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  • For a Defeated President, Pardons as an Expression of Grievance

    The statement announcing the latest raft of presidential pardons was officially attributed to the White House press secretary, but it bristled with President Donald Trump’s own deep-seated grievances.

    His friend and longtime adviser Roger Stone, the statement said, “was treated very unfairly” by prosecutors. His former campaign chairman Paul Manafort “is one of the most prominent victims of what has been revealed to be perhaps the greatest witch hunt in American history.”

    In complaining about “prosecutorial misconduct,” though, Trump seemed to be talking as much about himself as his allies. In the flurry of 49 pardons and commutations issued this week, he granted clemency to a host of convicted liars, crooked politicians and child-killing war criminals, but the throughline was a president who considers himself a victim of law enforcement and was using his power to strike back.

    Never mind that Trump presents himself as a champion of “law and order.” He has been at war with the criminal justice system, at least when it has come to himself and his friends. And so in these final days in office, he is using the one all-but-absolute power vested in the presidency to rewrite the reality of his tenure by trying to discredit investigations into him and his compatriots and even absolving others he seems to identify with because of his own encounters with authorities.

    In some ways, of course, this is the concession that Trump has otherwise refused to issue, an unspoken acknowledgment that he really did lose the Nov. 3 election. These are the kinds of clemency actions a president would take only shortly before leaving office.

    But it also represents a final, angry exertion of power by a president who is losing his ability to shape events with each passing day, a statement of relevance even as Trump confronts the end of his dominance over the nation’s capital.

    In the seven weeks since the election, he has screamed over and over that he actually won only to be dismissed by essentially every court and election authority that has considered his false assertions, which were also rejected by his own attorney general.


    He demanded that Congress rewrite the annual military spending bill to preserve the names of bases honoring Confederate generals only to have both parties ignore him and pass the measure overwhelmingly, setting up the first veto override of his presidency.

    He likewise is trying to belatedly make himself a player in the coronavirus relief package he all but ignored until after it had already passed both houses on large bipartisan votes with the support of his own administration and Republican leaders. In doing so, he demonstrated that he could still cause chaos in the last stretch of his tenure at the expense of Americans who may now go without aid this Christmas season, even if it was unclear that he would be able to impose his will on the final outcome.

    As power inexorably slips from his grasp, the defeated president finds his pardon authority to be the one weapon he can deploy without any checks. It is the most kingly of powers conferred on a president by the Constitution, one that is entirely up to his discretion, requires no confirmation by Congress or the courts, and cannot be overturned.

    Other presidents have been criticized for using it for political allies, particularly George Bush, who spared a half-dozen colleagues in the Iran-Contra investigation, and Bill Clinton, who granted clemency to his own half brother, a former business partner and the former husband of a major donor.

    But few if any have used their pardon power to attack the system in quite the way that Trump has.

    Under Justice Department guidelines, pardons are normally not even considered until five years after an applicant completes a sentence and are “granted in recognition of the applicant’s acceptance of responsibility for the crime and established good conduct.”

    But a president does not have to follow those guidelines, and Trump, famously dismissive or ignorant of norms, has largely dispensed with the Justice Department process for vetting clemency requests, treating them in many cases not as acts of forgiveness but assertions of vindication.

    In addition to Stone and Manafort, the president this week pardoned three other figures convicted of lying in the Russia investigation led by special counsel Robert Mueller. They came on top of a similar pardon last month for Michael Flynn, Trump’s national security adviser, and were all part of a broader effort to erase what he has called a “hoax” inquiry.

    Critics accused Trump of using his power to obstruct justice by rewarding allies who impeded the investigation against him.

    “The pardons from this President are what you would expect to get if you gave the pardon power to a mob boss,” Andrew Weissmann, a top lieutenant to Mueller, wrote on Twitter.

    Some framers of the Constitution worried about just such a scenario. George Mason argued that a president “ought not to have the power of pardoning, because he may frequently pardon crimes which were advised by himself.”

