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Zorro's Journal
Zorro's Journal
January 31, 2021

'We traffic in lies': A House Republican launches campaign to 'take back our party'

As the Republican Party wrestles with its identity in the wake of former President Trump, an Illinois Republican is out to prove there is a GOP voter base that wants to give up the division and conspiracy theories that he says have come to define the party.

“The biggest danger right now is that we’ve become a party that dabbles — not just dabbles — we traffic in conspiracies and we traffic in lies,” said Rep. Adam Kinzinger, who on Sunday plans to release a video and website, country1st.com, to start the campaign.

Kinzinger, one of 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump earlier this month, has been one of the few GOP lawmakers willing to speak out against the former president’s actions. The campaign effort positions him alongside Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming as one of the leaders of a wing of the party seeking to distance itself from Trump.

Trump’s role in the Jan. 6 insurrection on Capitol Hill was a wake-up call, Kinzinger said.

“Republicans must say enough is enough. It’s time to unplug the outrage machine, reject the politics of personality, and cast aside the conspiracy theories and rage. It’s time to turn back from the edge of darkness and return to the ideals that have long been our guiding light,” he said in the recorded video. “It’s now or never. The choice is ours. I’ve made mine, and I hope every Republican, and every American who shares our values, will choose to join me. Let’s take back our party.”


January 31, 2021

Trump to Defend Self After Receiving Law Degree from Trump University

PALM BEACH (The Borowitz Report)—Donald J. Trump will act as his own defense attorney at his impeachment trial after receiving a law degree from Trump University.

Trump bestowed the degree upon himself in his capacity as the dean of the Trump University School of Law, where he graduated first in his class.

In his first official statement as the lead attorney of his defense team, Trump vowed not to quit the team “like those other losers.”

Davis Logsdon, a law professor at the University of Minnesota, called Trump’s new status as his own attorney “problematic.”

“It’s true that he will now have a fool for a client, but that was also true of his other attorneys,” Logsdon said. “One downside of working for himself, however, is that he definitely will not get paid.”


January 31, 2021

The Science of Reasoning With Unreasonable People

Don’t try to change someone else’s mind. Instead, help them find their own motivation to change.

A few years ago, I made the mistake of having an argument with the most stubborn person I know. R., whose initial I’m using to protect his privacy, is a longtime friend, and when his family came to visit, he mentioned that his children had never been vaccinated — and never would be.

I’m no proponent of blindly giving every vaccination to every newborn, but I was concerned for his children’s safety, so I started debunking some common vaccine myths. After days of debate, I was exhausted and exasperated. Determined to preserve our friendship, I vowed never to talk with him about vaccines again.

Then came 2020. Fear of the vaccine may be the greatest barrier to stopping Covid-19. It stretches far beyond the so-called anti-vaxxer community: About half of Americans harbor questions about the safety of the Covid-19 vaccines; 39 percent say they definitely or probably won’t get one.

I decided to see if I could open R.’s mind to the possibility. What I didn’t realize was that my mind would be opened as well.


Don't know how this approach would work on a QAnon follower who believes there's a Satanic cult of blood-drinking, baby-eating deep state Democrats in control of the government...
January 31, 2021

21 Men Accuse Lincoln Project Co-Founder of Online Harassment

Source: New York Times

John Weaver, a longtime G.O.P. operative who advised John McCain and John Kasich, made sexual overtures to young men, sometimes offering to help them get work in politics.

John Weaver, a longtime Republican strategist and co-founder of the prominent anti-Trump group the Lincoln Project, has for years sent unsolicited and sexually provocative messages online to young men, often while suggesting he could help them get work in politics, according to interviews with 21 men who received them.

His solicitations included sending messages to a 14-year-old, asking questions about his body while he was still in high school and then more pointed ones after he turned 18.

These messages from Mr. Weaver, 61, who helped run John McCain’s presidential campaigns in 2000 and 2008 and John Kasich’s in 2016, did not lead to physical encounters except in one consensual case, and none of the men accused Mr. Weaver of unlawful conduct. Rather, many of them described feeling preyed upon by an influential older man in the field in which they wanted to work, and believing they had to engage with his repeated messaging or lose a professional opportunity.

