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Offline Paul May

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Trump....and the end of American democracy
« on: May 01, 2020, 01:38:59 AM »
Sums our country up.

By FINTAN O'TOOLE on April 2020
 
Usually, when this kind of outlandish idiocy is displaying itself, there is the comforting thought that, if things were really serious, it would all stop. People would sober up. Instead, a large part of the US has hit the bottle even harder.

US President Donald Trump has claimed he was being sarcastic and testing the media when he raised the idea that injecting disinfectant or irradiating the body with ultraviolet light might kill coronavirus.

Over more than two centuries, the United States has stirred a very wide range of feelings in the rest of the world: love and hatred, fear and hope, envy and contempt, awe and anger. But there is one emotion that has never been directed towards the US until now: pity.

However bad things are for most other rich democracies, it is hard not to feel sorry for Americans. Most of them did not vote for Donald Trump in 2016. Yet they are locked down with a malignant narcissist who, instead of protecting his people from Covid-19, has amplified its lethality. The country Trump promised to make great again has never in its history seemed so pitiful.

Will American prestige ever recover from this shameful episode? The US went into the coronavirus crisis with immense advantages: precious weeks of warning about what was coming, the world’s best concentration of medical and scientific expertise, effectively limitless financial resources, a military complex with stunning logistical capacity and most of the world’s leading technology corporations. Yet it managed to make itself the global epicentre of the pandemic.

As the American writer George Packer puts it in the current edition of the Atlantic, “The United States reacted … like Pakistan or Belarus – like a country with shoddy infrastructure and a dysfunctional government whose leaders were too corrupt or stupid to head off mass suffering.”

It is one thing to be powerless in the face of a natural disaster, quite another to watch vast power being squandered in real time – wilfully, malevolently, vindictively. It is one thing for governments to fail (as, in one degree or another, most governments did), quite another to watch a ruler and his supporters actively spread a deadly virus. Trump, his party and Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News became vectors of the pestilence.

The grotesque spectacle of the president openly inciting people (some of them armed) to take to the streets to oppose the restrictions that save lives is the manifestation of a political death wish. What are supposed to be daily briefings on the crisis, demonstrative of national unity in the face of a shared challenge, have been used by Trump merely to sow confusion and division. They provide a recurring horror show in which all the neuroses that haunt the American subconscious dance naked on live TV.

If the plague is a test, its ruling political nexus ensured that the US would fail it at a terrible cost in human lives. In the process, the idea of the US as the world’s leading nation – an idea that has shaped the past century – has all but evaporated.

Other than the Trump impersonator Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil, who is now looking to the US as the exemplar of anything other than what not to do? How many people in Düsseldorf or Dublin are wishing they lived in Detroit or Dallas?

It is hard to remember now but, even in 2017, when Trump took office, the conventional wisdom in the US was that the Republican Party and the broader framework of US political institutions would prevent him from doing too much damage. This was always a delusion, but the pandemic has exposed it in the most savage ways.

What used to be called mainstream conservatism has not absorbed Trump – he has absorbed it. Almost the entire right-wing half of American politics has surrendered abjectly to him. It has sacrificed on the altar of wanton stupidity the most basic ideas of responsibility, care and even safety.

Thus, even at the very end of March, 15 Republican governors had failed to order people to stay at home or to close non-essential businesses. In Alabama, for example, it was not until April 3rd that governor Kay Ivey finally issued a stay-at-home order.

In Florida, the state with the highest concentration of elderly people with underlying conditions, governor Ron DeSantis, a Trump mini-me, kept the beach resorts open to students travelling from all over the US for spring break parties. Even on April 1st, when he issued restrictions, DeSantis exempted religious services and “recreational activities”.

There is, as the demonstrations in US cities show, plenty of political mileage in denying the reality of the pandemic.

Georgia governor Brian Kemp, when he finally issued a stay-at-home order on April 1st, explained: “We didn’t know that [the virus can be spread by people without symptoms] until the last 24 hours.”

