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He did not know that this gesture was anti-semitic because it is NOT anti-semitic. There's nothing to add — except that you people should start thinking by yourself instead of believing words coming f

When a government wants to control its population, the best way to do so is to fear its people by creating an external enemy. This way, people feel endangered by an outside menace, become more patriot

In Australia (I imagine NZ is very similar) taxes pay for medicare, pension, welfare, infrastructure support (roads, bridges) student loans, disability support, residential aged care, university fundi

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France is dealing with some controversy. 

 

THE BACKGROUND. 

Last week, French lawmakers said ‘oui’ to a little thing called the Global Security Bill. Includes a section that would expand the ability of security forces to film everyday people via bodycams and drones...without their consent. Also includes a section (Article 24) that would make it illegal for those same everyday people to publish photos or videos that could possibly identify police officers. So, yeah. Cue protests. 

 

THE HAPPENINGS. 

People took to the streets all over France to speak out against the bill, which many said would make it harder to hold police officers accountable and would cut back on free speech. The protests also came in the wake of multiple cases of police violence. Enter: French Prez Emmanuel Macron. Yesterday, his ruling party pinky promised to make some changes to the Global Security Bill. 

 

THE REACTION. 

Hesitant. It’s not yet clear what those changes will look like, since all anyone’s really said about them is that they’ll involve a “complete new wording” of Article 24. That means that Article 24 will still stick around in some form - and lawmakers seem pretty committed to the idea of “protecting police forces,” so don’t expect it to change too much. Regardless of the changes, the bill isn’t law yet. First, it needs to get the thumbs-up from another set of lawmakers. 

 

THE TAKE. 

All of this comes at a time when everyone is talking about police brutality. 

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An Internet Meme Mocked Trump, So He's Trying To Defund The Military

"Diaper Don" is trending on Twitter, and the president really does not like it.

https%3A%2F%2Fbucketeer-e05bbc84-baa3-437e-9518-adb32be77984.s3.amazonaws.com%2Fpublic%2Fimages%2Fb8b61061-c37d-44e8-8719-eedb6e9e5e77_1200x675.webp

WASHINGTON, DC -- You might’ve heard that one of the reasons why Donald Trump received 10 million more votes in 2020 than he did in 2016 was because of the “defund the police” slogan that emerged following the brutal murder of George Floyd last Summer. It’s not the only reason, but it’s one that’s floated to the surface. 

Regardless of how you might feel about the slogan -- I happen to think “defund” was the wrong word -- it looks like Trump picked up some votes because of it. I guess it spooked some “law and order” voters. Nevertheless, it’s particularly ludicrous because the Joe Biden campaign and the Democratic Party distanced themselves from it. Yet Trump spent the entire Summer tagging Biden with the slogan despite the truth, despite reality.

It’s ironic because as I write this, Trump is threatening to veto the latest defense spending bill in order to strong-arm Congress into repealing Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996.

In other words, Trump is literally trying to defund the military -- veterans, too. He’s doing it right now. It’s Trump himself -- not a random activist, not Red Hat Twitter, it’s all him. And he’s doing it while soldiers are deployed in war zones. The voters who stupidly cast their ballots for Trump because they worried Joe Biden might defund the police just happened to have voted for a candidate who wants to defund the entire military, including programs for veterans. Once again, American Idiocracy marches on.

In case you’re unfamiliar with the law, Section 230 protects online platforms like Twitter and Facebook from being sued for hosting offensive third-party content. Put another way: because of Section 230, I can’t sue Twitter because of Trump’s tweets. It also protects online platforms from being sued by someone whose account or posts were removed.

It’s the latter protection that -- I think -- Trump’s pissed about. He and his disciples believe Trumpers are being unfairly targeted by the social media platforms, suggesting their posts are being removed because of political bias. The truth is: their posts are being tagged with warnings or removed entirely because they’re spreading disinformation about the election and the COVID pandemic.

The ironic thing is that by repealing Section 230, it’s possible that the social media platforms would be more inclined to completely ban controversial users like Trump because they won’t want to be sued for defamation, harassment or myriad other reasons. He could also sue these companies for banning him, too. From what I know about the law, it seems like they’d be stuck in an impossible situation that could entirely change the way social media platforms are developed and used. And probably not for the better. 

Furthermore, Internet Association president Jon Berroya said, “Repealing Section 230 is itself a threat to national security.” He added, “The law empowers online platforms to remove harmful and dangerous content, including terrorist content and misinformation.” And by the way, 230 was recently amended to specifically target sex traffickers.

Naturally, Trump doesn’t give a flying rip about terrorism or hate speech or sex trafficking or anything beyond his own frail, wafer-thin ego. He’s definitely not interested in national security, at least when it comes to his ridiculous move to repeal this thing.

