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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

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

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16 hours ago, Vesper said:

The United States was once warned that it could not continue forever as half slave and half free. How long can it safely continue with only one of its two great parties wholly committed to democracy and legality?

Lololol, that last sentence is dead giveaway that it's a democrat sponsored article. :lol: They're both bad, it's just that the republicans are far FAR worse.

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16 hours ago, Vesper said:
Hell hath frozen over....

 

Pat Robertson is just another fake cunt of a so called priest. Him and the likes of him are deceivers and has become very rich by fooling others. His words are worth jack shit...a whole lot of crock shit.

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46 minutes ago, manpe said:

Lololol, that last sentence is dead giveaway that it's a democrat sponsored article. :lol: They're both bad, it's just that the republicans are far FAR worse.

it is not 'sponsored' by a political party

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21 minutes ago, Atomiswave said:

Pat Robertson is just another fake cunt of a so called priest. Him and the likes of him are deceivers and has become very rich by fooling others. His words are worth jack shit...a whole lot of crock shit.

totally agree with this, lol

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A Threat to Democracy

https://www.democracydocket.com/2020/12/a-threat-to-democracy/

A Threat to Democracy

In 1814, John Adams wrote a letter to Virginia Delegate John Taylor reminding that “Democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts and murders itself. There never was a Democracy yet, that did not commit suicide.”

Texas was never going to win its recent lawsuit against Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, but if it had, it certainly would have fulfilled Adams’ dark prophesy. The lawsuit, filed by a Texas Attorney General under criminal investigation, read more like an effort to curry favor with the President than a serious legal document. On a personal level, his logic was sound: when pardons are being handed out to corrupt cronies, corrupt people figure out how to become a crony, fast.

Far more alarming was the decision of eighteen other Republican state attorneys general—most of whom presumably do not need a pardon from the outgoing president—to support Texas’ effort to disenfranchise millions of American voters and overthrow the results of a democratically held election.

They were joined by more than half of the Republican members of the House of Representatives—126 in all—all signing onto the proposition that four states’ elections should be entirely discarded. Strikingly, several of the signatures on that brief were from Members seeking to disenfranchise their own voters and cast their own elections into doubt.

The Supreme Court rejected Texas’ anti-democratic effort unanimously, with seven justices saying that Texas did not have a legal right to proceed and the other two saying that they wouldn’t block the election even if the case did proceed.

Our institutions held—this time.

But the broad support among Republicans for the previously unthinkable—a demand that the judiciary deliver Trump the presidency against the overwhelming will of the American people—signals a worrying and serious erosion of our democratic values within the Republican Party.

This time, there were several reasons that the attempted coup failed and John Adams’ prediction did not come to pass. There is no guarantee that we will be so lucky next time.

First and most obvious, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris won a landslide election garnering more than 300 electoral votes and a lead of more than seven million votes nationwide. There was no single contested state whose results decided the outcome.

Second, the states attacked by Trump’s lawsuits included states with mixed partisan governments–Georgia has a Republican Governor and legislature, while Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin all have Democratic governors and Republican legislatures.

Third, Democrats control the U.S. House, and the Senate is narrowly divided. Thus, any ultimate decision to tamper with democracy would face a skeptical Congress.

Finally, the legal claims being advanced were outlandish, unsupported in law or fact, and poorly lawyered. By the time the U.S. Supreme Court received Texas’ case, similar claims had been rejected by courts around the country, and the lawyers advancing them had become the subject of national ridicule.

But what if it were closer, the legal claims and team more polished and the Congress unified in support of that candidate?

Donald Trump came to prominence in Republican politics by promoting birtherism—the racist lie that Barack Obama was not born in the United States. Even as clear evidence proved that it was not true, Trump did not retreat. Instead, he expanded the lie to make it even more outrageous and conspiratorial.

Trumpism has morphed from a racist attack on the first Black president into an all-out assault on the very idea of democratic elections. In this sphere, Trumpism’s defining feature is a belief that every electoral outcome that does not favor Trump and his allies must be fraudulent. Its logic is tautological—if Trump did not win there must have been fraud. If there was fraud, Trump did not win. Nothing more is required.

One might think that the simple end of this problem is for Donald Trump to simply leave the White House on the morning of January 20th as a disgraced one-term president. The Republican Party’s reaction to the Texas case suggests this will not be the case.

John Taylor, to whom Adams was writing, was also skeptical of virtue as the foundation for democratic government. “The more a nation depends for its liberty on the qualities of individuals, the less likely it is to retain it. By expecting public good from private virtue, we expose ourselves to public evils from private vices.”

Trumpism has taught us that, for our democracy to survive, we cannot allow ourselves to be exposed to public evils from private vices. This means hardening our institutions of democracy and making them more explicit. This will need to take many forms, but we must start with those that force our nation’s leaders to do better.

First, every election-related lawsuit should have to explicitly state in the caption of the complaint whether the plaintiff is claiming fraud. Claims of fraud must be held to the highest pleading standard—providing the details of who, what, when and how much. If plaintiffs do not claim fraud, they need to say so. When a lawsuit claiming fraud is dismissed, judges should be required to make a specific finding that the claim of fraud was denied.

Second, state bar associations should promulgate specific rules of ethical conduct aimed at anti-democratic efforts.  Just as attorneys owe an obligation to the court, they should owe obligations to democracy and democratic institutions. Lawyers should not be allowed to recklessly shout fraud in the parking lot but quietly disclaim it in the courtroom.

Finally, the House and Senate must strengthen their internal rules to prevent Members from undermining democracy. Candidates who, through public statements or court filings, cast doubt on an election that they won should not be seated without formal inquiry into the validity of their election credentials. Members should also be cautioned from making statements, outside of official channels, casting doubt on the validity of an election other than one for a seat in their own chamber.

These suggestions are not the complete solution for what we have witnessed, but they are a start. We cannot ignore the challenges our democracy faces. We must not wait to act until it is too late.

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Profiles in Cowardice

https://www.democracydocket.com/2020/12/profiles-in-cowardice/

Profiles in Cowardice

Shortly before John F. Kennedy’s book about courage in the United States Senate was released, he wrote an extraordinary essay in the New York Times Magazine that sought to explain the cross-pressures elected leaders feel as they formulate positions. If Profiles in Courage sought to demonstrate what political courage is, Kennedy’s essay offered insights into why some politicians display courage while others do not.

