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Old 05-02-2021, 04:57 PM   #721
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Default Maybe there is hope for Susan Collins after all.......

U.S. Senator Collins defends Romney, Cheney from Republican attacks.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Senator Susan Collins, a leading moderate Republican in the U.S. Congress, warned on Sunday against intolerance of differences within her party and pushed back at intraparty attacks from the right against Senator Mitt Romney and Representative Liz Cheney.

Collins, who won re-election in Maine last year despite a strong Democratic bid to oust her, said she was dismayed that Romney had been booed by fellow Republicans in his home state of Utah, and defended Cheney, who like Romney has been attacked from within the party for criticizing former President Donald Trump.

"We need to have room for a variety of views," Collins told CNN's "State of the Union" program. "We are not a party that is led by just one person."

https://www.yahoo.com/news/u-senator...172430322.html
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Old 05-08-2021, 05:42 PM   #722
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Default What the hell is the matter with these idiots........

Marooned at Mar-a-Lago, Trump Still Has Iron Grip on Republicans

Locked out of Facebook, marooned in Mar-a-Lago and mocked for an amateurish new website, Donald Trump remained largely out of public sight this week. Yet the Republican Party’s capitulation to the former president became clearer than ever, as did the damage to American politics he has caused with his lie that the election was stolen from him.

In Washington, Republicans moved to strip Rep. Liz Cheney of her House leadership position, a punishment for denouncing Trump’s false claims of voter fraud as a threat to democracy. Lawmakers in Florida and Texas advanced sweeping new measures that would curtail voting, echoing the fictional narrative from Trump and his allies that the electoral system was rigged against him. And in Arizona, the state Republican Party started a bizarre re-examination of the November election results that involved searching for traces of bamboo in last year’s ballots.

https://www.yahoo.com/news/marooned-...145045740.html
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Old 05-08-2021, 06:16 PM   #723
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Default Will we ever see these two in Orange Jumpsuits I wonder!

Donald Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen predicted that his ex-boss won’t give Rudy Giuliani “two cents” for legal fees to defend himself against any charges that might arise from a current federal investigation.

“Let me be very clear: [Giuliani’s] going to get stiffed,” Cohen told Joy Reid in an MSNBC interview Friday. “Donald Trump does not pay legal bills. He doesn’t care about anyone or anything other than himself.”

Giuliani’s advisers earlier this week reached out to Trump’s team to shake loose some of the former president’s $250 million in campaign cash to reimburse Giuliani for his work attempting to overturn the 2020 election on Trump’s behalf. But Cohen said there’s no way that will happen. “Donald in his crazy mind actually believes” that money is his “to do with” as he wishes, Cohen told Reid. Giuliani now has a “better chance of sling-shooting himself to the moon” than getting a big pay day from the former president, Cohen added.

“Donald Trump wouldn’t pay him two cents because his feeling is it’s an honor and a privilege to go to prison for him, to do his dirty work,” he said.

Cohen should know. He was sentenced to three years in prison for a variety of crimes committed while he was Trump’s lawyer, including lying to Congress during its probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election, campaign finance violations, and tax fraud.

Now Giuliani’s in the hot seat for work he did in Ukraine to dig up unflattering information about now-President Joe Biden and his son Hunter ahead of the 2020 election. In their effort to find communication between Ukrainian officials and the Trump administration, federal investigators last week seized more than 10 computers and phones from Giuliani’s Manhattan home and office. The Justice Department is reportedly focusing in part on Giuliani’s efforts to oust Marie Yovanovitch from her job as U.S. ambassador to Ukraine. She was reportedly unpopular with some Ukrainian officials because of her strong stance against corruption. Trump booted Yovanovitch from her post in 2019.

Cohen believes Giuliani will eventually act out of self interest, though. Late last month on CNN, he said: “Do I think Rudy will give up Donald in a heartbeat? Absolutely. He certainly doesn’t want to follow my path down into a 36-month sentence.”

https://www.yahoo.com/huffpost/micha...235400782.html
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Old 05-08-2021, 06:26 PM   #724
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Default Kevin, Kevin, Kevin, is there any amount of brown noising you won't do?!