No, there was one specific event that set him off this time. It wasn’t just a random threat aimed at disrupting the defense bill. Last Thursday, Trump held an event in the White House in which he was inexplicably seated behind a tiny wooden table -- an almost cartoonishly small piece of furniture making Trump look like Will Ferrell in the movie “Elf” seated behind a minuscule elf-sized desk

One of the photos of Trump revealed his rather large ass, too, so Twitter users quickly capitalized on the rumors by a former The Apprentice staffer named Noel Casler who has repeatedly accused Trump of requiring adult diapers due to his alleged drug abuse. So, because of the photos, the hashtag “Diaper Don” began to circulate to the point where it reached Twitter’s list of trending items.

And, oh happy day, Trump must’ve seen the hashtag because he tweeted:

Twitter is sending out totally false “Trends” that have absolutely nothing to do with what is really trending in the world. They make it up, and only negative “stuff”. Same thing will happen to Twitter as is happening to @FoxNews daytime. Also, big Conservative discrimination!

I live for crap like this. Knowing that he knows that we know he wears a diaper is one of my favorite things ever. I like to think that whenever a bully is humiliated an angel gets its wings.

It appears as though Trump is defunding the military and veterans because of the “Diaper Don” hashtag. He’s crippling the military, who he believes is composed of “suckers and losers,” because Twitter users talked about his alleged diapers. Now, to be clear, I have no idea whether he wears a diaper. But it’s endlessly hilarious to me to think about what went through his worm-infested head when he saw the hashtag. 

All told, it’s unlikely the defense bill will be blocked. Even nutbag Republican senators like Jim Inhofe are wondering why Trump is linking Section 230 to the defense bill since it has little to do with the Pentagon. But maybe Inhofe should check out the Diaper Don hashtag. It’ll make more sense that way.

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Adolf Hitler Wins Election in Namibia, Has No Plans for World Domination

https://www.newsweek.com/adolf-hitler-germany-namibia-elections-1552056

A politician named Adolf Hitler has won a regional election in Namibia.

Adolf Hitler Uunona has been elected with 85 percent of the vote for a seat on the regional council in the former German colony, where street names, people and places still have German names. However, Adolf Uunona as he prefers himself to be known, says he wants to assure people that he has no plans for world domination.

He told German tabloid paper Bild: "My father named me after this man. He probably didn't understand what Adolf Hitler stood for. As a child I saw it as a totally normal name. Only as a teenager did I understand that this man wanted to conquer the whole world."

He appears on the election nomination list as Adolf H. Uunona. He won the seat on the ticket of the ruling SWAPO party which has ruled Namibia since independence from apartheid South Africa in 1990. He also said that while his wife calls him Adolf, it would be too late for him to change his name officially.

"The fact I have this name does not mean I want to conquer Oshana," he said, referring to the region where he won the election. It doesn't mean I'm striving for world domination."

He is actually not new to politics, having been a regional councilor for a while, praising a cement company in 2019 for investing more than $1m by sending employees to Germany for training, offering internships and job attachments. He has been a regional councilor for at least 15 years, Namibian electoral records seen by Newsweek show.

Adolf H Uuona and Adolf Hitler

Namibia was a German colony from 1884, however following the First World War the League of Nations mandated South Africa to administer the territory.

Earlier in 2020, Namibia rejected Germany's offer of compensation for the mass murder of tens of thousands of indigenous people more than a century ago. Between 1904 and 1908 German occupiers almost destroyed the Herero and Nama peoples in what was then known as the colony of German Southwest Africa.

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On 12/3/2020 at 8:42 PM, Vesper said:

An Internet Meme Mocked Trump, So He's Trying To Defund The Military

"Diaper Don" is trending on Twitter, and the president really does not like it.

https%3A%2F%2Fbucketeer-e05bbc84-baa3-437e-9518-adb32be77984.s3.amazonaws.com%2Fpublic%2Fimages%2Fb8b61061-c37d-44e8-8719-eedb6e9e5e77_1200x675.webp

WASHINGTON, DC -- You might’ve heard that one of the reasons why Donald Trump received 10 million more votes in 2020 than he did in 2016 was because of the “defund the police” slogan that emerged following the brutal murder of George Floyd last Summer. It’s not the only reason, but it’s one that’s floated to the surface. 

Regardless of how you might feel about the slogan -- I happen to think “defund” was the wrong word -- it looks like Trump picked up some votes because of it. I guess it spooked some “law and order” voters. Nevertheless, it’s particularly ludicrous because the Joe Biden campaign and the Democratic Party distanced themselves from it. Yet Trump spent the entire Summer tagging Biden with the slogan despite the truth, despite reality.

