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erronis

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Hometown: Green Mountains
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Member since: Tue Feb 5, 2013, 04:27 PM
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The GOP is sick. It didn't start with Trump -- and won't end with him. : Dana Milbank (WaPo)

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/08/04/dana-milbank-republican-destructionists-book-excerpt/
Archived: https://archive.ph/uePpp

Excellent essay.

It began where it ended, on the West Front of the United States Capitol.

On Jan. 6, 2021, an armed mob invited and incited by President Donald Trump smashed barriers, overpowered police and stormed the Capitol. The insurrectionists scaled the scaffolding erected for President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration and proceeded to sack the seat of government for the first time since the War of 1812.

Called to Washington by Trump, who promised a “wild” time, and sent to the Capitol with instructions to “fight like hell,” the mob halted Congress’s certification of Biden’s victory, sending lawmakers and staff fleeing for their lives. At least seven people died in the riot or its aftermath, and more than 140 police officers were hurt. Some 845 insurrectionists, several with ties to white-supremacist or violent extremist groups, have faced charges including seditious conspiracy.

Many Americans were shocked that Trump, after first considering a plan to seize voting machines, had orchestrated an attempted coup, knowingly dispatching armed attackers to Capitol Hill and then refusing for 187 minutes to call off the assault. And many Americans have been shocked anew to see elected Republicans, after initially condemning Trump’s attack on democracy, excuse his actions and rationalize the violent insurrection itself as “legitimate political discourse.”

But a sober look at history might have lessened the shock, for the seeds of sedition had been planted earlier — a quarter-century earlier — in that same spot on the West Front of the Capitol.

...
Admittedly, I’m partisan — not for Democrats but for democrats. Republicans have become an authoritarian faction fighting democracy — and there’s a perfectly logical reason for this: Democracy is working against Republicans. In the eight presidential contests since 1988, the GOP candidate has won a majority of the popular vote only once, in 2004. As the United States approaches majority-minority status (the White population, 76 percent of the country in 1990, is now 58 percent and will drop below 50 percent around 2045), Republicans have become the voice of White people, particularly those without college degrees, who fear the loss of their way of life in a multicultural America. White grievance and White fear drive Republican identity more than any other factor — and in turn drive the tribalism and dysfunction in the U.S. political system.

Other factors sped the party’s turn toward nihilism: Concurrent with the rise of Gingrich was the ascent of conservative talk radio, followed by the triumph of Fox News, followed by the advent of social media. Combined, they created a media environment that allows Republican politicians and their voters to seal themselves in an echo chamber of “alternative facts.” Globally, south-to-north migration has ignited nationalist movements around the world and created a new era of autocrats. The disappearance of the Greatest Generation, tempered by war, brought to power a new generation of culture warriors.

But the biggest cause is race. The parties re-sorted themselves after the epochal changes of the 1960s, which expanded civil rights, voting rights and immigration. Richard Nixon’s “Southern Strategy” began an appeal to White voters alienated by racial progress, and, in the years that followed, a new generation of Republicans took that racist undertone and made it the melody.

Liz Cheney's smug, self-satisfied con job: Don't fall for it - Salon

https://www.salon.com/2022/07/23/liz-cheneys-smug-self-satisfied-con-job-dont-fall-for-it/

Excellent rant by Lucian K. Truscott IV - thanks to Pippin's mom for the reference.

You don't even have to look for the tell. It's right there in the first thing they say after they "cooperate" with the Jan. 6 Committee: The Republican functionary witnesses sit there looking smug and self-satisfied as they tell what they know about what Trump did and the puny shit they did to try to stop him, and when they're finished they've been told they can smile and say, "but just look at his accomplishments."

That creation stamped out of a prep-mold in a suit and tie sitting at the witness stand on Thursday night with the last name Pottinger was a perfect example of the con job they're trying to run. Why, I was so horrified by what I saw when I got finished with my off-site meeting with India's ambassador to the United States that I resigned!