This is not mere ignorance – it is deliberate and homicidal stupidity. There is, as the demonstrations this week in US cities have shown, plenty of political mileage in denying the reality of the pandemic. It is fuelled by Fox News and far-right internet sites, and it reaps for these politicians millions of dollars in donations, mostly (in an ugly irony) from older people who are most vulnerable to the coronavirus.

It draws on a concoction of conspiracy theories, hatred of science, paranoia about the “deep state” and religious providentialism (God will protect the good folks) that is now very deeply infused in the mindset of the American right.

Trump embodies and enacts this mindset, but he did not invent it. The US response to the coronavirus crisis has been paralysed by a contradiction that the Republicans have inserted into the heart of US democracy. On the one hand, they want to control all the levers of governmental power. On the other they have created a popular base by playing on the notion that government is innately evil and must not be trusted.

The contradiction was made manifest in two of Trump’s statements on the pandemic: on the one hand that he has “total authority”, and on the other that “I don’t take responsibility at all”. Caught between authoritarian and anarchic impulses, he is incapable of coherence.

But this is not just Donald Trump. The crisis has shown definitively that Trump’s presidency is not an aberration. It has grown on soil long prepared to receive it. The monstrous blossoming of misrule has structure and purpose and strategy behind it.

There are very powerful interests who demand “freedom” in order to do as they like with the environment, society and the economy. They have infused a very large part of American culture with the belief that “freedom” is literally more important than life. My freedom to own assault weapons trumps your right not to get shot at school. Now, my freedom to go to the barber (“I Need a Haircut” read one banner this week in St Paul, Minnesota) trumps your need to avoid infection.

Usually, when this kind of outlandish idiocy is displaying itself, there is the comforting thought that, if things were really serious, it would all stop. People would sober up. Instead, a large part of the US has hit the bottle even harder.

And the president, his party and their media allies keep supplying the drinks. There has been no moment of truth, no shock of realisation that the antics have to end. No one of any substance on the US right has stepped in to say: get a grip, people are dying here.

If he is re-elected, toxicity will have become the lifeblood of American politics

That is the mark of how deep the trouble is for the US – it is not just that Trump has treated the crisis merely as a way to feed tribal hatreds but that this behaviour has become normalised. When the freak show is live on TV every evening, and the star is boasting about his ratings, it is not really a freak show any more. For a very large and solid bloc of Americans, it is reality.

And this will get worse before it gets better. Trump has at least eight more months in power. In his inaugural address in 2017, he evoked “American carnage” and promised to make it stop. But now that the real carnage has arrived, he is revelling in it. He is in his element.

As things get worse, he will pump more hatred and falsehood, more death-wish defiance of reason and decency, into the groundwater. If a new administration succeeds him in 2021, it will have to clean up the toxic dump he leaves behind. If he is re-elected, toxicity will have become the lifeblood of American politics.

Either way, it will be a long time before the rest of the world can imagine America being great again.

Offline Rick Plant

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Re: Trump....and the end of American democracy
« Reply #1 on: May 01, 2020, 02:55:16 AM »
Excellent post Paul.

It's disgraceful what has happened to the United States since it was hijacked by a Russian puppet who has no problem selling out our country to any foreign nation. A complete derelict who surrounds himself with fellow criminals and grifters who are only there to profit. A white supremacist who gives aid and comfort to hate groups to take over the country. A wannabe dictator who is stripping away everything in our democracy and in our beloved Constitution. Yet we have a minority of morons who sold their souls to a career criminal ex realty tv host who thinks he's the second coming of Jesus Christ cheering him on to destroy our country because they are driven by hate. All the death over 60K Americans doesn't bother them. 30 million unemployed doesn't bother them either. All they want is a wall and a false sense of security from a lunatic telling that immigrants are the reason their lives turned out to be a complete failure.                         

Offline Ray Mitcham

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Re: Trump....and the end of American democracy
« Reply #2 on: May 01, 2020, 09:14:28 AM »
Thanks for posting that Paul, and great follow up post, Rick.