Mr. Weaver sent overt sexual solicitations to at least 10 of the men and, in the most explicit messages, offered professional and personal assistance in exchange for sex. He told one man he would “spoil you when we see each other,” according to a message reviewed by The New York Times. “Help you other times. Give advice, counsel, help with bills. You help me … sensually.”

Read more: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/31/us/politics/john-weaver-lincoln-project-harassment.html

January 31, 2021

It's not just Trump on trial. It's the whole Republican Party.

Opinion by Max Boot

When the impeachment proceedings begin in the Senate, it will not be just Donald Trump in the dock. The entire Republican Party will be on trial. And there is every reason to believe that the GOP will fail this test — as it failed every other during the past four years.

Trump’s guilt is clear — and getting clearer all the time. The Center for Responsive Politics reports that the Trump campaign paid more than $2.7 million to the individuals and firms responsible for organizing the Jan. 6 rally on the Ellipse where Trump told his supporters to “to fight much harder” against “bad people.” At least five individuals who face federal charges in connection with the Capitol assault have said that they were following orders from the then-president.

The New York Times has just revealed another part of Trump’s plot against America: The then-president wanted to replace acting attorney general Jeffrey Rosen with a lower-ranking official intent on using the Justice Department’s power to force Georgia to overturn its election results. Trump was only dissuaded when all of the department’s senior leaders threatened to resign. This occurred shortly after Trump himself was recorded demanding that the Georgia secretary of state find the votes needed for him to win that state.

Trump’s incitement of a violent insurrection against another branch of government is the worst wrongdoing that any president — who is sworn to “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution” — can commit. Members of Congress and Trump’s own vice president were lucky to escape injury in the riot that he fomented.


January 31, 2021

Five of Trump's impeachment defense attorneys leave team less than two weeks before trial

Five of former President Donald Trump's impeachment defense team attorneys have stepped aside a little more than a week before his Senate trial is set to begin, according to people familiar with the case, amid a disagreement over his legal strategy.

It was a dramatic development in the second impeachment trial for Trump, who has struggled to find lawyers willing to take his case. And now, with legal briefs due next week and a trial set to begin only days later, Trump is clinging to his election fraud charade and suddenly finds himself without legal representation.

Butch Bowers and Deborah Barbier, who were expected to be two of the lead attorneys, are no longer on the team. A source familiar with the changes said it was a mutual decision for both to leave the legal team. As the lead attorney, Bowers assembled the team.

Josh Howard, a North Carolina attorney who was recently added to the team, has also left, according to another source familiar with the changes. Johnny Gasser and Greg Harris, also from South Carolina, are no longer involved with the case, either.


I'd heard that the 2 lead attorneys had left by mutual agreement, but wasn't aware there were 3 others on the defense team.

I bet Trump is wanting to go on the Senate floor to "defend" himself.

January 31, 2021

Dan Crenshaw Is the Trumpiest of the Wannabe New Trumps

He’s got the same gift for aggrievement and shameless performance. And he’s got real military experience and isn't shy about exploiting it.

Close your eyes, if you would, and picture the next Trump-like president. Who do you see? Maybe it’s seditionist Sen. Josh Hawley, with his simulacrum of the Black power salute, but for white-supremacist storm troopers about to attack the Capitol Building in Washington? Or the oleaginous Sen. Ted Cruz, a patchy-bearded propagandist who spends his days lying about election fraud and picking Twitter fights with Hollywood actors? Or throne-sniffing Sen. Tom Cotton, or former UN Ambassador under Trump (appointed because she seemed foreign-y to him), Nikki Haley?

But it’s far from clear that any of these awkward, unpleasant profiles in perfidy have what it takes to stimulate the amygdala of Trump’s deplorable devotees. Those who made clear in the Alabama special of 2017, midterms in 2018, Virginia statewides in 2019, and two Georgia Senate races in 2020, that they don't turn out in surge numbers when their One True Love isn't on the ballot.

Hopefully, there won’t be any Trump 2.0, but there is one Republican I can picture pulling it off. You haven't heard quite as much about him, because he’s only a House member, and because it’s challenging to make your batshittery stand out when you’re surrounded by that trinity of trashy truculence that is Matt Gaetz, Jim Jordan, and Louie Gohmert. But Dan Crenshaw may just have the combination of shamelessness, cynicism, cruelty, and performative charisma to put Trump’s band back together.