It’s ironic because as I write this, Trump is threatening to veto the latest defense spending bill in order to strong-arm Congress into repealing Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996.

In other words, Trump is literally trying to defund the military -- veterans, too. He’s doing it right now. It’s Trump himself -- not a random activist, not Red Hat Twitter, it’s all him. And he’s doing it while soldiers are deployed in war zones. The voters who stupidly cast their ballots for Trump because they worried Joe Biden might defund the police just happened to have voted for a candidate who wants to defund the entire military, including programs for veterans. Once again, American Idiocracy marches on.

In case you’re unfamiliar with the law, Section 230 protects online platforms like Twitter and Facebook from being sued for hosting offensive third-party content. Put another way: because of Section 230, I can’t sue Twitter because of Trump’s tweets. It also protects online platforms from being sued by someone whose account or posts were removed.

It’s the latter protection that -- I think -- Trump’s pissed about. He and his disciples believe Trumpers are being unfairly targeted by the social media platforms, suggesting their posts are being removed because of political bias. The truth is: their posts are being tagged with warnings or removed entirely because they’re spreading disinformation about the election and the COVID pandemic.

The ironic thing is that by repealing Section 230, it’s possible that the social media platforms would be more inclined to completely ban controversial users like Trump because they won’t want to be sued for defamation, harassment or myriad other reasons. He could also sue these companies for banning him, too. From what I know about the law, it seems like they’d be stuck in an impossible situation that could entirely change the way social media platforms are developed and used. And probably not for the better. 

Furthermore, Internet Association president Jon Berroya said, “Repealing Section 230 is itself a threat to national security.” He added, “The law empowers online platforms to remove harmful and dangerous content, including terrorist content and misinformation.” And by the way, 230 was recently amended to specifically target sex traffickers.

Naturally, Trump doesn’t give a flying rip about terrorism or hate speech or sex trafficking or anything beyond his own frail, wafer-thin ego. He’s definitely not interested in national security, at least when it comes to his ridiculous move to repeal this thing.

No, there was one specific event that set him off this time. It wasn’t just a random threat aimed at disrupting the defense bill. Last Thursday, Trump held an event in the White House in which he was inexplicably seated behind a tiny wooden table -- an almost cartoonishly small piece of furniture making Trump look like Will Ferrell in the movie “Elf” seated behind a minuscule elf-sized desk

One of the photos of Trump revealed his rather large ass, too, so Twitter users quickly capitalized on the rumors by a former The Apprentice staffer named Noel Casler who has repeatedly accused Trump of requiring adult diapers due to his alleged drug abuse. So, because of the photos, the hashtag “Diaper Don” began to circulate to the point where it reached Twitter’s list of trending items.

And, oh happy day, Trump must’ve seen the hashtag because he tweeted:

Twitter is sending out totally false “Trends” that have absolutely nothing to do with what is really trending in the world. They make it up, and only negative “stuff”. Same thing will happen to Twitter as is happening to @FoxNews daytime. Also, big Conservative discrimination!

I live for crap like this. Knowing that he knows that we know he wears a diaper is one of my favorite things ever. I like to think that whenever a bully is humiliated an angel gets its wings.

It appears as though Trump is defunding the military and veterans because of the “Diaper Don” hashtag. He’s crippling the military, who he believes is composed of “suckers and losers,” because Twitter users talked about his alleged diapers. Now, to be clear, I have no idea whether he wears a diaper. But it’s endlessly hilarious to me to think about what went through his worm-infested head when he saw the hashtag. 

All told, it’s unlikely the defense bill will be blocked. Even nutbag Republican senators like Jim Inhofe are wondering why Trump is linking Section 230 to the defense bill since it has little to do with the Pentagon. But maybe Inhofe should check out the Diaper Don hashtag. It’ll make more sense that way.

and I must say also a lousy tennis player - grew up playing tennis and I can tell by his "form." (does not take much lol)

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Losing the 2020 Presidential election, Trump threatened to “take it to the Supreme Court,” but tonight he found out that the Supreme Court is not some kind of walk-up bank teller.

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Brexit: Boris Johnson and EU agree one last chance for a deal by Sunday

The talks came as Britain’s biggest supermarkets were revealed to be stockpiling food amid fears that Mr Johnson will fail to strike a post-Brexit trade deal

https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/breaking-brexit-boris-johnson-eu-23141960#source=breaking-news

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Brexit and the misunderstanding of sovereignty

https://www.socialeurope.eu/brexit-and-the-misunderstanding-of-sovereignty

While the negotiators haggle over a deal to avoid a new-year car crash, the fundamental problem is the obsolete notion of sovereignty held in London.

