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RemovedMay 18
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Ross, I am taking this post down too. Was a bad response to what I wrote, as these posts are not in the spirit of how engage here. If you are unhappy with it happy to refund your subscription. Just let me know.

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As readers of Jessica Craven's substack "Chop Wood, Carry Water" know, she features a daily ResistBot petition. Yesterday's was about Justice Alito's need to recuse or resign. You can read about it here:

https://open.substack.com/pub/chopwoodcarrywaterdailyactions/p/chop-wood-carry-water-517-8b9?r=1aiy5t&utm_campaign=post&utm_medium=web

or simply text "Sign PZKQEK" to 50409. For more info on ResistBot go to https://resist.bot/

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Complain to the Department of Justice. Bribery and perjury are crimes.

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Don't people need to be reminded that his actions and negligence caused 100,000 or more unnecessary deaths from COVID in 2020? That their official policy was "We Want them infected." the deadly herd immunity strategy? https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2023/11/21/2189477/--We-want-them-infected-The-Deadly-COVID-Policy

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May 18·edited May 18

Moreover, initially Trump & Co saw the Covid epidemic as primarily a Blue State / Blue City problem, and therefore of less concern.

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It *was* at first - the biggest wave of deaths in those days were older, black and Latino men (edited - in large cities like New York and Chicago). Thinking about it kind of reminds me of the AIDS crisis in that way - Trump and Friends saw those deaths as “who cares about THOSE people” in the same way Uncle Ronnie saw gay men dying of HIV.

Then, of course, the epidemic spread beyond the populations Trump thought of as disposable and they started singing a different tune.

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but even after that they kept herd immunity as their strategy.

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A Reform Agenda is essential to inspire anyone at this point.

Everyone of every part of the political spectrum that I speak with agrees on one thing: the money in politics is disgusting and increasingly dangerous.

When the SCOTUS determined in 2010 that 'money =. speech', apparently it didn't dawn on those Big Thinkers that would mean that rials, rubles, renminbi, pesos, pounds, euros, Naira, Egyptian pounds, dirhams, cedis, and endless other forms of monetary currency would be driving American politics. Pure idiocy.

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Great insight! Let's shorten it to:

When SCOTUS determined in 2010 that 'money = speech', apparently it didn't dawn on those Big Thinkers that rubles, renminbi, and rials would be driving American politics.

You're right to emphasize Reform.

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It’s fantasy to think that either Alito or Thomas will recuse themselves or resign. The only way to get them off the bench is to impeach them and that has to be done by the House with conviction by the Senate.

All the more reason (as if we needed more) that it’s imperative we take back the House and keep the Senate and White House.

💪💙

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I agree but I think a conviction in the Senate takes 2/3 of the Members. Very difficult even in a good election year to elect 2/3 Democrats.

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May 18·edited May 19

Impeachment is not a viable strategy. However, dragging their billionaire "sponsors" into the light through subpoenas, and public testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, most definitely is.

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Bribery. Perjury.

Alito, Thomas and Roberts probably are also recidivist violators of the Financial Statement "Anyone who knowingly and willfully falsifies or conceals any material fact in a statement to the government may be fined up to $50,000, imprisoned for up to five years, or both." 18 U.S.C. § 1001.

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May 18·edited May 18

Speaking of Alito and Thomas, it remains a problem that Dick Durbin, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, remains hesitant or unwilling to subpoena Leonard Leo and Harland Crow.

(Edit: Enforcing those subpoenas must be part of "the fight for the traditional rules, norms and laws", to which Simon refers in his reply.)

I really do wish Senator Sheldon Whitehouse was Chairman of the Judiciary Committee!

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Truthfully, I don’t understand Durbin, even during the Obama years. I understand and glad that he is a Democrat - we need all the Democrats we can get - I just don’t understand why he is a Democrat.

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Dick Durbin is 79. I want to add that he’s a good Democrat who has served the Senate long and well. I think also that he’s “old school” and came of political age in a much less polarized, charged era, when even high-ranking wrongdoers could expect some kind of censure or punishment. It’s not even so much as age - Joe Biden is the same age and he really seems to be rolling with the times! - but a mentality.

I don’t know that having our own side throw out all the norms and politeness is the answer, either (Teri Kanefield on her blog talks about this). Maybe the much vaunted era of “comity” was an exception rather than the rule? At any rate, if Durbin steps down or retires, his seat is safe D - not sure who would be his successor in that seat - and someone else would be party whip, again, not sure who. (Brian Schatz maybe? He’s from the safest of safe blue seats, and is a solid progressive and good Senator. Besides, the Senate needs more visible aloha shirts!)