Kennedy rejected the romanticized notion that leaders demonstrate political courage solely because they “love the public better than themselves.” To the contrary, political courage often stems from politicians’ love of themselves, because they “need to maintain their own respect for themselves” and “because their desire to maintain a reputation for integrity is stronger than their desire to maintain his office.”

As for those without any political courage, Kennedy concluded: “It is when the politician loves neither the public good nor himself or when his love for himself is limited and is satisfied by the trappings of office, that the public interest is badly served.”

I was brought back to this delicate contradiction, of political courage relying on a commitment to democracy or a deep level of egotism mixed with self-preservation, while working through Texas’s failed bid to the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse the election results.

When Ken Paxton, the indicted Attorney General of Texas who is facing a new federal investigation, brought this frivolous lawsuit in the U.S. Supreme Court to invalidate the 2020 elections in Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, people understood his likely motivation: to win a pardon by currying favor with Donald Trump.

In an odd way, I found solace in the fact that at least I could understand Paxton’s motivations: they were purely transactional.

But no similar bargain, however corrupt, could explain the behavior of the 17 other sycophantic state attorneys general who quickly followed Texas’s lead. It is as if they didn’t get the joke—Paxton wasn’t filing this lawsuit to win, he was filing it to get a pardon. While these other 17 attorneys general presumably didn’t need pardons, they blindly followed along, walking right past democratic norms, the expressed will of their voters and their own legacies and self-respect.

There is a Yiddish saying that a schlemiel is somebody who spills his soup and a schlimazel is the person it lands on. In this lawsuit, Paxton was the schlemiel. The other 17 AGs were definitely the schlimazel.

Even worse were the 126 Republican members of Congress who then added their names to this same effort. The 17 attorneys general could maybe claim that they were participating in this farce as their states’ chief lawyers. The 126 Republican members of Congress were, like court jesters, just there to bow and scrape in front of Dear Leader for his amusement.

If life were a movie, the Republicans’ humiliating display of self-loathing would end with a Republican politician boldly standing up to the president and showing political courage. But this is not a movie and Republican leaders failed us on the national stage.

However, we saw a few glimpses of the types of political courage Kennedy described from two other groups.

The first were judges. Most judges care enormously about their reputations for integrity. They are used to being called “Your Honor” and having people stand up when they enter and exit the room. Their desire to be perceived as independent guardians of the law was powerful motivation to stand up for democracy against the buffoonery that Rudy Giuliani, Sidney Powell and others displayed in their courtrooms.

The second group were the local election workers and officials who took pride in the work that they did and the elections they ran. They were not willing to disparage their efforts and their communities simply to please a defeated candidate. They had too much pride for that. They are the real heroes of this election.

Some will suggest that there were some high-profile Republican leaders who showed courage. While a few members of Congress, for example, recognized that Joe Biden was the president-elect when he was in fact the president-elect, that is not courage—that is merely accepting reality. And while their colleagues were trying to disenfranchise millions, they largely stayed silent. Their inaction will forever be etched in the national memory.

It would be wrong to say that this perverse lack of political courage is solely a symptom of Trumpism and that the Republican Party will somehow revert back to the Party of Lincoln at noon on January 20th. It won’t, and we would be naive to think so. We will continue to see an anti-democratic agenda leveraged through regressive policies, tactics, and other craven acts.

Those of us who care about democracy can no longer afford to rely on the type of political courage Kennedy described in 1955. We must go further to display our own political courage by proposing and implementing new solutions to tackle these grave problems and not allow what Martin Luther King Jr. called “the appalling silence of the good people” to take hold without repercussions.

If, instead, we ignore the cowardice of these political leaders for another two or four years, we too will have failed to love both the public good and ourselves.

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15 hours ago, Vesper said:

Mike Pence is campaigning for the Democrats now, lolol

Vice President Mike Pence: "[Democrats] want to make rich people poorer, and poor people more comfortable."

 

 

Lmao, as soon as he said that you can actually see him thinking "what the fuck did I just say" :D Then tried to fix it by lying that they had fought to make every American richer. :lol:

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1 hour ago, DANILA said:

Trump did great calling out all the nonsense in the "Covid" bill - needs to veto that shit immediately. The western world is in trouble with the crooked dems

delusional

you do not have to be a Democratic Party fanboi/girl to understand the utterly simplistic corruption and raw, brutal greed, destruction (including of the very concept of truth itself) and racism of the US Republicans

all the Rethugs want to continue the wealth transfer from the 99.9% up to the 0.1%, to destroy government as a viable tool, and to whip up race-based divides to try and maintain apartheid-style minority rule via the gaming of a tragically flawed US constitutional form of governance

everything about them is a giant scam that dwarfs the corruption from the Democrats

Trump and all his crazed penumbra's 'fighting the election results' schemes are giant, hundreds of millions of dollars mega grifts and slush funds

 

and that insanely reduced COVID Bill (that has so much Republican fraud and giant tax right-offs for the multinationals and billionaires) passed with veto-proof majorities

Trump can veto it all he wants, it will be overridden

if there literally was no government injection of liquidity and funds into the economy and to the average citizens, the entire financial superstructure would start to enter into a death spiral of systemic collapse, especially as COVID is going to be crazy hard to do away with in the US, due to Trumps and CT-favouring batshit cray RW's tens of thousands of lies, disinfo, and wilful sheer incompetence

The very fact that you have tens of millions of brainwashed troglodytes who utterly and profoundly bought into the inane and staggeringly false agitprop of Plandemic, (which faces up as shite sci-fi written by a 12 year old with mild autism and an Alex Jones lemming/dupe for a father and/or mum) plus a multiplicity of other assorted crackpot conspiracy theories bodes oh so ill for the future of that nation.

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Nasty Pelosi is the most corrupt and vile women I've seen in politics. Would like you to answer how women's rights in Pakistan is important to support right now when businesses left and right are going bankrupt?