In booting Cheney, 'My Kevin' leads GOP back to Trump....

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican Kevin McCarthy is leading his party to an inflection point, preparing to dump Rep. Liz Cheney from the No. 3 House leadership position and transform what's left of the party of Lincoln more decisively into the party of Trump.

The GOP leader argues that ousting Cheney has less to do with her very public criticism of the former president's lies about his 2020 election loss to President Joe Biden than her inability to set aside personal convictions and do her job. As conference chair responsible for communicating a unified party message, Cheney has lost the confidence of rank-and-file lawmakers, he said this week.

But in tossing aside Cheney, the daughter of the former vice president and as close as it gets to GOP royalty, and promising a “big tent” to win back power, McCarthy is hollowing out a cadre of lawmakers intent on governing while he is elevating the people and personalities most loyal to Donald Trump. In one stroke, he is amplifying the former president’s false claims about the election and seeking to mend his own tattered relationship with Trump, reasserting himself as Trump’s man in the House.

It’s a transformational moment for McCarthy, who resurrected his political career by attaching himself to Trump — who called him “My Kevin” — and is now on a glidepath to become House speaker, second in line to the presidency, if Republicans win control in next year's elections.
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Old 05-14-2021, 02:56 AM   #725
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Default Race for NYC Mayor

I didn’t catch the first debate of candidates for NYC Mayor, but I see that Maya Wiley did well according to the NYTimes. I like her a lot but am not familiar with most of the other candidates. Looked like Andrew Yang is doing well but I’m not convinced he’d be good for NYC.
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Old 05-24-2021, 06:12 AM   #726
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Default Sen. Johnson on the Jan. 6 Capitol attack: 'By and large, it was peaceful protests'...

Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., has been downplaying a mob’s attempt to stop the certification of the 2020 presidential election results for months, and on Wednesday night he went on Fox News to continue asserting that there was not an insurrection.

“Calling it an insurrection ... it wasn’t,” Johnson said in an interview with Laura Ingraham. “I condemn the breach, I condemn the violence, but to say there were thousands of armed insurrectionists breaching the Capitol, attempting to overthrow the government, is simply a false narrative.

“By and large, it was peaceful protests except for there were a number of people, basically agitators, that whipped the crowd and breached the Capitol, and that’s really the truth of what’s happening here,” Johnson added.

So far, over 400 people have been arrested for crimes tied to the Jan. 6 riot, which resulted in several deaths.
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Old 05-28-2021, 03:55 PM   #727
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Default NOW you speak up!

Paul Ryan slams Trump in speech about future of Republican Party.....


IF only "little Eddie Munster" of had a backbone when it really counted!

https://www.yahoo.com/news/paul-ryan...053116596.html
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Old 06-01-2021, 06:10 PM   #728
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Default Ted Cruz blasted for opportunism for visiting homes in Israel after fleeing his own state during storm...

Texas Senator Ted Cruz is facing renewed criticism of his travel habits after spending the weekend in Israel touring damage from Hamas rocket strikes.

The firebrand Republican senator, who earlier this year was embroiled in controversy after it was reported that he traveled to Mexico for a family vacation amid a devastating winter storm that left millions in his state without power, now faces similar criticism after tweeting a video of himself inside an Israeli home damaged by rocket fire.

In the video, Mr Cruz discussed the death of an elderly woman’s caretaker in Ashkalon, Israel, resulting from a Hamas rocket strike that hit a residential home. Mr Cruz gives a brief tour of the damage in the home, and explains how the elderly resident was able to make it out of the home in time.

“I’m in Israel and I'm seeing the results of Hamas terrorism. A Hamas rocket destroyed this home and killed an elderly woman's caretaker,” reads the video’s caption.

Under the video, the senator was excoriated by angry Texas residents who demanded to know why he had not reacted similarly to the devastation wrought by the winter storms that largely shut down the state’s power grid in February.

