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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

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

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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1 hour ago, DANILA said:

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.

99% of the BULLSHIT (tax deduction for 3 martini lunches' for but one of a thousand example) was put in by the rethugs

what the RW is ranting about was part of the omnibus spending bill anyway, it is not in there because of COVID relief

and this

Quote

Shame he has to leave, really the only western leader who isn't ultra corrupt.

is probably  the most insane thing I have ever seen on thsi board

Trump is LITERALLY the most corrupt American elected government official in the history of the entire nation

he has grifted and scammed off billion upon billions to himself, his family, his inner circles, and assorted oligarchs

everything about Trump is a lie, or a grift, or a traitorous act, etc, often times all of them at once

he has destroyed the rule of law

he has destroyed the very concept of object truth for 100 million plus yanks (and millions more non US citizens worldwide)

he campaigned in 2016 on end the swamp, but has expanded it instead to an Olympian level, never remotely seen before in the US

the man literally is soliciting money for pardons and pardons pure raw criminals who aid and abetted his traitors, illegal actions

if you think he is the only non corrupt American leader then one truly has to wonder how you go about simply taking care of yourself in daily life, given that level of delusional thinking and lack of discernment and ability to be staggeringly brainwashed

it really is insanity if you actually believe the shite you type

I think you are just trolling

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Trump’s Pardon of Manafort Is the Realization of the Founders’ Fears

George Mason anticipated the president’s act more than 230 years ago.

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/12/problem-pardons-was-clear-start/617397/

An illustration of a man with a laser shooting out from his eye.

Nostradamus had nothing on George Mason. The French seer earned a reputation for prophecy that was grounded, for the most part, in vague and ambiguous predictions of future events whose malleability allowed supporters to claim he was prescient. As with the Delphic oracle who came before him, Nostradamus’s reputation for foresight was unearned.

George Mason, however, deserves his reputation for the precision of his predictions. Many have proved uncanny, and, at least in one case, his anticipation of the future is almost eerie. Remarkably, Mason predicted Donald Trump’s pardon of Paul Manafort and Roger Stone more than 230 years ago.

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

Back in 1787, when the Constitutional Convention was drafting the part of the Constitution that would soon become the presidential pardon power, Mason unequivocally opposed the provision. The president, he said, “ought not to have the power of pardoning, because he may frequently pardon crimes which were advised by himself. It may happen, at some future day, that he will establish a monarchy, and destroy the republic. If he has the power of granting pardons before indictment, or conviction, may he not stop inquiry and prevent detection?”

Just so. Obviously, Mason never met Trump. But clearly he had someone like Trump in mind. Trump’s pardon of Manafort and Stone, especially when added to his pardons of Michael Flynn, is of exactly the sort Mason feared—in which an apparent connection exists between the president’s personal acts and those of the people whose crimes he has excused. Manafort, Stone, and Flynn, in different ways, were connected to Trump and allegations of criminality. Their pardons may, in part, be rewards for their refusal to help in holding Trump to account—at least that is how it appears to many observers.

The Manafort and Stone pardons are part of a postelection pardon spree. Recent news reports suggest that Trump is also considering broad preemptive pardons for Rudy Giuliani, and three of his adult children—Don Jr., Ivanka, and Eric. And, most notably, public speculation swirls around the possibility that Trump might pardon himself before he leaves office, or, alternatively, resign a day early so that Vice President Mike Pence can assume the presidency and issue him a pardon.

The pardons (even if issued as part of a deal with the vice president) reflect a confluence of interests between the president personally and those he might pardon. Trump’s possible pardons may be tied to his fear that New York will initiate prosecutions of him after he leaves office. By issuing federal pardons now, he hopes that he can render any future federal or state prosecutions more difficult. The pardons are, in that way, an effort to avoid accountability, or, as Mason put it, to “stop inquiry and prevent detection.”

But even extremely troubling pardons are not necessarily unlawful. As adopted by the Founders, the presidential pardon power is subject to only two clear limits—it cannot be used to excuse cases of impeachment and it covers only “offences against the United States,” which is to say only federal crimes (so potential criminal liability for all pardon recipients in, say, a New York state prosecution remains). Some scholars additionally argue that a self-pardon is implicitly also prohibited—the text says that the president may “grant” pardons, and “granting” oneself a benefit of some sort is a strained linguistic construction.