Pity it will be called "Fake news" or "hate speech" by Storing.
« Last Edit: May 01, 2020, 11:43:17 AM by Ray Mitcham »

Offline Rick Plant

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Re: Trump....and the end of American democracy
« Reply #3 on: May 01, 2020, 11:52:50 AM »
Thanks for posting that Paul, and great follow up post, Rick.

Pity it will be called "Fake news" or "hate speech" by Storing.

Thanks Ray. Yeah, he will call us "haters" for sure. Those are the two main words in his vocabulary.   

Offline Thomas Graves

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Re: Trump....and the end of American democracy
« Reply #4 on: May 13, 2020, 09:43:30 PM »
Sums our country up.

By FINTAN O'TOOLE on April 2020
 
Usually, when this kind of outlandish idiocy is displaying itself, there is the comforting thought that, if things were really serious, it would all stop. People would sober up. Instead, a large part of the US has hit the bottle even harder.

US President Donald Trump has claimed he was being sarcastic and testing the media when he raised the idea that injecting disinfectant or irradiating the body with ultraviolet light might kill coronavirus.

Over more than two centuries, the United States has stirred a very wide range of feelings in the rest of the world: love and hatred, fear and hope, envy and contempt, awe and anger. But there is one emotion that has never been directed towards the US until now: pity.

However bad things are for most other rich democracies, it is hard not to feel sorry for Americans. Most of them did not vote for Donald Trump in 2016. Yet they are locked down with a malignant narcissist who, instead of protecting his people from Covid-19, has amplified its lethality. The country Trump promised to make great again has never in its history seemed so pitiful.

Will American prestige ever recover from this shameful episode? The US went into the coronavirus crisis with immense advantages: precious weeks of warning about what was coming, the world’s best concentration of medical and scientific expertise, effectively limitless financial resources, a military complex with stunning logistical capacity and most of the world’s leading technology corporations. Yet it managed to make itself the global epicentre of the pandemic.

As the American writer George Packer puts it in the current edition of the Atlantic, “The United States reacted … like Pakistan or Belarus – like a country with shoddy infrastructure and a dysfunctional government whose leaders were too corrupt or stupid to head off mass suffering.”

It is one thing to be powerless in the face of a natural disaster, quite another to watch vast power being squandered in real time – wilfully, malevolently, vindictively. It is one thing for governments to fail (as, in one degree or another, most governments did), quite another to watch a ruler and his supporters actively spread a deadly virus. Trump, his party and Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News became vectors of the pestilence.

The grotesque spectacle of the president openly inciting people (some of them armed) to take to the streets to oppose the restrictions that save lives is the manifestation of a political death wish. What are supposed to be daily briefings on the crisis, demonstrative of national unity in the face of a shared challenge, have been used by Trump merely to sow confusion and division. They provide a recurring horror show in which all the neuroses that haunt the American subconscious dance naked on live TV.

If the plague is a test, its ruling political nexus ensured that the US would fail it at a terrible cost in human lives. In the process, the idea of the US as the world’s leading nation – an idea that has shaped the past century – has all but evaporated.

Other than the Trump impersonator Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil, who is now looking to the US as the exemplar of anything other than what not to do? How many people in Düsseldorf or Dublin are wishing they lived in Detroit or Dallas?

It is hard to remember now but, even in 2017, when Trump took office, the conventional wisdom in the US was that the Republican Party and the broader framework of US political institutions would prevent him from doing too much damage. This was always a delusion, but the pandemic has exposed it in the most savage ways.

What used to be called mainstream conservatism has not absorbed Trump – he has absorbed it. Almost the entire right-wing half of American politics has surrendered abjectly to him. It has sacrificed on the altar of wanton stupidity the most basic ideas of responsibility, care and even safety.

Thus, even at the very end of March, 15 Republican governors had failed to order people to stay at home or to close non-essential businesses. In Alabama, for example, it was not until April 3rd that governor Kay Ivey finally issued a stay-at-home order.