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14 hours ago, DANILA said:

Nasty Pelosi is the most corrupt and vile women I've seen in politics. Would like you to answer how women's rights in Pakistan is important to support right now when businesses left and right are going bankrupt?

delusional again, you have no proof and just are bleating out bog standard right wing talking points with zero substance

Trump is the most correct human to ever occupy a place in the US federal government. His corruption is greater than all the rest currently in it combined.

and your attack via attempted diminishment and negation of woman's rights tells it all

it is not some fucking zero sum game

disgusting

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The Triumph of Kleptocracy

With Donald Trump’s pardon of Paul Manafort, kleptocracy has successfully waited out its enemies.

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/12/paul-manaforts-pardon-kleptocracy-won/617508/

Paul Manafort

Paul Manafort came of age in New Britain, Connecticut. His father, the garrulous mayor of that decaying factory town, taught him how to cobble together an electoral coalition, passing down the tricks of the trade that became the basis for the son’s lucrative career as a political consultant. But as the local hardware manufacturers fled to foreign shores, the Mafia moved into town. To hear the local papers tell the story—or to read the counts alleged in a prosecutor’s indictment—Paul’s father, the local political boss, served as a protector of the DeCavalcante family. The charges against the father never stuck, but the example of those years did. Paul Manafort received a first-rate education in omertà.

For a brief moment, nearly two years ago, that education looked like it might be wasted. Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s prosecutors believed that Paul Manafort—then clad in an orange jumpsuit, the dye fading from his news-anchor head of hair—would turn state’s witness against Donald Trump.

From the March 2018 issue: Paul Manafort, American hustler

In court, Mueller’s lawyers told the judge that Manafort was the heart of their case. They had already nailed him for tax fraud and violations of the Foreign Agents Registration Act. They had trapped him in a perjurious tangle. And as they followed the trail of evidence, they noticed that Manafort’s aide de camp was an asset of Russian intelligence. They had nabbed Manafort passing along confidential campaign data to a favored oligarch of the Kremlin, to whom he owed millions. Everything in the prosecutors’ presentation suggested that they were on the cusp of a breakthrough. Manafort would be their cooperative witness, the key to their ability to tell a more expansive narrative about what had happened in the 2016 election.

But before prosecutors could achieve that revelation, the president made his move. Trump began to tease the prospect of a pardon for Manafort. While the Mueller report is a maddening document, deadened by its steadfast unwillingness to draw conclusions, it is unambiguous about Trump’s treatment of Manafort. It describes how his tweets and statements about a pardon might have shaped Manafort’s strategic calculus.

The head of the family had sent an unambiguous signal. Just then, the instincts from Manafort’s old neighborhood kicked in.

The president clearly intended to obstruct justice. By implicitly promising a pardon, he thwarted Manafort’s cooperation with Mueller, and wrecked the probe. Manafort might well have advanced Mueller’s investigation to an even more damning conclusion. Instead, the stymied investigation ended prematurely. Rather than burying Trump, the final report contained enough hedging and ambiguities that it permitted the president to deem the whole enterprise a “hoax.” Having lost its star witness, the Russia scandal—the most perilous threat to the Trump presidency—quickly faded from conversation.

Trump saved himself, and, in the end, so did Manafort. While he likely didn’t enjoy his brief sojourn in prison, his silence has finally earned him a pardon. Even if he had cut a deal to cooperate, prosecutors would have likely forced him to serve a far longer sentence than he did; by obstructing the investigation, he has almost certainly come out ahead. At the beginning of the pandemic, a judge released him from prison. With the protective armor of his pardon, there’s no chance of the feds sending him back.

Whatever the shortcomings of the Mueller investigation, prosecutors could always trumpet the convictions they’d won in the Manafort cases. During his long career in Washington, Manafort had worked to win acceptances for the world’s authoritarian goons. He lobbied Congress to send foreign aid to their governments. With his public-relations campaigns, he scrubbed their images, so that the media ignored the assassinations of their enemies. Manafort was the architect of K Street in its most grotesque modern incarnation. By convicting Manafort for his work in Ukraine—where he served the oligarchs who looted the country and crushed democratic stirrings—prosecutors showed that even the slickest, most powerful influence peddlers could be brought to justice. They won a rousing triumph over the forces of kleptocracy.

But tonight, with Manafort’s pardon, kleptocracy has successfully waited out its enemies. Under Donald Trump, the corruption of New Britain, the symbiosis of a criminal syndicate and government, has gone national. After years of omertà, Paul Manafort is howling for joy.

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Trump’s Pardons Make the Unimaginable Real

He may now attempt what no one thought a president would ever try.

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/12/how-abuse-presidential-pardon/617473/

William Taft, Richard Nixon, and Donald Trump

Yesterday evening, President Donald Trump issued 15 pardons and five commutations, including two for individuals found guilty of charges arising from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. He is reportedly considering a raft of other Christmas pardons—for sympathetic allies, for loyal retainers, and even for family members.

The prospect of a president using his power to protect aides accused of breaking the law is disturbing, but it’s hardly novel. In 1973, President Richard Nixon mulled over the idea of issuing Christmas pardons for his Watergate co-conspirators.

Nixon’s pardons would have been—and many of Trump’s pardons certainly would be—bad presidential pardons. In 1925, thanks to a Chicago innkeeper’s decision to ignore a court injunction to stop selling alcohol during Prohibition, the Supreme Court took the time to explain why: “To exercise [the pardon power] to the extent of destroying the deterrent effect of judicial punishment would be to pervert it.”

But despite seeing that danger clearly, the chief justice at the time, writing for a unanimous Court in Ex Parte Grossman, declined to limit the presidential prerogative. He was certain that no president would ever be so corrupt as to issue bad pardons. “Our Constitution confers this discretion on the highest officer in the Nation in confidence that he will not abuse it,” he wrote. And the chief justice thought he was uniquely qualified to say so: William Howard Taft is the only member of the Court ever to have been president. Taft considered himself a gentleman, and he expected his successors to behave like gentlemen, too.

Eric L. Muller: The one word that bars Trump from pardoning himself 

Fifty years after Taft issued that opinion, Nixon challenged the assumption that no president would use a pardon to undermine the American system of government. As we await Trump’s Christmas pardons, with the expectation that many will be self-serving and injurious to the pursuit of justice, the intertwined tales of Taft and Nixon help explain why, after two centuries, we are still so vulnerable to bad pardons, a power that the Framers left unchecked.

