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dajoki

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Gender: Male
Home country: USA
Current location: PA
Member since: Wed May 11, 2005, 09:48 PM
Number of posts: 10,659

About Me

I love spending time with my grandchildren and gardening.

Journal Archives

Can Merrick Garland find his inner Zelensky and stop America's slide into Putinism?

Can Merrick Garland find his inner Zelensky and stop America’s slide into Putinism?
Political bombshells here at home tie Donald Trump tightly to a criminal conspiracy on January 6. Will the attorney general find the courage to act?
The Philadelphia Inquirer: Can Merrick Garland find his inner Zelensky and stop America’s slide into Putinism? | Will Bunch.
https://www.inquirer.com/opinion/merrick-garland-indict-trump-january-6-20220306.html

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Indeed, a federal investigation that so far has netted charges against more than 700 smaller fish hasn’t ensnared any swamp creature larger than James or Rhodes, who pleaded not guilty to the same seditious conspiracy charge. The big kahunas — Stone, his pal Michael Flynn, Trump January 6 advisers like Eastman, Rudy Giuliani, and Steve Bannon, as well as Trump himself — have not been charged (although Bannon faces trial for ignoring the House Committee’s subpoena), and legal watchers have seen scant evidence such a probe is far along.

That, in a nutshell, is the true significance of last week’s legal filing by the House committee. In announcing its strong evidence of Trump’s criminality around January 6, the committee also made it all but inevitable it will eventually send a criminal referral against Trump to Garland at the Justice Department. This will likely come after public hearings, probably this spring, that will lay out the case of the United States vs. Donald J. Trump. The pressure will mount on Garland to do something America has never done — charge a president with a crime.

That’s why what’s happening right now in Ukraine should be a game-changer. We are watching, in real-time, the moral implosion of a powerful, nuclear-armed nation that’s just a few years farther down the rabbit hole of authoritarianism than the United States. Putin’s delusional but deadly invasion of a sovereign democracy has elevated the question: How do you stop a madman? And when? In Sunday’s Washington Post, veteran journalist Dan Balz reports the biggest worry of America’s western allies in working so closely with the Biden administration against Russia is their fear that U.S. voters — or U.S. vote counters — will return Trump to the White House in 2024.

Yet fear has ruled our own response to Trump’s criminality. The latest deer in those headlines has been newly elected Manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg, who stunned his top career staffers by aborting their ongoing criminal investigation into Trump’s role in the dodgy finances of the Trump Organization. It’s totally legit to worry that the milquetoast-y Garland — whose prosecutors have already pulled their Trump-related punches in other matters — is the next frightened deer standing on the roadway between January 6 and real justice.

One of the few positives to emerge from the horrors taking place in Eastern Europe is the reminder for a politics-weary world of what actual courage looks like, in the unexpected persona of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. A former comedian and actor, Zelensky has shown the power of looking directly into a camera and speaking plain truths, about the barbarity of Putin’s invasion and the will of his own people to resist it. It’s something that some of America’s political leaders — but especially Merrick Garland, facing the decision of a lifetime — should watch, and study. That’s because speaking the plain truth about what Donald Trump did, and acting upon that truth, is the only surefire way to prevent an American Putin.

"You cannot just go and buy a weapon. It's not like the United States"

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/02/25/ukraine-invasion-russia-news/#link-NEBMMPYONRFF3CKVWJTURS2Z2A

Key update
‘I’m going to fight to my last drop of blood’: Ukrainians return from abroad to join battle

SHEHYNI, Ukraine — Some Ukrainian men living overseas lined up Friday at border crossings to return to Ukraine and do their part to fight Russia’s onslaught. Others, attempting to leave Ukraine, expressed frustration at being blocked amid a national call to arms.

Ukraine’s border guards stopped all male citizens between the ages of 18 and 60 from leaving the country on Friday, as the Defense Ministry called on residents of one district of Kyiv to make molotov cocktails.

Alexander Gorbenko, 54, complained that there was little he could do to protect his homeland from Russian troops as he parted from his wife and 11-year-old daughter at the Medyka-Shehyni border crossing to Poland, unable to cross with them.

“I just have an air rifle, the cash machines don’t work, and there is no organization,” he said. “I cannot prepare. You cannot just go and buy a weapon. It’s not like the United States.”

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How Will America Deal with The Next GOP Wannabee Dictator?