Then what does Pottinger tell us? A complete and utter crap-load of smarmy claptrap about how dedicated he is to "national security," and how proud he was that he served as deputy national security adviser, and how Trump got "tough" with China and put together some treaty in the Middle East that's not worth the paper it's written on.

Mr. Pottinger was at his desk in the National Security Council office when Trump was completely and utterly capitulating to Vladimir Putin at Helsinki. He was sitting there in the Executive Office Building working for John Bolton when Trump was putting a gun to the head of Volodymyr Zelenskyy and telling him he wanted the "favor" of trashing Joe Biden before Trump would release $400 million in military aid the Ukrainians needed in their fight against the Russian incursion into their territory. Pottinger sat there on his hands when Trump fired Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch on utterly spurious grounds, knowing that she had done nothing to deserve it and that Trump was just positioning himself to exploit Ukraine in his effort to get reelected.

...
Liz Cheney learned at her father's knee how the Republican Party works. It's who they are and who they have always been. As Gore Vidal used to call them, they are the "Owners." All the rest of this stuff, like screaming about transgender bathrooms and vaccine mandates and school choice and even their anti-abortion hallelujah chorus with fundamentalist Christians is crap. It's red meat for the rubes. Do you really think they care if their wife's or mistress' hairdresser marries his longtime partner? Do you think if a Cheney granddaughter got raped at college and got pregnant that she wouldn't be able to get an abortion? Do you think if a Cheney granddaughter just wanted an abortion because she broke up with the boyfriend who got her pregnant that she wouldn't be put aboard a biz-jet and flown across state borders to the best abortion doctor in the country?

Of course not. They'll always protect the Owners and their mansions and their yachts and their Gulfstreams and their ability to avail themselves of abortion services or even contraception if it comes to that. They'll always cut taxes for each other even if it means that poor people get poorer and that children don't get fed at lunchtime in public schools and migrants continue to die in tractor-trailers in Texas.

They don't give a shit about the poor. As Liz Cheney is at last admitting, they don't give a shit about Trump, either, so long as they've got their tax cuts and their millions and billions and they can keep the minimum wage at $7.25 an hour and maintain their control over red-state governments. Trump was just a hireling. He strayed off the reservation, and they grew tired of his gross lack of taste and slovenly appearance. So they're serving up a few schmucks with smug grins on their faces to tell us what a bad guy they suddenly discovered he is, after his usefulness to them came to an end.

It's a con job. Don't believe a word of it. They're just ridding themselves of a cancer they accidentally found growing on one of their legs so they can continue stomping on poor people and women and gay people and anybody they don't like and ensuring we stay in our place. They're Republicans. It's what they do.


Lucian K. Truscott IV, a graduate of West Point, has had a 50-year career as a journalist, novelist and screenwriter. He has covered stories such as Watergate, the Stonewall riots and wars in Lebanon, Iraq and Afghanistan. He is also the author of five bestselling novels and several unsuccessful motion pictures. He has three children, lives on the East End of Long Island and spends his time Worrying About the State of Our Nation and madly scribbling in a so-far fruitless attempt to Make Things Better. You can read his daily columns at luciantruscott.substack.com and follow him on Twitter @LucianKTruscott and on Facebook at Lucian K. Truscott IV.


Through all Trump's legal wars and woes, one lawyer's influence still holds sway : NPR

https://www.npr.org/2022/07/17/1111715068/in-all-trump-s-legal-wars-and-woes-one-lawyer-s-influence-still-holds-sway

In March of 2017, as clashes with the FBI director and attorney general were erupting just weeks into his presidency, Donald Trump was asking out loud: "Where's my Roy Cohn?"

In December of 2020, with just weeks left in his term, Trump still had not had his question answered.

He was surrounded by lawyers. But none could play the role — or take the place — of the controversial counselor who decades earlier had changed his life.