“How much is this photo op costing us, Rafael? Did I miss the tour of frozen Texas homes?” wrote one commenter, who referred to the senator’s given name.
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Old 06-02-2021, 05:09 PM   #729
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Default

If there’s one thing that Donald Trump is good at is generating headlines, the latest news circulating has the former president telling those in his inner circle that he will be back in power by August, according to New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman. And of course, he has the support of his QAnon followers, who have been parroting the theory that the election was stolen from the 45th president, even though he lost the electoral and the popular vote in November 2020.

This all comes on the heels of Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, who suggested that a Myanmar-like coup should happen here in the U.S. while at a QAnon-affiliated conference in Dallas. He swears he never made those comments, even though they were caught on video. He went on to set the record straight later saying, “I am no stranger to media manipulating my words, and therefore let me repeat my response to a question asked at the conference: There is no reason it (a coup) should happen here (in America),” he wrote on the messaging app, Telegram, per The New York Times.
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Old 09-14-2021, 11:03 AM   #730
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Default



If Larry Elder loses in California today, as suspected, then I think Trump may have found his next running mate.

I still think Nikki has a shot at running on Trump's 2024 ticket, but Trump can work with Larry a lot easier than he can Nikki.
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Old 10-09-2021, 02:59 AM   #731
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Default Joe Manchin Should Stop Talking About ‘Entitlement’

Joe Manchin Should Stop Talking About ‘Entitlement’

By Jamelle Bouie
New York Times Opinion Columnist


Joe Manchin. Credit: T.J. Kirkpatrick for The New York Times

Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia has been coy about what he wants from the Democratic reconciliation bill meant to pass as much of the president’s agenda into law as possible. Other than a number — he wants to shrink the Biden administration’s Build Back Better proposal from $3.5 trillion to $1.5 trillion — Manchin has not said much about which policies he would keep and which he would cut.

Manchin does, however, have one red line.

“I’m just not, so you know, I cannot accept our economy or basically our society moving toward an entitlement mentality,” Manchin said last week. “I’m more of a rewarding, because I can help those who are going to need help if those who can help themselves do so.”

He repeated the point on Wednesday, criticizing Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who wants a larger bill. “I’ve been very clear when it comes to who we are as a society, who we are as a nation,” Manchin said. “I don’t believe that we should turn our society into an entitlement society. I think we should still be a compassionate, rewarding society.”

I find this incredibly useful not because it says anything about what Manchin wants but because it makes clear that this is a dispute over values as much as — or even more than — a dispute over policy.

In previous statements, Manchin used debt and inflation to justify his opposition to spending that went beyond his comfort level. “The nation faces an unprecedented array of challenges and will inevitably encounter additional crises in the future,” Manchin wrote in The Wall Street Journal last month. “Yet some in Congress have a strange belief there is an infinite supply of money to deal with any current or future crisis, and that spending trillions upon trillions will have no negative consequence for the future. I disagree.”

It should be said that Manchin’s case is not very persuasive. Interest rates are low and have been for the past decade. The Congressional Budget Office expects interest rates to stay low until at least the 2030s. For the government, then, borrowing is cheap, and there’s little risk that the additional debt will overheat the economy or crowd out private investment. We can, and should, spend much more than $3.5 trillion, especially since — when spread out over 10 years — that number would be 1.2 percent of our projected national income over the same period.

But the reality of America’s fiscal capacity isn’t the point. For as much as he talks about debt and spending, Manchin’s objection is more moral than it is practical. To say that you don’t want to foster an “entitlement” mentality among America’s able-bodied adults is to make a statement about the proper order of things, as you understand them.

Take tuition-free community college, one of the proposals tucked into President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda. Where Biden sees a pathway to opportunity for ordinary American families, Manchin seems to see another lane on the road to dependency, to a world where most adults do not have to work to receive benefits.

Indeed, even just using a word like “entitlement” speaks to a particular critique of the welfare state — in particular the view that a capitalist economy will not work without the threat of poverty and immiseration. If the market runs on the promise of reward and mobility, then to reward individuals without work is to undermine the very engine of the American economy.

As with so much of our national political discourse, this isn’t a new idea. In “Free Enterprise: An American History,” the historian Lawrence B. Glickman shows how proponents of “free enterprise” and laissez-faire capitalism used the language of entitlement and dependency to condemn the economic guarantees of the New Deal.