But that’s about it. Everything else about these pardons, including the incentive they give the president’s allies to withhold evidence of criminality, is, unfortunately, within the anticipated scope of the pardon power. Indeed, the Constitutional Convention, having heard and rejected Mason’s prediction, can reasonably be said to have accepted the possibility of pardon abuse as the collateral cost of having a pardon power in the first place.

Mark Osler: The Flynn pardon is a despicable use of an awesome power

And why exactly would the delegates have done that? Why did they disregard Mason’s prediction? In the end, his concerns were rejected by his fellow convention delegates because, in their judgment, there were adequate remedies for that type of presidential misbehavior. As James Madison put it: “There is one security in this case [of misused pardons] to which the gentlemen [i.e., Mason and his supporters] not have adverted: If the President be connected, in any suspicious manner, with any person, and there be grounds to believe he will shelter him [with a pardon], the House of Representatives can impeach him; they can remove him if found guilty.”

And there you have it. George Mason was prescient. James Madison—tragically, it turns out—was naive. The most insidious damage to American norms from Trump’s pardon extravaganza stems not from the extravaganza itself, though that is bad enough. Rather the damage to our democracy comes, most clearly, from the supine, almost sycophantic nature of Congress’s response to the Trump presidency since the start, both with regard to his abuse of the pardon power and his excesses more generally. Madison saw Congress as a powerful guard dog capable of preventing executive misconduct. Instead, in terms of pardon abuse, as with so many other instances of Trump’s overreach, it has proved little more than a lapdog.

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https://www.thedailybeast.com/this-steaming-pile-of-filthy-pardons-for-paul-manafort-roger-stone-and-charles-kushner-stinks-just-like-trump?ref=home?ref=home

201223-michaelson-pardon-tease_yrbtir

Donald Trump’s wave of pardons of his cronies, accomplices, and, soon, relatives, reeks of putrefaction. It is the stench not merely of a lame-duck administration—after all, presidents have abused the pardon power before—but of a long-dead duck, swarming with maggots, viscera staining the Oval Office carpet, parasites devouring the corpse.

In other words, Trump has found his perfect match.

From his first pardon, of the vicious, racist, fascistic criminal Joe Arpaio, through those he doled out Wednesday to the likes of Paul Manafort, Roger Stone and Charles Kushner, to his last, which will presumably be a preemptive one of Donald J. Trump himself, he’s shown an utter disregard of the original constitutional purpose of the pardon power (so much for “originalism”), and a perverse delight in exercising one of the presidency’s rare unlimited powers, all while owning the libs.

Originally, the power of the pardon resided with the kings and queens of Europe, who were seen as the sovereign and the ultimate source of the nation’s laws. Much as Trump has depicted himself over these long four years, the monarch isn’t accountable to the rule of law, because the monarch is the basis of the law itself.

Finally, Trump has found a presidential power that suits his authoritarian predilections: unfettered, unaccountable, descended from kings.

But the pardon also had a jurisprudential purpose, which is why the Framers maintained it when they created our constitution. As Portia rather cynically observed to Shylock in The Merchant of Venice, law without mercy is incomplete. Or in Alexander Hamilton’s words, “Without an easy access to exceptions in favor of unfortunate guilt, justice would wear a countenance too sanguinary and cruel.” While pardons were, in part, exercises of quasi-monarchical power, they also served to correct the inevitable injustices created by a system of crime and punishment.

That’s why presidents have, historically, commuted criminal sentences that followed the letter of the law but did not take extenuating circumstances into account. It’s why, as the New York Times editorial page has argued, President-elect Biden would do well to undo some of the mass incarceration that he helped create in the 1990s. It’s why Kim Kardashian West, of all people, has emerged as a leading advocate for the wrongly convicted or unjustly sentenced.

But that’s not how Trump’s pardons have worked. He’s issued the fewest pardons of any president in the last century. And according to Harvard Law Professor Jack Goldsmith, over 90 percent of them went to people with personal or political ties to Trump himself. President Obama pardoned over 1,900 people, mostly low-level drug criminals caught in an overly rigid justice system. President Trump has pardoned or commuted 97, mostly his buddies.

In other words, Trump’s managed to out-authoritarian one of the most authoritarian constitutional powers in America. He’s managed to sully even that. Amazing, really.

Oh, but it gets better. Generally, pardons are reviewed by the Department of Justice, which weighs various factors like fairness, equity, deterrence, and so forth. But according to Professor Goldsmith’s data, most of Trump’s pardons weren’t even recommended by DOJ. It’s just Trump.

