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Yes and DC, and the other inhabited territories, like Guam, US Virgin Islands, etc, that’s is, If they will have us. :ring: :rose:

(David Bythewood) #553

I was born in Puerto Rico. I grew up in Hawaii alongside many Samoans. And my wife’s uncle lives in Guam. I know all too well how the U.S. treats its territories. It’s past time they ALL came in as equal partners.

(David Bythewood) #554

Trump is crowing about his China trade deal, but it does not help Americans.

All it does is save face for Trump.

All tariffs remain in place, there’s a vague promise of Chinese purchases, and it avoids further escalation until 2021 – AFTER the election.

(David Bythewood) #555


This makes sense to me… Chief Justice John Roberts has played a role in setting up the way the laws work…and see how many favor DJT.

Impeachment Diary


John Roberts comes face to face with the mess he made

In an image taken from video, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. presides over the impeachment trial of President Trump on Thursday in the Senate chamber. (Senate TV via AP)


Dana Milbank


Jan. 23, 2020 at 3:28 p.m. PST

This article has been updated .

There is justice in John Roberts being forced to preside silently over the impeachment trial of President Trump, hour after hour, day after tedious day.

The chief justice of the United States, as presiding officer, doesn’t speak often, and when he does the words are usually scripted and perfunctory:

“The Senate will convene as a court of impeachment.”

“The chaplain will lead us in prayer.”

“The sergeant at arms will deliver the proclamation.”

“The majority leader is recognized.”

The latest Trump impeachment trial updates

Otherwise, he sits and watches. He rests his chin in his hand. He stares straight ahead. He sits back and interlocks his fingers. He plays with his pen. He takes his reading glasses off and puts them on again. He starts to write something, then puts his pen back down. He roots around in his briefcase for something — anything? — to occupy him.

Roberts’s captivity is entirely fitting: He is forced to witness, with his own eyes, the mess he and his colleagues on the Supreme Court have made of the U.S. political system. As representatives of all three branches of government attend this unhappy family reunion, the living consequences of the Roberts Court’s decisions, and their corrosive effect on democracy, are plain to see.

Ten years to the day before Trump’s impeachment trial began, the Supreme Court released its Citizens United decision, plunging the country into the era of super PACs and unlimited, unregulated, secret campaign money from billionaires and foreign interests. Citizens United , and the resulting rise of the super PAC, led directly to this impeachment. The two Rudy Giuliani associates engaged in key abuses — the ouster of the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, the attempts to force Ukraine’s president to announce investigations into Trump’s political opponents — gained access to Trump by funneling money from a Ukrainian oligarch to the president’s super PAC.

Opinion | The chief justice presides over impeachment, but don’t expect a lot from him

Columnist Ruth Marcus explains what the chief justice may or may not do in President Trump’s Senate impeachment trial. (Video: Danielle Kunitz, Joy Sharon Yi, Kate Woodsome/Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)

The Roberts Court’s decisions led to this moment in indirect ways, as well. The court’s 2013 ruling in Shelby County gutted the Voting Rights Act and spurred a new wave of voter suppression. The decision in 2014′s McCutcheon further surrendered campaign finance to the wealthiest. The 2018 Janus decision hobbled the ability of labor unions to counter wealthy donors, while the 2019 Rucho ruling blessed partisan gerrymandering, expanding anti-democratic tendencies.

The consequences? Falling confidence in government, and a growing perception that Washington had become a “swamp” corrupted by political money, fueled Trump’s victory. The Republican Party, weakened by the new dominance of outside money, couldn’t stop Trump’s hostile takeover of the party or the takeover of the congressional GOP ranks by far-right candidates. The new dominance of ideologically extreme outside groups and donors led lawmakers on both sides to give their patrons what they wanted: conflict over collaboration and purity at the cost of paralysis. The various decisions also suppress the influence of poorer and non-white Americans and extend the electoral power of Republicans in disproportion to the popular vote.