“For the first time in my lifetime, we have a president who is willing to mislead the people on fundamental questions of finance,” Robert Taft declared in a 1936 speech to the Women’s National Republican Club, “who is willing openly to attack the very basis of the system of American democracy, who is willing to let the people believe that their problems can be solved and their lives made easier by taking money away from other people or manipulating the currency, who is willing to encourage them to believe that the government owes them a living whether they work or not.”

Or, as Strom Thurmond put it in 1949, when he was the governor of South Carolina, “Nothing could be more un-American and more devastating to a strong and virile nation than to encourage its citizens to expect government to provide security from cradle to grave.”

This “hiving of the country into productive makers and unproductive takers,” Glickman notes, “formed the basis of the traditional American belief in ‘producerism,’ the idea that people who made and grew things deserved pride of place in the republic.” In the 19th century, this producerist ideology fueled labor and agrarian revolts against concentrated power in finance and industry. The great orator and three-time Democratic presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan captured this in his famous “Cross of Gold” speech at the 1896 Democratic National Convention in Chicago:
Mr. Carlisle said in 1878 that this was a struggle between the idle holders of idle capital and the struggling masses who produce the wealth and pay the taxes of the country, and my friends, it is simply a question that we shall decide upon which side shall the Democratic Party fight. Upon the side of the idle holders of idle capital or upon the side of the struggling masses? That is the question that the party must answer.
For conservative opponents of Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal, however, the makers and takers were reversed. “Rather than an artisan, the maker was now described as a company,” writes Glickman. “The taker was no longer an unscrupulous employer or an enslaver who unfairly took the fruits of labor from the worker but the government, which now did the same through its system of confiscatory taxes and extravagant spending.”

It is this right-wing producerism that, I think, is the most relevant antecedent for Manchin’s fear of an “entitlement” society. Although, in fairness to him, there was a point — in the very recent past — when his views were the dominant ideological position within the Democratic Party, both a consequence of and a driving force in the neoliberal transformation of the United States.

Ronald Reagan was, of course, an important part of this development. He brought right-wing producerism into the mainstream, captivating the voting public with a simple story of undeserving takers and welfare cheats, social parasites who undermined the “hard-working people” who “put up with high taxes,” as he put it during his 1976 campaign for president.

Inextricably tied up in race hierarchy — to be white was to be a worthy taxpayer, and to be nonwhite, and specifically Black, was to be dependent — this producerism was the “common sense” behind the austerity and deregulation of the 1980s and 1990s, from Reagan’s tax cuts to Bill Clinton’s “welfare reform.” Americans would receive a “hand up” — a tax cut or a tax subsidy — and not a “handout” in the form of direct benefits.

These ideas don’t just fade away, and the extent to which they are recapitulated by the media, politics and, most important, the material conditions of our society, all but guarantees their continued potency, especially when the rising costs of housing, education and health care encourage zero-sum competition for every available advantage.

It is this potency that we see in the present debate, from Manchin’s resistance to an “entitlement” society to a public that appears not to want Congress to renew the child tax credit — a no-strings-attached benefit for almost every American family — in its current form.

We can also see it in Donald Trump’s appeal to broad swaths of the American electorate. Trump made his name as a builder in America’s largest city, then leveraged that celebrity in a popular television show that sold him as the nation’s greatest businessman. Years before he entered politics, Trump embodied the producerist ideal of a man who dominates but is never dominated.

At $3.5 trillion, Biden’s Build Back Better plan is more ambitious than anything offered during the Obama administration. If, to win the votes of Manchin and Senator Kyrsten Sinema, Democrats have to scale their bill back to under $2 trillion, it will still be one of the largest spending bills to ever come out of Congress under a Democratic majority.

From that perspective, it might seem odd to speak of the influence of conservative producerist ideology on present-day American politics. And yet a major ideological obstacle to the social democracy progressives hope to build is this sorting of people into winners and losers, deserving and undeserving. “The myth of opportunity for energetic individuals,” Irving Howe once wrote, “has taken on a power independent of, even when in conflict with, the social actuality.” Manchin, in other words, is not the only American who fears an “entitlement” society.