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May 19·edited May 19

I think your analysis is very accurate, indeed. While I see absolutely nothing nefarious about Senator Durbin, I do believe he is far too timid. When America is fighting highly effective extremists such Leonard Leo, that timidity becomes a losing strategy.

And as for the role of party whip, their job is to ensure votes for key Democratic legislation. Imho, the whip *should* very early have found Senator Manchin’s *pressure points* – and applied whatever pressure necessary, made whatever deal required, to pass President Biden’s original "Build Back Better" agenda!

Sadly, instead, Republicans got to Manchin and Sinema first.

To put it another way: It’s a pity Senate Democrats have not have a Party Whip and a Majority Leader of Nancy Pelosi’s caliber!

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Durbin is a good Senator, there's a pr and political risk to hearings because this can drive moderate GOP'rs more to Trump. It is a delicate balance like impeachment. If it won't make any big difference why inflame the great divide.

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🏆 Sheldon Whitehouse!

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Judy I don't really agree with this. This falls in the not obeying in advance terrain I discuss below. By ceding the traditional norms of democracy, we become complicit in their erasure. We can and must insist and fight for the traditional rules, norms and laws that has made this country the greatest in the world. https://www.hopiumchronicles.com/p/not-obeying-in-advance?utm_source=publication-search

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Simon, I’m confused. How is wanting to impeach Justice Alito and Justice Thomas “ceding the traditional norms of democracy”? Should we simply hope they recuse themselves?

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We have to demand, insist call on them to recuse, for Roberts to clean all this up. What is happening here is wrong and we should say so. Waiting for a House led impeachment next year means we are ceding ground in the debate now.

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Ohhh. Ok. Thanks for your reply, Simon. I have called on them to recuse themselves. However, if they don’t, the next step would be impeachment ?

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At the very least, making a lot of noise in that direction, keep it front and center in the minds of the court AND the voting public. We need to keep pointing out that the court is breaking historical norms and constitutional expectations. In the here and now, that can perhaps make them rethink how they do things.

Keeping this in front of the public also benefits the campaigns of the Dems and progressives we hope will win seats in the next Congress- because they will be the ones working on impeachment if we succeed.

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I sometimes see people enter the gym the way that I first did -- exhausted, and with barely any muscles left. But work with a trainer, and over a few months, you start to feel better as those muscles build.

Roberts seems like a well-intentioned, high-minded man who has failed to exercise discipline among his exalted Brethren for so long that he lacks the 'muscle memory' to do his job. It appears to be too heavy a lift for him; he simply doesn't appear to have stamina or resolve.

He either needs a terrific professional coach/trainer to help him along, or he needs to seriously consider whether he still has the energy to do his job. (I can't imagine any division manager allowing their subordinates were running roughshod over protocols. Watching Roberts fail to enforce discipline is horrifying.)

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Might be he agrees with them? Also horrifying.

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founding

We're going to have to agree to disagree about Roberts. In my opinion, he's complicit. Just as bad as the rest.

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And, it was Robert's ridiculous reasoning/opinion in Citizen's United that allowed the war on the Idea of America to begin. Corporations are NOT people, my friend.

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Plus, impeachment is a non starter. Impeachment should be used to remedy high crimes and misdemeanors.

Egregious ethical behavior is not a crime.

Make it a political issue. Remind voters that too many justices wearing black costumes are throwing out decades of settled law and legal precedent.

They’ve become activist justices. Look at the Trump immunity case. They didn’t focus on the facts and evidence in the case before them.

They seemed more interested in hypotheticals and remedies belonging in the legislative arena.

You’d never get 2/3rds to convict. Pursuing a political impeachment… is what GOPers do.

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Setting out a reform agenda is important.

Too many people rationalize their non-participation in politics by saying both parties are the same. We can't accept that. - It does the radicals' work for them.

We have proud ideals and values. Let's get loud with them: we believe in freedom, security and democracy. We believe people get to decide the kind of government they have, not the other way around.