So, like so much else—the balance of power between branches, the responsibility of the executive to provide reasons for its actions, even the rule of law—Trump has managed to degrade the pardon power into a naked vehicle for patronage and power. He’s just a mob boss, at this point, in an oversized suit.

Now, just by way of comparison, it is worth remembering that other presidents have issued dubious pardons before. President Ford’s blanket pardon of Richard Nixon, for one. President George H.W. Bush’s self-serving pardon of Caspar Weinberger and others who might have exposed his involvement in Iran-Contra. President Clinton’s pardon of his brother Roger, the financier Marc Rich, and many others on his very last day in office.

But nothing compares to Trump. Political allies convicted for lying about or participating in Russia’s interference in the 2016 election: Paul Manafort, Michael Flynn, Roger Stone, George Papadopoulos, and Alex van der Zwaan. Right-wing Republicans convicted of corruption: Duncan Hunter, Chris Collins, and Steve Stockman. Relatives of Trump’s inner circle: Charles Kushner and four Blackwater contractors who murdered Iraqi civilians (Blackwater was headed by Erik Prince, brother of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.) Right-wing ideologues: Joe Arpaio (who defied a court order to stop imprisoning people solely on the suspicion that they might be “illegals”, i.e. they were Latino), Dinesh D’Souza (campaign fraud), Bernard Kerik (top cop turned perjurer and tax fraud), associates of the Bundy family. Personal friends: Michael Milken, Conrad Black, and several mid-level campaign donors. Seven convicted war criminals.

And of course, it appears inevitable that Trump will pre-emptively issue general, blanket pardons for his entire family, as is allowed under an 1866 case over the pardon of a former Confederate senator, and, eventually, himself.

There’s not much that can be done about any of this. Naturally, the right-wing media, from Fox News to the Daily Stormer, is already spinning these self-serving pardons as justifiable protection from some supposed left-wing lynch mob, so it’s unlikely that the outrage over the pardons will sway anyone’s opinion.

But let me leave you with a few small breadcrumbs of hope.

First, it’s unsettled whether a president can pardon himself, and while legal scholars are divided, there are strong reasons to think that a conservative, originalist Supreme Court would rule that he cannot. Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution says the president “shall have power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States, except in cases of impeachment.” According to an analysis by law professor Frank Bowman III, there is no precedent in legal history for someone pardoning himself. The very notion is antithetical to the Framers’ desire to not have an American king. It is the foundation of tyranny. These are judicially conservative reasons not to allow Trump’s unprecedented self-pardon.

Second, pardons only cover federal law. In a sense, this whole scam may be a great gift to New York attorney general Letitia James, who has been doggedly pursuing the Trump family’s many misdeeds under New York state law.

And most enticingly of all, one of the “catches” of a presidential pardon is that it removes the protection of the Fifth Amendment, since there is no longer a risk of self-incrimination. So if a federal or state grand jury subpoenas one of Trump’s many pardonees, they have to talk, under oath, or risk prosecution for contempt or obstruction.

In other words, there’s a slight chance—very slight, but let a pundit dream—that Trump may find himself on the wrong side of a criminal investigation, and the very cronies he shamelessly set free will be forced to either turn against him or go back to jail. That would be some sweet justice indeed.

Until then, however, there’s nothing to do but put up with the stink.

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https://www.thedailybeast.com/trumps-blackwater-pardon-sends-a-clear-message-shut-the-fuck-up-and-obey?ref=home?ref=home

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Iraqis, of course, recognized President Trump’s clemency for the four Blackwater contractors who murdered 17 men, women and children at Baghdad’s Nisour Square for what it is. It is the latest reminder that they possess no rights, no matter how basic, the ascendant global superpower is bound to respect.

The Iraqi Foreign Ministry, reacting to Trump’s Tuesday night pardons of four convicted mercenaries, expressed its outrage on Wednesday. “The ministry believes that this decision did not take into account the seriousness of the crime committed and was inconsistent with the U.S. administration’s declared commitment to the values of human rights, justice and the rule of law, and regrettably ignores the dignity of the victims and the feelings and rights of their relatives,” it said. The ministry said it would urge the U.S. to “reconsider this decision.”

That’s unlikely. Nicholas Slatten, Dustin Heard, Evan Liberty and Paul Slough are now free men, as Trump long forecasted. But no clemency can ever erase what they and their Blackwater colleagues did on September 16, 2007. Blackwater, possessing a lucrative contract to protect State Department personnel in Iraq, guarded a USAID official at a compound in Baghdad when a car bomb exploded two football fields away. A convoy of mercenaries responded to a call for backup when they encountered a traffic jam at a roundabout called Nisour Square. Inconvenienced, the Blackwater convoy sprayed machine gun fire into the cars.