In which case, the ideological challenge for progressives is to redefine what it means to be “entitled” — to return, in a sense, to that older meaning, in which it is the owners of capital who are the takers and the ordinary citizens of this country who are the makers.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/08/o...hin-biden.html
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Old 10-17-2021, 06:13 AM   #732
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Default Former Trump officials' new career ventures

Former Trump officials' new career ventures suggest very little changed after leaving White House

Their business practices didn't progress much past the questionable tactics that haunted the Trump Administration

By MEAGHAN ELLIS
PUBLISHED OCTOBER 17, 2021 4:30AM (EDT)


H.R. McMaster, Steve Mnuchin, Donald Trump, Jared Kushner (Getty/Zach Gibson)

Now that former President Donald Trump's reign is over, the members of his administration have been forced to take their careers in different directions. So, where are the members of the Trump administration now? According to The Intelligencer, many are doing an array of different things; some of which are synonymous with the questionable activities that long-haunted the Trump Administration.

Here's where the top Trump White House officials are now:

1. Former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) director and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is still trying to distance himself from the kidnapping of Julian Assange. According to Pompeo, he had nothing to do with it.

Pompeo is adamantly denying any involvement in the plot to kidnap Assange. A report published by Yahoo! News back in September, suggested that Pompeo was livid when he learned Assange divulged U.S. national-security secrets. In fact, the report also claimed that he participated in discussions with members of the Trump administration on how to get retribution.

However, Pompeo is still suggesting the reports are not true. "There's pieces of it that are true," Pompeo said during an appearance on The Megyn Kelly Show. "We tried to protect American information from Julian Assange and WikiLeaks, absolutely, yes … We're not permitted by U.S. law to conduct assassinations. We never acted in a way that was inconsistent with that."

Want a daily wrap-up of all the news and commentary Salon has to offer? Subscribe to our morning newsletter, Crash Course.

2. Former U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin has been milking his access to the Secret Service.

Thanks to Trump's order extending the use of the Secret Service to members of his administration, Mnuchin has used the professional perk to his benefit. The publication reports that in his first six months out of office, Mnuchin has racked up the highest Secret Service tab. The Washington Post detailed how Mnuchin managed to rack up more than $150,000 in Secret Service expenses:
The receipts showed that agents spent $114,000 over the six months to rent rooms at a W Hotel in Los Angeles, where Mnuchin has a home. They also followed Mnuchin on three trips to the Middle East, where Mnuchin is reportedly seeking to raise money from sovereign wealth funds for a new venture called Liberty Strategic Capital…

Mnuchin's travels with the Secret Service weren't all business, however. Over the six months, the records show three separate trips to Cabo San Lucas — the Mexican resort, where Mnuchin had also vacationed during Trump's presidency.

To guard Mnuchin during those three trips, the records show, the Secret Service paid $56,000 for hotel rooms and $2,000 to rent golf carts.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Mnuchin is planning to use the $2.5 billion he has raised traveling so he can invest in technology and cybersecurity investments, along with "new forms of content." It remains unclear what Mnuchin specifically describes as "new forms of content" but "many big tech companies are pushing virtual- and augmented-reality hardware and content products and digital gaming."

3. Wilbur Ross is reportedly fantasizing about putting "Trump condos on the moon."

Back in February after the Trump administration transitioned out of the White House, Ross spoke with Bloomberg and shared his upcoming post-government plans; which involve "Trump condos on the moon."
On this particular afternoon, he's sitting in the living room of his 80-year-old home filled with Magrittes and Picassos, sipping a cappuccino, dressed in cashmere sweater, slacks and velvet slippers embroidered with octopuses.

Ironically, it's while ensconced in this paradise of earthly delights that Ross is gearing up to invest in space, among other possibilities. He sees opportunity in extraterrestrial tourism, manufacturing, research and habitation.

Habitation? When asked whether space would be a gold-plated real estate opportunity for Trump, Ross didn't disagree.

