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dajoki

Profile Information

Gender: Male
Home country: USA
Current location: PA
Member since: Wed May 11, 2005, 10:48 PM
Number of posts: 10,592

About Me

I love spending time with my grandchildren and gardening.

Journal Archives

I found it galling to watch George W. Bush speak on Saturday

George W. Bush 2021, Meet George W. Bush 2001
Sept. 14, 2021
https://www.nytimes.com/2021/09/14/opinion/george-w-bush-911-speech.html

You can draw a straight line from the “war on terror” to the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, from the state of exception that gave us mass surveillance, indefinite detention, extraordinary rendition and “enhanced interrogation” to the insurrectionist conviction that the only way to save America is to subvert it.

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It is with all of this in mind that I found it galling to watch George W. Bush speak on Saturday.

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Bush spoke as if he were just an observer, a concerned elder statesman who fears for the future of his country. But that’s nonsense. Bush was an active participant in the politics he now bemoans.

In 2002, Bush said that the Senate, then controlled by Democrats, was “not interested in the security of the American people.” In 2004, he made his opposition to same-sex marriage a centerpiece of his campaign, weaponizing anti-gay prejudice to mobilize his conservative supporters. Ahead of the 2006 midterm elections, he denounced the Democratic Party as “soft” on terrorism and unable to defend the United States.

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It is frankly maddening to see anyone treat the former president as if he has the moral authority to speak on extremism, division and the crises facing our democracy. His critique of the Trump movement is not wrong, but it is fatally undermined by his own conduct in office.

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As much as he has been rehabilitated in the eyes of many Americans — as much as his defenders might want to separate him and his administration from Donald Trump — the truth is that Bush is one of the leading architects of our present crisis. We may not be able to hold him accountable, but we certainly shouldn’t forget his starring role in making this country more damaged and dysfunctional than it ought to be.

I'm Beginning to Understand How It Feels to Live in a Majority-oppressed Nation

I'm Beginning to Understand How It Feels to Live in a Majority-oppressed Nation
http://www.smirkingchimp.com/node/98256

As George W. Bush was blundering his way into a minoritarian Middle East nation he did not understand, I understood from a historical perspective how its Sunnis had managed to rule over the Shia, even though, as noted, the Sunnis were a minority. The Ottoman Empire — whose official religion was Sunni — once ruled over the territory that became Iraq and which provided a buffer to the Shiite empire of Iran. Following the Ottoman Empire's fall, British colonialism reinforced Iraq's powerful Sunni minority over the Shia majority, which ultimately led to the Sunni dictatorship of Saddam Hussein and George W. Bush's blunder.

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As an American born and raised, I possessed no real understanding of any of that — until now, living, as I do, in this American nation increasingly ruled by the arrogant, unlearned, chronically dyspeptic few.

Now obviously the United States of today is not another Iraq of the early 2000s; not yet, anyway. But we the American majority are now daily experiencing the frightful sensation of being ruled by boorish political warlords hatched from sparsely populated fiefdoms of unutterable ignorance and unremitting hostility to civilized life. We are the nation's predominant centrists, moderates, liberals, progressives, socialists, Never Trumpers and Mugwumps — known broadly as Democrats — committed to civil rights, human liberty, freedom of conscience and democratic rule. And yet where we've not already lost power, we're losing it to the other guys — those Husseinlike Republicans.

So much of our growing impotence is — to use that overused word — structural, coupled with a complete and rather innovative lack of Republican scruples. Barely, just barely do Democrats now control the executive and legislative branches; yet even though their rank and file vastly outnumber the opposition, that control is at huge risk of being lost in 2022 and 2024 because of built-in, perfectly legal Republican advantages. Which means there's not a helluva lot Democrats can do about it.

The Trump Party's ruthless gerrymandering that would embarrass yesterday's Tammany leaders will almost certainly permit a fevered few to recapture the House; control of the Senate is, as always, at the mercy of voters in less populous states, where the uncivil brood; and the archaic, nitwitted and grotesquely undemocratic Electoral College, which enthroned our last two Republican presidents — both receiving less votes than their opponents — could easily present a trifecta of minority-based executive power.

As for the third branch of U.S. government? That instantly returns us to those two Republican presidents who were never democratically elected. For they appointed, for life, six of our nine Supreme Court Justices, who have ruled of late that states run by Husseinlike Republicans may pass nakedly unconstitutional laws which can then stand for months and, while they're at it, inhibit the voting rights of whatever and however many citizens they choose.

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Where is George W. Bush-- the sensitive painter of humanity-- when Biden needs him?