Twenty-twenty has been a difficult year by any measure. While the impacts of the coronavirus and the blockage of the European Union’s rescue package by Hungary, Poland and Slovenia over protection of the rule of law have dominated the headlines, the issue that will likely have the most lasting effect on Europe’s future is ‘Brexit’. The saga of the United Kingdom’s exit from the EU, which has dragged on for four and a half years since the referendum in June 2016, will finally end on January 1st, after which the EU will treat the UK as a non-member.

From the start, Brexit was a quixotic project. Take the symbolic centrality of fishing—which makes up less than 0.1 per cent of the UK’s economy—to the negotiations over the future relations between the UK and the EU. There are many substantive issues at stake, but understanding Brexit requires a grasp of the strange, profoundly anachronistic, English understanding of sovereignty upon from which it is derived.

Co-operation of partners

Traditionally, sovereignty referred to the ability of a state to make decisions about events within its borders without external inference. Globalisation has however progressively robbed individual states in isolation of control over their economic affairs. Global manufacturing and commerce increasingly depend on the co-operation of trading partners, to ensure goods pass across borders and are accepted for sale in foreign markets. From this perspective, free-trade agreements and institutions such as the EU’s single market do not reflect a loss but a pooling of sovereignty: control is extended beyond the boundaries of the state.

Even within global politics sovereignty no longer refers exclusively to the capacity of the state to make arbitrary decisions, but rather to its international obligation to preserve life-sustaining standards for its citizens’, while more widely observing the rule of law and postwar conventions on human rights. Sovereignty is thus about the responsibility to protect the rights and interests of the population, not control.

The understanding of sovereignty propounded by the UK government is mindless of these global developments. The success of ‘take back control,’ the key slogan of the Leave campaign in 2016, lay not only in the outdated idea that sovereignty is the capacity of a state to make unfettered decisions within its borders—an idea that particularly a post-imperial state might be inclined to entertain—but, within that, the singularly English conception of parliamentary sovereignty.

‘Westminster model’

The key feature of the ‘Westminster model’ is that it does not differentiate between constitutional and normal law. Not only can any piece of legislation be undone by simple-majority vote; Parliament is also omnicompetent, as its legislative powers can override all claims to fundamental rights. For example, John Selden famously argued that Parliament could even make staying in bed after 8 o’clock a capital offence.

In this conception, the problem with the EU is that its treaties, with their protections of human rights and market freedoms, limit the UK’s legislative freedom by quasi-constitutional constraints which ‘no Act of the UK Parliament by itself can amend’. For David Frost, the UK’s chief negotiator, ‘Sovereignty is about the ability to get your own rules right in a way that suits our [sic] own conditions.’

This vision explains why the UK negotiators reject any compulsory mechanism for conflict-resolution, whether in the form of non-regression clauses or via entities outside of Parliament’s control, such as the Court of Justice of the EU. It also clarifies the brazen repudiation of international law contained in the Internal Market Bill, which gives the UK the right unilaterally to break the legally binding withdrawal agreement it signed with the EU a little over a year ago.

As Nicholas Westcott points out, this view of sovereignty is ‘closer to that used by North Korea than to that of any other free-trading western nation’. In addition to the rights violations it enables, it also fails to distinguish between theoretical and effective control. In prioritising absolute internal legislative freedom, it sacrifices the effective protection of British interests which membership in the EU offered by giving the UK a vote on conditions in her main export markets, as well as in international affairs.

Seat at the table

The counterintuitive result is that Brexit actually reduces Britain’s effective control in a misguided attempt to increase it: sovereignty is about having a seat at the table. In addition are the envisaged negative impacts on living standards in the UK as well as the EU, albeit to a lesser degree.

Given all this, the European public can only hope that leaders in the UK and elsewhere—especially in those central- and eastern-European states whose obstinacy about the rule of law is based on a similar misreading of sovereignty—learn this lesson without doing too much harm to their peoples. If they do not, the result will be a less co-operative, less prosperous, more divisive and more dangerous environment, in Europe and around the world.

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'If You Didn’t Vote for Trump, Your Vote Is Fraudulent'

The president’s supporters believe that the votes of rival constituencies should not count—even though they understand, on some level, that they do.

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/12/voter-fraud/617354/

Armed protesters with a flag of Donald Trump

Armed protesters gathered outside the home of Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson Saturday night, demanding that she overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election in her state.