"Why not Trump condos on the moon?" he quipped back.
Ross' remarks came just months after the U.S. Commerce Department's inspector general released a scathing report about the former Trump official's behavior. According to The Washington Post, the IG's report "concluded that Ross had made many inaccurate statements to federal officials about his assets before taking office, though he did not willfully violate conflict-of-interest laws."

4. Ben Carson is launching a venture similar to Boy Scouts of America.

After departing Washington, D.C., Ben Carson —the former Housing and Urban Development Secretary— launched an organization called the American Cornerstone Institute. Carson's new think tank reportedly places an emphasis on discovering "commonsense solutions to some of our nation's biggest problems."



Carson has also created the Little Patriots program, which is described as a partisan organization for children. Speaking to The Washington Post, Carson explained the organization's initiative. "It will be something like the Boy Scouts," Carson told the publication. "But heavily exposed to the real history of America.

"You probably notice when ISIS goes into a place, they destroy the history, they destroy the monuments," Carson explained. "History is what gives you identity."

5. Elaine Chao contributed to calls for Kroger to be boycotted.

Chao —wife of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and former transportation secretary— worked for several of the country's top corporations prior to her role with the Trump administration. But Intelligencer reports that "she and other Trump Cabinet alums were having a hard time finding cushy landing spots after exiting the administration. 'The feedback was 'It's too soon,' said one of the headhunters involved in an unsuccessful effort to find companies willing to work with Chao."

Despite her struggles to re-enter the corporate world, Chao was appointed to Kroger's board of directors. But given her history of abusing her power and position with the government, social media users quickly expressed outrage and urged Kroger to drop the former Trump cabinet member from its board.

6. Alex Azar is reportedly conspiring against his former colleagues.

Former Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar is at odds with many of his former colleagues. In fact, several of them including —former FDA commissioner Stephen Hahn, former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) director Robert Redfield, former Medicare chief Seema Verma, and former White House COVID coordinator Deborah Birx— have reportedly joined forces to prepare their statements regarding the Trump administration's handling of COVID-19.

According to Politico, they've done so out of caution and concern about Azar possibly using them as "scapegoats" to clear themselves.
"I know the way this goes — everyone has a different perspective," Hahn said in an interview. "I wanted to tell what it was that happened and why it happened and the perspective that we had."

In calls and text messages, members of the group have swapped notes, compared recollections, and sent updates on media requests and interview opportunities, four people with knowledge of the matter said …

And in a nod to their individual battles with Azar, some have jokingly referred to the group in private as "AAA," or Alex Azar Anonymous, according to a person in direct contact with multiple members.
From the looks of it, many Trump administration officials are still conducting shady business as they did while in office.

https://www.salon.com/2021/10/17/for...after-leaving/
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Old 10-18-2021, 09:12 AM   #733
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Default on my mind...

The political turbulence of corruption exhibited by long-standing members of executive branch officials and the peril our country is enduring. It is terribly worrisome and deeply concerning. It feels like our country is under attack from the inside and on every imaginable front.

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Old 10-23-2021, 04:40 PM   #734
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it’s good to see Obama on the campaign trial stumpin for democrats. Have gotten my voting papers in order so I can vote in 2022.
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Old 10-24-2021, 06:55 PM   #735
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"Little Patriots" started by Cabinet Secretary sounds a little like "Hitler's Youth."

We even have to keep an eye on Biden's Administration. Don't get me wrong, I voted for Biden. He is turning out to be a war-monger. He ended the long lost war in Afghanistan just to pick a war with China of all nations.

Biden has also hinted at a war with Cuba. Cuba is all alone with no nearby allies.

Hands off China and Cuba.
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Old 10-24-2021, 07:54 PM   #736
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"Little Patriots" started by Cabinet Secretary sounds a little like "Hitler's Youth."

We even have to keep an eye on Biden's Administration. Don't get me wrong, I voted for Biden. He is turning out to be a war-monger. He ended the long lost war in Afghanistan just to pick a war with China of all nations.

Biden has also hinted at a war with Cuba. Cuba is all alone with no nearby allies.