    Trump’s critics have suggested his pardons could be tantamount to obstruction of justice, noting that Trump regularly dangled the prospect of pardons at the same time Manafort, for example, was being pressured to cooperate with investigators.

    At the confirmation hearing in 2019 for William Barr, whose last day as attorney general was Wednesday, Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt., quizzed him about that.

    “Do you believe a president could lawfully issue a pardon in exchange for the recipient’s promise to not incriminate him?” Leahy asked.

    “No,” Barr replied. “That would be a crime.”


    Some Democrats have sought to restrain Trump’s pardon power. Rep. Steve Cohen of Tennessee introduced legislation last year to prohibit the president from pardoning himself, his family, members of his administration or campaign employees. Sen. Christopher S. Murphy of Connecticut even called for removing the pardon power from the Constitution.

    In a new book, Robert F. Bauer, a former White House counsel to President Barack Obama and a top adviser to President-elect Joe Biden, and Jack L. Goldsmith, a former senior Justice Department lawyer in President George W. Bush’s administration, proposed amending the bribery statute to make it illegal to use pardons to bribe witnesses or obstruct justice.

    Manafort and Stone were not the only beneficiaries of Trump’s presidential forgiveness to have personal ties to him or his friends. He pardoned Charles Kushner, the father of Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, wiping away a conviction that had long gnawed at the family. Charles Kushner pleaded guilty to tax evasion, illegal campaign donations and witness tampering and spent more than a year in prison.

    The elder Kushner set up his brother-in-law, who was cooperating with the investigation, by hiring a prostitute to seduce him and then sending a tape of the act to his wife, Charles Kushner’s own sister. He was prosecuted by Chris Christie, a U.S. attorney at the time and later the governor of New Jersey. Christie, a friend of Trump’s, has previously called Kushner’s actions “loathsome” and “disgusting” but declined to comment on the pardon this week.

    Trump, who promised in his 2016 campaign to “drain the swamp,” also pardoned four former Republican congressmen convicted of corruption, including the first House member to endorse him for president, Chris Collins, who called his son with an insider trading stock tip from the White House lawn.

    The president pardoned a former campaign manager and nephew by marriage of Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., a key ally. He pardoned four security contractors from Blackwater, the firm founded by Erik Prince, the brother of his education secretary, Betsy DeVos.

    Trump makes little effort to hide the fact that his pardons go to people with connections, even listing in his announcements who recommended them. A man pardoned for cybercrimes Wednesday was supported by Isaac Perlmutter, the Marvel Entertainment chairman and a friend of Trump’s from his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida.

    Seven drug convicts receiving clemency this week were recommended by Alice Marie Johnson, a previous pardon recipient originally brought to Trump’s attention by Kim Kardashian West. Five clemency recipients had the support of Pam Bondi, who served as a lawyer for Trump during his Senate impeachment trial this year.

    Two were associates of Conrad M. Black, the former media baron and friend of Trump’s who himself received a pardon for fraud and obstruction of justice convictions in 2019, a year after writing a flattering book about the president.

    Aside from the Cabinet connection, the four Blackwater contractors were championed by Pete Hegseth, a Fox News host and outspoken Trump supporter who has been influential with the president in the past.

    The four contractors were convicted after what investigators determined was an unprovoked attack that killed 17 Iraqi civilians in 2007, including unarmed women and children. The White House version of what happened glossed over the grisly events.

    “When the convoy attempted to establish a blockade outside the ‘Green Zone,’ the situation turned violent, which resulted in the unfortunate deaths and injuries of Iraqi civilians,” the pardon statement said.

    Paul R. Dickinson Jr., a lawyer who represented five Iraqi families in a lawsuit, offered a more gruesome description in a series of outraged Twitter messages after the pardons, describing among other things how Ali Kinani, a 9-year-old boy, was shot in the head while traveling in a car.

    “His father opened the door after seeing blood on the window — and Ali’s brain fell out onto the pavement between his father’s feet,” Dickinson wrote.

    In the history of pardons, it would be hard to find parallels for that. Presidents typically avoid pardoning unrecalcitrant child killers, if for no other reason than it would normally be seen as politically radioactive.

