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Tag: #MAGA

Freedom Over Fascism

Americans value our freedoms – including our freedom to elect leaders who govern in our name. Multiple grand juries of Americans have indicted the former MAGA President for his criminal conspiracy to defraud, deny, and overthrow the will of the people. Yet MAGA Republicans cheer him on and want to overturn our legal system to allow him to get away with it, while they take away our freedoms and rule for the wealthy few. We must come together to ensure all involved are held accountable, so we can protect our country and our freedoms.

At least four members of the most corrupt Supreme Court in American history have decided to help Trump delay his trial for trying to overthrow the government of the United States.

Just like in 2000, when five Republicans on the Court ignored Al Gore’s probable (later found to be definite) win in Florida to put Bush in the White House, today’s Court is doing as much as they can to help Trump win this November.

As we reckon with this infuriating news, we must keep loudly insisting that the federal trial take place – and do so urgently, before the election. We cannot feed the cynicism and storyline that Trump and his co-conspirators will never be held accountable, as that would lend credence to and cover for their demands for this outcome. As legal expert Norm Eisen said:

“Let’s be clear: there is still time to have a trial, and Department of Justice policy does not prohibit the scheduling of one during an election. The Supreme Court must decide as quickly as humanly possible after oral argument so that Trump can at last be judged by a jury of Americans.”

Also, we must strike from our vocabulary the phrase “SCOTUS decided” or “the Supreme Court ruled.” This provides cover to the corrupt individuals on that court – put there at the behest of billionaires to do their bidding. It is also an implicit condemnation of the three justices who take their roles and oaths seriously.

Make no mistake: these actions are a continuation of MAGA’s criminal conspiracy to take away our freedoms that we’ve been beating back for years. It is vital that we not merely respond to specific legislative atrocities and judicial assaults in isolation, but instead expose the throughline connecting these attacks from SCOTUS to the House of Representatives to state legislatures to the billionaires and corporations financing all of them.

With gratitude to our colleagues at Democracy Defense Project (DDP), here are talking points for how to convey not merely what’s happening but why it matters and what we must demand comes next:

  • Despite a total lack of legal precedent and universal rejection by lower courts, the MAGA Justices on the Supreme Court decided to hear Trump’s claims of absolute presidential immunity.
  • By agreeing to entertain the fiction that presidents are free to commit crimes, these justices are further delaying voters’ most basic right: to have a ruling on and justice for the criminal conspiracy to silence their voices.
  • No court has ever recognized presidential immunity from criminal prosecution. Former presidents have never been allowed to engage in criminal conspiracies unpunished.
  • The August 2023 indictment by a grand jury of everyday Americans lays out the clear criminal conspiracy: It alleges that Trump and MAGA Republicans tried to overturn the 2020 presidential election by every means available, including violence because they knew they had lost.
  • It shows how they organized false presidential elector slates, pressured state officials to disregard their Constitutional oaths, and attempted to enlist Vice President Mike Pence to alter the election results.
  • It demonstrates that they were responsible for the January 6 attack to take away our freedom to vote and seize power to rule for the wealthy few.
  • The MAGA Republicans who schemed and covered up for Trump are still in power and must be held accountable. Trump and MAGA Republicans continue to endanger our country and harm our lives and livelihoods by deliberately spreading lies, breaking laws, and encouraging violence.
  • The Supreme Court must conduct this hearing and rule quickly so that, at last, a jury of Americans can weigh the facts of the case and determine the consequences of Trump’s criminal conspiracy to overthrow the 2020 election.

The Freedom Over Fascism Toolkit has been updated with this guidance, under the Presidential Immunity Hearing section. We encourage you to share this resource widely.

In solidarity,

Anat and the Research Collaborative and ASO Communications teams

Download (PDF, 3.35MB)

The Racism Is the Point

By David Corn  February 24, 2024

It’s Black History Month. Could that be why right-wing racism seems to be on the rise?