Hands off China and Cuba.
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Old 11-12-2021, 06:59 AM   #737
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Default The Shadow of Ronald Reagan Is Costing Us Dearly

The Shadow of Ronald Reagan Is Costing Us Dearly

By Claire Bond Potter, Guest Essay, New York Times Opinion Piece
Ms. Potter is a professor of history at the New School for Social Research.
Nov. 11, 2021


Eiko Ojala

With Build Back Better, President Biden has attempted to revive a New Deal ethic that entwines human and physical infrastructure. No one likes taxes, but building a nation where Americans know that their families are safe and cared for is popular across party lines. It shouldn’t have been a hard sell.

But here we are. The reconciliation package has shrunk to about $2 trillion. And something else is gone: a chance to change the American narrative of what good government does. The legislation was once billed as a plan for sweeping once-in-a-generation social change, but aspects of it that warranted that hyperbole, like dental and vision coverage for Medicare recipients and free community college, have disappeared. Paid family and medical leave have been sharply reduced.

Other industrialized nations provide a far more robust safety net than the one we have and even the one Mr. Biden proposed. Yet Republicans and at least one Democrat insist that such social welfare spending endangers the nation’s fiscal and moral health.

How did we get to a point that doing less for Americans is a virtue, and comprehensive social welfare a privilege?

It goes back to Jan. 20, 1981. On that cold, windy day, Ronald Reagan, who had scoffed at mythical female welfare cheats on the campaign trail, a trope he had revisited since his 1966 campaign for governor of California, took the oath of office. The defeated Democratic President Jimmy Carter, also on the dais, shared some of Mr. Reagan’s distaste for social spending. During his presidency, Mr. Carter charged Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare Joseph Califano Jr. with creating “pro-work and pro-family” rules for recipients (though they never went through).

Mr. Reagan went further. In his inaugural speech, he linked government itself to national decline. The economic crisis of the 1970s, he declared, was “proportionate to the intervention and intrusion in our lives that result from unnecessary and excessive growth of government.” Social programs were wasteful. Worse, they lured families into dependence.

In other words: The government that helps families most helps them least. It was an idea that became an American ethic, with staying power through Republican and Democratic administrations alike. Attacks on social programs portrayed poverty as a moral failure and exploited racist stereotypes to mischaracterize social welfare as a magnet for criminal, failed and indolent Americans. The belief that successful families helped themselves remained an article of faith in both parties until the socialist Senator Bernie Sanders ran for president.

Under Mr. Reagan, conservatives were finally able to begin dismantling the New Deal state and Lyndon B. Johnson’s Great Society. In 1981 and 1982, Mr. Reagan made more than $22 billion in cuts to social welfare programs, including federal student loans and the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act, a modest program that paid businesses to train and hire economically disadvantaged people.

The federal deficit grew anyway, as Mr. Reagan cut taxes and accelerated military spending. Inheriting a national debt of about $995 billion, he nearly tripled it. But conservative activists still cheered.

In fact, Mr. Reagan’s welfare reforms just made the poor poorer. When a three-year recession hit in 1980, six million more Americans fell into poverty. By 1989, employment recovered, but a weak social safety net meant that workers were an illness or an accident away from hardship.

Democrats were complicit. In 1992, although he would try (but fail) to pass national health care, Bill Clinton promised to “end welfare as we know it.” Looking to a second term, he later blasted big government. The bipartisan Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 put mothers to work at low-wage jobs without health care benefits, linked food aid to work, established a five-year lifetime limit on benefits paid by federal money and funded sexual abstinence programs, not reproductive health. By 1999, single mothers on “workfare” had sunk deeper into poverty.

Progressive Democrats did only marginally better. In 2012, Republicans accused President Barack Obama of unwinding decades of welfare-to-work provisions, with a new system of waivers, work requirements and block grants that states had to follow. And while his Affordable Care Act passed narrowly, under pressure from both parties, he abandoned universal health care.

Today the poverty rate hovers around 11 percent, about where it was in 1973, and economic insecurity now envelops the working poor and middle class. Some economists now argue that the misery caused by decades of failure to support working families paved the way for Donald Trump’s presidency.

