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'Republicans Are Lying Nonstop': Paul Krugman Slams the GOP for Abandoning All Restraint and Adopting Trump's Approach to the Truth



 
 
 



They've given up on trying to "spin" the facts ? now they're just living in a fantasyland.


In a new New York Times op-ed, economist Paul Krugman pointed out that the Republican Party's apparent strategy for winning over voters in the 2018 election is taken right from President Donald Trump's playbook: Lie, lie, lie.

While many believe that this is really just politics as usual, it's actually not. Politicians have always lied at times, of course, but much of the art of the public sphere has been shading the truth and spinning the facts in your own favor. Now, the GOP approach is to cook up new realities and sell complete fantasies to their voters as truths.

"What do they lie about?" wrote Krugman. "Lots of things, from crowd sizes to immigrant crime, from steel plants to the Supreme Court. But right now the most intense, coordinated effort at deception involves health care ? an issue where Republicans are lying nonstop about both their own position and that of Democrats."

For those of us who have long covered health care policy, it's been a mind-boggling turn of events. Republicans, who have always played a losing hand by arguing for the unpopular and wrongheaded idea that there should be more free-market principles applied in health care, are now literally saying one thing and doing the other.

Many GOP candidates are insisting ? vociferously ? that they are in favor of protecting people with pre-existing conditions ? even while the party does its best to dismantle all the protections for people with pre-existing that are at the core of Obamacare.

"Indeed, 20 Republican state attorneys general filed a lawsuit trying to eliminate protection for pre-existing conditions, and the Trump administration has declined to oppose the suit, in effect endorsing it," Krugman noted. "Now, you might imagine that Republicans would respond to the manifest unpopularity of their health care position by, you know, actually changing their position. But that would be hopelessly old-fashioned. As I said, what they?ve chosen to do instead is lie, insisting that black is white and up is down."

He continued:

Thus Josh Hawley, as Missouri?s attorney general, is part of that lawsuit against Obamacare?s regulation of insurers; but in his campaign for the Senate, he?s posing as a defender of Americans with pre-existing conditions. Dean Heller, running for re-election to the Senate in Nevada, voted for a bill that would have destroyed Obamacare, including all protection for pre-existing conditions; but he?s misrepresenting himself just like Hawley is.

And they aren?t just lying about their own position. They?re also lying about their opponents?. Incredibly, Republicans have spent the years since passage of the A.C.A. accusing Democrats of wanting to destroy Medicare.

And of course, this week saw the publication of Trump's op-ed attacking Medicare-for-All, in which, as the Washington Post explained, ?Almost every sentence contained a misleading statement or a falsehood.?

If they wanted to, Republicans could try to convince the American people that their view that the health insurance industry should be less regulated, not more, is correct. Or they could, in the face of the facts and the wild unpopularity of their position, either change their minds or simply leave the issue alone and focus on other topics they care about.

But they've realized Trump has had a lot of success lying to voters faces while stabbing them in the back. And, to top it off, he gratuitously smears Democrats with obvious falsehoods.  That's been his consistent strategy, and now the whole party has adopted it as its own.






 

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Source: 'Republicans Are Lying Nonstop': Paul Krugman Slams the GOP for Abandoning All Restraint and Adopting Trump's Approach to the Truth
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Cathy Harkin Street Derry. A Working Class Heroine. October 5th 1968.

Cathy Harkin
by John Throne.

I see that there is now a street in Derry named after Cathy Harkin. I do not know if this is "official" in the eyes of the city. However that is not so much here or there,  it is "official" in the history of Derry, it is inseparable from the hearts of all who knew and were influenced by Cathy. I was one of those. Cathy made my life immeasurably better. Inspiring me, teaching me, telling me off now and then when I deserved it. Thank you Cathy.

I have recently written a book called "We'll Take A Cup Of Kindness Yet".  It covers my days in Derry my involvement in the civil rights movement and "The Bogside Uprising". Below is a short excerpt from this where I describe my visit to Cathy on the morning of October 6th and how on that morning my life was given direction, was changed for the better. How on that day outside Cathy's door on Butcher Street I drew conclusions that would guide me for the rest of my life. I weep here as I see this wonderful photo of Cathy. Thank you Cathy. * 
Excerpt from  "We'll Take A Cup Of Kindness Yet" By John Throne. 