One thing that you have heard about him says a lot about why he may be the one. Back during the 2018 midterms, Pete Davidson of Saturday Night Live made a joke about how he was surprised that Crenshaw, a former Navy Seal who wears an eye patch because he lost an eye while serving in Afghanistan, was “a congressional candidate from Texas and not a hit man in a porno movie.”

January 31, 2021

This Ex-SNL Star Is Giving MyPillow Guy the Floor for His Conspiracy Rants

Not only is Joe Piscopo a business partner with Mike Lindell, he’s now turning his radio mic over to the Trump ally to spew wild claims of election fraud.

One of Saturday Night Live’s most notorious former stars has turned his radio show into a regular platform for his business partner, cushion and conspiracy hawker Mike Lindell, amplifying the Trump-loving MyPillow founder and his unfounded claims about the election, Twitter “censorship,” and the deadly Capitol insurrectionist riot.

Between the early 1980s and the early 2010s, Joe Piscopo went from SNL fan favorite to punchline—but resurrected his career in 2014 with Piscopo in the Morning, a four-hour block on AM 970, a talk-radio station popular with New York City commuters. Since the election of now-former President Donald Trump, Piscopo’s guests have often been a mix of dubious conservative commentators and more mainstream figures like former NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly. By 2018, his show had climbed into the top 50 most-streamed and most influential radio programs in the country, according to an industry poll.

In 2021, and particularly after Trump supporters rioted at the Capitol on Jan. 6, Piscopo has repeatedly given airtime in the largest U.S. media market to Lindell, even though such hard-right outlets like Newsmax had by then sought to block the MyPillow magnate from making his outrageous claims on their air.

Undisclosed in these recurring appearances is that Piscopo and Lindell have been business partners for several years. In 2017, the duo launched a supplement line called “Nutrajoe,” for which Lindell filed and obtained the trademarks. The product was marketed via infomercial, much like MyPillow, and promoted on Lindell’s corporate Twitter account. The company remains an active concern, according to Minnesota corporate filings, though its website appears defunct.

January 31, 2021

13 young Guatemalans who left for a better future were slain in Mexico, families say

As 15-year-old Robelson Isidro left Guatemala this month, he promised his worried mother he would stay in close contact during his journey to the United States.

She had begged him not to go, but he assured her it was for the best.

He earned just $3 a day toiling in the coffee fields around Comitancillo, a largely indigenous town in Guatemala’s western highlands. With a few years of American wages, he hoped to buy the family a house.

“We’re almost to the border,” he wrote to his mother, Maria Isidro, on Facebook Messenger Jan. 21, explaining that he would cross into Texas the next morning.

It was the last time she heard from her eldest son.

A few days later, she saw news reports that made her stomach drop. Nineteen burned bodies had been discovered in northern Mexico 20 miles from the U.S. border.


January 31, 2021

Rubio, Scott decline to lay out legal reasons for opposing Trump impeachment

The senators were among 45 Republicans voting in favor of a motion by Sen. Rand Paul to declare impeachment unconstitutional, because Trump is no longer in office.

Florida’s two senators, Republicans Marco Rubio and Rick Scott, have made it clear they oppose impeachment of former President Donald Trump, but both declined this week to lay out legal reasons for their votes that impeachment would violate the Constitution.

Scott and Rubio were among 45 Republicans voting in favor of a motion by Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., to declare impeachment unconstitutional, because Trump is no longer in office.

A Jan.15 report by the Congressional Research Service said the question “is open to debate,” but “it appears that most scholars who have closely examined the question have concluded that Congress has authority to extend the impeachment process to officials who are no longer in office.”

Asked by the Times for their legal rationale for disagreeing, spokesmen for both senators responded with statements on their general opposition to impeachment.

McKinley Lewis said Scott believes impeachment is “a waste of time … vindictive, backward looking, unserious, and constitutionally sketchy.”

A Rubio spokesman referred to a previous tweet and interview by Rubio.

The tweet said impeachment was a “Waste of time” and “isn’t about accountability … It’s about demands from vengeance from the radical left.”


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