“We will not stand down, we will not stop, we will continue to rise up, we will continue to take this election back for the president that actually won it by a landslide,” one protester at the scene declared, NPR reported. Benson told the outlet that “their threats and their attacks are aimed at the heart of democracy itself, trying to erode the public’s confidence in the democratic process, trying to sow seeds of doubt among everyone that their votes counted, that their voices were heard, that the results of the election are accurate.”

Armed protesters showing up at the homes of elected officials to force them to overturn the outcome of the presidential election, especially in a state where Trump-supporting militants were caught plotting to kidnap the governor, Gretchen Whitmer, is obviously disturbing. Protesting government officials, even for grievances you or I might find absurd, is a fundamental constitutional right. The presence of firearms among the protesters, however, as well as the decision to protest at her residence instead of her workplace, add elements of coercion.

But what’s really surprising is not that some people who believe that the will of the people has been subverted, and that the election results are fraudulent, have resorted to armed protests and intimidation—it’s that so few have.

After all, President Donald Trump has been contesting the election results ever since it became clear that he would not be inaugurated again in January. Ignoring the backdrop of the daily death tolls that now exceed the lives lost in the September 11th attacks, the president concentrates his efforts not on containing the coronavirus pandemic but on a buffoonish but sincere scheme to annihilate American democracy, as most Republican elected officials cower quietly or cheer him on, while a vital few incur the wrath of the conservative faithful by doing their duty.

Trump has claimed that the outcome reflects a “rigged election,” publicly indulging nonsense conspiracy theories. He has pressured officials in Michigan, Georgia, and Pennsylvania to overturn President-elect Joe Biden’s victories in those states. His attorneys have filed baseless, tendentious lawsuits in those three states as well as in Arizona, Nevada, and Wisconsin, only to be rebuffed in every case but one. From the beginning, the only acceptable or legitimate outcome for Trump and his hard-core supporters was a victory—with the description “landslide” appended no matter how narrow or wide it happened to be.

“Judges ruled decisively that Trump’s side has not proved the election was fraudulent,” The Washington Post reported, “with some offering painstaking analyses of why such claims lack merit and pointed opinions about the risks the legal claims pose to American democracy.”

Yet the rubbish claims of fraud continue. Trumpism demands the profession of beliefs that are neither strictly literal nor exactly figurative, but instead statements of ideological values that don’t fit neatly in either category. These statements are not amenable to journalistic fact-checking, because they are not factual claims; they are assertions of identity and political legitimacy that are incontestable on their own terms. To announce loudly that you accept the proclamations of the Church of Trump, no matter how false, contradictory, or exaggerated, is to identify yourself as a member of that faith community; to deny them is to risk excommunication. As long as devotion to the Trumpian creed remains a central tenet of membership in the Republican Party, precious few elected officials will risk the brand of the heretic.

The Republican majority leader of the Pennsylvania Senate, Kim Ward, told The New York Times that if she had not signed a letter urging the state’s congressional delegation to toss out Pennsylvania’s electoral votes, “I’d get my house bombed tonight.” Brad Raffensperger, the Republican secretary of state for Georgia, and his wife have both faced violent threats since the state certified Biden’s victory and Raffensperger reiterated that there was no evidence of fraud. Among the Trump faithful, acknowledging the actual outcome of the presidential election is apostasy.

Questioning election results is a staple of partisan rhetoric, of course. Democratic voters and pundits, and occasionally elected officials, have advanced their own baseless conspiracy theories to explain political losses. The distinction is that the Democratic Party’s leadership, understanding that the peaceful transfer of power is crucial to a functional democracy—or fearing the political cost of failing to honor it—has typically dismissed those conspiracy theories rather than embracing them, denying them needed oxygen. Some Democrats fumed about voting machines in Ohio in 2004, but that did not stop John Kerry from quickly conceding; furious liberals indulged fantasies that Russian interference in 2016 included manipulation of vote tallies, but Hillary Clinton conceded the morning after the election.

That is not the case today. Insisting that the election was stolen by fraud, or that the outcome is somehow in doubt, remains the majority position among Republican elected officials. Only 27 of the 249 Republicans in Congress are willing to publicly acknowledge Biden’s victory. Several House Republicans have urged the Supreme Court to toss out the results in Pennsylvania, with Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, an experienced litigator, offering his services should the justices take the case. (The Court turned down one appeal from Pennsylvania, 9–0, on Tuesday.)

The attorney general of Texas, Ken Paxton—who is under federal investigation for securities fraud—filed a lawsuit Tuesday demanding that the Supreme Court invalidate the election results in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Georgia.* It’s fair to wonder what standing or jurisdiction the attorney general of Texas has in these matters. But Paxton has a strong incentive to flatter a president with a proclivity for handing out pardons to his political allies. Seventeen other Republican state attorneys general have joined the suit, calculating not only that GOP voters won’t penalize them for attempting to subvert American democracy, but that they would punish them if they failed to try.