Philip grossman, who just wanted to make a buck selling hooch in 1921, had no idea that his being found guilty of contempt of court—with a one-year sentence and a $1,000 fine—would prompt the Supreme Court to establish a broad interpretation of the presidential pardoning power. But Calvin Coolidge, who became president in 1923 when the hapless Warren G. Harding died, decided later that year to commute Grossman’s sentence for contempt of court, eliminating the jail time (but keeping the fine).

The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois didn’t much like this presidential meddling, seeing Coolidge’s intervention less as an act of presidential mercy than as a direct threat to the entire American justice system. In defiance of the commutation, the court sent Grossman to the Chicago House of Correction. The case ended up at the Supreme Court.

The lower court posed a question that many Americans are now considering: Did the Founding Fathers somehow goof up and give presidents the right to wreck the very institutions they are sworn to protect? The character of Coolidge wasn’t at issue in 1925; the character of his pardon was.

The question in that case was whether a president could pardon an individual found guilty of contempt of court. The case raised two issues: Was the offense of “contempt of court” included in the phrase “offenses against the United States” as understood in 1787? And was it the intention of the Framers to allow presidents the right to undermine the judicial system by condoning contempt toward it?

A decade earlier, fresh into his post-presidency, Taft had written about the pardon:

The duty involved in the pardoning power is a most difficult one to perform, because it is so completely within the discretion of the Executive and is lacking so in rules or limitations of its exercise. The only rule he can follow is that he shall not exercise it against the public interest. The guilt of the man with whose case he is dealing is usually admitted, and even if it is not, the judgment of the court settles that fact in all but few cases. The question which the President has to decide is whether under peculiar circumstances of hardship he can exercise clemency without destroying the useful effect of punishment in deterring others from committing crimes.

As chief justice, Taft answered his own question in the affirmative:

If it be said that the President by successive pardons of constantly recurring contempts in particular litigation might deprive a court of power to enforce its orders in a recalcitrant neighborhood, it is enough to observe that such a course is so improbable as to furnish but little basis for argument. Exceptional cases like this if to be imagined at all would suggest a resort to impeachment rather than to a narrow and strained construction of the general powers of the President.

The Nixon White House was aware of Taft’s broad interpretation of the pardon power, and liked it. In July 1971, the counsel to the president, J. Fred Buzhardt, sent a study of presidential pardons by an outside consultant to White House Counsel John Dean. “The power of the President to pardon is so unfettered,” the report stated, “that the Supreme Court has even said, through the pen of Mr. Chief Justice Taft, in Ex Parte Grossman 267 U.S. 87 (1925), that even should the Chief Executive pardon contempt convictions to the extent of destroying the judicial system of the nation, the proper recourse for correction would be through impeachment ‘rather than to a narrow and strained construction of the general powers of the President.’”

David Frum: Trump is no Richard Nixon

Exactly a year later, after five men working for Nixon’s reelection committee were arrested while planting listening devices in the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee at the Watergate office complex in Washington, D.C., Nixon set out to test the Taft decision: Could he pardon members of a conspiracy who were engaged in criminal activities designed to benefit his campaign without triggering an impeachment inquiry? After attempts to control the FBI’s investigation of the break-in had failed and the Justice Department was taking depositions from the reelection-campaign managers for a civil suit launched by Democrats, Nixon thought he could—and came up with a devious plan.

In a meeting with Charles Colson, one of his political advisers, on July 19, Nixon said he wanted to grant a pardon to all five Watergate burglars and their two supervisors, former FBI Special Agent G. Gordon Liddy and the former CIA officer E. Howard Hunt. But the pardon, he said, had to come as part of a general amnesty that involved “both sides.” Five days earlier, a grand jury in Tallahassee, Florida, had indicted six members of Vietnam Veterans Against the War—the so-called Gainesville Six—alleging that they were plotting violence against the Republican National Convention in Miami, slated for August.

Discussing which activists would be part of the plan, before identifying the whole group, Nixon said, “There’s bound to be … the Vietnam Veterans Against the War conspiracy … By God, be sure they have some of those guys with charges still hanging on after the election.”

see this morning they grabbed some,” Colson replied.

“Huh?” asked Nixon.

“They grabbed some this morning,” Colson said.

“Some … Now, if you can keep some of them alive and others arise … Then we’ve got to pardon the whole kit and caboodle after the election,” Nixon said.

“And nobody’s going to pay a nickel’s worth of attention,” Colson assured him.

“Provided there’s some on the other side,” Nixon replied.

Two weeks later, the plot turned even more convoluted. On August 1, in the midst of a discussion about paying hush money to the Watergate burglars, Nixon asked White House Chief of Staff H. R. Haldeman whether the White House was “doing our best to be sure” that the Gainesville Six were “kept under indictment, or—whatever it is—they are charged until after the election, on the other side, you know what I mean. That veterans’ group down there in Florida … the strategy [is] … you’ve got to pardon everybody.”

Haldeman replied by suggesting to Nixon that, to ensure the strategy’s success, “what we’re trying to do is get some more,” adding mysteriously, “We’ve got some target money.” Nixon wasn’t sure, and wanted details. Haldeman suggested that more anti-war activists could be picked up “where they appear to be doing something.” He assured the president that there would certainly be cause to do it at the convention later that month, and they could hold on to them, just to sell a Watergate pardon. Nixon didn’t push back.

This would have been the most corrupt pardon in modern U.S. history. And Nixon and his henchmen believed that their only restraint was political. Constitutionally, according to the Taft doctrine, Nixon could use the pardon power to assist in a criminal cover-up as long as he didn’t provoke impeachment. There hadn’t been an effort at impeachment since the trial of Andrew Johnson in 1868. The prospect seemed unlikely a century later.

Apparently, the Watergate cover-up initially worked so well that Nixon assumed he didn’t need to bother with a cynical postelection bipartisan political pardon. In October, the Gainesville Six became the Gainesville Eight with the indictment of two additional Vietnam veterans—and it’s possible that these new indictments were somehow linked to Nixon’s political needs. But the immediate danger to the president was subsiding. The burglars and their two managers were keeping their mouths shut, and the perjury committed by the leadership of the president’s reelection committee in FBI interviews limited the indictments to just those seven men.