Certainly, the Supreme Court didn’t create all these problems, but its rulings have worsened the pathologies — uncompromising views, mindless partisanship and vitriol — visible in this impeachment trial. And Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), no doubt recognizing that the Supreme Court’s conservative majority is helping to preserve his party’s Senate majority, has devoted much of his career to extending conservatives’ advantage in the judiciary.

He effectively stole a Supreme Court seat by refusing for nearly a year to consider President Barack Obama’s eminently qualified nominee, Merrick Garland, to fill a vacancy. And, expanding on earlier transgressions by Democrats, he blew up generations of Senate procedures and precedents requiring the body to operate by consensus so that he could confirm more Trump judicial appointees.

It’s a symbiotic relationship. On the day the impeachment trial opened, the Roberts Court rejected a plea by Democrats to expedite its consideration of the latest legal attempt by Republicans to kill Obamacare. The court sided with Republicans who opposed an immediate Supreme Court review because the GOP feared the ruling could hurt it if the decision came before the 2020 election.

Roberts had been warned about this sort of thing. The late Justice John Paul Stevens, in his Citizens United dissent, wrote: “Americans may be forgiven if they do not feel the Court has advanced the cause of self-government today.”

Justice Stephen Breyer, in his McCutcheon dissent, warned that the new campaign finance system would be “incapable of dealing with the grave problems of democratic legitimacy.”

Now, we are in a crisis of democratic legitimacy: A president who has plainly abused his office an broken the law, a legislature too paralyzed to do anything about it — and a chief justice coming face to face with the system he broke.

split this topic #557

A post was merged into an existing topic: The Impeachment of President Donald J. Trump

(David Bythewood) #558

The Downfall of the Republican Party

To see men and women who had a positive vision beaten down and broken by Trump is a poignant thing.



I don’t often read Friedman, but this was spot on. Humanity as a whole seems to ignore geography and mother nature at our own peril.


Snarky yes…clever though

What in the world is George Conway III really doing? ultimately CYA, and his family’s.

George T. Conway III is a lawyer in New York and an adviser to the Lincoln Project, an anti-Trump super PAC.

I believe the president, and in the president.

I believe the Senate is right to acquit the president. I believe a fair trial is one with no witnesses, and that the trial was therefore fair. I believe the House was unfair because it found evidence against him. I believe that if the president does something that he believes will get himself reelected, that’s in the public interest and can’t be the kind of thing that results in impeachment.

I believe former national security adviser John Bolton has no relevant testimony because he didn’t leave the White House on good terms.

I believe the president’s call was perfect. I believe he is deeply concerned about corruption in Ukraine. I believe the president can find Ukraine on a map.

I believe Ukraine interfered with the 2016 election, and that the intelligence community’s suggestion otherwise is a Deep State lie. I believe the Democratic National Committee server is in Ukraine, where CrowdStrike hid it.

I believe President Barack Obama placed a “tapp” on the president’s phones in 2016, and that the Russia investigation was a plot to keep him from winning, even though the plotters didn’t think he could win.

I believe former special counsel Robert S. Mueller III was conflicted because he quit one of the president’s golf clubs, and that he and his Angry Democrats conducted a Witch Hunt to destroy the president. But I believe Mueller’s report totally exonerated the president, because it found no collusion and no obstruction.

I believe it would be okay for the president to say he grabs women by their p-----s, because he is a star, and stars are allowed to do that. But I believe he didn’t say that, even though he apologized for it, because I believe the “Access Hollywood” tape was doctored, because he said it was.

I believe E. Jean Carroll lied when she accused the president of rape, because he said she’s not his type. I believe the dozens of other women who accused him of sexual misconduct are also lying, because he would never think of grabbing them by their p-----s or anything else.

I believe the president didn’t know Michael Cohen was paying off porn star Stormy Daniels, and that Cohen did it on his own, because the president had no reason to pay her off. I believe the president was reimbursing Cohen for his legal expertise.

I believe the president is a good Christian, because TV pastors say so, and that it’s okay he doesn’t ask for God’s forgiveness, because he doesn’t need to, since he’s the Chosen One. I believe the president knows the Bible, and that two Corinthians are better than one.