The refusal to acknowledge Trump’s loss would seem to complicate the Republicans’ pitch in Georgia, where control of the Senate hangs on the results of two runoff elections set for January. They can’t run on the need to hold those seats in order to block Biden’s agenda if they can’t acknowledge Biden’s victory. Why should Republicans vote in an election if, as Trump and his toadies claim, the vote is rigged? But Democrats hoping that the irreconcilable logic of such assertions will prevent Republicans from swarming the ballot box in January are mistaken.

The Trump era began with one such assertion: birtherism. Trump’s emergence as a Republican champion coincided with his embrace, in 2011, of the slander that the first Black president, Barack Obama, was not born in America. This was not a belief that could be disproved by Obama showing his papers, because it was an expression of the ideological conviction that neither Obama, nor the coalition that elected him, was politically legitimate, and that the categories assigned to him by the conspiracy theory—African, Muslim, immigrant, foreigner—were at the root of his illegitimacy.

Similarly, when Trump told the four Democratic lawmakers of the Squad—Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, and Ayanna Pressley—to “go back” to the countries “from which they came,” he was not literally questioning their American citizenship. He was expressing the ideological conviction, shared by his base, that their identity as Americans is made contingent by the combination of their racial backgrounds, national origins, and political beliefs, in ways that those of conservative white Republicans are not.

From the June 2019 issue: An oral history of Trump’s bigotry

The Michigan protester’s declaration that Trump won the election (by a landslide, no less) falls into the same category. The majority of people who make such declarations understand that in fact, Trump did not win, that he received fewer votes than his opponent, and that the Electoral College result reflects that loss. But they support Trump’s claims that the vote was fraudulent, and his efforts to pressure Republican officials in key states to overturn the result. To Trump’s strongest supporters, Biden’s win is a fraud because his voters should not count to begin with, and because the Democratic Party is not a legitimate political institution that should be allowed to wield power even if they did.

This is why the authoritarian remedies festering in the Trump fever swamps—martial law, the usurpation of state electors, Supreme Court fiat—are so openly contemplated. Because the true will of the people is that Trump remain president, forcing that outcome, even in the face of defeat, is a fulfillment of democracy rather than its betrayal.

The Republican base’s fundamental belief, the one that Trump used to win them over in the first place, the one that ties the election conspiracy theory to birtherism and to Trump’s sneering attack on the Squad’s citizenship, is that Democratic victories do not count, because Democratic voters are not truly American. It’s no accident that the Trump campaign’s claims have focused almost entirely on jurisdictions with high Black populations.

“Detroit and Philadelphia—known as two of the most corrupt political places anywhere in our country, easily—cannot be responsible for engineering the outcome of a presidential race,” Trump said on November 5. Since then, Trump’s legal challenges have targeted cities with large Black populations—not just Philadelphia and Detroit, but also Pittsburgh, Milwaukee, and Atlanta. Trump improved his vote margin slightly in these places, while getting destroyed in nearby suburbs. But because the outdated popular perception of suburbs is that they are white, they lack the assumption of illegitimacy that Trumpists attach to cities.

The absence of not only evidence of any systemic fraud, but even compelling anecdotes that might be misleadingly trumpeted throughout right-wing media, has not deterred the president or his supporters. Republican legislators are already scheming to put new restrictions on the franchise, justified by claims of fraud so baseless that not even their handpicked judges can find a foothold to sustain them. The necessary ingredient is not actual voter fraud, but Democratic victory at the ballot box, real or potential.

According to a 2020 survey by the political scientist Larry Bartels, three-quarters of Republican voters believe that “it is hard to trust the results of elections when so many people will vote for anyone who offers a handout.” Because Republicans believe, as Mitt Romney put it after his defeat in 2012, that Black people vote for Democrats only because they are offered “free stuff,” Black votes are considered illegitimate even if they are legally cast. Those votes could be legitimate if more of them were cast for Republicans, the party of true Americans, but as long as they are cast for Democrats, they can be dismissed as the result of Democratic brainwashing. Demanding that Black votes be tossed out is not antidemocratic, because they should not have counted in the first place.

That this racist belief has a partisan valence makes it no less racist. If one’s fundamental rights are contingent on adhering to the political beliefs of the ruling clique, they are not rights at all.

In the early days of Reconstruction, Democrats hoped that Black men, if enfranchised, would vote for those who had fought to keep them enslaved, understanding that their subordinate position in southern society was in the best interests of both races. Some northern Republicans similarly feared that Black men would vote as their former masters demanded. But when the emancipated chose their own path based on their own interests, Democrats concluded that they had to be excised from the polity, by force.

