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letters from an American

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    The killing of Khasoggi was indeed part of the ploy; he must have known something Pompeo and Kussner/Trump did not like. Of course this was an typical Trump "deal" in order to get the "commission" (read "kickbacks") I still wonder why the FBI/CIA have not done their work. I bet they were warned as well, but their top people were replaced with "loyalists" who keep their mouth shut.

    What is the matter with this country? I know, it is just like any other S. American country ; corrupt to the bone!

    But yeah the Dem's are sound asleep after the GOP senators were "bribed" to keep the "mafia criminal" in place. Good work Dem's!!! get out of your winter sleep!

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    Last night's letter made several interesting comments.

    1) Trump threatened to pull the August Republican National Convention from North Carolina if Democratic Governor Roy Cooper won’t guarantee that the event can be held at full capacity, despite coronavirus restrictions. The RNC is under contract to hold the convention in Charlotte, but Trump has talked about moving the event, wondering aloud to aides why it can’t be held in a hotel ballroom in Florida.

    2) The widower of the 28 year old woman who died in Joe Scarborough's Florida office has asked Trump to stop tweeting about her death.

    3) Covid-19 has now taken more American lives than the Vietnam War, the Persian Gulf War, the Iraq War, and the war in Afghanistan, combined.

    4) Today, the president laid a wreath at Arlington National Cemetery and spoke at Fort McHenry in Baltimore. Baltimore’s mayor, Bernard C. “Jack” Young had asked the president not to come to the locked down city to avoid modeling non-essential travel and costing the city money it could not afford as the pandemic has wiped out tax revenues. Trump went despite Young’s objections. Neither he nor Vice President Pence wore a mask during their visit.

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    Besides her comments about the unidentified soldiers, Heather also made these comments last night:

    On Monday, Trump announced he would call in active-duty troops to “dominate” the streets, and about 1,300 troops were brought to Washington, D.C. early this week.

    But his announcement sparked a widespread and concerted push back by American military leaders today, with the Pentagon saying it has no intent to use active-duty troops in any law enforcement roles.

    General Mark A. Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Mark T. Esper, Secretary of Defense, were both caught in Trump’s photo-op walk to St. John’s Episcopal Church Monday after National Guard officers had cleared peaceful protesters from the square in front of it with tear gas and rubber bullets. Today, they distanced themselves from the president.

    But Milley and Esper were not alone. Eager to distance themselves from Trump and the imposition of martial law, a wave of military leaders from the Air Force, Army, Navy spoke up today to call for justice for Black Americans and to reiterate their loyalty to the Constitution.

    John Allen, a retired U.S. Marine Corps four-star general and former commander of the NATO International Security Assistance Force and U.S. Forces in Afghanistan, called out June 1, 2020 as the day that might well “signal the beginning of the end of the American experiment.”

    James Stavridis, the 16th Supreme Allied Commander at NATO, expressed dismay at the use of the military against peaceful protesters. Soldiers ”are not meant to be turned against their fellow citizens,”

    General James Mattis, Trump’s former Secretary of Defense, wrote a scathing public condemnation of Donald Trump himself. “Angry and appalled,” by this week’s events, Mattis said Trump had ordered troops “to violate the constitutional rights of their fellow citizens,” and warned that we should use uniformed military “only when requested to do so, on very rare occasions, by state governors.” “We do not need to militarize our response to protests. We need to unite around a common purpose. And it starts by guaranteeing that all of us are equal before the law.”

    It is not just military leaders who have spoken out against Trump. As of today, all four living presidents-- Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama-- have all called for racial justice and a better government.

    Today, the Senate Judiciary Committee opened hearings on the origins of the Russia investigation, interviewing Rod Rosenstein, the former Deputy Attorney General who oversaw the investigation after then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself.

    Trump supporters on Fox News media expressed frustration that no one seemed to be paying attention to the hearings.

    Meanwhile, across the nation, protesters and city mayors are pulling down Confederate statues, a physical political ritual that is a universal herald for regime change.

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    Like most of her newsletters, Heather's newsletter from last night has LOTS of information, but they are generally fairly long. The most recent one is 1443 words.