How Will America Deal with The Next GOP Wannabee Dictator?
If the DOJ and Congress don't prosecute Trump and change our laws, the next Republican to occupy the White House will probably also try to end our democracy
https://hartmannreport.com/p/how-will-america-deal-with-the-next

“Precedent” sounds boring and wonky. In reality, it’s the way past criminal Republican presidents have taught those who followed them to break the law.

This is the shocking story of how Republican presidents taught each other to break the law, and how — if Trump isn't prosecuted — the next Republican president will try to end democracy in the USA.

Trump has broken multiple past presidential precedents and established entirely new ones that — unless they’re punished and outlawed — provide a template for the next Republican president who wants to turn America into a strongman oligarchy like Hungary or Turkey.

And given the rhetoric coming out of the GOP’s front-runners for 2024, we should be seriously concerned about that as a future

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Since the Nixon precedents were set, criminality and a flagrant disregard for democratic norms have run like an underground river through the GOP, and have now flowed from federal to state Republican politicians as well.

As you’re reading these words, Republicans are preparing to openly steal elections in more than a dozen states and fifty corrupt Republicans in the US Senate just helped them in their effort.

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we should be grateful that Democrats elected a lot of smart, fearless women in recent years

JANUARY 6 DECONFLICTION: “THIS IS PART OF A MUCH BIGGER CONSPIRACY”
https://www.emptywheel.net/2022/01/15/january-6-deconfliction-this-is-part-of-a-much-bigger-conspiracy/

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Consider what happened to lead to this federal criminal referral. After electors sent fake certifications to the National Archives, NARA then sent them to Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson and Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs.

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Arizona took immediate action; given Nessel’s comments, Benson appears to have referred the matter to Nessel. Some of these details were made public last March after American Oversight obtained them. But after the January 6 Committee put them all in context and focused renewed attention to how the fake certificates fit into a larger effort, it led Nessel to hold off on pursuing potential 14-year charges against some of the most powerful Republicans in the state, and instead to formally refer the investigation to the Feds, based on the logic that the obviously coordinated effort to forge fake electoral certificates is part of a larger whole.

snip//

Regardless of what Willis decides, she can also refer actions to the Feds because it, like the forged electoral certifications, “is part of a much bigger conspiracy.”

The point is (besides that we should be grateful that Democrats elected a lot of smart, fearless women in recent years) that there are lots of moving parts to this “much bigger conspiracy.” And all those moving parts have, as an option, referring their investigative findings to DOJ to drop it into the “much bigger conspiracy.”

So during the year when DOJ has been laying what Merrick Garland called “the evidentiary foundation for more complex cases,” states and local authorities have been conducting investigations that can be joined to that evidentiary foundation.

These are all parts of a much bigger conspiracy.

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Cheney is no defender of democracy

Liz Cheney: Not the Republican hero that we needed in 2021
Cheney is no defender of democracy — she's a dinosaur who misses the old days when GOP corruption was more genteel
https://www.salon.com/2021/12/20/liz-cheney-not-the-hero-that-we-needed-in-2021/

From the moment that Donald Trump first ran for president in 2015, there's been a longing — from not just the mainstream media, but from large numbers of Democrats — for Republican heroes who will stand up to him. The tiny percentage of almost entirely elite Republicans who objected to Trump became known as "never-Trumpers" and were exalted in #Resistance circles as patriots and heroes, even though their actual power over the GOP was non-existent. They existed more to prop up this illusion that the Republican Party was once an upstanding party, and that it's only after the advent of Trump that the GOP lost its way.

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For one thing, there is no better form of the Republican Party to "take back." The GOP has been the party of Richard Nixon and Joe McCarthy for longer than most Americans have been alive. Trump's mentor, infamously sleazy lawyer Roy Cohn, was influential in Ronald Reagan's administration, at least until he was disbarred and died of AIDS. Reagan's race-baiting, you'll recall, was hardly more subtle than Trump's. And before Trump's Big Lie, we had George W. Bush's "WMDs in Iraq." Jonah Goldberg may play at being the upright conservative now, but he only came up in GOP politics because his mother was involved in destroying the life of a young Monica Lewinsky. The fantasy of the "good Republican" relies on ignoring literal decades of actual Republican behavior.

snip//

In 2021, no one more illustrated this gulf between the fantasy of the heroic Republican and the actual scumminess of the GOP than Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming.