    But Trump has made a policy of defying conventional wisdom and redefining what he considers to be justice. He has argued that he is righting the wrongs of a law enforcement system that he believes has wronged him, too. And he has even discussed pardoning members of his family or himself.

    With less than four weeks left in office, he may yet have more to say on the matter.
    ____________

    To Donald Trump, "law and order" are so much hokum. I wonder who's next up for a pardon. He's already pardoned a child killer. Oh right, his kids. I wonder what's taking so long...
    Supporting or defending Donald Trump is such an unforgivable moral failing that it calls every bit of your judgement and character into question. Nothing about you should be trusted if you can look at this man and find redeemable value

    Comment


    • Originally posted by TopHatter View Post

      To Donald Trump, "law and order" are so much hokum. I wonder who's next up for a pardon. He's already pardoned a child killer. Oh right, his kids. I wonder what's taking so long...
      Child killer is mild as those four are war crimes criminals who murdered innocents. Makes us look just frickin' great in the world. He has done a lot of horrendous things but this one, in my opinion, takes the cake by a mile.

      Comment



      • Bipartisan lawmakers urge Trump to either sign or immediately veto coronavirus relief bill

        A bipartisan group of lawmakers from both chambers of Congress on Sunday reissued their call for President Trump to sign a nearly $1 trillion COVID-19 relief package — or to immediately veto it.

        The group of 11 senators and representatives made up of Republicans including Sens. Susan Collins (Maine), Mitt Romney (Utah) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Democrats including Sens. Dick Durbin (Ill.) and Joe Manchin (W.V.) urged the president to "show your support for the American people who are in need of emergency lifelines like food, shelter, unemployment benefits and small business relief during these challenging times" and sign the bill.

        "If your objection to the COVID-19 relief bill will prevent you from signing, please veto it immediately. You’ve made your position clear and rejecting it quickly will allow those in favor to act before it is too late," the lawmakers continued. "Never before in your personal, professional, or political life have you been characterized as a man of inaction. Now is not the time to sit idly by - please do the right thing and sign or veto this bill immediately.”

        Trump has not directly threatened to veto the legislation, which is the product of months of negotiations and is attached to a government funding bill, but he also has not indicated he would sign it. Instead, he has repeatedly blasted the legislation since its passage in Congress for including $600 payments to most Americans rather than $2,000 checks — a demand he made only after the bill was approved by both chambers.

        If the president continues to refuse to take any action on the relief package, it would cause the legislation to die upon the start of the new legislative session in January.

        Unemployment benefits and other protections included in earlier coronavirus relief legislation expired overnight, and government funding runs out at Monday night at midnight.

        An effort by Democrats to pass a clean bill containing just the $2,000 payments is headed to the House floor Monday for a vote but is not expected to pass the Senate, where it is opposed by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
        _____________

        Trump can't hear you guys. He's busy doing what he does best.
        Supporting or defending Donald Trump is such an unforgivable moral failing that it calls every bit of your judgement and character into question. Nothing about you should be trusted if you can look at this man and find redeemable value

        Comment


        • Trump agrees to sign COVID relief bill, averting government shutdown

          President Trump agreed in the final hours to sign a bill to extend unemployment benefits and avert a government shutdown, Republican sources tell Axios.

          What to expect: Trump will sign the current bill, which provides for $600 checks for most Americans, then will continue his push to bring that amount to $2,000, according to two sources familiar with the planning.

          Why it matters: Trump's delay in signing the $900 billion coronavirus relief bill and $1.4 trillion government funding measure caused unemployment benefits for millions of Americans to lapse overnight. It also risked a government shutdown.
          • A bipartisan group of lawmakers, angered over the delay, urged Trump earlier on Sunday to sign the measure, saying "too many people" depended on it.
          ____________

          lol what a petty little son of a bitch...make the entire country sweat bullets until the last minute.