"The US civil rights movement had inspired a civil rights movement in Northern Ireland against the discrimination suffered by the Catholic minority there. A civil rights march was organised in Derry for 5th October 1968. The Northern Ireland police viciously attacked this march. This was recorded by a TV crew and within hours was being watched in millions of homes around the world. These events changed my own world. I vowed I would never again let the threat of a conflict with my family stop me from fighting for what I believed.

The next morning, 6th October 1968, I drove to Derry at the crack of dawn. It was Sunday and the roads were deserted. I drove fast. I was on my way to see Cathy Harkin, the secretary of the Derry Labour Party. Cathy lived on Butcher Street in the Catholic enclave inside the city walls. The roadway and sidewalks outside her door were littered with stones, rocks and broken bottles from the previous night?s battle with the police. I picked my way through this debris, this symbol that a new era had begun in the North.

Cathy was a smart, strong, combative, working class woman and one of the leaders of the Derry Labour Party. She spoke her mind and fought for her beliefs. She was a dedicated socialist. She also fought for women?s equality, she fought against the special oppression of women. She was a founder of the Women's Aid Centre. Cathy was a pioneer, a leader and a fighter. She would die young from cancer. This was a tragedy. I knew Cathy through my friend Dolores who lived in the Bogside, the main Catholic area of the city.

Cathy answered my knock with sleep in her eyes. She must have thought I was mad waking her up at that hour. But what I was feeling had been building in me for years and could not wait. Contrary to my usual politeness I did not even say hello. Instead I said, ?Cathy I have to get involved in this.? These were my exact words. Cathy gave me the date of the next meeting of the Derry Labour Party. I thanked her and let her get back to bed.

Before I left the sleeping city I drove over through the Fountain, the main Protestant enclave inside the city walls. The contrast was stark. There were no stones or rocks or broken bottles littering the streets and sidewalks. There had been no battle with the police in that area. I looked at the curtained windows and the closed doors and wondered what the people inside were thinking as they lay in their beds or made their breakfast. Did they realise that the events of the night before had changed their lives forever?

I knew they had changed mine. That morning at Cathy?s door on Butcher Street, inside the walled City of Derry, under the impact of the events of the day and night before, I found my role in the world, my place in the world. I found my bearings. From then on I would be a conscious, active fighter against injustice and to try to change things for the better. During the rest of my life the conclusion I came to that day would remain my guiding principle. 

That conclusion was: Whenever I saw things that I thought were wrong I would speak out and try to organise against them; whenever I saw things that I thought were right I would speak out and try to organise for them. I would never again be a passive, inert member of society. Cathy helped me come to this conclusion. Thank You Cathy.   I grieve that you are not here with us today. 

* The Donegal Woman, the author's account of his grandmother's experience hired out to work under the Irish "Hiring Fair" system and We'll Take a Cup of Kindness Yet can be purchased here at Books.ie

Source: Cathy Harkin Street Derry. A Working Class Heroine. October 5th 1968.
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Donald Trump Jr. Jumps on Disgusting Smear Campaign of Missing Saudi Journalist as a Terrorist Sympathizer



 
 
 



Before the smoke has even cleared on the horrific disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi, Donald Trump Jr. is trying to delegitimize him.


The disappearance of Saudi journalist and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, and subsequent claims by the Turkish government that he was murdered by government officials in the Saudi consulate, has sickened the world, and prompted business leaders to suspend ties with Saudi Arabia.

But President Donald Trump has been disturbingly distant from the incident, which has horrified journalists who fear the president is sending a message to rogue regimes that the United States does not care about the killing of overseas reporters. Only today did he agree to even talk to King Salman about the issue.

Trump's right-wing defenders, on the other hand, have the most reprehensible response imaginable to justify the president's inaction: demonize Khashoggi as a terrorist sympathizer who didn't really deserve to live anyway. They are seizing on the fact that Khashoggi conducted interviews with al-Qaeda mastermind Osama bin Laden in the 80s and 90s as proof that he is friendly to al-Qaeda's goals.

And one person who appears to completely agree with this is the president's eldest son.