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May 19·edited May 19

Thanks for the post! I want to add, in response to Judy’s comment, that what your point about the Dems needed to adopt a reform agenda is that you are right - we need to think differently. We need to have the young politically disengaged voters in view who don’t know who Dick Durbin is, don’t know about the filibuster, don’t read the NYT (only watch Tik Toks) and let them know that their abortions rights, right to get out of student debt, stopping gun violence were taken away by MAGA. We need to package the Supreme Court, Mike Johnson and Trump all together and say these are the old white guys who are stealing your future not the nice old white guy who is trying to give you back of that stuff. Really brilliant insight Simon. I pray and hope the Biden campaign is listening to you…

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Ok. Just read the “not obeying in advance” which I understand and respect. I actually hadn’t thought of it that way.

You know I’ll do anything in my power to preserve our democracy and freedoms.

I see responses to the issue of Thomas and Alito on other sites and they are full of “they shoulds.” Every time it frustrates me. We know what SHOULD happen but that doesn’t move the ball forward. Action does. So I did a simple search on impeaching justices and that’s what I found.

But if writing to Justice Roberts is what needs to happen I’m on it.

Please bear in mind that you’ve been doing this professionally and a whole lot longer than many (most?) of us. There’s a learning curve and I’m learning as I go.

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We should impose financial disclosure and ethics requirements on elected or appointed officials from all three branches of government up to and including the President and the Supreme Court and their families and close affiliates, just like we already do with all federal government employees.

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Thanks as always Simon. With the poll averages stubborn (even accounting for the dubious partisan polls) it is really good to remember that polling is not the best metric to evaluate this race, and that there is still every reason to believe the sea change we all anticipate is coming.

What has struck out to me this cycle is the sheer bankruptcy of pundits these days. Everybody is just looking for a way to say “I agree with everyone else” in a normal way. There would be more people in the media acknowledging Biden’s strength in the election if they weren’t afraid to be the only ones predicting it. Nobody gets mocked for being wrong the same way everybody else is. Add in algorithm culture’s enforcement of homogeneity and you end up with some very tired and unexamined opinions. People continue to believe many Carville-era tropes that do not apply in the twenties at all.

One piece of misguided CW that has been driving me crazy is “Biden shouldn’t talk about what he has done, but what he will do.” That’s absolutely absurd, because Biden’s main problem with undecided voters is that they think he hasn’t done anything! Why would anybody put any stock in what he says he’ll do in the future if they are laboring under the delusion he’s never done anything in the past? Thank you for pointing out how wrong this is!

The herding of opinions is even more extreme than herding of the polls. For example, the Siena poll - I must have seen two dozen “think pieces” in my media diet about Biden’s alleged struggles with young voters and minority voters. I did not seen ONE piece commenting on Trump losing older voters! Shouldn’t that be a huge concern for Republicans? But it’s like the press didn’t even look at the column.

The important thing to remember is that all these media narratives are much less important than they seem. We have two jobs: to make people see the contrast, and to get them to polls. “The media” barely matters anymore - especially with the types of voters who might be hesitant or undecided.

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I agree with your comment, and want to add, it makes me want to destroy things when I hear it’s all the Democrats’ fault because “they are so bad at messaging” (often put in more profane or vulgar terms). There are lists as long as LeBron James’ arm of What Biden Has Done, the message *is out there* but it’s not being disseminated, because the big media outlets, at any rate, and their pundits, are all carrying water for Trump and the Republicans.

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May 18·edited May 18

Simon, you touch on the shocking news about Justice Sam Alito, which really should have become top news at the time – not years later. The latest blog entry by historian Heather Cox Richardson puts this in a more comprehensive perspective. Especially worth noting is the stunning SCOTUS/Alito plan revealed by Trump lawyer-stooge, Sidney Powell (who pleaded guilty to election interference in Georgia):

"Leading scholar of the American right Kathleen Belew explained on social media that the upside-down flag was “not just signifying that the election was ‘stolen.’ The inverted flag means the country has been overthrown (to many, if not most, on the right). This is a profound act of symbolism and appalling at the home of a Supreme Court Justice.”

"For Alito to fly it was an indication that he was part of the insurrection.

"In September 2021, Trump loyalist lawyer Sidney Powell, who was part of the team trying to get the results of the 2020 presidential election overturned, told a right-wing talk show host that while rioters were attacking the Capitol, she and her team were trying to get an emergency injunction to prevent Congress from certifying Biden’s victory.

"“We were filing a 12th Amendment constitutional challenge to the process that the Congress was about to use under the Electoral Act provisions that simply don’t jive [sic] with the 12th Amendment to the United States Constitution,” she said. “And Justice Alito was our circuit justice for that.”