          You piece of shit.
          Supporting or defending Donald Trump is such an unforgivable moral failing that it calls every bit of your judgement and character into question. Nothing about you should be trusted if you can look at this man and find redeemable value

          Comment


          • Originally posted by TopHatter View Post
            [SIZE=16px] ____________

            lol what a petty little son of a bitch...make the entire country sweat bullets until the last minute.

            You piece of shit.
            Not that simple, Joe

            His temper tantrum has caused a weeks interruption in benefits for millions of people.

            In some states people have to reapply to get the benefits restored. Others stay registered but lose a week of benefits.

            “Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.”
            Mark Twain

            Comment


            • The simple answer is best: The Trumpet's petty delay caused the media to focus its attention on him, rather than getting on with the job of washing him out of our collective memory.
              Trust me?
              I'm an economist!

              Comment


              • Originally posted by Albany Rifles View Post

                Not that simple, Joe

                His temper tantrum has caused a weeks interruption in benefits for millions of people.

                In some states people have to reapply to get the benefits restored. Others stay registered but lose a week of benefits.
                Oh no doubt. There wasn't a single minute to spare and as usual, Trump managed to f--k things up pretty good
                Originally posted by DOR View Post
                The simple answer is best: The Trumpet's petty delay caused the media to focus its attention on him, rather than getting on with the job of washing him out of our collective memory.
                It's looking like he wanted to hurt the Republicans in Congress that haven't been sufficiently loyal to him, but Graham and Mnuchin soothed his ruffled feathers and indulged his child-like temper tantrum.

                How Trump caved on the coronavirus relief bill

                Getting a cranky, stubborn President Trumpto belatedly sign the COVID relief bill, after unemployment benefits had already lapsed, was like being a hostage negotiator, or defusing a bomb.

                Driving the news: The deal was closedon a Sunday afternoon phone call with Trump, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy. "This is good," Trump finally said, an official familiar with the call told me. "I should sign this."

                How it happened: Over many days, Mnuchin and McCarthy — aided by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who golfed with Trump in West Palm Beach on Friday — indulged the president's rants, told him there was great stuff in the bill, and gave him "wins" he could announce, even though they didn't change the bill.
                • Playing to his vanity, they invoked his legacy,and reminded him he didn't want to hurt people.
                • They convinced the author of "The Art of the Deal" that he had shown himself to be a fighter, and that he had gotten all there was to get.

                Trump's sweeteners, from his 8:15 p.m. statement: "[T]he House and Senate have agreed to focus strongly on the very substantial voter fraud which took place in the November 3 Presidential election."
                • "The Senate will start the process for a vote that increases checks to $2,000, repeals Section 230, and starts an investigation into voter fraud. Big Tech must not get protections of Section 230! Voter Fraud must be fixed! Much more money is coming. I will never give up my fight for the American people!"

                Reality check ... Republican pollster Frank Luntz, who worked hard to understand Trump, told me: "It may be too late. Too late for him, too late for the economy, too late for Covid, and too late for the Georgia senators."

                _________
                Supporting or defending Donald Trump is such an unforgivable moral failing that it calls every bit of your judgement and character into question. Nothing about you should be trusted if you can look at this man and find redeemable value

                Comment


                • What Were You Thinking?
                  Don't pretend you're surprised

                  Pardons, threats, chaos, and coups. Merry Freaking Christmas

                  Near the end of the miniseries, Band of Brothers, the guys from Easy Company are shown riding in a convoy of trucks past a bedraggled column of German prisoners, some of whom are riding in carts drawn by horses.

                  Private David Webster is appalled by the scene and shouts at them:
                  Hey, you! That's right, you stupid Kraut bastards! That's right! Say hello to Ford, and General fuckin' Motors! You stupid fascist pigs! Look at you! You have horses! What were you thinking? Dragging our asses half way around the world, interrupting our lives... For what, you ignorant, servile scum! What the fuck are we doing here?

                  I woke up this morning thinking about him.

                  Admittedly, the parallels are hardly exact, but as I’m looking over the clusterfuck of American conservativism on this almost-Christmas Eve, I feel a kinship with Webster.

                  What were you thinking? You cowardly, ignorant, servile scum?