Ending a Debacle Is Not For the Faint of Heart
The Ex-President In The Shower
https://thiscantbehappening.net/the-ex-president-in-the-shower/

Where is George W. Bush — the post-presidential, sensitive painter of humanity — when Joe Biden needs him? As chairman of the board of the US Constitution Center in Philadelphia, on Veterans’ Day 2018 Joe Biden arranged for Bush and his wife Laura to receive the coveted Liberty Medal for their work with veterans. Biden, for certain, did this out of his famous instinct to work across-the-aisle; in this case, he seemed to want to make a warm and friendly public gesture to a Republican ex-president who clearly needed a life ring.

Of course, one of the reasons Mr. Bush needed a political life ring was that it was he who made the two fateful decisions that involved the United States in two disastrous foreign wars that quickly turned into classic quagmires. The man is branded.

I’ve been a Biden critic in the past and could be in the future, but the criticism over his messy exit from Afghanistan is either partisan nonsense or fear of the inevitable Republican backlash. The biggest strike against Biden in the military violence department is that he’s a Democrat, which means whatever he does will be fodder for relentless Republican “gotcha!” attacks.

After 241 Marines were blown up in a 1983 terrorist bombing in Beirut, Ronald Reagan somehow fled Beirut with his tail between his legs and got away with it. He was a Republican. George W. Bush, of course, was re-elected after ignoring a lot of very wise opposition (most of it from the left) and setting in motion two foreign policy disasters. Now, many of the very same people who let these Republicans get away with their military fiascos and all the dead young soldiers on their watch are now piling on President Biden. If it was a thriller it’d be titled The Benghazi Protocol.

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I can hear the ex president’s conscience in the shower bemoaning his fate:

Woe is me. I was a two-term President! Now, everybody thinks I’m a fool. After 9/11, I tried to sell myself as a war president. What was I thinking? All I ever really wanted was to be liked and to play with my dog. I did like owning a baseball team. But I had to do something. I’d been caught like a deer in the headlights reading “The Pet Goat.” I had to show gravitas. The war president thing came naturally. It worked for a while. But then it didn’t work any more. I read a bio of LBJ, but I realized other than escalate, he didn’t know what to do, either. Everything led to more confusion, more violence, more horror, more lying to the American people. Shakespeare was right. Ohhhh, woe is me!”

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If George W. Bush is an honorable man, he might consider paying Joe Biden back for awarding him that Liberty Medal on Veterans’ Day 2018 in Philadelphia. Having the guy who started the debacle defend the messy exit would be helpful. As for the Veterans Day Liberty Medal event, I was able to get inside and, by phone, help direct the Iraq veterans and Gold Star mothers outside so their chant of “Shame! Shame! Shame!” could be heard by Biden and Bush inside.

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Our worst terrorist enemies are now home grown.

Permit Me -- or Rather, Them -- to Ruin Your Day

Permit Me — or Rather, Them — to Ruin Your Day
http://www.smirkingchimp.com/thread/p-m-carpenter/98186/permit-me-or-rather-them-to-ruin-your-day

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America is in the grip of an accelerating coup; a systematic, methodical upending of its constitutional — and constituted — fundaments; an interlaced collapse into brigandry and "official" lawlessness orchestrated by a relative handful of right-winging Robespierres and their rank-and-file lackeys. Everything is at stake, everything is at risk — and so far, everything is going to hell.

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The ruling came from a Court tilted in its heinous majority by a U.S. president of unrelenting criminality but never removed from office by a crimes-sanctioning U.S. Senate led by the presidential crime family's enforcer who had earlier shredded the U.S. Constitution in denying a legitimate president his entitled choice of a Court appointee. Three national crimes ruthlessly compounded in one day.

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Why? Because the lawful, "reasonable" and majority opposition in Congress is fucking AWOL. Two-thirds of a year have passed since a small minority staged a violent assault on the very heart of American governance — the majority's home — and yet sedition's principal engineers and chief defenders remain untouched, with some of them actually sitting in Congress and openly advocating yet another violent insurrection. Hence a felonious minority leader is a trifling.

Plus — and again — eight months now and the Justice Department still has not announced a weighty investigation into a blatantly criminal presidency and post-presidency which, by the way, is still instigating and inciting rebellion against the United States government. Oh my, such an investigation would look political — for Christ's sake, isn't rescuing our politics the whole point? — and it might displease the rebellious minority and bloody insurrectionists. Can't have that!

So we have an indictable House minority leader and a Constitution-ripping Senate minority leader quite comfortable with a lackadaisical congressional majority; a former president steeped in constant criminality and yet free as a bird; more post-presidential insurrections to come; and, above all else ...

we have Republican state legislatures rigging future federal elections — to be condoned by a runaway, fascistic Supreme Court presently occupied with assaulting 51% of the U.S. population — which will promote both minority leaders to majority leaders in 2023 and guarantee Orbánlike authoritarianism in 2025.