In Florida, the state with the highest concentration of elderly people with underlying conditions, governor Ron DeSantis, a Trump mini-me, kept the beach resorts open to students travelling from all over the US for spring break parties. Even on April 1st, when he issued restrictions, DeSantis exempted religious services and “recreational activities”.

There is, as the demonstrations in US cities show, plenty of political mileage in denying the reality of the pandemic.

Georgia governor Brian Kemp, when he finally issued a stay-at-home order on April 1st, explained: “We didn’t know that [the virus can be spread by people without symptoms] until the last 24 hours.”

This is not mere ignorance – it is deliberate and homicidal stupidity. There is, as the demonstrations this week in US cities have shown, plenty of political mileage in denying the reality of the pandemic. It is fuelled by Fox News and far-right internet sites, and it reaps for these politicians millions of dollars in donations, mostly (in an ugly irony) from older people who are most vulnerable to the coronavirus.

It draws on a concoction of conspiracy theories, hatred of science, paranoia about the “deep state” and religious providentialism (God will protect the good folks) that is now very deeply infused in the mindset of the American right.

Trump embodies and enacts this mindset, but he did not invent it. The US response to the coronavirus crisis has been paralysed by a contradiction that the Republicans have inserted into the heart of US democracy. On the one hand, they want to control all the levers of governmental power. On the other they have created a popular base by playing on the notion that government is innately evil and must not be trusted.

The contradiction was made manifest in two of Trump’s statements on the pandemic: on the one hand that he has “total authority”, and on the other that “I don’t take responsibility at all”. Caught between authoritarian and anarchic impulses, he is incapable of coherence.

But this is not just Donald Trump. The crisis has shown definitively that Trump’s presidency is not an aberration. It has grown on soil long prepared to receive it. The monstrous blossoming of misrule has structure and purpose and strategy behind it.

There are very powerful interests who demand “freedom” in order to do as they like with the environment, society and the economy. They have infused a very large part of American culture with the belief that “freedom” is literally more important than life. My freedom to own assault weapons trumps your right not to get shot at school. Now, my freedom to go to the barber (“I Need a Haircut” read one banner this week in St Paul, Minnesota) trumps your need to avoid infection.

Usually, when this kind of outlandish idiocy is displaying itself, there is the comforting thought that, if things were really serious, it would all stop. People would sober up. Instead, a large part of the US has hit the bottle even harder.

And the president, his party and their media allies keep supplying the drinks. There has been no moment of truth, no shock of realisation that the antics have to end. No one of any substance on the US right has stepped in to say: get a grip, people are dying here.

If he is re-elected, toxicity will have become the lifeblood of American politics

That is the mark of how deep the trouble is for the US – it is not just that Trump has treated the crisis merely as a way to feed tribal hatreds but that this behaviour has become normalised. When the freak show is live on TV every evening, and the star is boasting about his ratings, it is not really a freak show any more. For a very large and solid bloc of Americans, it is reality.

And this will get worse before it gets better. Trump has at least eight more months in power. In his inaugural address in 2017, he evoked “American carnage” and promised to make it stop. But now that the real carnage has arrived, he is revelling in it. He is in his element.

As things get worse, he will pump more hatred and falsehood, more death-wish defiance of reason and decency, into the groundwater. If a new administration succeeds him in 2021, it will have to clean up the toxic dump he leaves behind. If he is re-elected, toxicity will have become the lifeblood of American politics.

Either way, it will be a long time before the rest of the world can imagine America being great again.

Good article, but interesting that he doesn't mention Vladimir Putin or Russia once in it.

Does he think all of our problems (i.e., Trump) are home-grown?

--  MWT  ;)

Offline Rick Plant

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Re: Trump....and the end of American democracy
« Reply #5 on: May 15, 2020, 04:33:12 AM »
The United States Is Getting Infected With Dictatorship
The coronavirus pandemic has provided an opening for Donald Trump to attack transparency, voting rights, and accountability.