On Friday, Patrick Poole, terrorism correspondent for the far-right PJ Media, shared images of Khashoggi from the 80s with the Afghanistan freedom fighters who would ultimately become the Taliban, writing that he was "just a democrat reformer journalist holding a RPG with jihadists."

Sean Davis, co-founder of The Federalist, another extreme right-wing publication, replied, saying "It's almost like reality is quite different than the evidence-free narratives peddled by media with a long history of cooperating with or getting duped by Iran echo chamber architects."

Donald Trump Jr. then proceeded to retweet this smear of Khashoggi.

The prospect a journalist working for a major U.S. newspaper might have been murdered for criticisms of the Saudi royal family is appalling. The fact that the president seems uninterested in the incident makes it ten times worse. But the absolute crown jewel has to be Trump supporters attacking his memory to retroactively excuse the president's refusal to defend the free press ? and the president's own son endorsing it.






 

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Source: Donald Trump Jr. Jumps on Disgusting Smear Campaign of Missing Saudi Journalist as a Terrorist Sympathizer
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What?s Not in the Latest Terrifying IPCC Report? The ?Much, Much, Much More Terrifying? New Research on Climate Tipping Points

"This is the scariest thing about the IPCC Report ? it?s the watered down, consensus version."


The post What’s Not in the Latest Terrifying IPCC Report? The “Much, Much, Much More Terrifying” New Research on Climate Tipping Points appeared first on Infoshop News.


Source: What?s Not in the Latest Terrifying IPCC Report? The ?Much, Much, Much More Terrifying? New Research on Climate Tipping Points
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AlterNet / 'Trump Anxiety Disorder': Psychologist Warns the President Is Making Americans Sick
« Last post by AlterNet on Yesterday at 06:01:18 AM »
'Trump Anxiety Disorder': Psychologist Warns the President Is Making Americans Sick


Trump's deleterious effect on peoples' mental health isn't just affecting liberals --even conservatives are having anxiety issues.


While psychologists have speculated from afar about President Donald Trump's mental instability, a psychologist said his manic episodes and the need for constant attention is making Americans anxiety-ridden and in need of mental health care.

According to a psychologist who spoke with Politico, Trump's distinctive brand of "provocation, brinkmanship, and self-drama," is leading to what she calls "Trump Anxiety Disorder" that is affecting even those who don't follow politics.

Jennifer Panning, the psychologist from Evanston, Illinois, who coined the malady, explained it as marked by such symptoms as ?increased worry, obsessive thought patterns, muscle tension and obsessive preoccupation with the news."

According to a therapist Cynthia Baum-Baicker, who is treating a couple whose sex life has been undermined by conflicting opinions about Trump, the president -- as an omnipresent figure -- looms darkly over everyone's lives.

?Authority figures represent the parent, [so] President Trump seats in the seat of parent for all Americans,? explained Baum-Baicker. ?So now, my ?father figure? is a bully, is an authoritarian who doesn?t believe in studying and doing homework. ... [Rather than reassurance] he creates uncertainty.?

Trump's deleterious effect on peoples' mental health isn't just affecting liberals --even conservatives are having anxiety issues.

"Conservatives are hurting, too,? Washington D.C. psychotherapist Elisabeth Joy LaMotte added. ?I view this anxiety as collective in a very strong sense. They?re hurting in part because they feel they don?t have permission to share their real views, or they feel conflicted because they agree with things that the president is doing but they?re uncomfortable with his language and tactics.... And they feel alienated and isolated from friends and family who differ from their views, as if there?s not permission to view it in a different way in D.C.?

?Human beings hate two things,? contributed New York psychiatrist Michael Dulchin about Trump's unpredictability. The ability ?to look to the future and think you don?t have enough energy to succeed and live up to your expectations. The other is to not be able to predict the environment.?

He then added the two put together have only one result: ?Anxiety and depression.?

You can read the whole report here.

 

 


Source: 'Trump Anxiety Disorder': Psychologist Warns the President Is Making Americans Sick
6
Richard Mellor / Driving Trump from Chicago Was a Magic Moment for Workers.
« Last post by Richard Mellor on October 13, 2018, 06:01:19 PM »
Driving Trump from Chicago Was a Magic Moment for Workers.