From the October 2020 issue: The new Reconstruction

In that era, Democrats and their paramilitary allies used their claims of fraud and conviction that Black participation had fatally corrupted democracy to justify a campaign of murder and terrorism. They overthrew their local governments on behalf of white men, who were the only ones capable of granting a government legitimacy. The fact that armed crowds menacing elected officials in swing states today are thankfully rare indicates that Republicans professing their belief that the election was stolen are aware, on some level, that Trump simply lost.

The conviction that the rival political constituency cannot, under any circumstances, legitimately hold power has not yet resulted in widespread violence. But it remains incompatible with democracy, which requires the assent of its losers and the peaceful transfer of power between factions. Enough local Republican officials in 2020 have recognized that their civic obligations outweigh their partisan identities. But if Republicans continue to believe, and assert as a matter of their partisan identity, that the rival party’s victories are fraudulent, their claim to power illegitimate, and their holding office an existential threat, at some point, the tension between partisan identity and democratic function will become irreconcilable. Next time a president seeks to stay in power after losing an election, there may not be enough Republicans who place duty above party to make a difference.

When they say the 2020 election was stolen, Trumpists are expressing their view that the votes of rival constituencies should not count, even though they understand, on some level, that they do. They are declaring that the nation belongs to them and them alone, whether or not they actually comprise a majority, because they are the only real Americans to begin with.

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The GOP Abandons Democracy

One hundred and six Republican members of Congress, and 18 state attorneys general, are asking the Supreme Court to overturn the election.

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/12/republican-party-abandoning-democracy/617359/

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When Donald Trump was granted a coat of arms for his Scottish golf courses in 2012 (after a lengthy court battle, of course), he chose as its motto “Numquam concedere”: Never concede. He has not, even as it has become clear that he lost the presidential election by a wide margin.

In the first few weeks after the election, anonymous Republicans and White House officials insisted that Trump’s lack of a concession was no reason for alarm. They assured reporters that Trump knew he’d lost and just needed time to process his defeat—and to put up enough of a fight that he could maintain his image. Perhaps that was true, and perhaps it remains true now, but Trump isn’t acting like someone working through the stages of grief. He’s acting like someone working through a slow-motion (and probably doomed) autogolpe.

Instead of Republican officeholders waiting out Trump’s postelection tantrum, he is waiting them out, and slowly bringing the party around to his side. In this way, Trump is ending his presidency just the way he won it: by correctly recognizing what Republican voters want and giving it to them, and gradually forcing the party’s purported leaders to follow along.

This embrace of the president’s attempt to overturn the results of the election is both shocking and horrifying. As Trump’s fraud claims and legal cases have steadily failed, the arguments he has pursued have become more outlandish and absurd, and they have also become more disturbing. Many Republican voters agree, and in refusing to stand up to him and them, Republican officials have gone from coddling a sore loser to effectively abandoning democracy.

Yesterday, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a lawsuit in the Supreme Court asking the justices to toss out the election results in Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. (The Court has “original jurisdiction” over cases between states, acting like a trial court.) Trump announced that he would intervene in the case on his own behalf. “This is the big one,” he tweeted.

Legal experts have heaped disdain on the case. Rick Hasen labels it “dangerous garbage, but garbage.” The case complains that the states changed their election rules late in the process, but that is true of many states that sought to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. These states just happen to have been called late and to have voted for Joe Biden.

The case is the apotheosis of Trump’s shifting legal strategies. Initially, he had sought to have some ballots disqualified, alleging fraud. These claims were dangerous; there is no evidence of widespread fraud, disenfranchising legal voters is unjust, and such attacks can undermine faith in future elections. As this strategy failed, undone by the lack of evidence, Trump and his allies began seeking to toss wholesale the results that don’t help him. First, the president tried to pressure Republican elected officials, including legislative leaders in Michigan and Pennsylvania and Georgia’s governor and secretary of state, to throw out results. When they refused, the effort moved on to the Supreme Court’s nine unelected justices.

That Paxton would file such a lawsuit isn’t a huge surprise. He is a hard conservative who has often used the court system to dubious ends. Perhaps more to the point (as Senator Ben Sasse, the Nebraska Republican, notes), Paxton is also facing some serious legal problems, and would benefit from a pardon before Trump leaves offices.