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A very good article about "court stripping"

Could the “Monarchs” on the Supreme Court Tank Democracy?
Get ready for the Supreme Court & a handful of GOPers to put Trump, DeSantis, Scott, Cotton or Hawley into the White House regardless of the 2024 election outcome - unless they are stopped now
https://hartmannreport.com/p/could-the-monarchs-on-the-supreme?utm_campaign=post&utm_medium=email&utm_source=copy

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"[T]he supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make.”


Exceptions? Regulations? Congress can do that? Can Congress tell the Supreme Court what it can and can’t rule on? Really?

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This process of writing “the Supreme Court may not rule on this law” into controversial legislation had been done many times in American history, but never in such a big way that it was tested by the Court itself. It’s called “court stripping” or “jurisdiction stripping.” And it has never been tested.

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A number of Senators and members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus have recently been discussing limiting the Court, while the Biden Administration has empaneled a group to examine specific “regulations” that could or should be imposed on it, ranging from changing its number of justices to require its members to abide by the federal code of judicial ethics (something from which the Court has exempted itself).

This Court has gone way over the line, from blowing up a Voting Rights Act that passed the Senate unanimously, to endorsing multiple Republican voter suppression efforts, to opening the floodgates for billionaire- and corporate-money to flood elections and end up in the personal pockets of politicians

And if any more justices join Thomas, Roberts and Alito in arguing that the Court can throw the 2024 election to whomever they please with a little help from Republican-controlled state legislatures the issue becomes even more urgent.

Now is, therefore, an essential time to add to that discussion the power of Congress to not only pass legislation that limits money in politics, Supreme Court interventions in state-based elections, racialized voter suppression and partisan gerrymandering, but also unambiguously prevents the Supreme Court from blowing up congressional and presidential efforts by ruling against them.

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Chuck Todd pulls another Todd ...same old nonsense

Chuck Todd Channels Rudy Giuliani
Meet The Press host Chuck Todd used the most odious right-wing meme to attack President Biden's decision to withdraw from Afghanistan
https://crooksandliars.com/2021/08/chuck-todd-biden-competence

Meet The Press host Chuck Todd used the most odious right-wing meme to attack President Biden's decision to withdraw from Afghanistan.

Traitor Trump negotiated a deal with Taliban in 2020 that put the United States in the position that we're in, so President Biden chose to rip off the Afghanistan bandage, while owning the consequences

It was never going to be pretty, unfortunately. But the Beltway media has an obsessesion for US dominance and when the pictures ("optics" ) don't look good - they pounce.

“You’ve got to ask: the orderly part of this, what went wrong?” Todd mused.

Then he switched on his inner Giuliani and went right to Biden's mental capabilities.

"Joe Biden’s greatest strength against Donald Trump in the campaign was the idea that he has been around the block, he knows what he’s doing, we’re facing this crisis with COVID, we need some basic competency back in government, no more chaos. He’s lost the competency high-marks he was getting at one time, and that’s tough to get back." Todd said with a straight face.

The idea that Trump was not competent is not an idea but an actual fact.

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Jeffrey Toobin is a special kind of moron

I mean what possible reason or purpose could he use an excuse for writing such a piece of drivel? Unless he has completely gone over to the alternative reality world of right wing quackery after his zoom embarrassment. CNN shouldn't have even thought about publishing such nonsense.


Attorney General Merrick Garland, don't prosecute Donald Trump
By Jeffrey Toobin, CNN
https://www.cnn.com/2021/08/16/opinions/donald-trump-attorney-general-garland-toobin/index.html

(CNN)Did Donald Trump commit federal crimes in his final, desperate attempts to overturn the results of the 2020 election?

The latest revelations about Trump's final days in office demonstrate that his behavior was, at a minimum, outrageous. He pressured his acting attorney general, Jeffrey Rosen, to open an investigation of purported fraud in the vote count in Georgia, even though there was no evidence of such wrongdoing. In one call, Trump apparently directed Rosen to "just say the election was corrupt, [and] leave the rest to me

Trump also allegedly engineered the departure of the United States attorney in Georgia when he refused to pursue Trump's false claims. In addition, Trump's statements at a rally in Washington, DC, on January 6 are said to have led his supporters to storm the Capitol later that day. For some distinguished lawyers, this evidence provides a roadmap for Merrick Garland, the attorney general, to direct a criminal investigation of the former president.

To which I'd respond: not so fast. It's one thing to describe the former president's behavior as disgraceful and wrong -- and I'd share that view -- but quite another to argue that Trump should be criminally prosecuted. Based on the available evidence, there is no basis to prosecute Trump and little reason even to open a criminal investigation.