By Richard Mellor
Afscme Local 444, retired


Myself and others at Facts For Working People blog, have commented many times on the failure of the self-styled revolutionary organizations to build any significant presence or left current within the workers? movement. There are many reasons for this; sectarianism, the twin evils of ultra-leftism and reformism, as well as a refusal to openly challenge and confront the catastrophic policies of the union hierarchy that have contributed greatly to the decline of our living standards. Benefits and rights that took decades to win through heroic rank and file struggle have been handed over to the bosses by the labor hierarchy as part of their strategic retreat policy.

The inability of the socialist left to adapt to the present situation and to reflect on its own failures and mistakes in a serious way has left it further isolated from the workers movement in my opinion, unable to adapt to the immense changes that have taken place over the past period and in the age of Trump.

While not all left groups appear to have been affected by these events in the same way, they have all been affected by them and the Socialist Workers Party?s position on the driving of Trump out of Chicago is exceptionally tragic.

Any class-conscious worker would revel in delight that the degenerate racist and misogynist Trump was driven out of Chicago by black youth in particular. But the SWP?s candidate for president Alyson Kennedy in a leaflet published after the Predator in Chief was denied an audience, called this action a ?blow to free speech.?.  She basically accused this section of our class that kept Trump from inciting racial hatred in Chicago of an attack on the working class as a whole and the ??vital conquest of working people---of our right to speak, organize pickets, and mobilize protest rallies and marches.?

?Efforts to shut down those you disagree with set back workers? struggles. The working class must defend free speech for all.?, the Socialist Workers Party argues here. The SWP also refers to this attack on Trump and his apparent right to racist speech as ?thuggish actions? which is a bit of a red flag for the black worker as it is a term often used by the ruling class to describe black males in particular. I seem to recall Hillary Clinton was somewhat more cultured in her racist language fond of the term ?predatory? with regard to some black males.

Nazi?s fascists, the KKK, racists, misogynists like Trump use the right of free speech in order to build a movement to deny the rest of us the right to free speech in a society that places one ethnic group or culture above all others. We have witnessed fascism at work in recent history and the 50 million or so victims of it. Fascism or the concept of white supremacy has not been good to the white worker.

That is why we deny them the right to use free speech to mobilize for this movement. But we do not call on the capitalist state to enforce this ban with their police and security forces. We call on the working class to mobilize against them. In Boston we saw some 40,000 march against the fascists that drove them off the streets there. Does the SWP think that was harmful to the workers' movement?  This is not denying free speech, it?s fighting fascism, nationalism and a philosophy that weakens working class unity and we can?t win, we can?t provide a decent future for our children without working class unity.

Driving Trump out of Chicago was a victory for all workers. If gang members stopped their activity against each other to battle fascists and racist elements this is not an attack on free speech. It?s defending free speech.

I was a rank and file union activist for many years. We had a lot of success in the workplace and the movement. Two of the strongest fighters and defenders of workers on the job, all workers regardless of their views, color, race, sexual orientation, and who had my back personally were both Christian as they saw themselves and one still attends his church and plays music in the church band. In 30 years, the self-styled revolutionary left played no role whatsoever in fighting on the job where the rubber meets the road. It?s time wasted fighting for workers rights at work when the revolutionary vanguard has to be built.

I still believe that a revolutionary current or leadership has to be built in the working class in order for the transformation of society to be successful. But I do not believe it can be built using the old method. I also know there are many serious and dedicated members of these organizations who were honest and believed in what they were doing. But I also believe there are far more socialists outside of these organizations than in them. Many of them burned out and turned off by the undemocratic patriarchal and middle class (petit bourgeois) culture of these organizations.

Driving Trump out of Chicago was a great moment in recent history and I am grateful to those that did it.


Source: Driving Trump from Chicago Was a Magic Moment for Workers.
7
AlterNet / GOP Senate Candidate Uses Neo-Nazi Sympathizer to Organize Campaign Meet-And-Greet: Report
« Last post by AlterNet on October 13, 2018, 06:01:11 PM »
GOP Senate Candidate Uses Neo-Nazi Sympathizer to Organize Campaign Meet-And-Greet: Report



 
 
 



Corey Stewart somehow keeps associating with neo-Nazis.