                  It’s not like you were not warned. Again and again.

                  It’s not as if it wasn’t obvious from the very beginning who Donald Trump was. You had to know it would come to something like this.

                  Now look at you. You have Trump.

                  You’ve dragged this country into this place: more than 323,000 dead Americans, a president plotting to steal an election, whispers of military coups, pardons for crooks and war criminals, a potential constitutional crisis, and a possible government shutdown. And, after four interminable years, a nation that is dumber, crueler, and more divided.

                  For what? What the fuck are we doing here?

                  Let me repeat this: none of this is new. As far back as August 2015, I wrote that Trump was “a cartoon version of every left-wing media stereotype of the reactionary, nativist, misogynist right.”

                  Back then there was still time to say no. Some of us desperately made the case that he was a disaster. In May 2016, on the last appearance I will ever make on Fox News, I said:
                  Donald Trump is a serial liar, a con man who mocks the disabled and women. He’s a narcissist and a bully, a man with no fixed principles who has the vocabulary of an emotionally insecure nine-year-old. So no, I don’t want to give him control of the IRS, the FBI, and the nuclear codes. That’s just me.

                  But you went along with it. You thought you could ride it out. You thought the tradeoffs were worth it. You thought you could Make America Great with this ignorant, petulant man-child.

                  One conservative commentator after another torched their reputations, if not their consciences, polishing the orange turds.

                  The anti-anti-Trumpers sat it out, or spent their time assuring us it wasn’t so bad and that the real threat was radical woke socialists like… Joe Biden. When they weren’t actually concocting elaborate defenses for Trump’s mendacity, they rationalized, or played an endless game of whataboutism.

                  Back in June, my colleague, Sarah Longwell asked the same question that’s nagging me today:
                  Did they really think that putting a man bereft of character, decency, and empathy in charge of the country wouldn’t make a difference?

                  Did they really think that dismissing each instance of his racism, bullying, fecklessness, megalomania, corruption, lies, and stupidity it wouldn’t have a cumulative effect?

                  From the day he came down the escalator, Trump promised to burn it all down. And now Conservatism Inc. is surprised the country is on fire?

                  What did they think was going to happen?

                  So don’t pretend you are really surprised. You may be appalled by what you are seeing, but nothing that is happening now — the reckless attacks on constitutional norms, the flood of lies and conspiracy theories, the bullying, insults, or chaos — is inconsistent in any way with what you have known for years.

                  But you truckled, wheedled, and hoped he’d eat you last.

                  And here we are, you miserable bastards.
                  _________________


                  I really can't think of a better way of summing up my thoughts and attitude toward Trump's followers, Trump's apologists and Trump's sympathizers.


                  What the fuck did you think was going to happen?
                  Supporting or defending Donald Trump is such an unforgivable moral failing that it calls every bit of your judgement and character into question. Nothing about you should be trusted if you can look at this man and find redeemable value

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by DOR View Post
                    The simple answer is best: The Trumpet's petty delay caused the media to focus its attention on him, rather than getting on with the job of washing him out of our collective memory.
                    Sigh, and so true. The only way and quickest way to eliminate him is for the press to ignore him at all costs. Without them he fades into the shadows and that will drive him up the wall and then he still must be ignored.

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by TopHatter View Post
                      What Were You Thinking?
                      Don't pretend you're surprised

                      Pardons, threats, chaos, and coups. Merry Freaking Christmas

                      Near the end of the miniseries, Band of Brothers, the guys from Easy Company are shown riding in a convoy of trucks past a bedraggled column of German prisoners, some of whom are riding in carts drawn by horses.

                      Private David Webster is appalled by the scene and shouts at them:
                      Hey, you! That's right, you stupid Kraut bastards! That's right! Say hello to Ford, and General fuckin' Motors! You stupid fascist pigs! Look at you! You have horses! What were you thinking? Dragging our asses half way around the world, interrupting our lives... For what, you ignorant, servile scum! What the fuck are we doing here?

                      I woke up this morning thinking about him.