One of Blackwater’s bullets sheared through the head of medical student Ahmed Hathem al-Rubaie. His 46-year mother, Mahasin, a passenger in their car, watched him die in an instant. Ahmed’s car, unable to stop with a dead man at the wheel, lurched toward the circle. Blackwater responded with more fire. Many were shot trying to flee. Iraqis, including children like nine-year old Ali Kinani, died because a private army of foreigners couldn’t get where it wanted fast enough.

A State Department assessment initially and falsely claimed that Blackwater came under attack. Reporter Steve Fainaru wrote in his book Big Boy Rules that the report was drafted by a Blackwater employee. That employee wrote what mattered to him, and to the State Department: “There were no injuries to [U.S. diplomatic] personnel.” Fainaru judged, “the episode almost certainly would have been buried but for the sheer number of people whom Blackwater killed and the volcanic anger that had built up inside the Iraqi government.”

It suited the Bush administration and the U.S. military to treat Blackwater, which operated outside the military chain of command, as distinct from the Iraq occupation. Blackwater, as Nisour Square made plain, certainly operated egregiously. Its guards snorted cocaine and shot themselves full of steroids, according to a deposition from one of their dealers. The year before Nisour Square, one Blackwater contractor, Andrew Moonen, drunkenly shot dead a bodyguard for the Iraqi vice president, whom over a decade later the U.S. would help install as prime minister. While Moonen never faced charges, federal prosecutors made the Nisour Square four a rare example of American wartime accountability.

But Blackwater and their fellow military contractors were at the heart of the occupation, not the periphery. Blackwater fed from the same American logic of occupation—the same impunity—that turned even those Iraqis willing to work for the U.S. into “local nationals” who had to enter dining halls on U.S. military bases through separate doorways. Iraqis had had reason to fear the Americans at checkpoints who didn’t speak their language and possessed life-or-death power over them, and it was academic whether those Americans wore U.S. military uniforms or the short sleeves of mercenaries. It made little difference to Iraqis if the helicopters over Baghdad were Blackwater’s Little Birds or the Army’s Apaches and Chinooks. The four Blackwater guards were prosecuted; an Army officer who had his men torture an Iraqi policeman and then fired his service pistol near the man became a Republican congressman and now, as chairman of the Texas Republican Party, promotes secession. A Marine in 2007 marvelled about Blackwater, “You can't help but feel like you are in a really good action movie every time you see these guys. ... How could you lose when you have guys and toys as cool as these on your team?”

Erik Prince, the founder of Blackwater, understood with a malevolent subtlety that however angry congressional liberals were about Nisour Square, in a fundamental sense Iraqi lives did not matter to Americans. Prince played the defiant villain at an October 2007 congressional hearing, all through articulating the hypocrisy that sought to hold Blackwater accountable without condemning the rest of the occupation. “Any incident where Americans are attacked serves as a reminder of the hostile environment in which our professionals work to keep American officials and dignitaries safe, including visiting members of Congress,” Prince testified. His cynicism was vindicated three years later, when Hillary Clinton’s State Department awarded Blackwater yet another diplomatic-security contract, even after Clinton proposed to ban mercenaries.

Prince understood that it was acceptable, even respectable, to blame Iraqis for the horrors of the occupation—either their incompetent security forces or their quarrelsome politicians—rather than blame the Americans who destroyed Iraq on deceitful grounds and then claimed to have liberated Iraqis. That was how war enthusiasts like TV pundit Tucker Carlson could absolve themselves of blame. After pimping the war, Carlson found that Iraqis were no more than “semiliterate primitive monkeys,” he said in 2008—about a people who maintain one of the most vibrant literary traditions on earth—who should “just shut the fuck up and obey us.”

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That was the subtext of the Iraq war, the one Donald Trump identified from the start, and it is why Fox News crusaded for the Blackwater pardons. While his positions on the war shifted in line with mainstream American opinion—for, then against, then also against a pullout when Barack Obama proposed it—Trump never lost sight of the psychological importance of ensuring that Americans no longer felt the humiliation of the futile wars they launched. He knew that the most satisfying balm for anyone feeling such humiliation would be to promise the most unspeakable forms of brutality.