Cohn was already a legend when Trump met him in 1973. Cohn had been in the news for decades, prosecuting nuclear espionage or searching for communists or defending celebrity clients. Among those he represented were Cardinal Francis Spellman, New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner and the New York crime bosses Carmine Galante and John Gotti.


What DOJ Was Doing While You Were Wasting Time Whinging on Twitter : EmptyWheel

https://www.emptywheel.net/2022/07/16/what-doj-was-doing-while-everyone-was-whinging-doj-wasnt-doing-anything/

A nice long list of currently under active investigation. This thread is promising to be actively updated.

I don't want to repeat the list of trump "associates" and their various actions, subpoenas, and charges, but it is very satisfying. And most of these are necessarily difficult to investigate - these actors aren't particularly cooperative and some of them are actually cunning.


Mark MacGann, former top executive, comes forward as Uber Files leaker

https://www.washingtonpost.com/media/2022/07/11/uber-files-whistleblower-mark-macgann/
Archived: https://archive.ph/8FVrN

MacGann, the public face of the company’s tumultuous European expansion, said he leaked the trove of documents to make up for his role in its aggressive practices: “We had actually sold people a lie.”

Mark MacGann, the former high-ranking Uber executive who served as the company’s public face in Europe during a tumultuous period of expansion, revealed himself Monday as the whistleblower behind blockbuster revelations into the ride-hailing company’s inner workings.

A longtime European lobbyist, MacGann interacted with top global business and government leaders during his tenure with the company between 2014 and 2016 but also came face-to-face with the violent protests over Uber’s disruptive practices.

He said he left the company having concluded that Uber’s culture left him powerless to question or change its ways, and fearing that the rancorous backlash against the company put his family’s safety at risk.

MacGann leaked more than 124,000 company documents to the Guardian, which shared the materials with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, which helped lead the project, and dozens of other news organizations, including The Washington Post. The Uber Files, which date to between 2013 and 2017, reveal the ride-hailing company’s aggressive entrance into cities around the world — while frequently challenging the reach of existing laws and regulations.

Experian, You Have Some Explaining to Do : Krebs On Security

https://krebsonsecurity.com/2022/07/experian-you-have-some-explaining-to-do/

Twice in the past month KrebsOnSecurity has heard from readers who had their accounts at big-three credit bureau Experian hacked and updated with a new email address that wasn’t theirs. In both cases the readers used password managers to select strong, unique passwords for their Experian accounts. Research suggests identity thieves were able to hijack the accounts simply by signing up for new accounts at Experian using the victim’s personal information and a different email address.


ANALYSIS
KrebsOnSecurity sought to replicate Turner and Rishi’s experience — to see if Experian would allow me to re-create my account using my personal information but a different email address. The experiment was done from a different computer and Internet address than the one that created the original account years ago.

After providing my Social Security Number (SSN), date of birth, and answering several multiple choice questions whose answers are derived almost entirely from public records, Experian promptly changed the email address associated with my credit file. It did so without first confirming that new email address could respond to messages, or that the previous email address approved the change.

Experian’s system then sent an automated message to the original email address on file, saying the account’s email address had been changed. The only recourse Experian offered in the alert was to sign in, or send an email to an Experian inbox that replies with the message, “this email address is no longer monitored.”


Emory Roan, policy counsel for the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, said Experian not offering multi-factor authentication for consumer accounts is inexcusable in 2022.

“They compound the problem by gating the recovery process with information that’s likely available or inferable from third party data brokers, or that could have been exposed in previous data breaches,” Roan said. “Experian is one of the largest Consumer Reporting Agencies in the country, trusted as one of the few essential players in a credit system Americans are forced to be part of. For them to not offer consumers some form of (free) MFA is baffling and reflects extremely poorly on Experian.”

Nicholas Weaver, a researcher for the International Computer Science Institute at University of California, Berkeley, said Experian has no real incentive to do things right on the consumer side of its business. That is, he said, unless Experian’s customers — banks and other lenders — choose to vote with their feet because too many people with frozen credit files are having to deal with unauthorized applications for new credit.