I’m not sure how you measure it, but there seems to be a pronounced uptick in overt racism within conservative ranks of late. And it goes beyond the egregious conduct of former President Donald Trump. The onetime reality TV celebrity has a long record of racism that stretches from the discriminatory housing practices engaged in by his family business (1960s) to his racist attack on the wrongly convicted Central Park Five (1980s) to his championing of the racist birther theory (2010s). At a town hall in New Hampshire during the 2016 campaign, a man in the audience yelled, “We have a problem in this country; it’s called Muslims…When can we get rid of them?” Affirming this burst of bigotry, Trump replied, “We’re going to be looking at a lot of different things. You know, a lot of people are saying that, and a lot of people are saying that bad things are happening out there.” And when candidate Trump attacked Judge Gonzalo Curiel, who is Mexican American and who was overseeing the Trump University fraud case (remember that one?), even GOP House Speaker Paul Ryan felt compelled to call his remarks “racist.”

Yet Trump’s racism—like so much of his outrageous behavior—never became a decisive issue in the 2016 campaign, and it did not abate during his presidency. There was the Muslim ban. He referred to a group of protesters that included white nationalists and Nazis as “very fine people.” He called African nations “shithole countries.” In the 2020 race, he repeatedly claimed that Joe Biden was teaming up with Black radicals (and commies and Antifa and the media) to assault suburban communities (obviously white suburban communities). We don’t have time to go through a full rundown. Do you want a list of Trump’s racist episodes? Here’s one.

And it only seems to be getting worse. In recent months, Trump has hurled racist attacks at Black officials who are prosecuting cases against him. He has derided Nikki Haley in a racist manner. He has used racist and Hitler-like rhetoric to slam undocumented migrants.

Setting an example with this torrent of hatred, Trump has thrown the door open to denizens of MAGA-land who wish to express their inner racism. Meanwhile, leading strategists of the right, including Chris Rufo and failed wannabe president Ron DeSantis, have launched a war on “wokeness” and diversity, equity, and inclusion programs at schools and businesses, a crusade that jibes nicely with Trump’s explicit racism. It’s hard to believe there’s no connection between these strategic initiatives and Trump’s legitimizing of racism.

As bad as this recent history has been, it appears that voices on the right are going further. Look at Fox pundit Raymond Arroyo. Days ago on that network, he declared Black Americans will back Trump in the coming election because…they love sneakers. Yes, he said that. This was his insight following Trump’s recent announcement that he’s selling a limited line of Trump-inspired (and incredibly gaudy and ugly) sneakers at $399 a pair. Arroyo opined:

As you see Black support eroding from Joe Biden, this is connecting with Black America because they love sneakers. They love sneakers. This is a big deal. Certainly, in the inner city. So, when you have Trump roll out his sneaker line, they’re like, “Wait a minute. This is cool.” He’s reaching them on a level that defies and is above politics.

 

Selling a thousand pairs of ridiculous sneakers will win over Black voters? Tough to be more dismissive, cynical, or…racist than that. When the host asked if “people who are excited about the sneakers” would vote for Trump, Arroyo replied, “Anybody willing to put 400 bucks down for a pair of sneakers—yeah, I think that’s commitment and love.” Arroyo trotted out racial stereotypes, and his Fox interlocutor was fine with that.

On the MAGA right, there’s been a race to a racist bottom, with leading figures seemingly trying to outdo each other. At the front of this pack is Charlie Kirk, the Trump fanboy who heads Turning Point USA. He has declared that he would be nervous if he saw a Black pilot in the cockpit of a plane. As if this captain’s only qualification was checking a box for a DEI initiative. (To be clear, all pilots need to pass the same tests to be certified to fly.) He also noted, “If I’m dealing with someone in customer service who’s a moronic Black woman, I wonder: Is she there because of her excellence or is she there because of affirmative action?”

Floyd Brown, a veteran far-right activist (who was behind the infamously racist Willie Horton ad that ran during the 1988 campaign) and is now campaign manager for Kari Lake’s Senate campaign in Arizona, said something similar about a Black doctor. “Yet now because of DEI, when you see a Black surgeon, you get a question in your mind.” You do?

Kirk has always been an alt-right twerp, but it’s noteworthy that he now has delved into the realm of white supremacy. My colleague Ali Breland did a deep dive on his descent and observed:

Kirk appears to have shifted, embracing racist and white nationalist rhetoric and figures with little hesitation. In the past year, he’s hosted far-right and white supremacist figures on his podcast and has tweeted in support of whiteness, earning praise from white supremacists who have long campaigned to mainstream such rhetoric.