                      Admittedly, the parallels are hardly exact, but as I’m looking over the clusterfuck of American conservativism on this almost-Christmas Eve, I feel a kinship with Webster.

                      What were you thinking? You cowardly, ignorant, servile scum?

                      It’s not like you were not warned. Again and again.

                      It’s not as if it wasn’t obvious from the very beginning who Donald Trump was. You had to know it would come to something like this.

                      Now look at you. You have Trump.

                      You’ve dragged this country into this place: more than 323,000 dead Americans, a president plotting to steal an election, whispers of military coups, pardons for crooks and war criminals, a potential constitutional crisis, and a possible government shutdown. And, after four interminable years, a nation that is dumber, crueler, and more divided.

                      For what? What the fuck are we doing here?

                      Let me repeat this: none of this is new. As far back as August 2015, I wrote that Trump was “a cartoon version of every left-wing media stereotype of the reactionary, nativist, misogynist right.”

                      Back then there was still time to say no. Some of us desperately made the case that he was a disaster. In May 2016, on the last appearance I will ever make on Fox News, I said:
                      Donald Trump is a serial liar, a con man who mocks the disabled and women. He’s a narcissist and a bully, a man with no fixed principles who has the vocabulary of an emotionally insecure nine-year-old. So no, I don’t want to give him control of the IRS, the FBI, and the nuclear codes. That’s just me.

                      But you went along with it. You thought you could ride it out. You thought the tradeoffs were worth it. You thought you could Make America Great with this ignorant, petulant man-child.

                      One conservative commentator after another torched their reputations, if not their consciences, polishing the orange turds.

                      The anti-anti-Trumpers sat it out, or spent their time assuring us it wasn’t so bad and that the real threat was radical woke socialists like… Joe Biden. When they weren’t actually concocting elaborate defenses for Trump’s mendacity, they rationalized, or played an endless game of whataboutism.

                      Back in June, my colleague, Sarah Longwell asked the same question that’s nagging me today:
                      Did they really think that putting a man bereft of character, decency, and empathy in charge of the country wouldn’t make a difference?

                      Did they really think that dismissing each instance of his racism, bullying, fecklessness, megalomania, corruption, lies, and stupidity it wouldn’t have a cumulative effect?

                      From the day he came down the escalator, Trump promised to burn it all down. And now Conservatism Inc. is surprised the country is on fire?

                      What did they think was going to happen?

                      So don’t pretend you are really surprised. You may be appalled by what you are seeing, but nothing that is happening now — the reckless attacks on constitutional norms, the flood of lies and conspiracy theories, the bullying, insults, or chaos — is inconsistent in any way with what you have known for years.

                      But you truckled, wheedled, and hoped he’d eat you last.

                      And here we are, you miserable bastards.
                      _________________


                      I really can't think of a better way of summing up my thoughts and attitude toward Trump's followers, Trump's apologists and Trump's sympathizers.


                      What the fuck did you think was going to happen?

                      The main problem with this article is the idea that people who supported Trump are 'appalled' by wha the has done. They aren't. With the exception of a handful they love him more than ever - the man got 12 million more votes than in 2016. Every single bad thing that has happened either doesn't exist or is the fault of Democrats and 'RINOs'. Zero exceptions.

                      He also picked the wrong World War. Trump supporters aren't defeated Nazi soldiers surveying a ruined & occupied homeland and finally realizing tghe ywere wrong. They are WW1 soldiers still loyal to the Kaiser and returning to an untouched homeland that has actually won some significant victories. Their heads are full of conspiracy theories about being stabbed in the back and they are ready to take up arms to put in place a dictator.

                      1945 Germany was uttely defeated and open to a complete transformation to a better model. 1918 Germany was just taking a breath before barrelling down an even darker path. Which do you think best resembles Trumpers?
                      sigpic

                      Win nervously lose tragically - Reds C C

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by TopHatter View Post
                        What Were You Thinking?
                        Don't pretend you're surprised

                        Pardons, threats, chaos, and coups. Merry Freaking Christmas

                        Near the end of the miniseries, Band of Brothers, the guys from Easy Company are shown riding in a convoy of trucks past a bedraggled column of German prisoners, some of whom are riding in carts drawn by horses.