That was what Trump spoke to when he talked about killing the relatives of suspected “terrorists,” about “bombing the shit” of them, about seizing their oil as imperial tribute and about banning them from entering America. The reward received by Iraqis who had helped the American military was to be stranded at airports in January 2017 holding useless plane tickets for America. Their U.S.-client government learned a similar lesson when Trump threatened to sanction it after it objected to the assassination of a senior Iranian official on its territory. Trump followed up by refusing to withdraw U.S. troops—allegedly an objective of his—because it was an Iraqi demand.

The president has not been shy about informing Iraqis—and Afghans, and Somalis, and Yemenis, and so many others—that they do not matter. The Blackwater four are hardly the only men he has given clemency for killing innocents at war. America may not be able to win its wars, but Trump’s consolation prize is to reassure Americans that they were not wrong to kill foreign unpersons; such brutality, to him, is valor. “I stuck up for three great warriors against the Deep State,” he said after last year’s wave of war crimes pardons.

It is common, after Trump commits such an outrage, to hear shocked centrist types insist that this isn’t America. Reclaiming the “soul of America” was the 2020 election message chosen by President-elect Joe Biden, who was one of the most important supporters of the Iraq war. But the soul of America is the occupation of Iraq. The occupation of Iraq was deeply American. It was the same historical force at work in the extermination of native nations; the enslavement of Africans and their descendants and then their seemingly permanent second-class citizenship; the occupations of the Philippines, Haiti, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Vietnam; the destabilization, subversion and overthrow of Latin American democratic movements that challenged or posed a challenge to capitalist interests like the United Fruit Company; the economic strangulation of Cuba for its anticapitalist defiance; the death squads that America left as “partnership” in El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Honduras and Afghanistan. Telling Iraqis to shut the fuck up and obey, or to make them to accept the pardons of the butchers of Nisour Square, is the geopolitical equivalent of the police officer who opens fire on his Black target knowing he will never face indictment. The soul of America is a forever war.

Paul Dickinson, a North Carolina attorney, represented four Iraqis killed at Nisour Square, including 9-year old Ali Kinani, and two who survived being shot there, in a civil suit. He said his clients had told him that they believed in the U.S. legal system to get them a measure of justice, in the form of compensation.

“Now they’ve been abandoned. I think that the pardons are a slap in the face to them and a failure to acknowledge and appreciate their immense loss,” Dickinson told The Daily Beast.

“The message that this sends to them,” he continued, “and to countries around the world is that if wrongs are committed by US citizens abroad, whether it be paramilitary or military actions, that other countries may lose faith in the pillars of the U.S. justice system that is recognized around the world as being fair as unreliable even when it does the right thing, as it had done in this case.”

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Trump Is Guilty of Sedition and Must Be Brought to Justice

He’s violating his oath to protect the Constitution, and every day that he’s allowed to remain in power, the threat to our democracy grows.

https://www.thenation.com/article/politics/trump-sedition-coup-elections/

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 20: Supreme Court Justice John Roberts (2L) administers the oath of office to U.S. President Donald Trump (L) as his wife Melania Trump holds the Bible and son Barron Trump looks on, on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on January 20, 2017 in Washington, DC. In today's inauguration ceremony Donald J. Trump becomes the 45th president of the United States. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

The Signal: Trump is now talking the sedition talk on a daily basis, and, one has to assume, actively planning ways to walk the sedition walk over the next month. He is meeting regularly with Sidney Powell, Steve Bannon and other plotters, and daily he is being fed a diet of ever more extreme scenarios for overturning the election results. This is no idle chatter, and even if we had once been inclined to dismiss it with words to the effect of “Oh, it’s only the crazy old guy blowing off steam,” we no longer have that luxury. In increasingly specific language, Trump and his band of traitors are advocating some combination of martial law, national emergency, and paramilitarism as a way to cling to power.

Witness: On Friday, Trump reportedly argued, to the dismay of many of his top officials, that he should appoint Sidney Powell (of “Hugo Chávez stole the US election” fame) as a special counsel to investigate election fraud. That was, apparently, too nuts an idea even for Rudy Giuliani to stomach; it was also a distraction from Giuliani’s own unfathomably outlandish plan to have the Department of Homeland Security step in and seize voting machines from the states, in a giant fishing expedition searching for fraud.

Meanwhile, Giuliani’s plan, despite being denounced as unconstitutional or unhinged or some combination of both by everyone from White House counsel Pat Cipollone to ex–national security adviser John Bolton, was apparently too moderate for another ex–national security adviser, Michael Flynn. Flynn was also at the Friday White House meeting, arguing in favor of declaring some form of martial law, which would involve sending the military into swing states Trump lost, forcing new elections, and, presumably, not resting until those new elections generated the “correct” result, one that ended up with Trump the winner.