In October, he invited veteran white supremacist Steve Sailer, whose bona fides include writing for overt white nationalist publications including VDare and the Unz Review, on his podcast. During their interview, Kirk called Sailer his favorite “noticer”—a word frequently used in internet conservative spaces as a euphemism for individuals willing to publicly draw bigoted conclusions linking race and criminality. Sailer did exactly this during their conversation, insinuating that Black people commit crimes because of innate characteristics: “Blacks tend to commit murder about 10 times as often per capita as whites…it’s not just all explained by poverty.”

Breland also reported, “Others associated with Turning Point USA are also giving voice to white supremacist positions. In a tweet last week, right-wing internet figure Jack Posobiec, a TPUSA contributor with a history of ties to white nationalists, slammed Nikki Haley’s financial backers as ‘rootless cosmopolitans,’ an established antisemitic euphemism.” (Posobiec was one of the chief spreaders of the violence-inciting Pizzagate conspiracy theory.)

These folks might seem to be marginal figures, but as influencers on the right, they reflect what appears to be a greater willingness generally to openly voice racist sentiments. Axios reported that at a Turning Point USA conference in December, the “emphasis on Haley’s nonwhite heritage was hard to miss.”

Racism and white grievance are everywhere on Planet MAGA these days. A broadcast of Sean Hannity’s Fox show earlier this month featured a live segment in which members of the Guardian Angels, a supposedly anti-crime patrol group, assaulted a man in Times Square who they claimed was a “migrant.” As this was transpiring, their leader Curtis Sliwa exclaimed, “They’ve taken over.” Nope. Their victim was from the Bronx. Here was racist violence shown live on television. It was right out of Network.

By the way, the New York Post expressed outrage that a Google AI chatbot generated a picture of a Black founding father:

 

Okay, George Washington was not Black. But why go nuts over this and put it on the front page? While we’re at it, Jesus probably did not resemble a white European, as he has often been depicted. (He certainly didn’t look like this.)

Slavery had benefits. Kamala Harris is an idiot. White people are being replaced by people of color (a conspiracy theory promoted by Tucker Carlson and others on the right). Racist comments are zipping through the conservative cosmos at what appears to be a more furious clip than several years ago. There have long been statistics about hate crimes, and in 2023 they were up by 13 percent. But it’s more difficult to track and quantify the dissemination of racist utterances. I sense there’s an acceleration. (Do you?) And I shudder to think how much worse this could get, especially if the Grand Leader and catalyst of this racism revival returns to the White House.

Special Counsel Moves To Ban Trump From Arguing WITCH HUNT In Election Interference Case

Also, blaming it on the feds, antifa, or China.

Special counsel Jack Smith

Special counsel Jack Smith

On Wednesday, Special Counsel Jack Smith asked the court to put the kibosh on Donald Trump’s efforts to “turn the courtroom into a forum in which he propagates irrelevant disinformation.” If Judge Tanya Chutkan grants this motion, it will eviscerate the former president’s plan to defend himself in DC by making the case about anything other than his plot to obstruct the congressional certification of President Biden’s 2020 victory.

Broadly speaking, Trump wants to make the election interference trial into a glorified segment of Steve Bannon’s podcast. As he screams WITCH HUNT on social media, his lawyers accuse Biden of weaponizing the Justice Department and seek to introduce evidence of every crackpot election theory ever aired on Newsmax.

Unsurprisingly, the prosecution would like to avoid all that, so the special counsel has filed a motion to block Trump from bombarding the jurors with irrelevant and prejudicial evidence. And because Smith takes no prisoners, he’s done it in the most aggressive way possible.

Trump’s plan

Since before the indictment even dropped in August, Trump screamed daily that Biden was directing the Justice Department to persecute him. He also claimed that Biden is controlling the New York criminal and civil cases, as well as the RICO case in Georgia. He never presents any evidence of this because it’s patently ridiculous. The DOJ has no control over state prosecutions, and the entire purpose of the special counsel statute is to remove investigations that pose a conflict of interest from the immediate control of the DOJ.

Nevertheless, Trump, his lawyers, and right-wing media outlets have treated it as a fact that the prosecution is politically motivated and made it the centerpiece of their defense both in and out of court.

“Look what’s happening to our beautiful country,” Trump attorney John Lauro complained to Fox News’s Sandra Smith and John Roberts back in July. “For the first time in our history, a sitting president is using the Department of Justice to go after a political opponent criminally, while that political opponent is leading in the polls.”