That may be true. Left to fend for themselves in poorly regulated markets, by default, working Americans do care for themselves — often on credit. Medical debt was recently pegged at $140 billion and student loans at over $1.7 trillion. Thirteen million workers have more than one job.

Americans work hard, but in the United States it costs money even to go to work. Child care, if parents can find it, can cost more than a mortgage payment. Elder care? Even more. Despite the Affordable Care Act, 28 million Americans are left uninsured.

Cutting social programs failed, yet this ethic dogs us to this day. Why? First, since the New Deal, conservatives have promoted the falsehood that universal welfare programs reward Americans for not working. Second, when Great Society programs failed to eliminate poverty, rather than make federal aid more accessible and inclusive, some liberals implicitly tied welfare to work and implied that the inability to make ends meet was a moral problem.

Thus Reagan-era bromides are alive and well, even in the Democratic Party, and they are undermining good-faith efforts to help a besieged middle class, too. While Senator Joe Manchin has said that he is not against paid leave, some of his comments continue to perpetuate the myth that comprehensive social welfare programs are a national moral hazard. “I cannot accept our economy or basically our society,” Senator Manchin declared as he demanded more cuts in human infrastructure, “moving towards an entitlement mentality.”

And, while the conservative U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a campaign donor to Manchin and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, supported the hard infrastructure bill, it blasted the earlier $3.5 trillion human infrastructure proposal as “an existential threat to America’s fragile economic recovery and future prosperity.” So it’s no accident that what remains in the reconciliation bill mostly pumps new funds into existing programs: a child tax credit, universal pre-K, climate spending, the Affordable Care Act and affordable housing.

These things are not insignificant. But what Mr. Biden wanted, and America required, won’t happen: a universal safety net that covers the needs of Americans as a right, not a privilege, and a revised tax structure that asks the wealthiest Americans to support the work force that made them rich.

Ten years ago, Americans were already sicker, less educated and poorer than the citizens of most other industrialized countries. This year an estimated 18 million Americans said that they still could not afford a drug prescribed by their physician. Health care providers and patients juggle catastrophic expenses from Covid-19. Of the more than four million women who dropped out of the work force to care for family members during the pandemic, nearly 2 million are still missing in action.

The myths of American individualism planted and nurtured under Mr. Reagan continue to cost us dearly as a nation. “In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem,” he insisted in that first inaugural.

The time is long overdue to reverse that equation.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/11/11/o...l-welfare.html
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Old 11-15-2021, 12:46 PM   #738
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The ongoing traumatization of GOP party politics and the lack of blowback on racist actions by those who aid and abet racist politics. In the months ahead, I want Jan. 6th commission to draft and pass solid guard rails so another (or the same) demagogue-type person can't upend Democracy.

I want a Democracy that does not reward corruption. I want a Democracy that does not elect racist members of society to important positions. I want a Democracy that values truth over lies. I want a Democracy that boots racism and political corruption to another galaxy. I want a Democracy that cares about its people enduring hardships and goes to bat for people, no matter the sector of society in which they represent others like them (women, LGBTQ, POC, etc). I want a Supreme Court that cares about protecting the rights of members of society and not undoing hard-won battles that protect a women's right to vote or get an abortion or equity in pay or any other number of rights that protect us from being assaulted by those who do not care for the female segment of society.

I sincerely hope people are doing all they can to make sure that the Cult of Personality (t-p, et al) do not ever stand a chance to upend Democracy ever again.

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Old 11-16-2021, 03:09 AM   #739
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Deb Haaland (New Mexico's first district) and Sharice Davids (Kansas' third district) shared a tearful embrace, as new House Speaker Nancy Pelosi congratulated the 116th Congress for taking up office.

Haaland is a member of the Laguna people, and Davids is from the Ho-Chunk (Winnebago) nation.

Davids is also a lesbian, making her the first ever LGBT member of Congress from the state of Kansas.
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Old 11-19-2021, 08:30 AM   #740
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Really Senator Kennedy?! I hope the people of Louisiana are embarrassed by your questioning of Dr. Omarova, Biden's pick for currency comptroller. Your behavior was totally disrespectful and unnecessary.
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