    To help you read her message in a more succinct manner, here are some of the bullet points:

    1) Today the rift between Trump and the military widened. General Robert B. Abrams, commander of the U.S. Army in South Korea, banned the display of the Confederate flag from all U.S. Army installations in South Korea. “While some might view it as the symbol of regional pride, many others in our force see it is a painful reminder of hate, bigotry, treason, and devaluation of humanity,” he wrote. “[O]ne thing is clear: it has the power to inflame feelings of racial division. We cannot have that division among us.”

    2) A bipartisan group of 23 national security leaders also took a stand against Trump today. Claiming to share the outrage and frustration that demonstrators have shown over police brutality and racial injustice, they insisted that military forces should not be used against civilians and objected to the use of the word “terrorists” to describe protesters.

    3) The Food and Drug Administration also pushed back today against the president, revoking its authorization for the emergency use of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine to treat Covid-19.

    4) Former national security adviser John Bolton’s book detailing his time in the White House is due to go on sale June 23, and has already been shipped to bookstores.

    5) Vice President Pence today told governors to tell people in their states that the rise was due to increased testing, and to “encourage people with the news that we’re safely reopening the country.”

    6) This weekend, we learned that the Centers for Disease Control had told its staff not to talk to reporters from the Voice of America, the government-funded news agency, because the independent news coverage there of the coronavirus was not positive enough to the president, who complained that VOA was run by “communists.” *

    (In case you are wondering, the Voice of America was established on February 1, 1942, less than 30 days after Pearl Harbor).

    * If that sentence reminds you of "tail gunner Joe", the Washington Post thought so too:

    7) The Trump administration continues to block oversight of the $1 trillion in spending authorized by the CARES coronavirus relief act.

    8) And yet, for all this, today’s biggest news is that the Supreme Court began handing down this term’s decisions. It declined to hear appeals of ten cases involving gun rights, brought by advocates hoping to strike down remaining limits on gun ownership. It also declined to revisit the doctrine of “qualified immunity” for law enforcement officers protecting them from lawsuits for their actions while doing their jobs unless they violate “clearly established” constitutional rights.

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    LOTS of news yesterday. Here are a few highlights:

    1) THREE Supreme Court decisions were made yesterday - and 2 of them were not in Trump's favor.

    2) After the decisions were announced, Trump melted down on Twitter.

    3) Former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Geoffrey Berman testified today before the House Judiciary Committee about the circumstances surrounding his firing

    4) Also today, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, appeared before the House Armed Services Committee and took a stand against the Confederate flag, Confederate statues, and Confederate names on U.S. Army bases, in strong opposition to Trump.

    5) At the same hearing, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper confirmed that he had, in fact, been informed that Russia had offered money to Taliban fighters to kill American and allied troops in Afghanistan, so it was not a “hoax,” as the president has insisted.

    6) This week, a number of Republican senators announced they were taking a pass on the Republican National Convention in Jacksonville, Florida, next month, and this afternoon, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell suggested that he, too, might skip it.

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    Heather had a few (?) comments about federal troops in Portland and other cities last night.

    Here's a BRIEF summary:

    Today Trump announced that he will send federal agents to Chicago and Albuquerque, New Mexico, as part of his push to advance the idea that he is a “LAW & ORDER” president. Trump insists that “violent anarchists” allied with “radical left” Democrats have launched “a shocking explosion of shootings, killings, murders and heinous crimes of violence.” “This bloodshed must end,” he said. “This bloodshed will end.”

    To hear the president tell it, the country is at war against a leftist enemy that is destroying us from within.

    But his dark vision is simply not true.

    What has changed in the last few months, though, is Trump’s strategy for the 2020 election. It is notable how desperate he appears to be to win reelection. While all presidents running for a second term want to win, most of them are also willing to lose if that’s what voters decide. Trump, though, has withheld military funding from an ally to try to rig the election—that was what the Ukraine scandal was about—and, according to John Bolton, begged Chinese leader Xi Jinping to make a trade deal to help get Trump reelected. The insistence that he absolutely must win sets the stage for the federal troops in our cities.

    Trump’s campaign is trying to rally voters with the idea that American cities run by Democrats are seething with violence. And to create that violence, the administration is sending in law enforcement officers that belong to departments within the executive branch of the government.