I believe the president wants to release his taxes but has not because he’s under audit, which is why he has fought all the way to the Supreme Court not to disclose them. I believe he will disclose them when the audit is over, and that they will show him to be as rich and honest as he says he is.

I believe the president is a very stable genius, and that he repeatedly tells us so because it’s true.

I believe the president can spell. I believe any spelling mistakes he makes are because he’s a very busy man who doesn’t watch much TV, or because he’s intentionally triggering the libs.

I believe Hurricane Dorian was headed straight for Alabama. I believe the president’s map wasn’t altered with a Sharpie, and that if it was, he didn’t do it, since he didn’t need to because he was right.

I believe the president didn’t call Apple’s CEO “Tim Apple,” and that he said “Tim Cook of Apple” really, really fast, but that if he did say “Tim Apple,” it was to save words, which he always tries to do.

I believe windmills are bad and cause cancer. I believe there was a mass shooting in Toledo and that there were airports during the Revolution, because the president said so.

I believe the president is defeating socialism, despite the subsidies he’s paying to save farmers from his protectionism and the $3.2 trillion he’s added to the national debt during his term.

I believe the president has made tremendous progress building the wall, that Mexico paid for it in the trade deal, that the wall will soon run from San Diego to the Gulf of Mexico, that it will stop those caravans cold, and that it won’t fall down.

I believe the president has a 95 percent approval rating among Republicans, and that there’s no need to cite polls for that.

I believe the president had the largest inaugural crowd ever, regardless of what any photos from liberal bureaucrats might show.

I believe there is no longer a nuclear threat from North Korea.

I believe China pays all tariffs levied on imported Chinese goods.

I believe the president is truthful. I believe the Fake News media lied each of the 16,241 times they have said he has made a false or misleading claim.

I believe the president is selfless, and always puts the nation’s interests first. I believe he isn’t a narcissist, but he’d be entitled to be one if he were one. I believe the president would never exercise his presidential powers to advance his personal interests, but if he did, that would be okay, because whatever is in his personal interests is necessarily in the nation’s interests as well.

I believe Article II of the Constitution gives the president the right to do whatever he wants.

(David Bythewood) #562

A good article that explains “sadopopulatism”, or how the Trump justifies policies that hurt their own people by “fighting their enemies”.


Powerful words from Ambassador Marie Yovanovich, who just resigned from Foreign Services, after being ousted as Ambassador of Ukraine. She took her job seriously and her patriotism to heart.

We did this because it is the American way to speak up about wrongdoing. I have seen dictatorships around the world, where blind obedience is the norm and truth-tellers are threatened with punishment or death. We must not allow the United States to become a country where standing up to our government is a dangerous act. It has been shocking to experience the storm of criticism, lies and malicious conspiracies that have preceded and followed my public testimony, but I have no regrets. I did — we did — what our conscience called us to do. We did what the gift of U.S. citizenship requires us to do.

Unfortunately, the last year has shown that we need to fight for our democracy. “Freedom is not free” is a pithy phrase that usually refers to the sacrifices of our military against external threats. It turns out that same slogan can be applied to challenges which are closer to home. We need to stand up for our values, defend our institutions, participate in civil society and support a free press. Every citizen doesn’t need to do everything, but each one of us can do one thing. And every day, I see American citizens around me doing just that: reanimating the Constitution and the values it represents. We do this even when the odds seem against us, even when wrongdoers seem to be rewarded, because it is the right thing to do.

I had always thought that our institutions would forever protect us against individual transgressors. But it turns out that our institutions need us as much as we need them; they need the American people to protect them or they will be hollowed out over time, unable to serve and protect our country.

The State Department is filled with individuals of integrity and professionalism. They advance U.S. interests every day — whether they are repatriating Americans vulnerable to a pandemic, reporting on civil unrest, negotiating military basing rights or helping a U.S. company navigate a foreign country. As new powers rise, alliances fray, and transnational threats require international solutions, our diplomats are more than ready to address these challenges.