Kevin M. Kruse and Julian E. Zelizer: Worse than Watergate

Although the idea of a grand political pardon wasn’t discussed in the White House after the Watergate indictments were announced in September 1972, Nixon never lost sight of the utility of pardons to limit Watergate’s damage. Whenever cracks seemed to be appearing in the cover-up, Nixon quickly dangled a pardon in front of potential whistleblowers. Unlike the cynical “both sides” political pardon, these inducements had to be kept secret from Congress and the public.

In January 1973, Nixon privately assured Colson that Colson’s friend E. Howard Hunt, whose wife had just died in a plane crash, would get a pardon: “Don’t worry about Hunt,” he said. Assuming that Colson would share this news with Hunt’s lawyer, Nixon cautioned him that the rest of the burglars “must not expect [a pardon] at the same time.”

When fears resurfaced in March 1973 that the Watergate Seven, who received unusually long sentences from District Court Judge John Sirica, would start talking, Nixon once again conferred with Haldeman about pardoning them. “If Sirica can sit there and use the threat of a sentence, why can’t we use the promise of clemency?” Haldeman asked. “They play this partisan, politically,” Nixon responded, trying to talk himself into believing that a one-sided pardon would be politically survivable. The next day, without any sense of irony, Nixon and Haldeman discussed whether this political pardon should be issued to mark the Bicentennial. Nixon then told Haldeman that he preferred a Christmas pardon in 1974.

A month later, when the Senate Watergate investigation began picking up momentum and the ever-expanding cover-up required sacrificing Haldeman, Dean, and Nixon’s chief domestic adviser, John Ehrlichman, Nixon raised the possibility of issuing more pardons. Nixon mistrusted Dean but wanted to do something to retain the loyalty of Haldeman and Ehrlichman, whom he had just forced to resign. On May 18, Nixon ostentatiously promised pardons directly to both of them, in a conversation caught on tape:

Nixon: “I don’t give a shit what comes out on you or John or even that poor, damn dumb [former Attorney General] John Mitchell, there is going to be a total pardon.”

Haldeman: “Don’t even say that.”

Nixon: “You know it. You know it and I know it. Forget you ever heard it.”

Dangling pardons had just gotten more politically risky for Nixon. In the first week of May, Newsweek had published a scoop that Dean was in negotiations to testify before the Senate Watergate Committee that Ehrlichman had told him Nixon had promised a pardon to E. Howard Hunt. It was the first time that Nixon had been publicly linked to an effort to use his pardon power as part of a White House cover-up.

Nixon, however, was undeterred. Five days later, after secretly promising pardons to his former top advisers, Nixon publicly addressed the rumors that he had dangled a pardon to obstruct justice. “In a statement issued from the White House,” Nixon later wrote confessionally in his memoirs, “I said that I had not authorized any offer of executive clemency for any of these defendants. Thus I set more traps that would be sprung by the tapes months later.” Although he had not formally authorized any pardons, Nixon had indeed promised them, indirectly to the burglars and directly to his top co-conspirators.

After may 1973, thanks to the Senate investigation, Dean’s defection, and active digging by the media, the fear of impeachment did become a restraint on this corrupt president’s abuse of the pardon, as the Founders would have hoped. With the cat out of the bag about Nixon’s motives in using pardons, the option of hiding political pardons in a grand bargain to free Vietnam dissenters could no longer work. Nixon’s co-conspirators either resigned or were fired, and the remaining White House staff was wary of dangling, let alone issuing, any presidential promises of clemency. Meanwhile, Nixon’s strategy for saving the cover-up gradually became focused on making sure no one outside the White House heard his tapes.

But once the Nixon presidency entered its terminal phase, in July 1974, the calibrated system to restrain the president’s pardoning power established by the Founders, and ratified by Taft, began to fall apart. The House Judiciary Committee approved, with bipartisan majorities, three articles of impeachment. The Supreme Court, in United States v. Nixon, unanimously ordered Nixon to turn over more of the White House tapes, with three of his appointees voting against him and the fourth recusing himself. The president faced enormous pressure to resign, some of it coming from within the White House. Suddenly, Watergate pardons came back into the picture, including, for the first time, the idea of Nixon pardoning himself.

Tim Naftali: The secret plan to force out Nixon

Neither the Founding Fathers nor Taft had considered that a president might resign at the threat of impeachment. At the Constitutional Convention, the Framers had debated what to do about a president who used pardons to further treasonous activity, at one point suggesting that the Senate should intervene in such a case. In the end, dropping any role for the Senate, they agreed on the language: The president “shall have power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States, except in cases of impeachment.”

But if impeachment were taken off the table because a president chose to leave before he could be removed, would there be any restraints left on his use of pardons? Could he, in fact, pardon himself? For Nixon and his second chief of staff, Alexander Haig, two years of discussion about the use of the pardon to contain the Watergate scandal now came down to how to use the pardon to protect one individual: Richard M. Nixon.

On August 1, Counsel to the President Buzhardt outlined three possible options to Haig for pardoning the president. As Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein later described the scene in Final Days, Buzhardt said Nixon “could pardon himself and resign”; “pardon Mitchell, Haldeman, Ehrlichman, and all the rest and then resign”; or “resign and hope that [Vice President Gerald] Ford would pardon him.”

Haig went to Ford and outlined these options—as well as a few others if Nixon decided to fight on—apparently hoping that Ford would endorse a pardon and make it easier for Nixon to decide. Ford listened silently and then explained that he needed to speak with his wife, Betty. Later that same day, Nixon tentatively agreed with Haig to announce his resignation on Monday, August 5, when the White House would have to turn over more tapes pursuant to the Supreme Court decision.

But Ford didn’t act as Haig—and likely Nixon—had expected. The next day, Ford called Haig and, reading from a handwritten note, said in front of witnesses, “I want you to understand that I have no intention of recommending what the president should do about resigning or not resigning and that nothing we talked about yesterday afternoon should be given any consideration in whatever decision the president may wish to make.”

On August 2, with no promise of a pardon, Nixon balked, deciding that he wasn’t going to resign on Monday after all. He would take his chances with Congress, and with the public’s response to the release of a recording from June 23, 1972. That recording would become known as the “smoking gun” tape, because on it, Nixon approved a cover-up plan to have the CIA interfere in the FBI’s Watergate investigation on the phony pretext that national-security issues were involved.