    Military officers and defense officials past and present pushed back strongly against the attempt to politicize the military, and made it clear they would not permit soldiers to be used in ways they considered unconstitutional.

    So Trump is turning the officers of the executive branch into the president’s private army.

    On June 26, Trump issued an “Executive Order on Protecting American Monuments, Memorials, and Statues and Combating Recent Criminal Violence.” That is the document supporting the deployment of officers from what appears to be Custom and Border Protection, wearing military uniforms, in Portland, Oregon. Their original mission was to defend the Mark O. Hatfield Courthouse, which had sustained vandalism and thrown fireworks.

    Barr is deploying federal agents from the FBI, U.S. Marshal Service, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) to “surge resources” first to Kansas City, and now to Chicago and Albuquerque. The DOJ also promised to move personnel to Kansas City—and now, presumably to the other cities— “to handle an anticipated increase in prosecutions.”

    All the affected cities are run by Democratic mayors.

    In Portland, officials said that the protests were calming down before the new federal force moved in. They asked for the officers to be removed, but Trump refused. His acting director of the Department of Homeland Security, Chad Wolf, says: “I don’t need invitations by the state, state mayors, or state governors to do our job. We're going to do that, whether they like us there or not.”

    (Wolf is not Senate-confirmed, and there is question about whether or not he’s even legally in his job, since he has now been 251 days in a post that can only have an “acting” director for 210. With no experience in intelligence or security, it is unlikely the former lobbyist could make it through the Senate, but Trump likes his loyalty.)

    Tom Ridge, the country's first Director of Homeland Security, who served under President George W. Bush, warned that the department "was not established to be the President's personal militia." "It would be a cold day in hell before I would give consent to a unilateral, uninvited intervention into one of my cities," he said.

    What is really at stake is the delegitimizing of Democrats altogether before the 2020 election. Today Jenna Ellis, senior legal adviser to the Trump campaign and one of Trump’s personal lawyers tweeted: “No Democrat should EVER AGAIN be elected in the United States in any capacity.

    The Trump campaign has released an ad suggesting that the choice in 2020 is between “PUBLIC SAFETY” and “CHAOS AND VIOLENCE.” But observers quickly noted that the image of street violence in the ad was not from America, it was from Ukraine in 2014.

    So to illustrate “chaos and violence,” the Trump campaign used an image of a corrupt Ukrainian oligarch’s specialized federal police wrestling a pro-democracy protester to the ground. And Donald Trump and that oligarch won power thanks to the same advisor.

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    Looking at this story, then it seems to be an full blown war on "democracy". Indeed the whole picture looks like an "Hitler" show, get rid of the Democrats all together. Wow, this story of Heather gives me the shivers.
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    Arizona -- Yes ever since you introduced us to Heather Cox Richardson I have been reading her daily summaries on Facebook. If you don't have time to follow the news her daily summaries and takes on things are a good place to start.

    Trump's administration has steadily declined in moral character over his 3 1/2 years in office. Many of those with some competence were either fired, forced out or simply quit, replaced by "acting heads" like Wolf who do not have to be vetted by Congress.

    Now Trump is repeatedly bragging about "acing" a test for mental competency usually administered to those worried about the onset of dementia. Somehow he seems to have confused this test with an intelligence IQ test. Passing a test for dementia is nothing to brag about. If Trump had surrounded himself with people who could give him wise counsel instead of enablers, then maybe he wouldn't be out there subjecting himself to this embarrassment.

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    Heather's post from last night reminds us that the Republicans, just like the Keystone cops, can't seem to do anything right.

    1 - Today’s biggest breaking news came at the president’s briefing this evening. Allegedly about the coronavirus, the briefing began with Trump announcing he was cancelling the Republican National Convention, which was scheduled to be held in Jacksonville, Florida from August 24-27. Trump decided to run on the 2016 platform, underscoring that, for him, the election is about the man in charge, not policies. (You may remember that the 2016 was critical of the existing president (Obama) but is also aptly describes Trump. The RNC’s inability to pull off either a platform or a convention this year does not look good. One convention official told CNN the Jacksonville event was "a multimillion dollar debacle” and that the money it cost could have gone to fighting coronavirus.