Read: Republicans are going down a dangerous road

More surprising is that 17 Republican state attorneys general filed a brief in support of Paxton’s suit, a sizable majority of the top Republican law-enforcement officials in the country. Then 106 Republican members of the U.S. House did the same. When Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr, a Republican, called the suit “constitutionally, legally and factually wrong,” he received a threatening phone call from Trump. Meanwhile, the state’s two GOP U.S. senators, both of whom are competing in a January runoff, endorsed the lawsuit that seeks to throw out the vote in Georgia. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas has reportedly agreed to Trump’s request that he argue the case if the justices take it up.

Many of these people may be going along not in spite of the fact that the suit is preposterous, but because it is: The stakes appear lower if they don’t have to worry about the Court actually taking them seriously. That is a dangerous calculation. The case seems to face very, very long odds, though it takes only five members of the Court to turn the preposterous into precedent. Even if the case fails, though, these Republicans have set a course of being willing to oppose the results of elections simply because they don’t like them. That is by definition antidemocratic.

The attorneys general, Cruz, and the Georgia senators are in ample (though not good) company. One might have expected that as more time passed since the election, and more of Trump’s lawsuits were tossed out of court, more Republican officeholders would start to acknowledge reality. Some GOP members of Congress have done so, but not many. State and local elections officials, especially in Georgia, have pushed back bravely against Trump. But in Washington, D.C., Sasse and his Senate colleague Mitt Romney, who have been critical of Trump’s antidemocratic actions, remain lonely outliers.

Other Republican officials have offered a range of cop-outs. Some acknowledge that Biden will be the next president but don’t condemn the current president’s actions. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has referred to a Biden administration but won’t call Biden the president-elect. When South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem seemed to acknowledge reality, her spokesperson contacted a local outlet to insist that, no, Noem was still living in a fantasyland, a remarkable act even in this golden age of self-debasement.

GOP leaders will have another chance to do the right thing when the Electoral College meets and elects Biden on December 14, and some are supposedly ready, but the past few years don’t offer much reason for hope. During the 2016 GOP primary, Republican elders fretted over Trump’s coarseness, his open bigotry, and some of his policies, especially his skepticism of free trade. But they mostly decided to humor him, assuming that he wouldn’t win the nomination (or the presidency) but that he was good for ginning up the base. Instead, he ended up owning the party. Over and over, from Access Hollywood to extorting Ukraine, Republican officeholders have first criticized Trump’s actions, then sought to ignore them, and finally ended up defending them.

The customary explanation for Republican timidity is that officeholders are afraid of Trump. Though sometimes intended as apology, this does not say much for GOP leaders. It may miss what is really happening, though. Trump shapes but also reflects the views of Republican voters. A new Quinnipiac poll finds that 70 percent of Republican voters believe Biden’s win was illegitimate. When The New York Times asked Kim Ward, the Republican leader in the Pennsylvania Senate, whether she would have signed a letter declaring there was fraud in the state’s election, she replied, “If I would say to you, ‘I don’t want to do it,’” referring to signing the letter, “I’d get my house bombed tonight.”

Elected officials ought to be responsive to constituents—within reason. But the disposition of the election has long since passed the bounds of reason. Republican officials aren’t afraid of Trump so much as they are afraid of Republican voters. And Republican voters appear to be afraid of democracy.

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GOP: the Supreme Court that we built to a 6-3 majority by blocking Democrat appointments and then reversing and fast-tracking our own appointments is a deep state conspiracy to steal from us.

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Iranian teenager who posted distorted pictures of herself is jailed for 10 years

Instagram star Sahar Tabar says she is still hoping for a pardon after conviction for corrupting young people

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/dec/11/iranian-teenager-jailed-10-years-distorted-pictures-instagram-sahar-tabar

 

 

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1 hour ago, Fernando said:

Iranian teenager who posted distorted pictures of herself is jailed for 10 years

Instagram star Sahar Tabar says she is still hoping for a pardon after conviction for corrupting young people

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/dec/11/iranian-teenager-jailed-10-years-distorted-pictures-instagram-sahar-tabar

 

 

Fucking regime man, I hate their guts with passion. I promise soon enough a revolution will happen there, 40 years under this regime is way too much.

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Proud Boys leader visits White House ahead of DC rally.

Now we know what telling the Proud Boys to "stand by" meant.

Exactly what we all said it meant.

He told his base not to vote by mail, tried to slow USPS, planned to try to throw out mail vote, and now wants to incite violence.

 

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27 minutes ago, 11Drogba said:

Proud Boys leader visits White House ahead of DC rally.

Now we know what telling the Proud Boys to "stand by" meant.

Exactly what we all said it meant.

He told his base not to vote by mail, tried to slow USPS, planned to try to throw out mail vote, and now wants to incite violence.

 

And now there are more casualties than 9/11 every day in the USA. It's all on him. But according to some users on here, the stock market is more important and they keep voting for him.

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