles
    I want to see some serious fines and disbarments....

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  • TopHatter
    Voting machine firm demands pro-Trump attorney retract bogus claims about 2020 election

    The Colorado voting machine company that fringe pro-Trump forces have targeted with dark conspiracy theories of a rigged 2020 election is demanding that conservative lawyer Sidney Powell retract the "wild, knowingly baseless, and false" allegations she has made against them.

    Dominion Voting Systems made their demands in a letter to Powell, who has taken a central role in pushing the debunked theory that dark forces rigged Dominion machines to flip votes from Trump to former Vice President Joe Biden.

    The company's letter represents its most aggressive posture to date, and signals the early stages of what could become heavy and costly pushback against the lawyers who have led a post-election campaign to discredit the 2020 election results. Pro-Trump attorneys have filed more than 60 lawsuits as part of the effort, nearly all of which have been dismissed, often with sharply-worded rulings.

    Despite having been repeatedly disputed by the company and disproven by federal election officials, the bogus conspiracy theory has spread fast and wide on social media and in conservative media outlets.

    Powell made the claims in the pages of post-election federal lawsuits filed in four states, all of which were forcefully rejected by judges.

    "While you are entitled to your own opinions, Ms. Powell, you are not entitled to your own facts," Dominion attorney Thomas A. Clare wrote in the letter, which also asks Powell to preserve any documents and messages related to the matter.

    "As a result of your false accusations, Dominion has suffered enormous harm, and its employees have been stalked, have been harassed, and have received death threats," Clare wrote. "For the safety of Dominion's employees and for the sake of the truth and confidence in American democracy, we demand that you immediately and publicly retract your false accusations and set the record straight."

    Dominion's voting machines are used in 28 states across the country, some of which were won by Trump in this year's election.

    Numerous legal experts have told ABC News the legal effort to overturn results in the 2020 presidential election bordered on abusive. This week the attorney general in Pennsylvania said he was looking into sanctions against attorneys who brought nearly two dozen election lawsuits in the state.

    "Attorneys who try to disenfranchise Pennsylvania voters based on frivolous allegations should be held accountable," a spokesperson for Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro told ABC News. "We're continuing to explore our options and will not hesitate to take action if we conclude it is warranted."

    ABC News has not received a response from Powell about the Dominion letter.

    Powell, who rose to prominence last year defending Trump's embattled former national security adviser, retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, was publicly removed from the Trump legal team earlier this month after her claims began veering into far more conspiratorial territory. But Trump has continued to embrace her legal efforts on social media.

    It is beyond the time for these lowlife pieces of shit to start paying the price for the damage that they've done to this country's intuitions.

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  • TopHatter
    Originally posted by DOR View Post

    Thank you for your service, sir.
    Not me, it's the guy who wrote the article

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  • DOR
    Originally posted by TopHatter View Post
    By the way, that’s why I’m putting this list together. It’s not just the shameful joy of seeing bad things happen to bad people. It’s because it’s important to document this era in American politics and to remember what happened and who did what. Most of these guys—at least the ones who aren’t dead, or dying, or in jail—plan to just spend a few years golfing and hanging out at Trump Tower Istanbul before returning to a life of Davos panels, podcast stardom, and ambassadorships the next time a Republican becomes president with a minority of the vote.
    Thank you for your service, sir.

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