    2- Trump continues to demand that schools reopen, saying today that if they don’t, money should go from the public schools to parents to send their children elsewhere. The school attended by President Trump’s son will not fully reopen in September out of concern over the coronavirus pandemic despite the president’s insistence that students across the country be brought back to classrooms in the fall.

    3 - Trump also said that he spoke to Russian President Vladimir Putin today, but did not discuss intelligence reports that say Putin has been paying Taliban-linked fighters in Afghanistan to kill U.S. and allied troops.

    4 - The Republicans looked incompetent today in another way as they failed to reach an agreement on a new coronavirus package. They rejected the Democrats’ bill, passed two months ago, but have apparently been unable since then to come up with any deal within their own conference

    5 - Today the administration took some legal hits. A federal judge ruled that the government had sent Trump’s former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen back to prison from home confinement to stop him from publishing a tell-all book in September; and the inspector general of the Justice Department, Michael Horowitz, announced he will investigate the federal use of force in Washington, D.C. and Portland, Oregon. At the request of congressional Democrats from Oregon, he will examine the orders the federal officers received, their use of chemical agents (tear gas), and reports that they were improperly detaining protesters. (The mayor of Portland was one of the people exposed to tear gas).

    6 - Barr is set to testify before the House Judiciary Committee on July 28 about his attempts both to reduce the sentencing guidelines for Trump’s friend Roger Stone and to dismiss the case against Trump adviser Michael Flynn. He will likely also be asked about his firing of the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Geoffrey Berman

    7 - Trump lost another fight today, as Major League Baseball reopened with the Washington Nationals playing the New York Yankees on their home field. Before the game, every player and every coach in the playing area held up a black banner that stretched along the first base and third base lines, then took a knee on the grass in silence, in honor of Black Lives Matter. Then Dr. Anthony Fauci, who is the trusted face of coronavirus advice and thus has angered the not-so-trusted president, threw out the first pitch. (It was so far off base that one wit noted on Twitter: “He clearly doesn’t want anyone to catch anything.”)

    8- Ted Yoho (R-FL), stopped AOC on the steps of the Capitol Monday to call her “disgusting,” “crazy,” “out of [her] mind,” and “dangerous,” for linking poverty and crime.

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    Barr's testimony to the Judiciary Committee on July 28th will be another non-event with Barr obfuscating and ducking questions. He will sit there with that glum look on his face and authoritatively make "believable lies".

    Or maybe he will find an excuse to not attend at all. He's done that before.

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    Getting back related to "Portland" I'm really wondering what is happening there. Where is their own "police"? why didn't' their police call neighboring cities for help.? I think any city should have the right to defend itself; if their own police had blocked off the roads leading into town they could have stopped these Gestapo types from entering etc. What is going on?


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    I agree.

    The push against the gestapo in Portland (and other cities) has come from the "wall of moms" and guys with leaf blowers (who are there to blow away the tear gas).

    Trump wants to deploy as many as 75,000 troops to various cities, which also happens to be the number of our troops in Iraq in 2010.

    Ultimately, Trump's storm trooper tactics will backfire against him, since the public will realize that what they are doing is very wrong. Several cities have already filed lawsuits against Trump's mis-use of Homeland Security personnel.

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    Ridiculous; Their own police is nowhere to be found; so what is wrong with them?

    They could have stopped them, that is their task to protect their own city. Crazy, that they let these Gestapo guys in.

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    Now the "mess" is in full bloom in Seattle; what's next? While in Portland the "fights" continue; are there any brains left in this country? Don't count on "Jesus" or the churches to save your ass. What an ridiculous country has this become; under the leadership of an NAZI (again). Read Mary Trumps "book" then you know! Sorry this is an total "lawless country" right now because no one dared to make our laws proper or "solid", because otherwise our "lawyers" would go "broke".
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    An ad for Joe Biden sums up the absurdity of Trump's response very well:

    Image may contain: 1 person, text that says 'THIS IS DONALD TRUMP'S AMERICA. IF THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE TO YOU, VOTE BIDEN.'