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It's not just that her father was one of the architects of the original big lie, the "WMDs in Iraq" nonsense that was produced to justify the unjustifiable invasion of Iraq. Until Trump tried to overtly steal the 2020 election, Cheney stood by her man through thick and thin. She voted with Trump 93% of the time during his four years in office. When Trump attempted to blackmail the Ukrainian president into falsifying evidence for an anti-Biden conspiracy theory in 2019, Cheney refused to vote to impeach him. She also joins in with every Fox News smear of Democrats, showing that she's fully committed to the GOP's long-standing habit of resorting to dirty tricks.

Most importantly, Cheney opposes voting rights. She supported the long line of Trump judges that were being installed in order to gut the Voting Rights Act. Even after she became an outspoken Trump critic, she vehemently refused to back any kind of legislation to prevent the ongoing state-level efforts by Republicans to make sure Trump's next coup is more effective. She doesn't take issue with Republicans trying to wind down democracy or steal elections. She just wants to put a gloss of respectability on the process. A paperwork coup, where power is obtained by preventing people from voting and by corrupting the election systems, is just fine by Cheney. What grossed her out was the way Trump and his allies kept doing obvious coup-stuff on camera.

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America Is One Gut Punch Away From Throwing in the Towel on Democracy

America Is One Gut Punch Away From Throwing in the Towel on Democracy
https://www.thedailybeast.com/america-is-one-gut-punch-away-from-throwing-in-the-towel-on-democracy?source=politics&via=rss

I remember the political gut punches. They were moments that I could not believe were happening in America. They ran contrary to the idea of America that I had been raised with. But they also defied logic and reason.

While America had been rocked by riots and assassinations when I was a kid, the first big political development in America that shocked me was the election of Ronald Reagan. He was a boob, a Hollywood actor, not even a very good one. At the time, just out of college, I did not really understand the darker forces that were behind his election—the racism and greed, the anti-government ideology that was really just a formula to enable the richest among us to make more and the most racist states to chart their own course.

Reagan, of course, offered a benign face to these changes. When the GOP was taken over by the hard right in the 1990s by men like Newt Gingrich and Tom DeLay, and the “Contract with America” turned into a scorched-earth campaign that deliberately left Washington dysfunctional (because an inert government is the next best thing to no government at all), it was a shock all over again. The extremism of the GOP was getting worse and worse, the nation’s divisions growing deeper and deeper.

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When Al Gore won the popular vote but lost the election to George W. Bush thanks to a dubious, highly political call by the U.S. Supreme Court, that too was a gut punch.

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Then came the election of Donald Trump, another one in which the person who got the most votes, one of the most highly qualified candidates in our history, was defeated.

It was Reagan times a thousand. Instead of a plastic face from Hollywood we got a corrupt sleazebag known to every New Yorker and to television audiences everywhere as one of the dregs of humanity. We saw him embrace the help of one of our greatest enemies to get elected. We heard him lie. And we watched in disbelief as he lost the popular vote but won in the electoral college.

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Trump says a bit too much about James Comey's FBI firing (again)

Trump says a bit too much about James Comey's FBI firing (again)
Donald Trump seemed to volunteer to Fox News that the FBI was on his trail, so he fired the FBI director in order to save his own skin.
https://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/trump-says-bit-too-much-about-james-comey-s-fbi-n1285383

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In an interview that aired last night, Trump sat down with Fox News' Mark Levin, apparently to help promote a new book with photographs from his time in the White House. Their discussion turned to the Russia scandal, which the former president said may have been made up in Hillary Clinton's kitchen. He added:

"[A] lot of people say to me, 'How you survived is one of the most incredible things.' Don't forget, I fired Comey. Had I not fired Comey, you might not be talking to me right now about a beautiful book of four years at the White House. And we'll see about the future. The future's going to be very interesting. But I fired Comey, that whole group, and now that group is coming back again. I mean, it's not believable. It shouldn't be allowed to happen. It shouldn't be allowed to happen."

The host tried to change the subject, but later in the interview, Trump seemed eager to talk about this some more.

"I was going to say before, if I didn't fire Comey, they were looking to take down the President of the United States. If I didn't fire him, and some people said, 'He made a mistake when he fired Comey.' And now those same people said it was the most incredible instinctual moves that they've ever seen, because I wouldn't — I might be here with you, perhaps we'll be talking about something else. But I don't think I could have survived if I didn't fire him, because it was like a hornet's nest.

snip//

And now we have a striking new example. Unprompted, Trump seemed to volunteer to Levin that the FBI was on his trail, so he fired the FBI director in order to save his own skin.

snip//

In case anyone's curious, the statute of limitations for federal obstruction of justice is five years. Trump fired Comey four and a half years ago.