Nearly 50 years later, there is still an eyewitness to what happened next. “Haig was trying to convince Nixon to resign,” remembers Laurence H. Silberman, now a senior judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, who in August 1974 was deputy attorney general. “I do recall Haig gingerly pushing Nixon.”

Silberman asked the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel, which provides legal guidance to the executive branch, to write an opinion on whether Nixon could be pardoned in office, including by himself. “I’m pretty sure it was responsive to Haig,” Silberman told me, “who sometimes called me directly rather than go to [Attorney General William] Saxbe, who was a bit impulsive. It was embarrassing, and I tried to keep Bill apprised.”

Silberman recalls Haig asking about the constitutionality of a self-pardon, but not posing that question at Nixon’s initiative. “Haig was trying to convince Nixon to resign, and I think that may have been something that he would have been thinking of as an inducement,” he told me. Silberman assigned the task of producing the opinion to Acting Assistant Attorney General Mary C. Lawton, who with the retirement of OLC chief George Dixon earlier in the year was the ranking member of the office.

On August 5, Lawton hand-delivered her response to Silberman. The memorandum dismissed the idea that a presidential self-pardon could be constitutional. “Under the fundamental rule that no one may be a judge in his own case, the President cannot pardon himself,” Lawton concluded. Nixon could, however, use the Twenty-Fifth Amendment to resign temporarily, and then Ford, as acting president, could pardon him—although Ford would be under no obligation to do so. Lawton also determined that Congress lacked the constitutional authority to pardon Nixon. “I thought Mary Lawton’s piece was quite superficial,” Silberman told me, although he doesn’t recall disputing the memo’s substance at the time.

As rumors persisted that Nixon was considering resignation, Ehrlichman and Haldeman repeatedly contacted the White House to remind Nixon of his promise to pardon them. Haldeman was still pushing the notion of linking pardons to a Vietnam amnesty, although Nixon had dropped the idea long before. Haldeman drafted a long letter arguing for a grand pardon of all the Watergate conspirators and all Vietnam-era draft evaders.

But as the walls closed in, Nixon decided not to issue any pardons related to Watergate. With the release of the “smoking gun” transcript on August 5, Nixon’s remaining political support among conservative Republicans collapsed, leaving him no option but to resign or face impeachment and conviction. Nixon’s lieutenants could no longer protect his presidency, and it’s not clear if he cared about their fate. In fact, pardons could backfire on Nixon, removing the incentive that former aides had to lie on his behalf.

But why didn’t he take a chance on a self-pardon, which Buzhardt thought was legitimate? We cannot be sure, but Silberman’s recollection suggests one possible explanation: the shock of the U.S. v. Nixon decision amplified by the doubts of Nixon’s own Justice Department. “I am not sure,” Silberman told me, “but I think I told Haig that it would surely end up in the Supreme Court if Nixon pardoned himself and the special prosecutor challenged it. Nixon’s record there was not good.”

The more secure route, constitutionally, would have been a later pardon from his successor, but Nixon apparently left office without a promise from Ford himself. There is reason to believe that others close to Ford—former Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird and possibly Nixon’s former assistant for legislative and congressional affairs, Bryce Harlow—might have signaled in those final days that they would lobby Ford for a pardon. But it is unlikely that there was a formal deal with Ford. Nixon left the White House on August 9 a defeated man, later telling at least one visitor to his Spanish-style finca in San Clemente, his California exile, that he fully expected to go to jail.

Trump, like nixon, is heading out the door at the end of a corrupt presidency. Like Nixon, Trump has secrets he would like to keep. Unlike Nixon, however, Trump was seeking reelection in the year he faced impeachment, and, after his acquittal in the Senate, it was electoral politics that served as a brake on his willingness to pardon those who knew too much. Trump’s pardons of George Papadopoulos and Alex van der Zwaan, in defiance of the Mueller investigation, as well as his earlier pardon of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn in November, make clear that public opinion no longer exercises any kind of constraint on Trump.

David Frum: Trump pardoned Flynn to save himself

How far will he go now? Thanks to Taft’s ruling in Ex Parte Grossman, the president could expect the Supreme Court to uphold pardons of his family and the other enablers of his various schemes, whether of defined crimes or abuses of power. But the events of August 1974 leave the question of the constitutionality of a self-pardon wide open. Some in Nixon’s immediate orbit believed it constitutional, even if his Justice Department disagreed. Taft’s expansive decision in 1925 was silent on the matter of a self-pardon.

Will Trump be the first to test the constitutionality of a self-pardon, just as he has tested the limits of so many other constraints on presidential power? Precedent has never mattered to him. He has reportedly been asking aides about the possibility of a self-pardon since 2017. Unlike Nixon, he can’t even hope for a pardon from his immediate successor. But neither can he count on the Supreme Court to uphold a self-pardon; in summarily dismissing Trump’s effort to overturn the election, the justices reminded him that a president should not count on the support of his appointees.

The Framers couldn’t imagine a Congress failing to impeach and remove a corrupt president. Chief Justice Taft couldn’t imagine a president abusing the pardon power, and he couldn’t imagine the circumstances under which a president would pardon himself. Mary Lawton couldn’t imagine that the Constitution would allow a president to be the judge in his own case.

But in the final days of the presidency of Donald Trump, very little seems unimaginable anymore.

 

This story is part of the project “The Battle for the Constitution,” in partnership with the National Constitution Center.

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BBC: Scotland's papers: UK and EU 'ready to sign deal' and freezing Christmas

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-55434726

the times

Many of the Christmas Eve front pages lead on reports that the UK and EU are close to signing a Brexit trade deal. The Times says the UK and EU are on the "verge" of an announcement that will define their relationship for decades. The agreement, it adds, was delayed as lawyers and negotiators attempted to translate the final compromises - particularly on fishing - into a binding legal text.

ipaper

"Deal" is the single-word headline for the i. The paper says the UK is set to avoid a "chaotic cliff-edge exit" from the EU with just days to spare, after diplomats made a breakthrough.

scottish daily mail

scottish daily expressthe daily telegraph

snip

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Trump Is Ripping Off His Own Supporters And I’m Okay With That

"I swear to all that is holy, I’m going to sell these people robot insurance and jetpacks made of beef. I’ll make a fortune."

https://thebanter.substack.com/p/trump-is-ripping-off-his-own-supporters

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WASHINGTON, DC -- Like the last remaining Japanese soldier stranded on a desert island long after the end of World War II, Donald Trump continues to operate under the misapprehension that he still has a chance to win. Or at least that’s what he’s pretending to do. It’s difficult to know for sure what he’s thinking, but we know with considerable certainty that he’s still engaged in a cynical cash grab -- a cash grab that’s divorcing his fanboys from their wallets.