HBO's The Plot Against America (based on the Philip Roth novel), presents an alternative history of the 1940s, where Charles Lindbergh is elected U.S. president and the United States begins a slow and troubling march toward fascism. If you read the New York Times columnist Paul Krugman’s latest column, you might be wondering whether something similar could be happening in real life.

I’ve chronicled some worrisome trends on several occasions since President Donald Trump was elected in 2016 (see here, here, and here), and ignoring these warning signs would be just like Trump’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. Remember when he said that one day the virus was just “going to disappear” and bragged that “We have it totally under control. It’s one person coming in from China. … It’s going to be just fine.”?

My advice: Don’t be that guy.

But first: some good news. Although Americans are not happy with many government institutions, they remain strongly committed to the core ideals of a liberal society. Ninety-three percent believe it is important to have a fair judiciary, 84 percent say regular elections are important, 80 percent support a free media, and 77 percent prize freedom of speech, according to a 2019 Pew Research Center survey. Despite widespread political polarization, 67 percent believe having free opposition parties is also important. Such attitudes are reassuring, because public support for democracy turns out to be important for preserving a democratic order.

The public response to the coronavirus offers glimmers of hope as well, starting with the many acts of generosity and selflessness being displayed all over the country. Although Trump’s approval rating got a bit of a bump in recent weeks, the increase is far less than what other presidents received during periods of emergency, when the tendency to rally ’round the flag (and the incumbent) is usually quite powerful.

Trump has been artful at channeling popular anger and deflecting blame in the past, but even the falsehoods disseminated by Fox News cannot conceal the rising death toll, the plummeting economy, and Trump’s continued self-absorption in a period of national emergency. Even the normally pro-Trump editorial board of the Wall Street Journal seems to have had enough. The administration’s shambolic response to the outbreak of the virus on the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt—a debacle that eventually led to the resignation of hapless acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly—was yet more evidence that Trump has no idea how to pick competent leaders at any level.

The good news, such as it is, is that the American people are finally seeing the flimflam for what it has always been. The bad news is that it may not matter, because Trump will do whatever he can to remain in office after this November, even if it requires deliberately sabotaging the democratic process.

For starters, we know that Trump’s commitment to the core principles of democracy and the whole idea of checks and balances is razor-thin to nonexistent. His lawsuit-riddled business career shows that he views the law not as a check on arbitrary power or an essential ingredient of a liberal society but as a bludgeon to be used against one’s enemies. He has repeatedly expressed his admiration for authoritarian leaders, whose unchecked power he clearly envies. His own lawyers—including Attorney General William Barr—have offered up half-baked legal arguments implying that he is above the law. Does anyone seriously think Trump would refrain from serious misconduct if he thought he could get away with it? Remember: This is the president who tried to use aid to Ukraine as a lever to get dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden’s son, in an all-too-obvious effort to tilt the 2020 election in his favor.

Furthermore, Trump has a greater need to cling to power than any of his predecessors did. Millions of Americans are going to be very angry by the end of this year as they mourn loved ones who died unnecessary deaths from COVID-19 and as they watch their economic fortunes crumble. If Trump were no longer shielded by the office of the presidency, he would have to worry that the victims of his incompetence and venality would want some sort of retribution. And because Trump and his family have been profiting off the presidency in all sorts of dubious ways, they have every reason to fear criminal investigations that place their ill-gotten gains (and maybe their personal freedom) at risk. Trump no doubt remembers how popular the chant “Lock Her Up,” targeting his campaign rival Hillary Clinton, was back in 2016; plenty of people are bound to harbor similar sentiments toward him as the full extent of his failures becomes more and more apparent. (I’m not saying they’re right, mind you, but Trump can hardly be assured of an untroubled life after his presidency is over.)

Now consider what Trump is already doing. He’s been firing independent inspectors general and replacing them with loyalists. Just as burglars hate home alarms, muggers hate police, and insider-traders dislike the Securities and Exchange Commission, would-be autocrats and corrupt politicians hate any sort of watchdog who can expose their malfeasance. As my colleague Juliette Kayyem told WGBH radio, Trump’s firings of the inspectors general is “positioning for losing. … He wants to get his people into the investigative body, because he knows the first thing that’s going to happen is everyone’s gonna realize how much corruption the Trump family did during [his presidency].”