"The plan was thwarted, she said, when then-House speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) reconvened Congress and certified Biden’s win that night. “[S]he really had to speed up reconvening Congress to get the vote going before Justice Alito might have issued an injunction to stop it all, which is what should have happened,” Powell said."

https://heathercoxrichardson.substack.com/p/may-17-2024

Please share with friends, especially Republicans and Independents, if any.

.

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I am reminded of that Yeats poem - the best lack conviction, the worst are full of passionate intensity.

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We were much closer to a coup than I ever realized. Good thing they had a bunch of Keystone Cops at the helm.

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And… the we the people had (and have) Nancy Pelosi.

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I listened to the Deep State podcast with you and Tara McGowan. I heard her deep concern about Trump's 2 to 1 advantage over Biden presence on Tik Tok -- the SM choice for news of many Gen X and Gen Z people. Is there a strategy available to address this? Is any one taking this on? Steven Krugman

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This article analyses how Tik Tok’s algorithm emphasizes superficiality and drives political polarity in Europe, with concrete examples.

https://www.nrk.no/ytring/de-sosiale-medienes-tyranni-1.16856874

The article is in Norwegian, but you can paste the URL into Google Translate.

https://translate.google.com/

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Maybe that stupid app should be banned, after all. I can always watch Kelly Gooch and cute cat and baby goat vids on You Tube anyway.

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May 18·edited May 19

A serious alternative is to strictly regulate Tik Tok, as well as other social media. Of course, that also means serious regulation of Facebook, Twitter (Xitter), Truth Social, Reddit, Threads, and the like...

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Glad to be part of this!

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May 18·edited May 18

Simon astutely wrote: "Democrats Need A Big Reform Agenda... Democrats [need to] develop and campaign on a clear agenda to strengthen our democracy and tackle the corruption and rot…"

In my humble opinion, President Biden needs to far more to address the problem of *greedflation*, not just through measures such as junk fees, but through a much-louder public narrative.

For American families, it doesn’t help that economists are quoting inflation figures dropping towards 3%, when "experienced inflation" remains exceedingly painful. By "experienced inflation" I mean the cumulative inflation of recent years, which is double digit.

*Greedflation* – corporations padding their profit margins far above and beyond their increased costs – is shameful, and President Biden and Democrats need to call it out as such.

I am convinced this issue is an important campaign winner.

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I would love to have him put Elizabeth Warren at the head of a committee in charge of this.

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May 18·edited May 18

While I have immense respect for Senator Elizabeth Warren, I believe Sheldon Whitehouse is a better fit for the Judiciary. I want Warren in charge of everything related to banking, the financial industry, the CFPB, Treasury and the Federal Reserve.

PS. Elizabeth Warren was my favored Presidential candidate in 2016. Biden has been a very positive and welcome surprise, much more progressive than I expected.

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Same here re Warren as my favored candidate, but Joe absolutely knocking it out of the park as far as actual accomplishments. (I did say that I’d rather have Joe Biden and a blue Senate than Warren and a red one, because, realistically, we need the Senate to get stuff done. What is the opposite of a monkey’s paw? Did I wish upon a soft fluffy kitten paw? Poor departed Cricket Noem’s paw?)

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Sen. Warren has high negatives but fine after election.

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Santa’s Wife, here is a great article on Elizabeth Warren’s recent accomplishments. We can see why Robert Kuttner calls her "The indispensable senator"!

https://prospect.org/blogs-and-newsletters/tap/2024-05-17-elizabeth-warren-indispensable-senator/

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Awesome piece. She continues to rock.

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May 18·edited May 18

Agree, but with caution.

I'm in a West Coast metro, and my auto insurance went from $900 - $1,400 -- AND my insurance company is no longer writing annual contracts. I have to re-up in six months.

Here's what I learned from a company rep:

Pre-COVID, there might have been 6 autoshops, whereas post-COVID there are probably 3.

The price of cars has increased significantly, as have car parts and labor.

If someone has a car accident, pre-COVID they might have been able to get their car fixed in 2 weeks; now, it could be months.

And don't even start with the costs of rental cars...

The prices have been rising so quickly that my auto insurance will only write premiums for six months at this point.

IMVHO, bashing the insurance company for trying to realistically respond to changes in the marketplace is blind and foolish. I think that this would be unfair to people who actually are trying to be fiscally and socially responsible, so it has to be handled with a lot of insight. Blaming employees (or even insurance company directors) would only alienate people already burdened with unhappy customers and a challenging marketplace.

IOW, distinguishing the Bad Actors from the Overwhelmed is a key factor, and a real challenge.