“The actual customers of the credit service don’t realize how much worse Experian is, and this isn’t the first time Experian has screwed up horribly,” Weaver said. “Experian is part of a triopoly, and I’m sure this is costing their actual customers money, because if you have a credit freeze that gets lifted and somebody loans against it, it’s the lender who eats that fraud cost.”

And unlike consumers, he said, lenders do have a choice in which of the triopoly handles their credit checks.

“I do think it’s important to point out that their real customers do have a choice, and they should switch to TransUnion and Equifax,” he added.

Welcome to Christian America and the evangelical Big Lie

Walt Ames, VTDigger
https://vtdigger.org/2022/07/03/walt-amses-welcome-to-christian-america-and-the-evangelical-big-lie/
...

Like most everyone else in the country, I’m ruminating over a series of small “What ifs” that coalesced into last week’s thunderbolt, setting back a century of American intellectual and scientific progress, empowering a Christian theocracy bent on its superstitions dictating the rule of law.

What if Merrick Garland? … What if Hillary? … What if RBG? … What if Bernie Bros? The chilling message in this decision is that what voters want is fast becoming immaterial to the court, and why not? Five of the justices in the majority were appointed by presidents who entered the White House after losing the popular vote.

Patiently waiting three decades for his day to come, Clarence Thomas made clear immediately that he wasn’t yet satisfied. He wanted more. In a concurring opinion, stunning in its implications, Thomas took aim at the heart of a nation already riven by the court’s overturning Roe v. Wade, intimating that the rights to marriage equality, intimate LGBTQIA + relationships and even contraception could eventually be heading for the SCOTUS chopping block.


... but can’t tear my focus from the self-mythologizing of the Christian right, and its sanctimonious recall of how Roe galvanized the movement in 1973, jumpstarting a half-century of activism leading to last week’s big SCOTUS victory.

Unfortunately, as William Barr might say, their recollection is total bullshit. Randall Balmer, the Mandel family professor of arts and sciences at Dartmouth, eviscerated what he termed a “durable myth” several years ago in Politico magazine. “It wasn’t until a full six years after Roe that evangelical leaders seized on abortion not for moral reasons but as a rallying cry to deny Jimmy Carter a second term. Why? Because the anti-abortion crusade was more palatable than the religious right’s real motive: protecting segregated schools.”

Largely conceived by the late Paul Weyrich, co-founder of the Heritage Foundation, the new coalition’s long-term objective was political power, which, according to Weyrich, once achieved would “give the Moral Majority the opportunity to re-create this great nation.”

But Balmer reports a catalyst around which to rally was elusive: “Weyrich by his own account had tried out different issues to pique evangelical interest, including pornography, school prayer, the proposed Equal Rights Amendment and even abortion,” but couldn’t get “those people” interested, admitting at a 1990 conference that he had “failed utterly.

Contradicting the carefully manufactured mythology, we find the Christian response to Roe v. Wade was hardly a response at all, certainly not angry. It was mostly silence or even outright approval. Baptists thought the decision was “an appropriate articulation of the division between church and state, between personal morality and state regulation of individual behavior.” W. Barry Garrett, writing in the Baptist Press at that time, suggested “religious liberty, human equality and justice are advanced by the Supreme Court abortion decision.”

But issues around money, power and racism proved too difficult to ignore and losing the federal tax exemption of their racially discriminatory private schools was a bridge too far and the religious right was born through no connection whatever to abortion.

Another concern for evangelicals was that if their “segregation academies” lost their status; gifts and donations to such institutions would no longer provide charitable tax deductions. Although abortion, writes Balmer, “emerged as a rallying cry by 1980, the real roots of the religious right lie not in the defense of a fetus but in the defense of racial segregation.”