Their legal filings are scarcely more subtle. In October, Trump filed a motion to dismiss the case based on “selective and vindictive prosecution” — essentially a claim that the DOJ indicted him solely to kneecap Biden’s 2024 opponent.

The motion itself is a farcical hash of anonymously sourced articles from the supposedly fake news Washington Post and New York Times alleging that Biden confided to his inner circle that he wished AG Garland would be more aggressive. Both stories confirm that Biden stayed far away from the Trump cases, even before Garland handed them off to Smith to avoid the appearance of conflict. Trump’s motion also mangles a quote from a press conference to suggest that “Biden’s publicly stated objective is to use the criminal justice system to incapacitate President Trump, his main political rival and the leading candidate in the upcoming election.” (That’s not remotely what he said.)

Even the most mundane scheduling brief is larded with assertions that “the incumbent administration has targeted its primary political opponent — and a leading candidate in the upcoming presidential election — with criminal prosecution.”

As the special counsel points out in his reply, it’s virtually impossible to meet the legal standard for selective or vindictive prosecution. There’s a strong “presumption of regularity” concerning prosecutors’ motives, and handwaving about anonymously sourced articles isn’t going to cut it. Trump’s lawyers know this, which is why they only spent 11 pages on their doomed petition. But their constant repetition of these unfounded claims makes it clear that, even after this worthless motion gets tossed, they intend to rely on them at trial.

Their discovery demands hint at several other smoke bombs they intend to set off to distract the jury. For instance, a motion filed in November seeks to force the special counsel to disclose theoretically exculpatory evidence about government provocateurs, supposed wrongdoing by the January 6 Committee, and the possibility that a foreign government did hack the 2020 election.

After the obligatory chant that “the indictment, in this case, reflects little more than partisan advocacy designed to sabotage President Trump’s leading campaign for the 2024 President Election,” the brief touches on every MAGA conspiracy from Executive Order 13848 to Ray Epps and demands that the DOJ produce proof to back it up.

A bank robber cannot defend himself by blaming the bank’s security guard for failing to stop him. A fraud defendant cannot claim to the jury that his victims should have known better than to fall for his scheme. And the defendant cannot argue that law enforcement should have prevented the violence he caused and the obstruction he intended.

The November motion mutters darkly about “undercovers and informants who infiltrated the crowd” on January 6, while demanding all evidence that “a range of additional foreign actors — including Lebanese Hizballah, Cuba, and Venezuela — took some steps to attempt to influence the election.” Trump also wants the DOJ to turn over granular, raw intelligence collected by the intelligence community, much of it classified, so that he can suggest that China did hack the election. That last one is particularly bonkers since Trump’s lawyers are demanding stuff their client never saw as a means to establish that he rationally believed the election was stolen.

Trump’s lawyers know perfectly well that they’re not going to get those documents, but they’re broadcasting their plan to try to flimflam the jury with irrelevant nonsense about a stolen election. Luckily, the special counsel is broadcasting his plan to head this strategy off at the pass.

The special counsel’s motion

“Through public statements, filings, and argument in hearings before the Court, the defense has attempted to inject into this case partisan political attacks and irrelevant and prejudicial issues that have no place in a jury trial,” Special Counsel Smith argued in a pretrial motion filed Wednesday. “Although the Court can recognize these efforts for what they are and disregard them, the jury — if subjected to them — may not.”

Prosecutors accuse Trump of attempting to engage in jury nullification, that is, securing an acquittal by convincing jurors to disregard the evidence and law in favor of their personal feelings of justice. They argue that “the defendant should be precluded from raising irrelevant political issues” which might “improperly suggest to the jury that it should base its verdict on something other than the evidence at trial.”

Toward that end, they seek to exclude a broad swath of evidence that maps almost perfectly onto Trump’s motions to compel and to dismiss for selective prosecution.

Noting that “[a] selective-prosecution claim is not a defense on the merits to the criminal charge itself,” they urge the court to bar any mention of partisan prosecutorial targeting, “whether in the form of argument or through the use of terminology such as the ‘Injustice Department,’ ‘Biden Indictment,’ or similar phrases — in the presence of the jury.”

In the same vein, they’d like a ban on any line of questioning that is designed to get a witness to impugn the motives of the special counsel or to suggest prosecutorial misconduct. And Trump shouldn’t be able to backdoor this argument by dressing it up as evidence that the trial is a great hardship for him when he’s running for office.