Next, look at what just happened in Wisconsin. Instead of briefly delaying a statewide primary election and taking responsible steps to allow all eligible citizens to vote safely by mail—thereby reducing the health risk of voting and making sure that citizens’ true preferences were accurately recorded—Wisconsin Republicans insisted the election be held last week despite the statewide lockdown, and the Supreme Court packed by Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell overruled a lower court decision that would have delayed the election by a few weeks to allow a more accurate and legitimate procedure. The result: Thousands of Wisconsin voters were effectively disenfranchised.

Not surprisingly, Trump has gone on a crusade against the whole idea of voting by mail, even though he votes by mail himself. Trump opposes voting by mail for one simple reason: It leads to greater turnout, and more people voting tends to favor the Democratic Party. Remarkably, Trump even admitted this right out loud, remarking that if proposals for early voting and vote-by-mail were adopted, “You’d never have a Republican elected in this country again.” As one would expect, voter suppression efforts—which is just about the least democratic thing one can possibly imagine—have become central to the Republican Party’s entire electoral strategy. The party’s view of democracy is simple: Politicians should choose the voters, not the other way around.

Finally, this is all occurring in the midst of perhaps the greatest national emergency in U.S. history, one where the human toll for the United States will exceed those of the Korean or Vietnam wars and the economic damage could exceed that of the Great Depression. Governments invariably exert greater control in such circumstances, and increased government power will give Trump and the Republicans ample opportunities to tilt electoral outcomes in their favor. And should polls this fall show that Trump is likely to lose, can one rule out an attempt to cancel or postpone the November election, justified on the grounds of preserving public safety?

The final nightmare scenarios, of course, would be either a narrow win for presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden—which Trump refuses to accept—or a contested outcome in one or two key states that leaves the ultimate outcome in doubt and has to be resolved by the Supreme Court. As former U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade has noted, Trump and some of his more extreme supporters have talked about his extending his term in the past, and cases of other elected officials refusing to step down are not unknown in U.S. history. She noted (encouragingly) that the existing levers of power “work in favor of removal,” because Trump would not have the legal authority to issue orders to the executive branch once his term expires. But the real question in this scenario is not whether his orders would be legal but whether they would be followed, especially if the Republican Party remained in lockstep behind him and millions of his supporters were convinced he had won. At that moment, the United States would be sailing into unknown and stormy waters.

It may not come to this, of course. The election in November may run fairly smoothly despite the crisis, and it may yield an outcome that most people accept as fair and accurate. If Trump loses, he may follow the example of every one of his predecessors and depart the White House graciously. But an outcome that Americans have taken for granted for over 200 years is no longer a foregone conclusion, and that is deeply troubling all by itself.

The irony of the present situation is impossible to miss. Americans have spent the past 25 years trying to spread democracy in various unlikely places, albeit with scant success. The real challenge, it turns out, will be making sure they don’t lose it home.

https://foreignpolicy.com/2020/04/13/us-coronavirus-pandemic-trump-election-dictatorship/

Offline Rick Plant

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Re: Trump....and the end of American democracy
« Reply #6 on: May 15, 2020, 07:43:31 AM »
GOP's 'deep state' hypocrisy reaches chilling new heights

Donald Trump’s antics are often analyzed as a variant of either a distraction ploy, part of a large and sinister plot, or simply the logical evolution of modern Republican politics. His latest outburst is a mix of his go-tos and is rooted in a foundational vendetta against his predecessor — the perfect red meat for the GOP base. This time, Trump’s playbook allows Republicans to feign outrage over legitimate intelligence gathering while simultaneously signing off on warrantless searches of U.S. citizens’ internet browser histories.