And if anyone was tempted to give Trump the benefit of the doubt here—to argue that Trump himself wasn’t advocating martial law but was just giving an 11th-hour platform to an eccentric old friend—the president himself put that line of reasoning to rest on Saturday. Egged on by his trade adviser, Peter Navarro, who published a lengthy report on alleged fraud in the November 3 election, No. 45 went full-on paramilitarist. In a tweet that seemed half-fascist, half–teenager having just discovered a secret new house party, he informed his followers that “Peter Navarro releases 36-page report alleging election fraud ‘more than sufficient’ to swing victory to Trump. A great report by Peter. Statistically impossible to have lost the 2020 Election.” Trump continued, inviting his followers to descend on the nation’s capital to interrupt Congress’s certification of the Electoral College vote early in the new year. “Big protest in D.C. on January 6th. Be there, will be wild!”

“Wild!” indeed. A sitting president encouraging his violence-prone followers, including groups like the Proud Boys and conspiracists such as Alex Jones, who have pledged to keep Trump in office by whatever means necessary, to rise up against the constitutional process and the peaceful transfer of power.

At the same time, despite the Supreme Court’s latest decision on the election, and the fact that the Electoral College has already met and confirmed Biden’s win, the Trump campaign is, once again, appealing lower-court decisions on the election back up to the Supreme Court. On Sunday, the Trumpists filed yet another appeal, this time attempting to get Pennsylvania’s results overturned.

If I were a lawyer, I’d say that Trump is building a pretty good sedition case against himself, urging war against the institutions of American democracy and substituting loyalty to the person of Trump for loyalty to the country, the Constitution, and the institutions that he, and all of his government colleagues, have sworn an oath to protect.

But I’m not a lawyer, so I’ll just call it as I see it. Having lost the popular vote by 7 million, having lost the Electoral College vote too, and having failed at every level of the court system to get judges to intervene to squeeze a victory out of the bitter lemons of defeat, Trump is now grasping not only at one frivolous lawsuit after the other but at the straws of violence: specifically, military and paramilitary violence.

The people he is looking to for support in this attempted coup are, not surprisingly, the sewage of humanity—Powell, Flynn, Giuliani, the Proud Boys, Alex Jones. These are shameless con artists and thugs; people who lack any sense of morality or humility in the face of the popular will. They are, temperamentally, fascists, and like all fascists, they are entirely comfortable embracing the notion that the ends justify the means.

It is tempting to write them all off as a clown show, people too clumsy to even tie the laces of their jackboots correctly. And it’s true, there is more than an element of the comical to them. But even while we mock them and laugh, it is also important to keep in mind just how immensely dangerous these plotters are.

The United States is adrift. Its government has been reduced to puffery and fantasy to sustain the unstable ego of Donald J. Trump. There is no coordinated response to the massive computer hack of official agencies that was revealed last week. There is no sense of empathy from the administration for the thousands of people dying of Covid-19 on a daily basis.

That, this week of all weeks, the president’s inner circle was so distracted  by Trump’s efforts to overturn the results of a national election that it didn’t have the intellectual firepower left over to work on these problems says all that needs to be said about this administration’s priorities.

Remember the old saying: If it waddles like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s almost certainly a duck. In this case, Trump is walking and talking like a fascist, and doing so while the country slides ever further into crisis. He’s gone beyond being a clear and present danger to the Constitution, and every day he’s allowed to remain in power, that danger grows.

There are constitutional provisions to remove such a person from power: He could be re-impeached by the House for his efforts to subvert the Constitution and immediately convicted by Mitch McConnell’s Senate; or he could be removed via the 25th Amendment. Both scenarios would be extraordinary with only four weeks to go until the inauguration; but as the Trump drumbeat to not abide by the peaceful transfer of power gets louder, so too does the need become ever more immediate to find ways to neuter Trump politically before he can do even worse, even more irreparable damage to American democracy.

Since McConnell and the rest of the GOP Senate leadership have finally admitted that Biden is the president-elect, it’s unconscionable that they are, at the same time, still standing silently by while Trump and his henchmen plot to unleash violence and mayhem against fellow Americans in their increasingly frantic efforts to keep The Donald in power.