On Thursday, Mediaite reported that Corey Stewart, the Virginia GOP candidate challenging Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine, asked his supporters to "RSVP To Ian MacDonald" to attend a meet-and-greet with him and the Accomack County GOP, which is scheduled for Saturday at the Hampton Inn on Chingoteague Island.

Ian MacDonald is apparently a supporter of George Lincoln Rockwell, the founder of the American Nazi Party. Earlier this year, he shared a meme on Facebook in which he said "me: i hate liberals. them: so what are you, a republican?" and below that a photo of Rockwell, seemingly suggesting he is affiliated with him.

This is not a one-off occurrence. MacDonald also helped organize an April "Eastern Shore Meet and Greet With Corey!" at the Club Car Cafe in Parksley. Stewart also named MacDonald as the campaign's "Volunteer of the Week" in the summer.

Asked for comment by Mediaite, MacDonald denied supporting neo-Nazism and insisted the post only was meant to indicate he was an "independent conservative," but refused to answer questions about how he originally came by the image and decided to use it. The Republican Party of Virginia asserted MacDonald is not employed by them, but also that they did not view his actions as problematic because he took down the image when informed of who it was.

Stewart himself, when asked for comment, said "Here goes the Left again, trying to destroy someone based on false accusations," seemingly comparing the controversy to the confirmation battle over Brett Kavanaugh.

However, this is far from the first time Stewart, a Prince William County supervisor who chaired President Donald Trump's campaign in Virginia, has been caught in the company of extremist figures.

Last year, Stewart appeared with white nationalist Jason Kessler at an event calling for the resignation of a black Charlottesville City Council member who wanted to remove the city's statue of Robert E. Lee. At the time, Stewart praised Kessler's group for fighting "real racism." A few months later, Kessler would go on to stage the deadly neo-Nazi "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville.

Stewart also celebrated Trump's inauguration night with white supremacist activist Paul Nehlen, who has appeared on the podcast of Klan leader David Duke, mocked the Holocaust, and published the personal information of journalists and activists who criticized him noting (incorrectly) that "74 are Jews." At the time, Stewart told Nehlen he was his "personal hero." Stewart has since claimed that he stopped supporting Nehlen after he "started saying all that crazy stuff," but subsequent reporting has found Nehlen was sharing white nationalist content months before Stewart disavowed him.






 

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Source: GOP Senate Candidate Uses Neo-Nazi Sympathizer to Organize Campaign Meet-And-Greet: Report
8
AlterNet / Conservative Columnist George Will Explains How Trump's House of Lies Will Collapse
« Last post by AlterNet on October 13, 2018, 06:16:33 AM »
Conservative Columnist George Will Explains How Trump's House of Lies Will Collapse



 
 
 



"America?s feral president swerved into a denunciation of a nonexistent bill..."


Conservative columnist George Will is deeply worried about the state of truth and knowledge in the United States right now, and that worry has one primary cause: President Donald Trump.

For just one example of Trump's flagrant lying: He recently invented fake Democratic legislation called the "Open Borders Act" ? even though no such bill exists. According to analysis by Toronto Star's Daniel Dale, Trump's dishonesty has spiked in recent months.

Citing a new essay from Brookings Institution?s Jonathan Rauch titled "The Constitution of Knowledge," Will explained in a Washington Post column this week that Trump's lying is a clear political strategy, not a mere character flaw.

He wrote:

Rauch says: Trump?s presidential lying, which began concerning the size of his inauguration crowd, reflects ?a strategy, not merely a character flaw or pathology.? And the way to combat Trump?s ?epistemic attack? on Americans? ?collective ability to distinguish truth from falsehood? is by attending to the various social mechanisms that, taken together, are ?the method of validating propositions.?

Modernity began when humanity ?removed reality-making from the authoritarian control of priests and princes? and outsourced it to no one in particular. It was given over to ?a decentralized, globe-spanning community of critical testers who hunt for each other?s errors.? This is why today?s foremost enemy of modernity is populism, which cannot abide the idea that majorities are not self-validating, and neither are intense minorities (e.g., the ?Elvis lives? cohort). Validation comes from the ?critical testers? who are the bane of populists? existence because the testers are, by dint of training and effort, superior to the crowd, ?no matter how many? are in it.