...
Misogynistic to the extreme; Draconian beyond measure; and so primitive Samuel Alito justifies the decision by citing (several times) Sir Matthew Hale, a 17th-century English legal authority who thought there was no such thing as marital rape, believing “I do” was retroactive consent, and presided over witch trials.

The very idea this character would convey even a shred of credibility in the victimization of women is simply loathsome.

Welcome to Christian America.

Betrayed by a Reactionary SCOTUS : Medscape

https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/976398
Archived: https://archive.ph/3Xl6M

The Supreme Court's decisions this past week have made us all — particularly women — more unsafe. The gun decision, especially on the heels of the Uvalde massacre and the rise in mass shootings, is incomprehensible. I'll address that in another post.

But the biggest betrayal for me, and women in this country, is the Supreme Court's overturning Roe v Wade — the focus here. First, these "Justices" should be impeached for lying under oath during their confirmation hearings. (Clarence Thomas at his 1991 confirmation hearings: "I believe the Constitution protects the right to privacy." Now, he clearly is acting as if there is no such right.)

To many of us, it appears that their decision is a profoundly Catholic one and, as such, is violating the First Amendment under the separation of church and state via the establishment clause.

The Supremes are imposing their Christian beliefs on people of all faiths. Not all religions believe that life begins at conception. Jewish and Muslim beliefs prioritize the mother's health. In fact, not only is abortion permitted by Jewish law but it is required to save the life of the mother. A mother's psychological health is also a consideration for Jews. Other religions have their own views, with Buddhism and Hinduism generally being more flexible than conservative Christianity.

In many states, abortion is now prohibited in cases of rape or incest. Even in states that allow it for the maternal health exception, a practical problem is how close to death the woman has to become before this is allowable — or before a physician risks his/her professional life and freedom? Savita Halappanuvar died from sepsis following a miscarriage. Doctors will be reluctant to do a dilation and curettage now, fearing being accused of performing an abortion. How many other women will needlessly die now because of someone else's religious beliefs? Many women will likely die from ectopic pregnancies because hospitals will adopt a wait-and-see approach.

We already have a problem with Catholic restrictions on healthcare throughout the country. There were five states where 40% or more of the acute care beds are Catholic-operated. Between 2016 and 2020, the number of geographic regions where a Catholic facility is the sole community hospital grew from 46 to 52.

It's one thing to say we should want to avoid the need for abortion, but in much of the country there is little to no sex education, and contraceptives are expensive and not readily available. Birth control is not 100% effective and can fail, leading to an unplanned and likely undesired pregnancy.

So if a man is forcibly impregnated win a fertilized ovum would he have to carry it to term?

I'm on a non-natural tangent here, but please think about this.

Let's say that mad scientists have figured out a way to plant a sac into a man's abdomen that tapped into his blood system. The sac would include lots of hormones, some nutrients, and a fertilized human egg. Basically the man became a host for some externally implanted parasite.

Who would perform an operation to remove this foreign object?

There was a sci-fi story from at least 30+ years ago (John Brunner?) that talked about a male astronaut having sex with an alien - thinking that the alien would have to carry the baby. Nope. Whoops - painful birth down that tiny canal!

Women Declare Themselves Corporations to Force Supreme Court to Grant Them Rights as Peopl

Come on people, it's Borowitz

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—Millions of American women and girls have declared themselves corporations in order to force the United States Supreme Court to grant them rights as people, legal observers have reported.

Attorneys across the nation indicated that they have been swamped by requests from clients seeking to incorporate as soon as possible.

“The Supreme Court decided in 2010 that corporations are people, so all we want is to be treated like corporations, ” Carol Foyler, who now goes by the corporate name FoylerCo L.L.C., said.

The decision by millions of women to incorporate sent shock waves through the Court’s conservative majority, who reportedly scoured the Constitution in vain for a means to circumvent the ingenious tactic.

Even the normally taciturn Clarence Thomas was moved to issue a rare public statement. “It’s a sad day in America when the nation’s highest court is forced to treat women like people,” he wrote.
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