Meanwhile, this leaves people in my region with fewer and fewer insured drivers, b/c people simply can't afford insurance. That factor drives rates up faster and further for those of us still trying to fork out for auto insurance. It's like inflation on steroids.

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Good points.

And there will soon be a ten-month waiting list at the Maternity Ward.

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author

Here's the data, nationally: Car insurance premiums have surged by 22.2% over the past year, according to March's Consumer Price Index figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, far outpacing the current inflation rate of 3.5%. Over the same 12-month period, car repair costs increased 11.6%, with maintenance and repair costs up 8.2%.

https://www.forbes.com/advisor/car-insurance/car-insurance-rates-up-again/

You report here that insurance went up almost 60% in the last year? Seems high based on this data.....

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May 19·edited May 19

Thanks so much for such a great resource.

I didn't mean to suggest that everyone's rates went up so high, but mine did.

It took me by complete surprise, because (fingers crossed!) I have no incidents, no accidents, and only 2 drivers. I think the psychological impact of an unexpectedly large bill twice yearly lands differently, and with greater impact, than being 'nickeled and dimed' in shops. I can manage the extra $10 at the grocery, but facing an increased $500 on insurance lands with greater impact. (And heaven only knows how much it will rise by my next renewal date.)

It would be interesting to know how many others are -- like myself -- just really weary of insurance rates going up.

I can't believe that I'm the only American gasping at increased auto insurance premiums, and in this context, talk about slower inflation tends to slide right out of my awareness, or feel inaccurate. This is worrisome, because I have come to strongly support Biden and the Dems; it worries me that people seeing high insurance premiums are at risk of discounting news of cooling inflation. (Unfortunately, I am falling into that category, so I know of what I speak.)

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I just saw a post somewhere about how wages increases have really erased those inflation problems. And I have seen some discussion among focus group experts ( it may have been on the Bulwark ) that people really do blame greedflation, and also that they hoped government would do MORE about it. That does not sound like a desire for small government to me.

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I think that Biden and Democrats generally should position the party as strong on national security, in strong contrast to Trump and the GOP. Republicans treat our enemies as friends and our friends as enemies. Democrats support the right of other peoples to self-government and democracy. We are not trash-talking our military or kicking veterans to the curb.

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If 1988 me ever thought I would hear that *Democrats* should be the “strong on national security” party I’d wonder about the quality and quantity of substances I ingested! I confess I never thought I’d see the “High Weirdness By Mail” weirdos in charge of the Republican Party either, so there you are.

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Hi Simon,

I came up with a mnemonic for the six things, it's FRIES.

Fraud

Roe

Insurrection

Emoluments

Secrets

See ya,

Ian

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That R can double for Roe and Rapist.

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I left out the R for rapist. But her is a correction; the mnemonic is still nearly the same but with a little math for clarity.

FR²IES

Fraud

Rapist/Roe

Insurrection

Emoluments

Secrets

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Stolen Secrets

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I truth trumpies on one of their sites, just posting short news items eg "MAGA kills tough border bill". The pushback has dropped off a lot from 2-3 years ago.

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I have watched two videos of the House Oversight Committee from Thursday night and I am very concerned about this toxic workplace. While I am proud and relived to have a courageous , smart, competent and consciousness representative in Jamie Raskin, I worry about him having to work in the same room as these mean, feckless, no nothings like Comer (who can't run a meeting to save his life), MTG and Bobert. Ugh! And nothing gets done to benefit the American people who need housing, jobs, clean water, education and reproductive freedom. The list goes on. As it is said: Throw the Bums Out!

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What amused me no end about Jamie Raskin talking about the MAGAs seeing Trump as their “savior” is he is co-chair of the Congressional Freethought Caucus.

One can also see why a Raskin endorsement was good for Angela Alsobrooks. Having him, and Wes Moore, endorse her rather than David Trone, I really think helped her win. People respect Raskin (I know I do, even though he’s not my Rep and I’m not from MD), and no doubt thought that if Jamie likes Ms. Alsobrooks, she’s no doubt pretty good.

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I agree - for a route back to legal normalcy, all routes lead to a Biden expansion of the Supreme Court.

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1. Saw you on Thom Hartmann.

2. All Democrats invited. https://danielsolomon.substack.com/p/focus-for-democracy

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Was a good talk: i subscribe to the podcast. Hartmann can be a little too far left for me at times ( he used to have Bernie on as weekly guest during the aughts ) but he kept me sane during the Bush years.

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