These "critical testers" exist throughout society in a variety of institutions such as watchdog groups, non-political government bureaucrats, certain forms of media, and academia. 

Trump has found a way to try to override these knowledge-promoting structures through the sheer scale of his lying. His lies are too legion to fact-check them all, and even if you could fact-check them all, he will just spew more lies in the meantime.

But Will explains that this strategy, as pioneered by Steve Bannon, is bound to fail over time:

Rauch says Trump?s ?trolling of the American mind? has enjoyed ?the advantage of surprise.? But as this diminishes, the constitution of knowledge can prevail because, although trolling has ?some institutional nodes? (e.g., Russia?s Internet Research Agency and Trump?s Twitter account), they are, over time, much inferior in intellectual firepower to the institutions of the constitution of knowledge.

Will is not entirely optimistic that truth and knowledge will easily prevail, however. As a conservative, he is deeply distrustful of the scholars of mainstream academia, and he draws upon a lie from former Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to argue that Trump is not the originator of political deception ? even though Reid's sins are infinitesimally tiny compared to Trump.

But there are signs that Trump's lies are losing their appeal. Fox News appears to be less interested in airing Trump's rallies now ? they are clearly sapped of novelty. Many of the statements that what would have been regarded as remarkable are now just background noise. Trump is becoming boring. It seems the shock value of his outrageousness is starting to wear thin, and it's not clear that his assaults on knowledge can persist without it.






 

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Source: Conservative Columnist George Will Explains How Trump's House of Lies Will Collapse
9
Here Are the 5 Most Insane Things Kanye West Told Donald Trump During Their Free-Wheeling Oval Office Meeting


Political alliance as performance art.


 

President Donald Trump received Kanye West in the Oval Office Thursday in the White House before they had lunch with former NFL player Jim Brown. 

The conversation was so high-energy it bordered on manic. Here are the most bizarre things said during the press availability.

1. The MAGA hat gives me power

According to West, he doesn?t have a lot of male energy in his home and he didn?t grow up with a father in his house so he didn?t have that either. He told Trump that the hat gave him ?male energy? that he couldn?t get from Hillary Clinton?s campaign ?I?m with her.? He called the hat his ?Superman cape.?

West seems to view Trump as a kind of father figure. 

2. West addresses his mental health issues.

If West seems to be dramatically swinging all over the place with his emotions, there?s a reason for it. The rapper told the president that he has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. 

West ?is currently on an extended soliloquy that included saying he has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Said that was a misdiagnosis and he is sleep-deprived,? the pool report said.

3. West drops the f-bomb in the Oval Office.

?He might not expect to have a crazy motherf*cker like Kanye West support him,? West told the press in the room. 

4. West ran into the Oval Office and literally threw his arms around the president.

The germaphobe president was probably a little unnerved by the physical affection, but he responded with a grin.

Kanye runs up to President Trump to give him a hug. pic.twitter.com/2HF8R1qlmc

? Vivian Salama (@vmsalama) October 11, 2018

5. Trump was quieter with West than we?ve seen him be with many other guests. 

West?s soliloquy was so loud and he bounced around from issue to issues in a seemingly breathless declaration about every issue that came to mind. 

It was obvious the president was uncomfortable. 

?I?ll say that was pretty impressive,? the president responded when West stopped talking. 

Watch the video below:


Source: Here Are the 5 Most Insane Things Kanye West Told Donald Trump During Their Free-Wheeling Oval Office Meeting
10
AlterNet / Trump, McConnell and Kavanaugh Have Changed the Game: There Will Be No More Business As Usual
« Last post by AlterNet on October 12, 2018, 06:03:05 AM »
Trump, McConnell and Kavanaugh Have Changed the Game: There Will Be No More Business As Usual


An illegitimate president appointed an illegitimate justice. Show him the contempt he deserves


Not so long ago, if a journalist working for a major American news organization was murdered by the government of one dictator, inside the country of another dictator, the United States of America would have taken action, or at least had something to say about it. Those days are gone.

There was a time, not so long ago, when the United States would not have ordered that children be separated from their families and be held in tents in concentration camps inside the borders of this country. Gone.

It was only two years ago that a president of the United States nominated a judge from the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals to the Supreme Court who was not an accused sexual abuser and a drunk. That president, and that Supreme Court nominee are gone.