Democratic lawmakers blast Supreme Court commission for 'both-sidesing' court politicization

Yeah, there's a one-sided politicization problem on this court.
Democratic lawmakers blast Supreme Court commission for 'both-sidesing' court politicization
https://m.dailykos.com/stories/2021/11/20/2065287/-Democratic-lawmakers-blast-Supreme-Court-commission-for-both-sidesing-court-politicization

Four congressional Democrats wrote a scathing letter to President Joe Biden’s Supreme Court reform commission this week, calling out the commission’s failure to address or even examine the degree to which dark money groups with well-funded lobbying campaigns have influenced the court, both in terms of the justices appointed and their decisions.

In the letter, Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal, Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, Hawaii Senator Mazie Hirono, and Georgia Representative Hank Johnson remind the commission that they’ve already called this issue out: “We wrote to you earlier this year to emphasize that the issues your Commission is tasked to consider cannot be addressed without grappling with pressing judicial ethics concerns, including the role of secretive special-interest influence in and around the Court.” The commission released its first discussion drafts last month, showing that it was failing to address some of the Court’s fundamental problems—like the politicization of the court through groups like the Federalist Society—and downplaying others.

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The lawmakers also strike at the core of the commissions’ failings, it’s insistence on “both-sidesing” the politicization of the court. “This view that ‘both sides’ are equally to blame for the politicization of the Court, and the implicit assumption that members of the Court are themselves insulated and apart from this politicization, is an unproven proposition,” they wrote.

“In the face of overwhelming evidence that the Court has been captured by partisan donor interests, it is wrong to perpetuate the fiction that it has not been,” the lawmakers write. “By grounding its draft report foremost in the concern that the public must perceive the Court to be legitimate and independent, the Commission fails to consider the very real and much more dangerous possibility that it might not be.”

The updated draft of the commission, released ahead of a Friday public meeting, shows that the commission is still not dealing with that fundamental challenge of this court. That’s not too surprising—the commission includes a few staunchly anti-abortion lawyers and Federalist Society members.

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The impeachment of President Biden and other American nightmares coming in 2023

The impeachment of President Biden and other American nightmares coming in 2023 | Will Bunch
With polls, gerrymandering making a GOP House all but inevitable in 2023, Americans need to ponder a year that could tear the nation apart.
https://www.inquirer.com/opinion/president-biden-inpeachment-2023-gop-house-20211118.html

Imagine this: It’s a gray, chilly day in Washington, D.C., in March of 2023. A handful of protesters from left-leaning groups like Indivisible are huddled outside against the icy Potomac winds, but mostly there’s a climate of disbelief in the nation’s capitol as the GOP-dominated House of Representatives wraps up debate over the impeachment of Josephy Robinette Biden Jr., 46th president of the United States.

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This is America’s immediate future, and yet — with all the sometimes ridiculous inside-the-Beltway speculation about less urgent and less likely matters like whether Democrats ditch Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris for Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg — it’s clear that neither the press, the public, nor the political classes are truly ready for the year that is going to shake American democracy to its core: 2023.

A couple of developments this week brought the collision course that looms a little more than a year from now into sharper focus. On Capitol Hill, the bitterly partisan fight over Wednesday’s censure of Republican right-wing zealot Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona — who’d tweeted a cartoon video of him killing Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — revealed the depths of the GOP’s obsession with political revenge if and when the party retakes control of Congress. Said McCarthy, currently the minority leader: “What they [Democrats] have started cannot be easily undone."

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If anything, what Republicans are willing to do with Trump out of power could ultimately prove an even greater threat to democracy than actually having the authoritarian-yet-inept Trump in the White House. Democrats need to begin sounding this alarm today — that voters who turned out in near-record numbers in 2020 to defeat the culture of Trumpism need to defy history and show up next November, to prevent something even worse. Yes, today’s electorate is tired of chaos, but they should wait until 2023 — because they ain’t seen nothing yet.

planning contingencies for a constitutional crisis and how to remove the president

https://twitter.com/MuellerSheWrote/status/1458139442338664453
https://twitter.com/MuellerSheWrote/status/1458139444540633089
https://twitter.com/MuellerSheWrote/status/1458139446491058181
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