Prosecutors want to bar arguments relating to foreign election interference — the “China loves Biden” stuff — because there’s never been any evidence that Trump relied on it, and “such evidence will be irrelevant to the defendant’s mens rea and will only distract the jury from the issues properly before it.”

The special counsel would like to exclude any effort to blame the January 6 riot on Capitol police, Nancy Pelosi, or undercover government agents because “the defendant cannot argue that law enforcement should have prevented the violence he caused and obstruction he intended.”

Jack Smith is a damn good lawyer

The motion is another bold move by a prosecutor who hasn’t taken his foot off the accelerator since he was appointed on November 18, 2022, two days after Trump announced his 2024 candidacy. If Trump were an introspective man, he might consider where he’d be if he hadn’t been so intent on beating his hapless primary rivals to the punch that he forced the ever-cautious Attorney General Merrick Garland to hand the investigations off to a wildly aggressive prosecutor to avoid a conflict of interest.

Would there be any realistic possibility that these cases might go to trial before the election if Trump had just held off a few more weeks on announcing?

Probably not. But of course, Trump is not a man given to introspection, so instead, he simply throws ketchup at the online wall.

 

DJT on Truth Social

Trump’s eruption is based on his lawyers’ claim that the stay of deadlines in the election case makes it “illegal” for the prosecution to do anything at all. Since Judge Chutkan accepted his demand to put the case on ice while Trump makes his preposterous claims of presidential immunity to the DC Circuit, the government has continued to produce discovery and file its motions. Trump’s lawyers reacted with their usual histrionics, accusing the prosecutors of trying the former president “in absentia.” Without waiting for the court’s response, the special counsel filed another evidentiary motion Wednesday morning — an aggressive move that an institutionalist like AG Garland would almost certainly have eschewed.

No doubt Team Trump will be back with another round of yelling about “illegal” filings before long. But the prosecutors’ motion imposes no obligation on Trump to respond, so it seems unlikely that Judge Chutkan will reprimand the government for filing it, much less remove it from the record. That leaves Trump in an uncomfortable position. Having insisted that he cannot be burdened with litigation while he appeals the immunity issue, he can either leave this motion, which undercuts every aspect of his defense, unrebutted, or he can answer it with an “illegal” filing of his own that advances the stayed litigation.

Sucks to back yourself into a corner, doesn’t it?

Speaker Mike Johnson Believes God Has Ordained Him

Newly elected House Speaker Mike Johnson doesn’t hide his religion or his belief in the primacy of his Christian beliefs. Quite the contrary. Here’s what he told Sean Hannity Thursday on Fox News: “Someone asked me today in the media, ‘People are curious, what does Mike Johnson think about any issue under the sun?’ I said, ‘Well, go pick up a Bible off your shelf and read it. That’s my worldview. That’s what I believe.’”

This came the day after he used his precious first remarks as speaker to tell the House and the country that he believes God has ordained him. “I believe that Scripture, the Bible, is very clear: that God is the one who raises up those in authority…I believe that God has ordained and allowed each one of us to be brought here for this specific moment in this time.’”

(He also introduced his “dedicated wife of 25 years” to the nation—and her absence at his acceptance speech—like this: “She’s spent the last couple of weeks on her knees in prayer to the Lord. And, um, she’s a little worn out.”)

Surely, then, when asked about the mass shooting in Maine, this would be a chance for him to speak out against the most sacred commandment—Thou shalt not kill—and use his new divinely ordained power to speak to the need to address the availability of weapons that make murder possible on a quick and massive scale. Right?  Nope.

“The problem is the human heart,” he told Hannity. “It’s not guns. It’s not the weapons. At the end of the day we have to protect the right of the citizens to protect themselves and that’s the Second Amendment…This is not the time to talk about legislation.”

Mike Johnson is now second in line to the presidency.

Source:

What Do You Hear When the New House Speaker Says He’s Been Ordained By God?

The New Cold War is Being Fought on Social Media

Russia is not just at war with Ukraine; they’re also in a cold war with us. And last week Putin got a significant victory in that war, which is now being fought on the battleground of social media and the Internet.