There was a time not so long ago that the Department of Justice voting rights division would have filed lawsuits challenging state laws like those in North Dakota and elsewhere that make it difficult, if not actually impossible, for people to vote. Gone.

Republicans in this country don?t even bother to pretend anymore that they?re interested in justice and playing by the rules. They have declared war on women, on workers, on people of color, on immigrants, on the poor and dispossessed, on organized labor. They have gone to war against everything that isn?t white and male and wealthy.

All pretense is gone. Remember fairness? Gone. Comity? Gone. Compromise? Gone. The rule of law? Gone. Facts? Gone. Respect for others? Gone. Gone. Decency? Gone. Agreed upon democratic norms? Gone. All men are created equal? Gone.

With the confirmation of a second justice of the Supreme Court under a cloud of sexual abuse allegations, Republicans have shown us who they are and what they stand for. Like the American military in Vietnam, which burned down villages in order to save them, Republicans are willing to tear down democratic institutions in order to save them for themselves. The very next day, they have the audacity to demand respect. They denounce peaceful protestors as ?an angry mob? that is ?attacking? senators at their homes and in the Capitol. They want ?civility? and ?respect? to return to the public square. They want respect for the court they just besmirched and dishonored.

Did you see the outrageous victory lap Trump took on Monday night at the White House with his fake ?swearing in? of Justice Kavanaugh, who had already been sworn in and started his job on the Supreme Court last Saturday? Talk about dropping pretenses. Trump did everything but burn a photograph of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford on national TV. He called the charges against Kavanaugh ?a campaign of political and personal destruction based on lies and deception.?

Earlier in the day, he called the case against Kavanaugh a ?hoax.? ?It was all made up, it was fabricated and a disgrace.?

?It was very unfair what happened to him,? Trump said of Kavanaugh to cheers and applause in an address to an association of police chiefs in Orlando, Florida. ?False charges, false accusation. Horrible statements that were totally untrue. It was a disgraceful situation brought about by people who are evil. And he toughed it out. We all toughed it out together.?

A political pep rally at the White House was the perfect ending to a 40-year campaign by movement conservatives to take over the third, supposedly apolitical, branch of government. The right-wing struggle to take over the court began in the 1950?s after the Brown v. Board of Education decision mandated desegregation of schools. Across the south and Midwest, billboards with ?Impeach Earl Warren? sprang up along highways and country roads. Chief Justice Warren, a California Republican appointed by a Republican President, Dwight Eisenhower, was seen as a traitor to the cause. He was supposed to get on the court and toe the line and put uppity blacks in their place, not in ?our? schools.

Other justices appointed by Republican presidents were similarly disappointing to the far right. John Paul Stevens, who recently incurred Republican ire when he broke with tradition by publicly opposing Kavanaugh?s nomination, was appointed by Gerald Ford. Anthony Kennedy, the so-called ?swing vote? on the court for the last couple of decades, authored the 2003 decision in Lawrence v. Texas, striking down anti-sodomy laws. He was joined by Sandra Day O?Connor, appointed by Ronald Reagan, and David Souter, appointed by George H.W. Bush. He was also the deciding vote and author of the Obergefell v. Hodges decision, legalizing gay marriage in 2015.

Republican appointed justices like Souter, O?Connor, Stevens, and Kennedy were labeled ?squishes? by the right-wing Federalist Society, established in 1982 with the sole goal of putting a Republican majority on the court that could be trusted to vote the way the right wing wanted them to vote. The Federalist Society stood behind Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in 2016 when he threw out the rule book and sat on Obama?s appointment of Judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court until Trump won the presidency and right-winger Neil Gorsuch could be pushed through. And the Federalist Society was a champion of the Kavanaugh appointment, with its president, Leonard Leo, working in conjunction with the Judicial Crisis Network to support his nomination.

The Judicial Crisis Network is a political action committee organized as a 501(c)(4) nonprofit that does not have to report the source of its donations. Recent tax filings by the organization revealed that most of its funding comes from the Wellspring Committee, another nondisclosing nonprofit run by Ann and Neil Corkery, who have also been involved in the Catholic League, which lobbies against separation of church and state, and the National Organization for Marriage, which fought a long campaign against marriage equality.