But our public servants need responsible and ethical political leadership. This administration, through acts of omission and commission, has undermined our democratic institutions, making the public question the truth and leaving public servants without the support and example of ethical behavior that they need to do their jobs and advance U.S. interests.

These are turbulent times, perhaps the most challenging that I have witnessed. But I still intend to find ways to engage on foreign policy issues and to encourage those who want to take part in the important work of the Foreign Service. Like my parents before me, I remain optimistic about our future. The events of the past year, while deeply disturbing, show that even though our institutions and our fellow citizens are being challenged in ways that few of us ever expected, we will endure, we will persist and we will prevail.


An Unsettling New Theory: There Is No Swing Voter

“If you think of independents as a fixed pool of voters that change preferences,” she says, “well, that has implications for how you campaign after them. But if you are talking about the preference of independents changing because the pool of independents changes, well that is a different fucking banana.”

This is fas-cin-at-ing.

Ok the new political theory is that the group of voters traditionally defined as independent, are not the same set of voters changing their minds each election. Instead they are just a pool of different voters each time, like contestants left out of a game of musical chairs. Dr. Bitecofer goes on to explain how it’s more about activating certain groups to vote vs. persuading them.

What do you all think of this new theory?

(David Bythewood) #565

I think there will be some overlap, but it’s not surprising that you get people who vote sporadically. Those less involved are likely to drift in and out of the process depending on what catches their attention or drives them, and let’s face it: there’s quite a large pool of the population that doesn’t vote regularly.


It’s an interesting point of view. Is it really possible to see which different people turned out to vote in each election? And it dovetails into the get out the vote rhetoric in each election. I do agree that more people vote against a candidate than for a candidate.

I need to think about this some more. I’m mentally debating with myself. :blush:


Thought provoking for sure…

My takeaway is that elections are dependent on surges in turnout alone…Voters - perhaps no longer termed Swing Voters are pretty much motivated by what’s at stake…2018 being a big turnout for both Dem’s and R’s (FL, GA)
and the Dem’s like the Tea Party-ers were motivated big time to get rid of the R dominated Congress.

2018 also had more college-educated voters who wanted that Congressional change more than the non-college educated who wanted the same Administrative set up.

One would think that 2020 will be a huge turnout because much is at stake for a larger slice of the population - Women, College-educated and more minorities (but not sure what that looks like in the Electorial College vote)

The real “swing” doesn’t come from voters who choose between two parties, she argues, but from people who choose to vote, or not (or, if they do vote, vote for a third party). The actual percentage of swing voters in any given national election according to her own analysis is closer to 6 or 7 percent than the 15 or 20 most analysts think are out there, and that larger group, Bitecofer says, are “closet partisans” who don’t identify with a party but still vote with one.


:boom: That’s the kicker right there, maybe these people don’t realize, they only vote when properly motivated.

(David Bythewood) #569

That’s kind of what I was talking about. Some folks don’t vote unless something, or somebody, grabs them. It’s hard to predict at times what or who that will be. Americans also don’t always answer polls on their affiliations truthfully, if at all, which can make gauging real numbers difficult.

(David Bythewood) #570

I like this attitude.

To Sway Swing Voters, Try Empathy

A Brooklyn organization trains canvassers to engage with prospective voters about their hopes and disappointments, not just give them a candidate’s talking points.


Message: Suck it up Dems…agree to disagree (on which candidate is best) but back the leading contender.

The Question All Democrats Need to Ask Themselves

Moderates worry that Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren aren’t just wrong on big issues, but too left wing to get elected. Progressives worry that Pete Buttigieg, Joe Biden, Amy Klobuchar and Michael Bloomberg are uninspiring centrists who resemble recent presidential losers and wouldn’t solve America’s problems even if they won.

My message to panicking Democrats is: Take a deep breath, and don’t make your job harder. Neither side of the party can ensure that its preferred candidate will win the nomination. But both can help avoid the outcome they fear most — Trump’s re-election.

The current moment, when everybody is wearing a veil of ignorance about the nomination, is a good time for Democrats to ask themselves a question: If the primaries don’t turn out as you hope, will you still do everything in your power to deny Trump a second term?