Representative Matt Gaetz and Senator Rand Paul helped lead Putin’s victory this week in his cold war with America by stripping aid for Ukraine out of the continuing resolution to keep our government funded for the next 45 days.

It was a clear signal from Republicans in Congress to Putin that if he can just hang on long enough, his propaganda efforts will eventually lead America to drop out and hand Ukraine over to them.

Today’s propaganda battle is primarily being fought on the Internet, principally on social media.

That’s where Russia’s now well-documented targeted efforts in six swing states (using secret, insider information from the 2016 Trump campaign given them by Paul Manafort) succeeded in pulling out a squeaker Electoral College victory for Donald Trump. It’s where they hope to repeat that in 2024.

It was also a signal to China, Japan, Australia, South and North Korea, and Taiwan that America can’t be trusted to defend allied democracies when they’re physically attacked by larger authoritarian states. By increasing the chances of an aggressor’s victory, the GOP’s continuing resolution encourages authoritarian states like Russia and China and, thus, makes the world less safe.

The Putin Republicans are being aided in this by social media companies owned by rightwing billionaire oligarchs — and their fossil fuel oligarch buddies funding the GOP in every state and federally — who are each richer than any king or pharaoh in history.

Given the media power these oligarchs and their monopolies have, it’s hard to offer any easy solutions to this threat now facing our democracy.

The Biden administration is awake to the threat: President Biden’s speech in Arizona last week explicitly called out the MAGA extremists in the GOP, and Democrats in Congress and in regulatory agencies are going after their monopolies.

Those efforts, though, will take years to reach fruition; after all, it was exactly 40 years ago this year that Reagan instructed his SEC, FTC, and DOJ to functionally stop enforcing our nation’s anti-trust laws, so they’ve had four decades to reach astronomical levels of consolidation and wealth.

Any effort to take on the media giants is complicated by five corrupt Republicans on the Supreme Court having legalized political bribery in 2010 with their Citizens United decision.

So now it’s largely up to us to carry the message forward. You and me. People who value democracy and want to see a world safe from tyrants and wannabee tyrants like Putin, Xi, MBS, and Trump.

Source:

Is the New Warfare Battleground on Social Media and the Internet?

Everyone loses when MAGA Republicans get their way

Freedumb Caucus

Freedom Caucus, US House, GOP Right Wing, speaker of the house, political cartoon

 

What you need to know

Now you might be thinking: Didn’t we just go through this whole cycle a few months ago? The brinksmanship, the urgent warnings, the crisis over government funding? Why on earth is this happening again?

The short answer: Because Republicans have handed the car keys to the most extreme members of their caucus and they’re driving us all off a cliff.

The long answer: The May default crisis was resolved in the nick of time with a deal between President Biden and Kevin McCarthy. That deal set top-line spending levels for the coming year’s budget.

MAGA arsonist Matt GaetzExtreme MAGA Republicans have spent the last several months agitating against the deal. Their demands are wide-ranging and radical. They want dramatic cuts to federal programs. They want to defund the DOJ and aid to Ukraine. They want to restrict access to medication abortion. They want drastic cuts to social safety net programs. In short, they want to move the goalposts for the budget process into right-wing fantasy land. As a result, Republican House members are currently literally unable to agree with each other on how to fund the federal government.

Now, this would not be a problem if Kevin McCarthy was willing to ignore the MAGA caucus. Because he does have enough votes in the House to pass the original deal. It’s just that he’d need Democratic votes to do it. And he’s committed to his caucus that he won’t pass a funding bill unless it can pass with only Republican votes.

US government shutdown: What is it and who would be affected?

This crisis could also be resolved if even a handful of Republicans were willing to go against their party and sign a discharge petition to allow Democrats to bring a bipartisan bill to the floor. A discharge petition is a tactic that allows a majority of Congress members to override the Speaker and put a bill on the floor. Plenty of Republicans (especially the ones who are worried about their re-elections, like the Unrepresentatives) are giving quotes about being frustrated, or how they wish their party would get its act together. Every time you hear that, just remember: it would take 6 Republicans signing a discharge petition to allow Democrats to bring a bipartisan bill to the floor. If your representative isn’t willing to do this, then their words are meaningless.