The Judicial Crisis Network spent $7 million to block the appointment of Merrick Garland, and $10 million to support Neil Gorsuch. By mid-September, it had spent $6 million to support Kavanaugh and was expected to spend a total of $10 million, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

This is what the abandonment of pretense looks like: a right-wing Republican political campaign complete with so-called ?dark money? donations from right wing billionaires whose names we will never learn in a shifting, secret shuffle of money from one arch conservative front group to another. Not to elect someone to office, but to appoint a right-wing political hack like Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

The Federalist Society and the Judicial Crisis Network and their minions in the Republican Party aren?t just concentrating on the Supreme Court however. They?ve been plugging young movement conservatives onto the Federal bench all over the country in district court judgeships and slots on the Circuit Courts of Appeals. There was rejoicing on the right last Saturday when Kavanaugh was sworn in not only because they now controlled a 5-4 majority on the Supreme Court, but because his position on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals is open, and Trump can fill it with a Kavanaugh clone ? from a list provided to him by the Federalist Society, naturally.

I can hear the whining from the right already: Democrats do the same thing. They fill their judgeships with liberals, just like we fill ours with conservatives! This would be a compelling rejoinder if it didn?t ignore the fact that Mitch McConnell filibustered so many of Obama?s appointments to the Federal bench that the Democrats had to change the filibuster rules to get any judges at all through. Which led to the Republicans retaliating by changing the filibuster rules on Supreme Court appointments with the so-called ?nuclear option? in 2017 to push the nomination of Gorsuch through with a simple majority vote. . Which is how we got to where we are today, with a Supreme Court that is fully politicized, and a federal judiciary that is on its way to the same.

It?s long past time to call their bluff. If they?re going to disrespect the Supreme Court with their flagrant politicization not only of the court, but of the laws its decisions will affect, then it?s time to show disrespect in return. No more respect for Supreme Court justices like Gorsuch and Kavanaugh who took the bench after political campaigns that spurned legal norms. They should be shunned. Social organizations in Washington D.C. should leave them off the invitation list. No more Kennedy Center Honors box seats. No more invitations to art or theater openings. If you see them on the street, or in the post office, or in a restaurant, confront them. Tell them they don?t have your respect. Tell them they are illegitimate justices on an illegitimate court.

Democratic lawyers and law firms should organize what amounts to massive resistance to the politicization of our courts and laws. Set up a system to take pro bono cases to challenge illegitimate laws and regulations imposed by the Trump administration and the Republican congress. Throw a blizzard of monkey-wrenches into the gears of justice. Sue them all. File so many appeals, it will tie those Republican Federalist Society judges in knots.

And please, at least one lawyer who gets to argue a case before the Supreme Court, especially a case you know they took just so they can rule against you, stand up in court and let Kavanaugh know that he doesn?t have your respect. Do what he did before the Senate Judiciary Committee when he was asked questions by Democrats. He didn?t answer their questions. He just made speeches. So make a speech that?s unresponsive and addresses some other issue you want to bring up. He treated the Democrats with contempt. Treat him with contempt. Let him know it. You?re not going to get his vote anyway, so tell him what you think.

If they?re going to overtly and purposefully use the court to achieve what everyone knows are political ends, make it clear as a bell that we see what they?re doing, and we are contemptuous of them and what they stand for. There is a price to be paid for going along with an undemocratic, ignorant buffoon like Donald Trump and a Republican Party that has completely abandoned whatever democratic principles it once had.

There are always a dozen reasons to do nothing, but there is one good reason to act:  to stop them. They are dishonorable thieves out to steal the soul of our country. That, we cannot allow.

No more business as usual. No more civility. No more respect. Point a finger of ridicule at them. Make them stand naked before the world in their corruption and disdain for norms and the law. Show them the disrespect they deserve. Make their personal lives a living hell. Take to the streets and protest their Supreme Court decisions ordered up by the Heritage Foundation and the Federalist Society. Make it clear we know what they?re doing to this country and that we aren?t going to stand for it.

Bring a goddamned machete to the knife fight and slash away. What have we got to lose?


Source: Trump, McConnell and Kavanaugh Have Changed the Game: There Will Be No More Business As Usual
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