                        Private David Webster is appalled by the scene and shouts at them:
                        Hey, you! That's right, you stupid Kraut bastards! That's right! Say hello to Ford, and General fuckin' Motors! You stupid fascist pigs! Look at you! You have horses! What were you thinking? Dragging our asses half way around the world, interrupting our lives... For what, you ignorant, servile scum! What the fuck are we doing here?

                        I woke up this morning thinking about him.

                        Admittedly, the parallels are hardly exact, but as I’m looking over the clusterfuck of American conservativism on this almost-Christmas Eve, I feel a kinship with Webster.

                        What were you thinking? You cowardly, ignorant, servile scum?

                        It’s not like you were not warned. Again and again.

                        It’s not as if it wasn’t obvious from the very beginning who Donald Trump was. You had to know it would come to something like this.

                        Now look at you. You have Trump.

                        You’ve dragged this country into this place: more than 323,000 dead Americans, a president plotting to steal an election, whispers of military coups, pardons for crooks and war criminals, a potential constitutional crisis, and a possible government shutdown. And, after four interminable years, a nation that is dumber, crueler, and more divided.

                        For what? What the fuck are we doing here?

                        Let me repeat this: none of this is new. As far back as August 2015, I wrote that Trump was “a cartoon version of every left-wing media stereotype of the reactionary, nativist, misogynist right.”

                        Back then there was still time to say no. Some of us desperately made the case that he was a disaster. In May 2016, on the last appearance I will ever make on Fox News, I said:
                        Donald Trump is a serial liar, a con man who mocks the disabled and women. He’s a narcissist and a bully, a man with no fixed principles who has the vocabulary of an emotionally insecure nine-year-old. So no, I don’t want to give him control of the IRS, the FBI, and the nuclear codes. That’s just me.

                        But you went along with it. You thought you could ride it out. You thought the tradeoffs were worth it. You thought you could Make America Great with this ignorant, petulant man-child.

                        One conservative commentator after another torched their reputations, if not their consciences, polishing the orange turds.

                        The anti-anti-Trumpers sat it out, or spent their time assuring us it wasn’t so bad and that the real threat was radical woke socialists like… Joe Biden. When they weren’t actually concocting elaborate defenses for Trump’s mendacity, they rationalized, or played an endless game of whataboutism.

                        Back in June, my colleague, Sarah Longwell asked the same question that’s nagging me today:
                        Did they really think that putting a man bereft of character, decency, and empathy in charge of the country wouldn’t make a difference?

                        Did they really think that dismissing each instance of his racism, bullying, fecklessness, megalomania, corruption, lies, and stupidity it wouldn’t have a cumulative effect?

                        From the day he came down the escalator, Trump promised to burn it all down. And now Conservatism Inc. is surprised the country is on fire?

                        What did they think was going to happen?

                        So don’t pretend you are really surprised. You may be appalled by what you are seeing, but nothing that is happening now — the reckless attacks on constitutional norms, the flood of lies and conspiracy theories, the bullying, insults, or chaos — is inconsistent in any way with what you have known for years.

                        But you truckled, wheedled, and hoped he’d eat you last.

                        And here we are, you miserable bastards.
                        _________________


                        I really can't think of a better way of summing up my thoughts and attitude toward Trump's followers, Trump's apologists and Trump's sympathizers.


                        What the fuck did you think was going to happen?
                        But, but, but ... he was exactly what the GOP was looking for!
                        Trust me?
                        I'm an economist!

                        Comment


                        • 1945 Germany was uttely defeated and open to a complete transformation to a better model. 1918 Germany was just taking a breath before barrelling down an even darker path. Which do you think best resembles Trumpers?
                          in WWII, Germany was beaten to her knees and the entire country was razed.

                          not so in WWI.

                          we really needed a massive repudiation of the GOP for there to have been an internal revolt.