It’s common for the media to frame shutdowns as a “both sides” issue. But let’s be clear: This is not a situation where “Washington is broken” or “the two sides can’t work it out.” The deal has been reached. The votes for the deal are there. That’s not the problem. The problem is that Republicans, under pressure from their most extreme MAGA members, have unilaterally abandoned the deal. They would rather shut the government down than simply work with Democrats to pass the budget deal they already agreed to.

Don’t just take our word for it — here’s the same point from an unlikely source:

 

Said arsonist Matt Gaetz, “We cannot blame the Democrats for having not done our job to comply with the coalition agreement that we made at the beginning of the year. That is the fault of the Speaker.”

All of this would be comical if there weren’t such awful consequences for the rest of us. The pain of a government shutdown is enormous. Essential services for seniors, working families, the military, and first responders are disrupted. Kids go hungry because programs like WIC and SNAP lose funding. Disaster relief funding — like money for the survivors of the Maui fires — is delayed or cut. And crucial government functions like food safety inspections and air travel oversight risk disruption.

Everyone loses when MAGA Republicans get their way.

OK, so what do we do about it?

There are two things we need to do here: 

First, we need to get out of this mess without rewarding Republicans’ terrible behavior. If you’ve got a Democratic representative, you should be telling them to stand strong. If you’ve got a Republican representative, you should be putting the heat on them — especially if you’ve got a Republican who represents a flippable district, or who’s in principle opposed to their party’s shenanigans.

Second, if a shutdown does occur, we need to make sure that the public understands that it’s a product of Republican extremism and dysfunction. Republicans are doing something very unpopular (shutting down the government) to try to get something else that’s also very unpopular (cuts to essential programs for families, seniors, and more). They need to pay a political price for it. Fortunately, we’ve got a plan for that – an entire campaign. Join our Unrepresentatives Project and help us hold the most vulnerable Republicans accountable. 

The reality is that for these folks, the election season has already started. If this shutdown drags on, we’ve got to make sure they see consequences for it.

In solidarity,
Leah Greenberg
Co-founder and Co-Executive Director, of Indivisible

US Military Held Hostage by MAGA Republicans


Listen to Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger talk about the impact on the spouses and children of military families who deserve more than cheap platitudes and drunken clapping for their contributions to our nation.

Every person with a phone should call their two US senators and members of Congress and express outrage over this. You can contact the United States Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121. A switchboard operator will connect you directly with the Senate office you request. To find your representative, you can use this tool. Demand action on this very serious issue.

 

By Carlos Del Toro, Frank Kendall, and Christine Wormuth
September 4, 2023

As the civilian leaders of the Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Space Force, and Army, we are proud to work alongside exceptional military leaders who are skilled, motivated, and empowered to protect our national security.

These officers and the millions of service members they lead are the foundation of America’s enduring military advantage. Yet this foundation is being actively eroded by the actions of a single U.S. senator, Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.), who is blocking the confirmation of our most senior military officers.

The senator asserts that this blanket and unprecedented “hold,” which he has maintained for more than six months, is about opposition to Defense Department policies that ensure service members and their families have access to reproductive health no matter where they are stationed.

After the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, this policy is critical and necessary to meet our obligations to the force. It is also fully within the law, as confirmed by the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel.

Senators have many legislative and oversight tools to show their opposition to a specific policy. They are free to introduce legislation, gather support for that legislation, and pass it. But placing a blanket hold on all general and flag officer nominees, who as apolitical officials have traditionally been exempt from the hold process, is unfair to these military leaders and their families.

And it is putting our national security at risk.

Thus far, the hold has prevented the Defense Department from placing almost 300 of our most experienced and battle-tested leaders into critical posts around the world.

Three of our five military branches — the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps — have no Senate-confirmed service chief in place. Instead, these jobs — and dozens of others across the force — are being performed by acting officials without the full range of legal authorities necessary to make the decisions that will sustain the United States’ military edge.

Across the services, many generals and admirals are being forced to perform two roles simultaneously. The strain of this double duty places a real and unfair burden on these officers, the organizations they lead, and their families.

The blanket hold is also exacting a personal toll on those who least deserve it.

Each of us has seen the stress this hold is inflicting up and down the chain of command, whether in the halls of the Pentagon or at bases and outposts around the world.

We know officers who have incurred significant unforeseen expenses and are facing genuine financial stress because they have had to relocate their families or unexpectedly maintain two residences.

Military spouses who have worked to build careers of their own are unable to look for jobs because they don’t know when or if they will move. Children don’t know where they will go to school, which is particularly hard given how frequently military children change schools already.