While he most definitely attempted to overturn the results of the election despite having zero evidence of fraud, I still believe his priority following Election Day has been to raise as much cash as possible while his disciples are still crushed over Joe Biden’s decisive victory. He's selling his Red Hats a stack of lies and nonsensical conspiracy theories about the election disguised as hope. In return, these badly deluded suckers are handing over their checking accounts to Trump's Save America PAC in the midst of a crushing recession.

The thing is -- they don’t know they’re giving their money to Trump’s PAC. As far as they know, the money’s going to Trump’s legal expenses as he continues to embarrass himself in court. Unless they read the fine print disclaimer at Trump’s website, they won’t know they’re basically inflating his personal slush fund, money that explicitly can’t be used for the lawsuits. Instead, all the money paid into Save America PAC will be used for his rallies and other dubious expenses.

As Salon's Igor Derysh reported, fundraising emails from the Trump campaign "claim that the money is for the 'Official Election Defense Fund,' [but] no such account exists. ... The fine print on the frenzied messages says the first $5,000 or first 75% of every donation greater than $5,000 goes to Save America, a new political action committee formed by the president in mid-November. The other 25% goes to the Republican National Committee." I wonder how many Red Hat suckers have given money to the PAC thinking it'd be spent on Trump's legal shenanigans. I'd wager most of them.

Candidates often use super-PAC money to finance lavish vacations and other personal expenses. Given that the Trump Foundation was shut down because the Trumps were self-dealing — using donations for personal items, including a painting of Trump — it's safe to assume the Trumps will dip into the PAC money to pay for … whatever the hell they want.

Making matters worse, Trump’s fundraising emails in support of Republicans David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler are also soliciting money for Save America PAC -- only a small portion of the money raised through these emails is going to the RNC while the rest is going into Trump’s pocket, more or less.

Politico reported:

“We MUST defend Georgia from the Dems!” he wrote in one recent text message. “I need YOU to secure a WIN in Georgia,” he said in another. “Help us WIN both Senate races in Georgia & STOP Socialist Dems,” he pleaded a few days later.

There’s just one hitch: Trump’s new political machine is pocketing most of the dough — and the campaigns of the Georgia senators competing in the Jan. 5 races aren’t getting a cent. 

The Republican Senatorial Committee and the RNC have both complained to the White House about the emails, but we can assume Trump won’t budge. The grift will never end as long as there’s a sucker born every minute.

It's important to emphasize that we're talking about chronological adults who believe the screechings of the world's most notorious con man, while also believing that literally everyone else in the country is lying to them. Think about that. It's like a cancer patient who's diagnosed by the world's most esteemed oncologists, but instead accepts the word of a comment troll while accusing the experts of being the real crooks.

Oh, and by the way, remember Melissa Carone from Dominion Voting Systems, the firm that’s at the center of Trump’s fraud claims? A week or two ago, she popped up as a witness at a Michigan election hearing with Rudy Giuliani, appearing to either be drunk or just a moron. Saturday Night Live spoofed her hamfisted accusations shortly after. Well, the New York Times’ Kathy Gray reported that Carone wasn’t really a fulltime employee there, and she certainly wasn’t around long enough to know about alleged fraud on behalf of the company.

Gray wrote that Carone was hired as a temp, and she only worked there for one day -- to clean the glass on the vote tabulation machines. She knew nothing about the technical operations of the hardware, contrary to presenting herself as an expert and a legitimate whistleblower.

So, again, the Red Hats are fished in by another con-artist. There’s nothing quite like telegraphing to the world that you’re a gullible dupe who’s ready to empty his wallet at the first sign of charismatic confirmation bias. I swear to all that is holy, I’m going to sell these people robot insurance and jetpacks made of beef. I’ll make a fortune. 

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It’s Not A Coup If It’s A Republican Coup

MAGAland consists of 74 million lunatics, conmen, and aspiring terrorists. But don't worry, they're Republicans.

https://thebanter.substack.com/p/its-not-a-coup-if-its-a-republican

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One hundred years from now, assuming Donald Trump’s Great Grandson, Emperor Donald the IV, hasn’t reduced the planet to a radioactive wasteland after reading an unflattering tweet about himself, historians are going to write about the rise of fascism in the United States and wonder how people could be that cynical and/or breathtakingly stupid.

Case in point: There are increasingly loud calls from the right to overthrow the country in a violent coup (aka “engaging in insurrection”) by invoking, I kid you not, the Insurrection Act of 1807.

Politico spells it out:

An 1807 law invoked only in the most violent circumstances is now a rallying cry for the MAGA-ites most committed to the fantasy that Donald Trump will never leave office.

The law, the Insurrection Act, allows the president to deploy troops to suppress domestic uprisings — not to overturn elections.

But that hasn’t stopped the act from becoming a buzzword and cure-all for prominent MAGA figures like Sydney Powell and Lin Wood, two prominent pro-Trump attorneys leading efforts to overturn the 2020 election, and even one North Carolina state lawmaker. Others like Michael Flynn, Trump’s first national security adviser who was recently pardoned for lying to the FBI, have made adjacent calls for Trump to impose martial law. The ideas have circulated in pro-Trump outlets and were being discussed over the weekend among the thousands of MAGA protesters who descended on state capitols and the Supreme Court to falsely claim Trump had won the election.

This is all perfectly normal in crazy land because the American right wing is composed of conmen, lunatics, and aspiring terrorists. 

Cynical Feeds The Crazy

Let’s be 100% clear on what is happening here: Republicans are feeding this on purpose. Sydney Powell and Lin Wood are probably (emphasis on “probably”) not as crazy as they appear. Dan Crenshaw certainly isn’t. Nor is Ron Johnson, Lindsay Graham, or the literally hundreds of Republicans who have been relentlessly pushing the “stop the steal” narrative. 

They all know it’s a lie. None of them care. 