The Senate on Wednesday fell one vote shy of passing a bipartisan amendment to limit warrantless government internet searches and browsing history. The vote on the amendment drafted by Sens. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Steve Daines, R-Mont., came as part of Kentucky Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell’s rush to renew the 2001 PATRIOT Act. The Senate majority leader, who has insisted he is in no hurry to pass new legislation to aid Americans hurt by the coronavirus pandemic and resulting economic shutdown, pushed to attach a new amendment to the PATRIOT Act which makes clear that Congress expressly permits the FBI to collect records on Americans’ “Internet website browsing records or internet search history records,” even without a warrant.

“The attorney general and members of Congress have worked together to craft a compromise solution that will implement needed reforms while preserving the core national security tools,” McConnell said in support of the legislation. Apparently congressional leaders believe giving the federal government permission to spy on their citizens without approval from the judiciary is one such necessary reform.

The amendment to stop McConnell’s expansion of power for Bill Barr’s Department of Justice required a three-fifths majority and fell just one vote short, with 59 senators voting in support. The 37 senators who voted to allow such secret searches included some of the very Republicans who spent the day feigning outrage over the “unmasking” of former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who pled guilty to lying to the FBI.

In what appears to be a coordinated political effort, Barr dropped the federal charges against Flynn last week just as acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell, a Republican political operative with no intelligence experience, declassified select transcripts from the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation, in a move clearly meant to exonerate Flynn and Trump. Now, as Trump faces worsening poll numbers and a growing COVID-19 death toll, he has again revived his three-year-old baseless accusation that the Obama administration illegally surveilled his 2016 presidential campaign. Trump has concocted an unimaginative name for his half-baked conspiracy theory, “Obamagate,” but has struggled to explain the precise nature of the accusation against the former president.

“Uh, Obamagate. It’s been going on for a long time,” he said at a press briefing on Monday. “It’s been going on from before I even got elected, and it’s a disgrace that it happened, and if you look at what’s gone on, and if you look at now, all this information that’s being released — and from what I understand, that’s only the beginning — some terrible things happened, and it should never be allowed to happen in our country again.”

Only a day after Trump stood in the Rose Garden and accused Obama of committing unspecified crimes while in office, his lawyers argued to the Supreme Court that presidents are actually immune from prosecution. That hasn’t stopped some of the same GOP senators who voted to expand the powers of the so-called “deep state” from turning around and calling for heads to roll from the Obama administration for such alleged abuses.

“The unmasking of Gen. Flynn by the Obama administration regarding conversations during the presidential transition [is] deeply troubling and smells of politics, not national security,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, on Wednesday. The same day, Graham voted against restricting warrantless searches on U.S. citizens.

Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., who wrote to Grenell and Barr to call on them to release information about efforts to unmask Flynn and on Wednesday released a list of Obama administration officials he accused of targeting Flynn, also voted on Wednesday to subject U.S. citizens to further government surveillance without a court order.

But as Wall Street Journal reporter Rebecca Ballhaus noted on Twitter: “Unmasking U.S. identities in intel reports is a fairly routine process that occurs thousands of times a year and is requested by senior administration officials to better understand the context of intercepted conversations that are being reviewed.”

Trump tried and failed to force Ukraine to fabricate criminal charges against Joe Biden, his apparent November opponent. Now Trump has his cronies selectively declassifying information he can use to launch vague accusations against Biden and his former boss. For so many Republicans, their phony outrage on Flynn’s unmasking is made even more ridiculous by their voting record on expanded spying powers under the PATRIOT Act.

But why did so many Democrats go along with this latest breach of civil liberties? Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, for example, was one of only four senators who did not vote on Wednesday. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., for example, told Politico she would have voted yes had she been present — meaning the amendment would presumably have passed.

It appears that at least some of the 10 Democratic senators who voted against the limit on warrantless searches were whipped by House Democratic leadership, who have reportedly expressed concerns that such an amendment would jeopardize the entire PATRIOT Act.

“We cannot let the perfect become the enemy of the good when key authorities are currently sitting expired and unusable,” McConnell said on the Senate floor before the bipartisan vote to expand spying powers against U.S. citizens.