These military leaders are being forced to endure costly separations from their families — a painful experience they have come to know from nearly 20 years of deployments to places such as Iraq and Afghanistan.

All because of the actions of a single senator.

Any claim that holding up the promotions of top officers does not directly damage the military is wrong — plain and simple.

The leaders whose lives and careers are on hold include scores of combat veterans who have led our troops into deadly combat with valor and distinction in the decades since 9/11. These men and women each have decades of experience and are exactly who we want — and need — to be leading our military at such a critical period of time.

The impact of this hold does not stop at these officers or their family members.

With the promotions of our most senior leaders on hold, there is a domino effect upending the lives of our more junior officers, too.

Looking over the horizon, the prolonged uncertainty and political battles over these military nominations will have a corrosive effect on the force.

The generals and admirals who will be leading our forces a decade from now are colonels and captains today. They are watching this spectacle and might conclude that their service at the highest ranks of our military is no longer valued by members of Congress or, by extension, the American public.

Rather than continue making sacrifices to serve our nation, some might leave uniformed service for other opportunities, robbing the Defense Department of talent cultivated over decades that we now need most to maintain our superiority over our rivals and adversaries.

Throughout our careers in national security, we have deeply valued the bipartisan support shown for our service members and their families. But rather than seeking a resolution to this impasse in that spirit, Tuberville has suggested he is going to further escalate this confrontation by launching baseless political attacks against these men and women.

We believe that the vast majority of senators and Americans across the political spectrum recognize the stakes of this moment and the dangers of politicizing our military leaders. It is time to lift this dangerous hold and confirm our senior military leaders.

Carlos Del Toro, Secretary of the US Navy
Frank Kendall, Secretary of the US Air Force
Christine Wormuth, Secretary of the US Army

No Labels declines to reveal just who is funding its third party bid

UPDATE  6/23 No Labels Exposed: Here’s a List of Donors Funding Its Effort To Disrupt the 2024 Race

No Labels is helping a firm that raises money for right-wing extremists

Since its inception in 2010, No Labels has billed itself as a refuge for sensible centrists, inspiring a caucus on Capitol Hill called the “Problem Solvers.” More recently, it’s sought to assemble a potential third-party presidential ticket.

On No Label’s fundraising vendor’s Anedot Direct page, the firm promotes a “Conservative List” of organizations and candidates who can receive contributions directly through this service. The roster includes 205 entities, including 46 state GOP committees, Sen. Tim Scott’s and Nikki Haley’s presidential campaigns, 109 House Republican members (including Reps. Jim Jordan, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Lauren Boebert, and Matt Gaetz), 37 GOP senators (including Ted Cruz, Mitch McConnell, Tom Cotton, Marco Rubio, and Rand Paul), and 11 organizations (including Turning Point USA, Moms for America, the National Association for Gun Rights, and the National Republican Congressional Committee).

Who, exactly, is paying for this thing?

Sinema and ManchinWhile No Labels has not actually named a ticket it wants to see run, it has privately made it evident that it has one in mind. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) is seen as a potential candidate and has joined at least one regular conference call held by the group in late April. A state official granted anonymity to speak freely said Jacobson and Clancy both mentioned Manchin and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.) as potential candidates during a 2022 phone call about fundraising.

No Labels declines to reveal just who is funding its third party bid

A GOP Chairman’s Tricky Hypocrisy on ‘Political’ Probes

“You know, the customer’s always right,”  Comer said wryly, of his approach to the people who elected him and now brandish conspiracy theories, vulgar photographs featuring the president and his son, Hunter, and other lies they expect him to act upon.

“I say, ‘Let me see it,’ because I want to see where the source is,” he said. “They don’t know that it’s QAnon, but it’s QAnon stuff.”

His embrace of such statements reflects how Comer has transformed himself to command the Republican war machine in Congress — becoming a high-profile example of what it takes to rise and thrive in the Fox News-fed MAGA universe. (NYTimes)

 

A GOP Chairman’s Tricky Hypocrisy on ‘Political’ Probes

While Rep. James Comer (R-KY) has been tapped to steer congressional probes into what House Republicans characterize as the “weaponization” of government investigations, Comer is no stranger to weaponizing politically driven investigations. Last week, Comer and Rep.

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