                          oh, well, here's hoping we can pull off 2 Senate seats out of the hat soon. I still can't believe Gideon and Cunningham lost their respective races.
                          There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by astralis View Post
                            we really needed a massive repudiation of the GOP for there to have been an internal revolt.

                            In 2008, just having the financial crash on their watch caused the Republicans to lose in a landslide; by modern standards. Arguably, Bush was not guilty of any specific actions or incompetence that may have resulted in the causing of the crash compared to Trump's actions in the run up to the pandemic.

                            Even stark incompetence during a pandemic resulting in over 300,000 deaths barely caused a shift of about 1% of the voters in the direction of Biden. Jokes about shooting on fifth avenue aside, it does seem there is nothing Trump could do that would lose him most of his supporters. It does seem to me that perhaps 30-40% of Americans might cheer on if Trump was able to overturn the election and usher in a more authoritarian regime.

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                            • Originally posted by Politico

                              Bernie Sanders to delay defense veto override in bid for $2,000 checks

                              by Burgess Everett
                              28 December 2020

                              Sen. Bernie Sanders will filibuster an override of President Donald Trump’s defense bill veto unless the Senate holds a vote on providing $2,000 direct payments to Americans.

                              “McConnell and the Senate want to expedite the override vote and I understand that. But I’m not going to allow that to happen unless there is a vote, no matter how long that takes, on the $2,000 direct payment,” Sanders said in an interview on Monday night. The Vermont independent can’t ultimately stop the veto override vote, but he can delay it until New Year’s Day and make things more difficult for the GOP.

                              The House passed the payment boost sought by Trump and Democratic leaders on Monday evening, and Trump said the Senate has agreed to “start the process” on a stimulus checks vote when he signed the $900 billion relief bill. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has yet to address the timing of such a vote.

                              Under Senate rules, Sanders has the ability to keep the chamber in during the holiday week and likely mess with the campaign schedules of Sens. David Perdue (R-Ga.) and Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.). Those two face Jan. 5 runoff races for control of the Senate against Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, who are both campaigning on the $2,000 checks.

                              A source close to Sanders said the Senate races were a factor in his decision — part of a bid to keep Perdue and Loeffler in D.C. and focus the campaign on their position regarding the $2,000 checks. Sanders also threatened to shut down the government earlier this month if the coronavirus relief bill did not include direct payments; ultimately it included checks of up to $600 and the government stayed open, though now Trump wants to go much higher.

                              Though veto overrides can be filibustered, as Sanders plans to do, it is a rare procedural move because the veto override already requires 67 votes and the filibuster is simply a delay tactic, according to the Congressional Research Service.

                              Sanders said he hopes McConnell allows a vote on the checks on Wednesday.

                              “The American people are desperate, and the Senate has got to do its job before leaving town,” Sanders said. “It would be unconscionable, especially after the House did the right thing, for the Senate to simply leave Washington without voting on this.”

                              It’s not clear whether there are 60 votes in the Senate for the $2,000 checks, which would require at least 12 Republicans to join with the chamber’s 48 Democratic Caucus members. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer plans to try and force a vote on the House-passed bill Tuesday, though any one member of the Senate can object and many conservatives oppose that level of spending.

                              Still, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) endorsed the $2,000 checks on Monday night and some House Republicans supported it on the floor, demonstrating a split in the party over whether to give Trump the checks he’s demanding as he prepares to leave office in January.

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                              Last edited by JRT; 29 Dec 20,, 15:04.
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                              • Originally posted by tbm3fan View Post
                                The only way and quickest way to eliminate him is for the press to ignore him at all costs. Without them he fades into the shadows and that will drive him up the wall and then he still must be ignored.
                                Why would they do that?

                                They won't until he fades. He won't fade as long as he makes enough money from it to make it worthwhile.

                                Donald J. Trump is 74 and obese. That combination of age and obesity is a recipe for the triple threat of hypertension, diabetes and arterial disease. He will eventually fade regardless what he wants.
                                Last edited by JRT; 29 Dec 20,, 15:32.
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