So while we’ve seen a good show from both parties in pretending to prosecute each other, “Spy vs. Spy“-style, the leaders still maintain their bipartisan support to spy on the rest of us.

https://www.rawstory.com/2020/05/gops-deep-state-hypocrisy-reaches-chilling-new-heights/

Offline Richard Rubio

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Re: Trump....and the end of American democracy
« Reply #7 on: May 15, 2020, 11:00:41 AM »
BFD

This was some sort of interaction with some news reporter and not only this,  the original post here and it may well be against the rules to not post a link, shows this article has been posted at the Daily Kos, extreme left.  Copyright issues.     https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2020/4/25/1940270/--The-world-has-loved-hated-and-envied-the-US-Now-for-the-first-time-we-pity-it

Obama may well be going to jail now.  Obamagate has hit...



Too bad, crap leftism gets posted on the main board.

And voters for the Democrats vote to abort half the black population, Dems have no credibility.

« Last Edit: May 15, 2020, 11:05:52 AM by Richard Rubio »

Offline Thomas Graves

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Re: Trump....and the end of American democracy
« Reply #8 on: May 15, 2020, 05:59:45 PM »
BFD

This was some sort of interaction with some news reporter and not only this,  the original post here and it may well be against the rules to not post a link, shows this article has been posted at the Daily Kos, extreme left.  Copyright issues.     https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2020/4/25/1940270/--The-world-has-loved-hated-and-envied-the-US-Now-for-the-first-time-we-pity-it

Obama may well be going to jail now.  Obamagate has hit...



Too bad, crap leftism gets posted on the main board.

And voters for the Democrats vote to abort half the black population, Dems have no credibility.

You know what I think, Richard?

I think that you, like most CTers and many LNers, are full of beans and KGB-boy Putin's propaganda.

--  MWT   ;)

Offline Rick Plant

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Re: Trump....and the end of American democracy
« Reply #9 on: May 16, 2020, 05:15:19 AM »
Obama may well be going to jail now.  Obamagate has hit.

And voters for the Democrats vote to abort half the black population, Dems have no credibility.


Republicans are doing a coronavirus genocide on the whole population. Your Kremlin propaganda has fallen on deaf ears. Your last gate was never even opened.  :D   


Dan Abrams: Based on All We Know Right Now, ‘This Obamagate Theory Is 100 Percent Bullsh*t’

Mediaite founder and ABC News chief legal analyst Dan Abrams went on a tear during his SiriusXM show Friday calling the idea of the “Obamagate’ scandal “100 percent

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.”

“Fox News and conservative media have been talking about it incessantly, and yet then you get the left media or the middle media sort of ignoring it because they don’t think it’s worthy of addressing, to some degree,” Abrams said. “There’s some coverage of it, but it doesn’t allow you to really dig in and understand what’s going on… This is a really important thing to focus on because it now appears it’s going to be a central part of President Trump’s arguments going forward.”

He reviewed the facts of the Flynn case and the unmasking, saying “there is nothing about it that is sinister in and of itself.” Abrams distinguished it from the Hillary Clinton investigation saying that in the Clinton server case there was “wrongdoing” by Clinton and the question there was whether it was a crime.

Abrams also said it’s certainly fair to criticize the leak in the Flynn case, but that doesn’t mean there’s any “Obamagate” scandal:

"Based on what we know today, this Obamagate theory is 100 percent

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… There isn’t an iota of evidence thus far to implicate President Obama or even any member of his inner circle, for that matter, in a crime or even wrongdoing when it comes to the unmasking of General Flynn. The only way you can possibly get there is you have to presume that the motives of the people involved were political and nefarious. Despite the fact that the inspector general has already determined there was no evidence that any launching of the Russia investigation, any key piece of it, was politically motivated. You have to make leaps to be able to say, ‘Aha, this is why it happened.’ Because based on the facts of what we know and what they knew at the time, there is nothing today to support the notion that this is a scandal.”

« Last Edit: May 16, 2020, 05:17:09 AM by Rick Plant »

 

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