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The Supreme Court's Conservatives Have Laid the Groundwork for the Devastation to Come

The Supreme Court’s Conservatives Have Laid the Groundwork for the Devastation to Come
https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2021/07/supreme-court-conservatives-destroy-voting-rights.html

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Look a bit closer at the court’s two bitterly divided voting rights cases this term, and we can see where this Supreme Court is headed next. Back in October, before Barrett joined the bench, the justices split 4–4 over the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s modest extension of the deadline for mail ballots. At the time, it was easy to see what the four hardcore conservatives were teeing up: A postelection Bush v. Gore–style case in which the Supreme Court handed itself the power to nullify thousands of legal ballots. To do so, they tried to stop state judiciaries from protecting voting rights under their state’s constitution—a notion that was too radical even for the Bush v. Gore majority and constituted a direct assault on states’ rights to set their own election rules. They also floated Trumpian conspiracy theories designed to undermine public confidence in the integrity of the election. And they even suggested that Democratic election administrators were meddling with ballot.

But the Four Horsemen lost, and Donald Trump lost much too decisively for them to get a rematch. In the months that followed, Republicans flooded the courts with frivolous lawsuits attempting to overturn the election. These challenges, it cannot be stressed enough, were meritless nonsense—a symptom of the rot at the heart of the conservative legal movement that never stood a chance in court. Yet when the Supreme Court predictably turned them away, the conservative justices received praise for staying out of the election. Even Justice Stephen Breyer lauded the court for staying out of the conflict. But the Supreme Court did get involved in the 2020 election. The conservative justices fought hard to disqualify a huge number of valid mail ballots in swing states like Pennsylvania and North Carolina. Just because they did not succeed, and declined to hop on Sidney Powell’s crazy train to Kraken town afterward, does not mean they didn’t try.

Now fast-forward to Thursday’s 6–3 decision in Brnovich v. DNC mangling what remains of the Voting Rights Act beyond all recognition. As Justice Elena Kagan wrote in dissent, the majority opinion is a “law-free zone.” It rewrote the VRA to strip protections from racial minorities who are currently being targeted by voter suppression laws around the country. Roberts and Barrett sided with the rest of the conservatives to ensure that a substantial number of minorities will struggle to access the ballot in 2022 and beyond—if they manage to cast a vote at all. There was no compromise here, as in Fulton, no 3-3-3 split that divided the conservatives. When it came to eviscerating the VRA, the Republican-appointed justices spoke with one voice
Decisions like Brnovich hedge against the necessity of a future Bush v. Gore. Why wait until the eve of an election to disenfranchise voters when you can do it in the middle of the summer of an off year? If we pluck out these two major voting cases and examine them side by side, we see an alarming trend: an overt hostility to democracy and to equal access to the ballot. If we look at Brnovich sandwiched in between compromises like Fulton, by contrast, it might not seem that bad—a conservative victory, yes, but one of just a few decisions that fractured the court along ideological lines.

Decisions like Brnovich hedge against the necessity of a future Bush v. Gore. Why wait until the eve of an election to disenfranchise voters when you can do it in the middle of the summer of an off year? If we pluck out these two major voting cases and examine them side by side, we see an alarming trend: an overt hostility to democracy and to equal access to the ballot. If we look at Brnovich sandwiched in between compromises like Fulton, by contrast, it might not seem that bad—a conservative victory, yes, but one of just a few decisions that fractured the court along ideological lines.

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THERE ARE A FEW REPUBLICAN NEVER TRUMPERS. NOW NAME SOME REPUBLICAN NEVER SUPPRESSORS

THERE ARE A FEW REPUBLICAN NEVER TRUMPERS. NOW NAME SOME REPUBLICAN NEVER SUPPRESSORS.
https://nomoremister.blogspot.com/2021/07/there-are-few-republican-never-trumpers.html?m=1

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Yes, there are Republicans who oppose Donald Trump's assault on democracy. But how many of these Republicans -- how many Republicans anywhere -- oppose the assault on democracy in GOP-run state legislatures, and in the courts?

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There's no Liz Cheney or Adam Kinzinger for legalized suppression of the Democratic vote -- no Republican in D.C. has a problem with this, and objectors in the states are rare. As I keep telling you, all Republicans oppose democracy, but "mainstream" Republicans want to tilt democracy in the GOP's favor in ways that maintain the appearance of legitimacy. S

So they won't say anything about these suppression laws (or they'll express support for them, as Cheney did in May after the Georgia law passed), and they won't object in the future when GOP-run states purge voter rolls of Democrats, close precincts in Democratic strongholds, and close motor vehicle offices in areas where Democrats need to obtain photo IDs for voting.

Opposing Trump is good, but it's not the same as favoring democracy. No nationally prominent Republican appears to be genuinely in favor of fair elections.

Why?

https://twitter.com/emptywheel/status/1406952582346575881
https://twitter.com/emptywheel/status/1406953088393621504
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