 
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Analysis: UK-EU trade deal is done but divisive politics of Brexit rumbles on...to 2021 Holyrood campaign

https://www.heraldscotland.com/news/18969927.analysis-uk-eu-trade-deal-done-divisive-politics-brexit-rumbles-2021-holyrood-campaign/

Over the line: PM hails "jumbo" trade deal with EU but Brexit will feature strongly in Scotland's Union vs independence argument

MICHEL Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator, relief etched across his face, declared: “The clock is no longer ticking.”

After nine months of pizza-fuelled negotiations, often full of exasperation and sometimes rancour, with sleep-deprived officials flitting between London and Brussels, the historic trade and security deal has finally been done; effectively, just minutes before midnight. It is by any standards quite an achievement as such agreements normally take years to wrap up.

The “jumbo” Canada-style deal, as Boris Johnson put it, with no tariffs or quotas, is worth £670 billion, making it the biggest bilateral agreement signed by the UK and the EU.

The Prime Minister, who got Brexit done in January, has now got the trade deal done just days after he himself made clear, as the talks missed deadlines and dragged on, that leaving the EU without one was the likeliest outcome.

Brinkmanship, it seems, has succeeded with just a week to go to the end of the transition period. It is, of course, a Brussels dictum that any deal the EU is involved with invariably goes right down to the wire.

Mr Johnson referred to the “European question,” which had for decades divided and “bedevilled” the country but which, after the 2016 and the successful UK-EU negotiations, was now behind it.

“Most people I talk to, whichever way they were inclined to vote back then, just want it settled and want us to move on,” he declared.

However, politically, the psychodrama of Britain’s relationship with the EU will not be over. In the short term, there is, after all, the little matter of ratification. MPs will reconvene at Westminster next Wednesday to vote on the deal.

Labour made clear it would not oppose it; Keir Starmer said the country wanted to “move on” from Brexit. While the SNP is certain to. Nicola Sturgeon said: “Scotland did not vote for any of this,” adding the new trade deal showed it was time for Scotland to “chart our own future as an independent, European nation”.

Brexiteer Tories will be poring over the details in the 2,000 pages outlining the deal and some might not be happy with what they find; who, for example, blinked first on some of the key issues like fishing quotas. But, given Labour’s position, the PM will be confident the parliamentary numbers are with him.

Relief was not just expressed by leaders in London and Brussels but across the UK and the continent, not least by businesses, some of which can now avoid the prospect of eye-watering tariffs.

Both Mr Johnson and Ursula von der Leyen, the European Commission President, spoke warmly and graciously about relations between the UK and EU going forward as the deal will not only cover trade but also issues like energy, climate change, transport and security.

The PM told the EU27: “We will be your friend, your ally, your supporter and indeed – never let it be forgotten – your number one market. Because although we have left the EU this country will remain culturally, emotionally, historically, strategically and geologically attached to Europe.”

Ms von der Leyen went poetic, saying: “To our friends in the UK, I want to say: parting is such sweet sorrow,” noting: “The UK remains a trusted partner...The EU and UK will stand shoulder to shoulder to deliver our common global goals.”

On the key issue of fishing quotas, the share of fish in British waters that UK fishermen can catch will rise from around half at present to some two-thirds by the end of a five-and-a-half year transition period.

But this has not gone down well with the fishing industry with one of its leaders claiming the PM had “sacrificed” fishing to secure a trade deal. The First Minister was also unimpressed, referring to “broken promises”.

And on the so-called “level playing field” as regards competition, any future claims of unfairness will be judged by an independent third-party arbitration panel with the possibility of a “proportionate” response ie tariffs.

And yet, despite all the promised co-operation, come January 1, things will be very different as Britain “takes back control of our destiny,” as the PM put it during his Downing St press conference.

The safety harness of the transition period will be lifted and the UK will be operating as an independent player on the global stage.

While there will be no taxes or limits on the goods firms can sell, there will be new red tape; most notably in Northern Ireland.

Indeed, the deal does not directly cover services, which make up some 80 per cent of the UK economy; firms in this sector will no longer enjoy automatic access to the EU as they have in the past.

On financial services, a vitally important sector to the UK, Mr Johnson conceded he had not got all he wanted, saying: “There is some good language about equivalence for financial services, perhaps not as much as we would have liked, but it is nonetheless going to enable our dynamic City of London to get on and prosper as never before.”

Indeed, the Bank of England and the Office for Budget Responsibility, the UK Government’s independent economic forecaster, have both made clear Britain’s economy will grow more slowly outside the EU than when the UK was part of the European single market and customs union.