Just like with the Tea Party, QAnon and the “stolen election” myth is a useful tool to attack Democrats. But this is even more effective since it doesn’t need the mainstream media to go along with it at all. The Tea Party required the press to give it constant attention and they got it. Ten yahoos in stupid costumes showed up to protest and you could guarantee it would be on the evening news.

Tea Party 2.Derp is different in that the more real journalists debunk their claims, the more “true” it becomes for the MAGA lunatics. The right has now fully detached itself from the real world which is exactly what Fox News, AM Hate Radio, right wing hate sites, and the GOP have been working towards for decades. 

Millions of voters now fully believe, or at least act like it so there is no functional difference, that Democrats steal elections and can never legitimately govern. That has a short term and long term benefit for Republicans, neither of which can be overstated.

The short term benefit is that the right has become a grifter’s paradise. It’s been sixty years since the right figured out how to monetize fear and anger and now Republicans are raising hundreds of millions off of people they’ve reduced to a stew of mindless rage and paranoia. This is the Golden Age of grifting and the cynical are making bank.

The long term benefit is that Republicans can do pretty much whatever they want and they are guaranteed to have the base support them. They can give away trillions to the rich, pour poison into the water, take away Social Security and Medicare, openly betray the country to our enemies and none of it will matter. Just say “Socialism!” or “white genocide!” and 74 million Americans will crawl over broken glass to vote against a Democrat.

There’s a reason Republicans are looking at the 2020 election and deciding that everything is just fine. Sure, they lost the White House but the future's looking awesome for them! And if some of their number are assassinated by overzealous MAGAs? Eh, it’s worth it to keep the money coming in while dismantling the country.

It’s not like the base is sane enough to notice.

Crazy Gets Crazier

It’s been a long time since anyone accused the average Republican voter of being well-informed or sane but their ability to do anything but incoherently screech buzzwords seems to have evaporated. Even a decade ago, I was able to have actual debates with Republicans. They weren’t particularly honest debates and Republicans have always had a tenuous connection to the facts but at least they were relatively rational and in something resembling English.

Increasingly, my conversations look more like this:

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If I put in some effort to push their jolly, candylike buttons, the conversation becomes even less coherent:

https%3A%2F%2Fbucketeer-e05bbc84-baa3-43

This is what happens when you spend all of your time in the right wing echo chamber voluntarily bingeing on a diet of hate and lies. You start to speak a different language from the rest of the world. 

In the real world, “Pelosi Biden Swallwel Feinstein Clinton's Obama Bloomberg CNN Hollywood NBA'' doesn't mean anything. In MAGAland, these words are shorthand for a vast conspiracy against America that you don’t have to explain. Or have evidence for. Or even, really, understand. You just have to repeat the invocation and it’s true.

With all need for critical thinking outsourced to Carslon, Limbaugh, Breitbart, and the rest of the massive right wing propaganda machine, the Republican base is ill-equipped to understand how badly Republicans are destroying their future. Which, of course, is the entire point. 

Once upon a time, racist white people understood they were trading a better future for the chance to screw over minorities. Now, they really think melting the ice caps will be good for the planet, and also that it’s not really happening at the same time. They think Obamacare is evil socialism and that no one better touch their Medicare, at the same time. They want to use the Insurrection Act to launch the largest act of insurrection since the Civil War.

None of it makes any sense but the Republican base is lost in a haze of fear, paranoia, and rage. The last thing they care about is making sense.

Which is precisely what aspiring terrorists need.

How To Recruit Your Terrorist

Our good friends, the white nationalist terrorists, love the idea of a military coup. Or Martial Law. Or just a good ol’ second civil war. Or, really, anything that lets them start with killing the people they hate.

For that to happen, you need a country as destabilized as possible and, to them, the current Republican Party is a godsend. They’ve delivered all the proper ingredients: Economic collapse, racial strife, international threats, a weakened federal government that turns a blind eye to right wing extremism, and a right wing propaganda machine making sure millions of Americans have absolutely no idea who is to blame for all of their woes while keeping them really angry and afraid all the time.

If there’s a better breeding ground for white nationalist terrorism, you’d be hard-pressed to imagine it. 

Unsurprisingly, recruitment has been a breeze for extremists these last several years. White men are extremely susceptible to radicalization as they watch their political, social, and economic power become diluted by women and other marginalized communities demanding a seat at the table. The very notion of having to compete on an equal playing field is horrific to people who insist they have no privilege whatsoever.

Instead of blaming their failure to thrive on their own mediocrity and a system they built to benefit the rich and only the rich, white men would prefer to blame Jews or feminism or Antifa or BLM or a secret Communist cannibal cabal. Because taking responsibility is hard. Blaming everyone else is much easier.

Once you have people convinced America is under attack by nefarious shadowy conspiracies, you can convince them that any action is justified, including mass murder. 

There’s an awful lot of people who think mass murder is “patriotic” these days.

It’s Not A Coup If It’s A Republican Coup

The most dangerous aspect of the Republican descent into fascism is the belief of millions of otherwise normal people that anything Republicans do is not just legal and justified, but moral. If Donald Trump had Joe Biden and Kamala Harris dragged out into the Rose Garden tomorrow morning and executed, 74 million Americans would go to their grave insisting it had to be done. 

They’ve already convinced themselves that concentration camps are good and necessary and that torturing children is vital to the safety of America. In 2016, they could claim ignorance about who Trump was. In 2020, they knew exactly who he was and 11,000,000 more people voted for him, anyway.

For the last month, Republicans have been attempting to stage a coup with the full support of their base. The fact that it is the most ridiculous and poorly planned coup in history is irrelevant. It’s happening. It’s still ongoing. The calls for violence are escalating. The belief that it is legal, justified, and moral are absolute. If Republicans are doing it, it cannot be wrong. And when it fails, what comes after will also be legal, justified, and moral. 

No matter how many people die.

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7 hours ago, Vesper said:

delusional again, you have no proof and just are bleating out bog standard right wing talking points with zero substance

Trump is the most correct human to ever occupy a place in the US federal government. His corruption is greater than all the rest currently in it combined.

and your attack via attempted diminishment and negation of woman's rights tells it all

it is not some fucking zero sum game

disgusting

The proof is all over. Trump literally read out everything that is in this "covid" bill and it was disgraceful - he really was for the people. Shame he has to leave, really the only western leader who isn't ultra corrupt.

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