Strong criticism has been made of Britain leaving the Erasmus scheme, which enables UK students to study and work across Europe; it will be replaced by a new scheme, named after the Bletchley Park codebreaker Alan Turing, which aims to help students study and work in and beyond the EU. Ms Sturgeon branded the move “cultural vandalism”.

And on security co-operation, Brussels made clear the UK would not enjoy the same level of “facilities” as before. An EU briefing note said the UK would no longer have “direct, real-time access” to sensitive databases covering freedom, security and justice.

While Mr Barnier might be right that one clock has stopped ticking, another could well have just started.

The issue of Brexit will doubtless feature prominently in next year’s Holyrood campaign. It feeds in strongly to the Nationalist narrative about Scotland taking a different political path from England; in 2016 six out of 10 Scottish voters voted for Remain.

It has always been interesting to observe how Brexiteers have used the same language of “self-determination” and “independence” about Britain leaving the EU as the SNP has about Scotland leaving the UK.

Indeed, it was interesting to hear the remarks of Ms von der Leyen, who questioned what “sovereignty” – a subject that lay at the heart of the negotiations - actually meant in the 21st century.

She said: “It is about pooling our strength and speaking together in a world full of great powers. In a time of crisis, it is about pulling each other up instead of trying to get back to your feet alone.” The sentiment has a ring of familiarity.

Of course, the two issues of being a member of the UK and the EU are not exactly the same but as the campaign for the Holyrood elections in May begins in earnest next month, the issue of Brexit and its consequences will loom large.

Indeed, if there were to be any second independence referendum in the next Holyrood parliamentary term, a fundamental argument will be about Scotland being a member of the Union of the United Kingdom versus Scotland becoming a member of the Union of Europe.

And what, once the dust settles, does securing the trade deal mean for Mr Johnson’s own political future?

The Covid crisis still hangs menacingly over the country and many Tories privately whisper that they have not been greatly impressed by their leader’s performance marked, as it has been, by a forest of U-turns.

It may well be that the PM – who was flanked by Union flags at his press conference - muddles through and brighter days lie ahead, meaning that he will lead his party boldly into the 2024 General Election.

But it might also turn out that his performance under pressure has illustrated to his Conservative colleagues that, as the public regarded his hero Winston Churchill in 1945, he was the right man for one job but not the right man for another.

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1 minute ago, lucio said:

Shame the erasmus scheme isn’t being continued , I found it very helpful during my study exchange 

UK students lose Erasmus membership in Brexit deal

Europe-wide scheme will be replaced with UK scheme named after computing pioneer Alan Turing

https://www.theguardian.com/education/2020/dec/24/uk-students-lose-erasmus-membership-in-brexit-deal

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21 hours ago, Vesper said:

another unarmed black man murdered by fucking yank coopers:rant:

 

Look how nervous that copper is holding the gun.....how the fuck did he get this job ffs. You are here to protect and serve....not to slaughter you bent good for nothing illiterate cunts.

8 hours ago, DANILA said:

Shows how brainwashed you liberals are. Conservatism is the only way forward; if globalist trust fund baby idiot Trudeau gets elected again I'm leaving Canada for sure

That cunt trudeau is just another actor put in place

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8 hours ago, DANILA said:

Shows how brainwashed you liberals are. Conservatism is the only way forward; if globalist trust fund baby idiot Trudeau gets elected again I'm leaving Canada for sure

number one, I am not a liberal

number two you do not even know what the fuck liberal means

I am anti-fascist, anti-oligarch, anti-white nationalist, anti banker systemic control, anti war, anti bigotry of any kind

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I don't think the Senate can afford to veto the new Stimulus package of $2,000 vs $600 with seat elections just next month in the state of GA. They veto it, you'd expect a massive surge of those voting Democrat for those final seats in the Senate. 

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38 minutes ago, MoroccanBlue said:

I don't think the Senate can afford to veto the new Stimulus package of $2,000 vs $600 with seat elections just next month in the state of GA. They veto it, you'd expect a massive surge of those voting Democrat for those final seats in the Senate. 

the Senate doesn't veto things, that is only the President.

They can override the Trump veto by a 2/3rds majority (67 votes)

also, the veto was not for the 2000 USD  amendments

Trump vetoed the COVID-19 Aid Bill and the Defence Bill

the first veto was already overridden (with 600 USD cheques)

the Defence Bill veto is not yet overridden

the 2000 USD cheque bill is a stand alone amendment

IF Moscow Mitch allows a simple vote, it will pass, but he is not going to even allow a vote I think

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